Greed: The Bailout, Buying It Or Eating It?

On September 18, 2008, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) spoke on the Senate floor in grave and stringent tones about the state of Wall Street, the bailout, and serious fiscal challenges of New York State and its workers. She decried the lack of transparency during the Bush Administration, and how it turned a blind eye toward what was happening toward the economy, and toward middle class families, who saw their wages decline, their mortgage rates balloon, and their employers’ tax rates dwarf their own.

Hillary’s ideas to help homeowners stay in their homes, with the Home Owners Loan Corporation (HOLC) model, is a new version of a program that was first implemented during the Great Depression. It sounds so obvious to anyone who owns a home, has lost one due to rising rates, or is on the verge: We lower their rates. Again, Clinton shows she thinks about People. (Read: DNC = fools for selecting a self-indulgent candidate instead of one who actually cares about the middle class and can clearly articulate the problems we face and the common sense solutions we can implement. But really, I’m so sick of saying the same thing for the last eight months.) I don’t pretend to know anything about the economy or understand economic policy. I do understand concern for people. Read the transcript of her speech, plus outlined points on her website.

As far as my understanding of the housing market, I only had to look at my neighborhood. I bought my own very first home in Northern California when the internet-boom-fueled market had just begun to rise. I sold it at a profit before the market tanked. I knew I was moving across the country and had been asking my respected advisers if I should sell in Spring 2005? Over the period of a year, I was told that the market was strong and yet, one by one, I noticed the “For Sale” signs popping up. I’d ask, “Are you sure?”

If I had followed my own instincts, I would have profited an estimated 25 percent more, and sold it more quickly, according to comparable sales in my area. As it was, the first buyer, who made an offer within the first three weeks, fell through. The final sale took four months, during which time I was paying both my mortgage and my NY apartment rent, and I had to drop my price three times — however, thanks to a dynamite agent, I came out ahead. I was lucky. My main indicator was: the number of homes that had sprouted up in my area as compared to several years previous, when there were absolutely NO homes for sale. During that time, homeowners were swamped with multiple offers from buyers that often included bonuses of vacations, time shares, and cars to seal the deal! Buyers were crafting touchy-feely bios with photos to sell the sellers on that they were worthy of the purchase beyond just their cash.

My point is, forgetting about our brain-dead President for a moment, don’t our legislators actually live Somewhere? What exactly about driving down [name any street] and seeing “For Sale” signs was not obvious to them, too? And what about shop after shop on “Main Street” going out of business over the last two years was also not obvious? That doesn’t take a hearing or a meeting, just peeping out of your eye holes and listening to your struggling constituents.

I’m not letting either Party off the hook. Riverdaughter weighs in about the greed, and points to Anglachel. Where was our government’s concern when the housing market began turning downward and the sell offs began in 2004 and 2005? The fire sale, the fire? It takes millions of foreclosures to get them off their dime and bail banks out to the tune of $700,000,000,000 before we’re in certain doom? No accountability for Treasury Secretary Paulson? As McCain said this morning, he has deep concerns about letting one trillion dollars rest in the hands of one person.

Here, McCain is showing that he’s no George Bush.

This morning McCain weighed in about the economy at a town hall meeting in front of Irish Americans in Scranton, PA. He recommends a bi-partisan oversight board to establish accountability criteria and determine who gets help and who doesn’t. He suggested Warren Buffet who supports Obama, Mitt Romney who supports McCain, and Michael Bloomberg, an independent would be ideal potential members of this board.

McCain decried golden parachutes, as in Lehman Brothers top executives asking for $2 billion in bonuses after they ran the company into the ground. He stressed that they must have transparency, we must know which companies will be helped, in what manner, and have this information available online for public scrutiny. He proposed to fix the Wall Street mess, reform Wall Street, and create an economic plan to provide jobs and put our country back on track. He said we need to put our country first and focus on what’s best for Main Street, iterating that we must keep people in their homes and keep college students in school.

Among Democrats, Senate Banking Committee Chairman, Chris Dodd has voiced confidence in Paulson’s plan, but Barney Frank has advocated for exercising caution before approving a no-strings-attached plan. According to OpenSecrets.org, the Center for Responsive Politics, who looked at which politicians benefited most from contributions from the failed mortgage institutions Freddi Mac and Fannie Mae since 1989, Obama ranks second, only to Dodd. They list Democrats as the top three recipients, including the Presidential nominee, who racked up his totals in only three years.

Dodd, Christopher J S CT D $165,400 $48,500 $116,900
Obama, Barack S IL D $126,349 $6,000 $120,349
Kerry, John S MA D $111,000 $2,000 $109,000

In fairness, as I was about to complete this blog, Obama also gave a compelling speech in Green Bay, WI, about making Wall Street accountable. A major problem I have with Obama is his slash and burn style of slandering his opposition, while failing to be responsible for his own actions. How about the Democrats who came to office in 2006 and promised to stop the war, cut off war funding, create jobs, and forward environmentalism? How about Obama’s votes for the Bush/Cheney energy bill? How about his flip-flops on every significant liberal issue: FISA, war funding, campaign finance reform, abortion, gun control? How about 130 votes “present”? That’s all in addition to the despicable way he treated Hillary Clinton throughout his primary campaign. Oh, and let’s not forget caucus fraud, Florida and Michigan. And Israel. Soft stance on Ahmadinejad.

Call your representatives and demand that they don’t bail out Wall Street with a no-strings-attached blank check! Demand accountability and transparency.

Our PUMA Anti-Convention

Lady Boomer NYC as Miss Piggy Puma, courtesy of Gary and Mawm

.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.-.

Our PUMA Anti-Convention

“So, how’d it go at the Democratic Convention?”

I get that a lot from my family and friends. They know I had been working the entire year to get Hillary Clinton elected President while “raging against the machine,” and that I was going to Denver to protest. I replied,

“Ummm . . . good. . . . I, I wasn’t really at The Convention.

We were like . . . the Anti-Convention!”

Post-Denver, although still mourning for what could have been, most hardcore, grassroots Hillary supporters have moved on — in one way or another. They know, or are deciding, what they will do with their votes and/or their efforts. Will they work for one campaign or other at the top, or just support down-ticket candidates? They are mulling over whether to: vote nothing on top, vote third party, write in Hillary’s name, stay home, or cast a protest vote for John McCain. For most, that would be their first Republican vote ever, and they do not take it lightly. The only reason they would do it is to protest Barack Obama and Democratic Party leaders who subverted the democratic process and 18 million voters.

But I can’t fully move on yet. This story is roiling around inside me, unwilling to be forgotten. One week plus is old news, past prime, but I keep getting these “little messages.” Last week I ran into my neighborhood Brazilian Café and struck up a conversation with husband and wife owners, Marcello and Juliet. I’d been socked away in my “Puma Den” for the last six months, making rich stove top espressos at home on the cheap.

Marcello asked, “I heaven’t seen you for a while. Where have you bean? What have you been doing?”

I hesitated protectively, having lived undercover using my handle for so long that I had to consciously produce my real name in my head before saying it. “Actually, I’ve been doing a lot of writing most of the year, political writing. Do you know what blogs are? I have a blog and contribute to other sites and efforts.”

They continued the conversation as they scurried about their business, “Oh really, and who were you supporting for President?”

My personal self gulped inside my political self having been so underground and divided, “Actually, I was supporting Hillary Clinton, working to get her elected. I still support her and believe she would make the best President.”

They both jumped to attention and gravitated back to the counter to face me, “Really? We’re for her too!”

(See why I can’t stop?) “That’s great,” I cooed, as I came clean, telling them about my blog and links to others, our efforts prior to and during Denver, and our work to ensure a roll call, a floor vote, and a record of the truth about this election.

They pointed out to me, “It’s just like 2000, Gore and Bush!”

“Right!” I answered, “and now from our own. It seems so much worse that way. Did you know that Democrats have a weird gene that makes them eat their own?”

They laughed. We talked about the delegates. They had seen the same things that Puma and Just Say No Deal Coalition members have been uncovering, observing, highlighting, and shouting about all year long: the subversion, bullying, and undemocratic processes. They could not believe when they saw the vote halted and delegates switched. “We voted. We went in and pulled the lever. Why should we even bother?”

“I KNOW. How do they do it in Brazil?”

“We vote. It gets recorded. Somebody gets elected. That’s it.”

Continue reading

Null and Void: Democrats’ Roll Call in Retrospect

Suspending Rules and Winning “By Acclamation”

I am proud to call on the Senator from New York to make the following presentation, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton:

Madam Secretary, on behalf of the great state of New York, with appreciation for the spirit and dedication of all who are gathered here, with eyes firmly fixed on the future, in the spirit of unity, with a goal of victory, with faith in our party and our county, let’s declare together in one voice, right here, right now that Barack Obama is our candidate, and he will be our President. (yays and boos)

Madam Secretary, I move that the Convention suspend the procedural rules and suspend the further conduct of the roll call vote. All votes cast by the delegates will be counted, and that I move Senator Barack Obama of Illinois be selected by this Convention by acclamation as the nominee of the Democratic Party for President of the United States. (yays and boos — Hillary, Hillary, Hillary, chanting)

“Wuh Roo?” said Scooby Doo, “What Did I See On TV?”

This was bothering me. Many of you have moved on to whatever’s next in your PUMA/Just Say No Deal/Democrat or anti-establishment lives. But I’m not that way. I can’t move forward until I understand and sort out what I have witnessed.

What exactly did we see on the “Democratic” Convention floor last Wednesday, August 27, 2008? Why was the roll call halted halfway through? Why did state after state in which Hillary won the primary election and a majority of delegates declare their votes for Obama? Who and what do all those delegates’ votes represent? As each “Great State of” our Union called out its numbers, I wondered, what was the actual delegate count? I felt compelled to compare the roll call vote with the delegate count that we were supposed to get. After all, why pull the lever if it doesn’t even matter? Wow, now that’s deja vu all over again, ain’t it?

What About My Vote?

I will recap three points that we’ve been saying for months. I’m restating, because many citizens do not realize what happened right before their eyes: The delegate count in this election was not a fair reflection of the Democratic Party electorate. 1) Hillary Clinton WON the popular vote. (Resources and numbers nearly impossible to reconcile, based on FL, MI, and caucus votes) 2) There exists growing documentation, compiled by Lynette Long and ordinary poll and election worker reporting, that caucus fraud was rampant. This occurred in the form of systematic, deliberate suppression, misinformation, pressure, and bullying, mishandling of voter and caucus rolls, and ignoring basic caucus rules. 3) Each delegate elected from a district or region in a primary state represents approximately 12,225 primary voters, but only 2,110 voters in a caucus state. Accordingly, a caucus delegate represents about 5.8 times fewer voters than one elected in a primary. So, when Obama “won” a caucus, each of those delegates stood for far fewer voters. This is especially important in the general election in the red and swing states. Pat Buchanan called Wednesday’s spectacle a phony roll call vote in his op-ed, “And If Obama Loses.”

Why Is This Year Different Than Any Other Year?

Laying that aside for now, let’s talk about how the Democratic Party screwed Hillary Clinton and everyone who was connected to her around that roll call vote. At least that was my impression leading up to and viewing it on TV. Even the scheduled time was in flux. In my recollection, in every other election year, it had been held at night for everyone to view. But this year, Hillary Clinton, the person who won the most primary votes in history, had to negotiate for her right to be on the ballot and have a roll call vote on the convention floor. Her supporters wrote thousands and thousands of letters, emails, and blogs. They raised money, ran political ads, and spoke out in the media to help the delegates stick with the one that brung ’em. All this, because the DNC leadership and Obama’s campaign were so afraid of Hillary’s success after saying they could win the general election without all of us old and new dedicated party regulars. All year they tried to strong-arm us in to Unity and make her quit.

Our dedicated coalition members worked tirelessly to have a full roll call vote and a nominating speech for Hillary on the floor during prime time. We appealed to delegates and Superdelegates with petitions, and petitions on top of petitions. We didn’t know what would happen until the last minute, although we suspected. The same with Bill Clinton’s speech: off on, off on, but not during prime time, after they edited him.

And Then It Happened . . .

All of a sudden the roll call was on, but many of us were unable to get the live-streaming on our computers, so we ran several blocks away to a “Hillary-friendly” Denver bar. We saw states yield to other states on their votes, then the Convention floor was all abuzz, as our candidate was introduced as a simple Senator, with no mention of her historic win — just one of the guys delegation. She was on the floor with her fellow NY legislators. Then they made her eat sh*t, while they had her turn around and f*cked her up the a**, while reading a “stop the vote, we’re all onboard” speech. (Oh, I should have warned you: XXX, not my usual sedate lady self, is it? I feel a little strongly about this.) Everything was orchestrated, as CA, IL, and NM yielded so that Hillary, in a great show of U-N-I-T-Y, could cast all votes of her own NY State for Obama, throwing the delegate totals over the top. Oh, right, she likes it like that, because she’s a politician. But I’m not.

Yes, we’re all good soldiers and must move on to the next front. Many already have and are considering both individually and as a group what to do leading to November and beyond. However, many people aren’t clear about what happened, and are incensed that the vote was stopped mid-stream. Below, I’ve compiled the number of delegates won by state and candidate, how the numbers changed during the roll call vote, total number of delegates, and total number of votes cast. This list is variable, depending on the source and date and because it contains Superdelegates. On the morning of the roll call vote, 10 delegates flipped back to Hillary, and the petition effort was contacted by several Superdelegates who wanted to switch to her as well, some under the lights of the press.

Fair Reflection? Arkansas, Florida, and Michigan

Just a few words about fair reflection: Arkansas flipped. The Chairman of their delegation and DNC party head, Bill Gwatney, had been murdered two weeks prior. Heard anything in the news about it? Word is that his entire delegation had signed the 300 petition to ensure that Hillary’s name be placed on the ballot. In a twist of irony, his wife delivered their state’s votes to the Convention: Unanimous for Obama, after Hillary had won their state of origin by the largest margin of the primary: 70%. Arkansas.

Florida and Michigan votes were denied and blocked by Obama, until the May 31, 2008 DNC RBC meeting when he became a charity case. The committee donated four of Senator Clinton’s Michigan delegates and all the uncommitted vote delegates, which had included votes for other candidates. Obama had removed his name from that state’s ballot, fearing a loss would taint his chances in Iowa. However, Clinton kept hers on, stating that although the votes wouldn’t count, the voters should have a say. She was smart and right.

The Rules and Bylaws Committee refused to tackle their problem of fully seating delegates representing 2.3 million voters in both states. Instead they made each delegate into half-votes, and referred an incensed Harold Ickes, attorney for Senator Clinton, to the more appropriate Credentials Committee to contest their ruling in Denver on August 24, 2008. On August 5, Obama wrote a letter to that committee, requesting that those delegations be seated and counted in full. On August 20, when they no longer had any effect on Hillary’s campaign, as they would have had they been counted when she won them, those delegations were seated in-full. I learned on August 24 that the Credentials Committee and the Rules and Bylaws Committee were comprised of the exact same people. So I guess they really meant: talk to the hand.

How Am I Driving? Pass and Yield

Lastly, how about that orchestrated roll call, pass/yield deal? It began like any other roll call. Hillary would have her due. It had been rumored for over a week that she might release her delegates before a roll call vote on the floor. This prompted a new 20% or 826 delegate petition requiring a vote. Then came word of a secret hotel vote, then a Wednesday meeting with Clinton and all her delegates in which she released them and advised they vote their conscience. She’d cast hers for Obama.

Back to the roll call: First, California passes on casting their 441 votes, of which Hillary won over half. As Barbara Boxer yields to Hillary supporter Art Torres to make the announcement, she gleefully turns to her delegation and giggles. It’s as if Boxer was saying, “Ooo, what a coup! Aren’t we clever!” Come their turn, Illinois passes. New Mexico yields back to Illinois, who yields to New York. Then a hustle bustle on the floor, so Clinton could deliver the perfect Unity blow, right into her own back. Gee, it just doesn’t get better than this, does it?

Is It Safe To Vote?

Exactly, why do we vote if “delegates” can just switch their votes, and on the first ballot no less? Why should Superdelegates be able to have a more influential vote than any ordinary citizen, enough to sway their state and an election, as perpetrated by a biased and corrupt political party? I am committed to reforming the system to one person one vote. If we don’t have that, what do we have as citizens? It’s our most basic democratic right.

The chart below shows by state the combined delegate/Superdelegate count awarded to each candidate, the first ballot floor vote, total number of delegates per state, and total votes each cast during the convention. I completed the chart for the rest of the states. By directing Superdelegates to declare their endorsements before the convention in a DNCC and DSCC letter, in press conferences and public appearances, Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid nullified their original intent. The numbers, which include SDs, seem less close than they actually were.

Democratic Delegate Count vs. Roll Call Count, Democratic Convention, August 27, 2008

STATE       HRC DELS     BO DELS      HRC ROLL    BO ROLL    TTL DELS      TTL CAST
AL           28           29            5          48         60            53
AK            4           14            3          15         18            18
AM SAMOA      6            3            0           9          9             9
AZ           35           31           27          40         67            67
AR           38            8            0          47         47            47
CA          232          200           PASSES                441             0
CO           23           45           15          55         70            70
CT           36           24           21          38         60            59
DEL           8           14            0          23         23            23
DEMS ABRD     4            7            2.5         8.5       11            11
DC           13           25            7          33         40            40
FL          104           78           51         136        211           188
GA           29           70           18          82        102           100
GUAM          4            5            3           4          9             7
HI            8           21            1          26         27            27
ID            3           19            3          20         23            23
IL            0            0           PASSES                  0             0
IN           42           41            6          75         85            81
IA           17           35            9          48         57            57
KS           10           30            6          34         41            40
KY           40           16           24          36         60            60
LA           26           39            7          43         67            50
ME           10           21            8          24         32            32
MD           39           55            6          94        100           100
MA           66           51           52          65        121           117
MI           76           72           27         125        157           152
MN           27           58            8          78         88            86
MS           13           25            8          33         41            41
MO           41           46            6          82         88            88
MT            7           17            7          18         25            25
NE            8           22            3          28         31            31
NV           13           20            8          25         34            33
NH           12           15            0          30         30            30
NJ           71           55            0         127        127           127
NM           20           17           YIELDS TO IL           38             0
IL           49          133           YIELDS TO NY          185             0
NY          159          121            0         282        282           282
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
           1321         1482          341.5      1831.5      2907         2174

NC           51           78
ND            5           15
OH           82           74
OK           25           21
OR           23           41
PA          101           80
PR           42           19
RI           21           10
SC           14           39
SD            9           12
TN           46           35
TX CAUC      29           38
TX           79           75
UT           11           17
VT            7           14
VI            3            6
VA           33           63
WA CAUC      31           61
WV           23           12
WI           34           53
WY            6           12
--------------------------------
            675          775
          +1321        +1482
--------------------------------
           1996         2257

Source, delegate count: CNN Primary Results Scorecard
Source, roll call vote: CSPAN live tape up top

Total number of delegates: 4234
Number of delegates needed for nomination, including FL and MI: 2211
Numbers in chart include Superdelegates: Obama 438, Clinton 236

Et tu, Brute?

So why did so many states flip? Sources say that on the morning of the floor vote, everything was complete. Many opinions say it was finished on or before the May 31, 2008 DNC RBC meeting. But not believing our eyes and ears, in service of democracy, we kept on to preserve our and the rights of our candidate. We’ve since learned that as late as August 27, during the convention, swing-state delegations were being threatened with loss of Party funding for their states and candidate campaigns if they didn’t vote for Obama. Evidently, Obama needed Hillary more than she needed him. Otherwise, they would not have had a sham roll call or a Mile High speech to prop him up.

Oh, and as far as going Repug, it ain’t me, babe, although I will never cast a vote for Obama. In my life, the means are absolutely as important as the end, and I cannot support a candidate who derives power “by any means necessary.” If I have to cast a protest vote, I will. However, remember who brung Brazile? Her info emails with Karl Rove beginning in 2003 helped him help her promote the most unelectable Democratic candidate. So, let’s not forget who’s still trying to pull the strings and who’s still laughing all the way to the bank. Criminal, ain’t it? Too bad, Dems still ain’t got a clue.

In conclusion, Hillary and Bill Clinton were in an impossible, lose-lose situation. Some supporters got disgusted and thought they caved. I don’t think so. In order to come out of this, being seen as having done everything possible to nominate and elect Barack Obama — a far more generous and political act than exists in his little finger — The Clintons did everything possible, Bill while holding his nose, and came out smelling sweet as a rose. Party people all the way, and on to the next challenge. Yes, I’m getting there.

[“Evita,” music Andrew Lloyd Weber, lyrics Tim Rice]

[cross-posted from The Confluence]

Hillary’s Convention Speech: Keep Going!

What a speech! Many tears were shed, as we were again touched by the most Presidential, brilliant candidate of our lifetime. For us, “it’s been a privilege.” Here at Puma Headquarters for hours afterward: lots of happy partying — is there another kind? The mood was extremely upbeat and festive, and we are so proud of our true Democratic candidate.

Your determination to keep going, often in the face of enormous obstacles . . . you taught me so much.

To my supporters, to my champions, to my sisterhood of the traveling pantsuits, from the bottom of my heart, thank you, because you never gave in, and you never gave up. Together we made history. . . .

And even in the darkest moments, that is what Americans have done: we have found the faith to keep going.

My mother was born before women could vote, my daughter got to vote for her mother for President. This is the story of America, of women and men who defy the odds and never give up.

So how do we give this country back to them? By following the example of a brave New Yorker, a woman who risked her lives to bring slaves to freedom along the underground railroad.

On that path to freedom, Harriet Tubman had one piece of advice:

‘If you hear the dogs, keep going. If you see the torches in the woods, keep going. If they’re shouting after you, keep going. Don’t ever stop, keep going. If you want a taste of freedom, keep going.’

And even in the darkest moments. That is what Americans have done. We have found the faith to keep going.

We do not yet know the results of the floor vote petition. Word is that the ballots went out to the delegations on Tuesday night. In the face of enormous odds, from our hearts, we can do no less. We keep going.

Keep Going (click to play)

[by Pearl Harbor and The Explosions]

[cross-posted from The Confluence]

Delegates Mad as Hell: Scramble for Floor Vote

Clinton Delegates are pissed. The Clinton National Delegate Network, a grassroots movement of delegates is on the streets of Denver collecting signatures from Hillary delegates. This eleventh hour effort is being organized to ensure that delegates who were elected to represent the voters of each state can and will vote for the candidate they were pledged to.

The DNC and Nancy Pelosi, the Chairman of the Democratic Convention, are doing everything in their power to make sure that does not happen. With Obama’s flagging support, according to the polls, running neck and neck with McCain, they are very worried that Hillary will get the nomination if a roll call vote takes place on the convention floor. That is why they are making the delegates have a secret hotel vote, instead of the floor vote that’s been done since forever. The hotel vote will purportedly take place on Wednesday morning, August 27, 2008.

However, there is a DNC rule that says if 20% of a candidate’s delegates sign a petition for a roll call vote, it must happen. This means that Hillary needs 826 of her delegates to sign this petition. I visited their headquarters along with BettyJean, Pagan, Hill08, and BrendaLynn. As we set out on our mission, we got three signatures in less than one block. They headed for the Pepsi Center to collect more, and got about 40 in an hour, and I came back to Puma Headquarters to blog. Last word I got was there were over 400 signatures gathered.

Pagan reports that he talked to a delegate who originally supported Hillary. The delegate declined to sign or divulge the delegation he was from. He said he would vote the way his state party told him to vote and that Terry McAuliffe had instructed them in how to vote. When Pagan asked if he’d mind sharing what that way of voting would be, he also declined, and then just turned his head and refused to engage in the conversation anymore.

Delegates have reported to us that Obama supporters are stationed outside of each delegation’s room with clipboards, ready to make sure that once again, despite their best efforts to represent their constituents (approximately 12,000 voters per delegate in the case of primaries, and 585 in the case of caucuses), that Hillary delegates and voters are ROBBED of their democratic rights.

As recently as this afternoon, we knew that the hotel vote would take place in each delegation on Wednesday morning, and that Hillary would have a special luncheon with her delegates at 1pm. Rumor had it that she might release her delegates then.

However, we have an unconfirmed report coming from someone inside the Pepsi Center that Hillary Clinton will make a special announcement tonight during her speech. Although I’m ever the optimist, call me paranoid: Will she try to pre-empt this grassroots effort by releasing her delegates tonight?

I can’t even imagine the pressure she is under by party leadership. We even heard that President Clinton’s speech would not be televised live in prime time.

Oh my, is the DNC running scared or what? We need divine intervention. If you’re a praying person, give it your all.

[cross posted from The Confluence.]

PUMAs Are Slammin’ In Denver: Don’t Give Up!

Hello All!

Pumas are slammin’ in Denver. I’m telling you, our presence is AMAZING! Puma Headquarters are a beehive of activity. At least 300 Pumas, including several delegates, have been here today. They’re making signs, attending events in protest. Riverdaughter, BettyJean, danceswithpumas, joanofart, and Pagan — are all live-blogging, so stay tuned.

The press dropped by. We were interviewed by CBS, ABC, the French press, Japanese press, and The National (an emerging newspaper from the Arab Emirates that acknowledges the existence of Israel, although their host country does not.)

I’ve met so many Pumas in the flesh whose names I’ve seen online all year. What a great group of dedicated and passionate Americans we are. People who have sacrificed money, opportunity, and many, many things to make sure that the ideals our of country are upheld. What a fantastic opportunity to solidify and build our relationships for now into the future.

There’s been so much activity that it’s taken me all day to write this update!

Tonight is the movie premiere of the “Audacity of Democracy,” by filmmakers Brad and Laurie Mays, which will be attended by Puma and Just Say No Deal members and covered by the press. This documentary shines a light on the caucus fraud perpetrated by the Obama campaign that has plagued this primary election process.

Tomorrow is the Beautiful Protest/The Rise event in Cheesman Park 2-6 pm informal gathering, and 6-10 pm speakers, featuring Darragh Murphy, riverdaughter. I’ll even be taking a turn at the mic to say a bit about how and why I was motivated to hang in there for Hillary, why I’ve been compelled to keep going.

I’ll be posting some pics tomorrow and will be reporting on each day’s activities and goings on, so be sure to return for the latest.

Pumas, Just Say No Deal coalition members, know this: Our voice, our Democracy — live on through all of you. We have just begun to fight for our cause and our country. Know that you all are strong, our movement is strong.

“Don’t give up, cuz you have friends..

Don’t give up, you’re not beaten yet.

Don’t give up, I know you can make it good.

I know there’s a place where we belong.”

Don’t give up, you still have us.

Don’t give up, we don’t need much of anything.

’cause somewhere there’s a place we belong. . . .

When times get rough,

You can fall back on us.

Don’t give up, please don’t give up.

Don’t give up, ’cause you have friends.

Don’t give up, you’re not the only one.

Don’t give up, no reason to be ashamed.

Don’t give up, you still have us.

Dont give up, we’re proud of who you are.

Don’t give up, you know it’s never been easy.

Don’t give up, ’cause I believe there’s a place,

A place where we belong.”

“Don’t Give Up” by Peter Gabriel and Kate Bush

My One True Friend: Stephanie Tubbs Jones (1949-2008)

From Guilda and GeekLove

“Tribute to Stephanie Tubbs Jones who was the first black Congresswoman representing Ohio and the first black woman to serve on the House Ways and Means committee. She was one of Hillary Clinton’s true friends and a real Democrat.”

May her energetic, committed, and passionate service on behalf of this country be rewarded by inspiring us all to continue her legacy.

Stephanie Tubbs Jones—I Hear A Symphony

We do not yet know the fate of Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones, as of 5:00 pm ET, August 20, 2008. We do know that she had an aneurysm last night and according to major news outlets was pronounced dead, then the news was corrected to report that she is on life support.

UPDATE: Rep. Tubbs Jones passed away this evening, Wednesday, at 6:12 pm ET, according to CNN: after her condition declined “throughout the course of the day and into this evening,” according to a joint statement from her family, Huron Hospital and the Cleveland Clinic.

The picture above was snapped at Baruch College in NYC on the eve of June 3, 2008, after the final primary totals were in, and Hillary had big wins in South Dakota and Puerto Rico. Terry McAuliffe introduced her as the Next President of the United States, and Hillary was defiant. It was less than one week after the Democrats slammed her at the DNC RBC meeting by awarding Obama Michigan votes that were not his. Through it all, Stephanie Tubbs Jones stayed strong, loyal, and true to the Clintons and Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

I feel like playing this Supremes song in honor of the song Congresswoman Jones has been singing through her passionate and dedicated service to Ohio and this country. I hope she’ll hear the symphony, the violins, and the music she’s made wherever she is. According to The Plain Dealer:

Joe Hewitt, a friend of Tubbs Jones’ family, said the congresswoman’s collapse followed a “full day of activity” including planning for a Sept. 4 forum on electoral reform at Cleveland State University.

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I Hear A Symphony

Whenever you’re near, I hear a symphony, a tender melody . .

I feel this joy within, don’t let this feeling end, let it go on and on and on and on.

Baby, baby, those tears that fill my eyes, I cry not for myself,

but for those who’ve never felt the joy we’ve felt. . . .

— A thousand violins fill the air —

Keep standing so close to me, so close to me, I hear a symphony.

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Here’s a portion of her bio from http://tubbsjones.house.gov:

Biography — Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones (OH-11)

Congresswoman Stephanie Tubbs Jones is the first African-American woman elected to the United States House of Representatives from Ohio. Congresswoman Jones is a lifelong resident of the 11th District, which encompasses most of the East Side of Cleveland and parts of the West Side of Cleveland and includes parts of 22 suburbs.

Currently in her fifth term in office, the Congresswoman, a strong advocate for many issues, has championed wealth building and economic development, access and delivery of health care, and quality education for all. The Congresswoman chairs the Committee on Standards of Official Conduct (Ethics). Additionally, she serves on the powerful Ways and Means Committee and is an active member of numerous Congressional Caucuses, including the Congressional Black Caucus.

Most recently, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones introduced the “Count Every Vote” Act of 2005 which seeks to provide an all-encompassing solution to a broad range of voting irregularities that occurred during the 2004 presidential election. She is an original co-sponsor of multiple significant pieces of legislation, including healthcare for low and middle-income families and community reentry for ex-felons.

Congresswoman Tubbs Jones has made a number of historic achievements in her distinguished career as a public servant. Prior to her election to the House, Congresswoman Tubbs Jones served as the first African-American and the first female Cuyahoga County, Ohio Prosecutor. She was the first African-American woman to sit on the Common Pleas bench in the State of Ohio and was a Municipal Court Judge in the City of Cleveland.

In Gratitude
Dear Stephanie: We thank and honor you and your lifetime of service. We are so sorry that you had to leave us way too soon, and we pray for your deliverance. May you continue your good works on your next assignment. I know you’ll be watching over us and pulling some strings during the Democratic Convention. Whenever I think of you, I’ll hear a symphony and hope you’ll hear it, too. Although you may be surprised to find yourself where you are now, may you find peace in your new home.

Normalizing Hillary: Connect the Vote Dots

Besides PUMAs, Just Say No Deal Coalition members, and those who have been paying close attention to the 2008 primary process, everyone in the US and some people abroad think that: Obama won the Democratic Primary; therefore, he secured the nomination; and he is being gracious by allowing Clinton’s name to be placed in nomination at the Democratic Convention.

In fact, the Obama and Clinton campaigns issued a joint statement on August 14, 2008 about it, and we have achieved a small victory. Or as Heidi Li Feldman puts it, we’re where we were in the first place. (Oh, forgive me: as Barbra WaWa might say: Were where we whah in the furst pwace.) The MSM is all over the story, asking if we disgruntled old ladies, gays, and republicrats are satisfied now? They claim that we’re just sore losers, and that we want Clinton’s name on the ballot because of her historic win as a woman. They’re touting it as symbolic. It’s not symbolic; it’s normal!

In fact, we are sore winners! Neither candidate won the requisite number of pledged delegates. Instead (rolling eyes, PUMAs repeating themselves, ad infinitum), Nancy Nine Percent Pelosi and Harry Reticent Reed pressured the Democratic Superdelegates to endorse a candidate prior to Denver. This act in turn defies their true purpose: to nominate the candidate who can win POTUS in November. In 2008, there are 855 Superdelegates with FL and MI according to Connect-the-Dots. CNN says it’s 825. Over 200 are uncommitted. Any SD can change their vote through the first ballot in Denver, no matter who they or their state or district endorsed.

Didn’t Hillary run on the assertion that she was the only Democratic candidate who could win the Electoral College in November? The virtual Nobama/McCain dead heat in the polls proves that she wasn’t lyin’, despite Obamamoneys-raised, European jaunts, and a vacay away from the barely investigative, mostly fawning MSM spotlight.

The Obama/DNC presumption is that it’s all a done deal. To dispel any doubts, Invesco Field/Mile High Stadium was booked as the site for what our movement, (and back in the day, Jesse Jackson) calls a coronation. Let’s be clear:

From CNN’s count, we see that neither candidate had the requisite 2,118 pledged delegates as of June 3 to clinch the nomination. Obama had 1763, Clinton had 1640, a 123 delegate lead for BO. It is difficult to find an accurate vote count that shows Hillary Clinton won the most popular votes of any primary candidate in history. Why? Real Clear Politics has Clinton at 18,046,007, Obama at 17,869,542, including MI and FL, with estimates for IA, NV, ME, and WA. There, Clinton nets +176,465 votes.

1. Why does popular vote matter when everyone keeps hammering on the delegate totals? Delegate counts are inconsistent, uneven reflections of the will of the voters, because they include caucuses. Caucuses represent far fewer voters than primaries, yet delegates selected in that process carry more weight.

Worse yet is the impact on the delegate count. While [as of 5/31/08] 2549 delegates earned in the primaries represent an average of 12,225 voters, in the caucuses each of the 515 delegates elected represents a mere 2,110 votes. Each caucus vote, then, is weighted 5.8 times greater than each primary vote when it comes to allocating delegates.

2. Why don’t PUMAs admit that Obama won more caucuses, which is why he won and Hillary lost, and stop changing the rules? In 2008, there are substantiated reports of caucus fraud. Please read Dr. Lynette Long’s research who concludes: “the Obama campaign willfully and intentionally defrauded the American public by systematically undermining the caucus process.”

3. If Obama now has enough delegates when SDs are included, why isn’t he simply the nominee? Superdelegates are party officials — both elected and un-elected. They can vote for whomever they wish at their Convention, regardless of their states’ vote, to make sure the most-electable Democrat becomes the nominee.

4. Why am I still writing about this, when Obama and Clinton agreed on 8/14/08 that Hillary’s name will be placed on the Convention ballot and up for a roll call vote? Because, it should have been automatic, as in every election since 1884. None of the other candidates came anywhere near Clinton, yet it’s a “negotiation”? Look at all these guys who were nominated, without even coming close to their opponents in delegate count. Courtesy of EdgeOfForever:

1972: Ted Kennedy – 12 votes on first ballot
Kennedy had no chance of winning, but his name was placed in nomination.

1976: Ted Kennedy – 1 vote on first ballot
Kennedy had no chance of winning, but his name was placed in nomination.

1980: Jimmy Carter – 1981 delegates
Ted Kennedy – 1225 delegates
Uncommitted – 122
Kennedy had no chance of winning, but his name was placed in nomination.

1984: Jesse Jackson – 465 votes
Jackson had no chance of winning, but his name was placed in nomination.

1988: Jesse Jackson – 1218 votes
Jackson had no chance of winning, but his name was placed in nomination.

2004: John Kerry: 2192.5 Pledged delegates
Howard Dean: 114.5 Pledged delegates
Dean had already dropped out, with no chance of winning, but his name was placed in nomination.

2008: Barack Obama: 1766.5 Pledged delegates
Hillary Clinton: 1639.5 Pledged delegates

5. Who are the delegates, and why shouldn’t they just go along with the DNC’s choice, Barack Obama? Delegates are elected by their grassroots supporters to go to the Democratic convention as representatives of the total votes cast in their state’s districts. Although they each may represent thousands of HRC voters, they can just change their votes as if we, the US voters, are not even in the picture! According to CNN,

Pledged delegates are not actually bound to vote for the candidate. Consequently, candidates are allowed on a state-by-state basis to review lists of delegates who have pledged their support and can delete anyone whose support they consider unreliable.

Surprise you? This could account for the DNC’s treatment of Clinton delegate, Sacha Millstone, or even what happened in Florida right after June 3, when Obama’s campaign began replacing his elected delegates with their own. I’m still not getting how someone who represents your, or my, or anyone’s vote could be intimidated into changing it and have that be part of the deal. Our deal. You know, the one we get as citizens. The deal, the one true thing we’ve got in this country that our guys and all those Iraqis are supposedly dying for and about. That democracy one person one vote representative thing.

6. How can the DNC represent the will of the people, if the delegates are pressured to support Obama as if he is the nominee, and they are afraid to publicly declare otherwise? How can there be “unity” if Hillary Clinton is allowed to be booed unchecked at even one of his events? DNC chairs and party officials, and delegates are being intimidated and threatened to not cast THEIR votes for Hillary Clinton. These are not THEIR votes. These votes are OURS. The delegates are merely our proxies. If not us, who DO they represent? How is this representative government?

Whether you agree or disagree, please learn about the process. Watch this three-part series, Democrats ’08: CONNECT-THE-DOTS, with Host Leslie Stevens. The program is sponsored by The Educational Foundation for the Integrity of the Democratic Process, Asheville, North Carolina. Bloggers, please post it! Readers, email it to friends and family.

[Connect-the-Dots Part 1]

[Connect-the-Dots Part 2]

[Connect-the-Dots Part 3]

Have you connected the dots? That’s why we’re not satisfied. It’s about the process being fair and reflecting the will of the voters. And, you can help!!! Call or email your delegates or any that you know. Ask them to sign the 300 delegate petition to ensure that Hillary’s name is placed in nomination. This petition was created by and for delegates. Email: hrc300delegates@yahoo.com.

Still, we’re not ready to make nice. . . .

[160 Years and Still Waiting — Rise Hillary Rise by DemocracyDame]

h/t to DemocracyDame for “Connect-the-Dots” lead and her video above.