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The Pile: Thoughts, Life, and Photography of Joshua Davis

Ferraro Attacks Obama’s Conciliatory Remarks

Having Obama “Equate what I said with what this racist bigot [Jeremiah Wright] has said from the pulpit is unbelievable,” said Geraldine Ferraro. Obama even tried to dismiss Ferraro’s original comment saying, “We can pounce on some gaffe by a Hillary supporter as evidence that she’s playing the race card.” But she decided to pounce on another part of his speech referring to a quote in which Obama said Americans should ignore racist comments made from both camps:

In 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.

This has pretty much confirmed my earlier positions that Hillary Clinton’s campaign was behind the nearly incessant loop of the Reverend Wrights comments. But that’s not all Ferraro said, “What this man is doing is he is spewing that stuff out to young people, and to younger people than Obama, and putting it in their heads that it’s OK to say `Goddamn America’ and it’s OK to beat up on white people.”

Not one time has Wright encouraged young black men to beat up white kids. Wright wasn’t even saying “God damn America” because he doesn’t like this country. While I will admit his comments where inappropriate they’re not the end of the world. Here’s what he said in more relevant context, “The government gives [blacks] the drugs, builds bigger prisons, passes a three-strike law and then wants us to sing ‘God Bless America.’ No, no, no, God damn America, that’s in the Bible for killing innocent people.”

He could have said God save America, but it’s fully understandable that a black man born in 1941 is angry with the system. He lived about thirty years of his life in overt racist oppression, and just as no one expect Jews from concentration camps to forgive Germans that sat back and allowed Antisemitism and the Germans that fully embraced Nazism, it also ridiculous for Wright to forget the oppression he grew up with.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, barack obama, Black Matters, Politics

Hillary Can Say Goodbye to Black Support

A Rasmussen poll shows that Hillary Clinton can only capture 55% of a key Democratic voting block, African Americans. Likewise Obama only gets 36% of votes from white males. Such identity politics plays right into the hands of John McCain, the same article even said “McCain currently leads Barack Obama 49% to 42% and Hillary Clinton 51% to 41% margin.”

I won’t blame this on Hillary Clinton, or on African Americans. The Hillary campaign has done it’s share of race baiting. But the media is one of the main culprits, running inflammatory comments over and over again to cause controversy and in turn get more viewers.

Nor is this the fault of blacks either. For about 150 years we’ve been voting for white men. We don’t have a problem if Obama looses to his only Democratic opponent. Where the problem stands is if he looses because of race baiting, and if he looses it certainly will look that is true.

For one Hillary’s campaign has used the race card (I won’t yet call her a racist) to gain votes. They are perfectly fine with loosing the black vote in the primaries, to gain a larger share of votes from people on other spectrums of the hue. Some think because eighty to ninety percent of blacks vote for him suggests that his campaign is somehow racist because the vote doesn‘t break down more evenly.
Second, if you’ll recall the Clinton campaign used the race card in South Carolina too. But then it seemed they backed down after they realised the element of the white vote that was racist, would go for John Edwards. But as soon as Edwards dropped out we saw this creeping back into the campaign.

The real issue is how will this affect the Democratic party beyond 2008? I’m starting to wonder if Hillary would rather see a Democrat loose in 2008 so she can run again in 2012. The poll certainly makes November look ominous for Democrats in November. But if Hillary is successful in using her race based politics, and then continues those same policies to ensure she’s still president until 2016 America might see a new coalition of progressive thinking Democrats and blacks.

The whole Reverend Wright controversy is of particular concern. I believe that Hillary was behind the timing. Why hasn’t she made any comments denouncing the press’s obsession with his comments, several of which where reported out of context? I remember when the New York Times ran the whole McCain affair story, Mike Huckabee simply denounced it as “politics.” I’m not asking Clinton to endorse Reverend Wrights inappropriate comments, but merely the way the media is using race baiting and distorting the comments to manipulate voters as if they where kids.

I for one was still willing to ignore the racist campaign in South Carolina and vote for Clinton in a general election. But now I can’t justify my people being used as a disposable pawn throughout this cycle. If Obama doesn’t win I’ll probably be voting for Ralph Nader. My mother has said she would write Obama’s name in. Meanwhile my dad and grandmother both feel Clinton would be better over McCain. With so much attention focusing on swing states, shouldn’t key demographics be viewed as important too?

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Black Matters, Media, Politics

Obama Transcends Race in Speech

Obama’s campaign has so far tried to ignore race, but in the past couple of weeks supporters of both Hillary and Obama injected it into the campaign. But his speech has far superseded a summary of black history, or him distancing himself from blacks. He transcended mere hues and instead showed that all of us middle class, lower class, and even the rich liberals should not let the few selfish divide us with the same petty sidetracks.

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.

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.

Without alienating his pastor he condemned the mans remarks without condemning the man, which shows his campaign can even reach out to the person, without endorsing their ideas. He even seemed to condemn the harsh reaction to Geraldine Ferraro’s racial comments, “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. But if we do, I can tell you that in the next election, we’ll be talking about some other distraction.”

He also finally challenged some of those comments that he wasn’t black enough:

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.

It was really an amazing speech that didn’t play the race card, and hopefully didn’t further alienate anyone from his campaign. You can read the entire transcript at his website.

Filed under: '08 Election, Black Matters, Politics

Barack Obama and Islamophobia

When this election cycle began I expected a fair amount of shovanism, homophobia (because of Giuliani) and racism.

What I didn’t expect was anti-Muslim sentiments against a Christian candidate running for president. Perhaps this has reached a climax with debate moderator Tim Russert asking about Farrakhans endorsement of Obama.

Then Hilary Clinton tried to gain points by saying, “You asked specifically if he [Obama] would reject it [the endorsement] and there’s a difference between denouncing and rejecting.” Obama replied, “If the word ‘reject’ Senator Clinton feels is stronger than the word ‘denounce’, then I’m happy to concede the point and I would reject and denounce [Farrakhan]”

Obama went on to clarify his position on the issue:

I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support. He expressed pride in an African-American who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can’t censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we’re not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan.

This isn’t the first time Islamphobia has creeped into the 2008 election. Previously both the McCain and Clinton campaign have made a big deal of Obama’s middle name, which is Hussein. Then there are the leaked photos that are designed to conjure images of radical Muslims in turbines.

But a major point of Obamas campaign has been about uniting people. He wants to see Democrats and Republicans, black and white, Mid West and East Coast all work together. Perhaps one of the most divisive divides today is none of the above, but Jew versus Muslim.

Obama needs to reach out to both groups if his message of unity is authentic. If he truly denounces Farakhan as a whole he will be alienating black Muslims. What he can do is reject his anti-Semitism which he has done. Besides, in recent years Farrakhan has even denounced his own anti-Semintic comments.

But apparently many in Jewish community realize this was a game to score cheap points. Here’s what Jewish newspaper Haartez says:

Obama, talking about Farrakhan – and about anti-Semitism among African-Americans, which he also denounced in his speech on Martin Luther King Day – touched a sensitive nerve when he was talking about one possibility that’s inherent to his candidacy: he has the chance to restore the alliance between blacks and Jews.

This will not necessarily get Obama the votes of every Jewish liberal in this country. But it is also one promise that no American liberal Jew can simply ignore.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Politics, Religion

Why Some Democrats Hate Hilary Clinton

Hilary would hand the election to Republicans. Republicans hate her because she has stood up to all their attacks and came out stronger. This shear hate would motivate non voting Republicans to show up.

Secondly this whole MLK flap, claiming Obama was a drug dealer, circulating fake Muslim rumors, and claiming Bill was the first black president has harmed her standing with African Americans, an important voting block even in a general election. We might just stay home if she wins.

Third Hilary is a polarizing figure. Her polarization in the primaries will turn off many Democrats from voting for her in a general election. Unless she of course can make us hate the Republicans so much we vote for her.

Lastly Kucinich who I support the most, will be giving his votes to Obama in case he doesn’t bring in enough to participate in the convention.

Also a pro Hilary union is suing to shutdown at-large voting locations that are in places where many Latinos vote. Apparently it’s thought the Latinos in Nevada will go for Obama. Talk about infringing on voting rights.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Black Matters, , , , , , , , , ,

GOP Anti Immigration Stance Harming Party

One day white people will be a minority. And just like blacks remember the advances for civil rights made under the Kennedy/LBJ administration, Hispanics will remember Republicans vilified them in the ’06, ’07 and ’08 elections. With a new poll from Pew Research showing Latinos prefer Democrats to Republicans by 2:1 spells bad news for the GOP.

Now I know some of you may be thinking that “The Republicans anti-illegal immigration stance is not racism.” But in one example of more blatant racism, the Republicans skipped a debate on Univisión. Republicans use codewords like “illegal immigrant” and “states rights” to communicate ideas that if expressed as “Latino” and “Black” would anger the few conservatives of color in the GOP.

This policy is already not working for the party, if not backfiring. In the Virginia 2008 elections Republicans unsuccessfully used anti-immigration scare tactics to win seats on the county and state level. But the Republican party lost seats in Virginia’s senate giving Democrats a majority, and failed to gain any new seats in the Virginia House.

Why must the GOP resort to singling out groups like gays, Blacks, and Latinos to win an election? Because the Republican party truly represents the rich and the corporations and they must find a way to appeal to the “little man” without offending Corporate America. But with Whites (especially the racist component) quickly dwindling it looks rough times for Americas corporations and wealthy.

To be wholly honest the Republicans will be attending a makeup debate on Univisión  after seeing the diastorous results of skipping the first. I’m sure they’ll make more enemies than friends there, but it will still be interesting to see the response. Unfortunately they’re still ignoring the African American vote, just last week they skipped the Brown & Black Presidential Forum.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, Immigration, Politics

America For Sale

George Bush has been the only president to cut taxes in a time of a war. Consequently the US has a record deficit. And here we have Fred Thompson using a text book example of failed Reaganomics. He wants to cut taxes and increase milatary spending.

Thompson said Tuesday he wants a military ground force that includes 775,000 in the Army and 225,000 Marines. That would be 23,000 more Marines than the Pentagon currently is seeking.

Thompson didn’t say how he would pay for or recruit those forces. He did say that military spending should be set at 4.5 percent of the value of the goods and services the nation creates, or gross domestic product. His campaign later said that would be the equivalent of increasing current military spending by up to $150 billion a year, but that increases would be phased in and depend on economic growth.

This is fine for the selfish baby boomer generation. They get to use social security, receive tax cuts, wage wars for cheaper oil… and the best thing for them: they don’t have to pay a cent. The current administration is leaving a precarious financial situation for future generations, because the kids, teens, and young adults of today will be paying for their parents deficit.

But Fred Thompson wants to increase the ground forces of Americas military to 1,000,000 men. The Republican presidential contenders are all working to beat each other in claims of increasing military size. These tax cuts and wars mostly benefit the rich (especially the FairTax because it leaves the wealthy with a large amount of untaxed income) and corporations.
Iraq sits on $30 trillion worth of oil, and the only reason America is still fighting a costly war is because the Iraqi Parliament still hasn’t ceded it’s oil fields to American companies. As soon as such legalisation is passed troop reductions (and consequently the war bill) will drop. But of course the Iraqis don’t want to hand $30 trillion to the US, so we continue to fight for BOil, and give Big Oil tax breaks.

I’m glad Obama was honest and said we need to raise Social Security tax, because anyone else who won’t raise taxes is buying the vote with your tax dollars. But Americans are selfish people, and ideas like Hilary’s $5000 “baby bond” cash giveaway, and the Republicans tax cuts are ways for them to buy the American democracy. And once they do that they’ll sell it to the corporate interests that will buy them.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics

Maybe Ron Paul Is Good After All

Libertarianism is about unrestricted freedom, and so is the Internet. So it’s not surprising that Ron Paul and the Internet where a natural match. He has uploaded the most videos to YouTube, and claims to have raised $3 million online in one day.

But I’m no where near endorsing Ron Paul. My point is that the people are taking back the press – and this is due to the Internet. Today the local elections occur in my state of Virginia. After doing my usual round of blog posting I went to check how many visits I had on my local blog. And today that blog had a record number of visits – greater than when one of our residents was killed in India (don’t you love local news).

But I’m not here to brag about it’s visits. Most of the people who visited my site where searching for information about one of the candidates. Due to the local newspapers inability to have a reasonably good online presence, those searching for information came to my site. Hopefully I influenced some peoples views.

But there’s one problem, in Reston I’ve found only a handful of other blogs, most echoing generally my beliefs. On my blog I do have an agenda to pass, and that’s where the danger enters in. Those searching for information get only one view. That’s why blogging and other Web 2.0 activities are so important, especial for people who can’t vote, but still want a say, like teens and “illegal” immigrants.

The web has become an inseparable part of our Democracy and everyone needs to contribute. Maybe you don’t have time to write a blog post – but certainly if you’re already online you can post a comments. But it’s time for more than just geeks, liberals, and youth to give back the power of the press. If America will work we all need to use our first amendment rights.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics

Giuliani Exaggerates Again, This Time Fakes Cancer Stats

Rudy Giuliani has been trying to humanize himself lately, today he was picking pumpkins New Hampshire. But that’s not what I want to talk about, he also mentioned his battle with prostate cancer over the weekend. He says “That in America the survival rate for prostate cancer is 82%, while it’s 44% in England.” He elaborates that “He may have not survived if the health care system had been socialized.”

After doing a quick Google search, I found Cancer Research UK says that the survival rate in England is 72%. But Giuliani’s contrast wasn’t to highlight cancer survival rates, it was to complain about a system in which he believes “Americans will be forced to be part of government health care system.” Interestingly, the statistic he cited was 28 points off, just like his other claims.

If you remember New York City was attacked twice while Rudy was mayor. The first was the 1993 World Trade Center Bombings. He took five years to establish a central command center, despite calls after the terrorist attack to build one. And guess where he put it? In the same complex that had been attacked. He also ignored warnings about faulty radios, which resulted in the unnecessary death of many firefighters.

Most of all he hid the dangers of the World Trade Center dust after 9/11. In an article published in the September 2007 Discover magazine, they report on a class action lawsuit of 10,000 individuals, most of who have come down with illnesses as a result of 9/11. Many of these people suffering from rare disease due to the local, state, and federal government covering up damage to Lower Manhattan to preserve real estate values.

Giulani knew the New York economy would be hurt if people knew Lower Manhattans dangers, so he instead sold New Yorkers and Americans to real estate interests. And now he claims to be a patriotic terrorist fighter?

Filed under: '08 Election, Politics

Dems and GOP Want More War

America might be becoming a nation of war hawks. In 2004 Bush said Kerry had no plan for the War on Terror. So now each candidate is coming up with a pubilcily shared plan. In fact it seems a clone of Bush’s, violence for violence.

Now Tom Tancredo, says we should attack Muslim holy sites, if terrorists first attack us. Considering the remarks he’s made about immigration, it’s no surprise that region by region he’s declaring war on the world. But Obama’s statement was the really surprising one, considering he promotes himself as a reconciler. And Hilary’s claim that Obama is to soft to become president was also a veiled threat of more violence.

I hope this esacalation in tought talk, is just talk and nothing more. We can not win the War on Terror by violently attacking perceived threats. Instead we need to focus on soultions to the root of the problem. Kicking our dependence on oil. Giving finacial, educational, and health aid to at risk middle eastern and African nations. We need a president who is compassionate but decisive, we do not need a(nother) king.

Filed under: '08 Election, American Politics, War & Peace