Monday, March 31, 2008

A Plea to Democrats

A few weeks back, Scott and I endorsed Sen. Barack Obama as our choice for the Democratic nomination, and since then, the two of us, and everyone else, have seen our party become fractured and, in turn, a little weak.

It’s time that we all get over this Obama-Clinton feud, a feud that has become far more divisive than it ever should have and has, at times, reduced intelligent, educated and decent people into something that resembles children fighting over a box of crayons.

The decision over our party’s nominee will eventually be made and that will be that; God-willing.

The arguing between each candidate’s supporters is rising to ridiculous proportions and that must stop… now… because a real fight is coming, and that fight is, of course, the fight to oust the republican party from the White House.

I still believe the Democrats will regain control of the presidency in November, but we need to stop wasting our time arguing amongst ourselves. I understand that everyone is entitled to their opinion and has their favorite… but what I am worried about are those Democrats that have their eyes on voting for John McCain, Ralph Nader or some other inconsequential schlub rather than their party’s nominee.

That talk needs to stop… Right. Now.

As an Obama supporter, the actions of Sen. Clinton have shocked me and have made me lose not only respect for her, but for former president Clinton as well. Having said that, if she were to get the nomination, I would vote for her in a heartbeat if it would mean keeping the gop out of the White House for at least four years.

Those that support Clinton have been shocked by the actions, or at times, inactions, of Sen. Obama. Having said that, a few Clinton supporters I’ve talked to have vowed to vote for him over McCain if he were to win the nomination.

What troubles me are those Obama and Clinton supporters that have said they would vote for someone else if the other gets the nomination…

Explain to me how that would help this nation?

The war in Iraq, the economy, healthcare, education, all of these and more have suffered greatly after 8 years of the Bush White House, and while I, personally, think Sen. Obama would offer more hope for this country, I am also confident that Sen. Clinton would be a huge boost to the nation as well.

Certainly more so than Sen. McBush would… all he would offer is four more years of Bush-like politics; ignoring the Constitution, supporting an unjust and deadly war, further pushing down the middle class and forcing us further into a recession.

So it is for that reason that TBWA endorses both candidates for the presidency.

Should Sen. Barack Obama win, we will offer our full-throated support for him to beat McCain in November.

Should Sen. Hillary Clinton win, we will offer our full-throated support for her to beat McCain in November.

All Democrats and Liberals should choose this option for any other choice, would be foolishly leaving the White House in republican hands for at least four more years.

And our nation can not handle that any more…

Stop the arguing, look further down the road and realize that the real fight is coming.

Unite as one party…

Support one party…

Vote, one party…

Our livelihoods depend on it…

The Monday ‘BushWhack’ing

Another week starts as another month ends…

  • The Bush(whacked) Administration is proposing this morning a massive overhaul in the financial markets (this should end well… and by well I mean utter, complete and total chaos and anarchy)
  • “President” Bush is heading to his last (YAY!) NATO summit today in Bucharest, Romania where he is expected to keep pressure on NATO allies (if he has any left) to help more with Afghanistan. He will then travel to Russian to speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin… so it’s entirely possible that by the time he gets back, he will have estranged himself further from Russia and NATO and, well, every other person in Europe…
  • Having come under intense and widespread criticism (which is a Bush appointee trait) for cronyism and corruption within his department, HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson is going to resign effective April 18th today
  • CNN headline;McCain looks ahead as Dems duke it out.” (That’s some crack reporting there guys, thanks…)
  • After a myriad of calls for her to drop out of the race, Sen. Clinton said this past weekend that she has no plans to quit the race until the convention… stay tuned.
  • Former presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry was stumping for Sen. Obama this past weekend and spoke what could very well be the truest words he’s ever uttered; “"It is very important for both people (Obama & Clinton) to keep the eye on the real target — John McCain and the Republican disaster of the last seven and a half years." (Amen John! Amen!!! I’ll have a post about THIS later…)
  • Proving why people are listening to him and NOT James “Mr. Mary Matalin” Carville, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is vowing to not “stoop to Carville’s level” after Carville’s inane and incredibly un-apt comparisons of Richardson to Judas…(besides, if anyone is a Judas, it’s Carville, who has admitted he shares his secrets with Mary Matalin, one of Cheney's top aides)
  • And have we mentioned? That “President” Bush was greeted with a resounding chorus of boos last night when he delivered the first pitch at the Nationals-Braves game? It’s true; after he was announced, the audience showered Bush with boos as he strode to the mound and delivered the pitch, with it not stopping until he disappeared from the field (my mother told me to never take pleasure in other people’s misery, but she makes an exception for Bush, so to this I say; Hah Hah!)

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Weekly Rewind

Time for another review of the week that was in the world of politics, or as we like to call it; The Weekly Rewind… there are 297 days left in the Bush presidency.

Applaud: to five former secretaries of State for speaking their mind. The five – Henry Kissinger, James Baker, Warren Christopher, Madeleine Albright, and Colin Powell – were attending a University of Georgia roundtable discussion earlier this week and agreed (all of them that the next president should move quickly to close Guantanamo Bay

Heckle: to subterfuge and obfuscation, Bush government-style. Almost four months after the disclosure that the CIA destroyed interrogation videotapes, the number of legal entanglements for the C.I.A., the Defense Department and other (Bush) agencies is only growing longer and longer, fighting off criminal and Congressional investigations of the tapes’ destruction, as well as major terrorism cases and a raft of prisoners’ legal claims that it may have destroyed evidence from their case… (And no one in this administration has faced impeachment hearings yet becauuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse???)

Applaud: to a new kid on the block, albeit only temporarily. Lt. Gen. Martin Dempsey “assume(d) command of U.S. Central Command from Navy Adm. William J. Fallon on Friday, weeks after Fallon unexpectedly announced that he was “retiring.” Dempsey, like Fallon, opposed the administration’s surge and is a “fan of transition” in Iraq, so expect his command to be over soon…

Heckle: to scary possibilities… for years Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had repeatedly denied that elected office was part of her “political future,” but after attending a weekly conservative gathering, one conservative pundit wrote; “She’s going to secure her future in Republican politics and to position herself as a ‘potential’ VP candidate on the McCain ticket.” (Aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!)

Applaud: to news that makes me smile… according to U.S. News, a lot of senior and midlevel White House and administration officials are looking to land private-sector jobs “sooner rather than later.” (Abandon ship!)

Heckle: to sobering, yet not totally surprising, news. AFP notes that at least 97% of the 4,000 deaths occurred after “President” Bush announced the end of “major combat” operations (with a brand spanking-new ‘Mission Accomplished’ banner hanging overhead) on May 1, 2003…

Applaud: to more news that makes me smile… the most recent S&P/Case-Shiller home price index shows that U.S. consumers are “more nervous about the future” than they ever have been since Richard Nixon was President… (and we all know how that ended… please, please, please, please, please, please…)

Heckle: to more evidence that our standing in the world, and for that matter our safety, is lower than Bush’s approval ratings… a new report by Jane’s Information Group shows that 21 countries are ranked more stable than the United States based on a formula that assesses “political structures, social and economic trends, military and security risks and external relations.” (Yeah… big shock there. The measure of how far our country has fallen in the eyes of the rest of the world since Bush entered office in 2000 is staggering… and our next CIC – whether it be Obama, Clinton or someone else – will have their hands full in trying to rectify the damage done…)

Applaud: to telling our ‘leader’ what he needs to hear for once; the truth. Earlier this week, and behind the Pentagon's closed doors, U.S. military leaders told President Bush they are “worried about the Iraq war’s mounting strain on troops and their families.” (about time he hears it from people in the know. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have stretched our military to the breaking point, and yet Bush continues to dismiss the possibility of lowering tour lengths… this is gonna get worse before it gets better)

Heckle: to the MSM and the main stream public that views it. According to analysis by Huffington Post, after the US death toll in Iraq hit 4,000, a pathetically scant two U.S. newspapers — The Rocky Mountain News in Denver and the Daily News in New York — honored the men and women with front page stories while The Wall Street Journal, New York Times, and Washington Post delegated the story deep within their paper… (Sad… just sad…)

Applaud: to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) for asking Attorney General Michael Mukasey to explain the decision to eliminate the public corruption unit in Los Angeles… the department that had been investigating Rep. Jerry Lewis’s (r-CA) “connection to a lobbying firm and the earmarks its clients received.” (well, I’m sure there’s no way in hell the two are connected, right? Right?????)

Heckle: to more news that points to the US entering, if we’re not already in, a recession. Recent GDP numbers released earlier this week show that the economy grew by just 0.6% in the fourth-quarter of 2007, confirming the slump the economy has entered and matched the expectations of weak growth predicted by many economists… (so there…)

Applaud: to republican Sen. Chuck Hagel (NE) for slamming Vice President Dick Cheney’s callousness towards not only the American public but our troops as well… he also attacked Cheney’s credibility since he was a Vietnam draft dodger… (well said Mr. Hagel, thanks for sharing…)

Heckle: to failed policies having the chance to fail again. The Bush(whacked) Administration said earlier this week that it plans to model its long-term Iraq agreement on one that the US already has with Afghanistan. That agreement, reached in 2005, states that the US will “[c]onsult with respect to taking appropriate measures in the event that Afghanistan perceives that its territorial integrity, independence, or security is threatened or at risk.” (This should end well…)

Applaud: to the swelling of bipartisan support for the DOJ to open an investigation into the unauthorized searches of all three presidential candidate’s passport files… and speaking of PassportGate;

Heckle: to the outsourcing of government jobs. The contractors who breached the aforementioned passport files were all employees of a private workforce that has increasingly assumed responsibility for processing the travel documents. State Department officials said earlier this week that 60% of the 4,400 passport employees work for private firms and are NOT government employees. (wow… who wants to guess that at least one of these private firms is connected to Halliburton)

Applaud: to the University of Chicago for proving Sen. Clinton wrong… something that is becoming easier and easier to do over each passing day. Over the last several days, the Clinton campaign has suggested that Sen. Obama was embellishing his role at the school by calling himself a professor when he was listed as a ‘Senior Lecturer,” turns out he was right as the university has stated that Mr. Obama does accurately describe himself as a onetime law professor at the school. (and this isn’t common sense; how?)

Heckle: to the unraveling of a cease-fire. The cease-fire that was highly vital to the improved security situation in Iraq (which republicans of course attributed to the ‘surge’) game unglued earlier this week when one of the militias that are loyal to Shiite Muslim cleric Muqtada al Sadr began shutting down neighborhoods in western Baghdad, which happened to coincide with a crackdown in Basra by the Iraqi government. (This should end well…)

Applaud: to comeuppances. 9,000 people in Kentucky that have switched their political affiliation since Jan. 1st so they could vote on the Democratic ticket and throw a wrench into the Democratic primary are finding out that they won’t even be able to vote in the May 20th primary… (can we say; Karma?

Heckle: to fuzzy logic. The Bush(whacked) Administration is taking credit for the Iraqi government’s offensive against Shiite militias and is calling it a “byproduct of the success” of last year’s surge… (and if the opposite would have happened, who wants to bet that the administration would have thrown the Iraqi government under the bus?)

Heckle: to a trip that could very well end badly… who am I kidding, it’s Bush so it’s definite that it will end badly. Earlier this week “President” Bush announced that he will travel to Russia after a NATO summit next week so he can meet with President Vladimir Putin in hopes of repairing relations that have grown strained… (Let’s just hope he doesn’t decide to give Putin a back rub, things might get awkward…)

Heckle: to scary thoughts… Rudy Giuiliani is eyeing a run for governor in a special election this fall should Gov. Paterson be forced to resign… (does he really think he’s electable to ANYTHNG any more? People have either grown sick & tired of him or don’t like him… I don’t think he would be elected garbage commissioner if he was running against Homer Simpson)

Heckle: to saying incredibly stupid things. U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said earlier this week that your $600 tax rebate check and the economic stimulus package will create 600,000 new jobs… (Wow, that would be a neat trick…)

Applaud: to DNC chairman Howard Dean. Why not?

Heckle: to more economic news that shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. Health-care costs are “whacking away” at the wages of working class Americans as premium amounts for family health coverage have increased 78% since 2001… (and yet, the current administration does nothing…)

For the second week in a row, we’ve decided to hand out our Tool of the Week to Vice President Dick Cheney. Since telling the American people to ‘ef off last week he’s been a busy little Beelzebub … after the US death toll in Iraq hit 4,000, Cheney was interviewed on ABC and not only asserted that Bush “carries the biggest burden” of the Iraq war (WHAT??) but also implied that the troops volunteered for duty (while true, mentioning it when speaking of 4,000 US deaths is callous) But Cheney wasn’t done, he then compared staying the course in Iraq to Richard Nixon's pardoning (riiiiiight) and called Sens. Obama and Clinton “wannabes” because they want to, eventually, and unlike McBush, get out of Iraq…

It’s clear that Cheney doesn’t give a damn what the people of the United States think, but regardless of that, for a Vice President to say these things is not only pathetic, but also a sad reminder of how far our country has been pushed back with Bush and his cronies in office. 1/20/09 can NOT come soon enough…

All I have, take 'em as you will...

Karma, baby!

I believe in karma, especially in the world of politics and if you try to screw the people, Karma will eventually catch up to you and you'll get your comeuppance.

Well, it's finally happened...

Since the 2008 Presidential campaigns began, republicans have been changing their party affiliations in some states in order to throw a wrench into the Democrat's primary process, whether it is by way of pushing the stronger candidate out of the way so the lesser candidate – the candidate that the polls tell them will lose to their candidate – wins that state.

Hell, even Rush “OxyContin” Limbaugh told his followers to do it, and do it they did in Ohio, and now some, if not all, may face legal action.

Now travel south where approximately 9,000 people in Kentucky have switched their political affiliation since Jan. 1st so they could vote on the Democratic ticket.

And now? Now they're beginning to get a taste of their own disenfranchisement while realizing that their switch won't help their party one bit.

In what can easily be attributed to Karma, thousands of Kentuckians that have switched political party affiliation from republican to Democrat or Independent over the past three months – most likely in a vain attempt to sway the Democratic presidential primary – are finding themselves out of luck.

The state's Secretary of State, Trey Grayson, repeated this week that Kentucky law forbids people who switch parties after December 31st from voting in the presidential primary.


Greyson also said that he has been telling all election officials in the state to warn political groups and campaign workers that encouraging Republicans and Independents to switch to the Democratic Party will be of no benefit in the primary because they won't be able to vote.

Despite that, some 9,000 people have changed parties since January 1 and as a result have given up their right to vote.

Acting like true Republicans, I guess these people didn't fully think their plan through, huh?

Karma, baby!

The Friday Presidential Race ‘BushWhack’ing

Computer connectivity issues this morning, but here is your (late) Presidential Race BushWhack…

  • News that sends a shiver down my spine was reported this week as a new poll shows that if Sen. Obama wins the Democratic nomination, a lot of Clinton backers would vote for McBush… the reverse is also true, and to that I say; NO!!!! God damnit, no! As I said earlier this week, we as Democrats can NOT allow that to happen. Never has it ever been more important to vote your party than it will be for this election, for if we Sen. McBush gets into the White House, we’ll instantly have 4 more years of a Bush-style presidency… 4 more years in Iraq, 4 more years of economic crap, 4 more years of ignoring the Constitution and 4 more years of HELL. As much as I dislike Ms. Clinton right now for her actions, if she gets the nomination, I will vote for her in November. To do otherwise would be a slap in the face of the nation and will ensure we have more years of Bush-like politics…
  • Since he’s already the presumptive nominee, the talk is now turning over who will be Sen. McBush’s running mate
  • Finally acting like they should, Sens. Obama and Clinton have decided to not attack each other on something and instead have focused their disagreements towards presumptive republican nominee Sen. John McBush…(About time you guys started getting it right…)
  • Another poll shows that the bickering between Obama and Clinton could hurt turnout in the general election… (that’s some might fine reporting there Lou CNN…)
  • Sen. Clinton’s donors have found themselves facing down one of the grassroots most powerful (and in my opinion sometime unethical) groups; MoveOn… (personally I truly hope the group doesn’t go republican on her and swiftboat her campaign, that kind of in-fighting is something we Democrats do NOT need right now…)
  • Speaking of pandering… Sen. Clinton said yesterday that she would have long ago distanced herself from the Rev. Jeremiah Wright if she had been a member of his church…(uh-huh, thanks for clearing that up Hillary…)
  • Sen. Obama said earlier this week that if Reverend Wright had not retired, he would have left the church because of the statements made by Wright… (stop pandering Barack, it doesn’t suit you…)
  • Despite her most-tried efforts, Sen. Clinton’s SerbiaGate just won’t go away… and rightfully so.
  • Obama-Bloomberg? Wasn’t that rumor going around weeks ago? Oh that’s right, it’s CNN…
  • Sen. Obama released his tax returns… still nothing from Sen. Clinton…
  • And have we mentioned? That Sen. Clinton’s personal approval rating has taken a staggering drop in recent weeks? Not only has her approval ratings fallen, but the amount of those that hold a negative view of her has skyrocketed. Her most recent approval rating was 48%, lowest since March 2001, and only 37% have a positive view of her, down from 45% two weeks ago…(I’m sure it has absolutely nothing to do with her constant whining about Florida and Michigan or her ‘misspeaking’ on multiple occasions about Bosnia… it’s so hard to express sarcasm in the written form…)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Make it stop

(HT to Daily Kos)

The Clinton campaign is getting a tad obsessive-compulsive as they have started an on-line petition aimed at, what else, forcing the DNC to recognize the delegations from Michigan and Florida or else promise to hold new elections.

Michael Kempner, a Clinton donor and PR exec, says; “For whatever reason, the DNC seems to be captive of the Obama campaign. The fact is that many, many long-time supporters both financially and non-financially, that have a very different point of view. We very much want to put them on notice.”

Kempner then went on to say that the campaign wants DNC chairman Howard Dean “to exercise some leadership.”

Wow… first, let’s start with the fact that the DNC is NOT captive to Sen. Obama but, in fact, is captive to its own rules… and in abiding by those aforementioned rules, Dean is showing some fantastic leadership.

Why in God’s name should the DNC help Florida and Michigan skirt the rules when 48 other states were able to abide by them? It doesn’t make sense… and as far as new elections go, Dean has said all along that he and the DNC would recognize new contests in both states, but both states passed on that option because, well, because they’re idiots…

None of this has anything at all to do with Dean or Obama but more-so two state’s (bipartisan) decisions to chuck the rules in the toilet and do what they wanted to do…rules be damned. And now, just like we teach children to do, the DNC is abiding by the rules… but Clinton and her people – knowing there is no math anywhere in this world or out of this world that will give her the needed number of delegates – are trying to browbeat HER OWN PARTY… AGAIN... to do what benefits them… rules be damned.

Explain to me again why she has any supporters left?

Checks to the rescue

During a week that saw NRCC chairman Tom Cole write an article in the New York Times Magazine where he admitted that article “President” Bush may not be welcome at GOP campaign events all across the country due to his staggering-low approval numbers, “President” Bush is still trying to spin the already-here (or looming) recession… this time using the economic stimulus package as the savior.

“President” Bush visited a small business in Virginia yesterday and while there discussed his plans to help the recovery, saying; “There’s a rough patch right now in our economy, but I’m confident in the long term we’ll come out stronger than ever before. One of the most decisive actions a government can take is to give people their money back so they can spend it, and that’s exactly what we’ve done. In the second week of May, a lot of folks are going to be getting a sizable check. And I’m looking forward to that day, and I know they are as well.”

Soooooooooo, let me get this straight; to make the economy “stronger than ever before” we have to wait until May when people spend their rebate checks??

And they can’t pay off debt or put them in the bank, they have to spend the checks on goods and services...

Um… who wants to tell him?



Noone? Fine, I will; poll numbers don’t support your wish there George as a recent poll finds that almost half the American public plans to either save their rebate checks or use them to pay off debt… while a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll shows that 53% plan to “use their rebates to pay off bills” or “put the money in savings.”


The Thursday ‘BushWhack’ing

Another day closer to Friday, and another day closer to 1/20/09…

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Interesting… more than four times in the last few weeks Sen. Clinton, in touting her foreign policy experience, recalled a trip to Bosnia where her, as First Lady, and her group landed “under sniper fire” and were told to “run to our cars.”

Earlier this week Clinton said she was “sleep-deprived” and “misspoke” when she said that she had landed under sniper fire during that 1996 trip to Bosnia…

Sleep-deprived? On multiple occasions?

And she wants us to elect her to answer the red phone at 3 o’clock in the morning?

Something doesn’t make sense here… oh right; her.

The Wednesday ‘BushWhack’ing

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Tuesday ‘BushWhack’ing

  • Realizing that there’s this amazing invention called ‘video’ that shows what was actually encountered, Sen. Clinton says she “misspoke” about her trip to Bosnia. Right… and Cheney misspoke when he gave a big F-U to the nation last week…
  • Consumer confidence plunged in March to a new five-year low… but we’re still not in a recession…
  • After already offending the American people last week, US soldiers this week, VP Dick Cheney is arriving in Turkey today… this should end well.
  • The Bush(whacked) Administration is saying that it plans to model its long-term agreement with Iraq on one that we have with Afghanistan. Reached in 2005, it states that the US will “[c]onsult with respect to taking appropriate measures in the event that Afghanistan perceives that its territorial integrity, independence, or security is threatened or at risk.” (Considering how well Afghanistan worked out – yes I’m being sarcastic – we’re going to be stuck in this Iraq quagmire for a VERY long time…)
  • After James Carville called Bill Richardson “Judas” for endorsing Sen. Obama (hmmm, might comments and actions like that from the Clinton camp be part of the reason he endorsed Obama rather than Clinton who, let’s face facts, has taken desperation and manipulation to heights that make Karl Rove blush…), a Sen. Obama staffer has brought up Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress while another has made comparisons of Pres. Clinton and Joe McCarthy… which the Clinton camp immediately started whining about. So it’s okay for the Clintons and their minions to sling mud, but when it’s slung at them, they whine like a kindergartener who jus their crayons taken away…
  • The New New York Governor (days after admitting extramarital affairs) has now admitted he tried cocaine and pot in his youth
  • On the day that marked 4,000 US deaths in Iraq, “President” Bush said that the deaths “laid foundations for peace” in the country…
  • And have we mentioned? That Rush Limbaugh continues to blow hot air? While I know it’s not a surprise, Limbaugh is attacking Sen. Obama’s race again, insisting on his show last Friday that Obama “disowned his white half” by standing by his pastor, Jeremiah Wright and said; “This is the stuff, this is the part that might bother some of you. It is clear that Senator Obama has disowned his white half. He’s decided he’s got to go all in on the black side.” (Anyone with a working brain – who is allowed to use it on their own – can see that his standing by a pastor does no such thing. Having said that, we’re not talking about people with brains, we’re talking about Limbaugh fans…)

Monday, March 24, 2008

The Monday ‘BushWhack’ing

Another Monday, another week of politics… T

  • New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson is getting gruff for endorsing Obama from, well, the Clinton campaign who thinks they own him since they helped get started in National politics… in return, the Clinton camp, who had been pressing for his endorsement, shrugged it off and said that each candidate has many great endorsees… (wow, the Clinton campaign responding with inane comments, who could have EVER seen that coming?)
  • Sen. Obama wants someone to investigate PassportFileGate
  • Vice President Dick Cheney is in the Middle East… this won’t end well…
  • This is what you want to hear; Attorney General Michael Mukasey has been surprised by the scope and variety of potential terrorism threats facing the United States
  • This shouldn’t surprise anyone with a brain. Chile’s ambassador to the UN, Heraldo Muñoz, writes in a new book that efforts by the Bush(whacked) Administration to persuade other countries into supporting the invasion of Iraq “generated lasting ‘bitterness’ and ‘deep mistrust’ in Washington’s relations with allies in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere.” He goes on to describe how the “rough-and-tumble diplomatic strategy” employed by the administration included threats and punishment… (Is it any wonder our standing in the world has dwindled to almost non-existence? The next president, republican or Democrat, has a long tough road ahead…)
  • And have we mentioned? That the White House disclosed in court that older “computer hard drives have been destroyed”? AP is reporting that the White House said that a court proposed e-mail recovery plan stemming from lawsuits brought on by the National Security Archive and CREW would be worthless because “[w]hen workstations are at the end of their lifecycle and retired … the hard drives are generally sent offsite to another government entity for physical destruction.” (wow, once again they circumvent the law and once again, NO ONE has the balls to call them on it… for God’s sakes people, it’s a lame-duck admintration, start treating them like it and DO SOMETHING!)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Weekly Rewind

Ok, turn off the TV, or at least turn the sound down, March Madness will still be there after you finish reading The Weekly Rewind…..I’ll try to make it quick.

Heckle: to paying no attention to the 800 pound gorilla in the room. About half of the state legislatures nationwide are scrambling to plug gaps in their budgets, shot through by rapid declines in corporate and sales tax revenue, distressed housing markets and a national economy on the verge of a recession. Just remember we are not ‘officially’ in a recession….

Heckle: to a not so pleasant vision of the future. Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) current visit to Iraq is bolstering the belief by the country’s politicians that if he is elected president, “the American military would have a large presence in Iraq for a very long time.” Jalaladeen Sagheer, a senior member of the leading Shiite Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, described McCain’s visit as “an advertisement for the American elections.” As if we need anymore negative advertising.

Applaud: to someone with knowledge of the impending crisis speaking out. The current economic crisis “is likely to be judged in retrospect as the most wrenching since the end of the second world war,” writes former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan in the Financial Times. He also argues that “market flexibility and open competition” are “our most reliable and effective safeguards against cumulative economic failure.” Hmmm, that would mean wild market speculation and obscene corporate profits would help lead the way to economic failure….

Applaud: to a long time coming. Reports are that an internal Department of Justice investigation into the firing of at least eight U.S. attorneys is approaching its conclusion. The report will likely be released in the spring, and it “will almost certainly be explosive.” This will be interesting. What surprises will this hold for our lame duck president and his cronies?

Heckle: to continually spreading the manure. Vice President Cheney made a surprise visit to Iraq this week, in order to reaffirm “the unwavering commitment” of the United States to rebuilding Iraq. Cheney told reporters that it was “especially significant” he was in Iraq five years after the March 2003 U.S. invasion. Shortly after his arrival, “two explosions rocked Baghdad.” How unwavering is our commitment…read on….

Heckle: to our ‘unwavering commitment’. The success of the US ’surge’ strategy in Iraq may be under threat as Sunni militia employed by the US to fight al Qaida are warning of a national strike because they are not being paid regularly. Leading members of the awakening councils “have said they will stop fighting unless payment of their $10 a day wage is resumed.” According to a survey by Guardian Films, four of the 49 councils have quit while 38 more are threatening to leave. Maybe the Bush(whacked) Administration should consider diverting some of the obscene amounts of money being paid to government contractors and instead pay the militias their paltry $10 a day wage.

Heckle: to the fact that maybe $10 a day just isn’t enough. A conference to reconcile Iraq’s warring political groups began to unravel even before it got under way on Tuesday, with the main Sunni Muslim Arab bloc pulling out and protesting it had not been properly invited. I’m sorry did we not put the proper ribbon on the outside of the envelope? Once again, why are we there??

Heckle: to not knowing when to hold ‘em, or knowing when to fold ‘em. JPMorgan Chase agreed earlier this week to buy banking giant Bear Stearns for $2 a share, less than one-tenth the firm’s market price last Friday. The bank and the Federal Reserve “will guarantee the huge trading obligations” of Bear, “which was driven to the brink of bankruptcy by what amounted to a run on the bank.” Now just remember we are only in a slowdown…..

Heckle: to ruining peoples lives for profit. “My life has been flushed down the drain,” said one Bear Stearns employee. Bear Stearns had always encouraged its 14,000 employees, from secretaries to top executives, to be long-term holders in the company’s stock, and the employees own over 30 percent of the company. Remember, slowdown…...

Heckle: to more manure. Following weeks of oil prices hitting over $100 a barrel, Vice President Dick Cheney met Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah on Friday for talks that will include discussions on cooperation to stabilize the oil market. “I’m sure they will talk about the need for a cooperative way forward to try and stabilize this market, reduce the volatility in the market, and serve the interests of both consumers and producers alike,” John Hannah, national security adviser to Cheney, told reporters. Oh and while giving the impression that they care about stabilizing things and helping the consumers, I’m sure they will also talk about ways to keep profits in the pockets of Bush(whacked) Administration supporters.

Heckle: to not listening to the service chiefs in the field. The LA Times reports that “turmoil over the war has increased” inside the Pentagon, with some commanders, including Gen. Davis Petraeus, advocating continued high troop levels in Iraq. On the other side “are the military service chiefs who fear that long tours and high troop levels” will leave “the Army and Marine Corps hollowed out and weakened.” Can the Congress tell the Pentagon to shut up and sit down while they hear from the true line commanders in the field?

Heckle: As the economy sours, voters are increasingly demanding immediate government relief, which is a problem for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), “whose focus has been on longer-term solutions such as tax and spending cuts and free trade.” “The notion of ‘the market will straighten things out, be patient’ — that has photos of Herbert Hoover juxtaposed with it,” said pollster John Zogby. McCain is nothing more than the same song and dance we have had for almost the past 8 years.. Can we really handle, or yet survive 4 more years at this pace? I don’t think so..

And then we come to our Tool Of The Week. This week it is none other than Vice President and multi-tool winner, Dick Cheney, who wins the TOTW award with this little exchange with ABC Reporter Martha Raddatz as broadcast on Good Morning America:

V.P. Cheney: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.

Raddatz: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.

V.P. Cheney: So?

Raddatz: So? You don’t care what the American people think?

V.P. Cheney: No…

There you folks, this is part and parcel with the 'rethuglican' philosophy, “You don’t like the way we do things on your behalf? How much money did you give our canididates? I’m sorry you’re not wealthy enough and not financially beneficial to us, so we don’t care what you think.”

Okay, back to the games, that wasn’t too hard was it? And a Happy Easter to all from Kemp and I.

Be good, stay informed…..later

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Friday Presidential Race ‘BushWhack’ing

Another week down, another week of Florida, Michigan and Ms. Clinton whining...

  • Sen. Obama gave a speech earlier this week that not only defined his candidacy, but also received props in conservative circles…he followed that up with a speech that not only railed against Bush, Sen. Clinton, Sen. McCain and Iraq… but took issue with all three of their foreign policies. (Obama has shown us a lot this week… with the Wright affair threatening to overtake his campaign, he responded with a calm and cool demeanor while also keeping pace on the issues. If he hasn’t shown you he’s ready to be CIC, then you just haven’t opened your eyes wide enough)
  • Two contractors were fired and another one was disciplined after it was discovered that they had looked into the passport files of Sen. Obama... an act that was reminiscent of a breach of Bill Clinton's passport information during the 1992 presidential campaign... (this is just sad and pathetic, and if it was ordered or even suggested by Clinton or McCain, they should both be penalized or charged...). Now word is coming that Secretary of State Rice is apologizing for the incident...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Lame-duck fever, catch it!

It’s poll time here at TBWA, and a handful of new polls were released in the last few days that measured “President” Bush’s approval rating.




Sorry, had to regain my composure after laughing so hard at the numbers…

A new Zogby poll shows Bush's approval rating at 26%, down dramatically from 34% in February.

A recent CNN/Opinion Research poll shows a scant 31% of respondents approve of Bush’s job performance, a new low for a CNN poll that is a staggering 40 points lower than his rating at the start of the Iraq war five years ago.

A new Reuters/Zogby poll pegs his approval rating at 32%, a 2-point drop from February.

When you consider that 19% of Americans believe the country is headed in the right direction and 40% feel very secure about their jobs, you start to understand that the country has had it up to here with the Bush(whacked) Administration and their overwhelming incompetence.

Wow… nothing like following in Daddy’s footsteps, as Bush 43’s numbers are comparable to Bush 41’s numbers near the end of his term… and the numbers and the humongous drop is equivalent to those of President Lyndon Johnson during the Vietnam War.

And when you consider that Dubya’s approval numbers haven’t topped 40 since mid-2006, is it any wonder this country is ready for a change?

All together now; January 20, 2009 can NOT come soon enough…

The Thursday ‘BushWhack’ing

  • According to a new Zogby poll, “President” Bush's approval rating is 26%, down dramatically from 34% in February… Lame-duck fever, catch it!
  • Sen. Obama is en fuego… following his inspiring speech in Philly earlier this week, he gave another major speech yesterday on foreign policy and not only took Bush to task over Iraq, but Sens. McCain and Clinton as well… snap!
  • Having already been declared dead many, many, many times, Michigan and Florida are still trying to get their votes counted. (tough tatas, ya shouldn’t have broken the rules…)
  • Former U.N. weapons inspector Hans Blix writes in The Guardian today; “Responsibility for the war must rest…on what those launching it knew by March 2003. […] Unmovic inspectors had carried out some 700 inspections at 500 sites without finding prohibited weapons. The contract that George Bush held up before Congress to show that Iraq was purchasing uranium oxide was proved to be a forgery.” (So there ya go… another non-partisan expert telling the world what many already knew; the evidence presented as a reason to invade Iraq was false… a lie… fake… how much more proof do we need before we can impeach these people?)
  • Scooter Libby has had his license to practice law revoked… (Karma, baby!)
  • A new CNN/Opinion Research poll shows that a minimalist 31% of Americans “approve of how President Bush is handling his job,” a new CNN poll low that is a staggering (but not surprising for some) 40 points lower than his rating at the start of the Iraq war five years ago. An interesting part of the article is that, according to CNN polling director Keating Holland, Bush’s drop is “almost identical to the drop President Lyndon Johnson faced during the Vietnam War.” (Interesting… very, very interesting…)
  • I’ve always liked CNN’s Jack Cafferty, he seems to have the same smart-ass sense of humor and common sense that I have, and he makes sense. Case in point; yesterday he took McCain’s confusion over Iran and al Qaeda to task and said that the gaffe poses some serious issues about his leadership; “If John McCain makes another mistake like he did yesterday — where he got the Shia confused with the Sunni confused with al Qaeda confused with Iran — the number of people who want the troops out of Iraq will double overnight. [...] I mean, what kind of leadership is that? He’s over there talking to foreign dignitaries, and he has no idea who the players are.” (Nicely said Jack, couldn’t have said it any better myself... though I would have mentioned something along the lines of; isn’t this the kind of foreign policy ineptitude we currently have in the White House which we are desperate to get rid of?)
  • Sen. McCain said today; “The problem with Iraq, in my view, is that it was mishandled after the initial success.” (There is a kernel of truth in that statement, but McCain’s continuing touting of the surge and the war are portents that, if he gets elected, we will, in essence, be getting a third Bush term…NOOOOOO!!!!!)
  • And have we mentioned? That a day after he essentially told the American people to ‘fuck off’, Vice President Dick Cheney visited Afghanistan? It’s true… he briefly visited Kabul where he praised ties with the Afghan government and expressed hope that the NATO-led effort to confront the Taliban will be expanded… (Not on the agenda apparently was the fact that the NATO-led effort wouldn’t have been needed had the Bush(whacked) Administration not blown the war off in order to follow Bush’s wet-dream of Iraq…)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

No grasp of reality

Vice President Dick “President” Cheney was on Good Morning America this morning, spouting off about how he’s confident the US will achieve victory because

“I've worked over the years with both the Iraqi people that are involved, as well as the Americans that are involved.”
So there ya go, the US will win because Cheney was involved.

Come on now, stop the snickering or you won’t be able to read the rest of the post…

Not surprisingly, Cheney continued to shoot off his mouth (let’s hope there weren’t any attorneys around) and said;
Cheney: On the security front, I think there’s a general consensus that we’ve made major progress, that the surge has worked. That’s been a major success.
Raddatz: Two-third of Americans say it’s not worth fighting.
Cheney: So?
Raddatz: So? You don’t care what the American people think?
Cheney: No…
(Ladies and Gentlemen, your Vice President of the United States! The man who doesn’t care what the American people think...)

Cheney went on to say that people can’t be swayed by fluctuations in the public opinion polls about the war… unfortunately the interviewer didn’t have the intelligence or the balls to mention that opposition to the war is not a “fluctuation” in public opinion as a fluctuation means

What’s going on with public opinions about the war is a steady turning of the tide and according to a new poll (which, for those of you who think polls are not legitimate barometers of opinion nor fact, is how one keeps abreast with the thoughts of the American public) a scant 36% believe that “the situation in Iraq was worth going to war over” a number that was at 68% the month the war began.

What does this mean? It means that in five years the number of people who believe the Iraq war was worth starting has dropped 32%... a drop unlike one we’ve ever seen before.

Unless or course you count Bush’s incredibly low 32% approval rating...

Five years on

On March 19, 2003, “President” Bush announced; “My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.”

Each year on the anniversary of the US-led invasion, Bush has given a speech full of rhetoric and spin, this year was no exception (HT to Daily Kos):

Year One: “There are still violent thugs and murderers in Iraq, and we're dealing with them.” U.S. Fatalities: 583

Year Two: “Iraq's progress toward political freedom has opened a new phase of our work there.” U.S. Fatalities: 1,522

Year Three: “We are implementing a strategy that will lead to victory in Iraq.” U.S. Fatalities: 2,319

Year Four: “There's been good progress.” U.S. Fatalities: 3,224

Today, Year Five: “No one would argue that this war has not come at a high cost in lives and treasure ­ but those costs are necessary when we consider the cost of a strategic victory for our enemies in Iraq .” U.S. Fatalities: 3,990 U.S. Casualties: 40,229

Over the course of five years, Bush has changed his goal of saving the world from (nonexistent) dangers of Iraqi WMD's to a desire to not losing...

Remember; when the war started, the administration predicted that it would cost $50 billion to $60 billion to oust Saddam Hussein, restore order and install a new government. Five years on, the cost of the war is “roughly $600 billion and counting” per the Pentagon, with economist Joseph Stiglitz putting the “long-term cost at more than $4 trillion” an estimate he says is “excessively conservative.”

And that’s not the only things that supporters of the war have gotten wrong… consider these disastrous quotes:

“Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof---the smoking gun that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.” - President Bush, 10/7/02 (hard to create mushroom clouds without WMD’s, isn’t it?)

“We will, in fact, be greeted as liberators.” - Vice President Dick Cheney, 3/16/03 (Yeah, not so much… and now we’re like the house guests that couldn’t get the hint to leave)

"The only people who think this wasn't a victory are Upper Westside liberals.” - Charles Krauthammer, 4/19/03 (or people that AREN’T lemmings and can use their own brains…)

“[Liberals] can't deny that President Bush has won his two wars, and won them resoundingly.” - Paul Mirengoff, Powerline, 4/26/03 (wanna bet we can’t deny it? The Taliban and al Qaeda are back in force in Afghanistan, and the insurgent violence in Iraq is increasing again…)

And the best ones come from ‘The Decider’’ himself; “I believe that the success will be fairly easy.” - 9/24/02 (I guess that depends on what your definition of ‘fairly easy’ is…)

“We will win this conflict. We will win it easily.” 1/22/03 (I refuse to snark this as a means to honor all families that have lost loved ones in this misguided war)

And then there’s this March 24, 2003 quote from the man who vows to continue Bush’s wayward ways in Iraq; Sen. John McCain: “[T]here’s no doubt in my mind, once these people are gone, that we will be welcomed as liberators.”

If McCain gets elected, we probably will be in Iraq for 100 more years… if it’s Clinton or Obama, we will start pulling troops out within six months of them taking office… we all know that a complete pullout would do more harm than good, but it’s time to start reigning in the amount of troops we have over there.

Not only would that protect our soldiers, it would also force the Iraqi’s to act and move forward. I think, and this is merely my opinion, that the Iraqi government has been slow in making any progress because they know the US-led coalition is there to prop them up.

We shouldn’t be… not anymore.

The Wednesday ‘BushWhack’ing

Today is the fifth anniversary of the US-led invasion of Iraq. We at TBWA honor all the brave men and women who have given their life, risked their life, and fought with valor for this unjust war…

  • Here we go again... “President” Bush said that the war in Iraq must go on for the safety of the United States. (Can we get an explanation of how? Anyone? Helloooooo?)
  • Sen. Obama’s speech yesterday is even receiving props in conservative circles… so yes, it’s now official – Hell has frozen over.
  • Sen. Clinton won the endorsement of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA)…
  • Note to Sen. Obama’s staff: make a decision on the Michigan re-vote
  • Sen. McCain screamed at a reporter yesterday that it is “common knowledge” that Iran is training al-Qaeda, only to be corrected in front of cameras by his BFF Joe Lieberman… who will be attending the republican National Convention this summer… (Quick show of hands, which is more surprising, that McCain ‘screamed’ at a reporter… that he was wrong about something regarding the Iraq war… or that Lieberman will attend the republican convention? All seem like pretty safe bets to me)
  • A federal judge has ruled that the White House has “three days to explain why it shouldn’t be required to copy its computer hard drives to ensure no further e-mails are lost.” (Claims of executive privilege in five, four, three…)
  • I know how much some of our conservative readers like when I cite polls, so here’s another one. A new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds that 71% of Americans think that government spending on the Iraq war in Iraq is partly responsible for the economic troubles in the US. (interesting results… even though Bush and other conservatives don’t see a connection between our recess– sorry, ‘economic slowdown’, and the war, a majority of Americans do… but that would require listening to the people, which republicans have trouble doing…)
  • On this, the fifth anniversary of the war, a spokesperson for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says that “There is very little light at the end of the tunnel in Iraq’s humanitarian crisis.”
  • And have we mentioned? That for a brief moment Tuesday morning, it seemed as though pigs were going to fly? It was then that SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas opened his mouth and spoke… but it turned out to be much ado about nothing as he wasn’t asking a question but merely announcing the court's decision in Washington State Grange v. Washington State Republican Party. (For heavens sakes Justice Thomas, you didn’t even ask a question during a 2nd Amendment argument, the DC gun ban case… a conservative justice’s wet-dream of a case if I’ve ever heard one…)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It’s STILL the economy stupid

More than sixteen years since the phrase was coined, it’s turning out that it’s still the economy in this election cycle.

A new CNN/Opinion Research Poll shows that a majority of Americans are “very concerned”' about the rising rate of inflation, despite the news that the February CPI (Consumer Price Index) was a smidge less than the increase in January, though it’s still up 4% so far this year.

Of those polled, 65% reported to be “very concerned” about the rising rate in recent months, with 26% reporting they were “somewhat concerned.”

The poll also looked into the loss of employment, and those results reflect similar fears, with 59% of those polled saying they were “very concerned” about the loss of employment… news that comes after a two-month fall-off in.

Despite fears, the White House refuses to remove their rose-colored glasses and, while they acknowledge an “economic slowdown,” they say that help is on the way (the Fex cut interest rates again this afternoon) and that,in the long-run, the economy will be fine.

I wish I could believe that…

Regardless of what the White House or the polls say, and regardless of my opinion about a recession, it’s time for all three presidential candidates to realize that the economy is shaping up to be the deciding factor this election cycle… terrorism, national security, education and even the Iraq war are being put on the back burner while thousands of Americans worry about their homes, their jobs, their stocks and, in turn, their futures.

Perhaps the candidates should stop slinging mud at each other in an attempt to sully their opponents and instead talk about the issues.

Or is that merely a pipe-dream?

Senator Obama's speech

Sen. Obama is mad as hell and isn’t going to take it anymore… at least that’s what we at TBWA got from his speech this morning.

In a stirring, emotional and eloquent oration, Obama not only took all races to task, he also faced the Rev. Wright issue head-on.

Will it be enough to stifle the issue once and for all? We shall see… but for now, you can read it here…

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), “A More Perfect Union”
Tuesday, March 18th, 2008 at Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

“We the people, in order to form a more perfect union.”

Two hundred and twenty one years ago, in a hall that still stands across the street, a group of men gathered and, with these simple words, launched America's improbable experiment in democracy. Farmers and scholars; statesmen and patriots who had traveled across an ocean to escape tyranny and persecution finally made real their declaration of independence at a Philadelphia convention that lasted through the spring of 1787.

The document they produced was eventually signed but ultimately unfinished. It was stained by this nation's original sin of slavery, a question that divided the colonies and brought the convention to a stalemate until the founders chose to allow the slave trade to continue for at least twenty more years, and to leave any final resolution to future generations.

Of course, the answer to the slavery question was already embedded within our Constitution – a Constitution that had at is very core the ideal of equal citizenship under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and justice, and a union that could be and should be perfected over time.

And yet words on a parchment would not be enough to deliver slaves from bondage, or provide men and women of every color and creed their full rights and obligations as citizens of the United States. What would be needed were Americans in successive generations who were willing to do their part – through protests and struggle, on the streets and in the courts, through a civil war and civil disobedience and always at great risk - to narrow that gap between the promise of our ideals and the reality of their time.

This was one of the tasks we set forth at the beginning of this campaign – to continue the long march of those who came before us, a march for a more just, more equal, more free, more caring and more prosperous America. I chose to run for the presidency at this moment in history because I believe deeply that we cannot solve the challenges of our time unless we solve them together – unless we perfect our union by understanding that we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not have come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for of children and our grandchildren.

This belief comes from my unyielding faith in the decency and generosity of the American people. But it also comes from my own American story.

I am the son of a black man from Kenya and a white woman from Kansas. I was raised with the help of a white grandfather who survived a Depression to serve in Patton's Army during World War II and a white grandmother who worked on a bomber assembly line at Fort Leavenworth while he was overseas. I've gone to some of the best schools in America and lived in one of the world's poorest nations. I am married to a black American who carries within her the blood of slaves and slaveowners – an inheritance we pass on to our two precious daughters. I have brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, uncles and cousins, of every race and every hue, scattered across three continents, and for as long as I live, I will never forget that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.

It's a story that hasn't made me the most conventional candidate. But it is a story that has seared into my genetic makeup the idea that this nation is more than the sum of its parts – that out of many, we are truly one.

Throughout the first year of this campaign, against all predictions to the contrary, we saw how hungry the American people were for this message of unity. Despite the temptation to view my candidacy through a purely racial lens, we won commanding victories in states with some of the whitest populations in the country. In South Carolina, where the Confederate Flag still flies, we built a powerful coalition of African Americans and white Americans.

This is not to say that race has not been an issue in the campaign. At various stages in the campaign, some commentators have deemed me either "too black" or "not black enough." We saw racial tensions bubble to the surface during the week before the South Carolina primary. The press has scoured every exit poll for the latest evidence of racial polarization, not just in terms of white and black, but black and brown as well.

And yet, it has only been in the last couple of weeks that the discussion of race in this campaign has taken a particularly divisive turn.

On one end of the spectrum, we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap. On the other end, we've heard my former pastor, Reverend Jeremiah Wright, use incendiary language to express views that have the potential not only to widen the racial divide, but views that denigrate both the greatness and the goodness of our nation; that rightly offend white and black alike.

I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely – just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.

But the remarks that have caused this recent firestorm weren't simply controversial. They weren't simply a religious leader's effort to speak out against perceived injustice. Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country – a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America; a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.

As such, Reverend Wright's comments were not only wrong but divisive, divisive at a time when we need unity; racially charged at a time when we need to come together to solve a set of monumental problems – two wars, a terrorist threat, a falling economy, a chronic health care crisis and potentially devastating climate change; problems that are neither black or white or Latino or Asian, but rather problems that confront us all.

Given my background, my politics, and my professed values and ideals, there will no doubt be those for whom my statements of condemnation are not enough. Why associate myself with Reverend Wright in the first place, they may ask? Why not join another church? And I confess that if all that I knew of Reverend Wright were the snippets of those sermons that have run in an endless loop on the television and You Tube, or if Trinity United Church of Christ conformed to the caricatures being peddled by some commentators, there is no doubt that I would react in much the same way.

But the truth is, that isn't all that I know of the man. The man I met more than twenty years ago is a man who helped introduce me to my Christian faith, a man who spoke to me about our obligations to love one another; to care for the sick and lift up the poor. He is a man who served his country as a U.S. Marine; who has studied and lectured at some of the finest universities and seminaries in the country, and who for over thirty years led a church that serves the community by doing God's work here on Earth – by housing the homeless, ministering to the needy, providing day care services and scholarships and prison ministries, and reaching out to those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

In my first book, Dreams From My Father, I described the experience of my first service at Trinity:

"People began to shout, to rise from their seats and clap and cry out, a forceful wind carrying the reverend's voice up into the rafters….And in that single note – hope! – I heard something else; at the foot of that cross, inside the thousands of churches across the city, I imagined the stories of ordinary black people merging with the stories of David and Goliath, Moses and Pharaoh, the Christians in the lion's den, Ezekiel's field of dry bones. Those stories – of survival, and freedom, and hope – became our story, my story; the blood that had spilled was our blood, the tears our tears; until this black church, on this bright day, seemed once more a vessel carrying the story of a people into future generations and into a larger world. Our trials and triumphs became at once unique and universal, black and more than black; in chronicling our journey, the stories and songs gave us a means to reclaim memories that we didn't need to feel shame about…memories that all people might study and cherish – and with which we could start to rebuild."

That has been my experience at Trinity. Like other predominantly black churches across the country, Trinity embodies the black community in its entirety – the doctor and the welfare mom, the model student and the former gang-banger. Like other black churches, Trinity's services are full of raucous laughter and sometimes bawdy humor. They are full of dancing, clapping, screaming and shouting that may seem jarring to the untrained ear. The church contains in full the kindness and cruelty, the fierce intelligence and the shocking ignorance, the struggles and successes, the love and yes, the bitterness and bias that make up the black experience in America.

And this helps explain, perhaps, my relationship with Reverend Wright. As imperfect as he may be, he has been like family to me. He strengthened my faith, officiated my wedding, and baptized my children. Not once in my conversations with him have I heard him talk about any ethnic group in derogatory terms, or treat whites with whom he interacted with anything but courtesy and respect. He contains within him the contradictions – the good and the bad – of the community that he has served diligently for so many years.

I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. 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.

These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.

Some will see this as an attempt to justify or excuse comments that are simply inexcusable. I can assure you it is not. I suppose the politically safe thing would be to move on from this episode and just hope that it fades into the woodwork. We can dismiss Reverend Wright as a crank or a demagogue, just as some have dismissed Geraldine Ferraro, in the aftermath of her recent statements, as harboring some deep-seated racial bias.

But race is an issue that I believe this nation cannot afford to ignore right now. We would be making the same mistake that Reverend Wright made in his offending sermons about America – to simplify and stereotype and amplify the negative to the point that it distorts reality.

The fact is that the comments that have been made and the issues that have surfaced over the last few weeks reflect the complexities of race in this country that we've never really worked through – a part of our union that we have yet to perfect. And if we walk away now, if we simply retreat into our respective corners, we will never be able to come together and solve challenges like health care, or education, or the need to find good jobs for every American.

Understanding this reality requires a reminder of how we arrived at this point. As William Faulkner once wrote, "The past isn't dead and buried. In fact, it isn't even past." We do not need to recite here the history of racial injustice in this country. But we do need to remind ourselves that so many of the disparities that exist in the African-American community today can be directly traced to inequalities passed on from an earlier generation that suffered under the brutal legacy of slavery and Jim Crow.

Segregated schools were, and are, inferior schools; we still haven't fixed them, fifty years after Brown v. Board of Education, and the inferior education they provided, then and now, helps explain the pervasive achievement gap between today's black and white students.

Legalized discrimination - where blacks were prevented, often through violence, from owning property, or loans were not granted to African-American business owners, or black homeowners could not access FHA mortgages, or blacks were excluded from unions, or the police force, or fire departments – meant that black families could not amass any meaningful wealth to bequeath to future generations. That history helps explain the wealth and income gap between black and white, and the concentrated pockets of poverty that persists in so many of today's urban and rural communities.

A lack of economic opportunity among black men, and the shame and frustration that came from not being able to provide for one's family, contributed to the erosion of black families – a problem that welfare policies for many years may have worsened. And the lack of basic services in so many urban black neighborhoods – parks for kids to play in, police walking the beat, regular garbage pick-up and building code enforcement – all helped create a cycle of violence, blight and neglect that continue to haunt us.

This is the reality in which Reverend Wright and other African-Americans of his generation grew up. They came of age in the late fifties and early sixties, a time when segregation was still the law of the land and opportunity was systematically constricted. What's remarkable is not how many failed in the face of discrimination, but rather how many men and women overcame the odds; how many were able to make a way out of no way for those like me who would come after them.

But for all those who scratched and clawed their way to get a piece of the American Dream, there were many who didn't make it – those who were ultimately defeated, in one way or another, by discrimination. That legacy of defeat was passed on to future generations – those young men and increasingly young women who we see standing on street corners or languishing in our prisons, without hope or prospects for the future. Even for those blacks who did make it, questions of race, and racism, continue to define their worldview in fundamental ways. For the men and women of Reverend Wright's generation, the memories of humiliation and doubt and fear have not gone away; nor has the anger and the bitterness of those years. That anger may not get expressed in public, in front of white co-workers or white friends. But it does find voice in the barbershop or around the kitchen table. At times, that anger is exploited by politicians, to gin up votes along racial lines, or to make up for a politician's own failings.

And occasionally it finds voice in the church on Sunday morning, in the pulpit and in the pews. The fact that so many people are surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons simply reminds us of the old truism that the most segregated hour in American life occurs on Sunday morning. That anger is not always productive; indeed, all too often it distracts attention from solving real problems; it keeps us from squarely facing our own complicity in our condition, and prevents the African-American community from forging the alliances it needs to bring about real change. But the anger is real; it is powerful; and to simply wish it away, to condemn it without understanding its roots, only serves to widen the chasm of misunderstanding that exists between the races.

In fact, a similar anger exists within segments of the white community. Most working- and middle-class white Americans don't feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. Their experience is the immigrant experience – as far as they're concerned, no one's handed them anything, they've built it from scratch. They've worked hard all their lives, many times only to see their jobs shipped overseas or their pension dumped after a lifetime of labor. They are anxious about their futures, and feel their dreams slipping away; in an era of stagnant wages and global competition, opportunity comes to be seen as a zero sum game, in which your dreams come at my expense. So when they are told to bus their children to a school across town; when they hear that an African American is getting an advantage in landing a good job or a spot in a good college because of an injustice that they themselves never committed; when they're told that their fears about crime in urban neighborhoods are somehow prejudiced, resentment builds over time.

Like the anger within the black community, these resentments aren't always expressed in polite company. But they have helped shape the political landscape for at least a generation. Anger over welfare and affirmative action helped forge the Reagan Coalition. Politicians routinely exploited fears of crime for their own electoral ends. Talk show hosts and conservative commentators built entire careers unmasking bogus claims of racism while dismissing legitimate discussions of racial injustice and inequality as mere political correctness or reverse racism.

Just as black anger often proved counterproductive, so have these white resentments distracted attention from the real culprits of the middle class squeeze – a corporate culture rife with inside dealing, questionable accounting practices, and short-term greed; a Washington dominated by lobbyists and special interests; economic policies that favor the few over the many. And yet, to wish away the resentments of white Americans, to label them as misguided or even racist, without recognizing they are grounded in legitimate concerns – this too widens the racial divide, and blocks the path to understanding.

This is where we are right now. It's a racial stalemate we've been stuck in for years. Contrary to the claims of some of my critics, black and white, I have never been so naïve as to believe that we can get beyond our racial divisions in a single election cycle, or with a single candidacy – particularly a candidacy as imperfect as my own.

But I have asserted a firm conviction – a conviction rooted in my faith in God and my faith in the American people – that working together we can move beyond some of our old racial wounds, and that in fact we have no choice is we are to continue on the path of a more perfect union.

For the African-American community, that path means embracing the burdens of our past without becoming victims of our past. It means continuing to insist on a full measure of justice in every aspect of American life. But it also means binding our particular grievances – for better health care, and better schools, and better jobs - to the larger aspirations of all Americans -- the white woman struggling to break the glass ceiling, the white man whose been laid off, the immigrant trying to feed his family. And it means taking full responsibility for own lives – by demanding more from our fathers, and spending more time with our children, and reading to them, and teaching them that while they may face challenges and discrimination in their own lives, they must never succumb to despair or cynicism; they must always believe that they can write their own destiny.

Ironically, this quintessentially American – and yes, conservative – notion of self-help found frequent expression in Reverend Wright's sermons. But what my former pastor too often failed to understand is that embarking on a program of self-help also requires a belief that society can change.

The profound mistake of Reverend Wright's sermons is not that he spoke about racism in our society. It's that he spoke as if our society was static; as if no progress has been made; as if this country – a country that has made it possible for one of his own members to run for the highest office in the land and build a coalition of white and black; Latino and Asian, rich and poor, young and old -- is still irrevocably bound to a tragic past. But what we know -- what we have seen – is that America can change. That is true genius of this nation. What we have already achieved gives us hope – the audacity to hope – for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.

In the white community, the path to a more perfect union means acknowledging that what ails the African-American community does not just exist in the minds of black people; that the legacy of discrimination - and current incidents of discrimination, while less overt than in the past - are real and must be addressed. Not just with words, but with deeds – by investing in our schools and our communities; by enforcing our civil rights laws and ensuring fairness in our criminal justice system; by providing this generation with ladders of opportunity that were unavailable for previous generations. It requires all Americans to realize that your dreams do not have to come at the expense of my dreams; that investing in the health, welfare, and education of black and brown and white children will ultimately help all of America prosper.

In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world's great religions demand – that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother's keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister's keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.

For we have a choice in this country. We can accept a politics that breeds division, and conflict, and cynicism. We can tackle race only as spectacle – as we did in the OJ trial – or in the wake of tragedy, as we did in the aftermath of Katrina - or as fodder for the nightly news. We can play Reverend Wright's sermons on every channel, every day and talk about them from now until the election, and make the only question in this campaign whether or not the American people think that I somehow believe or sympathize with his most offensive words. We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she's playing the race card, or we can speculate on whether white men will all flock to John McCain in the general election regardless of his policies.

We can do that.

But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we'll be talking about some other distraction. And then another one. And then another one. And nothing will change.

That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, "Not this time." This time we want to talk about the crumbling schools that are stealing the future of black children and white children and Asian children and Hispanic children and Native American children. This time we want to reject the cynicism that tells us that these kids can't learn; that those kids who don't look like us are somebody else's problem. The children of America are not those kids, they are our kids, and we will not let them fall behind in a 21st century economy. Not this time.

This time we want to talk about how the lines in the Emergency Room are filled with whites and blacks and Hispanics who do not have health care; who don't have the power on their own to overcome the special interests in Washington, but who can take them on if we do it together.

This time we want to talk about the shuttered mills that once provided a decent life for men and women of every race, and the homes for sale that once belonged to Americans from every religion, every region, every walk of life. This time we want to talk about the fact that the real problem is not that someone who doesn't look like you might take your job; it's that the corporation you work for will ship it overseas for nothing more than a profit.

This time we want to talk about the men and women of every color and creed who serve together, and fight together, and bleed together under the same proud flag. We want to talk about how to bring them home from a war that never should've been authorized and never should've been waged, and we want to talk about how we'll show our patriotism by caring for them, and their families, and giving them the benefits they have earned.

I would not be running for President if I didn't believe with all my heart that this is what the vast majority of Americans want for this country. This union may never be perfect, but generation after generation has shown that it can always be perfected. And today, whenever I find myself feeling doubtful or cynical about this possibility, what gives me the most hope is the next generation – the young people whose attitudes and beliefs and openness to change have already made history in this election.

There is one story in particularly that I'd like to leave you with today – a story I told when I had the great honor of speaking on Dr. King's birthday at his home church, Ebenezer Baptist, in Atlanta.

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

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

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

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

Now Ashley might have made a different choice. Perhaps somebody told her along the way that the source of her mother's problems were blacks who were on welfare and too lazy to work, or Hispanics who were coming into the country illegally. But she didn't. She sought out allies in her fight against injustice.

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

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

But it is where we start. It is where our union grows stronger. And as so many generations have come to realize over the course of the two-hundred and twenty one years since a band of patriots signed that document in Philadelphia, that is where the perfection begins.