HRC Colombia ties don’t stop with Penn
By EAMON JAVERS 4/7/08 6:56 PM EST

Mark Penn isn’t the only Hillary Rodham Clinton supporter on the wrong side of the Colombia trade agreement.

The Democratic-leaning advocacy firm the Glover Park Group, former home to Clinton campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson, signed a $40,000 per month contract with the government of Colombia in April of 2007 to promote the very agreement that Clinton now rails against on the presidential campaign trail.

That means Glover Park Group was arguing the same position on the free trade agreement as has Penn, the contentious Clinton strategist and Burson-Marsteller chief executive who lost his campaign job over the weekend after The Wall Street Journal revealed that he’d met with Colombian officials to plot strategy on the pact.

Several other Glover Park employees have deep connections with the Clintons, including founding partner Joe Lockhart, who served as the White House press secretary under President Bill Clinton, and Joel Johnson, who was a senior communications adviser in the Clinton White House.

Six employees of Glover Park Group contributed a total of nearly $20,000 to Clinton’s campaign in 2007, according to data kept by the Center for Responsive Politics.

Wolfson, who is set to take over many responsibilities from the departing Penn, resigned from Glover Park last year to avoid conflicts of interest but retains an equity interest in the firm.

The tangled web of connections on the trade issue inside the Clinton camp illustrates the thin line in Washington between private and political advocacy.

Top campaign aides often spend their off-election years inside large firms with a complex array of clients. The benefit of such arrangements is that a party or candidate’s political brain-trust remains largely intact and ready to assemble quickly for the next political battle.

Republicans have trotted down this path for years. Republican presidential hopeful John McCain’s campaign is led by current and former lobbyists, some of whom are connected to such political boogiemen as subprime lenders.

But it’s a trickier course for Democrats since their candidates often adopt populist themes that can conflict with a corporate client list.

Indeed, the latest Clinton brouhaha is a classic example of that.

The New York senator is using an anti-trade message to win over working class voters in Pennsylvania, a presidential primary most observers believe she must win big on April 22 to stay competitive with Democratic challenger Barack Obama, who also opposes the deal.

“We’ve got to have new trade policies before we have new trade deals,” Clinton said last week. “That includes no trade deal with Colombia while violence against trade unionists continues in that country.”

To avoid tarnishing either candidates or clients, many advisers take on voluntary campaign roles so the two can’t be directly linked. Others seek to distance themselves from their private employers while working in the public arena. And a few, like Penn, try to walk a tightrope by keeping both jobs at the same time.

Over the weekend, Penn tripped. After taking a break from Clinton’s anti-trade campaign to meet with his pro-trade Colombian clients, both parties dropped him.

So, not only Penn, but Wolfson too.

Uh huh.

Now Wolfson DID resign to go to the Clinton campaign (unlike Penn), but still gets PAID by the firm, because of equity in the firm……….this should remind you of someone else…..hint hint…The Evil One ::::cough:::Haliburton::::cough::::

I’m blogging this as much for the information as for the direct style of journalism from Jake Tapper over at ABC who calls a spade a spade. No “misstatements” here.

First the video:

Now the headline/story: In Oregon, Clinton Makes False Claim About Her Iraq Record Vs. Obama’s

In Eugene, Ore., Saturday. Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., attempted to change the measure by which anyone might assess who criticized the Iraq war first, her or Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., by saying those keeping records should start in January 2005, when Obama joined the Senate. (A measure that conveniently avoids her October 2002 vote to authorize use of force against Iraq at a time that Obama was speaking out against the war.) She claimed that using that measure, she criticized the war in Iraq before Obama did.

But Clinton’s claim was false.

Clinton on Saturday told Oregonians, “when Sen. Obama came to the Senate he and I have voted exactly the same except for one vote. And that happens to be the facts. We both voted against early deadlines. I actually starting criticizing the war in Iraq before he did.”

It’s an odd way to measure opposition to the war — comparing who gave the first criticism of the war in Iraq starting in January 2005, ignoring Obama’s opposition to the war throughout 2003 and 2004. (And Clinton’s vote for it.)

But even if one were to employ this “Start Counting in January 2005″ measurement, Clinton did not criticize the war in Iraq first.

There’s a ridiculous pattern out of the Clinton campaign of moving the goal post and changing the rules and measurement in just the right way to make her look good.

In the nominating contest, after Obama won Iowa, they said, “it’s about pledged delegates.” As his number of state victories increased, they said, “it’s not about number of states, it’s about the size of the state.” Then they said it was about popular vote. Then democratic voters only. Then hypothetical electoral college votes.

This week, they’ll say: if you look only at the votes of white women 60 and older who voted for the war, Hillary Clinton holds a commanding lead over Barack Obama.

In the Iraq argument above, even when they change the rules in a way that will only favor Hillary, it doesn’t work, because…

Scrambling to support their boss’s claim, Clinton campaign officials pointed to a paper statement Clinton issued on Jan. 26, 2005, explaining her vote to confirm Condoleezza Rice as Secretary of State.

“The Administration and Defense Department’s Iraq policy has been, by any reasonable measure, riddled with errors, misstatements and misjudgments,” the January 2005 Clinton statement said. “From the beginning of the Iraqi war, we were inadequately prepared for the aftermath of the invasion with too few troops and an inadequate plan to stabilize Iraq.”

But Obama offered criticisms of the war in Iraq eight days before that, directly to Rice, in his very first meeting as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Jan. 18.

Tapper goes on to say “The misrepresentation of the record is symbolic of the re-writing of history Clinton has attempted on her record regarding the war in Iraq.”

It’s worth reading the entire article. Hillary said setting a date would embolden the enemy. She saw suicide bombings as a sign that the insurgency was near its end. She sounded just like Bush/Cheney well into this failed policy. The fact that she has escaped “vetting” on the greatest foreign policy blunder in a generation, which she facilitated, is incredible.

If you care to read more about Hillary’s support of this illegal, immoral and unnecessary war, check out part two of my “Why I Don’t Support Hillary” series — No War For Polls — which I wrote back in November.

The short version is this: Hillary has all to often not demonstrated the leadership qualities necessary to be president. She has had many choices available to her, but she has chosen the course of short term gain (mocking Obama supporters, fuzzy mathematical hypotheticals, Jeremiah Wright dissing, Muslim fear flaming).

Having a Clinton name join those of Senator Byrd and Feingold and others in opposing this war would have created more political space for those on the fence to do the right thing. It would have changed the narrative of anti-war activists and given the American people, the Iraqi people and the US Constitution the bolstering we all needed during a time of immense pressure, fear-mongering and manipulation.

It’s not just that she voted for and spoke out in favor of this war. It’s that she gave up an opportunity to oppose it. She gave up an opportunity to lead.

When word came this weekend that Mark Penn had been fired, I admit that I was suspicious. Seems as if maybe that suspicion is warranted.

From The Talking Points Memo:

Full Firing? Or Just Gelded?
04.06.08 — 11:00PM By Josh Marshall
Is Penn really out? Completely, positively out?

Here’s the statement …

Statement from Maggie Williams
After the events of the last few days, Mark Penn has asked to give up his role as Chief Strategist of the Clinton Campaign; Mark, and Penn, Schoen and Berland Associates, Inc. will continue to provide polling and advice to the campaign.

Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson will coordinate the campaign’s strategic message team going forward.

The campaign statement says Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson are taking over strategy and message. But Garin’s a pollster. So the logic of the situation says he’s taking over the polling. But it doesn’t actually say that. Meanwhile the statement does conspicuously go out of its way to say that Penn and his firm will not only keep doing polling but also keep advising the campaign.

I’m going to have to wait to hear from some of my DC Dem consultant/polling community friends to get more of a feel for what happened here. Because if he was really sacked, the sacking announcement sort of reads like he helped draft it.

When you figure how much grief this swaggering oaf has caused the Clinton campaign, if you’re going to can him you’d think you would want to present it as something of a clean break, even if in the background some ties might actually remain. Yet the statement seems to have been massaged in such a way as to leave the murkiest of impressions.

Add me to the skeptics pile.

This Washington Post story Civil Rights Groups Seeing Gradual End of Their Era ends with this sentence though I’d like to start my response with it. It quotes E. Ethelbert Miller:

“What would happen if W.E.B. Du Bois or Marcus Garvey had a laptop?” Du Bois helped found the NAACP in 1909, and Garvey, a rival, started a back-to-Africa movement around the same time.

We are the answer to that question. In the vacuum of black leadership 40 years after Martin Luther King’s death, it’s his spiritual grandchildren that are carrying his mission forward now and not the civil rights groups he might have recognized. From the WaPo piece (emphasis mine):

In New York, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), which helped shape the movement’s philosophy after adopting Mohandas K. Gandhi’s doctrine of nonviolent protest, is scarcely known outside Manhattan. CORE conceded that it now has about 10 percent of the 150,000 members it listed in the 1960s.

In Baltimore, the near-century-old NAACP, which tore down racial barriers with deft lawyering in the courts, recently cut a third of its administrative staff because of budget shortfalls. For decades, the NAACP asserted that it was the largest civil rights group, with about half a million dues-paying members, but one of its former presidents recently acknowledged that it has fewer than 300,000.
Charles Steele, president and chief executive of the SCLC, acknowledged that squabbling nearly doomed his organization. But, he said, the SCLC is coming back. The group says it has 150,000 members at more than 70 branches, but a 2004 analysis by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution showed that only 730 members paid the $25 membership dues.

Let me break it down for y’all: Color of Change now has over 400,000 members — 25% more than the NAACP. Over 100,000 unique visitors now read this blog at Jack and Jill Politics each month (and growing fast), putting our audience soon at perhaps 10 times that of CORE. Let’s not even talk about the SCLC.

We — you reading this blog and me writing it — we are Civil Rights 2.0. WaPo (sort of) acknowledges, stating:

Today, radio deejays, Internet groups such as Color of and organizations such as the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights are orchestrating bus rides, marches and other actions once performed by civil rights groups.
When six black teenagers in Jena, La., were being prosecuted as adults last year in the beating of a white classmate, the local branch of the NAACP played a small role in defending their rights, but it was Color of that secured their release.

Activist Al Sharpton learned about the Jena incident on the radio long after it started. Radio talk-show host Michael Baisden ranted about Jena throughout his program and helped organize bus tours to the town.

Strangely, the article doesn’t mention the role of black bloggers in aiding Color of Change and in publicizing the Jena case. We kept the story alive and made sure the facts got reported right. A strange oversight indeed since the media covered our involvement pretty extensively at the time, e.g. Chicago Tribune – Blogs Help Drive Jena Protest and NPR – Bloggers A Force Behind Jena Protests.

But shoot, you and I know what time it is. What if Martin Luther King or Stokely Carmichael and the Black Panthers had had laptops and high speed internet access…? And blogs? Hmmm…

BTW — the WaPo also spelled Stokely’s name wrong “Stokly”. Dag — that ain’t right.

Misspeak #1- Healthcare related.


Oops. Another Clinton Story Turns Out To Be Not So True
Posted by Karen Tumulty
April 5, 2008 7:34

I’ve heard Hillary Clinton tell the story many times in speeches, and it rarely fails to bring a horrified gasp from the crowd: An uninsured and pregnant Ohio woman, working for minimum wage at a pizza parlor, is turned away from a hospital because she can’t come up with $100. The baby dies, and so does the woman. Clinton talks about how this woman haunts her, and how stories like this show the moral imperative–and the urgency–of fixing a badly broken health care system. (You can see a video here.)

Except, it turns out, it didn’t happen–at least, apparently, not the way Clinton said it did. There was indeed a tragedy last August in Athens, Ohio, in which a woman, Trina Bachtel, gave birth to a stillborn baby and subsequently died herself. But the New York Times reports this morning that the hospital involved says Bachtel had coverage,and received treatment.

The story was NEVER verified by the ‘ Ready on Day One’ campaign. How professional of them.

Misspeak #2 – Iraq War Related


In an interview today, Hillary ” Tonya Harding” Clinton says:

Obama has been credited with foreseeing a troublesome war in Iraq primarily due to a speech he gave in 2002 while he was a state senator, where he spoke out against the war. Clinton said, “I started criticizing the war in Iraq before he did. So, I’m well aware that his entire campaign is premised on a speech he gave in 2002 and I give him credit for making that speech. But that was not a decision.”

Um, ok….

This is Barack Obama – October 2, 2002:

Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don’t oppose all wars.

My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.

I don’t oppose all wars.

After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such a tragedy from happening again.

I don’t oppose all wars. And I know that in this crowd today, there is no shortage of patriots, or of patriotism. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other arm-chair, weekend warriors in this Administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.

What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income – to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression.

That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics.

Now let me be clear – I suffer no illusions about Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal man. A ruthless man. A man who butchers his own people to secure his own power. He has repeatedly defied UN resolutions, thwarted UN inspection teams, developed chemical and biological weapons, and coveted nuclear capacity.

He’s a bad guy. The world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him.

But I also know that Saddam poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors, that the Iraqi economy is in shambles, that the Iraqi military a fraction of its former strength, and that in concert with the international community he can be contained until, in the way of all petty dictators, he falls away into the dustbin of history.

I know that even a successful war against Iraq will require a US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences. I know that an invasion of Iraq without a clear rationale and without strong international support will only fan the flames of the Middle East, and encourage the worst, rather than best, impulses of the Arab world, and strengthen the recruitment arm of al-Qaeda.

I am not opposed to all wars. I’m opposed to dumb wars.

So for those of us who seek a more just and secure world for our children, let us send a clear message to the president today. You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s finish the fight with Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, through effective, coordinated intelligence, and a shutting down of the financial networks that support terrorism, and a homeland security program that involves more than color-coded warnings.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells.

You want a fight, President Bush? Let’s fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn’t simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil.

Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair.

The consequences of war are dire, the sacrifices immeasurable. We may have occasion in our lifetime to once again rise up in defense of our freedom, and pay the wages of war. But we ought not – we will not – travel down that hellish path blindly. Nor should we allow those who would march off and pay the ultimate sacrifice, who would prove the full measure of devotion with their blood, to make such an awful sacrifice in vain.

This was given EIGHT DAYS before Hillary ” Tonya Harding” Clinton voted to authorize this war.

Did she read the NIE Report before casting her vote? NO.

Did I miss where she APOLOGIZED for her vote?

Thanks to LeftyCoaster at DailyKos for finding this:

Here’s how Hillary explained her vote for the War 14 months later after the war was already going very wrong.

Remarks by Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton
December 15, 2003
Council on Foreign Relations

I was one who supported giving President Bush the authority, if necessary, to use force against Saddam Hussein. I believe that that was the right vote. I have had many disputes and disagreements with the administration over how that authority has been used, but I stand by the vote to provide the authority because I think it was a necessary step in order to maximize the outcome that did occur in the Security Council with the unanimous vote to send in inspectors. And I also knew that our military forces would be successful. But what we did not appreciate fully and what the administration was unprepared for was what would happen the day after.

Hillary was worried about maintaining support for the War in Iraq:

I worry a lot about how difficult it will be in the political arena to stay the course…

I found this over at the blog- The Field.

Convince the Superdelegate

The Field announces the opportunity of the 2008 campaign…

Convince a Superdelegate!

Yes, that’s right, folks. Here at Dr. Al’s School for Gifted Commenters, we’ve got a live one: Debra Kozikowski – a.k.a. The Boss – is a living, breathing and uncommitted Superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention in August.

She’s been uncommitted ever since her candidate, John Edwards, left the contest.

Some minutes ago, on another thread, she posted this invitation right here on The Field:

“Here’s your challenge. Think about me wearing my super duper hat reading your posts. Convince me why I should deliver my superdelegate vote to Senator Obama or for the minority here who support Senator Clinton — you too can rise to the ocassion with civility and grace.”

Yee-ha! You, and only you, Field Hands, have the chance to succeed at what the candidates and their surrogates have so far not achieved: Putting forth your best cases for why Superdelegate Deb Kozikowski should cast her vote in August for your candidate.

I know that our readers here at Jack and Jill Politics can write quite eloquently as to whom they believe Ms.Kozikowski should support. All you have to do is register and a ‘ clean’ response will be published by the Head Blogger – Al Giordano.

I look forward to reading some convincing arguments over there. I’ve already given my two responses…LOL

Sins Of Omission

5 Apr 2008

From the WaPo’s story on Civil Rights Organizations:

When six black teenagers in Jena, La., were being prosecuted as adults last year in the beating of a white classmate, the local branch of the NAACP played a small role in defending their rights, but it was Color of that secured their release.

Activist Al Sharpton learned about the Jena incident on the radio long after it started. Radio talk-show host Michael Baisden ranted about Jena throughout his program and helped organize bus tours to the town.

Said Miller: “What would happen if W.E.B. Du Bois or Marcus Garvey had a laptop?” Du Bois helped found the NAACP in 1909, and Garvey, a rival, started a back-to-Africa movement around the same time. “As you know with the African American community, we got to this stuff late.”

Huh. Black radio…Color of Change…word…But are they missing anyone who might have had a hand in getting that event together?

It’s okay. Ask Sharpton and the NAACP right now whether they think black blogs are worth ignoring. Plus the WaPo doesn’t actually like blogs that aren’t run by right-wing nutbags peddling conspiracy theories.

And what’s with the CP time as the kicker?

I almost sprained my brain on this one. This is how the Republicans plan to take down Obama? By calling him racist and comparing him to Adolf Hitler? Media Matters has all the deets. WOW. They really are desperate.

COLMES: Why are you calling him a racist?

COULTER: Because we — the topic we were supposed to be talking about in this segment, Sean — my column this week. I’m the only person in America who has read Obama’s autobiography –

COLMES: You know, as a matter of fact –

COULTER: — and all he has a racial hair-trigger, he’s a complete loon. All he talks about is constantly being offended. And Mr. Unity attacks Sean Hannity and me.

COLMES: All right, you said in your piece –


COULTER: — and now we’re offended.

HANNITY: Me and you in the same sentence –

COLMES: Hold on, we only have a second left. You said, if only — you might want to take a peek at Obama and what he writes — “if only people had read ‘Mein Kampf’ … “


COLMES: So in other words, he would be as dangerous as Hitler?

COULTER: No. He’s a dimestore Mein Kampf.

COLMES: Oh, he’s a two-bit Hitler?

COULTER: But yes. It is absolute racialist. If you read Mein Kampf –

COLMES: I see.

COULTER: — it’s all about his Germanic heritage. And this is — OK, go read it. If you don’t believe me –

COLMES: All right, I see.

COULTER: — you want to read the CliffsNotes version in my column.

COLMES: We should be as wary of Obama as they should have been of Hitler in Nazi Germany?

COULTER: If only people had read Mein Kampf.

Ummmm. What do you think?

Straight Talk? Not so much. More like a nervously, poorly and insincerely read hacky speech (transcript here). It also contains a lie. In his April 4 speech in Memphis, McCain said:

I remember first learning what had happened here on the 4th of April, 1968, feeling just as everyone else did back home, only perhaps even more uncertain and alarmed for my country in the darkness that was then enclosed around me and my fellow captives. In our circumstances at the time, good news from America was hard to come by.

Wow — he must have been powerfully moved by the death of MLK while in Vietnam right? No, in 1987, he said of his POW guards (emphasis mine):

They never gave us any meaningful news,” McCain said. “They told us the day that Martin Luther King was shot, they told us the day that Bobby Kennedy was shot, but they never bothered to tell us about the moon shot. So it was certainly selected news.”

In fact, sounds like he actually felt differently from most Americans then. His moral compass pointed in the wrong direction, just as it still does on so many issues like civil rights, Iraq and the economy.

For reasons that are unclear, the media is not pushing very hard on John McCain for his former hard, repeated opposition to the Martin Luther Luther King holiday. Markos lists his weak excuses and explanations for his opposition and turnaround here and here. The fact that he would even be allowed to mention MLK’s name in public feels somehow insulting to me. McCain would have us believe that he made a single mistake and then got educated. Instead, there’s a disturbing pattern and for some reason, a Free Ride for McCain.

Color of Change sent out an email today to its members (including me) that breaks it down with a link to more facts (emphasis mine):

In August 1983 he fought the holiday, voting to block a piece of bipartisan legislation honoring him that was supported by even conservative Republicans–including Dick Cheney–and signed into law by President Reagan.

McCain went on to resist recognizing a King holiday in his home state of Arizona.
When Arizona’s state legislature failed to pass a bill recognizing a holiday honoring Dr. King, the governor at the time,
Bruce Babbit, created the holiday by executive order. Babbit’s
successor, Gov. Evan Mecham rescinded the order as his first act in
office, doing away with the holiday. John McCain’s response? He defended the governor, not Dr. King. (After undoing the holiday, the same governor went on to publicly support referring to Black people as “pickaninnies”).

In 1990, seven years after his initial vote, McCain went along with
establishing a King holiday. On the campaign trail in 2000, facing
questions about his history on this issue, McCain declared he had

Looking at the rest of McCain’s public record, even recently, it’s
hard to see much evidence of an “evolution”. In fact, McCain has
consistently opposed a civil rights agenda:

  • He voted an amazing FOUR times against the Civil Rights Act of 1990–a bill designed to make it easier for employees to prove job discrimination and imposing harsher penalties on bosses who discriminated.
  • In 2004 he opposed affirmative action in college admissions–a key component of the 1964 Civil Rights Act that is among King’s key legislative victories.
  • He has voted at least 8 times against raising the minimum wage.
  • And as recently as last month, he argued against federal
    intervention to help Americans, disproportionately Black Americans, who have faced foreclosure during the housing crisis.

Evolved? I don’t think so. It says a lot that no one in his campaign thought it might look um, inappropriate and servile to have a black man holding McCain’s umbrella as he spouted a whole lot of words with no feeling in them.

What I think is that he waved the white flag of surrender to public opinion on Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. His symbolic gestures of opposition were popular with a shrinking group of people. He got booed at his own event when he admitted to voting against the King holiday (video here at ThinkProgress). Now he’s reduced to shufflin’ mumblin’ and dissemblin’ on his record. Let’s keep on the heat. Wow — it must really gall ol’ Archie Bunker McCain that he’s likely to have to run against Barack Obama.

I’ll be speaking at an event tonight and knocking on doors or recruiting more volunteers the rest of the weekend. Blogging volume will take a hit :)

I got home at 11:18pm, and as I walked in the door a Twitter friend said he saw Jack & Jill Politics mentioned on CNN. It was Anderson Cooper 360, and my Tivo was already on it. The subject: pressure on black superdelegates to support Obama.

The piece referenced Color of Change explicitly and showed screenshots of JJP and Skeptical Brotha (ironically on the day he dropped his own support for Obama). It’s two four minutes. See below

There are serious problems with this reporting, and it illustrates the information problem we have with incumbent media providers who cannot or will not take a 360-degree view of the issues. Let me enumerate.

1. As far as I know, none of the black bloggers referenced in the piece were invited to comment directly on CNN.

Skeptical Brotha and JJP certainly were not. I would happily have jetted over to the Time Warner Center in Columbus Circle to add some much-needed context. I’m right here yo! I know TV time moves quickly, but they had a responsibility to at least call. They have our number.

2. Anderson and Soledad are not well-versed on the issue.

I’m not saying they are malicious, but they lack the full perspective and analysis behind the effort to pressure black superdelegates, at least as its been discussed on this blog.

On Feb 29, rikyrah wrote the following:

The main thing is that they’re putting out there, in the MSM, that Black folk are pressuring them, for no good reason. Like, ‘ irrationally’, Black folk are demanding they switch their allegiance to Obama – JUST BECAUSE HE’S BLACK.

And, that’s simply not the case.

This came to me last night, and I’ll present it to you:

Imagine if this were any other ethnic group. They had one of ‘their own’ running, and the main competition race-baited/ethnic-baited ‘your own’.

Please explain to me what other ethnic group would remotely tolerate THEIR elected representative supporting the competition POST race-baiting?

Can you imagine it with ANY other group? Yeah, neither can I.

WE’RE the only ones who would allow this BS….and SHAME ON US.

That’s the key for me:::: POST RACE-BAITING::::

On Mar 6, I wrote the following

the additional point i was trying to make, about the African-American vote was not an attempt to compare hardships with women or any other group. i’m just tired of feeling held hostage. I think hillary could have made some much better choices in this campaign that were tough but without being so offensive and dismissive of this particular group of voters. there are ways to go negative, but pitting blacks against latinos or minimizing obama as “the black” candidate should not be on the table.

on jack and jill, many commenters and some of the bloggers have said they won’t support hillary specifically because of this. because it sets a bad precedent for future black candidates. it is not random rage but rather considered-judgment about the future and its prospects. often people reply (as wolfson did) and say, “well, the blacks will come back in the end.”

if we do, then we’re rewarding an extreme level of negativity and possibly sabotaging future black presidents. our blogger rikyrah has been the chief proponent of this line of thinking, but i pretty much agree with her.

3. Without comment from the bloggers and lacking insight themselves, Anderson and Soledad left it to the very black superdelegates being pressured and allowed them to frame the issue and “respond” as they saw fit.

This meant they framed the issue as “these black people want me to support Obama just because he’s black.” That is not the case, but such an oversimplified argument is easy to defend against.

To give some credit, Anderson and Soledad got half of the argument right, and it’s easy to see how they would simplify our position based on the Color of Change petition. They focus on the need for black superdelegates to vote with their districts, who voted overwhelmingly for Obama.

There are compelling reasons to buy this argument and Color of Change laid them out, tying them to historic issues of black representation. But to my mind, and certainly to rikyrah, the issue of voting with your district is not the main point (in fact, reps strictly voting with their constituents is not always a good idea. sometimes the voters are wrong or uninformed and need to be lead. see: Jim Crow)

No, the more serious issue that we’ve repeatedly been all over here at JJP is that black superdelegates who continue to support Clinton also support her nasty, divisive, race-baiting campaign tactics. By continuing to stand by her despite these repeated offenses against Obama, against the very black churches that keep many of these people in office, they are complicit in defining a roadmap that will be used to undermine future black candidates.

This is not just about supporting Obama. It’s about the future of black politics. It’s about holding the line on unacceptable behavior. It’s about taking a stand against tactics that would pit blacks against Latinos or would try to define any candidate like Obama as just black or would try to stoke the fears of Islam among a clearly-fearful populace.

Meeks and Cleaver would never provide this perspective because it’s too damning to them. They have no answer. There is no justification. They should, however, have been forced to address it. But Anderson and Soledad could not or would not do it. And when they gave “airtime” to black blogs, they put words in our mouths, framing the issue as a simple mathematical demand that the superdelegates vote with their districts.

We weren’t on CNN last night. A censored version of us was.

It’s in moments like these when I realize how revolutionary it is to be a part of this new medium. Just a few years ago, we would have to fume isolated from one another in our homes, ignorant of the existence of others like us. In the past, what happened on CNN would have been even more distorted.

We at least have an accessible forum in which to respond and promote a wider range of ideas. I’m beyond grateful to all of you who keep coming back and helping us raise the bar of political discourse in this country. What we’re doing here is so necessary. What we’re doing here is democracy.

Thank you,

Baratunde aka Jack Turner

Update at like 3am:
you can fill out this form to leave feedback for Anderson Cooper 360 if you share my concerns. Please be polite.

Update 6pm April 4
Color of Change posted a response in the comments. All should see it!

This is a great post.

ColorOfChange was contacted by CNN on Thursday evening and we got back to them on Friday morning. By that time, it was too late. We then sent them a statement that they asked for.

Unfortunately, they did not read that statement, and viewers were left to think that ColorOfChange members were asking superdelegates to vote for Obama because he is Black.

I think you’re hitting the point spot on: instead of allowing for a more complete version of events, Black superdelegates were allowed to frame the issue entirely, without any opposing viewpoint besides the cursory narration of the story. What makes this more problematic, is that CBC members continue to push a narrative that equates advocacy with threats and arm-twisting. It’s irresponsible and disrespectful to the people who go out of their way to send CBC members their informed concerns about how they are acting as superdelegates.

Finally, here’s our statement in full: uses the internet to empower our members to make government more responsive to the concerns of Black Americans and to bring about positive political and social change for everyone.

Our petition to pressure superdelegates is not about who wins the nomination; it’s about who gets to decide – we think the people’s voice should be decisive. Because we saw the possibility of Black elected officials using their votes as superdelegates to undermine the will of voters, we called on them to make clear they would not choose that course. The Congressional Black Caucus has long defended voting rights in Congress and our members insist that they maintain that commitment.

Along with 26,559 petition signatures, we have received thousands of comments from our members – they are critical, but fair and focused on a powerful message: ‘do not undermine the choice of the voters who put you in office’.

The bloggers here at Jack and Jill Politics didn’t choose to write anything formally about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

But, I believe we would be remiss if we didn’t just offer our readers the opportunity to drop their thoughts and feelings on what Dr. King meant to them.

Dr. King died before I was born, so my viewpoint of him is always in historical context. I didn’t get to know the real, complex Dr. King until I took a course in college on the writings of Dr. King. I was stunned by their depth. How this man was touched by powers beyond our grasp. He was a gift to Black America, then America, and finally the world.

I have written before that I believe Black Americans are the ‘truest’ Americans, because we’re the only populace in this country that has FOUGHT FOR America – not just in terms of putting on the uniform, picking up a gun and fighting in its wars – we’ve done that, going back to the Revolutionary War.

No, we’ve FOUGHT FOR America to live up to its creed. To live up to its promise -IN ACTUALITY – and nobody is a better example of this than Dr. King. While his fight could be described as one ‘ for the Negro’, in fact, Dr. King was trying to save America itself.

With the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, Dr. King achieved – legally – full citizenship for Black America. And, it only took nearly 200 years from the first gunshot fired in 1776.

But, he also understood the ECONOMIC component of all of this, and reading that about him made my esteem for him grow leaps and bounds, for that was the next step for him before he died.

He was 39 when he shot down at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, leaving a wife and four small children.


For me, I would like to thank him for the opportunities in life that I admit, I arrogantly usually don’t think about twice. To say that I appreciate what he did, well, appreciate is such an inadequate word.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968

cross-posted to goodCRIMETHINK

This is my final video dispatch from working in Texas for Obama. It’s an interview I did with Greer Westerink (whose video I posted almost a month ago). Greer lives in the Bay Area but was a caucus precinct captain for Obama in Las Vegas, NV. She and I spent hours working together in South Dallas, and she was always referring to the “ugliness” she saw from the Clinton campaign in Vegas.

I finally found a moment to ask her about it on camera. Here’s what she had to say

I just heard George Soros, the famous financier, talk about the financial crisis in the United States and his new book — The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Means. A quick snapshot of his thinking is available in the Financial Times. He believes that the crisis we face today is “the most severe since the 1930s.”

Most of our grandparents were around then. I’ve heard the stories. It sounded rough. Tough to find a job so you had to have 3 or 4 jobs. Tough to find decent, comfortable, safe housing for your family — that wasn’t provided by the government. Food was dear and not to be wasted. Christmas was happy — but lean.

I’m looking forward to reading the book. In the meantime, he said a few things this am that have relevance specifically for African-Americans. Soros believes that the worst case scenario — a total financial collapse — has been averted. Yet he said that the housing super-bubble has not yet fully burst and that there may be a temptation to over-correct. He believes that more regulation and oversight is needed, particularly around foreclosure. The right to foreclosure should remain in effect but be much more restricted because foreclosure tends to have detrimental social effects on communities.

Then he referenced black and latino communities. Housing relief will be needed. The housing market contributes to jobs and those are threatened now. In addition, he spoke of “Affluent African-Americans” noting with a hint of irony in his voice that we are the ones who had bought most into George Bush’s “Ownership Society”. He mentioned that Prince George’s County, home to the wealthiest African-Americans in the country had been “the hardest hit”.

Dark times are ahead, y’all. In Black America, the distance between poor, working class, middle class and affluent is not great and is often job-dependent. We tend to have more economic diversity still within our families. At least that’s the way it is in my family where I have 1st cousins who are corporate titans and professionals living in million-dollar homes and other 1st cousins who live in double-wide trailers and drive trucks for a living. Still all of them are homeowners and dream of a better life for their children and grandchildren — including a home, a job and college.

More than ever we will need to raise our voices to ensure that our interests are protected and not exploited. We have more African-Americans in positions of power than ever in American history. Now is the time for them to act — not just for our sakes but for that of all Americans like us who hope for better and easier lives — not harder, not poorer, not worse lives — for ourselves and our children’s children.

Jack Turner/Baratunde laid it down already here: CNN Does Disservice To Black Bloggers And JJP Specifically. I’ll just add my own 2 cents. I too found it interesting that CNN who has reached out to Jack and Jill Politics in the past chose to use the voices of the poor beleaguered black superdelegates without the voices of anyone from Color of Change or anyone from JJP to explain our campaign. Our emails are on the left and Baratunde has already been on CNN before, hey. Flashing our blog on a screen isn’t the same thing. That’s a disrespectful drive-by.

We have consistently supported here at JJP the concept of democracy and representation of our concerns by elected black people. It’s up to the people of Massachusetts to speak back to the Kennedys if they don’t like their representative choices. We ain’t worried about them. We concern ourselves here with the use of recently acquired African-American power to improve the lives of African-American people. We need black leaders to know that we are holding them accountable and that unrepresentative, self-serving backroom deals are unacceptable.

Here are the posts I’ve written in support of Color of Change’s position:

Politico Article Attacks Color of Change

February 29

Call on Black Superdelegates to Do the Right Thing
February 21

I find it interesting that well over a month later, CNN is bringing this effort to everyone’s attention. My question: Is there discussion within the CBC of moving allegiances from the race-baiting can’t win side to the momentum candidate who also happens to be a CBC Member? I wonder if we will be hearing soon of more African-American Members of Congress becoming superdelegates for Obama. Is this CNN story and its slant designed to provide some coverage to those who feel pressured through personal ties (rather than their constituents’ votes) to remain aligned with the Clintons? Whassup.

Here’s the text of the Color of Change petition which I have signed and which is respectful in its urgency. Please join me and sign on. Thanks if you are one of the thousands who have already done so. Let’s send a powerful message.

Dear Congressional Black Caucus Member,

Over the last several weeks, voters in CBC districts have spoken with clarity about their choice for President—they overwhelmingly support Barack Obama. But the clear mandate they’ve laid down is threatened by those in your ranks who as superdelegates may break away from their constituents to vote for Hillary Clinton.

The Congressional Black Caucus has worked hard to protect the political voice of Black Americans. You took the lead in 2000 and 2004, insisting that all votes be counted and that they count. Using your status as a superdelegate in 2008 to undermine the people’s will would be a tragic reversal.

I’m writing to ask that you use your power as a superdelegate to amplify the voice of the informed, engaged, and diverse electorate in your district and across Black America, not silence it. I urge you to make it clear that as a superdelegate, you will support the voters’ will.

We deserve elections determined by the electorate, not by insiders. And we need you to stand with us, as we speak in a strong voice about who we wish to see as the Democratic nominee.


[Your name]

Who We Are

Cheryl Contee aka "Jill Tubman", Baratunde Thurston aka "Jack Turner", rikyrah, Leutisha Stills aka "The Christian Progressive Liberal", B-Serious, Casey Gane-McCalla, Jonathan Pitts-Wiley aka "Marcus Toussaint," Fredric Mitchell

Special Contributors: James Rucker, Rinku Sen, Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, Adam Luna, Kamala Harris

Technical Contributor: Brandon Sheats


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