Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Health Care – Right or Responsibility?

Astrid Helena Germain 1951 - 2007
My best friend died in November. She died, in this 21st century, from an infection! She died at age 56 because she could not afford health insurance due to an unrelated pre-existing condition, so she waited to go to the hospital until it was too late. My friend’s inability to afford health insurance might be your story, and if it's not, then it might be the story of someone you know and care about. An election looms ahead that has become almost a comedy of ridiculous name-calling, while important issues like health care exist that affect our lives every day.
The September 2008 Kaiser Family Foundation election tracking poll puts health care as the number three priority of all voters, and it remains the second most commonly reported economic hardship (after paying for gas). Almost fifty million people are without health insurance, and at least that many are under-insured, while revenues going into the industry continue to increase at double digit rates year after year. According to the World Health Organization, although the United States now spends $2.3 trillion a year on health care (twice as much per capita on health care as any other country,) it ranks 37th in terms of health system performance and 72nd in overall population health. The U.S. is the only industrial nation without health care for all.
The private payers of health care have an overhead of between 20% and 30% as compared to Medicare’s 3%. The difference between the two is in the presence of or lack of bureaucracy within the drug companies, insurance companies, and other powerful and well-funded special interests which make billions of dollars off of human illness. Simply stated, we need to move toward a national health care program that guarantees health care to all as a right, not a privilege. When we do that, and end the greed and profiteering in the current system, we can provide quality care for all Americans without spending a nickel more than we currently spend.
The Republican nominee has proposed to tax the health benefits that 156 million people get through the workplace as income. In exchange, McCain would give tax credits to help pay for insurance — $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families, paid directly to the insurer they choose. What McCain fails to state is that our country under its current system already spends $12,500 per individual on health care. His plan could lead employers to drop their current plans that could not be replaced for $5,000. McCain's plan would also increase the deficit by $1.3 trillion over 10 years. He also intends to make cuts in Medicare, which is not good news for our seniors.
The Democratic nominee will make coverage more affordable to most Americans, including the self-employed and small businesses, paying for the subsidies largely by canceling the Bush administration's tax cuts for people making more than $250,000 a year. He would outlaw "insurance company discrimination” against people with pre-existing conditions, and he would save money in the health care system, by holding drug and insurance companies accountable for the prices they charge and the harm they cause. Medicare would be allowed to negotiate with drug makers for cheaper prices, and his administration would place greater emphasis on preventing illnesses.
Barack Obama has a plan to stop the marginalization of that 15% of our population who are currently not considered valuable enough to be helped when they are hurting. He has a plan that will save money. I am an Obama supporter. I hope you will be, too, but if you're not, the fact that 22,000 people died last year because of a lack of health care, including my friend, should at least encourage you to compare the plans available.


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Friday, October 17, 2008

Chicago Tribune Endorses Barack Obama for President

Friday, October 17, 2008
This speaks volumes. This is the first Democrat the paper has ever endorsed. Founded 1847.
However this election turns out, it will dramatically advance America's slow progress toward equality and inclusion. It took Abraham Lincoln's extraordinary courage in the Civil War to get us here. It took an epic battle to secure women the right to vote. It took the perseverance of the civil rights movement. Now we have an election in which we will choose the first African-American president . . . or the first female vice president.

In recent weeks it has been easy to lose sight of this history in the making. Americans are focused on the greatest threat to the world economic system in 80 years. They feel a personal vulnerability the likes of which they haven't experienced since Sept. 11, 2001. It's a different kind of vulnerability. Unlike Sept. 11, the economic threat hasn't forged a common bond in this nation. It has fed anger, fear and mistrust.

On Nov. 4 we're going to elect a president to lead us through a perilous time and restore in us a common sense of national purpose.

The strongest candidate to do that is Sen. Barack Obama. The Tribune is proud to endorse him today for president of the United States.
On Dec. 6, 2006, this page encouraged Obama to join the presidential campaign. We wrote that he would celebrate our common values instead of exaggerate our differences. We said he would raise the tone of the campaign. We said his intellectual depth would sharpen the policy debate. In the ensuing 22 months he has done just that.

Many Americans say they're uneasy about Obama. He's pretty new to them.

We can provide some assurance. We have known Obama since he entered politics a dozen years ago. We have watched him, worked with him, argued with him as he rose from an effective state senator to an inspiring U.S. senator to the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

We have tremendous confidence in his intellectual rigor, his moral compass and his ability to make sound, thoughtful, careful decisions. He is ready.

The change that Obama talks about so much is not simply a change in this policy or that one. It is not fundamentally about lobbyists or Washington insiders. Obama envisions a change in the way we deal with one another in politics and government. His opponents may say this is empty, abstract rhetoric. In fact, it is hard to imagine how we are going to deal with the grave domestic and foreign crises we face without an end to the savagery and a return to civility in politics.

This endorsement makes some history for the Chicago Tribune. This is the first time the newspaper has endorsed the Democratic Party's nominee for president.

The Tribune in its earliest days took up the abolition of slavery and linked itself to a powerful force for that cause--the Republican Party. The Tribune's first great leader, Joseph Medill, was a founder of the GOP. The editorial page has been a proponent of conservative principles. It believes that government has to serve people honestly and efficiently.

With that in mind, in 1872 we endorsed Horace Greeley, who ran as an independent against the corrupt administration of Republican President Ulysses S. Grant. (Greeley was later endorsed by the Democrats.) In 1912 we endorsed Theodore Roosevelt, who ran as the Progressive Party candidate against Republican President William Howard Taft.

The Tribune's decisions then were driven by outrage at inept and corrupt business and political leaders.

We see parallels today.

The Republican Party, the party of limited government, has lost its way. The government ran a $237 billion surplus in 2000, the year before Bush took office -- and recorded a $455 billion deficit in 2008. The Republicans lost control of the U.S. House and Senate in 2006 because, as we said at the time, they gave the nation rampant spending and Capitol Hill corruption. They abandoned their principles. They paid the price.

We might have counted on John McCain to correct his party's course. We like McCain. We endorsed him in the Republican primary in Illinois. In part because of his persuasion and resolve, the U.S. stands to win an unconditional victory in Iraq.

It is, though, hard to figure John McCain these days. He argued that President Bush's tax cuts were fiscally irresponsible, but he now supports them. He promises a balanced budget by the end of his first term, but his tax cut plan would add an estimated $4.2 trillion in debt over 10 years. He has responded to the economic crisis with an angry, populist message and a misguided, $300 billion proposal to buy up bad mortgages.

McCain failed in his most important executive decision. Give him credit for choosing a female running mate--but he passed up any number of supremely qualified Republican women who could have served. Having called Obama not ready to lead, McCain chose Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. His campaign has tried to stage-manage Palin's exposure to the public. But it's clear she is not prepared to step in at a moment's notice and serve as president. McCain put his campaign before his country.
Obama chose a more experienced and more thoughtful running mate--he put governing before politicking. Sen. Joe Biden doesn't bring many votes to Obama, but he would help him from day one to lead the country.

McCain calls Obama a typical liberal politician. Granted, it's disappointing that Obama's mix of tax cuts for most people and increases for the wealthy would create an estimated $2.9 trillion in federal debt. He has made more promises on spending than McCain has. We wish one of these candidates had given good, hard specific information on how he would bring the federal budget into line. Neither one has.

We do, though, think Obama would govern as much more of a pragmatic centrist than many people expect.
We know first-hand that Obama seeks out and listens carefully and respectfully to people who disagree with him. He builds consensus. He was most effective in the Illinois legislature when he worked with Republicans on welfare, ethics and criminal justice reform.

He worked to expand the number of charter schools in Illinois--not popular with some Democratic constituencies.

He took up ethics reform in the U.S. Senate--not popular with Washington politicians.

His economic policy team is peppered with advisers who support free trade. He has been called a "University of Chicago Democrat"--a reference to the famed free-market Chicago school of economics, which puts faith in markets.

Obama is deeply grounded in the best aspirations of this country, and we need to return to those aspirations. He has had the character and the will to achieve great things despite the obstacles that he faced as an unprivileged black man in the U.S.

He has risen with his honor, grace and civility intact. He has the intelligence to understand the grave economic and national security risks that face us, to listen to good advice and make careful decisions.

When Obama said at the 2004 Democratic Convention that we weren't a nation of red states and blue states, he spoke of union the way Abraham Lincoln did.

It may have seemed audacious for Obama to start his campaign in Springfield, invoking Lincoln. We think, given the opportunity to hold this nation's most powerful office, he will prove it wasn't so audacious after all. We are proud to add Barack Obama's name to Lincoln's in the list of people the Tribune has endorsed for president of the United States.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Rachel Maddow Blasts Former Bush Speechwriter David Frum!

David Frum on Rachel Maddow: Releasing His Inner Scumbag
Ian Gurvitz | Bio from 23/6

One of the rituals of politically-oriented talk shows is the occasional appearance of someone from the other side, either to explore another dimension of an important issue, or to present the illusion of impartiality. One such appearance tonight was that of former Bush speechwriter David Frum on Rachel Maddow's show, ostensibly to talk about Republican reaction to the current state of the McCain campaign.

Yet, right out of the gate, Frum took off on the subject of the hate speech wafting off the campaign to attack Maddow for being part of the problem, alleging that there has been an "intensification of some of the ugliness that has been a feature of American politics in the last 8 years, and this show, itself, is unfortunately an example of that problem with its levity and sarcasm and seeming disregard for a lot of the substantive issues that really are important."

While taken aback at the unexpected attack on her personally and on her show, Maddow handled herself with class, trying to get at the substance of Frum's attack, asking if he somehow equated sarcasm and the occasional smile with the vitriol coming from recent GOP rallies. However, and this is one difference between the parties that even goes to way this election is shaping up, she didn't tell him to "shut up." She didn't scream for a producer to "cut off his mike." Both in style, and in substance, she negated his argument by her civil, substantive reaction. She did not name-call. She calmly stated her strong disagreement with his assertion while asking for clarification.

Going on to ask him about the Ayers attacks and the resulting fury from the crowd, Frum retorted: "If John McCain were making threats of violence that would be really bad" -- a statement that is either idiotic in its naivete or naïve in its idiocy. McCain and Palin have set the table for these outbursts with their attacks and then committed the sin of omission by not truly quelling them. Sort of like standing outside the Reichstag holding a gas can, and calmly suggesting that someone might want to call the fire department. And Maddow made this point, though without the Reichstag reference. She did it without lowering herself to name-calling, nor did she comment on his pissy, snide, and patronizing attitude.

Eventually, the discussion veered back to the election, with Frum admitting, not necessarily in these terms, that his party was about to get reamed, steamed, and dry cleaned. The problem, for Frum, was that because of the ineptitude of the McCain campaign, not only the party, but the country will pay the price with a Democratic president and Congress, which will lead to some "very destructive changes." As opposed to what's actually happened over the last 8 years? So he's not really upset with the sorry state of the world. He's upset that his party is losing and that the Democrats could gain control and really f... things up because they don't seem to understand the threats we face.

It was a contradiction apparently lost on Frum that taking a snide tone while calling out someone for not engaging in a more adult debate is a bit of a contradiction. As well, someone who worked as a Bush speechwriter has a small credibility problem when it comes to calling for more honesty and integrity in public debate. And, fyi to Frum: one of the reasons Maddow's show has been such a success is that she doe s talk substance. She's intelligent. She's fair. And she's gracious. And, as for the sarcasm, the reason it lands is that is an expression of the righteous indignation felt by most Americans because of the outrageous mendacity that has been SOP for the GOP over the last 8 years. At some point, it's your only weapon. It's either laugh or cry. And as for your fear that if Maddow's type of lethal sarcasm were to proliferate the Republicans would have to take a reactive approach and return it in kind? Holy s..., man. Have you never seen Fox News? All they're missing are armbands.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

McCain's Pro-Veteran Rhetoric Exposed!

What is the reason for Barack Obama’s 80 percent overall rating from the Disabled Veterans of America in comparison to John McCain’s 20 percent? And what is the reason for Obama having received nearly six times as much contribution money from troops deployed overseas than has John McCain? And what is the reason that McCain received a “D” grade from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America? The reason is that troops and veterans agree that a McCain presidency will be wrong for this country, and they base it on his voting record.

McCain voted 27 times against veterans' health care needs!
McCain did not vote on the GI Bill that will provide better educational opportunities to veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, paying full tuition at in-state schools and living expenses for those who have served at least three years since the 9/11 attacks. McCain said he opposes the bill because he thinks the generous benefits would “encourage more people to leave the military.
Although McCain told voters at a campaign rally that improving veterans’ health care was his top domestic priority, he voted against increasing funding for veterans’ health care in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007.
McCain voted against providing automatic annual cost-of living adjustments for certain veterans’ benefits.
Although his campaign website devotes a large section to veterans issues, including expanding benefits for reservists and members of the National Guard, McCain voted against increasing spending on the TRICARE program by $20.3 billion over 10 years to give members of the National Guard and Reserves and their families greater access to the health care program. The increase would be offset by a reduction in tax cuts for the wealthy.
McCain opposed an amendment that would have prevented the Department of Veterans Affairs from outsourcing jobs, many held by blue-collar veterans, without first giving the workers a chance to compete. And McCain opposed an amendment to prevent the outsourcing of 350 federal employee jobs at Walter Reed Army Medical Center—outsourcing that contributed to the scandalous treatment of veterans at Walter Reed that McCain called a “disgrace.”
McCain voted against an appropriations bill that included $122.7 billion in fiscal 2004 for the Department of Veterans Affairs, Housing and Urban Development and other related agencies.
McCain was one of five senators to vote against the bill and seven to vote against the conference report that provided $51.1 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, as well as funding for the federal housing, environmental and emergency management agencies and NASA.
McCain was one of eight senators to vote against a bill that provided $47 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs.
McCain was one of five senators to vote against a bill providing $44.3 billion for the Department of Veterans Affairs, plus funding for other federal agencies
McCain voted against an amendment to increase spending on veterans programs by $13 billion.
McCain voted for an appropriations bill that underfunded the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Housing and Urban Development by $8.9 billion.
John McCain said “I know the veterans, I know them well, and I know that they know that I'll take care of them, and I have been proud of their support and their recognition of my service to the veterans, and I love them, and I'll take care of them, and they know that I'll take care of them.” John McCain has misrepresented his own voting record with pro-veteran rhetoric!

Senator Obama believes America has a sacred obligation to our veterans. He is committed to creating a 21st Century Department of Veterans Affairs that provides the care and benefits our nation’s veterans deserve and has a record of supporting initiatives to improve veterans care and benefits.

Why is the NY Times ignoring McCain's own 'radical' Liddy?

For the 18th time this year NYT has run an article on Barack Obama's 'association' with Bill Ayers, former radical (Obama was 8 when Ayers was active). How about McCain's closeness to G. Gordon Liddy, convicted in Watergate?

On October 4, The New York Times published a 2,140-word front-page article about Sen. Barack Obama's association with former Weather Underground member William Ayers -- at least the 18th Times article this year mentioning that association. But the Times has yet to mention, let alone devote an entire article to, Sen. John McCain's relationship with radio host and convicted Watergate burglar G. Gordon Liddy. Indeed, in its October 4 article, the Times quoted Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman denouncing Obama's association with Ayers but did not note that Chapman has described Liddy as McCain's "own Bill Ayers" and has written that "[i]f Obama needs to answer questions about Ayers, McCain has the same obligation regarding Liddy." The Times, moreover, quoted McCain criticizing Obama for his association with Ayers without noting that Chapman has faulted McCain for what Chapman described as McCain's "howling hypocrisy on the subject."

As Media Matters for America has noted, Liddy served four and a half years in prison in connection with his conviction for his role in the Watergate break-in and the break-in at the office of the psychiatrist of Daniel Ellsberg, the military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers. Liddy has acknowledged preparing to kill someone during the Ellsberg break-in "if necessary"; plotting to murder journalist Jack Anderson; plotting with a "gangland figure" to murder Howard Hunt to stop him from cooperating with investigators; plotting to firebomb the Brookings Institution; and plotting to kidnap "leftist guerillas" at the 1972 Republican National Convention -- a plan he outlined to the Nixon administration using terminology borrowed from the Nazis. (The murder, firebombing, and kidnapping plots were never carried out; the break-ins were.) During the 1990s, Liddy reportedly instructed his radio audience on multiple occasions on how to shoot Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agents and also reportedly said he had named his shooting targets after Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Liddy has donated $5,000 to McCain's campaigns since 1998, including $1,000 in February 2008. In addition, McCain has appeared on Liddy's radio show during the presidential campaign, including as recently as May. An online video labeled "John McCain On The G. Gordon Liddy Show 11/8/07" includes a discussion between Liddy and McCain, whom Liddy described as an "old friend." During the segment, McCain praised Liddy's "adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great," said he was "proud" of Liddy, and said that "it's always a pleasure for me to come on your program."

Additionally, in 1998, Liddy reportedly held a fundraiser at his home for McCain. Liddy was reportedly scheduled to speak at another fundraiser for McCain in 2000. The Charlotte Observer reported on January 23, 2000, that McCain's campaign vouched for Liddy's "character":

His [McCain's] campaign officials said Liddy's character will appeal to many voters because he was following orders from President Nixon and kept silent afterward.

"His (Liddy's) judgment might be in question, but I don't think his character is," said Ed Walker, the York County chairman of McCain's campaign. "He was following orders just like any good soldier, and he didn't tell on anybody. He felt like he was on a mission and kept his silence."

Liddy's 2000 speech was reportedly canceled due to bad weather.

Media Matters has documented that as of September 19, the Times had published 15 news articles and four opinion pieces referencing Obama's ties to Ayers. Since then, in addition to the October 4 article, the Times has published two more articles mentioning the association.

But despite having apparently judged Chapman's opinions on the candidates' controversial associations as being newsworthy, the Times has ignored entirely McCain's relationship with Liddy, according to a search of the Nexis database from January 1 through October 4*.

In his May 4 Tribune column, Chapman wrote:

What McCain didn't mention is that he has his own Bill Ayers -- in the form of G. Gordon Liddy. Now a conservative radio talk-show host, Liddy spent more than 4 years in prison for his role in the 1972 Watergate burglary. That was just one element of what Liddy did, and proposed to do, in a secret White House effort to subvert the Constitution. Far from repudiating him, McCain has embraced him.

How close are McCain and Liddy? At least as close as Obama and Ayers appear to be. In 1998, Liddy's home was the site of a McCain fundraiser. Over the years, he has made at least four contributions totaling $5,000 to the senator's campaigns -- including $1,000 this year.

Last November, McCain went on his radio show. Liddy greeted him as "an old friend," and McCain sounded like one. "I'm proud of you, I'm proud of your family," he gushed. "It's always a pleasure for me to come on your program, Gordon, and congratulations on your continued success and adherence to the principles and philosophies that keep our nation great."

Which principles would those be? The ones that told Liddy it was fine to break into the office of the Democratic National Committee to plant bugs and photograph documents? The ones that made him propose to kidnap anti-war activists so they couldn't disrupt the 1972 Republican National Convention? The ones that inspired him to plan the murder (never carried out) of an unfriendly newspaper columnist?

Liddy was in the thick of the biggest political scandal in American history -- and one of the greatest threats to the rule of law. He has said he has no regrets about what he did, insisting that he went to jail as "a prisoner of war."

All this may sound like ancient history. But it's from the same era as the bombings Ayers helped carry out as a member of the Weather Underground. And Liddy's penchant for extreme solutions has not abated.


Given Liddy's record, it's hard to see why McCain would touch him with a 10-foot pole. On the contrary, he should be returning his donations and shunning his show. Yet the senator shows no qualms about associating with Liddy -- or celebrating his service to their common cause.

How does McCain explain his howling hypocrisy on the subject? He doesn't. I made repeated inquiries to his campaign aides, which they refused to acknowledge, much less answer. On this topic, the pilot of the Straight Talk Express would rather stay parked in the garage.

That's an odd policy for someone who is so forthright about his rival's responsibility. McCain thinks Obama should apologize for associating with a criminal extremist. To which Obama might reply: After you.

And in an August 22 blog post about an anti-Obama ad highlighting Obama's association with Ayers, Chapman wrote:

But conservatives may not want to draw attention to the issue of ties to violent radicals -- since John McCain is longtime pals with convicted Watergate burglar Gordon Liddy, who once plotted a journalist's murder (which was never carried out) and has advocated the shooting of federal law enforcement agents.

If Obama needs to answer questions about Ayers, McCain has the same obligation regarding Liddy. How about they both get started?

From The New York Times' October 4 article "Obama and '60s Bomber: A Look Into Crossed Paths":

Their relationship has become a touchstone for opponents of Mr. Obama, the Democratic senator, in his bid for the presidency. Video clips on YouTube, including a new advertisement that was broadcast on Friday, juxtapose Mr. Obama's face with the young Mr. Ayers or grainy shots of the bombings.

In a televised interview last spring, Senator John McCain, Mr. Obama's Republican rival, asked, "How can you countenance someone who was engaged in bombings that could have or did kill innocent people?"


Since earning a doctorate in education at Columbia in 1987, Mr. Ayers has been a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the author or editor of 15 books, and an advocate of school reform.

"He's done a lot of good in this city and nationally," Mayor Richard M. Daley said in an interview this week, explaining that he has long consulted Mr. Ayers on school issues. Mr. Daley, whose father was Chicago's mayor during the street violence accompanying the 1968 Democratic National Convention and the so-called Days of Rage the following year, said he saw the bombings of that time in the context of a polarized and turbulent era.

"This is 2008," Mr. Daley said. "People make mistakes. You judge a person by his whole life."

That attitude is widely shared in Chicago, but it is not universal. Steve Chapman, a columnist for The Chicago Tribune, defended Mr. Obama's relationship with the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., his longtime pastor, whose black liberation theology and "God damn America" sermon became notorious last spring. But he denounced Mr. Obama for associating with Mr. Ayers, whom he said the University of Illinois should never have hired.

"I don't think there's a statute of limitations on terrorist bombings," Mr. Chapman said in an interview, speaking not of the law but of political and moral implications.

"If you're in public life, you ought to say, 'I don't want to be associated with this guy,' " Mr. Chapman said. "If John McCain had a long association with a guy who'd bombed abortion clinics, I don't think people would say, 'That's ancient history.' "

Friday, October 3, 2008

A must see video from AFL-CIO's Richard Trumka


You see brothers and sisters, there's not a single good reason for any worker -- especially any union member -- to vote against Barack Obama.

There's only one really bad reason to vote against him: because he's not white.

And I want to talk about that because I saw that for myself during the Pennsylvania primary.

I went back home to vote in Nemacolin and I ran into a woman I'd known for years. She was active in Democratic politics when I was still in grade school.

We got to talking and I asked if she'd made up her mind who she was supporting and she said: 'Oh absolutely, I'm voting for Hillary, there's no way I'd ever vote for Obama.'

Well, why's that? 'Because he's a Muslim.'

I told her, 'That's not true -- he's as much a Christian as you and me, so what if he's muslim.'

Then she shook her head and said, 'He won't wear an American flag pin.'

I don't have one on and neither do you.

But, 'C'mon, he wears one plenty of times. He just says it takes more than wearing a flag pin to be patriotic.'

'Well, I just don't trust him.'

Why is that?

Her voice dropped just a bit: 'Because he's black.'

I said, 'Look around. Nemacolin's a dying town. There're no jobs here. Kids are moving away because there's no future here. And here's a man, Barack Obama, who's going to fight for people like us and you won't vote for him because of the color of his skin.'

Brothers and sisters, we can't tap dance around the fact that there are a lot of folks out there just like that woman.

A lot of them are good union people; they just can't get past this idea that there's something wrong with voting for a black man. Well, those of us who know better can't afford to look the other way.

I'm not one for quoting dead philosophers, but back in the 1700s, Edmund Burke said: 'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.' Well, there's no evil that's inflicted more pain and more suffering than racism -- and it's something we in the labor movement have a special responsibility to challenge.

It's our special responsibility because we know, better than anyone else, how racism is used to divide working people.

We've seen how companies set worker against worker -- how they throw whites a few extra crumbs off the table ndsh and how we all end up losing.

But we've seen something else, too. We've seen that when we cross that color line and stand together no one can keep us down.

That's why the CIO was created. That's why industrial unions were the first to stand up against lynching and segregation. People need to know that it was the Steel Workers Organizing Committee -- this union -- that was founded on the principal of organizing all workers without regard to race. That's why the labor movement -- imperfect as we are -- is the most integrated institution in American life.

I don't think we should be out there pointing fingers in peoples' faces and calling them racist; instead we need to educate them that if they care about holding on to their jobs, their health care, their pensions, and their homes -- if they care about creating good jobs with clean energy, child care, pay equity for women workers -- there's only going to be one candidate on the ballot this fall who's on their side... only one candidate who's going to stand up for their families... only one candidate who's earned their votes... and his name is Barack Obama!

And come November we are going to elect him president.

And after he's elected we are going to hit the ground running so that, years from now, we're going to be able to tell our grandchildren that 2008 was the year this country finally turned its back on men like George Bush and Dick Cheney and John McCain

We're going to be able to say that 2008 was the year we started ending the war in Iraq so we could use that money to create new jobs building wind generators, solar collectors, clean coal technology and retrofitting millions of buildings all across this country

We're going to be able to look back and say that 2008 was the year the tide began to turn against the Rush Limbaughs, the Bill O'Reillys, the Ann Coulters and the right wing hate machine.