Sunday, August 31, 2008

NPR's Robert Siegel Irresponsible

Hours before Obama spoke, NPR's Robert Siegel interviewed "GOP media strategist" Stuart Stevens for his perspective.

What a pro this man is. With a history of building illusions of decency where there is none. His 2001 book, written after twisting the truth for the 2000 Bush/Cheney campaign, is called The Big Enchilada: Campaign Adventures with a Cockeyed Optimist from Texas who won the Biggest Prize in Politics.

So, with the Democratic Convention providing inspiring, intelligent speeches one right after another, this "spinner" had to play his response carefully.

Stevens started with flattery, calling Michelle Obama's speech "fantastic" - but then moved right into the never-explained criticism of "confusing agenda every night" and "the passion of a Unitarian wedding" - the kind of comments that make listeners question their perceptions, not actually addressing any real issues.

Then Stevens dropped the real and constant RNC weapon - FEAR.

The setup was that this was a convention that wasn't really designed for Obama, but for Hillary, so that's supposed to explain some imaginary discomfort.

See how Stevens slipped a phrase in, as follows (my emphasis):

The Obama campaign really ran as an anti-establishment candidacy, an insurgency candidacy, and a convention by definition is the ultimate establishment event.


He pinned the label "insurgency" on Barack Obama. You know, the enemy, the ones killing our troops, Al Quaeda, 9/11 - and so he planted the seed of terrorism into the ears of NPR listeners.

And Robert Siegel failed to bust him for this atrocious manipulation.

Terry Gross would have caught it. Diane Rehm, too.

That would be the work of a journalist.

There again, a journalist would have known more about the man he was interviewing. On that main page at Amazon for his 2001 paint-Bush-pretty book, under Editorial Reviews, Stevens is said to have as "his primary goal in designing [Bush's] TV spots was to make the Gore campaign "squeal like Ned Beatty in Deliverance.'"

So, this is the guy NPR chooses to talk to? This is a sick man, and this is the kind of media manipulation that has lead to the heartless, immoral crimes of the Bush/Cheney/Rove administration.

Shame on you, Robert.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

A Call for Democrats to Honor Stephanie Tubbs Jones by Spotlighting January 6, 2005

Last week’s death of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones should have meant so much to every American. Unfortunately, her greatest gift to American citizens and Democracy was largely ignored in the eulogies and obituaries of the mainstream press. It is no wonder, since acknowledging her gift would also reveal their failure to tell us the story when it happened.

Even sadder, Democrats, too, have shied away from acknowledging the Congresswoman’s significance, because then they would have to face their greatest failure AND greatest vulnerability for the 2008 election.

Still, here we are in the week of the Democratic Convention, and the tragedy of Stephanie Tubbs Jones leaving us while still young must surely warrant a dedicated moment of Honor before the world, and this timing gives Democrats – who should be sick of having their votes and elected offices stolen – the opportunity to shine a light on that glorious day, January 6th, 2005, when Congresswoman Tubbs Jones dared to stand up before the joint session of Congress to challenge the Ohio electoral vote count from the November 2004 election.
"Mr. Vice-President, I seek to object to the electoral votes of the State of Ohio."

Unlike 2000, when Vice President Al Gore had to dismiss the challenges raised by many Representatives -- because no Senator was willing to provide the necessary signature -- this time Senator Barbara Boxer rose alongside the Congresswoman. And in that moment, according to one of the few functioning journalists of the time, Bob Fitrakis of the Columbia Free Press, the Voting Rights movement was born.

Congresswoman Tubbs Jones continued, speaking to the House (my emphasis):

I’m duty-bound to follow the law and apply the law to the facts as I find them, and it is on behalf of those millions of Americans who believe in and value our Democratic process, and the right to vote, that I put forth this objection today. If they’re willing to stand at polls for countless hours in the rain as many did in Ohio, then I should surely stand up for them here in the halls of Congress.

This objection does not have at its root the hope or even the hint of overturning the victory of the president, but it is a necessary, timely, and appropriate opportunity to review and remedy the most precious process in our democracy. I raise this objection neither to put the nation in the turmoil of a proposed overturned election, nor to provide cannon fodder or partisan demagoguery for my fellow members of Congress. I raise this objection because I am convinced that we as a body must conduct a formal and legitimate debate about election irregularities. I raise this objection to debate the process, and protect the integrity of the true will of the people.

With this action that day, the report written by Congressman John Conyers, Jr. and the House Judiciary Committee Democratic Staff, based on the hearings they held in Ohio throughout December 2004, entitled Preserving Democracy: What Went Wrong in Ohio, was entered into the Congressional Record.

Still, the Voting Rights movement has been mostly an internet movement, and to this day, the most important issue facing us this November is still largely unknown to most Americans. It is not Iraq (or Afghanistan, or Iran, or now Russia), nor the Economy, nor Healthcare – no, not even Global Warming.

It is Election Theft, as demonstrated so clearly in Ohio in 2004 (see report above).

While it is not a partisan issue, per se, because ultimately all sides lose if we forfeit the value of the vote, the evidence indicates the beneficiary of voting machine errors, voter intimidation tactics, voter registration list purging, etc., has consistently been Republican candidates, from Bush/Cheney in 2004 to Congressman Brian Bilbray in San Diego County in 2006. Karl Rove's RNC operatives, and their corporate partners, have been very busy and very effective. And the more they get away with, the harder it will be to stop this corruption of the one tool that gives Americans Hope - their vote.

Yet, despite evidence brought forward by courageous election officials and Secretaries of State, computer scientists, data experts, citizen activists, and a few remaining investigative journalists and communicators, such as Mark Crispin Miller, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., Greg Palast, Brad Friedman, Stephen Rosenfeld, Dan Rather, and Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, most Americans have no idea how frightening real the problem of election theft is.

Why? Because the Democrats themselves have failed to demand fair and accurate elections. This is where they are, as accused, weak on National Defense.

You see, National Defense is not about weapons aimed at other countries. It’s not about wiretaps aimed at citizens.

National Defense needs to be about BRIGHT LIGHTS aimed at the treacherous actions of partisan operatives to manipulate election results.

National Defense should be about BROADCAST MICROPHONES aimed at those who have investigated, and those who have witnessed, and those who have been turned away when they tried to vote.

So, if the Democratic Convention this week has a goal of putting Barack Obama in the White House, then those Democratic leaders who stand before the world need to be willing to say:

We will not let this election be stolen. Our votes will be counted accurately. We now know what has happened before, and this time we won’t be intimidated into conceding.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones told Bob Fitrakis in a 2005 interview:

Here I was placed. I’m the only African American member of Congress in the state of Ohio. I’m in a position to raise the issue. If I don’t, then God’s gonna say, "Why would I put you there if you didn’t have -- if you didn’t do it?"

So, Senator Clinton, you can do this. You can shake the rafters by honoring your dear friend and outspoken supporter, Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones. This could be the greatest gift you give all Americans, the sign that you are a true leader.

Kennedys all, come forward. You know the truth. One of your own, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. has already stood up, and so should the rest of the family - what a powerful statement.

Senator Biden, we know you have the chutzpah and we love you for it. Demonstrate it immediately and it will make a difference.

Barack Obama, you must address this boldly, now, in this venue, because you are very much at risk to be the next failure, and that would break the hearts of all who have been newly encouraged. From Hope to utter devastated cynicism, because you would not do what our late Congresswoman showed up must be done. As you can do.

I call on all of you to speak up.

And I call on all of you readers to contact Senator Clinton, the Kennedys, Senator Biden and Senator Barack Obama, and tell them it is time to stop the Republican destruction of Democracy by declaring that you will not tolerate Election Theft, you will not accept manipulated results, and you will demand Election Justice.

When you doubt that this issue is serious, then watch the movie Uncounted by Dale Earnhardt, go to a screening of Stealing American: Vote by Vote by Dorothy Fadiman, read Loser Take All, listen to podcasts from Voice of the Voters, and go to and

Then speak up.