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Updated: 2017-02-07T23:54:48.440-05:00

 



Black & Brown Are the New Colors of Today's Politics

2009-03-10T00:24:44.901-04:00

BY GABRIELLE DAVID, RABBLE ROUSER'S FORUM

That’s right. Now that Barack Obama is President, black and brown are the new colors in today’s politics. Yes, I’ve said it. On the surface, it appears to be a good thing, but considering the folks coming out of the woodwork these days, maybe not so much.


(image) First, let me say that Barack Obama is a “one of a kind who shocks your mind.” He is a one-of-a-kind achiever.

Actually, there have been a number of one-of-a-kind achievers: Frederick Douglas, W.E.B. Dubois, Marian Anderson, Ralph Bunche, Medgar Evers, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., Lorraine Hansberry, Jackie Robinson, Mae Jamison, Oprah Winfrey; just to name a few, an exhaustive list that Obama is now a member. Obama’s campaign for president is unprecedented and certainly, his presidency has set goal posts and unlimited boundaries for everyone in this country, whether they are black, brown, yellow or white.

Here is my recipe for one-of-a-kind achievers: An achiever manages to lead the way in a specific field of endeavor and transcends under the bleakest circumstances. They believe in a universe of unlimited possibilities, and are undaunted by any problems and challenges by accomplishing “firsts.” Always rising beyond obstacles, they set goals and forge ahead. There is joy in living meaningfully, with a clear purpose that uses their creative intelligence.

Having said that, we have begun to swim into some murky waters as of late. I say this because recently, people like Republican National Committee Chairperson Michael Steele, Senator Roland Burris of Illinois, Former Ambassador Alan Keyes and Governor Bobby Jindal (who I have ceremoniously lumped into the “brown” category), have somehow surfaced from the obscure to the surreal as the new “black and brown” in politics. They've tried, unmercifully, to compare themselves to Barack Obama in an attempt to sneak on my list of one-of-a-kind achievers. >>MORE



Welcome to the new and approved edition of RABBLE ROUSER’S FORUM.

2009-03-06T02:26:34.594-05:00

Hi. I am Gabrielle David and I run RABBLE ROUSER'S FORUM. The Forum consists of three pages: (1) Page One, (2) Politics and (3) Media/Arts. The Politics and Media/Arts sections are primarily comprised of great articles on the web from not-so-main-stream-media (like blogs and alternative media) that you may not otherwise know about, so enjoy!I also updated and added a few goodies. First, there are links to my MYSPACE, IMEEM, FACEBOOK, YOUTUBE, FLICKR and LINKED IN pages. Please feel free to visit, subscribe or sign up to be my friend. I look forward to hearing from you. I also added a nifty little tool, TELL A FRIEND, which appears at the end of each post and allows you to send articles using Bookmark, Email, and to your friends through IM, Blog and Social websites. The DIGG icon appears at the top of each article, so I encourage you to submit and spread the word to all of your friends.SUBSCRIBE. IT'S EASY AND FREE. JUST HIT THE ORANGE BUTTON FOR AN RSS FEED OR SUBSCRIBE THE OLD-FASHIONED WAY VIA EMAIL (RIGHT HAND COLUMN)Finally, I’ve added PDF files to the website, specifically, for the Cover page articles. Reading short articles online is okay, but reading long articles online can be tedious and difficult. Since printing articles from Blogger doesn’t work very well, for printing purposes, I am using PDF files. Blogger doesn’t let you “attach” PDF files in the traditional sense, so I’m posting PDFs in SCRIBD and linking the articles to the PDF file for you to print. You can also share and send the PDF to others from the SCRIBD menu. To print, just "Download" from SCRIBD and then print it. Happy reading!I use INTENSE DEBATE for my "Comments" because it provides more robust features than Blogger’s native comment moderation tools. The “Comments” link appears at the end of each posting. Just click on it and it opens to a separate page. Now, you will be required to sign up for comments in INTENSE DEBATE, but after that, you just have to log-in and comment to your hearts' delight!Ahhh technology, it's a pain in the butt to pull together, but when it's done and it's working great, ain’t it sweet?Some people blog because they like to hear the sound of their voice in print and could care a less if anyone reads his or her stuff. I am not one of those people. I blog because I’m interested in nurturing a public conversation and would like to hear from you, so please feel free to share your comments and ideas. By the way, don't forget to subscribe to RABBLE ROUSER'S FORUM so that you can receive the latest updates (updates are generally done every Sunday night). Also, if you want to submit articles, please submit (with a photo) to rabblerousertoo@gmail.com. I look forward to hearing from you and cheers!Subscribe in a reader (see additional alternatives in the right-hand column)RABBLE ROUSER'S FORUM: Where dissent is welcome![...]



The Backlash and Blowback of America

2009-03-06T02:28:56.106-05:00

Part 1: The Makings of an Economic Backlash“The Backlash and Blowback of America” is a series of investigative articles that examine America’s current economic and foreign policy issues. I began writing this as a short commentary, but as I began to read, think, investigate and dig deeper, I quickly realized how complicated this story truly is. Then I asked myself how did we get into this sorry mess and why didn't we see it coming? While the “how” has been somewhat difficult to pinpoint, I can say, unequivocally that “yes” we did see it coming and surprisingly, we did little to prevent it. It would be pretty easy to pin everything on outgoing President Bush and his Neocons, but there are a significant number of interrelated factors that reach as far back as the 1970s that led to today's economic crisis. At the center of this story are complex interconnections of our economic and foreign policies that are associated with rising debt, weakening production and investment, stagnant wages, unemployment, growing class inequality, global financial instability, and spreading militarism and imperialism. And while this fallout is a direct result of rightwing ideology with Wall Street hijacking our economy, both Republicans and Democrats became enablers of the kind of deregulation that has finally come home to roost in this crisis. As I stated earlier, we ordinary citizens are also culpable in this crisis. Americans have steadily saved less and consumed more, with a savings rate that has approached zero in the 2000s. When Congress gave the credit card industry carte blanche, we went along, gobbling them up, getting hooked on them, buying on high interest rates, pushing ourselves further into debt. Then there are folks who bought houses they couldn't afford, either as first-time homebuyers or as part of a “get rich quick” scheme that consumed their way into unreasonable levels of debt. Alongside that, of course, countless businesses did the same thing, with banks and other lenders passing out money, with little regard for risk. Yes, there's greed on Wall Street, but there's also greed on Main Street too. Finally, we're responsible for our total lack of participation in the voting process. Voting is a fundamental right that too many in our nation have taken for granted. We don't vote as often as we should, and when we do, we don't keep tabs on our elected officials, nor do we pay attention to the legislative, regulatory or judicial branches of our government, so yes, we're complicit in this financial mess. The credit bubble has finally burst, as inevitably it would, and now we're experiencing a “backlash.” Defined, a backlash is an antagonistic reaction to a specific political or social trend, development or event. Economists have been warning for years that Bush’s tax cuts coupled with increased spending (the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars, consumer spending) would come back and bite us all in the “you-know-what.” This backlash has a classic double-edged sword. First, it’s comprised of a clear rejection of our politics and poor fiscal judgment and as we go forward, politicians and regulators need to address our problems, reform the system and enhance stability. Second, there's a “blame game” that’s going around. Democrats blame Republicans. Republicans blame Bush. Americans blame the government. Government is blaming capitalists. The list goes on and on. So what’s the point? We need to investigate what went wrong, confront the people and mechanisms that are currently in place, and construct a new financial infrastructure that assures that this will never happen again. This should be a top priority. To make matters worse, there're no easy questions or answers to this mess. This economic crisis is so complex, so Machiavellian with its clever cast of characters and crappy policies one wonders, what was the underlying pathology of these people we entrusted to govern our country? Relative to countless[...]



Barack Obama: From Candidate to President

2009-01-21T18:49:21.451-05:00

(object) (embed)
Here is a pictorial essay of Barack Obama's ascent; from the day he threw his
hat in the ring on February 10, 2007 in Springfield, Illinois, to his inauguration as
the 44th President of the United States of America on January 20, 2009.

HIT THE PLAY BUTTON FOR THE SLIDE SHOW



0 Comments

2009-01-21T18:14:43.980-05:00

(image) Commemorating 50 Years of Motown
Happy Belated Anniversary!



Who suffers first in the death of the press

2009-01-21T18:07:29.975-05:00

BY JEFF JARVIS, BUZZMACHINE

For all the mourning—some of it preemptive—over the loss of journalists’ jobs in the implosion of (image) the news business, let’s remember that it’s the other trades that made papers come out on time that have suffered already and will suffer first and most. Journalists, if they’re smart and daring, might be able to save their careers and craft.

Steve Yelvington on Twitter pointed me today to the Museum der Arbeit and its exhibit on the printing trade: the “disappearance of an entire profession in the course of industrialization.” Typesetters are long gone as are page compositors and lithographers and mailers (the guys who tied the bundles) and copy boys (a job description that disappeared almost in time for it not to be updated with copy girls) and proofreaders and paperboys and… I worked with people of all those job descriptions and more with titles I can’t remember or find on Google through the eras of hot type and cold. (When I asked for a list of these disappearing newspaper job titles on Twitter, one wag added, “shareholders.”) >>MORE



0 Comments

2009-01-21T18:52:37.700-05:00

So Where Have I Been?

As with anyone else who puts together a blog, while it is a labor of love, sometimes life gets in the way. Hopefully, I will be able to stay on top of things, updating on a weekly basis (every Monday) with the best news items coupled with my commentary. So, the RABBLE ROUSER'S FORUM lives on!



Obama-Biden: A Match Made In Iowa

2008-08-25T23:54:53.187-04:00

by Beverly David, Huffington Post, August 23, 2008

Score one for Obama!

Known for his verbal blunders, Sen. Joe Biden has blundered into the race of his life and most probably, of his near-ultimate dream. He may never be president but he may well become vice president.


His son, Joseph R. "Beau" Biden III, is the current Attorney General of Delaware and is now poised to become the next U.S. Senator from Delaware if his daddy and Obama successfully combat the negative campaigning by Sen. John McCain and his Rovian Republican staff running the show.


The first big decision by Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, to choose Joe Biden as his running mate is seen as a smart political move by most of the party faithful, excepting the small but vocal Hillary-supporters still holding a grudge.


It's a choice the Republicans cannot be pleased with since only Biden -- of all the veep possibilities -- possesses the gravitas, personality, and political savvy to land real blows in a campaign already noted for street fighting. He is exactly what Obama needs in a running mate. >>MORE  




Speaking Of A Talent For Speaking

2008-08-25T23:07:30.580-04:00

by Turkana, The Left Coaster  August 23, 2008So much now will be written and said about Joe Biden, from his heartbreaking life story to this mixed record in the Senate. I always have a soft spot for people who survive horrendous personal traumas, but I also agree with those who think Biden's record is too conventional, and the farthest thing possible from real change, when it comes to crime issues. Jeralyn at TalkLeft is all over that, as it directly touches both her career and the purpose of her blog, but I hope she will end up supporting the ticket. I know that her instinct will be to do so. Those who strongly believe a woman should have the choice to terminate a late pregnancy, should her life or health be endangered, also won't be enthused by the idea of voting for Biden. He's also been much more hawkish on the war than have Barack Obama and most of his supporters, and on the most fundamental level, this career insider is not exactly a face of transformation. Even David Brooks likes him.The most important factor for Obama, in selecting his running mate, should have been to ensure that the person a heartbeat away from the presidency is up to the job. Biden clearly qualifies. The second most important factor should have been to ensure Obama's election against an opponent who truly might be even worse than the worst president ever. On that, Biden was not the best choice. We can debate who would have been best, but there are at least a handful who would have been better. But Biden does bring one critically important strength to the campaign, and it is not his much-touted experience. Paradoxically, it is something for which he is also often criticized- his oratorical skills. An already legendary speaker, himself, Obama must have taken particular notice.As others have pointed out, having conquered a youthful stutter, Biden now loves to speak. Endlessly. He is a one man filibuster. But he also has a unique talent for coining a memorable phrase, and I will be surprised if he doesn't rip a couple zingers that we will all long remember. It was Biden, in the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq, who most concisely excoriated the Bush Administration's initial refusal to seek help from our allies in rebuilding Iraq, with his oft-repeated line that we had to stop acting like we had won some sort of prize. It was also Biden who eviscerated the entire rationale for Rudolph Giuliani's miserable candidacy for president, with what was probably the most memorable line of the campaign season, thus far- "There's only three things he mentions in a sentence: a noun, and a verb and 9/11." People are already riffing on that as McCain reflexively excuses or rationalizes his every failure by recalling his youthful heroism as a POW- now four long decades ago.Biden's impact on the election is hard to predict, and for true liberals there are many reasons to be less than thrilled with his selection. But campaigns often turn on the most absurd simplicities of image or rhetoric, and Joe Biden may very well create such a turning point with his quick wit, sharp mind, and unique ability to distill issues and political dynamics into the most searingly effective sound bites. Do not underestimate the importance of such a talent.RABBLE ROUSER'S FORUM: Where dissent is welcome![...]



Biden As VP: Getcha Popcorn

2008-08-25T23:10:06.072-04:00

by Blue Texan, Firedoglake , August 23, 2008 The thing I like most about Obama picking Biden is he's got sharp elbows and he's not afraid to throw them. Remember last May when Chimpy went to Israel and compared Barack Obama to Neville Chamberlain? Here's what Biden said:"This is bullshit. This is malarkey. This is outrageous. Outrageous for the president of the United States to go to a foreign country, sit in the Knesset ... and make this kind of ridiculous statement,” Biden said angrily in a brief interview just off the Senate floor.Still pissed off, he added later:“This is the same president, who talks about appeasement, the same one who asks me to get on a plane and talk to Qaddafi,” Biden said. “The same president who made a deal with Qaddafi. He writes letters, ‘Dear Mr. Chairman’ to Kim Jong Il.“He oughta get a life here … Under George W. Bush’s watch, Iran, not freedom has been on the march … They’re a lot closer to the bomb… He calls Maliki our guy … Whose policy produced that? Whose watch was that? … Iran’s proxy Hezbollah is on the ascendancy. Don’t take my word for it, look at NIE … Afghanistan, Pakistan, Al Qaeda is stronger now.“We should take zero backseat to this pres, talking about appeasement. … Under him, Israel is less safe.”That's pretty damn good stuff. And check out this smackdown of McSame and Lieberman.The idea that John [McCain] and Joe [Lieberman] are going to eliminate any vestige of Iranian influence in Iraq, bless me father for I have sinned. Are they unaware of a border that has existed there for millennium? Are they unaware of the fact that our guy, Maliki is inviting Ahmadinejad to Baghdad and kissing him on both cheeks, literally not figuratively.Are they unaware of the fact that this government in Iraq feels compelled to visit Tehran to explain what it is that they are attempting to do with a long-term security agreement?And check out Biden on Cheney:"Every single person out there that is of any consequence knows the vice president doesn't know what he's talking about. I can't be more blunt than that," Biden said. "He is yet to be right one single time on Iraq."Biden's mocking contempt of the Bush administration 's failures will be just what the doctor ordered for this campaign. Not that Obama can't throw a punch -- we've seen especially last week that he can. But Biden seems to really relish verbal combat, especially on foreign policy.If there was a man who was made to for the attack dog role of veep on the stump, it's Biden. I've no doubt he'll be better in that role than Lieberman (ack) or Edwards.RABBLE ROUSER'S FORUM: Where dissent is welcome![...]



Five Things The Biden Pick Shows

2008-08-25T23:18:06.868-04:00

by Heather Hurlburt, Democracy Arsenal, August 23, 20081.    National security is now best understood as a litmus test or threshold issue for many voters; they may not decide based on it alone, but if you don't give off a sufficient aura of seriousness, you can't close the deal, especially if you are a progressive. 2.    Taking the time to strategize about the links between national security and domestic policy/politics is, as Madeleine Albright used to say, not just the right thing to do but the smart thing.  Joe Biden built an entire primary campaign around being the national security guy -- and being the guy with the loudest, most heartfelt critique of Bush policies.  The attack-dog strategy, and a willingness to go a little farther than the next guy, wasn't necessarily what you'd expect from a card-carrying member of the national security establishment.  But it worked.  In my experience in Michigan and Iowa, that's what his fans remember him for.  Might he just be the reverse Scoop Jackson of the 21st century? 3.    Nice guys don't finish last, especially when, as Moira notes, they put good teams together to help them.  The two parts of the Biden legend I'll personally vouch for are the quality of the staff, since I know many and hired one; and the riding Amtrak home to the family ever night.  For a hard year in the 1980s my family thanked our lucky stars that Joe was keeping that Amtrak stop open for our dad, too, as he did the same commute. 4.     American lives do have second, third and fourth acts.  Sorry, F. Scott. 5.     The mid-atlantic region is the new epicenter of cool, or at the very least the bellwether of America right now.  You've got old middle class (industrial, union jobs) and new middle class (insurance, casinos, pharmaceuticals).  You've got old-line Catholic Reagan Democrats and brand-new Catholic Hispanic immigrants; you can drink a latte to wash down your hoagie, arugula and funnel cakes.  Then you will feel good, bloated and uneasy all at once.  That's my America.  If you don't believe me, check out my friend Lynne Raughley's Lives column in tomorrow's Times, about growing up in Atlantic City.  Coincidence?RABBLE ROUSER'S FORUM: Where dissent is welcome![...]



Privatizing Foreign Policy: The Road to Iran

2008-08-25T23:02:52.978-04:00

by Lawrence Davidson, Informed Comment, August 20, 2008Americans' penchant for paying little attention to their nation's foreign policies has powerful and disastrous effects on national politics and policy-making. Here are two important implications:       1.    Popular disinterest in foreign affairs means that the vast majority of Americans abrogate their say in foreign policy formulation to a small number of citizens who do care about specific foreign policies and, constituting themselves as lobbies, are organized to make their influence felt. This can be seen clearly in the case of the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The war was planned and launched by small groups of Americans with specific, ideologically based, perceptions of the world. These ideologically motivated lobbies, whether ethnically oriented or neoconservative in nature, have little connection to the local concerns of the majority of Americans. Yet the consequences of their actions have impacted all of us.      2.    Because most Americans pay little attention to foreign affairs they lack the knowledge necessary to accurately contextualize the situation when foreign events do seem to intrude upon their lives. The assertion that Iraq was in possession of weapons of mass destruction that were to be used on American targets was an example of such a situation. Having no objective knowledge to assess this claim, Americans had to rely on the information given to them by others, most of the time government spokesmen and media “pundits.” The average citizen had no way of knowing if these alleged experts did or did not know what they were talking about, and if they had reasons to present a biased picture of events. However, the consistent supplying of what turned out to be less than objective information to millions of citizens who were otherwise ignorant, created a “thought collective” capable of moving the entire national population to war. Millions of lives have been lost or ruined as a consequence. This story is not a unique one. It has happened before and could soon happen again with the alleged threatening nation now being Iran. Iran is a nation that has never invaded another country in modern times. Its civilian nuclear research activities are legal under international law and the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency has reported no evidence of nuclear weapons development. Yet, the same lobbies and politicians who led the United States into Iraq now insist that Iran is also worthy of sanctions and attack. Once again, the vast majority of Americans have no major sources of information on this issue apart from those which have already failed them in the case of Iraq. Nor are our elected officials behaving in ways that might prevent a compounding of the disaster of Iraq with another disaster in Iran. Why is this so?RABBLE ROUSER'S FORUM: Where dissent is welcome![...]



ON THE FRONT: From cheesy affairs to a Russian invasion, the world is spinning out of control!

2008-08-12T00:00:55.963-04:00

Here is a quick wrap-up of news items that have caught my eye:  Did you hear about John Edwards’ cheesy affair with a third-rate filmmaking floozy?  (Of course you heard about it!  You'd have to be blind, deaf and dumb to have not heard about it!) Am I surprised?  Not really.  What I don’t understand is, why do we care what a former litigator, senator, vice presidential candidate and presidential candidate did in his spare time, way back when?  Did he lie?  Of course, most men do when it comes to these things, yet everyone, including other men kill me with their "surprise, angst and disappointment," usually the very same men who have probably lied about their own indiscretions.If Edwards had won the nomination, would he had put the party in jeopardy?  One word answer on this one: Clinton.  Yep, Clinton won two terms under lurid accusations of having affairs with an assortment of women.  Why did he win?  Because the public was fed up with Bush (no. 1) and understood it was more important for Clinton to get into office rather than penalize him with whom he had an extra-marital affair with.  Besides, while I liked Edwards liberal/progressive positions, there was always something about him that just didn’t click with me, especially since his senate record never quite reflected what he was advocating to do as president of the U.S.  His wife obviously knew and has (or will) forgive him, which is really none of our business.  The Democratic Machine has hypocritically “banned” Edwards from the Democratic convention, so what more can they talk about on the news?  And with all that is going on in the world, who really, truly cares? The real news is Russia’s invasion of Georgia.  For those of you not in the know, Georgia, which was once part of the U.S.S.R., gained independence in 1991.  Two provinces, South Ossetia and Abkhazia, split from Georgia in the early 1990s, and have run their own affairs without international recognition, all the while building ties with Moscow. Since its independence, Georgia has been engaged in armed conflicts, with either its neighbors, the breakaway provinces of Abkhazia and/or South Ossetia; or tensions between Georgia and Russia over a number of  issues, including Abkhazia and South Ossetia.  Georgia, a staunch U.S. ally, has a pro-western government and wants to join NATO – a bid Moscow regards as part of a Western effort to weaken its influence in the region.  Moreover, Russia, under Vladimir Putin, is reluctant to let its former vassal states go. So what prompted Russia to invade Georgia?  It appears that Russia invaded Georgia after a series of violent exchanges over South Ossetia. After Georgia's attack on South Ossetia, Russia sent troops to strike back at Georgia, putting the two on the brink of an all out war.  Since South Ossetia is still labeled as part of Georgia, this has been officially labeled a “Russian invasion of Georgia,” which has instilled fear in many that  Russia's true intent is not to free South Ossetia, but to retake Georgia into Russia's empire. The former Soviet state of Kazakhstan may also eventually support Russia in any future conflicts to come with Georgia.  This attack, of course, succeeds in preventing Georgia from becoming a member of NATO.The reason why [...]



Who's Really Running Iraq?

2008-08-11T11:49:32.304-04:00

by Patrick Cockburn, CounterPunch, August 2, 2008

(image)
American politicians and journalists have repeatedly made the same mistake in Iraq over the past five years. This is to assume that the United States is far more in control of events in the country than has ever truly been the case. This was true after the fall of Saddam Hussein when President Bush and his viceroy in Baghdad, Paul Bremer, believed that what Iraqis thought and did could safely be ignored. Within months, guerrilla war against American forces was raging across central Iraq.


The ability of America to make unilateral decisions in Iraq is diminishing by the month, but the White House was still horrified to hear Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki appearing to endorse Barack Obama's plan for the withdrawal of American combat troops over 16 months.

This cut the ground from under the feet of John McCain, who has repeatedly declared that "victory" is at last within America's grasp because of the great achievements of "the Surge," the American reinforcements sent to Iraq in 2007 to regain control of Baghdad.  >>READ MORE



Corporate America Prepares for Battle Against Worker Campaign to Roll Back Assault on the Middle Class

2008-08-11T11:47:32.480-04:00

by Joshua Holland, AlterNet, August 8, 2008. 

Big business has prepared a war chest of at least $150 million to stop one of the most progressive pieces of economic legislation in decades. 

There is nothing more terrifying to corporate America than the prospect of dealing with its workforce on an even playing field, and, along with allies on the Right, it's pulling out all the stops to keep that from happening. At stake is much more than the usual tax breaks, trade deals and relentless deregulation; corporations are gearing up for a fight to preserve a status quo in which the largest share of America's national income goes to profits and the smallest share to wages since the Great Depression -- in fact, since the government started tracking those figures. 

There will be many heated legislative battles if 2008 shakes out with larger Congressional majorities for Democrats and an Obama White House -- fights over war and peace, energy policy, health care reform and immigration. But it may be a bill that many Americans have never heard of that sparks the most pitched battle Washington has seen since the Civil Rights Act. It's called the Employee Free Choice Act (EFCA) -- a measure that would go a long way toward guaranteeing working people the right to join a union if they so choose -- and it has the potential to reverse more than three decades of painful stagflation, with prices rising and paychecks flat, for America's middle class and working poor. >>READ MORE



ON THE FRONT: Obama for President of the World and Other Interesting News Items

2008-07-28T21:17:50.468-04:00

Here is a quick wrap-up of news items that have caught my eye: I never thought in my lifetime I would witness an African American successfully step to the center of the world stage. People overseas, who have been closely following the presidential election, are excited at the prospects of an Obama Presidency. Not only are leaders from around the world thrilled with Obama, as reported by POLITICO's Ben Smith, "Everybody wants a piece of Obama," interestingly, the naysayers, who initially challenged Obama into taking an overseas trip in the first place, are now "tripping" from it's success. CROOKS & LIARS' Steve Benen points out this ludicrousy in his piece, "Maybe it has something to do with leading the free world again." Michael Cohen at DEMOCRACY ARSENAL question those who are taking a "more gimlet-eyed view" at Obama's trip in "Americans and the World." And Frank Rich of the NEW YORK TIMES provides a full analysis of Obama's trip and its impact on the international community in "How Obama became Acting President." Poor John McCain, he doesn't know what to do with himself!Recently, an old argument has resurfaced regarding censorship of war photographs. In TALK LEFT's "Censoring Pictures of the Dead in Iraq," they ask the question, "If things are going as swimmingly in Iraq as John McCain would like us to believe, why is the military so desperate to control the visual message?" The TURKISH WEEKLY (a Turkish newsource in English language mainly on international politics) recently published, "Say 'No' to Censorship: A War Photographer's Fight for Truth," bringing to light Zoriah, an internationally acclaimed photojournalist who is being harassed by the military for shooting and publishing powerfully potent photos from the Middle East.Finally, the horrible killings of Hafd Abood, a 57-year old Iraqi banker and his two female colleagues by US troops on the Baghdad airport road remains, at best. under the MSM's radar. The question of how US troops can "accidentally" kill civilians remain a key issue in the Iraq war. AMERICAN LEFTIST has been keeping tags on this investigation in its continuing piece, "Free Fire Zone Iraq."See you next time ON THE FRONT. RABBLE ROUSER'S FORUM: Where dissent is welcome![...]



McCain: Nothing More Than an Albatross

2008-07-28T14:29:21.515-04:00

Column for 27 July, 2008
by The Local Crank, July 27, 2008

“Be strong and be courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.”
--Joshua 1:6

(image) It is rapidly becoming evident that John McCain is the albatross leading the GOP to what may well be a historic electoral whooping, in spite of the obsequious fawning of the Mainstream Media, which grants him a pass on every misstatement or flat-out lie. When McCain confused Sunnis and Shiites (several times), when he falsely stated that Hurricane Katrina spilled “not one drop” of oil, when he claimed the so-called “Anbar Awakening” was the result of the Surge (it actually began half a year before the Surge), when he forgot that the “Iraq-Pakistan border” is called Iran; in every instance, the supposedly liberal media scurried to cover McCain’s back. CBS even edited its own footage of McCain to cover his Anbar gaffe. To some extent, this media boot-licking is a function of the “man bites dog” meme; to the media, an election isn’t newsworthy unless it’s a horse race. Recent state-by-state polls have given Obama 300+ electoral votes, but the coverage is all about “voter doubts” over Obama. >>Read More



The Color Line Online

2008-07-29T02:18:38.498-04:00

Here is a great report on black bloggers which has been in the back of my mind for quite some time.  Below is an excerpt:by Amy Alexander, The Nation, July 16, 2008 This article appeared in the August 4, 2008 edition of The Nation"The blogosphere is like the real world in many ways," says Chris Rabb, founder of Afro-Netizen.com, a blog focusing on African-American news, information and activism. "Some of the same obstacles, challenges and inequalities that exist in the real world exist in the blogosphere, too." In 2004, for example, Rabb was the only blogger with a predominantly African-American readership to receive credentials for the Democratic National Convention. This raised concerns among black bloggers that a cyber-hierarchy was emerging, and the nascent "A-list" blogs --The Huffington Post, DailyKos and Talking Points Memo -- all seemed to reflect a white middle-class orientation. And that the DNC, by failing to credential more than one African-American blogger, validated that "A-list." Of course, there aren't supposed to be any "bosses" in cyberspace. And yes, the landscape has changed with the launch of several high-profile blogs and websites by and for people of color. I am an occasional contributor to some of them, including TheRoot.com, which is backed in part by the Washington Post Newsweek Interactive and was co-founded by Harvard black studies professor Henry Louis Gates Jr. The independent BlackCommentator.com has also provided a forum for lively commentary by people of color. Moreover, this year's mid-July meeting of the YearlyKos Convention--now called Netroots Nation--boasts a lineup of panelists and speakers that includes dozens of black, Latino, Asian, gay and working-class bloggers and activists. Markos Moulitsas, founder of DailyKos, said in an e-mail interview that anyone who criticizes his site, or the blogosphere in general, on grounds of racial exclusion simply does not understand the nature of the beast. "It's an open medium. Anyone can participate, and in fact, 95 percent of the time we have no idea if a participant [at DailyKos] is white, black, brown, female, male, gay, straight, left-handed, right-handed, or ambidextrous," Moulitsas wrote, adding that DailyKos is separate from the Netroots Nation annual gathering.The DNC has also stepped up its outreach efforts to blogs and websites run by people of color. It issued more than a dozen credentials to ethnic bloggers for this year's convention, according to spokesman Damon Jones--although those credentials were granted after some black bloggers, including Wayne Hicks of ElecVillage.com and Pam Spaulding of PamsHouseBlend.com, wrote highly critical posts about having been excluded from the first round. In economic terms, the entrepreneurial, run-it-from-your-garage nature of the blogosphere limits the likelihood that many people of color can devote themselves full time to building a site or blog. The business model of blogs--
small staffs, modest digs, no- or low-pay contributors--shuts out those who don't have the financial resources to allow them to survive by blogging alone. "How many of us can afford to sleep on someone's couch and survive on Cheetos for five years while you're working on your blog, building it up?" asks Rabb of Afro-Netizen. Compounding that cold-hard-cash reality, at least for journalists of color who've made careers in traditional media, is sometimes an unfamiliarity, or even discomfort, with the pungent advocacy that characterizes much of the blogosphere. The professional identities of black journalists like myself developed under the strictures of [...]



Hillary's Failing: It Was All Someone Else's Fault

2008-07-15T18:18:01.172-04:00

by Gabrielle David, a Huffington Post Exclusive

IN THE PAST FEW MONTHS, we've been hearing that women and erstwhile Hillary Clinton supporters are ticked off she didn't win the Democratic Presidential nomination. They are especially angered by what they consider sexist news coverage, and that the Democratic "machine" did not support her wholeheartedly. Many have threatened to make a stink at the Democratic convention to push for a Clinton vice presidency; others have stated that they'd rather vote for John McCain than for the Democratic nominee, Barack Obama, some refusing to vote at all.

(image) There are many ideas floating around about why Hillary Clinton failed in her quest to become the first woman president of the United States. Hillary's vote for the Iraq War and how she handled the fall-out has been seen by many as a major blunder going into the race, but there were other issues that culminated into her failed candidacy. It's no secret in my immediate circle that I was never hot for Hillary and I've said for years that her nomination would be a bad idea. This, of course, is my opinion. For those who backed Hillary and continue to believe that she is the better candidate, I bear no grudge -- this is America where everyone is entitled to their own opinion and preference for a particular candidate. What I don't understand is how Hillary supporters insist that their candidate was treated unjustly by continuing to grind the "woman's vote" and "sexist coverage" into the ground, giving teeth to an issue that doesn't jibe with what actually happened to Hillary's campaign and her role in it. >>Read More



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2008-07-14T02:06:25.070-04:00

Afghanistan: Bombing in Kabul
by Joshua Foust, Global Voices, July 9th, 2008

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There was a massive suicide bombing at the Indian Embassy in Kabul Monday, killing upwards of 40 people and injuring hundreds more. Many expats and locals are confused at why the crowds near the Indian embassy— which resides on a pleasant and well guarded street by most accounts filled with bookstores and shops—were targeted for destruction. Local bloggers have reacted quite strongly to the attack, as it carries some complex geopolitical implications.

Sanjar notes that the Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, and posts some disturbing pictures of the aftermath. He even makes the importance point that it is not just the Taliban who kills scores of civilians in bombing attacks—the U.S. and NATO do as well, sometimes with far greater frequency. >>Read More



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2008-07-14T02:58:56.483-04:00

Katrina Trailer Makers Defend Record in Congressional Testimony
Onlne News Hour/PBS, July 10, 2008   

Four companies -- Gulf Stream, Forest River, Keystone and Pilgrim International -- testified in a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform as part of a probe into allegations that the materials used to build the trailers contained health hazards.

"[Gulf Stream] found pervasive formaldehyde contamination in its trailers, and it didn't tell anyone," committee chairman Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., said, according to the Associated Press.

But Republican lawmakers defended the companies, blaming the trailers' problems on unclear federal regulations on acceptable formaldehyde levels.  >>Read More




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2008-07-14T03:00:32.233-04:00

Lugar: Withdrawn Iraq troops could go to Afghanistan
by Klaus Marre, The Hill, July 13, 2008

With the White House discussing the possibility of withdrawing additional troops from Iraq, Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said Sunday those forces might need to be shifted to Afghanistan where he sees the need for military personnel as “intense.”

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“The battles on the border with Pakistan, with the al Qaeda forces assisted by the Taliban are a source of more killing of American troops right now than anything occurring in Iraq,” Lugar said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Discussions over further force reductions have increased this week, fueled by reports that President Bush is considering speeding up the troop withdrawal in the fall. In addition, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the first time pushed the U.S. for a timetable indicating when U.S. forces would leave the country. >>Read More



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2008-07-14T00:45:37.362-04:00

Is McCain trying to lose the Latino vote?
By Gerry Vázquez, American Taino, July 10, 2008
If he isn't -- and he really, honestly wants at least a W '00 size Latino vote this fall, he has a funny way of showing it.

Consider that McCain was for fixing the U.S. immigration system when he needed Latino votes in his U.S. Senate contests in Arizona--a cause he promptly abandoned this year in his quest for the nomination of a nativist GOP.

McCain follows that insult with his speech at the NALEO conference in which he first berates his Latino hosts for not giving him a townhall speaking format. (Later in his speech a few of the attendees returned the favor by heckling McCain as a flip-flopper.) >>Read More



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2008-07-14T00:41:59.651-04:00

After Houston complaint, Wal-Mart pulls comic bookStore apologizes to blacks offended by main character
by Neil Stratton, Houston Chronicle, July 10, 2008

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The black comic book character Memín Pinguín — whose face resembles a monkey — is hugely popular in Mexico, but its stereotypical image has proven to be too offensive for some north of the border.

Wal-Mart announced Wednesday it will no longer sell the controversial comic book featuring Memín. The national chain recently made the comic book available in its stores as part of a series of Spanish-language titles. The books prompted outrage this week from community activist Quanell X, who demanded that Wal-Mart apologize for selling the racially charged books. >>Read More



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2008-07-14T02:53:38.932-04:00

Jackson Barks, but Does He Still Have Bite? 
by Patrick Healy, New York Times, July 11, 2008

It used to be called “the Jesse Jackson problem”: Democratic presidential candidates fearing they would lose black votes if they got on Mr. Jackson’s bad side, given the influence he accrued as a civil rights activist and his history-making races for the White House in 1984 and 1988.

(image) But if his recent critical comments about Senator Barack Obama prove anything, Democrats and political scientists said Thursday, it is that a Jesse problem these days can actually help a candidate like Mr. Obama — with white voters who have questions about whether Mr. Obama shares their values, and with black voters who see Mr. Jackson as a figure of the past. >>Read More