Adrian Fenty to endorse Obama

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Hat tip: Washington Post by David Nakamura

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty plans to endorse Illinois Sen. Barack Obama‘s bid for the Democratic nomination for president today, sources said yesterday.

Fenty (D) had been noncommittal, though he has said he would endorse a Democrat.

Some city officials had speculated that he might not endorse anyone until he knew whether New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg (I) would run.

Fenty has patterned key initiatives after Bloomberg’s programs, including his takeover of public schools.

But Fenty’s support of Obama looked more probable recently when a Fenty adviser, Jim Hudson, organized a fundraiser for Obama that collected $600,000 and endorsements from three D.C. Council members: Yvette M. Alexander (D-Ward 7), Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4) and Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6).

“Jim helped me get to where I am,” Obama said at a fundraiser two weeks ago.

Fenty would join other Democratic big-city mayors, including Chicago‘s Richard Daley and Newark‘s Cory Booker, in endorsing Obama.

Oprah to host Obama fundraiser

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Hat tip: Huffington Post/Los Angeles Times-photo courtesy of AP

Invitations have been sent out for what promises to be a must-attend event for much of California’s Democratic elite, particularly those in the entertainment industry: a Sept. 8 fundraiser for Barack Obama at Oprah Winfrey’s home in the Santa Barbara area.

In the best tradition of Hollywood, the e-mail touting the afternoon gathering doesn’t mince words, promoting it as no less than “the most exciting Barack Obama event of the year anywhere …” And the invite urges haste in responding, saying: “Please get back to us soon before it sells out.”

Getting in the door costs $2,300 — the maximum individual contribution for the primary season. But, as is usually the case at such high-profile shindigs, there are incentives to gain a little extra face-time with the candidate.

Those who can tap friends and relatives for contributions to Obama’s presidential campaign that total at least $25,000 gain entree to a VIP reception; those responsible for at least $50,000 in donations make the cut for a VIP dinner.

The workers at the Santa Barbara airport best rest up before the fundraiser; we’re guessing the tarmac there is going to be packed with private jets.

As The Times’ Tina Daunt wrote in early June, Hillary Clinton — bolstered by Steven Spielberg’s decision to endorse her presidential candidacy — appeared to have beat back an early challenge from Obama for supremacy among the Hollywood crowd. But the Oprah event signals that the Obama camp is not going to cede ground without a fight, which Daunt will report on in Wednesday’s print edition.

Oprah endorsed Obama, who she got to know through their mutual home bases in Chicago, back in the spring — the first time she had ever officially embraced a White House contender. At the time, she told CNN’s Larry King, “I haven’t done it in the past because … I didn’t know anybody well enough to be able to say, ‘I believe in this person.’ ”

Obama and Clinton report over $ 30 million in campaign coffers

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HAT TIP: By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press 

Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton ended the first half of the year with more than $30 million each for the presidential primaries, a formidable financial performance for the two leading Democratic White House contenders.As the two rivals basked in money, Republican John McCain’s presidential campaign reported spending more than it raised from April through June, leaving him financially strapped with $3.2 million cash on hand and a $1.8 million debt.

Those contrasting financial pictures emerged Sunday from quarterly financial reports filed by the campaigns with the Federal Election Commission. Obama reported having about $34 million in primary cash on hand; Clinton reported $33 million. Obama had an edge on money owed by the campaign; he reported less than $1 million in debts and Clinton reported $3 million.Obama led in fundraising for the period covering April though June, raising $32 million for the primary election and nearly $800,000 for the general election.Clinton raised about $21.5 million for the primary and $5.6 million for the general election, her campaign said. Neither candidate can use the general election money unless he or she wins the nomination.John Edwards, the Democrat closest to the two fundraising leaders, reported having $12 million in the bank for the primary.

Hindered by unpopular stands on the war and on immigration, McCain raised $11.26 million in the second quarter, short of his first quarter donations. He spent $13 million. Overall, McCain has raised $25 million so far in his campaign and spent $22 million.

The Arizona senator upended his campaign organization last week as his financial straits became apparent. His campaign manager, Terry Nelson, left and his longtime strategist, John Weaver, resigned. The repercussions caused changes down the chain of command. While his financial straits have been known for more than a week, the reports show that McCain spent more on staff than either of his better financed rivals. McCain’s payroll grew after the first quarter, despite initial cutbacks. Overall, McCain payroll was nearly $3.6 million for the year so far.

Obama enters the third quarter with more fundraising momentum than Clinton. Not only has he aggressively gone after money, he has also worked to expand his donor base. His efforts have netted him more than 250,000 donors for the year. Overall, he has raised nearly $59 million, with all but about $1.7 million devoted to the primary election.

Despite his vaunted base of small donors, Obama is a favorite among employees of some of the nation’s largest investment banks and hedge funds. One of them, Kenneth C. Griffin, president of Chicago-based hedge fund Citadel Investment Group, gave Obama $4,600 this quarter, the maximum allowed. Other Citadel employees gave him $147,550.

Lehman Brothers employees gave Obama $160,760 this quarter; Goldman Sachs, $103,550; and JP Morgan Chase, $101,950. About half of Obama’s fundraising total for the year comes from about 10,000 donors who have given him the maximum donation.

New York Sen. Clinton has raised $53 million, with $12.6 million of that usable only in the general election. Clinton boosted her revenue in the first quarter by transferring $10 million into her campaign from her Senate election account.

The Clinton campaign reported spending $12.2 million.

Obama dramatically increased the size of his staff in the second quarter. His payroll went from less than $1 million in the first three months to $3.2 million in the second quarter. The campaign has hired more than 100 staffers and has 29 field offices in Iowa and six in New Hampshire.

Obama’s campaign paid nearly $3 million for travel during the quarter and spent about $1.3 million in telemarketing, one of its top single expenses.

Edwards, the former senator from North Carolina and 2004 vice presidential nominee, raised about $8.8 million for the primary from April through June; he also raised $250,000 for the general election, money he can’t use unless he becomes the Democratic nominee.

Overall, Edwards has raised $21.8 million for the primary and $1.3 million for the general election. While trailing Obama and Clinton, Edwards retained his place ahead of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Christopher Dodd of Connecticut.

Dodd reported raising nearly $3.3 million with nearly $6.4 million in the bank. For the year, Dodd has total receipts of $12.1 million, which includes a $4.7 million transfer from his Senate campaign account. Richardson on Saturday reported raising $7 million in the second quarter and having a similar amount in the bank.

Among Republicans filing Sunday, Ron Paul, the Texas congressman running a long-shot campaign, reported raising nearly $2.4 million from April through June and ended the quarter with a similar amount in the bank.

The total is a remarkable showing for Paul, putting him in a better financial position — with less cash on hand but no debt — than McCain. Paul still barely registers in public opinion polls and raised far less than McCain or the other leading Republicans. But his libertarian views and opposition to the war in Iraq have lit a fire among nontraditional contributors, particularly on the Internet.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who are leading the Republican field in money and in public opinion polls, reported their finances on Friday. Romney had $12.1 million cash on hand and has lent his campaign nearly $9 million since the beginning of the year. Giuliani reported $14.6 million in the bank for the primary election.

Republican presidential candidates filing second quarter reports Sunday:

_Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas raised $1.4 million, slightly more than his campaign brought in during the previous quarter. The candidate reported having $460,236 in the bank.

_Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee raised $764,000 and had $437,000 cash on hand at the end of last month.

_Former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson raised $461,000. He reported nearly $122,000 cash on hand, but also listed debts and obligations of more than $127,000.

_Rep. Duncan Hunter of California raised $806,000 and had $213,000 cash on hand.

Lackluster performance in the second quarter already caused one Republican candidate to quit the race. Former Virginia Gov. Jim Gilmore announced Saturday he was withdrawing. On Sunday he reported $62,000 cash on hand and $129,000 in debts and obligations.

Obama gives a shout out to Genarlow Wilson

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HAT TIP: AP, Click on Detroit, Paula Mooney

DETROIT — Presidential hopeful Barack Obama drew the loudest cheers of the eight Democratic candidates at a civil rights forum as he assailed the Bush administration’s record on race relations.The candidates shared the stage Thursday at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s 98th annual convention.Obama, seeking to become the first black president, drew the strongest applause from the 3,000 people at the event.

“I know what you know, which is that despite all the progress that has been made we still have more work to do,” said the first-term Illinois senator. Black voters are a core party constituency. Candidates are in a fierce struggle to capture their support and are refusing to cede it to Obama. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the front-runner, enjoys strong support in the black community and is married to former President Clinton, who was wildly popular among black voters. John Edwards has won praise from black leaders for his commitment to fighting poverty.

After the forum, microphones picked up Clinton and Edwards discussing their desire to limit future joint appearances to exclude some rivals lower in the crowded field. “We should try to have a more serious and a smaller group,” Edwards said. Clinton agreed. “We’ve got to cut the number. … They’re not serious,” she said, then thanked Obama and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich as they walked by. Turning back to Edwards, she added that she thought their campaigns had already tried to limit the debates and “we’ve gotta get back to it.”Obama’s performance was the first time he has managed to outshine Clinton in a candidate’s forum. That includes last month’s debate at Howard University, a historically black college in the nation’s capital.

At the forum, each candidate responded to five questions from NAACP delegates on topics including health care, gun violence and voting rights.All the candidates were warmly welcomed in Detroit. Even before Obama spoke, the crowd at Cobo Center was clearly in his corner. Obama derided President George W. Bush’s commutation of former White House aide I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby’s prison term, noting black men routinely serve time.

“We know we have more work to do when Scooter Libby gets no prison time and a 21-year-old honor student, who hadn’t even committed a felony, gets 10 years in prison,” Obama said. Aides said Obama was referring to Genarlow Wilson, a Georgia man serving a 10-year prison sentence for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl when he was 17. A judge last month ordered Wilson to be freed, but prosecutors are blocking the order. Libby, the former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, was convicted of lying and obstruction of justice in the CIA-leak case. He received a 30-month prison sentence, which Bush commuted last week.

“I’d like to thank the NAACP for letting me follow Barack Obama,” joked Sen. Chris Dodd of Connecticut, who delivered his opening remarks after the Illinois senator.Obama, 45, said he was too young to have participated in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, but said he was inspired by it. That comment prompted a mild dig from Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, who stressed his long career in public life.”I’ve been around a while, and I’m old enough to remember the civil rights movement,” Biden, 64, said, adding he was the best candidate to bring an end to the Iraq war.

Clinton said the forum would cover more issues of importance to the black community than the administration had in six years.”We have a president who does not see what you and I see. … With your hard work, we will render the people that you and I see visible once again,” the New York senator said. She cited “Invisible Man,” Ralph Ellison’s classic novel of black alienation. She also thanked the organist, whose music helped fill the gaps between programs on the stage, for providing a spiritual dimension to the forum.”I think we needed to have a little uplift here,” she said. “If we’re going to win this election, it’s going to be because we have faith.”

Edwards emphasized his commitment to fighting poverty, calling it “the cause of my life.” He plans to begin a multi-state tour Monday in New Orleans to spotlight the millions of people who live in poverty.Edwards’ call for felons’ voting rights to be restored also received loud cheers.Yet as a senator from North Carolina in 2002 he voted against a bill allowing felons the right to vote in federal elections. The topic of voting rights drew an impassioned response from the candidates, many of whom spoke of the disputed 2000 election in Florida that saw many black voters disenfranchised.”The American people don’t feel that when they go vote their vote counts,” New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said.

Dodd praised the NAACP for holding a burial ceremony for the “N-word” earlier this week.”We ought to have more burials. Why not bury neglect? Bigotry? The failed policy in Iraq?” Dodd asked, adding that he believed every Democrat on the stage would be a better president than Bush.

Former Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel also participated.Colorado Rep. Tom Tancredo was the lone GOP candidate and said he accepted the invitation because his message is for all people in the U.S. A vociferous foe of illegal immigration, Tancredo said the wages of black workers suffer because of illegal workers.

Obama’s Tightrope

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Hat Tip: By Amina Luqman, Washington Post

The world felt topsy-turvy as I watched the presidential debate held at Howard University last week. Up seemed down and everything was out of sync as the front-runners for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, spoke. In this debate, as in others, we watched Obama remake the traditional persona of the black candidate and someone else take what might have been his place.

From the outset, it was clear that Barack Obama wasn’t going to be Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. For every rhythmic alliteration Jackson would have offered, Obama gave us pauses and sentences in paragraphs. For Sharpton’s quick wit and scathing candor, Obama offered even tones and grave calm. There was no push toward applause-filled endings. He begged for contemplation and understanding. Simple became complex, demands became propositions and “they” became “we.”

The average black American onlooker can’t help feeling proud but also just a little hurt watching Obama. Proud of his ability to traverse minefields on a national political landscape and hurt by what America demands of black candidates seeking public acceptance and trust. During the debate, black Americans in the audience sat, hands poised, yearning to applaud a black candidate able to articulate our passions and sense of injustice. We wanted to hear that he understood and loved us — not in the general, “we the people” sense but in the specific. Yet we know that with each utterance about injustice, each puff of anger or frustration about racism, we lose the very thing we seek: a viable black candidate. The closer Obama comes to us, the further he would be from winning the nomination and the presidency.

That is a reality of race and national politics in America. Part of Obama’s appeal to white America lies in his hopefulness. It’s in the way he looks toward a brighter future, and it’s in his promise to bring us all along.

Yet the subtext of his appeal is in what he does not say. It’s in his ability to declare that things must get better without saying who or what has made them bad. It’s how he rarely chastises and how he divides blame and responsibility evenly; white receiving equal parts with black, poor equal parts with rich. The “we” Obama has created leaves blank the space traditional African American candidates would have filled with passion or a clear articulation of the state of black Americans. It’s left some black voters unfulfilled and some white voters with a sense of acceptance and absolution from past wrongs and present-day injustices.

We are all watching Obama’s tightrope walk, his attempts to appeal to the white majority while maintaining some semblance of integrity regarding the plight of black Americans. It’s a heavy burden. In contrast, Hillary Clinton is on relatively sure footing. Obama must tilt away from clarity and passion about issues disproportionately affecting blacks while Clinton is free to perform the black candidate’s role. In last week’s debate, it was she who took on the traditional black candidate’s persona, she who was both passionate and rhythmic in her cadence. Her endings built to crescendos. Be it real or pandering, Clinton can openly connect and show solidarity with black Americans in ways that Obama cannot.

There is no better example than Clinton’s comment about the disproportionate effect HIV has on black communities. She said that if “HIV-AIDS were the leading cause of death of white women between the ages of 25 and 34, there would be an outraged outcry in this country.” For Obama to have said the same words in the same fiery manner could have been political suicide. By forfeit, Clinton essentially becomes the black candidate; it’s not a space America would allow Obama to fill.

Not long after Obama announced his candidacy, the buzz in the media was, “Is Obama black enough?” Many black Americans privately laughed at this question. We know that it takes only a slip of the tongue about slavery’s legacy or reparations, a hiccup about institutional racism or paying special attention to the needs of black Americans, and suddenly the love would be gone. We know that the question has less to do with black America than with whether white America trusts that Obama is not too black for its political taste.

We laugh at the question of Obama’s blackness because we live with a version of Obama’s tightrope dance every day. We do the same dance in our workplaces, with our supervisors, our neighbors and our college classmates. In that way we know Obama couldn’t be more like us, he couldn’t be more black. We along with Obama know that even the most skilled tightrope performance may not be enough to ensure that you land on your feet.

Obama tops Hillary by $5 million

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Hat Tip: The Swamp, By John McCormick and Mike Downing

Presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama reported today that he raised at least $32.5 million during the second quarter of the year, enough to likely make him the top money raiser among Democrats during the latest quarter and for the year so far.

The second-quarter figure showed Obama’s fundraising pace is accelerating even from the staggering $25.7 million he raised during the first quarter. His campaign said that about $31 million of the second-quarter total were dollars that can be used for the primary campaign.

“Together, we have built the largest grassroots campaign in history for this stage of a presidential race,” Obama said in a statement. “We now have hundreds of thousands of Americans who are ready to demand health care for all, energy independence, and an end to this war in Iraq. That’s the kind of movement that can change the special interest-driven politics in Washington and transform our country. And it’s just the beginning.”

Obama’s campaign Web site on Sunday morning reported nearly 258,000 overall donors for the first six months of the year, meaning about 154,000 new donors gave him money during the second quarter.

“Every day over the past three months, over 1,500 Americans have made clear to Barack Obama that they believe in his vision for our country by contributing to his campaign,” Chicagoan Penny Pritzker, Obama’s national finance chair, said in a statement.

Earlier this weekend, the campaign of former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards said it had raised more than $9 million during the quarter, down from the $14 million he raised during the first three months of the year.

The campaign for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson said Friday that he raised more than $7 million during the second quarter.

For her part, Sen Hillary Clinton is expected to raise somewhere north of $27 million, based on guidance provided by her campaign late last week. That would be up from the $26.1 million she raised during the first quarter.

The Clinton campaign did not break down how much of her funding was available for use in the primary. During the first quarter, about three-quarters of Clinton’s total funds raised were available for use in the primary campaign.

Federal campaign finance rules limit contributors to a $2,300 contribution to a candidate’s primary campaign. But big-dollar donors also can contribute up to an additional $2,300 for use only during the general election campaign.

Barack’s hustle is working like gangbusters-the “Safe Negro” is on fire

Campaign Mailbag: Barack’s deceptively funny spiel

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Barack Obama

Dear White Liberal,

It has now been over four months since we began this campaign for the hearts and minds of gullible liberals like your dumb ass. And let me tell you about the damn fools I’ve seen: there is an “awakening” taking place in white liberal America today.

From New Hampshire to California, from Texas to Iowa, we are seeing huge crowds we never dreamed possible. Foolish white liberals are falling up in my political events united in the delusion that it will mean something profound if I am elected President. It won’t-but you can bet your bottom dollar that I’ll ride this wave of stupidity all the damn way to the oval office.

They’re coming because they know that America stands at a crossroads—but also because of the Hope hustle I’ve perfected-Jesse had, “Keep Hope Alive” and I’ve got the,“Audacity of Hope.” It really ain’t nothing but a suburban friendly marketing ploy aimed at middle class yuppie’s who have the credit rating to afford more than a $1,000 contribution.

We’re facing a set of challenges we haven’t seen in a generation. We all know what these challenges are—Who’s gonna raise Anna Nicole’s baby, the scoop on the twin Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan meltdowns, endlessly obsessing over the missing white woman of the month nobody ever heard of, and the unfair length of Paris Hilton’s jail time-not to mention the smaller issues like the health care crisis, an education system that’s not teaching every child, and the disastrous war in Iraq.

We also know that what’s stopped us from meeting these challenges is not the absence of sound leaders like Cynthia McKinney and Barbara Lee—it’s the smallness of the penises of the politicians leading this country down the path of failed leadership that’s really to blame. Mine is bigger—much, much, bigger and it IS true what they say….

In the last several years, we’ve seen Washington become a place where our problems are talked to death, while little is done to really solve them-I’m a prime example. Leaders who talk about real solutions get the Cynthia McKinney-isn’t-she-a-scary,-racist-Negro-treatment. Leaders who quietly acquiesce to the corporate agenda and front like they’ve done somethin’ get the cuddly, cutesy, corporate media darling, beautiful Negro treatment I’ve been gettin’ on the regular.

The time for the can’t do, won’t do, won’t-even try style of politics is over. Hold up! That’s what got me into position to run for President in the first damn place-Never mind what I just said, I just hafta keep saying that shit because it sounds earnest and y’all fall for it like a cuddly white newborn babe.

If you want the same kind of tired, DLC corporate friendly politics, please break me off a substantial contribution to Obama for America today.

I’m running or President because I believe it’s time to turn the page.

It’s time to turn the page on health care–This is the part where I’m supposed to say that if elected, I will enact a health care plan that will lower a family’s premiums by an average of $1000 and give every American access to the same health care members of Congress receive. In actuality, I haven’t even passed gas in the Senate, much less a damn bill of substance, so I’m a little short on the experience needed to radically change one fifth of the freakin’ economy. It’s just some pie-in-the-sky rhetoric I’m obligated to serve up to get your vote.

It’s time to turn the page on education—Again, this is where I’m supposed to say that we must move past the slow decay of indifference that says some schools can’t be fixed and some kids just can’t learn. Y’all heard this same song and dance from Bubba, Dubya and his daddy before him. The reality is that most of them hood rats are in schools that function as holding cells until they end up in damn jail or dead. It don’t really matter as long as I can steal their Mama’s vote away from Hillary.

With my book advance and royalties, I can afford private education for my babies and most of y’all already send your kids to damn near white public and private schools and are just like the gold digger Kanye rap’s about-you “ain’t messin’ with no broke nigga’s” in the hood and sure don’t want ‘em sitting next to your precious Biff and Buffy in the same classroom.

It’s time to turn the page on energy—Insert your favorite eco-liberal Sierra Club bullshit here. Ain’t none of that mess gonna help turn the page on the war in Iraq. –a war I claimed to be against and then I voted for every funding supplemental that came down the pike until political expedience dictated a vote against the one up this month. Resource wars are just a fact of life and I’m sure there will be at least one I wage to keep gas prices palatable for the touchy suburbanites I need to win re-election.

It’s time to show the world that I am still the last, best hope of the earth. This President may have sat his narrow behind in the seat of power in the Oval Office, but for the last six years, the position of leader and defender of the capitalist power structure has been open.

It’s time to fill that role once more with me-a safe Negro. Whether it’s Britney or Lindsay, Paris or Anna Nicole, America cannot meet the challenges of being the most celebrity obsessed, right-wing, imperialist country in the world alone. It’s time for us to lead.

We are America. We are the nation that liberated a continent from a madman, that lifted ourselves from the depths of depression after Elvis, John Lennon, and Curt Cobain died, that won civil rights, women’s rights, and voting rights for all people and then allowed George W. Bush to freakin steal the White House in plain sight.

What I’m saying is that I understand that Americans suffer from a profound political and racial schizophrenia. We preach compassion to others in need while we allow black bodies to float down the streets of a major American city. That’s who we really are. If y’all think that voting for me absolves you of all of your political and racial bullshit-I’m o.k. with that as long as y’all give me the power to put my finger on the button to annihilate all life, as we know it as your President.

Now, I am confident about my ability to lead this country. But I also know that I can’t do it without white idiots like you. This campaign is a corporate backed snow job-cynically calculated to be about your patriotic fantasies and desires for racial absolution because there are too many obstacles in basing a campaign on the universal truths that should bind us together as a people but never freakin’ have or will.

That’s why change has never really happened and why wealth and power is so concentrated along rigid racial and class lines. And that’s exactly why I will never be able to change a damn thing as President—nobody will in the coming months and years because that’s the genius of the system the framers designed.

I’m so grateful for the confidence you’ve already wasted in us and all that you’ve stupidly given. And I hope you’ll continue to be a dupe and stand with us. But while there are a number of ways you can help our fraudulent campaign-the only thing I really want is for you to break out the checkbook and write a damn check with three zeros to Obama for America.

With your moolah, I can maintain the status quo for my corporate affiliated contributors and reign like a damn King in the White House. In so doing, I can rid myself of the fear of failing like my father by accommodating the power structure like a kiss ass.

Sincerely,

Senator Barack Obama

P.S. Like munchkins who foolishly believed in the Wizard of Oz, I need white liberal munchkins like you to continue to believe so that I can mine the seemingly endless depths of white liberal guilt and continue down the political brick road to defeat, out-raise, and politically kill, the evil Wicked Witch of the East-Hillary Clinton.

It’s time to turn the page of your child like naïveté. It’s time to turn the page for capitalism. It’s time to turn the page and write the next chapter of imperial tyranny in the great American story. And we must write that story together. Please continue your foolish and delusional support of our campaign. And please cut a damn check today.

Obama reels in 242,000 donors in six months

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Hat Tip: By Nedra Pickler, Associated Press, Washington Post

WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has improved on his stunning support in the race for campaign cash, raising his total number of donors to nearly 250,000 people in the first six months of the year.

The freshman Illinois senator impressed rivals in the first quarter when he reported 104,000 donors, but he surpassed the mark in the second quarter with 138,000 more opening their wallets, the campaign announced Thursday.

The campaign won’t say yet how much the donors have given, but the large number suggests their fundraising will be competitive with the $25.7 million he raised in the first quarter. A campaign official speaking on the condition of anonymity tried to tamp down expectations by disclosing that the average donation in the second quarter is likely to be less than the roughly $247 in the first quarter.

The campaign said it’s goal is to attract 250,000 donors by midnight on Saturday, the next money reporting deadline, and was running a live tally on his Web site to help bring in more. It was about 6,000 short as of Thursday morning and said that 10,000 people had already donated this week.

The campaign said it collected more than 337,000 contributions _ meaning that many individuals made repeat donations _ and its goal will be to reach 350,000 by the deadline.

“This campaign has become a vehicle for hundreds of thousands of Americans who believe that the people can take control of the political process again,” campaign manager David Plouffe wrote in an e-mail to supporters that includes video links from donors.

“There are some who don’t think it’s possible,” Plouffe said. “But the reality is clear: Individual people with purpose, with passion and willing to make a small sacrifice can build a movement unlike anything presidential politics has ever seen. And we’re only just getting started.”

Obama’s campaign announced the final push for cash on the same day as a Democratic presidential debate, an announcement that could rattle his rivals.

Aides to his top competitor, New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, say she will match her $26 million from the first quarter. That another candidate could even approach her fundraising prowess was unthinkable six months ago. But the freshman senator from Illinois has drawn supporters who have been inspired by his long-standing opposition to Iraq, his message of hope and his chance to be the first black president.

Like Clinton, Obama has attracted the Wall Street executives, Hollywood moguls and other rich donors who traditionally have fueled political campaigns. But Obama has also concentrated on smaller donors who can give just $25 or $50 each, a practice that other campaigns said they also have adopted in the second quarter.

Obama still trails Clinton in national and most state polls, but the money will give him the ability to fund an aggressive challenge to her front-runner status. He began his television ad campaign this week, with a spot in Iowa highlighting his biography.

The Obama campaign said it believes the number of donors is a record for six months of fundraising. Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean built a reputation for unprecedented grass-roots support when 70,000 people contributed about $10.5 million in the first two quarters of 2003.

Like Dean, much of Obama’s money comes in small-dollar donations made over the Internet.

Campaign experts say a large base of small donors can help build a candidate’s support in ways beyond funding. Michael Malbin of the Campaign Finance Institute said Obama sees small contributions as a leverage to get people to come out and volunteer.

“I don’t think most of the other candidates are at that point. That’s not what they’re doing,” he said.

He did point out that Clinton has the potential to tap a sizable donor base, noting that she had more small donors in her 2006 Senate effort than any other Senate campaign.

Obama targets South Carolina for first primary win

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HAT TIP: By Lee Bandy, The State

Barack Obama showed a whole lot of savvy and political courage when he took his Democratic presidential campaign into the Republican heartland of South Carolina.

It was a huge success.

Democrats were ecstatic.

“We have complained bitterly over the years about the treatment we’ve received at the hands of the Democrats,” said Ron Romine, a Spartanburg party activist and long-time political science professor at the University of South Carolina. “Finally, we’re getting some attention.”

Barack, a U.S. senator from Illinois, drew large crowds at stops in Greenwood, Greenville and Spartanburg — a region heavily populated by Republicans.

Upstate voters haven’t seen a Democratic presidential candidate in years. The last time they voted for a Democrat was in 1976, when Jimmy Carter ran for president.

A Republican has won the congressional seat in the Greenville-Spartanburg area with at least 65 percent of the votes in five of the past seven elections.

But Obama’s campaign looked at the sheer numbers in the Upstate and decided it would be foolhardy to ignore the vote-rich region, even though it was clearly dominated by Republicans.

Obama made his first visit to the Upstate on June 15. And boy was he surprised when he arrived at McAlister Square in Greenville. Over 3,500 people — a good mix of blacks and whites — were there to greet him.

State Sen. Ralph Anderson, a black legislator from Greenville, said the Obama folks could have doubled the turnout if they had started organizing earlier.

Not lost on the Obama campaign is the fact that the S.C. primary is open, meaning any registered voter — Democrat, Republican or independent — can vote in the Democratic primary on Jan. 29.

Obama’s June 15 foray into the Upstate was hailed by political observers as gutsy and smart.

In the past, Democratic candidates have stayed away from the Upstate, conceding it to the Republicans.

“A mistake,” said Furman University professor Danielle Vinson. “You can’t ignore any group of voters. In the Upstate, we do have Democrats. Not many. But we do have a very vocal group of African-Americans. A candidate ignores them at his own peril.”

Also, an interesting phenomenon has arisen over the last few months. A growing number of moderate Republicans and independents, increasingly upset with President Bush, say they want to vote for Obama.

They particularly are drawn to his message about ridding Washington of partisan politics. They’re tired of the in-fighting, the back-stabbing.

They also find something appealing about the man. He’s new. He’s authentic.

A recent Mason-Dixon poll of South Carolina voters showed Obama favored over U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York in the S.C. primary.

Furman University analyst Don Aiesi said that finding should boost Obama’s standing and give him added strength heading into the 2008 primary.

Aiesi said it would be a mistake for Obama to ignore the Upstate support. “He has the potential to fire people up.

“Hillary is not liked,” Aiesi said, citing polls to support his charge.

He predicts that if Obama plays his cards right, he easily will dispose of the U.S. senator from New York.

“He has got 50 percent of the primary vote nailed down,” Aiesi said of Obama. “To me it’s over and done.”

Thanks to Obama, Southern Democrats finally have someone who doesn’t treat or see them as a lost cause.

Campaign Mailbag: Michelle Obama’s humorous campaign solicitation

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Michelle Obama

May 4, 2007

 

Dear White Liberal,

It wasn’t exactly a typical date with an up-and-coming, Harvard-educated brotha who worked at a pretentious white-shoe firm. He didn’t take a sistah to a fancy restaurant. There were no tickets to the opera or ballet, nor did we rub elbows with bougie Negroes.

Instead, he took me to a neighborhood church in the hood on the south side of Chicago. And that was the day when I said to myself: “Girl, betta lock this brotha down quick.” I realized that Barack Obama, the man I was going to marry, was a very different, truly extraordinary, Negro.

I was a young lawyer, a token sistah, working for the Man at the firm where Barack was hired as a summer token; but he was unlike most of the professional uncle tom’s I knew. He seemed unconcerned with frontin’ as if he’d arrived. Barack always insisted altruistically that he didn’t go to law school to cash out. He went to try to make a change. I thought to myself, “Negro, please, I just ain’t figured out your hustle yet.”

And hustle is exactly what he was doing on the South Side that night: he was leading a training session for some naïve-honest-to-Gawd- community activists. And the moment he walked into that church, took off his coat, rolled up his sleeves, loosened his tie and began to speak, I knew the Negro had Game.

He broke them off something proper—a speech about the world as it is and the world as it should and ain’t never gonna be-as long as Y’all are still running the world. A chorus of “amen’s” filled the church as he spoke. By the time he was finished, he had snowed every single one up in that piece. It was somethin’, Baby. For real though, Chile.

I hurried up and married him, Baby. Today, we are some prosperous buppie’s with two of the prettiest little girls you ever did see. I’m pulling down 300k at the University of Chicago Hospital and I’ve got the Audacity to Hope that those damn royalty checks start rollin’ in quickly to support my spending. Honey, I almost forgot, Barack is running for President of the United States.

Barack is running this hustle-I mean campaign-the same way he organized neighborhoods-with a slick and sophisticated snow job that inspires empty-headed, pie in the sky white liberals like you to get involved and to take a stand.

That’s where your dumb ass comes in. I’m writing to you today not just as the wife of a candidate, but as a sistah, a mama, a professional and above all, a diva desperate for y’all to send in your change so I can make a change at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and tell Laura Bush, “Bitch, guess who’s coming to dinner.” Can you help a sistah out and break us off a $ 1,000 or even $ 1,500 to Obama for America today?

I suppose you could say we’ve come a long way, Baby. But the Barack Obama who’s a United States Senator seeking our nation’s highest office is still the brotha that snowed those Negroes in the hood the same way he’s snowed all y’all’s dumb assess.

He’s a beaming father who always delights in leaving my ass at home with the kids as he saves the world. He’s confident in the knowledge that I only tolerate this bullshit because the chance to become the most pampered and socially prominent diva in the world is too hard to pass up.

After several years in grimy, corrupt Chicago ward politics, it hasn’t dimmed his love of the quest for power one bit.

Barack’s experience working in the drug-infested ghettos of Chicago’s south side taught him something profound-Negroes will believe any damn thing as long as you quote scripture and play on their desperation for something better.

Barack’s innate predator instinct convinced him that no matter how bleak things look, desperate Negroes, stupid Negroes, silly Negroes could be used to set him up for a run at the big time-and they sho’ nuff did.

I see the genius of this hustle for what it is and am convinced that with fools like you falling for the magic of my man’s hustle, we can go all the way.

Everywhere I’ve traveled with Barack, I’m freakin’ amazed not just by the size of the crowds but by the fact that there are always so many smiling white faces wanting to touch the hem of my man’s garment because they think he’s the second coming.

Hallelujah! Thank You, Jesus for fools like you snowed by the Audacity of Hope.

Barack’s counting on the people for whom he’s fighting—the corporations and the moderate republicans—to stand with him. That’s why I’m asking you to rush a generous contribution to Obama for America today.

Take it from a former skeptic—he’s got this hustle down, honey and we can win this shit.

And take it from a Sistah who first ventured into that ghetto church with Barack those many moons ago; this is a special Negro, a truly extraordinary Negro, a Safe Negro, and one who will not ever—no matter how much you wish or hope—upset the apple cart of the white capitalist power structure.

Thank You for your naïveté, and support

Sincerely,

Michelle Obama

P.S. When it comes to his corporate backed vision, Barack’s eyes are focused squarely on the ball-I’ve seen to that as his wife. Let me assure you that his family is keepin’ it real.

There was the time he called me after a Senate vote and told me how proud he was to have passed some bullshit I don’t remember and how very inspired he felt—to which I replied, “That’s nice, Baby, but Aunt Juicy is here in the kitchen and she done drunk all the Alize. Stop by the co’ner store and pick up a couple of bottles.

Well, we laugh about times like those, but in many ways, they remind me of what makes Barack so special-He got game and he just keep coming back stronger and harder serving up that special somethin, somethin’ that y’all can’t get enough of-like Sinefeld and bullshit like that.

Obama speech at Hampton University

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Here is a small clip and a small transcript.

It is an honor to be here at Hampton University. It is a privilege to stand with so many ministers from across this country and we thank God and all His blessings for this wonderful day.

A few weeks ago, I attended a service at First A.M.E. Church in Los Angeles to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the LA Riots. After a jury acquitted 4 police officers of beating Rodney King-a beating that was filmed and flashed around the world- Los Angeles erupted. I remember the sense of despair and powerlessness in watching one of America’s greatest cities engulfed in flames.

But in the middle of that desperate time, there was a miracle: a baby born with a bullet in its arm. We need to hear about these miracles in these desperate times because they are the blessings that can unite us when some in the world try to drive a wedge between our common humanity and deep,
abiding faith. And this story, too, starts with a baby.

We learned about this child from a doctor named Andy Moosa. He was working the afternoon shift on April 30 at St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood as the second day of violence was exploding in the streets.

He told us about a pregnant woman who had been wearing a white dress. She was in Compton and on her way to the supermarket. Where the bullet came from nobody knew. Her sister-in-law noticed a red spot in the middle of her white dress and said that I think you’ve been shot. The bullet had gone in, but it had not exited. The doctor described the ultrasound and how he realized that the bullet was in the baby. The doctor said, “We could tell it was lodged in one of the upper limbs. We needed to get this baby out so we were in the delivery room.”

And here’s the thing: the baby looked great. Except for the swelling in the right elbow in the fleshy part, it hadn’t even fractured a bone. The bullet had lodged in the soft tissue in the muscle. By God’s grace, the baby was fine. It was breathing and crying and kicking. They removed the bullet, stitched up the baby’s arm, and everything was fine. The doctor went on to say that there’s always going to be a scar to remind that child how quickly she came into the world in very unusual circumstances.

I’ve been thinking and praying about that story. I’ve been thinking that there’s always going to be a scar there, that doesn’t go away. You take the bullet out. You stitch up the wound and 15 years later, there’s still going to be a scar.

Many of the folks in this room know just where they were when the riot in Los Angeles started and tragedy struck the corner of Florence and Normandy. And most of the ministers here know that those riots didn’t erupt over night; there had been a “quiet riot” building up in Los Angeles and across this country for years.

If you had gone to any street corner in Chicago or Baton Rouge or Hampton — you would have found the same young men and women without hope, without miracles, and without a sense of destiny other than life on the edge — the edge of the law, the edge of the economy, the edge of family structures and communities.

Those “quiet riots” that take place every day are born from the same place as the fires and the destruction and the police decked out in riot gear and the deaths. They happen when a sense of disconnect settles in and hope dissipates. Despair takes hold and young people all across this country look at the way the world is and believe that things are never going to get any better. You tell yourself, my school will always be second rate. You tell yourself, there will never be a good job waiting for me to excel at. You tell yourself, I will never be able to afford a place that I can be proud of and call my home. That despair quietly simmers and makes it impossible to build strong communities and neighborhoods. And then one afternoon a jury says, “Not guilty” — or a hurricane hits New Orleans — and that despair is revealed for the world to see.

Much of what we saw on our television screens 15 years ago was Los Angeles expressing a lingering, ongoing, pervasive legacy-a tragic legacy out of the tragic history this country has never fully come to terms with. This is not to excuse the violence of bashing in a man’s head or destroying someone’s store and their life’s work. That kind of violence is inexcusable and self-defeating. It does, however, describe the reality of many communities around this country.

And it made me think about our cities and communities all around this country, how not only do we still have scars from that riot and the “quiet riots” that happen every day-but how in too many places we haven’t even taken the bullet out.

Look at what happened in New Orleans and along the Gulf Coast when Katrina hit. People ask me whether I thought race was the reason the response was so slow. I said, “No. This Administration was colorblind in its incompetence.” But everyone here knows the disaster and the poverty happened long before that hurricane hit. All the hurricane did was make bare what we ignore each and every day which is that there are whole sets of communities that are impoverished, that don’t have meaningful opportunity, that don’t have hope and they are forgotten. This disaster was a powerful metaphor for what’s gone on for generations.

Of course, the federal response after Katrina was similar to the response after the riots in Los Angeles. People in Washington wake up and are surprised that there’s poverty in our midst, and that others were frustrated and angry. Then there are panels and there are hearings. There are commissions. There are reports. Aid dollars are approved but they can’t seem to get to the people. And then nothing really changes except the news coverage quiets down.

This isn’t to diminish the extraordinary generosity of the American people at the time. Our churches and denominations were particularly generous during this time, sending millions of dollars, thousands of volunteers and countless prayers down to the Gulf Coast.

But despite this extraordinary generosity, here we are 19 months later – or 15 years later in the case of LA — and the homes haven’t been built, the businesses haven’t returned, and those same communities are still drowning and smoldering under the same hopelessness as before the tragedy hit.

And so God is asking us today to remember that miracle of that baby. And He is asking us to take that bullet out once more.

Share your thoughts with me on this. 

From rikyrah: Obama gives major address on Urban Agenda and its gets 0 coverage

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I know we go back and forth around here about Obama, and I know that  a lot of folks aren’t haters, but skeptics, but this, to me, is sort of serious. The ONLY Black candidate FINALLY presents an ‘ Urban Agenda’, and it’s not even reported?

When I say that this speech was on par, in importance, with his speeches in Detroit, and his one on foreign policy in Chicago, I mean that. THIS is a major speech. And, if we, as Black bloggers, don’t try and spread the word that it was given, and the contents, then who will?

I count myself as being an informed Brotha and I ain’t heard nothin’ bout it.   Nothin’ in the Post or NY Times or Politico.com or Huffington Post or Mydd.  These are sites I read on the regular.  What do you think? 

Lurleen’s Ghost: false prophets, empty symbolism, and the endurance of white supremacy

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Then the LORD said unto me, “The prophets prophesy lies in My name. I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spoke unto them. They prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought and the deceit of their heart.- Jeremiah 14:14

Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. -1 John 4: 1

The Battle of Selma, an internecine conflict between Queen Hillary and the Safe Negro, Barack Obama, for the black vote, was waged in February and the combatants were both in rare form. To the uninitiated, it seemed that the courageous people who were battered and bloodied on the Edmund Pettus Bridge to secure African Americans voting rights inspired both. That would be wrong.

What the world witnessed was a big show of religiosity cynically calculated to pander to the vast majority of politically active and deluded black people facing a Hobson’s choice between two “articulate and clean” false prophets whose symbolic candidacies mask a hidden agenda to tend to America’s ruling class as servants and protectors of capitalist imperialism.

Michael Parenti, author of “Dirty Truths” has written: The history of the United States has been one of territorial and economic expansionism, with the benefits going mostly to the U.S. business class in the form of growing investments and markets, access to rich natural resources and cheap labor, and the accumulation of enormous profits. The American people have had to pay the costs of empire, supporting a huge military establishment with their taxes, while suffering the loss of jobs, the neglect of domestic services, and the loss of tens of thousands of American lives in overseas military ventures.

The greatest costs, of course, have been borne by the peoples of the Third World who have endured poverty, pillage, disease, dispossession, exploitation, illiteracy, and the widespread destruction of their lands, cultures, and lives.

The racial dimensions of our economic, political and military hegemony over the world’s people of color are an unstated but unmistakable form of white supremacy. Black Agenda Report has tilled the soil on this ground quite thoroughly. I highly recommend reading their piece on this subject. The meaning of Selma has been percolating in my mind for some weeks now and it gelled Friday while I dozed off in Barnes and Noble after work. What I would like to explore with you, if you’ll permit me, is the triumph of white supremacy over our politics and why I think Hillary and Barack are both agents of its facilitation.

In telling the story of white supremacy’s evolving political stranglehold, it is useful to examine the past as a template for the present.

One of the reasons I came to the south is because of its politics. Among the most colorful in the nation, the south has produced some world-class pols and demagogues. Some of the most notable: LBJ, Huey Long, and George Wallace. All three possessed an intuitive understanding of power. Both Huey Long and George Wallace understood the value of machine politics and the practical uses of propaganda.

Bill Clinton is not the first southern pol to advance his wife forward to maintain a foothold on power. Texas Governor James Ferguson was, running his wife Miriam and in his footsteps followed Alabama Governor George Wallace. Stephan Lesher, author of “George Wallace: American Populist,” picks up the story, “Wallace learned about the Fergusons shortly after Lurleen’s announcement; his source, of all people, was the President of the United States during a White House briefing on Vietnam for the nation’s governors…Then, Johnson regaled him with one of James’s 1924 campaign speeches in which he had explained how the couple would operate if Miriam was elected: he would be her number one assistant, he would say, but he would also “tote the wood and draw the water at the governor’s mansion.” Wallace knew a good line when he heard it-and adapted it in every speech he would make over the next months.”

George Wallace pursued the presidency with a vigor we’ve not seen recently until the emergence of the Clinton juggernaut. Running four times in 1964, 1968, 1972, and 1976, he used every asset at his disposal to hold the Governorship of Alabama as a powerbase and springboard to the Presidency. One of those assets was his wife, Lurleen. Forced out by term limits in 1966, he ran Mrs. Wallace in his place as a surrogate. She pledged to the people that she would “let George do it” [run the state].

I have been thinking of the demure and modest homemaker thrust into the limelight by a controlling husband to maintain his own power and to make up for his unconscionable philandering. By elevating her to the governor’s chair, he gave her something no other man could: power and status. In so doing, he repaired their unhappy marriage. The same could be said of the Clintons despite Hillary’s unquestioned ability to run this country without her husband. She would not be on the cusp of making history without him. Echoing the Fergusons before them, we are still “getting two for the price of one.” And make no mistake, he is “tot[ing] the wood and drawing the water” for this campaign behind the scenes.

The campaign of 1966 was an interesting spectacle that reminds me of the current 2008 contest. The Alabama establishment had two contenders to choose from and chose only one: Lurleen Wallace and by extension, George. Former Governor Patterson who had defeated George for Governor in 1958 was a bitter segregationist. George’s spirited defense of white supremacy deflated his sails and she won going away. Patterson provoked the immortal statement from George in Marshal Frady’s legendary biography “Wallace,” “John Patterson out nigguhed me. And boys, I’m not goin’ to be out-nigguhed again.”

Indeed, he never was. He came to be seen as the personification of segregationist resistance. He introduced himself to the American people by way of an incendiary Inaugural Address penned by a Klansman in which he proclaimed, “Segregation Now! Segregation Tomorrow! Segregation Forever!” Additionally, he reaped nationwide publicity for his melodramatic stand in the schoolhouse door of the University of Alabama. His demagogic advocacy of white supremacy connected him with the masses of disaffected whites fearful of black advancement. He turned their disaffection into an independent movement that mainstream Democratic and Republican politicians are still accommodating.

Dan Carter, author of the article “Legacy of Rage: George Wallace and the Transformation of American Politics” wrote, “Unwilling to listen to the dwindling handful of politicians who spoke of unpleasant choices, Americans willingly turned to the more satisfying task of exorcising demons. For politicians, it was a dilemma not unlike that facing George Wallace in 1962. I started off talking about schools and highways and prisons and taxes-and I couldn’t get them to listen,” he confided to an old supporter. “Then I began talking about niggers-and they stomped the floor.”

“Although working and middle class Americans in the 1960s periodically expressed uneasiness over inflation and the failure of wages to keep pace with the cost of living, widespread economic insecurity and declining incomes were not characteristic of the decade. It was primarily a sense of cultural and social dislocation- and out and out racism-that furnished the fuel for George Wallace’s angry rhetoric.”

Bill Clinton, although still a college student, was an active political operative by this time and a Capitol Hill intern for segregationist Arkansas Senator William Fulbright. He saw for himself how potent the politics of race was during the desegregation of Little Rock, Arkansas Public Schools a decade before. Governor Faubus parlayed his opposition to desegregation into an unprecedented six two-year terms as governor, a tenure equaled only by Clinton himself. In addition, Bill couldn’t have possibly missed Arkansas tepid support of LBJ in 1964 and its plurality support of Wallace’s third party bid in 1968.

Despite protestations to the contrary, white supremacy is still a factor today and has been supported by an exclusive focus on the integration of the ranks of politicians, public accommodations, and the desegregation of the public schools and institutions of higher learning. There is another institution, which is sadly deficient in its adherence to fairness and the rule of law: the judiciary. We’ve lost many battles and are losing the war.

The foundation of equal opportunity is crumbling before our eyes and the Roberts Court is leading the charge to destroy it once and for all. How did we get here? We got here because for some reason, we’re more concerned with electing politicians on the basis of showmanship-not policy. Politicians like Bill, Hillary, and Barack, use the politics of identity against us, rather than use it to create common ground.

The essence of their positions regarding judicial selection and due process reflect the political expediency of politicians on the make. Bill Clinton in 1992 famously executed Ricky Ray Rector, Christopher Hitchens described the incident Lobotomized by his own bullet, this disabled black convict did not understand either his trial or his sentence. Executed by Clinton to draw attention from the Gennifer Flowers flap (about which he also lied) Rector outdoes Willie Horton by every definition of racist grandstanding. His snuffing was not just an election tactic, bad enough though that would have been. In power, Clinton fast-tracked capital punishment to the point where even Republican governors and legislatures have had to try and slow it down.”

As President, he fast-tracked executions by signing legislation that increased the number of crimes that were death penalty eligible and which severely short-circuited habeas corpus, resulting in the dramatically increased possibility of executing the innocent. He even executed someone in Arkansas whose innocence was legitimately in question. Alexander Nguyen of American Prospect wrote, Also executed during the (1992) campaign was Steven Douglas Hill, who was convicted of shooting a state police investigator after he and an accomplice escaped from a state prison. Hill confessed to the crime, but his partner Michael Cox has insisted for years that it was he, not Hill, who pulled the trigger. In all, Arkansas executed four people on Clinton‘s watch.

Hillary stood by and never meddled in the process of shedding unnecessary blood to elevate themselves to the ultimate power of the Presidency. Given the choice between standing for what’s right and sacrificing power, she chose to support her husband and sacrifice a life giving the lie to the arguments regarding gender diversity in the ranks of elected politicians. While in the Senate, she and her rival, Barack Obama, have played it safe-very safe. The youthful opposition to the death penalty has given way to safe positions crafted to advance viable Presidential candidacies and leave undisturbed the grip of white supremacy over our Judiciary.

Bush has twice nominated arch Conservatives to the Supreme Court and twice Barack and Hillary refused to filibuster those nominations to death.  He and Hillary cast the right vote on the Alito nomination against cloture (shutting off debate), but they were just going through the motions.  Neither put up a fight against John Roberts, although they voted against him. A passionate level of opposition and principled advocacy would have sent a powerful signal to the civil rights community that those two meant business and would have provided political cover for their weak-kneed colleagues to man-up and follow suit.

John Kerry said it best of John Roberts, “Judge Roberts argued against using the “effects test” to determine whether section 2 of the Voting Rights Act was violated. Instead, he believed and “intent” test—requiring proof of a discriminatory motive should be required, regardless of the fact that many victims of discrimination would be unable to prove real discriminatory intent and therefore unable to enjoy the protections afforded by the Act. In some cases, the effect of Judge Roberts’ intent test meant that disenfranchised individuals had to prove the motive of long dead officials who crafted election rules. That is a foolish standard when it comes between citizens and their constitutionally protected right to fair representation in our democracy.”

As someone who represented a majority black legislative district created as a nod to the Voting Rights Act, Barack Obama, should have vigorously filibustered both of Bush’s reactionary appointments. Their collective hostility to the Voting Rights Act, Affirmative Action, and race discrimination claims were more than sufficient to ignite the fires of Barack’s righteous indignation. Alas, the safe Negro never gets angry or loses his temper on behalf of our people because it would get in the way of playing kiss-ass to Senate colleagues and the white power structure he hopes one day to join as our President.

So, chirren, let me end as I began because the scriptures are clear, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but test the spirits whether they are of God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” Hillary and Barack have both been tested in the heat of political battle for their progressive mettle and adherence to truth and in my mind, both have failed and revealed themselves to be false prophets and “New Democrats” in thrall to white supremacy.