Welcome to the Coatesville Dems Blog

Public Corruption in Chester County, PA

I believe an unlikely mix of alleged drug trafficking related politicos and alleged white nationalist related politicos united to elect the infamous “Bloc of Four” in the abysmal voter turnout election of 2005. During their four year term the drug business was good again and white nationalists used Coatesville as an example on white supremacist websites like “Stormfront”. Strong community organization and support from law enforcement, in particular Chester County District Attorney Joseph W. Carroll has begun to turn our community around. The Chester County drug trafficking that I believe centers on Coatesville continues and I believe we still have public officials in place that profit from the drug sales. But the people here are amazing and continue to work against the odds to make Coatesville a good place to live.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Why is the GOP ignoring Hillary?

The supposed “contest” between Clinton and Obama does sell lots of advertising on TV and print news media.

Published on Capitol Hill Blue (http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont)
Why is the GOP ignoring Hillary?
As far as Republians are concerned, Democratic frontrunner Barack Obama is the nominee John McCain will face in November and Hillary Rodham Clinton is an also-ran, an afterthought worthy of neither consideration or resources to oppose.
The Republican attack machines continue to unleash broadsides on Barack Obama while ignoring Clinton. Clinton may think she still has a shot but the GOP has written her off.
Or, as some think, are they helping Clinton destroy Obama so they can face her in November?
Good question.
Reports Politico [1]:
Hillary Clinton’s decisive Pennsylvania primary win last week may have reinvigorated her campaign, but you wouldn’t know it from listening to the Republican party.
The National Republican Congressional Committee has purchased $500,000 in anti-Barack Obama ads for use in two upcoming special House elections. The Republican National Committee is flooding reporters with anti-Obama emails. Presumptive nominee John McCain and GOP surrogates have seized on new remarks by Obama’s controversial former pastor.
From top to bottom, from McCain down to the youthful campaign and party staffers who work nearly around the clock to get him elected, the working assumption seems to be that the Democratic contest is over and Obama has won.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Voter ID Laws: A "Solution" in Search of a Problem

By Marty Lederman

I'm just beginning to read through the opinions in today's decision upholding the facial validity of Indiana's Voter ID law. Along with many others, I have argued that the law is unconstitutional because it imposes burdens on voting without advancing any governmental interest. Thus, to my mind the most noteworthy paragraph in Justice Stevens's lead opinion is the one in which he tries to adduce evidence of an actual problem that this law would address:
The only kind of voter fraud that SEA 483 addresses is in-person voter impersonation at polling places. The record contains no evidence of any such fraud actually occurring in Indiana at any time in its history. Moreover, petitioners argue that provisions of the Indiana Criminal Code punishing such conduct as a felony provide adequate protection against the risk that such conduct will occur in the future. It remains true, however, that flagrant examples of such fraud in other parts of the country have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists, that occasional examples have surfaced in recent years, and that Indiana’s own experience with fraudulent voting in the 2003 Democratic primary for East Chicago Mayor—though perpetrated using absentee ballots and not in-person fraud—demonstrate that not only is the risk of voter fraud real but that it could affect the outcome of a close election.
The third piece of evidence (Indiana’s own experience with fraudulent voting in the 2003 Democratic primary for East Chicago Mayor) is not really on point, as Justice Stevens more or less acknowledges, because it was "perpetrated using absentee ballots and not in-person fraud," and thus would be unaffected by the Indiana law. So what we are left with is (i) "flagrant examples of such fraud in other parts of the country [that] have been documented throughout this Nation’s history by respected historians and journalists"; and (ii) "occasional examples [of such fraud that] have surfaced in recent years."
For the first proposition, what does the opinion cite? Only this: An anecdote about in-person voter impersonation allegedly orchestrated by Boss Tweed in 1868. And for the second -- occasional "recent" examples? Justice Stevens tips his hat to the Brennan Center's showing that "much of" the evidence of such fraud "was actually absentee ballot fraud or voter registration fraud." Nevertheless, he states that "there remain scattered instances of in-person voter fraud." The evidence for this? That in the 2004 Washington gubernatorial election, a partial investigation confirmed that one voter committed in-person voting fraud...

I am disappointed by how cursory that [plurality] opinion was in its review of the state's interest in light of the highly partisan atmosphere of election administration, and I fear that, despite the Stevens-Kennedy-Roberts' opinion's best intentions, this opinion will be read as a green light for the enactment of more partisan election laws in an attempt to skew outcomes in close elections. It is a real disappointment from that perspective.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Is America not yet ready to vote for a Jew?

Gov. Ed Rendell, Hillary Clinton's most powerful advocate in Pennsylvania, put it bluntly. "I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for an African-American candidate."

What if the Clinton's Democratic opponent was Jewish and Governor Rendell said "I think there are some whites who are probably not ready to vote for a Jew candidate."

How would that go over with Jewish folks?

Does that make easier to understand why Black people are so angry? If the Clintons continue with their Black bashing we might have a problem that lasts well beyond this election.

I did not think of this myself. It came from the street in Coatesville, Pennsylvania.

Jim Pitcherella

"As nightfall does not come at once," "neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become victims of the darkness."

Justice William O. Douglas

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Hillary Clinton's racist appeal

Published on Capitol Hill Blue (http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont)
Hillary Clinton's racist appeal
One expects racism from Republicans. The party of the elephant could merge with the just about any white supremacy group and not miss a beat. Hell, most people wouldn't see any difference.
But overt racism from a Democrat is something else, although it should not surprise anyone that Hillary Rodham Clinton would use racism in her anything goes quest for the Democratic Presidential nomination.
Exit polls from Tuesday's Pennsylvania primary show nearly one-fifth of those who went to the polls admit racism determined how they voted -- and that's just those who admitted it. Most racists will swear on a stack of Bibles that they don't hate blacks.
Hillary Clinton won Pennsylvania because she pandered to the overt racism that exists among blue collar whites as well as the latent racism in too many others. She won because the bulk of her appeal comes from the less-educated, the less-tolerant and the less-intelligent among us. If you're a stupid, illiterate, gun-totin' white hick you probably voted for Hillary. And so did your ignorant, baby-popping, big-haired wife as well as that bleached-blond bar maid that you're seeing on the side.
Now, before you hoist your Stars and Bars, clean your AR-15 and hunt me down as another Northeastern liberal who looks down his nose at just plain folk, remember that I can talk about chicken-fried racism with some authority because I'm a product of that culture: a son of the South, raised in the Bible belt where Southern Baptists sowed wild oats on Saturday night and then went to church on Sunday and prayed for crop failure.
Where I come from, the guys with the John Deere hats talk about how they voted for Hillary in the Virginia Democratic primary because "it will be a cold day in hell before I vote for the nigger."
But racism in America is not limited to the guy with the 185 bowling average and who has confederate mud flaps on his pickup. It's not limited to

It is a very sad thing to watch two people who you love and respect and have given us so much ruin their reputation.

I have been in close contact with Black people all of my life.

The Clintons have already lost respect and nearly all support from those that I know in the Black community. That happened months before it came up in newspaper articles. The Black people that I know do not forget.

I think that if the Clintons stop now they may be able to regain the respect of Black people.

It is a very sad thing to watch two people who you love and respect and have given us so much ruin their reputation.

Jim Pitcherella

"Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love."

Martin Luther King, Jr.
(1929-1968, American Black Leader, Nobel Prize Winner, 1964

Factions battle for Republican committee seats

Among the approximately 5000 Republicans that switched their registrations to Democratic in “bucolic” Chester County some had other reasons in addition to national politics.

Some Republicans that are familiar with the structure of the local Republican Committees here may have switched partly because of local politics.

The article below refers to “groups” in Chester County Republican Committee Area 9.

I guess that you could say that there might also be “groups” in the region that CCRC Area 14 covers. In my opinion one way to tell members of one “group” from another in Area 14 might be to look to see if the committeepersons have “rap” sheets.

Some Republicans here that know the inner machinery of the CCRC and left for the Democratic Party tell me that they will never look back.

Jim Pitcherella

Sunday, April 27, 2008
Factions battle for Republican committee seats

By DAN KRISTIE, Staff Writer
MALVERN — Two slates of candidates battled during Tuesday’s primary for control of the division of Chester County’s Republican Committee that contains Willistown and Malvern.
One slate, some of whose members said their goal was to keep religious conservatives from co-opting the Republican Party, won the majority of the contested committee seats. The other slate, whose members said their goal was to unite Republicans of differing ideologies, lost a few seats to members of the first slate.
Twelve of the 20 committee seats in the local Republican Party’s Area 9, which contains Willistown and Malvern, were contested, and members of the first, “socially moderate” slate won nine of them. The “party unity” slate, which controlled six committee seats prior to the primary, held onto only three seats.
Labeling these two slates is difficult because some of their candidates are reluctant to identify themselves as members of a particular group.
But, over the last several weeks, the battle between these two groups has intensified, and candidates have begun to be more forthcoming about their alliances.
Part of the reason the battle came out into the open was a newspaper column written by Henry Briggs, who retired from Malvern’s Borough Council in January and who just stepped down as Malvern’s Republican committeeman.
Briggs, who calls himself a “pro-choice moderate,” wrote that religious conservatives who want to co-opt the local Republican Party were running for committee seats. He argued that these committee candidates were reluctant to tell voters about their agenda — an agenda, he said, that included opposition to legalized abortion.
In this column, Briggs refers to these candidates as “Weeds in the American lawn.”


"As nightfall does not come at once," "neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become victims of the darkness."

Justice William O. Douglas

Saturday, April 26, 2008

She needs to pursue her own life and not her husbands; even if that means divorcing Bill.

In my opinion Hillary Clinton should drop out of the race. She needs to pursue her own life and not her husbands; even if that means divorcing Bill.

Party Fears Racial Divide

The Clintons have already changed the way that most Democrats perceive them. Hillary Clinton needs to pull out before her husband ruins both of them.

It is sad to watch a man ruin himself by wallowing in self pity.


Party Fears Racial Divide
Attacks Could Do Lasting Harm, Democrats Say
By Jonathan Weisman and Matthew Mosk
Washington Post Staff Writers
Saturday, April 26, 2008; A01
The protracted and increasingly acrimonious fight for the Democratic presidential nomination is unnerving core constituencies -- African Americans and wealthy liberals -- who are becoming convinced that the party could suffer irreversible harm if Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton maintains her sharp line of attack against Sen. Barack Obama.
Clinton's solid win in the Pennsylvania primary exposed a quandary for the party. Her backers may be convinced that only she can win the white, working-class voters that the Democratic nominee will need in the general election, but many African American leaders say a Clinton nomination -- handed to her by superdelegates -- would result in a disastrous breach with black voters.
"If this party is perceived by people as having gone into a back room somewhere and brokered a nominee, that would not be good for our party," House Majority Whip James E. Clyburn (S.C.), the highest ranking African American in Congress, warned yesterday. "I'm telling you, if this continues on its current course, [the damage] is going to be irreparable."
That fear, plus a more general sense that Clinton's only route to victory would be through tearing down her opponent, has led even some black Democrats who are officially neutral in the race, such as Clyburn, to speak out.
Clinton's camp has a vastly different interpretation, arguing that the most recent primary demonstrated that Democrats remain very interested in seeing the contest continue.
"Pennsylvania did the job of calming any nerves that existed," said Clinton campaign spokesman Jay Carson. "It showed that the big states around the country think she's the best person to be president."
But that opinion is far from unanimous. More than 70 top Clinton donors wrote their first checks to Obama in March, campaign records show. Clinton's lead among superdelegates, a collection of almost 800 party leaders and elected officials, has slipped from 106 in December to 23 now, according to an Associated Press tally.
"If you have any, any kind of loyalty to the Democratic Party, perhaps you need to rethink your strategy and bow out gracefully in order to save this party from a disastrous end in November," Rep. William Lacy Clay (Mo.), an African American Obama supporter, said in an appeal to Clinton.
Clyburn accused Clinton and her husband yesterday of marginalizing black voters and opening a rift between her campaign and an African American Democratic base that strongly backed Bill Clinton's presidency. Some surrogates in her camp are trying to render Obama unelectable against the Republican nominee so she could run for the Democratic nomination in 2012, he suggested. The discussion flared up yet again when Bill Clinton suggested this week that Obama's campaign had played "the race card" after the former president compared the candidate to Jesse Jackson after the South Carolina primary.
"We keep talking as if it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter that Obama gets 92 percent of the black vote, because since he only got 35 percent of the white vote, he's in trouble," Clyburn said. "Well, Hillary Clinton only got 8 percent of the black vote. . . . It's almost saying black people don't matter. The only thing that matters is how white people respond. And that's what bothered me. I think I matter."



Thursday, April 24, 2008

A Nightmare of their Own Making (Smoked-Filled Rooms II)

A Nightmare of their Own Making (Smoked-Filled Rooms II)
April 24, 2008-- How will black voters react if Obama retains the lead in delegates, popular votes, states won, and money raised, but the superdelegates give Clinton the nomination?
By Michael C. Dawson
Updated: 1:45 PM ET Apr 23, 2008
They're working. The rules are working as designed (see my earlier piece, No Time for Smoke-Filled Rooms), to guarantee that in a deeply divided, complicated and dangerous primary season the party elders will have the last say in choosing the Democratic Party's nominee for president. But the people who designed, and seem so eager to play by, these rules might do well to consider the following question: How will black voters react if Obama retains the lead in delegates, popular votes, states won and money raised, but the superdelegates give Clinton the nomination?
The probability of this scenario emerging is more likely than it sounds. First, as several articles today have already pointed out, Clinton's victory in Pennsylvania while strong, was not overwhelming to the degree needed to start changing the basic math. Clinton needs to have won the remaining contests by over 15 percent in order to have a chance to pull close enough to Obama in popular vote and pledged delegates to make a convincing claim that the results at the polls had not produced a clear winner.
As important, the March fundraising numbers make it extremely clear that the Clinton campaign is in bad financial shape, and the Obama campaign continues to acquire extraordinary fiscal resources. This will be more important in the remaining primaries as many, such as Indiana, are far more favorable to Obama than Pennsylvania. Thus, Obama's superior resources are likely to have a greater impact in the remaining contests. Yesterday's results reinforce the strong belief that Clinton cannot even come close in votes and delegates, let alone pull ahead.
The picture for Obama is sobering as well. Yesterday's results have done nothing to alleviate worries that he is having a hard time making inroads among white working class voters—particularly white Catholic voters who were at the core of the group labeled the "Reagan Democrats." As many of us have argued , "the race card" does, indeed, work against Obama. CNN reports that of the 20 percent of voters that considered race yesterday, nearly 60 percent went to Clinton. Of the 21 percent who considered gender, 71 percent chose Clinton, compared to 23 percent for Obama.
In another story, an AP-Yahoo poll earlier this month found that nearly 10 percent of whites felt comfortable plainly stating that they would have problems voting for a black candidate for president. The conservative estimate of the article was that this translates into probably 15 percent unwilling to vote for a black candidate, regardless of his or her qualifications. A "prominent Republican" interviewed for the story claimed that Obama's biggest weakness was that he was black and therefore had a significant percentage of the November electorate already predisposed against him. Such glaring numbers may persuade still uncommitted superdelegates that Obama is unelectable in November.
Should that happen, the Democratic Party will face the Herculean task of trying to mobilize its most loyal constituency – black voters -- in the face of deep and widespread black bitterness and active campaigns in the black community encouraging black voters to defect or abstain. You can already hear the angry comparisons. Just like in 2000, the protests will go, an election will have been "stolen." But this time from within the party! Malcolm X's quote about how the rules are changed when blacks start to succeed will also, I bet, be prominently displayed.
Many will argue that if a candidate with as much multi-racial appeal as Obama cannot be treated fairly, then there is truly no hope of any black in the U.S. (with perhaps the exception of a black Republican) to win the nation's top office in the foreseeable future. My own prediction, should we head down this road, is that the already worrying statistic of 79 percent of blacks who believe that racial equality for blacks will either not be achieved in their lifetime or at all in the U.S. will jump to an even larger percentage (see my website for how this percentage has changed over the past few years). Should this happen, Democrats would risk losing traditionally safe states with large black populations, leaving them with a much more difficult, perhaps impossible, road to victory.

Many credit Rendell for Clinton win

But were there state reps., senators, mayors and city council people who would have endorsed Barack Obama but were reluctant to go against the Governor?
Jim Pitcherella

Many credit Rendell for Clinton win

By Amy Worden
Inquirer Harrisburg Bureau
HARRISBURG - Ask pollsters or political analysts or Democratic Party leaders, and they all say Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's more than nine-percentage-point primary victory Tuesday would not have been possible without the support of Gov. Rendell - a politician extraordinaire and prodigious fund-raiser.
Depending on whom you talk to, Rendell's omnipresence on the campaign trail, enormous popularity, and fine-tuned political machine are responsible for between two and five points of Clinton's nearly double-digit win.
"Clinton has gotten support from other governors in other states, but she has been served better and stronger [by Rendell] than anyone else," said Clay Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, who attributed two to three points to the Rendell factor.
For contrast, some point to the other top Democrat in the state, Sen. Bob Casey, who endorsed Sen. Barack Obama but was unable to deliver critical votes from heavily Catholic areas in the west or even in his own hometown of Scranton - where the Casey family has reigned as political royalty for a century and a half.
"I thought his endorsement of Barack Obama would stop the bleeding in the northeast," said James Hoefler, a political science professor at Dickinson College in Carlisle. "But, apparently, it didn't."
Clinton won by a 3-1 ratio in Casey's home county of Luzerne.
Casey agreed Rendell was "a great asset" to Clinton, but said in an interview that she also benefited from her husband's two presidential campaigns in the state, as Casey did from the campaigns of his father, Gov. Robert P. Casey.
Speaking to reporters in a conference call, Rendell dismissed any role he might have played in Clinton's win, and argued Casey should not be blamed for Obama's defeat.
"I think endorsements by politicians for president don't mean jack," Rendell said yesterday. "That was clearly proved with the Bob Casey endorsement. . . . Casey voters around the state voted for Clinton, 70-30, and in his hometown [Scranton], 75-25."
Rendell added: "The city I come from" - Philadelphia - "voted for Sen. Obama, 65-35. I didn't do such a hot job."

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Destroying the Democratic party

The B**** and Big Dog need to stop barking. They are keeping Democrats up at night.
Jim Pitcherella

Published on Capitol Hill Blue (http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont)
Destroying the Democratic party
Hillary Clinton's win over Democratic Presidential frontrunner Barack Obama in the Pennsylvania primary Tuesday shows the race for the top job in Washington is far from over and may well go to the party's convention in Denver.
Clinton has come back from media-perceived political grave more times than Dracula and the comparison is not coincidental. Her critics feel she is the chief bloodsucker in a political system dominated by opportunistic vampires.
In a campaign season dominated by extremes, overt passion and outright hate, Clinton is the poster child of political polarization. Her followers offer passionate support without equivocation. Her enemies offer hate in equal measure. Like her husband, Hillary Clinton is the candidate you love to hate.
What is it about the Clintons that draws such venom, passion and bloodlust? Is it their ruthless, driving, take-no-prisoners ambition or their consequences-be-damned, win-at-any-cost approach to politics?
It is that, and more - far more. The Clinton succeed where others fail because they lack shame, conscience or consideration for the rules. Neither Bill nor Hillary give a d*** about the party that once revered them and now shudders at the damage their unbridled ambition may have inflicted on once-confident hopes to recapture the White House.
Even with the win in Pennsylvania, Clinton faces a long, hard road to the White House. She may still pull out a victory by cheating and changing the rules but that win may cost Democrats a chance at beating an old man who should be an easy mark in November. Too many Democrats have told us that if the choice is John McCain or Hillary Clinton they will either stay home or hold their nose and vote for McCain.
Or, if Obama holds on and wins the nomination he should have clinched weeks ago, he may come out of the primary season so damaged that McCain can continue the scorched earth policy of the Clintons and finish off the Senator from Illinois.
Obama has not helped his cause. Clinton's unrelenting attacks have driven him off his campaign platform of change, turning him into a defensive, business-as-usual politician trading barbs with his opponents.
An editorial in today's New York Times says it best [1]:
The Pennsylvania campaign, which produced yet another inconclusive result on Tuesday, was even meaner, more vacuous, more desperate, and more filled with pandering than the mean, vacuous, desperate, pander-filled contests that preceded it.
Voters are getting tired of it; it is demeaning the political process; and it does not work. It is past time for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton to acknowledge that the negativity, for which she is mostly responsible, does nothing but harm to her, her opponent, her party and the 2008 election.
If nothing else, self interest should push her in that direction. Mrs. Clinton did not get the big win in Pennsylvania that she needed to challenge the calculus of the Democratic race. It is true that Senator Barack Obama outspent her 2-to-1. But Mrs. Clinton and her advisers should mainly blame themselves, because, as the political operatives say, they went heavily negative and ended up squandering a good part of what was once a 20-point lead.
On the eve of this crucial primary, Mrs. Clinton became the first Democratic candidate to wave the bloody shirt of 9/11. A Clinton television ad - torn right from Karl Rove's playbook - evoked the 1929 stock market crash, Pearl Harbor, the Cuban missile crisis, the cold war and the 9/11 attacks, complete with video of Osama bin Laden. "If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen," the narrator intoned.
If that was supposed to bolster Mrs. Clinton's argument that she is the better prepared to be president in a dangerous world, she sent the opposite message on Tuesday morning by declaring in an interview on ABC News that if Iran attacked Israel while she were president: "We would be able to totally obliterate them."
By staying on the attack and not engaging Mr. Obama on the substance of issues like terrorism, the economy and how to organize an orderly exit from

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Clinton Slams Democratic Activists At Private Fundraiser

Clinton finally tells the truth. She doesn’t give a dam about the Democratic Party’s chances in the fall election she just wants the Democratic Nomination.

And that means; to hell with building the party with new young very excited voters and to hell with the future of the Democratic Party.

At least now we can be sure of just where her party loyalty lies.

From the Huffington Post:

“At a small closed-door fundraiser after Super Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton blamed what she called the "activist base" of the Democratic Party -- and MoveOn.org in particular -- for many of her electoral defeats, saying activists had "flooded" state caucuses and "intimidated" her supporters, according to an audio recording of the event obtained by The Huffington Post…
Clinton's remarks depart radically from the traditional position of presidential candidates, who in the past have celebrated high levels of turnout by party activists and partisans as a harbinger for their own party's success -- regardless of who is the eventual nominee -- in the general election showdown.
The comments also contradict Clinton's previous statements praising this year's elevated Democratic turnout in primaries and caucuses, and appear to blame her caucus defeats on newly energized grassroots voter groups that she has lauded in the past as "lively participants" in American democracy.”

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Political Baggage

The Clinton's bags have some very heavy and very real items in them; waaay too much to put in the overhead compartment.

Most of Barack Obama’s stuff isn't real and has no substance. It can fit in a wallet.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The resonance of racism

Why in the world are Democrats courting Regan Democrats, which is only a code word for old white male segregationists, in central Pennsylvania?

Do they want to win the segregationists back from the Republicans?

It seems like Clinton and Rendell are stuck in the 50’s.

From the Los Angeles Times
The resonance of racism
In a nation steeped in stereotypes, candidates' words can hit a nerve.
By David K. Shipler

April 16, 2008

Whether by calculation or coincidence, Hillary Clinton and Republicans who have attacked Barack Obama for elitism have struck a chord in a long-standing symphony of racial codes. It is a rebuke that gets magnified by historic beliefs about what blacks are and what they have no right to be.

Clinton is no racist, and Obama has made some real missteps, including his remark last week that "bitter" small-town Americans facing economic hardship and government indifference "cling to guns or religion or antipathy to people who aren't like them." Perhaps he was being more sociological than political, and more sympathetic than condescending. But when his opponents branded him an elitist and an outsider, his race made it easier to drive a wedge between him and the white, rural voters he has courted. As an African American, he was supposedly looking down from a place he didn't belong and looking in from a distance he could not cross.

This could not happen as dramatically were it not for embedded racial attitudes. "Elitist" is another word for "arrogant," which is another word for "uppity," that old calumny applied to blacks who stood up for themselves.

At the bottom of the American psyche, race is still about power, and blacks who move up risk triggering discomfort among some whites. I've met black men who, when stopped by white cops at night, think the best protection is to act dumb and deferential.

Furthermore, casting Obama as "out of touch" plays harmoniously with the traditional notion of blacks as "others" at the edge of the mainstream, separate from the whole. Despite his ability to articulate the frustration and yearning of broad segments of Americans, his "otherness" has been highlighted effectively by right-wingers who harp on his Kenyan father and spread false rumors that he's a clandestine Muslim.

In a country so changed that a biracial man who is considered black has a shot at the presidency, the subterranean biases are much less discernible now than when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated. They are subtle, unacknowledged and unacceptable


Tuesday, April 15, 2008

“Hillary Oakley’s wild Pennsylvania show”

You might want to ask yourself:

Who would I want to go hunting with, Hillary Clinton or Dick Cheney?

Well trained novice hunters are usually attentive to gun safety. You might “save your face” by hunting with Hillary.

The guns and NRA is a separate issue from hunting.

There are lots of Democrats who are fanatic hunters and fishermen. (I describe a fanatic sportsman as someone who when faced with a choice between family and job or hunting and fishing always chooses hunting and fishing.) There wives, if they have any, are sometimes described as “saints”.

The real hunters, not the ones who sit around and read the “American Rifleman” are also avidly opposing the anti-environment Republican agenda. If the Republicans have their way there will be lots of guns and nothing to hunt.

It is easy to see the effects of the Republican anti-environmental program in Montana. Mining and drilling are killing the outdoors there. Global warming has created a 9 years running drought. It’s very hard to go fishing in a desert; and a desert is what a very large chunk of Montana is becoming. Many sportsmen, particularly in Montana where more than ½ the residents came there to hunt and or fish are extremely anti- Bush and sometimes extremely anti-Republican.

Both the Clintons and McCain are courting after the Regan Democrats (i.e. Segregationists).

Not all the reports are in from people who were at the “Brunch with Bill” event today. The police estimate for the number of people attending the event at the Union Hall was approximately 150 persons. Some of them took Obama material. I think that there may have been more police and Secret Service people here than attendees.

I could not attend. Someone in my family needed a ride to the hospital.


Published on Capitol Hill Blue (http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont)

We don't need 'one of us' in the White House
As a gun owner and hunter, I have trouble welcoming Hillary Clinton into the gun fraternity...or sorority in her case.

And, as a recovering alcoholic who used to toss down more than his share of shots, I have even more trouble imagining an evening at the local bar tossing back boilermakers with the Democratic Presidential pretender.

Yet claims of a hunting heritage and downing shots of Crown Royal and chasing it with a beer is part of Clinton's latest attempt to prove she's just one of us.

According to CNN [1]:

Hillary Clinton appealed to Second Amendment supporters on Saturday by hinting that she has some experience of her own pulling triggers.

"I disagree with Sen. Obama's assertion that people in our country cling to guns and have certain attitudes about trade and immigration simply out of frustration," she began, referring to the Obama comments on small-town Americans that set off a political tumult on Friday.

She then introduced a fond memory from her youth.

"You know, my dad took me out behind the cottage that my grandfather built on a little lake called Lake Winola outside of Scranton and taught be how to shoot when I was a little girl," she said.

"You know, some people now continue to teach their children and their grandchildren. It's part of culture. It's part of a way of life. People enjoy hunting and shooting because it's an important part of who they are. Not because they are bitter."

ABC reports [2]:

Clinton stood by the bar and took a shot of Crown Royal whiskey. She took one sip of the shot


Hillary - Stop it !


Our party is in danger. Contact the Clinton campaign and tell Hillary to stop trashing our party.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

My father began working at Lukens Steel Company long before it was a union shop.

I worked for a short time in Lukens Steel Company in the 1960’s before the industry here began to move to foreign steel.

My father began working at Lukens Steel Company long before it was a union shop.

He told me about the days before President Roosevelt and the AFL-CIO when they worked a 70 hour week; six 12 hour days and one 10 hour Saturday.

When they worked a “double shift” it meant that you worked a regular 12 hour day an extra 12 hour day and then a regular 12 hour day before you could go home. That adds up to 36 hours of working in a row. The pain showed on his face when he told me this.

When he retired he held the record for the longest years as a steelworker at Lukens Steel Company.

He was proud that no one was hurt under his crane. He was most proud of his WWII days, helping to make armor plate and mines for the Navy.

If may have be fortunate for him that he lived most of his retirement without a reduction in his pension and health care. A man that gave that kind of loyalty to a company should not put up with being abandoned.

I am amazed that anyone thinks Mr. Obama’s statement about bitter people is controversial.

It is just a ho hum statement of the way it is here.

I can only conclude that the people who think it is controversial have never been to Pennsylvania and talked to former steelworkers.

Jim Pitcherella

"As nightfall does not come at once," "neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we all must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become victims of the darkness."

Justice William O. Douglas

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Clinton attacks a Democrat !

The attacks on Obama by the Clinton campaign show a reckless disregard for our party and a willingness to put personal ambition ahead of the good of the people.

Hillary Clinton... stop trashing our party!

President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address

Read President Eisenhower’s Farewell Address and consider that the Vice President of the United States is a defense contractor who is authorizing and then profiting from open ended military contracts with his companies Halliburton and Kellogg Brown and Root.

Cheney through his companies has contracts with the US Military in all its forms.

Kellogg Brown and Root also have contracts in 70 other countries.

It sort of makes Dick Cheney a military power unto himself.

If his companies begin to fall below their current profit increases of 25% per year, Cheney can just start another war.

Cheney ain’t the only one:

Saying that the Pentagon is a corrupt organization is going a little bit too far. But saying that there is extensive corruption involving defense contracts and war planning between the Pentagon, Congress, Defense industries and defense oriented “think tanks” is an indisputable fact.

See also the motion picture "Why We Fight":

The farewell speech of U.S.A. President, Dwight Eisenhower. Given on 17 January 1961 and televised in the U.S.A.
Good evening, my fellow Americans.

First, I should like to express my gratitude to the radio and television networks for the opportunities they have given me over the years to bring reports and messages to our nation. My special thanks go to them for the opportunity of addressing you this evening.

Three days from now, after a half century in the service of our country, I shall lay down the responsibilities of office as, in traditional and solemn ceremony; the authority of the Presidency is vested in my successor.

This evening I come to you with a message of leave-taking and farewell, and to share a few final thoughts with you, my countrymen. Like every other citizen, I wish the new President, and all who will labor with him, Godspeed. I pray that the coming years will be blessed with peace and prosperity for all.

Our people expect their President and the Congress to find essential agreement on issues of great moment, the wise resolution of which will better shape the future of the nation.

My own relations with the Congress, which began on a remote and tenuous basis when, long ago, a member of the Senate appointed me to West Point, have since ranged to the intimate during the war and immediate post-war period, and finally to the mutually interdependent during these past eight years. In this final relationship, the Congress and the Administration have, on most vital issues, cooperated well, to serve the nation good, rather than mere partisanship, and so have assured that the business of the nation should go forward. So, my official relationship with Congress ends in a feeling -- on my part -- of gratitude that we have been able to do so much together.

We now stand ten years past the midpoint of a century that has witnessed four major wars among great nations. Three of these involved our own country. Despite these holocausts, America is today the strongest, the most influential, and most productive nation in the world. Understandably proud of this pre-eminence, we yet realize that America's leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.

Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace, to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among peoples and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us grievous hurt, both at home and abroad.

Progress toward these noble goals is persistently threatened by the conflict now engulfing the world. It commands our whole attention, absorbs our very beings. We face a hostile ideology global in scope, atheistic in character, ruthless in purpose, and insidious in method. Unhappily, the danger it poses promises to be of indefinite duration. To meet it successfully, there is called for, not so much the emotional and transitory sacrifices of crisis, but rather those which enable us to carry forward steadily, surely, and without complaint the burdens of a prolonged and complex struggle with liberty the stake. Only thus shall we remain, despite every provocation, on our charted course toward permanent peace and human betterment.

Crises there will continue to be. In meeting them, whether foreign or domestic, great or small, there is a recurring temptation to feel that some spectacular and costly action could become the miraculous solution to all current difficulties. A huge increase in newer elements of our defenses; development of unrealistic programs to cure every ill in agriculture; a dramatic expansion in basic and applied research -- these and many other possibilities, each possibly promising in itself, may be suggested as the only way to the road we wish to travel.

But each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs, balance between the private and the public economy, balance between the cost and hoped for advantages, balance between the clearly necessary and the comfortably desirable, balance between our essential requirements as a nation and the duties imposed by the nation upon the individual, balance between actions of the moment and the national welfare of the future. Good judgment seeks balance and progress. Lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration. The record of many decades stands as proof that our people and their Government have, in the main, understood these truths and have responded to them well, in the face of threat and stress.

But threats, new in kind or degree, constantly arise. Of these, I mention two only.
A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction. Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or, indeed, by the fighting men of World War II or Korea.

Until the latest of our world conflicts, the United States had no armaments industry. American makers of plowshares could, with time and as required, make swords as well. But now we can no longer risk emergency improvisation of national defense. We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions. Added to this, three and a half million men and women are directly engaged in the defense establishment. We annually spend on military security alone more than the net income of all United States corporations.

Now this conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual --is felt in every city, every Statehouse, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources, and livelihood are all involved. So is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.
Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades. In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers. The prospect of domination of the nation's scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present -- and is gravely to be regarded.

Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.

It is the task of statesmanship to mold, to balance, and to integrate these and other forces, new and old, within the principles of our democratic system – ever aiming toward the supreme goals of our free society.

Another factor in maintaining balance involves the element of time. As we peer into society's future, we -- you and I, and our government -- must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering for our own ease and convenience the precious resources of tomorrow. We cannot mortgage the material assets of our grandchildren without risking the loss also of their political and spiritual heritage. We want democracy to survive for all generations to come, not to become the insolvent phantom of tomorrow.

During the long lane of the history yet to be written, America knows that this world of ours, ever growing smaller, must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect. Such a confederation must be one of equals. The weakest must come to the conference table with the same confidence as do we, protected as we are by our moral, economic, and military strength. That table, though scarred by many past frustrations, cannot be abandoned for the certain agony of the battlefield.

Disarmament, with mutual honor and confidence, is a continuing imperative. Together we must learn how to compose differences, not with arms, but with intellect and decent purpose. Because this need is so sharp and apparent, I confess that I lay down my official responsibilities in this field with a definite sense of disappointment. As one who has witnessed the horror and the lingering sadness of war, as one who knows that another war could utterly destroy this civilization which has been so slowly and painfully built over thousands of years, I wish I could say tonight that a lasting peace is in sight.

Happily, I can say that war has been avoided. Steady progress toward our ultimate goal has been made. But so much remains to be done. As a private citizen, I shall never cease to do what little I can to help the world advance along that road.

So, in this my last good night to you as your President, I thank you for the many opportunities you have given me for public service in war and in peace. I trust that in that service you find some things worthy. As for the rest of it, I know you will find ways to improve performance in the future.

You and I, my fellow citizens, need to be strong in our faith that all nations, under God, will reach the goal of peace with justice. May we be ever unswerving in devotion to principle, confident but humble with power, diligent in pursuit of the Nations' great goals.

To all the peoples of the world, I once more give expression to America's prayerful and continuing aspiration: We pray that peoples of all faiths, all races, all nations, may have their great human needs satisfied; that those now denied opportunity shall come to enjoy it to the full; that all who yearn for freedom may experience its spiritual blessings. Those who have freedom will understand, also, its heavy responsibilities; that all who are insensitive to the needs of others will learn charity; and that the scourges of poverty, disease and ignorance will be made to disappear from the earth; and that, in the goodness of time, all peoples will come to live together in a peace guaranteed by the binding force of mutual respect and love.

Now, on Friday noon, I am to become a private citizen. I am proud to do so. I look forward to it.

Thank you, and good night.



Friday, April 11, 2008

“Barack Obama may lose support in Philadelphia over 'street money'”

I think that I just heard a collective sigh of wind coming out of sails.

This may be an election loser in Philadelphia and maybe the entire state. It’s not only about ward leaders. The Obama campaign is essentially saying that we want you to take off a day of work and we will not compensate you for it. They are saying this to the working poor who live day to day and can’t afford to lose a day’s pay.

Clinton and the Republicans will pay campaign workers.

The message from the Obama campaign is that we are for Blacks and Whites but only middle class Blacks and Whites and will continue to exclude the poor. I know that’s not true but when you are dealing with people who are perpetually lied to and expect to be lied to; actions don’t just speak louder than words they shout.

The Republicans in Chester County also will have “street money” available here in Coatesville; a lot of money. Most likely the “street money” that the Republicans use here will be directed against Obama.

There are always some people who show up at the polls here in Coatesville and claim to be supporting Democratic candidates. They tell voters to vote for a candidate that the Republicans want to win. They may even carry Democratic campaign handouts and hide different handouts underneath. You have to know the people by sight and be familiar with their tricks.

Keep in mind that this is a rough city. A man was dragged out of his home. Kidnapped, shot and left to die on the streets 4 blocks from my home in the “nice section” of Coatesville. That was on Thursday morning.

We recently had a celebration march over not having a murder here in a whole year. The 4 people that were critically wounded by gunshots and the 500 or so rounds left in the streets during that year were ignored.

You also need the muscle to counter the ever present intimidation at the polls here; intimidation that can keep people at home.

Are the Obama volunteers ready to provide that muscle? Even if they are; do they know how to tell the “good guys” from the “bad guys”?

I don’t know if we will lose any local support from seasoned election workers without “street money” but if we do it may mean that key people who know the neighborhood and the people in it will not show up at the polls. And if the people who do show up are not local to the neighborhoods those poll greeters will be easily be snookered.

The Republicans here know all the tricks. They have been doing it here in Chester County Pennsylvania for 150 years.
Jim Pitcherella

From the Los Angeles Times
Barack Obama may lose support in Philadelphia over 'street money'
Candidates traditionally get out the money to get out the vote. That sets up a culture clash for the April 22 primary.
By Peter Nicholas
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

April 11, 2008

Fourteen months into a campaign that has the feel of a movement, Sen. Barack Obama has collided with the gritty political traditions of Philadelphia, where ward bosses love their candidates, but also expect them to pay up.

The dispute centers on the dispensing of "street money," a long-standing Philadelphia ritual in which candidates deliver cash to the city's Democratic operatives in return for getting out the vote.

Flush with payments from well-funded campaigns, the ward leaders and Democratic Party bosses typically spread out the cash in the days before the election, handing $10, $20 and $50 bills to the foot soldiers and loyalists who make up the party's workforce.

It is all legal -- but Obama's people are telling the local bosses he won't pay.

That sets up a culture clash, pitting a candidate who promises to transform American politics against the realities of a local political system important to his presidential hopes. Pennsylvania holds its primary April 22.

Obama's posture confounds neighborhood political leaders sympathetic to his cause. They caution that if the senator from Illinois withholds money that gubernatorial, mayoral and presidential candidates have willingly paid out for decades, there could be defections to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. And the Clinton campaign, in contrast, will oblige in forking over the money, these ward leaders predict.

"We've heard directly from the Obama organizer who organizes our ward, and he told us it's an entirely volunteer organization and that I should not expect to see anything from the Obama campaign other than ads on TV and the support that volunteers are giving us," said Greg Paulmier, a ward leader in the northwest part of the city.

Neither the Clinton nor the Obama campaign would say publicly whether it would comply with Philadelphia's street money customs. But an Obama aide said Thursday that it had never been the campaign's practice to make such payments. Rather, the campaign's focus is to recruit new people drawn to Obama's message, the aide said.

The field operation "hasn't been about tapping long-standing political machinery," the aide said.

Carol Ann Campbell, a ward leader and Democratic superdelegate who supports Obama, estimated that the amount of street money Obama would need to lay out for election day is $400,000 to $500,000.

"This is a machine city, and ward leaders have to pay their committee people," Campbell said. "Barack Obama's campaign doesn't pay workers, and I guarantee you if they don't put up some money for those street workers, those leaders will most likely take Clinton money. It won't stop him from winning Philadelphia, but he won't come out with the numbers that he needs" to win the state.

A neutral observer, state Rep. Dwight Evans, whose district is in northwest Philadelphia, said there might be a racial subtext to the dispute. Ward leaders, he said, see Obama airing millions of dollars worth of television ads in the city -- money that benefits largely white station owners, feeding resentment. People wonder why Obama isn't sharing the largesse with the largely African American field workers trying to get him elected, Evans said.

"They view it that the white people are getting all the money for TV," said Evans, an African American and former ward leader. "And they're the ones who are the foot soldiers on the street. They're predominantly African Americans, and they're not the ones who are getting that TV money."

Hardscrabble neighborhoods across the city have come to depend on street money as a welcome payday for knocking on doors, handing out leaflets and speaking to voters as they arrive at polling places.


Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Obama at the Helm

The thing about being “more experienced” when referring to McCain and Clinton always makes me ask more experienced at what? Being a US Senator or a First Lady? What people really mean is older. And older does not mean more experienced, just older.

Running a campaign is more like running an executive office that a legislative office. It is a good measure of how a president will manage his presidency and how effective her presidency will be. The thing that is really different about Barack Obama is the incredible effectiveness of his campaign. That incredible effectiveness is why old timer politicos here in Chester County and Lancaster County are saying that they’ve never seen anything like this before.

Obama at the Helm
By Peter Beinart
Tuesday, April 8, 2008; A19
Deep into a primary campaign that was supposed be over by now, Barack Obama must still answer one fundamental question. Jeremiah Wright notwithstanding, it's not whether he's too black. It's whether he's too green. Hillary Clinton has made Obama's inexperience her chief line of attack, and if she goes down, John McCain will pick up where she left off. Luckily, Obama doesn't have to rely on his legislative résumé to prove he's capable of running the government. He can point to something more germane: the way he's run his campaign.
Presidents tend to govern the way they campaigned. Jimmy Carter ran as a moralistic outsider in 1976, and he governed that way as well, refusing to compromise with a Washington establishment that he distrusted (and that distrusted him). Ronald Reagan's campaign looked harsh on paper but warm and fuzzy on TV, as did his presidency. The 1992 Clinton campaign was like the Clinton administration: brilliant and chaotic, with a penchant for near-death experiences. And the 2000 Bush campaign presaged the Bush presidency: disciplined, hierarchical, loyal and ruthless.
Of the three candidates still in the 2008 race, Obama has run the best campaign by far. McCain's was a top-heavy, slow-moving, money-hemorrhaging Hindenburg that eventually exploded, leaving the Arizona senator to resurrect his bankrupt candidacy through sheer force of will. Clinton's campaign has been marked by vicious infighting and organizational weakness, as manifested by her terrible performance in caucus states.
Obama's, by contrast, has been an organizational wonder, the political equivalent of crossing a Lamborghini with a Hummer. From the beginning, the Obama campaign has run circles around its foes on the Internet, using MySpace, Facebook and other Web tools to develop a virtual army of more than 1 million donors. The result has been fundraising numbers that have left opponents slack-jawed (last month Obama raised $40 million, compared with Clinton's $20 million).
But the Web is the political equivalent of gunpowder: It can mow down your opponents, but it can also blow up in your face. In 2004, Howard Dean's campaign also raised vast sums online, but it spent the money just as fast. By embracing the anarchic ethos of the liberal blogosphere, Dean generated enormous excitement, but he couldn't harness it. Within his decentralized, bottom-up campaign, a thousand flowers bloomed, but not at the right time and in the right place. "You cannot manage an insurgency," said Dean's Web guru, Joe Trippi. "You just have to ride it."
The Obama campaign has proved that adage wrong. It has married Web energy with professional control. It has used the Web masterfully but, unlike Dean in 2004, sees it as a tool, not a philosophy of life.
At the top, in fact, the campaign is quite hierarchical. There's no question who's in charge: David Axelrod, a grizzled Chicago street-fighter whom Obama has known since he was 30. Axelrod and his subordinates believe their guy represents a new kind of politics, but they're not above using old-school, hard-ball tactics -- even against his own supporters -- to help him win. Last spring, for example, when


Monday, April 7, 2008

Vote For Obama

The human race is fighting wars over natural resources and energy and at the same time wasting them.

We can do better.

The Democratic party can be a vehicle for policy change. We will have to overcome the power of money by getting voters motivated and active.

Let's start by electing Barack Obama.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Permissible Assaults Cited in Graphic Detail

Remember when John C. Yoo talks about the president ordering “a prisoner's eyes poked out” he is not talking about Idi Amin or Al Saddiq Al Mahdi of Sudan and his Janjaweed; he is talking about our own President of the United States!


From the Washington Post:
Permissible Assaults Cited in Graphic Detail
Drugging Detainees Is Among Techniques

By Dan Eggen
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, April 6, 2008; A03
Thirty pages into a memorandum discussing the legal boundaries of military interrogations in 2003, senior Justice Department lawyer John C. Yoo tackled a question not often asked by American policymakers: Could the president, if he desired, have a prisoner's eyes poked out?
Or, for that matter, could he have "scalding water, corrosive acid or caustic substance" thrown on a prisoner? How about slitting an ear, nose or lip, or disabling a tongue or limb? What about biting?
These assaults are all mentioned in a U.S. law prohibiting maiming, which Yoo parsed as he clarified the legal outer limits of what could be done to terrorism suspects as detained by U.S. authorities. The specific prohibitions, he said, depended on the circumstances or which "body part the statute specifies."
But none of that matters in a time of war, Yoo also said, because federal laws prohibiting assault, maiming and other crimes by military interrogators are trumped by the president's ultimate authority as commander in chief.
The dry discussion of U.S. maiming statutes is just one in a series of graphic, extraordinary passages in Yoo's 81-page memo, which was declassified this past week. No maiming is known to have occurred in U.S. interrogations, and the Justice Department disavowed the document without public notice nine months after it was written.
In the sober language of footnotes, case citations and judicial rulings, the memo explores a wide range of unsavory topics, from the use of mind-altering drugs on captives to the legality of forcing prisoners to squat on their toes in a "frog crouch." It repeats an assertion in another controversial Yoo memo that an interrogation tactic cannot be considered torture unless it would result in "death, organ failure or serious impairment of bodily functions."
Yoo, who is now a law professor at the University of California at Berkeley, also uses footnotes to effectively dismiss the Fourth and Fifth amendments to the Constitution, arguing that protections against unreasonable search and seizure and guarantees of due process either do not apply or are irrelevant in a time of war. He frequently cites his previous legal opinions to bolster his case.
Written opinions by the Office of Legal Counsel have the force of law within the government because its staff is assigned to interpret the meaning of statutory or constitutional language. Yoo's 2003 memo has evoked strong criticism from legal academics, human rights advocates and military-law experts, who say that he was wrong on basic matters of constitutional law and went too far in authorizing harsh and coercive interrogation tactics by the Defense Department.
"Having 81 pages of legal analysis with its footnotes and respectable-sounding language makes the reader lose sight of what this is all about," said Dawn Johnsen, an OLC chief during the Clinton administration who is now a law professor at Indiana University. "He is saying that poking people's eyes out and pouring acid on them is beyond Congress's ability to limit a president. It is an unconscionable document."


On Inauguration Day in January a new president will say some words.

On Inauguration Day in January a new president will say some words. Among them will be; “I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.”

I believe that the Bush Administration has twisted those words and inserted “Republican Party” in place of Constitution. What he really meant was preserve, protect and defend the Republican Party. We have endured years of an administration that has taken words like honor, justice and duty and hollowed out the insides of those words. It replaced that void with political cronyism and corruption. The result was political cronyism in all branches of the Federal Government, the degradation of the US Army and Marine Corps, The U S Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Veterans Services, the Environmental Protection Administration, Homeland Security (“heck of a job Brownie”) and on and on. We now have proof that the torture of prisoners of war was not the work of a few non-coms, but was a policy decision by the White House through the US Department of Justice. And press has yet to understand that the alleged cronyism, gutting and demoralization of the US Department of Justice by the Bush Administration may be a “get out of jail free card” to organized crime in the United States.

We are a nation longing for someone who puts heart and soul back into those important words and brings our nation back to a state of grace in our minds.

We are about to toss away the politics of the past and elect a president who honors words and takes their meaning to heart. I believe that when Barack Obama says those words “I will preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America” he will not dishonor those words and he will not dishonor the United States of America.

A reminder, the Obama Rally in Coatesville is today (RAIN DATE)Sunday, April 06, 2008 in Gateway Park from 1 to 3 pm.


Sunday, April 6, 2008
Black clergy discuss Obama’s visit
COATESVILLE — Sandwiched between the day Sen. Barack Obama’s bus tour rolled through Chester County and the day marking the 40th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, five members of the local black clergy met to discuss politics, race and religion.
The timing of the meeting in relation to the other events was coincidental, but in retrospect appropriate.
The ministers gathered at a city restaurant Thursday around lunchtime at the request of a Daily Local News’ reporter. Each either lives in the county or is affiliated with a church here, and some fit into both categories.
All of them support Obama’s campaign for the Democratic nomination.
They were: the Rev. E. Lauraine Acey, a pastor at New First Baptist Church of Birdsboro and a Modena resident; the Rev. Earl Blackwell of the
Seventh Day Adventist Church in Coatesville; the Rev. James C. Kennedy Jr., the senior pastor at New First Baptist Church of Birdsboro, who lives in East Fallowfield; the Rev. Patricia McAllister from Mt. Zion AME Church in Columbia, and a Downingtown resident; and the Rev. Ethel Moore from St. Paul AME Church in Malvern, who also is from Downingtown.
Joining the group, too, was Kennedy’s 90-year-old father, South Coatesville Mayor James C. Kennedy.
The discussion unfolded in a series of mini-sermons, unavoidably beginning with their reactions to the inflammatory preachings about race and the United States by Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, from Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ.
The following is a selection of what was said on that topic, as well as race, the Illinois Democrat’s position on social issues, President Bush and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
BLACKWELL: Just speaking personally, the controversy with Wright was created by the media. You can take excerpts from my sermons, and I would be considered a Rev. Wright. But when you listen to the whole content of his sermons, he was speaking directly to the prejudiced, racist, biased community of our nation. And what he was saying, in fact, was generally the truth. The thing is we need to start facing is the reality of situations rather than running from them … What is also significant is that the media would pick that as some way to degrade or make a negative about Obama, and he wasn’t even there, sitting in the congregation. He’s never endorsed his pastor to be his spokesman. For the media to pick and nick, that only encourages me even more to push and prod forward with the support of Sen. Obama.
ACEY: I am a part of that generation (the Civil Rights Movement era). I come out of the South. My parents literally had to spirit me out of the South before I was 10 years old because my life had been threatened because I stood up to a white man who called me a … As I have told people so many times, it bothers me when I see some of the statements that have been made and taken out of their context and issues are built around it. I don’t care who you are, what your ethnicity is. If you’re truthful, you have to admit that America has been biased against people of color since its inception and continues to be to this very day. Individuals talk about America and they constantly (hearken) back to the Constitution. The Constitution was not built around black America. We were not included in anything that is set forth in the Constitution of the United States of America. People of color, particularly Africans in America, were looked upon as property.
MAYOR KENNEDY: There is a lot of truth in what Wright said. I was born in the North in Pennsylvania … This thing is nothing new, what Wright said is true. It is true.
Obama addressed Wright’s comments — which suggested in one sermon that the United States brought the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks upon itself and in another said blacks should damn America for continuing to mistreat them — for the first time during a speech in Philadelphia last month.
“I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community,” Obama said, according to the Associated Press. “I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother — a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe.”
On Wednesday, during his appearance at West Chester University for the broadcast of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” Obama said questions about his relationship with Wright were “fair game in the sense that what my former pastor said was offensive.”
“I think that in politics, whether I was white, black, Hispanic or Asian, somebody would be trying to use it against me. I do think that it is important to keep things in perspective.”
Acey said Wright’s language is common in Black Liberation Theology
ACEY: Liberation Theology did not originate in the black church. It came out of South and Central America because of the oppression of folks down there and we grabbed a hold of it.
MAYOR KENNEDY: It’s just like anything else. When you are oppressed you are going to do something. And we were oppressed … so we tried to make a difference.
BLACKWELL: That’s the birth of W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington.
MAYOR KENNEDY: And the birth of the NAACP.
KENNEDY JR.: Rev. Wright was an angry man speaking on social condition he has endured. In my time being in the Air Force I can say the United States is the best nation in the world. But here again the question we have to ask ourselves is, can it be made better? This is what Obama is doing. Obama is talking about a matter of inclusion.
The white middle class is basically seeing a day when they will no longer be included. You cannot have the oil companies making profits of $123 billion, and yet they’re telling you by Memorial Day gas is going to be $4 a gallon. Some folks are saying it’s a matter of black against white. No, it’s not that. It’s a matter of inclusion. When you look at Obama you see change in him, because the change in him is going to be that the rich corporations are not controlling him … This young man is just saying I want everybody to have a piece of the pie.
… I don’t know (Sen.) Hillary Clinton. I don’t know her at all. But I think when you look at it, Obama’s package of inclusion better suits, not just black folks, but anybody who is outside the realm and seeing themselves (hitting) the glass ceiling and saying to themselves, I used to be a part of this.
MCALLISTER: “He’s capturing the attention of thousands upon thousands, because



Friday, April 4, 2008

War? We can't handle any more wars

Commander in Chief? It’s more like Failure in Chief.

Published on Capitol Hill Blue (http://www.capitolhillblue.com/cont)
War? We can't handle any more wars
Now and then predictions of a pending U.S. invasion of Iran still raise their ugly head on the Internet no matter how illogical or unsustainable. That secret plan scenario is most assuredly going to follow President Bush and his fellow plotters right out the door of the White House nine months from now.
The simple question to those propounding that and other allegations of planned U.S. aggression outside of Iraq and Afghanistan is: "Invade with what?"
The brutal truth is that both the Army and the Marine Corps have been so strained by the current campaigns they would have trouble engaging the security forces of Monaco. In fact, leaders of both services told a congressional subcommittee this week that readiness to meet demands outside the present conflicts is at the lowest level since the abandonment of the draft. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody said the stress level inflicted by the current deployment threatens the viability of all-volunteer military.
When the 30,000-troop surge in Iraq and Afghanistan began, Cody told the Senate Armed Services Committee readiness panel, it "took all the strokes out of the shock absorbers for the United States Army." He added that even if the five brigades were pulled out of Iraq by July it would take some time before the Army could return to 12-month deployments for its troops -- a not very encouraging assessment for all those alleged secret plotters of more military adventures operating in Pentagon backrooms and allied think tanks around the Beltway.
If the Army can't do it, send in the Marines! Right, except that they aren't in much better shape. According to Gen. Robert Magnus, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, the service's ability to train for other conflicts has been significantly damaged ("degraded" is the way he put it), mainly because of an increased presence in Afghanistan. He said that although his forces involved in the surge already have pulled out, some 3,200 of them are on their way to Afghanistan keeping the pressure on viability high. The pace of operations is "unsustainable," he said, noting that the corps has limited ability to command and supply a divided force.
These bleak reports are hardly surprising given the reliance on reservists and National Guard personnel in both Iraq and Afghanistan. They come at a time when Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, is expected to testify to Congress that it will be necessary to temporarily halt troop withdrawals. This pause would likely bring howls of protest not only from Democrats and their presidential candidates but put even more stress on forces that have become increasingly resentful of extended and repeated tours.
Further complicating matters has been growing unrest in military families about extension of service beyond the enlistment contracts. Those who joined for specific terms have found their enlistments prolonged because of the war zone needs, a not uncommon practice during major conflicts. A new movie about this problem, "Stop Loss," is likely to stir more resentment and, some believe, hurt recruiting at a time the Army and Marines are trying to boost their active-duty rosters to 547,000 and 220,000 respectively.
It is doubtful that the abolition of the draft and the switch to all volunteers in the military following the long debacle in Vietnam anticipated fighting wars on two fronts while trying to maintain obligations in Europe and Asia. Moving from the huge draft-fed machine to the smaller, ostensibly more elite volunteer force was supposed to discourage military adventurism. Yet the requirements of occupying both Iraq and Afghanistan and fighting off insurgents have severely strained that concept. Both wars, if that is the proper term, have been going on longer than American involvement in World War II.
Does this support the argument for reinstating the draft? At this time, it would be politically unfeasible. But,


Thursday, April 3, 2008

Firestorm over torture memo

Who would have thought that the USDoJ would have developed a manual of torture techniques for the US Military and US Intelligence? It looks like the Pres allegedly started out with frogs and worked his way up to people.

From Capitol Hill Blue:

Firestorm over torture memo
Lawmakers and rights groups on Wednesday blasted the US government's tactics in the "war on terror" saying a 2003 legal memo had given the military a green light to use torture in interrogations.
The Justice Department memo, dated March 14, 2003 and released on Wednesday, was sent to the Pentagon as it struggled to set guidelines for interrogators.
It argued the US president's wartime authority exempted them from US and international laws banning cruel treatment.
"Today's news that the Justice Department gave legal cover to the military to use torture and other cruel and inhuman interrogation techniques shocks the conscience," said Democratic Senator Joseph Biden.
"This memo created the lawless atmosphere that led directly to the abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib. Those who wrote it and those who approved it should be held accountable," the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee added in a statement.
The 81-page legal opinion was written as the Pentagon sought to draw up a list of approved interrogation methods for use on detainees at the US "war on terror" prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
"If a government defendant were to harm an enemy combatant during an interrogation in a manner that might arguably violate a criminal prohibition, he would be doing so in order to prevent further attacks on the United States by the Al-Qaeda terrorist network," the memo says.
"In that case, we believe that he could argue that the executive branch's constitutional authority to protect the nation from attack justified his actions."
But veteran Democrat Senator Edward Kennedy said the memo showed that the administration of President George W. Bush had "abandoned the rule of law and adopted arguments that could be used by other nations to try to justify the torture of American troops.
"To protect our own soldiers, this administration needs to repudiate not merely withdraw these shameful and shoddy arguments."
Rights groups were equally critical of the memo.
It "shows that the Justice Department gave virtual carte blanche to the Pentagon to engage in torture," said Amrit Singh, staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, which had sought the document's release.
Singh said the memo and a similar 2002 opinion for the CIA undermine the Bush administration's argument that abuses such as the scandal in Baghdad's Abu Ghraib jail in 2003 were abberrations.
"These memos just go to show that it was the policies of the Bush administration that was driving this abuse," she said.
Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch, called the memo "incredibly disturbing."
"It's an attempt to write away the legal restrictions prohibiting action like torture, maiming and assault," Daskal said.
But the Pentagon denied mistreating detainees.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Clinton’s Credentials

What don’t like about what the Clintons are doing is that it could very well destroy the chances for the Democratic Party for several election cycles if they are successful in pushing themselves onto the ticket in November. If they are on the ticket in November most people will believe (correctly) that they muscled their way around a popular vote. Does that remind you of a certain president?

April 1, 2008, 4:04 pm
Clinton’s Credentials
By Tobin Harshaw
Tags: credentials committee, democratic convention, Hillary Clinton
When Hillary Clinton told the Washington Post the other day that the Florida and Michigan primary questions could well be settled by the Democratic Convention’s credentials committee, many of us shook our heads knowingly and acted like we knew what that really meant. Thankfully, Greg Sargent at TPM has done some actual research and produced his “Election Central Idiot’s Guide To The Credentials Committee.”
His findings:
There are a total of 186 members on the credentials committee. Twenty five of them are appointed by DNC chair Howard Dean, and the remainder are alloted by state, in numbers based on each state’s population and Democratic performance …
In the end the breakdown on the committee will hew very closely to the overall breakdown of pledged delegates. So presuming things continue as they have, Hillary will not have a majority, and Obama will have more members on the committee than she does.
Then what happens?
Well, the Florida and Michigan delegations will petition to be seated. The delegations can ask for a straight seating or they can suggest more creative solutions to the problem. Alternatively, outside parties might suggest solutions to the committee, too.
There is no formal process by which the committee decides to vote on any particular proposal. So, basically, after some discussion, the committee agrees to hold a vote on a particular proposal for seating the delegations in one way or another. (Or, alternatively, the committee would consider separate solutions to each state’s problem.)
At this point, three things can happen.
(1) If a majority of the committee supports the proposal without significant dissent, the delegations are seated according to the proposal’s directives.
(2) If a majority of the committee supports the proposal but 20 percent or more dissent, they get to issue a minority report — and the proposal goes to the full convention for a vote.
(3) If the proposal doesn’t get majority support, the delegations aren’t seated.
In number (2) there lies the capacity for a minority on the committee to create mischief.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Fresh Ideas for a Tired Crusade

The New York Times
April 1, 2008
Contributing Columnist
Fresh Ideas for a Tired Crusade
The travel writer and public television host, Rick Steves, is a certain kind of innocent abroad — benignly suburban to the core, with a bit of a paunch and the ever-quizzical look of someone who would try raw squid for breakfast and not complain about it.
At 52, he has spent a third of his adult life living out of a suitcase, ever in search of that bargain room with a view, encouraging his fellow Americans to become “temporary locals.” His influence is vast and one of the reasons our citizens aren’t more hated abroad in Bush’s final days.
I was having lunch once in Vernazza, in the Italian Cinque Terre, watching waves of people pour into the tiny village to look for their serendipitous Stevesian encounter while clutching his guidebook. A sudden outburst came from my 7-year-old son: “Rick Steves has got to be stopped!”
Steves, who lives just north of Seattle, is packing his wrinkle-free clothes for his latest expedition to Europe. One can only hope customs will let him back in, for Steves has become a most unlikely voice on behalf of ending the tragedy of the drug war.
He looks at the 800,000 Americans arrested every year on marijuana charges and wonders why the waste of time, money and lives. Year after year, nothing changes, except the faces of those in jail. He thinks marijuana should be decriminalized, and that drug use in general should be treated primarily as a health issue — as the Canadians, the British, the Swiss and others do.
His views are not novel. But it’s been fascinating to watch the reaction since Steves started speaking out on this. Sponsors of his television shows have hardly blinked. Cops and conservatives have told him how much they agree with him. And, less than a month ago, the Luther Institute gave Steves its annual Wittenberg Award, recognizing “outstanding service to church and society.” Steves is an active member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church.
If it takes a churchgoing guidebook writer who spent his college years as a member of the marching band to call for an end to a tired war, so be it. The cheerleaders and architects of harsh drug laws — from Rush Limbaugh, who promised to take random drugs tests after admitting his addiction to pain pills, to the former drug czar Bill Bennett, who had a multimillion-dollar gambling habit — have been exposed as moral frauds.
Two of the major presidential candidates are in a unique position to pivot away from the status quo.
It’s been largely forgotten, but Cindy McCain, the wife of the presumptive Republican nominee, was once so hooked on the opioid painkillers Percocet and Vicodin that she resorted to stealing from a medical charity she ran.
And Barack Obama in his 1995 memoir, told of youthful alcohol and pot use, “maybe even a little blow when I could afford it.” He wrote this cautionary note: “Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man.”