Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Obama Presidency: New Dawn of American Leadership/UPDATE by Bob Herbert

< campaign photo

Obama Playing Ball & Scoring on Election Day (This is an UPDATE - just out & Posted Nov 12 2008) Go Here One team was called "This one" the other called "That one" - Check out the dribble! - the video just out on Yahoo dot com

Slide-Show update: Scenes with his daughter Malia on election night Go
Here

For more on Obama posted just before Nov 5th & later, simply go to right column for archives & click...

ALSO an UPDATE from my favorite Op-Ed columnist...

November 8, 2008 Op-Ed Columnist Bob Herbert:
Take a Bow, America

The markets are battered and job losses are skyrocketing, but even in the midst of a national economic crisis, we should not lose sight of the profound significance of this week and what it tells us about the continuing promise of America.

Voters said no to incompetence and divisiveness and elbowed their way past the blight of racism that has been such a barrier to progress for so long. Barack Obama won the state of North Carolina, for crying out loud.

The nation deserves to take a bow. This is not the same place it used to be.

Election night brought a cascade of memories to Taylor Rogers, who is 82 and still lives in Memphis, where he grew up. He remembered a big crowd that jammed the Mason Temple in Memphis on an April night 40 years ago.

“It was filled with people from wall to wall,” he said. “And it was storming and raining outside.”

The men and women, nearly all of them black, were crushed against one another as they listened, almost as one, to the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. give his final speech.

Mr. Rogers was one of the sanitation men whose strike drew Dr. King to Memphis. In the aftermath of the Obama victory on Tuesday night, he recited from memory the climactic phrases from the speech, the part where Dr. King said that God had allowed him to go up to the mountain and that he had looked over and seen the promised land.

“I remember it so well,” said Mr. Rogers. “Dr. King told us: ‘I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight that we, as a people, will get to the promised land.’

“You could tell from the words and from the expression on his face that he really felt that something was about to happen.”

The next day, of course, Dr. King was killed.

Like so many other older African-Americans that I spoke with during this long, long campaign season, Mr. Rogers said he never dreamed that he would live to see a black person elected president of the United States.

“A black president in the White House?” he said. “In those days, you wouldn’t even have thought about going to the White House. Not unless you were a janitor or something.”

It can be easy in such a moment of triumph to lose sight of the agony wrought by the unrelieved evil of racism and to forget how crucial a role anti-black racism played in shaping American life since the first slaves were dumped ashore 400 years ago.

Blacks have been holding fast to the promise of America for all that time. Not without anger. Not without rage. But with a fidelity that in the darkest moments — those moments when the flow of blood seemed like it would never stop, when enslaved families were wrenched apart, when entire communities were put to the torch, when the breeze put the stiffened bodies of lynched victims in motion, when even small children were murdered and Dr. King was taken from us — even in those dire moments, African-Americans held fast to the promise of America with a fidelity that defied logic.

The multiracial crowds dancing with unrestrained joy from coast to coast on Tuesday night were proof that the promise of America lives — and that you can’t always hang your hat on logic.

You knew something was up when the exit polls revealed early Tuesday evening that Senator Obama had carried the white working-class vote in Indiana, one of the reddest of the red states and a onetime stronghold of the Ku Klux Klan.

I got a call on Friday from David Goodman, whose brother Andrew was one of three civil rights workers slain in the searing racial heat of Mississippi in 1964.

“It’s shocking, isn’t it?” he said of the election.

I agreed.

“It’s wonderful,” he said.

Arthur Miller liked to say that the essence of America was its promise. In the darkest of the dark times, in wartime and drastic economic downturns, in the crucible of witch hunts or racial strife, in the traumatic aftermath of a terror attack, that promise lights the way forward.

This week marked a renewal of America’s promise. Voters went to the polls and placed a bet on a better future, handing the power to an unlikely candidate who promised to draw people together rather than exploit their differences.

The final tally wasn’t close.

We still have two wars to deal with and an economic crisis as severe as any in decades. But we should take a moment to recognize the stunning significance of this moment in history. It’s worth a smile, a toast, a sigh, a tear.

America should be proud.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company
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Great Basketball Photo of Obama in general internet cache The things a man must do to become president: Dec. 17, 7:43 a.m.: Barack Obama arrives at a Spencer, Iowa, YMCA for a one-on-one basketball game against SI senior writer S.L. Price. Obama notes the red-white and blue ball's resemblance to his campaign logo, the only time he makes mention of the looming Iowa caucuses.

One of our soon-to-be President Obama's favorite quotes "The Arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." (MLK)

Following find a variety of comments on this historic moment from a variety of sources Wednesday November 5, 2008 (you don't need to read them all at once, of course - just skim for what comes alive for you, most of all and save the rest for another day...) and do send me anything you may discover is missing...put One Heart for Peace in the Subject Heading please newlease7@yahoo.com

"New dawn of American Leadership has begun...unyielding hope...Ann Nixon Cooper...106 year-old woman...she cast her vote...yes we can...if our children should live to see the next century - (what) if my daughter should live to be as old as Ann Nixon Cooper...?" Obama in his November 4th speech

Here are a few excerpts from the items in more detail below them on this one post:

"We heard from another family friend, an African-American woman who teaches law in North Carolina. She reported weeping involuntarily when she saw Obama's picture. Did she know why? She said she saw her adolescent son's face in Obama's. Great moments in history give emotional definition to our lives and we carry those feelings forward with us, our own private meaning of events." William Greider writer,
The Nation and more...(I resonate DEEPLY with this with my own slightly older sons as well as in all the faces of children of Hispanic, mixed and African-American background! Connie, the blogger here)
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The U.S. governments policies during the past eight years have violated the basic rights of thousands of individuals, damaged the United States credibility on human rights issues and strained diplomatic relations. With the entire world watching, and the election of a new president and Congress, it's time to commit the United States to its international obligations and ensure that the rule of law will be the foundation of the country's policies.
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"The time to revive our anti-war movement is now..." Michael Ratner Center for Constitutional Rights

"Americans have proved that they are hungry for change, and have elected a president whose very identity bridges a divide in American society that did not end with the achievements of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

...what stuck me as most extraordinary was the realization that Dick Cheney and his chief of staff David Addington are on their way out. I had a recurring nightmare that, in the event of a McCain victory, Sarah Palin would enter the Vice President’s Office to find two men waiting for her. “I’m Dick,” one would say, “and this is David. We’re your new advisers.” "
Andy Worthington



Instead, Michelle is by far one of his best advisors - many say...
Discussion/interview with Manning Marable and others...

"A Bloodless Revolution"? Mandela in 1994? A Bridge, a coming together that's been at the heart of American democracy...Racial equalities still a tension - Yet in Obama a race-neutral administration? A conscious minimizing of discussions of race—Manning Marable, Professor of Public Affairs, History and African-American Studies, Columbia University and author, most recently, of Living Black History...

What does this mean for an analysis--police torturing African-American to get confessions? Amy Goodman

Marable's comment in discussion with Amy and Cynthia McKinney, presidential candidate who evidently won 6th place over Nader and over the Libertarian presidential candidate & others...""Cynthia McKinney embodies the kind of progressive vision we desperately need" and added that she is the vision and challenge we will continue to need in the years ahead.

internet cache

A bright new day...what now, President Obama? posted 5.11.08 on Andy Worthington's site see just below for link...

In the end, the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States struck me as both more and less extraordinary than I had anticipated. I suppose I thought it was in the bag when right-wing pundits started defecting, acknowledging that they couldn’t stomach the idea of Sarah Palin as President if McCain were to die, and congratulating Barack Obama for being so cool and dependable during the economic crisis, while John McCain was flip-flopping horrendously.

And it is, of course, phenomenal that so many millions of Americans have proved that they are hungry for change, and have elected a president whose very identity bridges a divide in American society that did not end with the achievements of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

But what stuck me as most extraordinary was the realization that Dick Cheney and his chief of staff David Addington are on their way out. I had a recurring nightmare that, in the event of a McCain victory, Sarah Palin would enter the Vice President’s Office to find two men waiting for her. “I’m Dick,” one would say, “and this is David. We’re your new advisers.”

Despite their fervent wishes, however, the American people have spoken, and the democratic process that both men despised has finally removed the two individuals most responsible for elevating a proxy, puppet president to what they intended to be an unassailable dictatorial right to wage an endless, spectral war on terrorism, in which all opposition was crushed, politicians only existed to be manipulated and the highest court in the land was regarded with scorn.

It is on this point, however, that my euphoria this morning was tempered with immediate doubts. Barack Obama faces one of the most daunting tasks ever faced by an incoming president, and while I’m intrigued to see how he will deal with the meltdown caused by the most creative crooks in financial history, I’m most exercised by his planned response to the administration’s human right abuses and wholesale flight from the law.

His heart is clearly in the right place, as has been demonstrated by his opposition to the occupation of Iraq, his opposition to the use of torture, his profound respect for constitutional law, his robust defense of habeas corpus for prisoners seized in the Bush administration’s global war without end, and his opposition to the Military Commissions Act. This vile piece of legislation, passed in the fall of 2006, not only stripped the prisoners of the habeas rights that had been granted by the Supreme Court in June 2004, but also reinstated the “terror trials” at Guantánamo (in which, on the eve of the election, an al-Qaeda associate was sentenced to life in prison after a one-sided show trial) and attempted to grant the president — and anyone who had ever worked for him — immunity from any prosecution for war crimes.

In August 2007, Obama delivered a speech — to my mind the best speech he has ever delivered — in which he promised to address all these issues:

In the dark halls of Abu Ghraib and the detention cells of Guantánamo, we have compromised our most precious values. What could have been a call to a generation has become an excuse for unchecked presidential power. A tragedy that united us was turned into a political wedge issue used to divide us.

When I am President, America will reject torture without exception. America is the country that stood against that kind of behavior, and we will do so again … As President, I will close Guantánamo, reject the Military Commissions Act, and adhere to the Geneva Conventions. Our Constitution and our Uniform Code of Military Justice provide a framework for dealing with the terrorists … The separation of powers works. Our Constitution works. We will again set an example to the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.

These are the words that convinced me that Barack Obama would dismantle the arrogant and violent apparatus of the Bush administration. Like all the other policy decisions that he faces today, it will not be an easy task, but for America to be the “shining beacon on the hill” that he has so often mentioned, it is imperative that he works assiduously to fulfil these promises.

Andy Worthington has written the definitive book plus work-in-progress
-The Guantanamo Files- To see more about his book and his interactive, nearly daily work-in progress Go
Here
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Obama, one of us...for a little Election Day Basketball on Chicago's south side, find a video at Huff Post dot com dated November 4th 2008

Also - for a special surprise - go Here

Obama in Denver - End of Campaign - Cruising...Denver is this blogger's birthplace


The Nation can no longer ignore the cries of those imprisoned under US "authority"...
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From Michael Ratner, Center for Constitutional Rights:
It is historic. A black family in the White House that slaves built. Yes, slaves were used in the construction of the White House. When I was a child this never could have happened. In the 50's when I visited Florida, even after Brown v. Board of Education, there were separate drinking fountains and bathrooms for Blacks. When Center for Constitutional Rights was founded in the 60's there were only three elected Black officials in the Black belt; today there are thousands. So we are seeing an amazing moment in American history...

the time to revive our anti-war movement is now. We cannot await what Obama might do: he has already told us about wanting to send more troops in Afghanistan. We must push him to end the current wars and eradicate the poison of aggressive war.

Obama has promised to close Guantanamo and end torture. We must hold him to that promise. He must close secret CIA sites and off shore prisons...end the kangaroo courts called military commissions...end the massive surveillance state America has become...appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the war crimes of the Bush administration: the aggressive war in Iraq, torture and warrant-less wiretapping. In short...bring America back into the world of civilized states where fundamental rights and the prohibition on aggressive war are not just slogans but guide U.S. actions.
***
Last night we were part of history… through your work, your dreams, and you persistence you helped to begin writing a new chapter in the history of this country.

The impact of last night’s election was felt around the world. People celebrated the victory and many wept tears, danced, screamed and smiled late into the night. There were many hugs, kisses, phone calls and emails that connected us all in a special way. We were all swept up on a MAGIC CARPET RIDE powered by an incredible wind called CHANGE.

Last night belonged to you as much as it did to Obama, his family and his key campaign staff. This was the largest and most beautiful campaign where any and every one could and did give of their time to make this change possible.

I was silenced last night by the image of the NEW FIRST FAMILY …what a wonderful sight. … And soon their girls will have their dog and a new home. Watching the Obama Family along with the Biden (O’biden) Family made me proud.

Looking out at the audience in Chicago and those who worked for Barack Obama across the country showed the diversity and beauty of this world of ours.

This election was celebrated around the world. And we must continue to celebrate and at the same time get ready to do the hard work of saving this democracy in this time of crisis where we are in two wars and an economy that is the trash can. I believe that Obama can find a way out of this ditch that Bush has put us into.. but Barack will need our help and our sacrifice…It will not be easy … but it can be done…

Right now I am so elated about the results … and since I am living in Florida it was so nice to see Florida go Blue…

Let us celebrate this moment in history… and share it with our children … let us continue to DREAM THE IMPOSSIBLE

My humble best , Leno

PS. Send Leno your thoughts regarding this election and its importance:
To: "Leno" leno@magdaleno.org (send a CC to me, Connie, too at newlease7@yahoo.com)
*****
What an Amazing Moment!
By William Greider, TheNation dot com
Posted on November 5, 2008

We are inheritors of this momentous victory, but it was not ours. The laurels properly belong to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and all of the other martyrs who died for civil rights. And to millions more before them who struggled across centuries and fell short of winning their freedom. And to those rare politicians like Lyndon B. Johnson, who stood up bravely in a decisive time, knowing how much it would cost his political party for years to come. We owe all of them for this moment.

Whatever happens next, Barack Obama has already changed this nation profoundly. Like King before him, the man is a great and brave teacher. Obama developed out of his life experiences a different understanding of the country, and he had the courage to run for president by offering this vision.

For many Americans, it seemed too much to believe, yet he turned out to be right about us. Against all odds, he persuaded a majority of Americans to believe in their own better natures and, by electing him, the people helped make it true. There is mysterious music in democracy when people decide to believe in themselves.

Waiting for the results, we all felt nagging tension, even when we were fairly sure of the outcome. I heard from a newspaper friend, a wise old reporter who never gave in to Washington cynicism. "This election eve night," he wrote, "I feel myself tingling about the prospect of a nation which used to lynch blacks during my lifetime electing a black man president. I so hope it happens, believe it would electrify the world. I think he is the bravest man in the world, perhaps the most foolish one as well…. I worry about him like a Jewish mama."

We heard from another family friend, an African-American woman who teaches law in North Carolina. She reported weeping involuntarily when she saw Obama's picture. Did she know why? She said she saw her adolescent son's face in Obama's. Great moments in history give emotional definition to our lives and we carry those feelings forward with us, our own private meaning of events.

In this way, Obama redefined the country for us, but our responses involved generational differences. For younger people, white and black, his vision seemed entirely straightforward. It is the country they already know, and they expressed great enthusiasm. Finally, they said, a politician who recognizes the racial differences that are part of their lives and no big deal. For young blacks and other minorities, Obama's place at the pinnacle of official power lifts a coarse cloak that has blanketed their lives and dreams -- the stultifying burden of being judged, whether they succeed or fail, on the basis of their race.

For others of us at an advanced age, Obama's success is more shocking. We can see it as a monumental rebuke to tragic history -- the ultimate defeat of "white supremacy."

That vile phrase was embedded in American society (even the Constitution) from the outset and was still in common usage when some of us were young. Now it is officially obsolete. Racism will not disappear entirely, but the Republican "Southern strategy" that marketed racism has been smashed.

Americans will now be able to see themselves differently, North and South, white and black. The changes will spread through American life in ways we cannot yet fully imagine. Let us congratulate ourselves on being alive at such a promising moment.

William Greider is the author of, most recently, "The Soul of Capitalism" (Simon & Schuster).© 2008 TheNation.com All rights reserved.
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AlterNet asked dozens of writers, experts and activists on key issues to write about where the country needs to go, and the priorities for Barack Obama's early days in office. The following is the first in a series of articles we'll be running this week - Alternet.

Michael Ratner, President, Center for Constitutional Rights:

It is historic. A black family in the White House that slaves built. Yes, slaves were used in the construction of the White House. When I was a child this never could have happened. In the 50's when I visited Florida, even after Brown v. Board of Education, there were separate drinking fountains and bathrooms for Blacks. When Center for Constitutional Rights was founded in the 60's there were only three elected Black officials in the Black belt; today there are thousands. So we are seeing an amazing moment in American history.

This is not to say our work is done. Obama is not a progressive. But he is certainly more liberal than Bush and McCain. He will redistribute some of the vast wealth that has gone to the rich in a county that has plundered its poor since Reagan in 1981. It will not be a social democracy, but it will better than what we had. The disastrous economic crisis is pushing him in this direction, but citizenry will need to keep up the pressure.

Obama has been disappointing regarding the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. These must be ended and time is now; the time to revive our anti-war movement is now. We cannot await what Obama might do: he has already told us about wanting to send more troops in Afghanistan. We must push him to end the current wars and eradicate the poison of aggressive war.

Obama has promised to close Guantanamo and end torture. We must hold him to that promise. He must close secret CIA sites and off shore prisons. He must end the kangaroo courts called military commissions. He must end the massive surveillance state America has become.

Finally, he must appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the war crimes of the Bush administration: the aggressive war in Iraq, torture and warrantless wiretapping. In short he must bring America back into the world of civilized states where fundamental rights and the prohibition on aggressive war are not just slogans but guide U.S. actions.

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From Dahlia Lithwick, contributing editor at Newsweek and senior editor at Slate:
Hit "control+ alt + delete" on the Rule of Law. Literally restart the whole system like its 2000 again. That means: Close Guantanamo and either try or release the remaining prisoners in real tribunals. Renounce water-boarding. Re-assert that the Geneva Conventions still matter. Do away with the Patriot Act reforms that allowed abuse ranging from "national security letters" to terrorizing librarians. Restore FISA. Stop using the "state secrets" to shield judicial scrutiny into government wrongdoing. Ditto for blanket claims of executive privilege for anyone who's ever muttered a word to the president. Stop with the cryptic and deceptive signing statements. Stop snipe hunting vote fraud.

A lot of new "law" was invented over the past eight years. But legal?
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OBAMA as Professor, Lecturer and Senior Lecturer of Law:
University of Chicago released the following statement some months back:The Law School has received many media requests about Barack Obama, especially about his status as "Senior Lecturer." From 1992 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Barack Obama served as a professor in the Law School. He was a Lecturer from 1992 to 1996. He was a Senior Lecturer from 1996 to 2004, during which time he taught three courses per year. Senior Lecturers are considered to be members of the Law School faculty and are regarded as professors, although not full-time or tenure-track. The title of Senior Lecturer is distinct from the title of Lecturer, which signifies adjunct status. Like Obama, each of the Law School's Senior Lecturers have high-demand careers in politics or public service, which prevent full-time teaching. Several times during his 12 years as a professor in the Law School, Obama was invited to join the faculty in a full-time tenure-track position, but he declined.

BY ABDON M. PALLASCH Political Reporter/apallasch@suntimes.com (Condensed)

White House hopeful Barack Obama could have given it all up for the gentler life of a law professor.

A Sun-Times review of student evaluations from Obama's 10 years of teaching part-time at the University of Chicago Law School shows that students almost always rated Obama as one of their top instructors -- except for one quarter in 1997.

"Those are tremendous ratings, especially for someone who had a day job," Professor Cass Sunstein said. "We wanted him to join the faculty full-time at various different junctures. That's not a trivial fact. . . . If we want to hire someone, the faculty has to think they're tremendous. But he liked political life."

While a state senator, Obama held classes early on Monday and late on Friday during legislative sessions, running right through the school's popular Friday evening wine-and-cheese hour. Obama was so popular, students signed up for his class anyway...

"I loved teaching," Obama told the Sun-Times. "But when the opportunity came [to run for U.S. Senate] I took it. I think some of the public speaking skills I developed in the classroom -- stay on your toes; don't make my answers too long -- I'm using on the campaign trail."

Professor David Straus, the only teacher with higher ratings than Obama in his last year at the school, said, "The students thought he was great. He thought about things in unconventional ways."

Professors at the law school -- which is ranked among the country's best -- employ the "Socratic" teaching method of Professor Kingsfield from "The Paper Chase," cold-calling students to catch them off guard. Obama ditched that approach for a more informal conversation with students.

"Some professors are just kind of going through the motions with you," Janis said. "He actually seemed to take everyone's point of view seriously."

..."He was not an ivory tower academic," said former student Kenworthey Bilz, who had him for the low-ranked 1997 Constitutional Law class. "The class was not his first love. He was basically in the trenches. These were real problems to him. That kind of on-the-street realism was really refreshing."

(See recent post on this site re: how Obama could shape the courts
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Obama with "the boss" Springsteen - in Cleveland

John Cusack, Actor, Director (War, Inc., Grace is Gone):

The world looks to America. The planet sighs in relief. It deserves a righteous party. And now, the real work begins.

The first thing Obama should do is pray. I would hope he would start to dismantle the infrastructure of the occupation of Iraq. And make transparent the gorging on the state -- cut off these corporate interests and start reallocating money back into the United States infrastructure and people.
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Antonia Juhasz, author, The Tyranny of Oil: the World's Most Powerful Industry -- And What We Must Do To Stop It (HarperCollins Publishers, October 7, 2008).
To President Elect Obama:

Be Bold. Take on Big Oil and undo the disastrously failed economic, military, energy, and deregulatory policies of the past. Big Oil has guided public policy down a disastrous road, standing as an obstacle to the fulfillment of critical social movements against war, a failing economy, and global warming. Renounce and undo the use of the U.S. military as an oil protective force beginning with immediately and unequivocally ending the Iraq war. Make the reintroduction of regulation, enforcement, and taxation of this industry from the production, refining, marketing, transport, to the disposal of its products a vital heart of your administration. Reintroduce the moratoriums on offshore drilling and shale oil development. Fully and finally close the "Enron Loophole" and consider whether it is appropriate to trade a good as fundamental as crude on futures exchanges. Rather than "cap and trade" pollution, ban it through regulation. Eliminate industry subsidies, collect royalties, implement a windfall profits tax, increase gasoline taxes, and increase corporate taxation broadly to help Americans reduce consumption of all oil products by using this money to fund a massive public works program (ala the WPA) in clean sustainable local public transportation and to fund local sustainable green energy alternatives. Reform lobbying, conflict of interest, and campaign finance laws to remove the stain of Big Oil's money from our democracy and fully embrace the Separation of Oil and State. Lead the world by example by making diplomacy, cooperation, negotiation, and international law--not war--the center of our international energy plan
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Roberto Lovato - frequent Nation contributor, New York-based writer with New America Media.

Before anything, I'd like to congratulate Sen. Obama for his astonishing campaign. First and foremost, I'd like to see an Obama administration bring rationality and transparency back to the art of government, the science of statecraft. Obama should, for example, end immediately the dangerously irrational rise of miltarized immigration policy -- deploying heavily-armed Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents to terrorize gardeners, maids and their children in their homes, schools and workplaces, denying these families habeas corpus and jailing hundreds of thousands of them under the Guantanamo-like conditions of jails run by corrupt companies. Rather than try to reform ICE, one of the most violent, inefficient and militarized branches of government, the Obama Administration should take government immigration functions out of the massive and militarized bureaucracy of the Department of Homeland Security. For most of the history of immigration policy, immigration-related matters have been handled by non-militarized branches of government like the Department of Labor and others. Lastly, an Obama Administration should set a more humane and rational tone around immigration, a tone that shuts down the borders of irrationality and violence in government while also fostering greater understanding of and openness to the geopolitical, legal and other complexities of immigration today.
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Dean Baker, Co-Director, Center for Economic and Policy Research

President Obama is coming into office at a time of great risks and enormous opportunity. He can turn the current economic crisis to his advantage by extending national health care insurance as the centerpiece of a major economic stimulus package. Offering generous tax credits to businesses that don't already insure their workers (along with matching credits to businesses that improve their coverage) will quickly extend coverage to the vast majority of people who are not already covered.

The extension of health care coverage should be accompanied by an opening up of a Medicare-type program to the whole country. This is important both because it will make it very easy for small businesses to simply opt for the Medicare program instead of spending hours comparing the details of various plans and also because a Medicare-type program will provide a mechanism to restrain costs.

President Obama has a huge agenda to fill his terms in office, but if he succeeds in providing universal health coverage, he will have qualitatively changed peoples' lives in a way that will always be remembered.
***
Ethan Nadelmann, executive director, Drug Policy Alliance What can a President Obama do about drugs?

First, appoint a drug czar who will be more surgeon general than military general.

Second, insist that science trump politics and prejudice. That means federal support for needle exchange programs that prevent HIV/AIDS and overdose prevention programs that save lives. It means eliminating the ideological barriers that criminalize the prescription of marijuana as medicine, and that prevent doctors from treating pain and addiction with whatever drugs work best. And it means stimulating honest and informed debate on all drug policy options, including decriminalization and legal regulation of drug markets.

Third, eliminate harsh and racially discriminatory drug sentencing laws.

Fourth, stop throwing taxpayer money down the drain on international drug control programs that can have no impact on drug problems within the United States.

And fifth: boldly proclaim a "new bottom line" in U.S. drug policy -- one that rejects the empty rhetoric of zero tolerance and a drug free society, that acknowledges the reality that drugs are here to stay, and that insists upon policies that reduce the harms of both drug misuse and our failed prohibitionist policies.
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And for all the above, Obama's time in Congress although short will be be useful--perhaps especially his earliest stand against the Patriot Act and visiting with American Soldiers in Afghanistan. In Afghanistan, from Obama's Senate Site
*****
Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet Senior Fellow
Not all the votes have not yet been counted. But already it's clear what belongs in post-2008 election reform agenda.

To start, every state should offer universal same-day registration, so qualified citizens can show up -- on Election Day or during early voting -- and present the necessary identification to register and then vote. Early voting should also be extended throughout the country, although there should be more voting centers so people do not have to wait half a day or more as was seen in Florida this year. Voters need to be accommodated, not made to jump through unnecessary bureaucratic hoops.

Privatizing the voting process should be reversed, whether it is third-party groups paying workers to register low-income people -- because state social welfare agencies are not fulfilling their obligation to do so under federal law -- or private vendors that program the voting machinery itself. Software used in these computers should not be proprietary so the process can be more transparent to restore the public's trust. The nation needs to return to a paper-based voting system, where voters' marks on ballots leave no ambiguity who voted for who -- and vote count audits can be conducted to ensure that computer scanners are properly working.

Election officials finally need the resources to make voting easy and accessible, instead of being a government backwater that only get attention several days a year. Similarly, the presidential public financing system needs to updated so it is a viable choice in modern campaigns, in tandem with federal requirements that open up the airwaves for more debates and opportunities for competing views to be heard.

There are many other ideas on an election reform to-do list, but making voting more accessible, dignified, transparent and elevating the possibility for more detailed public debate would be a very good start.
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Nov. 5 USA:

Amnesty International USA Press Release

Amnesty International Calls on U.S. President-Elect Obama to Put Human Rights at the Heart of Government

(Washington) -- Amnesty International today urged U.S. President-elect Obama to show true leadership by making human rights central to his new administration. The organization is calling on the new president to take concrete steps in his first 100 days in office that would show genuine commitment to bringing the United States into line with its international obligations.

In the first 100 days, Amnesty International is specifically calling on the new administration to:

*announce a plan and date for the closure of the detention center at Guantanamo, issue an executive order to ban torture and other ill-treatment, as defined under international law and applicable to all U.S. agents, and *ensure an independent commission is set up to investigate abuses committed by the United States in its war on terror.

These demands form part of a checklist of actions Amnesty International is asking the new U.S. president to take during his first 100 days in office (see: www.amnestyusa.org/100days).

President-elect Obama must make a clean break from the previous administration's detention policies and practices. Millions of people, politicians and religious leaders in the United States and across the world are demanding these changes. Now is the time to make them happen, said Irene Khan, secretary general of Amnesty International.

President-elect Obama must reverse the damage done at home and abroad by the U.S. governments unlawful actions in the name of national security, said Larry Cox, executive director at Amnesty International USA. The U.S. governments policies during the past eight years have violated the basic rights of thousands of individuals, damaged the United States credibility on human rights issues and strained diplomatic relations. With the entire world watching, and the election of a new president and Congress, it's time to commit the United States to its international obligations and ensure that the rule of law will be the foundation of the country's policies.

Amnesty International is also urging President-elect Obama to push forward policies that will advance internationally recognized human rights. The U.S. government should also provide principled leadership in halting mass atrocities against civilians in places such as Darfur, ending the continued violence against women and girls in the United States and abroad, supporting human rights defenders and the international system of justice with the International Criminal Court at its heart.

Human rights must be an integral aspect of every policy, action and issue embarked on by President-elect Obama and his administration, said Cox. Although the current economic circumstances will dominate much of the public debate and international agenda, a strong and vigilant human rights agenda must also be a priority. The importance of reversing the legacy of the United States as a human rights abuser cannot be overstated."

"The new administration must focus on righting some of the wrongs of the Bush administration and restoring the United States as a human rights champion at home and abroad," said Khan.

During the first 100 days of the new administration, Amnesty International will be mobilizing its members and supporters in the United States and around the world to call on the new U.S. president and Congress to take immediate steps to demonstrate a commitment to human rights and urgently address pressing issues at home and abroad.

Amnesty International has requested an early meeting with the president-elect to discuss the human rights agenda of the new administration.

Amnesty International is a Nobel Peace Prize-winning grassroots activist
organization with more than 2.2 million supporters, activists and volunteers in more than 150 countries campaigning for human rights worldwide. The organization investigates and exposes abuses, educates and mobilizes the public, and works to protect people wherever justice, freedom, truth and dignity are denied.

Amnesty International was one of the first human rights organizations to campaign for the closure of the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo and an end to the practice of secret detentions and rendition.
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For more information about the organization's Counter Terror with Justice
campaign, please see: www.amnestyusa.org/ctwj.

(source: Amnesty International USA)
*****
Celebrate and also remember Obama's humanity as well as human qualities...Yes, he's one of us...yet no god...No More deifying the one who represents us each and all and promised to listen to our concerns. No more unitary president.

Associated Press Photo
Sen. Barack Obama, a basketball fan who takes to the court to stay in shape, got a run for his money during a scrimmage with the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. The U.S. presidential candidate, 46 and 6′2″, played ball with students half his age and seemingly twice his height in an early morning match-up that sent him off to the sidelines for a break halfway through the game.“These guys are a lot better than me,” he breathed to reporters while jogging down the court Talk about a workout--south side of Chicago, relaxing before election returns. after one play.Yes they are. But the lanky candidate, dressed in sweats, managed a few nice passes and a lay-up that looked like it should have made it in.“Thought I had that one!” he winced after missing the shot.The famous powerhouse college team did not exactly give the man who would like to be the next U.S. president a break, but Obama did his best to keep up and had a smile on his face throughout.The bright side? At least he wasn’t bowling…
Internet Photo

Welcome to the White House and may we each do our part to help make your stay one of concern and compassion for all of humanity.

MY RAINBOW RACE

Chorus:
One blue sky above us
One ocean lapping all our shore
One earth so green and round
Who could ask for more
And because I love you
I'll give it one more try
To show my rainbow race
It's too soon to die.

1. Some folks want to be like an ostrich,
Bury their heads in the sand.
Some hope that plastic dreams
Can unclench all those greedy hands.
Some hope to take the easy way:
Poisons, bombs. They think we need 'em.
Don't you know you can't kill all the unbelievers?
There's no shortcut to freedom.
(Repeat chorus)

2. Go tell, go tell all the little children.
Tell all the mothers and fathers too.
Now's our last chance to learn to share
What's been given to me and you.
(Repeat chorus one and a half times)

Words and Music by Pete Seeger (1967)(c) 1970 by Sanga Music Inc.
***
(if it's hard with this prayer-song for you to use the word "God" for whatever reason, simply substitute the word "Hope", "Light" or whatever works for you...

GOD OF OUR WEARY YEARS
JAMES WELDON JOHNSON (1921)

God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou hast brought us thus far on the way.
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray;

Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee,
Lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land!

James Weldon Johnson also wrote other poems and many other classic items...He wrote
And one of my favorite novels, full of items such as the various color of one's complexion or whether or not that matters or should when one is "mixed" - and many other dynamics that are better brought into focus by this recent turn of presidential events. You can find this book, -The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man- within this classic collection of his writings. Go
Here
***
PLEASE SEND your relevant, positive items to Connie, the blogger here at this new little blog - newlease7@yahoo.com

1 comment:

Connie L. Nash said...

This special blog was made especially for my husband and sons.

We love the special incredulous tone of voice and look in the eyes of our three young adult sons when considerations and now actual election have become a reality.

Two of our sons are from Uganda, the third is - like Obama - half black and half white - we used to call him "the glue" who keeps our family together.

The very idea that Obama could become a US President and now has been elected is quite a reason to celebrate and look at life a bit differently now in our family.

Oh, and of course this is for our daughter too - also a young adult - who, along with the two sons, has learned to speak another language fluently, French,and got a pretty good start at two others. She definitely keeps us on our toes about many subjects: world religion is only one.

More on our delightful family and experiences in the days ahead.

Thanks for tuning in!!!