Saturday, December 27, 2008

Israel Strikes Gaza

Well, that didn't take long - less than 24 hours and Israel has launched missle strikes on Gaza killing at least 155 people according to the BBC. Of course, there will be more to come, as Hamas promises to keep launching missiles at Israel, even though a rocket launched earlier this week fell short of its target and killed two young Palestinian girls in their home.

During the six-month cease-fire, Israel was supposed to open Gaza to the world, to bring in food, medicine, gasoline, all the things that one needs to live (not to survive, which is different). But instead, Israel kept the borders closed except for the number of days that could be counted on one's hands and fingers.

But will this stop?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Opening Gaza

Evidently, Israel has agreed to open Gaza to much needed food stuffs and energy supplies. But this opening will not last and will not be enough to lift the Gazans out of the dire straights they find themselves in today.

For some reason, the Israeli government feels that treating their Palestinian citizens, in much the same way the German government of the 1930s and 1940s treated their Jewish citizens will result in the Palestinian population welcoming their government with open arms. While Palestinians are not considered Israeli citizens by Israel, they live in the country, were born there, and their families have for many, lived their for hundreds of years.

For me this is extremely painful because growing up, I had the most tremendous respect for the Jewish people for standing up to and facing down the Nazi government, against all odds and without losing sight of the righteousness of their cause and their lives.

This was important to me because as an African American baby-boomer, this was fairly recent history and seemed to be a way to behave in the face of oppression and subjugation. But then, the year I turned 20, came the 1967 war and the start of the settlements.

I just read One Missing Word Sowed the Seeds of Catastrophe and could not believe that the lack of a word has changed the world.

Because after the start of the settlements I came to see the actions of the Israeli government to be much too similar to those of Germany in terms of collective punishment, stealing land (wasn't part of the rationale of the Germany government in invading Poland the need for land for their people?), and finally just being unfair.

I know this is simplistic, but there hasn't been anything since to make me rethink my early judgments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Riots in Greece

I do understand some of the frustration and rage - I'm also enraged.

Enraged that when this country joined the euro zone they totally lied about the relative value of the drachma to the euro, pegging it at 340 drachmas to the euro. This caused immediate inflation from which the country has never recovered.

I'm also enraged that everyone seems to think that only they have rights and privileges. Seeing the kiosks burned because someone was burning banks angers me.

I'm enraged that the police are not allowed to do their jobs properly, even if they were so inclined. The fact that the Junta was forced out of power over 30 years ago means nothing if the country isn't willing to accept that change. The Junta is the reason why the police have to be invited onto college/university campuses. But if the police could arrest those who commit criminal acts and they would be punished by the judicial system, maybe change would occur.

But Greece is nothing if not egalitarian. The police are not punished, the politicians are not punished, nor or the ordinary citizens punished for committing crimes. We're just punished economically and through the lack of advancement.

How do you make change in such a small country that doesn't really want to change - people say they do, but then push back at every opportunity so that no one is brave enough to keep on.

Poor Greece.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Agia Theodora (St Theodora)

It was a lovely party. We left at 4 in the afternoon and it took two and a half hours to drive there, very windy roads into the mountains. All along the way you can see the damage from the forest fires last year – really devastating. Some of the villages on the main highway are nearly deserted and many homes have burned. Part of the road is national highway so it is well paved and marked and then we drove through three small villages, where only one car can get by – always amazes me how we manage. On the other side of the last village the road widens again and is paved and easy to drive. Finally we get to the site and park. We walked about 1,000 meters and they have booths selling icons, toys, and lots of food. It is in the woods and is really lovely. It is a very small church. Only about four people at a time can fit into it and there is a lovely river that runs behind and underneath it.

The priests started conducting the mass and everyone was outside. There was an icon store on site, so that’s where I bought two English-language books telling the legend (one for a friend in the US who is Greek American and named Theodora [we were at the St Theodora]).

After the mass, and the priest’s sermon (Michael says he was yelling about the crowd for only coming on these great feast days and not going to church every Sunday and not taking their children to church with them – sounded very familiar) we had this wonderful bread and then you were allowed to enter the church and take pictures.

I had to go to the bathroom and we kept seeing signs but no one really knew where they were located. We walked down this lovely path along the river and came out into a clearing with a beautiful restaurant. I asked and they said yes and were quite nice (the bathroom was nice too – Greek public bathrooms are notoriously horrid; no seats and you never put the toilet paper into the toilet – there is always a small can nearby, even in houses including ours).

When we got back we walked into the church and our friends took our picture (we forgot our camera). Outside the church is a small box with paper and pencil and you write your name on paper and put it into the box and you receive blessings from the saint. Our friend Chris was helping several gypsies (there were loads of gypsies there with the young girls on dressed up and some with make-up, which we never see here in town, but all were scrupulously clean, another thing we never see in town here) by writing their names on the paper. Unfortunately gypsies don’t send their children to school, except those who live near large cities like and the Greeks don’t like sending their kids to school with the gypsies – again it sounded too familiar.

Anyway, we left at 9 and were home by 11:30 pm. September 11 is the real Saint’s Day, but there were so many people on September 10 trying to miss the crush on the September 11, I just can’t imagine what it must be like with thousands of people there. It was doable with just hundreds and they have parking for tour buses (we saw one as we were heading out of the last village.

There are some great pictures of Agia Theodora at Outdoors.Webshots.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Palin Pick

Palin is many things. Smart is not one of them. I can't believe that smart people fall for this cynical crap.

Hillary Clinton lost the nomination for a number of reasons. Did you know that NONE of her staff had ever run a presidential campaign before? If this counts in Super Bowl competitions, why shouldn't it count in presidential campaigns? She blew off the caucus states, bad move since they get the largest percentage of delegates. And why, because the state parties want to reward their most loyal, active members. I don't like caucuses because they disenfranchise me because I'm usually not in the US on primary day and my voted ballot doesn't count. The Democratic Party, up til Obama's win in the primaries was the Clinton's Democratic Party. You would think they would know the rules. And did I mention that her great consultant, Mark Penn thought that Democrats were the same as Republicans -- winner take all elections? Give me a break.

Sarah Palin has abused her power in her home state - read the home state papers; they're all online. They have a different perspective of her than you're likely to get in the national media.

But for McCain to think that even rural, Southern women would vote for a woman with no experience to be the Vice President to a man who has overcome cancer four times and is 72 years old is beyond cynicism. Patronizing is what I'd call it.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Anything to Win

I keep reading and watching TV (okay, YouTube) about why Hillary Clinton would be the best Vice President pick for Obama.

If he did pick her, who would have rightly earned the Anything to Win title? I think it would be Obama in a landslide!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Obama and General Clark

When Senator Clinton talked about Senator Obama being ready to be President, I thought it was just talk. But the way he has handled himself these past several days, I'm starting to wonder.

Wesley Clark was right. Being a Prisoner of War has nothing to do with being President of the United States or perhaps some of the people currently in Guantanamo, when they are finally released, can return to their home countries and run for the highest office. They will certainly be able to call themselves former Prisoners of War and given the new McCain rule, they should certainly have the credentials.

I only know what I've read about Senator's McCain's war record. I have no knowledge or judgment about it one way or another; but I do believe that General Wesley Clark was absolutely right in his statements that Senator McCain has not been in a leadership position so far.

But for Obama to do whatever he is asked to do by the Republicans while dissing the people who are actually going to vote for him (let me count the ways: 1) FISA retroactive immunity, 2) the death penalty, 3) the right to bear arms, and now 4) disavowing a 4-star general in favor of Bush III) is moving him more and more to the "have to vote" rather than "want to vote" status.

Good grief! He's starting to make the people who think they should support McCain seem to be smarter than one would have thought even if just on the basis of the logic of voting against your own self-interest.

What's next? Will he start cutting campaign commercials for Senator McCain?

Monday, June 23, 2008


I've been doing stuff other than blogging lately, but this site, This is Zimbabwe, has forced me to look at what is happening there.

I remember in the 1960s being so proud of Robert Mugabe and the other African freedom fighters. They were sort of role models for me as I struggled to find my place in the American civil rights movement.

The pictures shown on the site make you wonder where we are going as human beings. To be able to treat other people in such a shameless and hateful manner seems unreal.

How can it get worse?

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hillary, Again

I've been listening to and reading the words of all these women who agree with Senator Clinton: Hillary or nothing. And it all sounded sort of familiar to me and I realized that many of these women were involved in the Women's Movement in the 1970s.

I remember going to lots of meetings and trying to get women involved in the issues that affected women in general and women of color in particular. But the upshot of the meetings was always that first we'd work on the issues that the white women felt were important and when those issues had been resolved, we'd move on to the issues that mattered to the other women.

The fact that all of this took place in Oakland, California and most of the women in the group were women of color probably explains a lot about why the group soon disbanded. My other vivid memory of those women was being given a hard time about being the mother of a son. As if women determine the gender of babies.

Oh well. So, what does this have to do with Hillary. Seems to be the same thing happening again. Listening to and reading the words of some of her most fevered supporters I keep reliving the 1970s. Hillary and only Hillary. Doesn't matter that she's lost, doesn't matter that her sense of entitlement didn't save her...she deserves this nomination and the rest of us be damned.

It is up to the Obama supporters to reach out to the Clinton supporters. Not the other way around. I just heard Obama talk about Senator Clinton in the most gracious manner and yet Allida Black, co-founder of WomenCountPac, just said on Warren Olney's To the Point that Senator Obama had to be more gracious about Senator Clinton and stated that Senator Obama has not been kind to Senator Clinton lately.

Listening to Ms. Black go on an on about "counting all the votes," I wondered where she was in 2004 when the election was being stolen by the Republicans. I was in Seattle on the steps of the Federal Building with one of my best buds (meow!) demonstrating against the tyranny. There weren't a lot of people with us and it was pretty lonely. But I'm sure Ms. Black was in the streets along with former President Clinton and soon to be Senator Clinton.

I think she's getting Obama supporters like Rev. Michael Pfleger confused with the Senator himself. I watched the YouTube of Rev. Pfleger's remarks and thought they were on target. I also read the AP article Obama Campaign Used Party Rules to Foil Clinton and it too is on target.

Makes me think of Oakland and 1972.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Hillary Clinton and RFK

It would be so easy to believe that Hillary simply mispoke. But she's been exhorting white working class voters (code for racist rednecks) to support her. And now, on the eve of the anniversary of the assignation of Robert Kennedy, she reminds us that RFK, like Obama, was on his way to winning the Democratic nomination when he was killed.

Good grief - what the hell was she thinking? I don't think she's putting a contract out on Obama, but I do think that she's gotten so far in to this denial that she will say anything, regardless of who it hurts, to further her cause.

Sorry and sorry it had to end this way. Will these comments also end her political career except for the US Senate? Only time will tell.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Health Care

Listening to John McCain's health care plan you have to wonder What is He Thinking? He clearly has been receiving government sponsored health care his entire life. I know I read this somewhere, but can't remember at the moment.

But the reason I'm mentioning it now is thinking about my own issues with health care. Up until 2003, my employer paid for my health care. I had an individual managed care plan that, until I turned 55, cost about $425 a month. The month I turned 55, the coverage jumped to over $800. If my employer hadn't covered me, I would never have been able to maintain coverage.

Within nine months we moved to Greece and had to provide our own coverage. We found a great carrier that provided expatriate health care at the low premium rate of $450 a month for both of us, our doctors in Seattle were in the "network," but, as usual, my pre-existing conditions were not covered. Oh, yeah - we also signed on for a $1,000/year deductible (we pay the first $1,000).

As the years went by and we grew older, the premiums went up to $550 per month. Last year I turned 60 and Michael turned 65 and our premiums went up to $1,000 per month. We looked everywhere for a plan with lower premiums without success. When we renew our coverage this summer we expect our premiums to go up once again.

If McCain thinks a tax break would help, he's more out of touch than I imagined. As to his claim of competition and lower rates, he obviously hasn't had to deal Health Maintenance Organizations (HMO). HMOs were supposed to lower prices, instead they lowered coverage and added more bureaucracy to the chore of trying to stay healthy.

When I lived in the US, I had a co-pay of $20 for each prescription and every year I was forced to go to my doctor and get my prescription for my thyroid condition renewed. Here in Greece, I pay less than 4 euros (about $5.66) for a two months' supply. I am never asked to renew this prescription (after all this is a maintenance program, not something that's going to make me happy!) so I save money by not having to go to the doctor as well.

One more reason to vote for a Democrat, but neither of the last two standing had as good a plan as John Edwards.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Lose this Meme

I've decided that the phrase or meme I'm tired of most today, 23 April 2008, is that Obama can't win the White, blue-collar vote in November because he's not winning that segment of the population during the primaries. What a stupid meme.

If he's running against another Democrat, there's an opportunity for that other Democrat to win over more of those voters. But if he's the only Democrat, and White, blue-collar men and women of all ages decide to vote their interests instead of that of the media and others, Obama will win those voters too.

The primaries are different than the general election. That's why primaries are sometimes closed and the general is always open to everyone to vote for whom they please.

So, can we stop saying this?

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Clinton Good Years

First off, the Clinton years were good for my family. But then we're highly educated professionals. But if you weren't in either of those categories, it took a long time for you to see any of the benefits of Clinton's policies financially. And if you were Black as well as poor, you only saw those benefits for a short period of time before the 2000 recession.

But this is another piece of the racial puzzle that isn't acknowledged. If you aren't Black, you wouldn't know this, unless you are a wonk or especially interested in economics or racial politics.

It will be interesting to see how this primary stuff plays out. Thank God it can't go on much longer.

Hillary and the Nomination

Hillary Clinton winning the nomination based on the votes of the Super Delegates seems as wrong to me as allowing Florida and Michigan a do-over.

Hillary has run an incredibly stupid and obnoxious campaign. There seemed to be no Plan B if "inevitable" didn't work. And sure enough, "inevitable" didn't work. So she has resorted to using every means at her disposal to tarnish the Democratic Party in the guise of going after her opponent.

If, as she says, only she and John McCain have the expertise to govern the United States, what does that mean for the Party if she is not the nominee? And to pretend that Obama's calling middle American voters who have lost their jobs and do cling to guns and Jesus offensive, is offensive in its telling.

Unfortunately, people do vote as though maintaining guns, discriminating against gays and people of color, is far more important to their and their families' well being than economic advancement. If you don't believe this, then answer why the Republicans have put these issues on the ballot in many recent elections in an effort to turn out their "base?" Because it works.

Sure there are more artful ways to say this, but isn't John McCain "revered" by the press because he is a "truth-telling maverick?" In other words, the politically polite way to express himself is subsumed by his (and only his) ability to tell it like it is.

Obama may be unseasoned, but he has played by the rules. And using the Super Delegates to overturn the will of the people is also playing by the rules. But this is one Black woman who will not vote in the Presidential election should that happen.

I've thought I would be able to vote for the candidate, regardless of who "wins" the nomination. But how the nomination is won matters to me. There are some "contradictions" I'm not willing to accept.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Clinton, Obama & the Blogosphere

I realized this evening that I'm deleting more blog entries than I'm reading. I'm so tired of the internecine wars being fought by supporters or thought to be supporters.

Astrologically their antipathy makes a lot of sense. Obama is a Leo (I will) and Clinton is a Scorpio (I desire). But Bill is also a Leo which probably seems like more of the same to Hillary.

I hope that people don't lose friendships over this stuff. I have issues with both candidates; neither are my choice for the nomination. But wishes and beggars seems to still be a reality.

Can't wait until September when I can read everyone again.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Samantha Power

I just listened to Samantha Power on the BBC's The Interview (you can listen to it here). And I'm struck by her intelligence, her respect for Obama, and the fact that accepting (let alone requesting) her resignation was incredibly short-sighted. Power talked about things I had never heard about before, including her book about the death of Sergio de Mello in her book Chasing the Flame. I was aware of de Mello's death in the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad, but I had not known that because of the horrible planning by the Bush Administration there was no way to rescue him from the rubble and he spent three and one-half hours dying.

She wrote a book in 2003 Bystanders to Genocide having been a journalist in the Balkans during the Serbian genocide against its Muslim citizens.

Hillary Clinton is a monster. I now believe that Hillary will knowingly destroy the Democratic Party if that is what she feels she needs to do to win the nomination. Hillary's new meme about a joint ticket is all words. She is willing to betray Black Americans in particular, and Obama's pantheon of supporters in general, by using the Super Delegates to lock in the nomination in her name, regardless of how many of the delegates she garners through the primary/caucus process.

Hillary has made it clear that she (and Bill and the Democratic Party aparatus) will pressure the Super Delegates to thwart the will of the people and will resort to any fiction needed in order to prevail. The fact that many youth, independent and Black Americans will not be happy and are likely to protest by staying home means nothing to her.

We all like to win, but it is hoped that we all recognize that sometimes what you win is more important than the win itself.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Greek Life

After having the electricity go off for the past three days now - twice today (Friday), I have learned something about Greece that I hadn't considered before. The first time we lost power was at 10:30 in the morning for half an hour. The next time was at 5:00 pm for three hours.

The Public Power Corporation employees are striking (causing rolling blackouts all over the country) because of the government's desire to consolidate the pension plans. Like the social security lockbox, the pension funds here have been looted by the politicians (actually, the politicians loot everything they can here) and the employees are afraid that the extra funds they pay for pensions will go the way of all the other pensions once they are consolidated.

But here's the epiphany I had: Why does this country accept anarchist youth and thieving politicians? Because the adults, under the banner of their trade unions are just as anarchistic and they also steal from the public. Just because you worked for the Public Power Corporation you should get free electricity for life after you retire? Give me a break. And then, if you are lucky (or strike long enough, whichever comes first) you can get your job designated as hazardous and get to retire early and collect a larger pension.

And everyone expects to pay a bribe for the most mundane activity (we wanted a garbage can closer to our home and were expected to pay 50 euro for the priviledge; we refused and waited three years until one finally showed up) to being asked to pay a 400 euro bribe to get our car through customs (we brought it from the US and paid over 3,000 euro in taxes). One pays a bribe to doctors if they want to get medical treatment, even though they have insurance.

Because most civil employees are hired to provide votes for the party in power, they have no idea about how to actually do their job.

We were told we owed 16,000 euros in back taxes for our automobile. True, it is a Jeep; but it is 10 years old and we paid taxes on it when we first brought it into the country. Because my Greek American husband has Greek citizenship we did not have to pay taxes on the car for the next three years - but the entire staff of the local tax office owes their jobs to patronage.

We resolved the issue, after five months, by paying our Greek lawyer 500 euros to get a ruling from the Ministry of Economics saying what we had been saying all along. I don't regret paying my lawyer for his work on our behalf, but I do hate that the local tax office doesn't know what the hell they're doing.

And now the dollar is worth $.48 and since all of our funds are dollar-based, it is getting a little tougher. But we're going to tough it out.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I'm just about ready to leave the Democratic Party and just say Fuck it! They refuse to maintain the rule of law, uphold the Constitution or represent their constituencies. I had already stopped giving money to the Party committees and only gave to candidates. And yes, I still support the candidates to whom I've given money. But I'm nearly done.

If the super delegates override the will of the voters as shown in the primaries and caucuses, the thin line keeping me on board will have snapped. FISA was such a no brainer, but no - Senator Reid couldn't even bring the right bill to the floor. How hard was that?

So, the President breaks the law and convinces corporations to help him and what does the Senate do? The Senate gives the corporations a "get out of jail free" card. And will the House be able to stand against this? Of course, not. This Congress was worst than the Republican Congresses that went before it. They made the promise that they would do things differently and haven't.

Nearly done.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Obama Still Just Misses the Boat

I haven't been here for a while - busy with my other life and then mourning the loss of John Edwards to the campaign.

So, I'm going to have to choose between Obama and Clinton. What a mess! Neither of them gives a damn about the things that are most important to me, but Obama really likes rubbing my nose in it.

An example: his latest ad for his health care plan. As you can see, he not only misrepresents what has to happen if his plan is to become law, but then he brings back Harry and Louise.

Why? Does he now think that progressives have no where to go? Are we the new African American voters? You can't vote for Republicans because they don't want you to live, but Obama (and much of the Democratic Party leadership) doesn't want to respect you.

Holding my nose, closing my eyes - but I'll be damned if I'll bite my lips!


Saturday, January 12, 2008

Why Edwards and Not Obama

Something I've noticed when I criticize Senator Obama's policy stands: I get attacked as a racist or someone who just doesn't get it. And then I read this afternoon a blogger describing being an Obama supporter as being a member of a new religion.

No, thank you! I don't want religion and politics to share the same space -- that's what separation of church and state to me.

But the main reason I'm supporting Edwards rather than Obama has strictly to do with policy issues. So, it turns out that insurance companies make their money by overcharging their customers, shortchanging those same customers in terms of underpaying claims, and then getting taxpayers to pick up some of the tab. And these are home and auto insurers! What the hell do you think the health care industry is doing?

So, tell me again, how is being nice going to change this dynamic? And these are the people you want to negotiate with for health care reform?

Maybe religion does explain it. Or maybe folks just drank the Kool-aid (which really wasn't Kool-aid in the case of Jim Jones' followers). They definitely want to believe.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Obama and the Chamber of Commerce

In today's LA Times, the Chamber of Commerce vows to spend $60 million to defeat candidates who want to look out for the middle class.

But not to worry, Obama will sit down and talk with them. Although, according to the article in the The LA Times, it doesn't seem like talking is going to solve this problem.

"We plan to build a grass-roots business organization so strong that when it bites you in the butt, you bleed," chamber President Tom Donohue said. The warning from the nation's largest trade association came against a background of mounting popular concern over the condition of the economy. A weak record of job creation, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, declining home values and other problems have all helped make the economy a major campaign issue.

"I'm concerned about anti-corporate and populist rhetoric from candidates for the presidency, members of Congress and the media," he said. "It suggests to us that we have to demonstrate who it is in this society that creates jobs, wealth and benefits -- and who it is that eats them."

In advance of today's news conference, Donohue told The Times of his plans to be active in 140 congressional districts this year, as well as the presidential contest.

At the state level, Donohue said his organization would be active in nearly four dozen contests for attorney general and state supreme courts. Both state courts and attorneys general are involved in decisions affecting business, including consumer protection and a wide range of litigation."

So, tell me again how is Obama going to change this dynamic?

Monday, January 7, 2008

Voter ID - a short rant

In response to all of those who insist that everyone should have picture ID "after all, you need it to cash a check or use a credit card." If you are poor and/or elderly, you aren't using checks or credit cards. You're paying your bills in cash or by money order.

I'm living in a country where everything that is necessary in life (with exception for groceries at the large supermarket that caters to the foreign crowd; it has food from around the world, not just foods that Greeks traditionally eat), like plumbing repairs, most grocery shopping, gasoline for your car, home heating oil -- all are paid for in cash.

And in the five years I've lived here and in the 17 years since I first came for a visit - I have never seen anyone write a check. In fact, credit cards were mostly used by tourists only before Greece converted to the euro.

So, please stop talking like cash has been made obsolete. If you're poor, spending cash helps to keep you from getting poorer - you can't spend what you don't have and if more people only used cash (or money orders), America's credit card debt would be greatly reduced.

Slavery and Today

And I believe there is a great deal of truth to the analysis of Obama's magic comes from not being the descendant of slaves, but the son of an immigrant to the US. The descendant of slaves here in America could not be as genuinely utopian, hopeful, or optimistic as Obama. We've lived in the US since the end of the Civil War and the freeing of the slaves -- it really wasn't that long ago, only 133 years. (Living in Greece, you get a feel for the passing of time and 133 years means great grandparents, possibly great great grandparents...not millennia.)

I think it will take millennia before other African Americans can truly feel the hope and optimism that Obama speaks of everyday. Just because slaves were freed, doesn't mean that Blacks weren't still slaves. It took until June 19, 1867 before the slaves of Texas learned that legally they were no longer slaves. Heck, January 1, 2008 was the 200th anniversary of the end of the Atlantic slave trade, but there were no celebrations in the US (at least none that I read about on the Internet) and I haven't read about plans for future commemorations.

Obama and To The Point - the Backstory

So what compelled my friend Marian to write the letter below? An interview on Warren Olney's To the Point radio show on Friday (the link will lead you to the podcast).

Warren Olney was talking to a number of people, including a Democratic Party strategist and two professors: Dante Scala, a political science professor from the University of New Hampshire and Robert Dallek , a Boston University history professor.

In the Reporters' Notebook section (this starts at 42 minutes after the beginning of the show) Dallek called Obama an African American, where upon Warren Olney told him of the many emails he gets disputing that designation as he is not the descendent of slaves.

At that point, Dallek not only agreed but said this is why Obama gets such support. He is the son of an immigrant, which many Americans can relate to in their own lives where as being the descendent of slaves makes it much more difficult to connect to the American public.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Barack Obama and Ethnicity in the Democratic presidential campaign

This was written by my friend, Marian Douglas-Ungaro. You can read more of her work here: Marian's Blog.

This is my message to Warren Olney, radio host, KCRW FM, concerning To the Point interview, Friday, 4 January 2008; with guests Dante Scala and Robert Dallek:

Dear Mr. Olney:

Greetings from Wash, DC. Thank you very much for raising the issue of Mr. Obama's ethnicity - and what he is not - in your interview with Dante Scala and Robert Dallek.

As a Black American woman I am offended by and appalled at the willingness of many to ignore and devalue Black American identity and ethnicity, in order to anoint Barack Obama president. Barely a week after the NON-observance of the 200th anniversary of the U.S.
abolition of the slave trade in 1808 (which did NOT stop the smuggling and human trafficking of Africans into slavery in the U.S./Americas), the course of this primary season takes on even more importance.

I have been insulted by some and condescended to others for raising this matter, yet some whites and others as well as more than a few Black Americans fully understand the fallacy of what's going on. But few of them are as willling as I am to speak about this publicly. This needs to be discussed intelligently.

Finally, if he is the Democratic candidate I shall not vote for Barack Obama. It would be an unacceptable compromise and yet another renunciation of my people, our authentic history, and the truth about our country.

Thanks very much.

Marian Douglas-Ungaro,
Washington, DC and Rome, Italia

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Obama, Obama

I was going to let the Obama dig at Edwards for being a trial lawyer, instead of working to help people (what the hell does he think trial lawyers do, for God's sake - Obama himself is a lawyer) but this latest dig at both Gore and Kerry is beyond the pale.

Is he trying to make it difficult for Democrats to support him while he's pandering for Republican votes?

But the worst thing about criticizing Obama is how his supporters act. Just like those who can't stand to hear anything negative about Israel.

An interesting phenomenon, eh? What shall they name it? You'll probably be accused of being racist like being accused of being anti-Semitic or an Israeli hater.

I found this to be the case on the Democrats Abroad listserv as well. Folks had better get over this silliness. Constructive criticism is a good thing. Unfortunately, I'm not finding Obama's criticism of Edwards, Gore or Kerry the least bit constructive in that no one has learned to change the past but Obama could certainly change how he describes his disagreements and differences with others.

So far, I'm not really sure what he is trying to accomplish, but I am starting to wonder how much I will work for him or find the money to support him if he is the Democratic Party nominee.