On this page…

  1. Frederick Douglass’ Thoughts On Lincoln’s Election Help Frame Meaning of an Obama Victory
  2. NYTimes.com: Well: Mr. President, Let’s Talk About Food
  3. Obama’s Historic Speech on Race
  4. Colin Powell’s Endorsement
  5. “Republican” Paper, the “Chicago Tribune,” Endorses Obama
  6. Progress Photos from the Obama Sign Team
  7. London Guardian on Palin “Flirting her way to victory”
  8. St. Louis Post-Dispatch Endorsement of Obama
  9. The latest Michael Pollan article
  10. Political Organizing Around Food
    1. 10.1  Response by Kurt
  11. Interested in Being Obama Campaign “Doorway” Some Sunday at Alterra, 11 a.m. to Noon?
  12. Outpost/Cambridge Woods Organizer Paul Stafford Is Now Obama Sign-maker Central
    1. 12.1  Olde to New Orleans Until Next Wednesday
  13. Flyers to Print Up and Distribute for the Undecided
  14. Obama Sign Maker Teams Make Obama Signs of Beauty & Durability
    1. 14.1  Seek At Home Sign Painters for Obama Campaign
    2. 14.2  Spark Obama Sign Maker Movement in Swing States
  15. Riverwest Artist/Artisans Help for Obama Sign Making Gathering, Humboldt Alterra, Sun., 11 a.m. to Noon
  16. Location of Obama Campaign Headquaters and Canvass or Phone Bank Volunteer Times
  17. Brainstorming Obama Sign-Making and Distribution
  18. Sarah Palin’s Record on Alaska Native and Tribal Issues
  19. Catholics for Social Justice at Holy Rosary, Oct. 13, 6:30
  20. Organize an Obama Sign Painting Party In Your Neighborhood
  21. Obama Gatherings at Humboldt Alterra, This Coming Sunday 11 to Noon
  22. More On How To Make Phone Calls for Obama
  23. Alaska Women Reject Palin Rally Photo Essay
  24. Inspiring Note From Obama House Party Organizer
  25. Contact Voters at Home as Volunteer for Obama— all you need is a phone
  26. Video: How We’re Going To Win by Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe
  27. Join One or Some of These Progressive List Serves and Advance the Obama Campaign
  29. Why Many in Our Working Class Vote Republican
    1. 29.1  An In Depth Psychological Exploration
  30. Photo Essay of Obama Labor Day Rally, Milwaukee 2008
  31. Obama campaign signup sheets

Frederick Douglass’ Thoughts On Lincoln’s Election Help Frame Meaning of an Obama Victory

When asked what he thought about Lincolns election that year (1860), Frederick Douglass astutely said:

“Not much, in itself considered, but very much when viewed in the light of its relations and bearings. For fifty years the country has taken the law from the lips of an exacting, haughty, and imperious slave oligarchy. The masters of slaves have been the masters of the Republic. Their authority was almost undisputed, and their power irresistible. They were the President makers of the Republic, and no aspirant dared to hope for success against their frown. Lincolns election has vitiated their authority, and broken their power. It has taught the North its strength and the South its weakness. More important still, it has demonstrated the possibility of electing, if not an Abolitionist, at least an anti-slavery reputation to the Presidency of the United States. The years are few since it was thought possible that the Northern people could be wrought up to the exercise of such startling courage. Hitherto the threat of disunion has been as potent over the politicians of the North, as the cat-o-nine tails is over the backs of the slaves. Mr. Lincolns election breaks the enchantment, dispels this terrible nightmare, and awakes the nation to the consciousness of new powers and the possibility of a higher destiny than the perpetual bondage to an ignoble fear.” (“Life and Writings,” vol. 2, p. 528)

NYTimes.com: Well: Mr. President, Let’s Talk About Food

October 24, 2008, 7:02 am

Author Michael Pollan, whose best-selling books have prompted readers to think differently about food, is now asking the next president to rethink the nations food policies.

Mr. Pollan, whose most recent book is In Defense of Food, started the conversation in an article earlier this month in The New York Times Magazine in an open letter to the next Farmer in Chief.

He had more to say recently on WNYCs Leonard Lopate show, where he talked about how food is closely tied with some of the biggest political issues of the day, even though its not widely discussed.

Its true that neither candidate has talked about food policy very much, Mr. Pollan said. Some of the issues they have talked about energy independence, climate change and the health care crisis I think they will find, as soon as they get into office, that you cant deal with any of those three problems without dealing with the food system.

Mr. Pollan notes that food is a bipartisan issue, and that both parties have dismal track records on agricultural policy. Food, he argues, is the ultimate solar product, but the current food system, with its focus on the monocultures of soy, wheat and corn, is heavily dependent on natural gas and oil to make fertilizers and pesticides as well as to import and transport food.

One of Mr. Pollans concerns is that national policies subsidize the least healthful calories that we eat. He notes that the building blocks of fast food are soy and corn, used to make hydrogenated soy oil, the protein and starch in cattle and chicken feed, and high-fructose corn syrup used in sodas and sweets.

Thats what weve been heavily subsidizing, encouraging farmers to grow more of, and thats what makes fast food so cheap, he said. Meanwhile over in the produce section, the head of broccoli costs more than a fast-food hamburger. Why is that? We do very little to encourage farmers to grow what are called specialty crops, which is actual food you can eat. We need to level the playing field between the unhealthy and healthy calories.

He has also called for a new definition of food.

What if we had a definition of food that said a food is something that doesnt just have calories but has a certain amount of nutrients and micronutrients? he asks. If your product did not reach a certain threshold of nutrients per calorie, its just not food. Were not even going to call it junk food. Well call it junk.

Its always a pleasure to hear Mr. Pollans sensible take on one of the most important financial and public health issues this country faces. I urge you to listen here to the full 20-minute interview on the WNYC Web site.
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Obama’s Historic Speech on Race

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Colin Powell’s Endorsement


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”Republican” Paper, the “Chicago Tribune,” Endorses Obama

Tribune endorsement: Barack Obama for president
2:33 PM CDT, October 17, 2008

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.
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Progress Photos from the Obama Sign Team

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London Guardian on Palin “Flirting her way to victory”

Sarah Palin’s farcical debate performance lowered the standards for both female candidates and US political discourse Michelle Goldberg Friday October 3 2008 guardian.co.uk

At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night.

By any normal standard, including the ones applied to male presidential candidates of either party, she did not. Early on, she made the astonishing announcement that she had no intentions of actually answering the queries put to her. “I may not answer the questions that either the moderator or you want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know my track record also,” she said.

And so she preceded, with an almost surreal disregard for the subjects she was supposed to be discussing, to unleash fusillades of scripted attack lines, platitudes, lies, gibberish and grating references to her own pseudo-folksy authenticity.

It was an appalling display. The only reason it was not widely described as such is that too many American pundits don’t even try to judge the truth, wisdom or reasonableness of the political rhetoric they are paid to pronounce upon. Instead, they imagine themselves as interpreters of a mythical mass of “average Americans” who they both venerate and despise.

In pronouncing upon a debate, they don’t try and determine whether a candidate’s responses correspond to existing reality, or whether he or she is capable of talking about subjects such as the deregulation of the financial markets or the devolution of the war in Afghanistan. The criteria are far more vaporous. In this case, it was whether Palin could avoid utterly humiliating herself for 90 minutes, and whether urbane commentators would believe that she had connected to a public that they see as ignorant and sentimental. For the Alaska governor, mission accomplished.

There is indeed something mesmerising about Palin, with her manic beaming and fulsome confidence in her own charm. The force of her personality managed to slightly obscure the insulting emptiness of her answers last night. It’s worth reading the transcript of the encounter, where it becomes clearer how bizarre much of what she said was. Here, for example, is how she responded to Biden’s comments about how the middle class has been short-changed during the Bush administration, and how McCain will continue Bush’s policies:

Say it ain’t so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let’s look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I’m glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? … My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here’s a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.

Evidently, Palin’s pre-debate handlers judged her incapable of speaking on a fairly wide range of subjects, and so instructed to her to simply disregard questions that did not invite memorised talking points or cutesy filibustering. They probably told her to play up her spunky average-ness, which she did to the point of shtick - and dishonesty. Asked what her achilles heel is - a question she either didn’t understand or chose to ignore - she started in on how McCain chose her because of her “connection to the heartland of America. Being a mom, one very concerned about a son in the war, about a special needs child, about kids heading off to college, how are we going to pay those tuition bills?”

None of Palin’s children, it should be noted, is heading off to college. Her son is on the way to Iraq, and her pregnant 17-year-old daughter is engaged to be married to a high-school dropout and self-described “fuckin’ redneck”. Palin is a woman who can’t even tell the truth about the most quotidian and public details of her own life, never mind about matters of major public import. In her only vice-presidential debate, she was shallow, mendacious and phoney. What kind of maverick, after all, keeps harping on what a maverick she is? That her performance was considered anything but a farce doesn’t show how high Palin has risen, but how low we all have sunk.

Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch Endorsement of Obama

Sunday editorial: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
By: Editorial Board

Nine Days before the Feb. 5 presidential primaries in Missouri and Illinois, this editorial page endorsed Barack Obama and John McCain in their respective races.

We did so enthusiastically. We wrote that either Mr. Obama’s message of hope or Mr. McCain’s independence and integrity offered America “the chance to turn the page on 28 years of contentious, greed-driven politics and move into a new era of possibility.”

Over the past nine months, Mr. Obama, the junior senator from Illinois, has emerged as the only truly transformative candidate in the race. In the crucible that is a presidential campaign, his intellect, his temperament and equanimity under pressure consistently have been impressive. He has surrounded himself with smart, capable advisers who have helped him refine thorough, nuanced policy positions.

In a word, Mr. Obama has been presidential.

Meanwhile, Mr. McCain, the senior senator from Arizona, became the incredible shrinking man. He shrank from his principled stands in favor of a humane immigration policy . He shrank from his universal condemnation of torture and his condemnation of the politics of smear.

He even shrank from his own campaign slogan, “Country First,” by selecting the least qualified running mate since the Swedenborgian shipbuilder Arthur Sewall ran as William Jennings Bryan’s No. 2 in 1896.

In making political endorsements, this editorial page is guided first by the principles espoused by Joseph Pulitzer in The Post-Dispatch Platform printed daily at the top of this page. Then we consider questions of character, life experience and intellect, as well as specific policy and issue positions. Each member of the editorial board weighs in.

On all counts, the consensus was clear: Barack Obama of Illinois should be the next president of the United States.

We didn’t know nine months ago that before Election Day, America would face its greatest economic challenge since the Great Depression. The crisis on Wall Street is devastating, but it has offered voters a useful preview of how the two presidential candidates would respond to a crisis.

Very early on, Mr. Obama reached out to his impressive corps of economic advisers and developed a comprehensive set of recommendations for addressing the problems. He set them forth calmly and explained them carefully.

Mr. McCain, a longtime critic of government regulation, was late to recognize the threat. The chief economic adviser of his campaign initially was former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, who had been one of the architects of banking deregulation. When the credit markets imploded, Mr. McCain lurched from one ineffectual grandstand play to another. He squandered the one clear advantage he had over Mr. Obama: experience.

Mr. McCain first was elected to Congress in 1982 when Mr. Obama was in his senior year at Columbia University. Yet the younger man’s intellectual curiosity and capacity and, yes, also the skills he developed as a community organizer and his instincts as a political conciliator more than compensate for his lack of more traditional Washington experience.

A presidency is defined less by what happens in the Oval Office than by what is done by the more than 3,000 men and women the president appoints to government office. Only 600 of them are subject to Senate approval. The rest serve at the pleasure of the president.

We have little doubt that Mr. Obama’s appointees would bring a level of competence, compassion and intellectual achievement to the executive branch that hasn’t been seen since the New Frontier. He has energized a new generation of Americans who would put the concept of service back in “public service.0

Consider that while Mr. McCain selected as his running mate Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, a callow and shrill partisan, Mr. Obama selected Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware. Mr. Biden’s 35-year Senate career has given him encyclopedic expertise on legislative and judicial issues, as well as foreign affairs.

The idea that 3,000 bright, dedicated and accomplished Americans would be joining the Obama administration to serve the public as opposed to padding their resums or shilling for the corporate interests they’re sworn to oversee is reassuring. That they would be serving a president who actually would listen to them is staggering.

And the fact that Mr. Obama can explain his thoughts and policies in language that can instruct and inspire is exciting. Eloquence isn’t everything in a president, but it is not nothing, either.

Experience aside, the 25-year difference in the ages of Mr. McCain, 72, and Mr. Obama, 47, is important largely because Mr. Obama’s election would represent a generational shift. He would be the first chief executive in more than six decades whose worldview was not formed, at least in part, by the Cold War or Vietnam.

He sees the complicated world as it is today, not as a binary division between us and them, but as a kaleidoscope of20shifting alliances and interests. As he often notes, he is the son of a Kenyan father and a mother from Kansas, an internationalist who yet acknowledges that America is the only nation in the world in which someone of his distinctly modest background could rise as far as his talent, intellect and hard work would take him.

Given the damage that has been done to America’s moral standing in the world in the last eight years by a preemptory war, a unilateralist foreign policy and by policies that have treated both the Geneva Conventions and our own Bill of Rights as optional Mr. Obama’s election would help America reclaim the moral high ground.

It also must be said that Mr. Obama is right on the issues. He was right on the war in Iraq. He is right that all Americans deserve access to health care and right in his pragmatic approach to meeting that goal. He is right on tax policy, infrastructure investment, energy policy and environmental issues. He is right on American ideals.

He was right when he said in his remarkable speech in March in Philadelphia that “In the end, then, what is called for is nothing more, and nothing less, than what all the world’s great religions demand: that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us. Let us be our brother’s keeper, Scripture tells us. Let us be our sister’s keeper. Let us find that common stake we all have in one another, and let our politics reflect that spirit as well.”

John McCain has served his country well, but in the end, he may have wanted the presidency a little too much, so much that he has sacrificed some of the principles that made him a heroic figure in war and in peace. In every way possible, he has earned the right to retire.

Finally, only at this late point do we note that Barack Obama is an African-American. Because of who he is and how he has run his campaign, that fact has become almost incidental to most Americans. Instead, his countrymen are weighing his talents, his values and his beliefs, judging him not by the color of his skin, but the content of his character.

That says something profound and good about him as a candidate and about us as a nation.
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The latest Michael Pollan article

is, as you would expect, excellent and particularly timely. It addresses itself to the new president -- "Farmer in Chief" -- in a very concrete way. And there are several other articles in this special Food Issue of Sunday’s (10/12) NY Times magazine that will be of interest. Check it the magazine section at www.nytimes.com.

Sherry Alpern
NY Farms!

Farmer in Chief
Michael Pollan
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Political Organizing Around Food

I’ve gotten into a few conversations at the CFSC conference that I’d like to share with the group.

One was about the next farm bill and the need to start organizing now. The Rodale Institute gave our field trip group such a clear vision of how agriculture can really play a significant role in sequestering carbon to roll back global warming (I plan to write this up on my blog at some point, although I’m sure the Rodale site covers the topic quite well, and I encourage everyone to read what they have to say.). But what are the chances we’ve got to get a good bill through with the current ag committee, particularly in the House - and particularly with the chair Collin Peterson. Can we start a movement to oust Peterson? Let’s find a primary challenger for him in the 2010 or 2012 elections and start a national movement to give him the boot. Same goes for any other toxic ag committee members.

Second, Peter Mann from World Hunger Year suggested to me that we use Barack Obama’s powerful organizing infrastructure to grow our movement. Here’s what I’ve done - and I encourage everyone else to do the same locally (I don’t mean to assume everyone is a Dem… if the Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, etc, provide a means of organizing, please do whichever fits your beliefs, and I apologize that I am not familiar with how other parties organize). You can sign up at http://my.barackobama.com and then click “Host an Event” once you’re in. I set up a meeting in a park near my home and named it “World Food Crisis and the Election.” As an event description, I laid out a few issues that will be important for the next president and suggested we start a dialogue about food now. I offered to start the meeting with a quick briefing about food issues, and then run the rest as a conversation among everyone.

I think it’s probably best to do this after the election because right now all Obama partisans are probably focused mostly on getting out the vote, but I don’t know what will come of the Obama site after the election. I set up my meeting for Oct 18. If anyone else wants to host an event, contact me so we can strategize and coordinate.

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Response by Kurt

We need to do more than oust Patterson. We should make it our goal to have the Ag Committees in both the House and the Senate made up of majority urban legislators before the next Food Bill comes up. We need to get the committees out of Big Ag’s pocket. We do this by convincing urban legislators that the Ag Committee IS an important post to their constituents, at least to those of them who eat.

And oh by the way, we need everyone, especially legislators, to stop calling it the “Farm Bill” and start calling it the “Food Bill.” This will frame the debate in a truer context, and one that is more urgent to urban voters.

My two cents.


See my new book here
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Interested in Being Obama Campaign “Doorway” Some Sunday at Alterra, 11 a.m. to Noon?

And then, serve as “spark” to awaken the greenest possible spirit in the Obama team and movement, Sunday after Sunday, year after year, God willing. Obama is a key movement among our many movements.

Outpost/Cambridge Woods Organizer Paul Stafford Is Now Obama Sign-maker Central

Olde to New Orleans Until Next Wednesday

Paul Stafford, long-time heavy lifter and detail angel of

  • Outpost Natural Foods Co-op(Board Member, perhaps President, I can’t remember)

  • Murray Hill and Cambridge Woods Eastside Neighborhood Assocations

  • has volunteered his time, his garage, and his communication resources regarding the Obama Sign Making Project

Paul lives on Cambridge, just to the east of the Milwaukee River and a couple of blocks north of Locust.

He can be reached at…

“Paul Stafford” <[email protected]>,

Phone: 332 2514

If you would like to help make signs, provide materials for the signs, help distribute signs, and so forth, please get in touch with Paul.

Rainy Day
Milwaukee for Obama


Flyers to Print Up and Distribute for the Undecided


one, nj…

we have not inherited the earth from our parents, we have borrowed it from our children…
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Obama Sign Maker Teams Make Obama Signs of Beauty & Durability

Seek At Home Sign Painters for Obama Campaign

Call 414 232 1336 if you can paint a sign today or any day leading up to the campaign.

Spark Obama Sign Maker Movement in Swing States

Dear All,

The artists and artisans of Milwaukee have launched a chaordic, informal sign makers network to advance, first, the Obama presidential campaign, then the “Obama movement”(after the election), and then the “Greening of the Obama Movement.”

Re-cycled Materials for the Signs

Artisans are donating wood from construction sites.

Artists and artisans are donating paint from half-used cans.

Milwaukee’s Reclamation Man might donate a certain amount of re-cycled hinges
(and Milwaukee green roofers will be chipping in re hinges, which are expensive)

Artists/Artisans Donate Labor Power

A number of Milwaukee artists and artisans have volunteered a certain amount of their time to design and create signs of beauty and durability.

Social Enterprisers and Green Entrepreneurs Donate Time

People who have been advancing the movements of our time, and, in particular, Milwaukee urban agrarians are helping coordinate the artists, artisans, donors, volunteers, and sign-presenters.

Become a Member of the Obama Sign Maker Teams

Send an e-mail to [email protected] for more information and to get involved.

God bless the entire human race,

Cloudy Fall Day
Milwaukee 2008

P.S. Photo essays and reports on this experiment will be at…


Riverwest Artist/Artisans Help for Obama Sign Making Gathering, Humboldt Alterra, Sun., 11 a.m. to Noon

Dear All,

Three Riverwest artist/artisans have offered to help people construct Obama signs tomorrow at their homes/workshops in Riverwest: Erik Lindberg, Michael Pettit, and Tim Linn.

A number of people have offered paint, plywood, and other sign making materials.

The sign making gathering will be a chaordic process, i.e. harmonious blend of order and chaos, seat of the pants, evolutionary gropings.

Show up at the Humboldt Alterra between 11a.m. and noon to learn about ways about advancing the Obama campaign, and/or making some signs for yourself, friends, and neighbors. Bring brushes, markers, paint, wood, cardboard, etc. if you can!

Some of the sign making may take place at Alterra. Some at Eric’s, Michael’s, or Tim’s.

After the Alterra/sign maker gathering, some may wish to spend some time canvassing from one of the Obama campaign offices.

Community Sign Makers Co-op

This experiment may be the start of a Community Sign Makers Co-op, that finds artist/artisans partnering with people wishing signs for their personal projects or their movement causes. We are looking to use as much re-cycled wood, paint, and other sign making materials as possible. We hope that those who make the signs will be rewarded by barter or cash when that makes sense. In other instances, like the Obama gathering, the sign makers will be donating their labor power. If any of this interests you, send an e-mail to [email protected]
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Location of Obama Campaign Headquaters and Canvass or Phone Bank Volunteer Times



10:00 a.m.


2:00 p.m.




5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Reverse side:

Milwaukee Headquarters
744 N 4th St. at Wells
Milwaukee, WI 53202
(414) 305–8389

North West Milwaukee
7984 W Appleton Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53218
(414) 305–8389

West Allis and Wauwatosa
8633 W Greenfield Ave
City of West Allis
Milwaukee, WI 53214
(414) 899–3841

5th Ward Milwaukee
170 S. Second St at Seeboth
Milwaukee, WI 53204
(414) 223–3050

North Shore Milwaukee
Glendale Square
6805 N Green Bay Ave
City of Glendale
Milwaukee, WI 53209
(414) 841–5939

West Bend
152 N Main St
West Bend, WI 53090
(262) 338–0990

Mequon - Ozaukee County
10521 N Port Washington Rd (Entrance E)
Mequon, WI 53092
(262) 240–0102

804 N Grand Ave
Waukesha, WI 53186
(262) 521–2008

Brainstorming Obama Sign-Making and Distribution

Dear All,

We now have some substantial resources to offer the Obama Campaign
In regard to the creation and distribution of Obama signs.

A number of artists and restoration artisans have expressed interest
In teaming up with activists to create some Obama for President Signs.

This Sunday’s Obama Gathering at Humboldt Alterra(11 a.m.)
Will focus on sparking a chaordic process that finds

  • people volunteering carpentry and painting work for Obama signs

of beauty and durability

  • people volunteer design and arts and crafts work for the same

  • people volunteer materials, e.g. recycled osb/plywood, old campaign

signs that can be re-used

  • people volunteer time and ideas regarding best possible use of

the signs we make

  • people volunteer resources to chronicle this and other ]

  • self-reliant experiments for the movements of our time

  • inspiration to spark a greener Obama campaign, with a focus on urban agriculture

Bracing Fall Day
Milwaukee 2008

Sarah Palin’s Record on Alaska Native and Tribal Issues

Just a little more to pile on to the ever emerging REAL Sarah Palin.

Georgianna is a Native American woman, from Milwaukee and an olde friend….She and her husband, a Native American Physician, have been national leaders in Indian Health Care for years.

Sarah Palin’s Record on Alaska Native and Tribal Issues

1. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Subsistence Fishing Perhaps no issue is of greater importance to Alaska Native peoples as the right to hunt and fish according to ancient customary and traditional practices, and to carry on the subsistence way of life for future generations.

Governor Sarah Palin has consistently opposed those rights.

Once in office, Governor Palin decided to continue litigation that seeks to overturn every subsistence fishing determination the federal government has ever made in Alaska. (State of Alaska v. Norton, 3:05-cv-0158-HRH (D. Ak).) In pressing this case, Palin decided against using the Attorney General (which usually handles State litigation) and instead continued contracting with Senator Ted Stevens’ brother-in-law’s law firm (Birch, Horton, Bittner & Cherot).

The goal of Palin’s law suit is to invalidate all the subsistence fishing regulations the federal government has issued to date to protect Native fishing, and to force the courts instead to take over the roll of setting subsistence regulations. Palin’s law suit seeks to diminish subsistence fishing rights in order to expand sport and commercial fishing.

In May 2007, the federal court rejected the State’s main challenge, holding that Congress in 1980 had expressly granted the U.S. Interior and Agriculture Departments the authority to regulate and protect Native and rural subsistence fishing activities in Alaska. (Decision entered May 15, 2007 (Dkt. No. 110).) Notwithstanding this ruling, Palin continues to argue in the litigation that the federal subsistence protections are too broad, and should be narrowed to exclude vast areas from subsistence fishing, in favor of sport and commercial fishing. Palin opposes subsistence protections in marine waters, on many of the lands that Natives selected under their 1971 land claims settlement with the state and federal governments, and in many of the rivers where Alaska Natives customarily fish. (Alaska Complaint at 15–18.) Palin also opposes subsistence fishing protections on Alaska Native federal allotments that were deeded to individuals purposely to foster Native subsistence activities. All these issues are now pending before the federal district court.

2. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Subsistence Hunting Palin has also sought to invalidate critical determinations the Federal Subsistence Board has made regarding customary and traditional uses of game, specifically to take hunting opportunities away from Native subsistence villagers and thereby enhance sport hunting.

Palin’s attack here on subsistence has focused on the Ahtna Indian people in Chistochina. Although the federal district court has rejected Palin’s challenge, she has carried on an appeal that was argued in August 2008. (State of Alaska v. Fleagle, No. 07–35723 (9th Cir.).) In both hunting and fishing matters, Palin has continued uninterrupted the policies initiated by the former Governor Frank Murkowski Administration, challenging hunting and fishing protections that Native people depend upon for their subsistence way of life in order to enhance sport fishing and hunting opportunities. Palin’s lawsuits are a direct attack on the core way of life of Native Tribes in rural Alaska.

3. Palin has attacked Alaska Tribal Sovereignty Governor Palin opposes Alaska tribal sovereignty.

Given past court rulings affirming the federally recognized tribal status of Alaska Native villages, Palin does not technically challenge that status. But Palin argues that Alaska Tribes have no authority to act as sovereigns, despite their recognition.

So extreme is Palin on tribal sovereignty issues that she has sought to block tribes from exercising any authority whatsoever even over the welfare of Native children, adhering to a 2004 legal opinion issued by the former Murkowski Administration that no such jurisdiction exists (except when a state court transfers a matter to a tribal court).

Both the state courts and the federal courts have struck down Palin’s policy of refusing to recognize the sovereign authority of Alaska Tribes to address issues involving Alaska Native children. Native Village of Tanana v. State of Alaska, 3AN-04–12194 CI (judgment entered Aug. 26, 2008) (Ak. Super. Ct.); Native Kaltag Tribal Council v. DHHS, No. 3:06-cv-00211- TMB (D. Ak.), pending on appeal No 08–35343 (9th Cir.)). Nonetheless, Palin’s policy of refusing to recognize Alaska tribal sovereignty remains unchanged.

4. Palin has attacked Alaska Native Languages Palin has refused to accord proper respect to Alaska Native languages and voters by refusing to provide language assistance to Yup’ik speaking Alaska Native voters. As a result, Palin was just ordered by a special three-judge panel of federal judges to provide various forms of voter assistance to Yup’ik voters residing in southwest Alaska. Nick v. Bethel, No. 3:07-cv- 0098-TMB (D. Ak.) (Order entered July 30, 2008). Citing years of State neglect, Palin was ordered to provide trained poll workers who are bilingual in English and Yup’ik; sample ballots in written Yup’ik; a written Yup’ik glossary of election terms; consultation with local Tribes to ensure the accuracy of Yup’ik translations; a Yup’ik language coordinator; and pre-election and post-election reports to the court to track the State’s efforts.

In sum, measured against some the rights that are most fundamental to Alaska Native Tribes - the subsistence way of life, tribal sovereignty and voting rights - Palin’s record is a failure
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Catholics for Social Justice at Holy Rosary, Oct. 13, 6:30

Eat, Drink and Be Catholic. It is a “discussion series for Catholics in their 20′s and 30′s”. Meeting for

“Monday, October 13th: Keith Alexander. Faithful Citizenship? A Discussion for Young Adults on Voting with a Catholic conscience”

“Doors open at 6:30pm. Speaker begins at 7pm. Holy Rosary Church Hall 2011 N. Oakland Ave.”

Although I’m 60, I’m told that I look young for my age, so I was going to attend, but then I realized that I am going to be out of the country Oct 7–14th, so not able to make it. Any young people interested in attending and making sure that Obama’s social justice concerns are represented? Dianne.
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Organize an Obama Sign Painting Party In Your Neighborhood

Why not do our best to inspire people from every neighborhood in the metropolitan area to organize Obama Sign Painting Gatherings?

God bless the entire human race,

[email protected]
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Obama Gatherings at Humboldt Alterra, This Coming Sunday 11 to Noon

Afterwards, some will do door to door canvassing with some help from experienced volunteers.
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More On How To Make Phone Calls for Obama

I’ve been phonebanking for Obama from the comfort of my own home. It’s really easy. What is REALLY concerning though is that the site says I am in 160th place compared to the number of calls all others have made using the site. WHAT? Is nobody making calls for Obama? Please don’t let that be true. Use this guide to get started (if you can) and then get your friends started! Pretty please forward this email around to others!!!


I logged onto My.BarackObama.com, clicked “Contact Voters,” put in my address, and then chose which campaign I wanted to help with. I picked “Californians Call Nevadans.” I read the instructions, clicked “Get Voters” and the site gave me a list of 10 people to call plus a script to use and a reporting form so I could submit info about the calls.

Obama has a script, but let me give you what I learned while doing the calls. Please use my instructions above to get yourself started.

Why This is Sooooo Important
Four years ago I canvassed for Kerry 2 days before the election. I had a walk list that had a ton of info on it - which houses to go to, whether the people there were leaning one way or another, which issues they cared about, etc.

At a lot of houses, I already knew the voters were for Kerry and I had to ask what time they planned to vote and give them directions to look for Kerry’s GOTV people at the polls. I assume that if people didn’t show up to vote, then the Kerry campaign would call them to urge them to go vote.

How did Kerry get so much info? I can only assume it was because he had people doing phonebanking ahead of time! So that’s what I’m doing now. And that’s why it’s IMPORTANT to do it NOW. When we get to the last week before Nov. 4, we want to have this info already collected so that we can have the most effective GOTV efforts out there.

What To Expect
First, the site gives you 10 voters. When you call them, you can ask for more voters and you get 50 voters to call. Most people you call won’t be home. That’s OK. The site has you call them 2–3 times and then they drop off your list. Most people you talk to are nice, even if they are McCain voters. A small minority aren’t, and all you have to do is say that you won’t call them ever again and hang up. No big deal.

When and How to Make Calls
I make my calls between 5pm-9pm during weekdays and during the day on weekends. The website will tell you how old people are, so if someone is 60+ I might call them during the day Monday-Friday because they might be retired. Don’t call during the debates… let’s at least hope all of the voters will be watching them (and drinking shots every time McCain says “my friends”).

Potential Mishaps
A few times you’ll have a difficult call.

  1. If the person is hard of hearing, just speak as loudly and clearly as you can, and if it’s impossible, just say thanks and hang up. But as long as the person is being patient, take your time.

  2. If the person speaks another language, don’t worry about talking to them. If you can speak the language (even poorly) take a stab at it. I got a woman who spoke Spanish, which I took in high school and speak very poorly. I hope she appreciates that the Obama volunteer made an effort to speak her language. I asked “Prefieres Obama o McCain?” and she said McCain. Oh well.

  3. If the person is mean, well… just apologize and hang up. Remember above all that they do not know you, they don’t even know your name, and they are NOT angry at you. They are being a jerk to a random person on a phone, that’s all. Maybe they are a mean person, or maybe they are even nice liberal Obama supporters who are just having a bad day. Either way, say goodbye and hang up. Then move on and forget about it.

Out of 56 people I’ve called, one was hard of hearing, one spoke Spanish, and only one was a really big jerk. He kept asking how I got his number. I replied that voter rolls are public information, an answer he did not comprehend or like. So I said I can make sure no one calls you again and he said “Do that.” Then we both hung up. No big deal.

What To Say on the Phone
I don’t view this job as convincing people to vote for Obama - although if someone wants to know more about Obama I am more than happy to talk. I am gathering info for Obama so he knows who is for him, who’s against him, and who’s undecided.

With this information, Obama can target mailings, canvassing, and GOTV efforts - and he won’t have to waste his time on definite McCain voters. (Maybe McCain voters don’t know this but they are doing Obama a favor when they answer that they are definitely voting for McCain. Great… now we won’t canvas your house.)

I don’t stick to the script exactly. I say something like:
“Hi, is ___ there? I’m a volunteer for the Obama Campaign and I won’t take more than a minute of your time. Do you know yet if you prefer Obama or McCain for president?”

At this point the person says either Definitely McCain or Obama, Leaning McCain or Obama, or Undecided. So far I haven’t run into any independents.

If Definite Obama, I say: “Great. Would you be interested in volunteering?” (So far I’ve had no takers.) If they say no, I say thanks and hang up.

BUT - if they said yes about volunteering, in addition to marking it on the form I would also encourage them to contact their local campaign office or sign onto My.BarackObama.com. I worry that Obama’s campaign won’t take advantage of the phone call data to contact new volunteers (no proof of this… just paranoia by me).

If Undecided or Leaning McCain or Obama: Ask what issues they care about. I admit I’m biasing the poll data here because I usually give them a few options to pick from. I say: “Only 1 more question. Which issues do you care about most, like health care, or the war, or the economy…?”

All of this takes under a minute, quite possibly under 30 seconds. And like I said, most people aren’t home. Plan to surf the web while you make your calls because mostly you’ll just get answering machines.

If Someone Actually Wants to Talk…
Out of 56 calls, I’ve had ONE person who wanted to make conversation. As it gets closer to the election, you’ll probably get people asking where their polling places are, etc. It’s best to have a few resources at your fingertips just in case.

All voting questions: http://www.canivote.org/
This site tells you where your polling place is, if you’re registered (if that’s available via web), how to become a poll worker (a GREAT idea!), how to vote absentee, etc.

Taxes: How McCain and Obama will change your tax bill
The person I had a long talk with told me Obama would make her pay more taxes. She also told me her annual income, and I knew immediately that she would pay LESS taxes under Obama. So I pulled up this site and told her how much she’d save under Obama.

Other than that, there’s no telling what kind of stuff someone will come up with. This person’s dislike for Obama came down to “I just don’t trust him.” I don’t really think the issues she brought up (like the taxes) were really what was going to drive her vote because as I shot down her anti-Obama factoids one by one (like “Obama is associated with Farrakhan”) it really came down to trust.

I think these conversations are INCREDIBLY enlightening, because I would have never guessed that there would still be people out there who were voting against Obama because they don’t like his pastor, etc, but I guess those people exist.

Overall, it’s not my job to convince those type of people. If she’s going to watch too much TV and believe whatever she sees on it, then it’s Obama’s job to convince her with good ads that smack down McCain (who she told me she didn’t like either). I got the info that she’s leaning McCain, and that’s what counts for Obama. What he’ll do with that info is his business.
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Alaska Women Reject Palin Rally Photo Essay

The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was to be held outside on the lawn in front of the Loussac Library in midtown Anchorage. Home made signs were encouraged, and the idea was to make a statement that Sarah Palin does not speak for all Alaska women, or men. I had no idea what to expect.

The rally was organized by a small group of women, talking over coffee. It made me wonder what other things have started with small groups of women talking over coffee. It’s probably an impressive list. These women hatched the plan, printed up flyers, posted them around town, and sent notices to local media outlets. One of those media outlets was KBYR radio, home of Eddie Burke, a long-time uber-conservative Anchorage talk show host. Turns out that Eddie Burke not only announced the rally, but called the people who planned to attend the rally ‘a bunch of socialist baby-killing maggots,’ and read the home phone numbers of the organizers aloud over the air, urging listeners to call and tell them what they thought. The women, of course, received some nasty, harassing and threatening messages.

I felt a bit apprehensive. I’d been disappointed before by the turnout at other rallies. Basically, inAnchorage, if you can get 25 people to show up at an event, it’s a success. So, I thought to myself, if we can actually get 100 people there that aren’t sent by Eddie Burke, we’ll be doing good. A real statement will have been made. I confess, I still had a mental image of 15 demonstrators surrounded by hundreds of menacing ‘socialist baby-killing maggot’ haters.

It’s a good thing I wasn’t tailgating when I saw the crowd in front of the library or I would have ended up in somebody’s trunk. When I got there, about 20 minutes early, the line of sign wavers stretched the full length of the library grounds, along the edge of the road, 6 or 7 people deep! I could hardly find a place to park. I nabbed one of the last spots in the library lot, and as I got out of the car and started walking, people seemed to join in from every direction, carrying signs.

Never, have I seen anything like it in my 17 and a half years living in Anchorage. The organizers had someone walk the rally with a counter, and they clicked off well over 1400 people (not including the 90 counter-demonstrators). This was the biggest political rally ever, in the history of the state. I was absolutely stunned. The second most amazing thing is how many people honked and gave the thumbs up as they drove by. And even those that didn’t honk looked wide-eyed and awe-struck at the huge crowd that was growing by the minute. This just doesn’t happen here.

Then, the infamous Eddie Burke showed up. He tried to talk to the media, and was instantly surrounded by a group of 20 people who started shouting O-BA-MA so loud he couldn’t be heard. Then passing cars started honking in a rhythmic pattern of 3, like the Obama chant, while the crowd cheered, hooted and waved their signs high.

So, if you’ve been doing the math Yes. The Alaska Women Reject Palin rally was significantly bigger than Palin’s rally that got all the national media coverage! So take heart, sit back, and enjoy the photo gallery. Feel free to spread the pictures around to anyone who needs to know that Sarah Palin most definitely does not speak for all Alaskans. The citizens of Alaska, who know her best, have things to say.

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Inspiring Note From Obama House Party Organizer

I’d just like to pass on some thoughts about the Obama house party I hosted this past Saturday. It is not an exaggeration to say that it was the most rewarding and energizing thing I’ve ever done politically, and yet it required very little work on my part (I got some food, invited about 45 people, and cleaned up the house). Susan McGovern was incredibly helpful — she provided an agenda, brought a short video about how we can be involved with the campaign, inspired the guests and led a frank and fruitful discussion. The guests were all Obama supporters (some rabid, others more tepid) and it was great to provide a forum for people to discuss their enthusiasm, pet issues, concerns, worries, hopes, and frustrations. Even more importantly, I’ve had tons of feedback since the party from guests who left the event energi zed, committed, and dedicated to doing what they can to get Barack Obama elected.

Many of us (Americans especially) have, unfortunately, been taught not to talk about politics in polite company. What I took away from Saturday’s event was that this is not the time to be holding your tongue. Just wearing my Obama button has gotten me in to some terrific discussions with undecided voters and has afforded me the opportunity to dispel some myths, share my excitement, and encourage others to learn more about this opportunity we have for our country — in a respectful and non-threatening way. We have 48 days left and I am committed to doing something, no matter how small, for the campaign each day.

If you are looking for a way to get involved, or you are already involved and you’d like to do more, I can’t encourage you strongly enough to consider hosting a house party. Invit e your neighbors for tea on a Sunday. Invite people you don’t know. Invite the guy in the next cube at the office. Invite the barista you see every morning. You’ll be surprised at the extent to which people want to talk and connect. I’d be happy to talk to you about my experience if you’d like. If you’re interested in hosting an event, contact the campaign locally. I’ve never done anything like this, and I’m incredibly thankful that I finally did — and I promise, you will be too. It has never been more important.


Contact Voters at Home as Volunteer for Obama— all you need is a phone!

You can contact people from the privacy of your own home by clicking here and logging in or creating a new account. Creating an account is very easy and takes less than two minutes! This will enable you to call voters and speak to them about Barack.

Megan Godsil Jeyifo


Neighbor to Neighbor:

Reach Out to Voters in your Community

This campaign is built on the belief that everyday Americans, when organized and focused, can change their country.

Now you can have an even greater impact on your community. Start today by logging in to our new voter contact tool to find voters near you to reach out to. You can go door to door or make calls at any time that’s convenient for you. There’s no one who knows your community better than you do, so help us build support for Barack Obama and this movement for change by beginning in your own neighborhood.

When you log in you’ll see that we’ve prepared all the resources that you need, including:

  • A list of voters in your neighborhood who we need to reach out to
  • A script you can use in your conversations
  • A customized flyer you can distribute
  • Easy interfaces to report back the results of your efforts to the campaign
  • Support and training to answer any questions along the way

Log in now and get started!

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Video: How We’re Going To Win by Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe

I just watched a video recorded by Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, laying out just how tough this election is going to be — and how we’re going to win.

Watch the video and support this movement for change:


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Join One or Some of These Progressive List Serves and Advance the Obama Campaign

Peacetalks <[email protected]>, Progressive Wisconsin <[email protected]>, Mke Indymedia <[email protected]>, beercitylabor listserve <[email protected]>, SE WI Progressive Org Discussion listserv <[email protected]>

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This is the story of our Grandmothers and Great-grandmothers; they lived only 90 years ago.

Remember, it was not until 1920 that women were granted the right to go to the polls and vote.

The women were innocent and defenseless, but they were jailed nonetheless for picketing the White House, carrying signs asking for the vote.

And by the end of the night, they were barely alive. Forty prison guards wielding clubs and their warden’s blessing went on a rampage against the 33 women wrongly convicted of ‘obstructing sidewalk traffic.’

(Lucy Burns)
They beat Lucy Burns, chained her hands to the cell bars above her head and left her hanging for the night, bleeding and gasping for air.

(Dora Lewis)
They hurled Dora Lewis into a dark cell, smashed her head against an iron bed and knocked her out cold. Her cellmate, Alice Cosu, thought Lewis was dead and suffered a heart attack. Additional affidavits describe the guards grabbing, dragging, beating, choking, slamming, pinching, twisting and kicking the women.

Thus unfolded the ‘Night of Terror’ on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Occoquan Workhouse in Virginia ordered his guards to teach a lesson to the suffragists imprisoned there because they dared to picket Woodrow Wilson’s White House for the right to vote.
For weeks, the women’s only water came from an open pail. Their food --all of it colorless slop-- was infested with worms.

(Alice Paul)
When one of the leaders, Alice Paul, embarked on a hunger strike, they tied her to a chair, forced a tube down her throat and poured liquid into her until she vomited. She was tortured like this for weeks until word was smuggled out to the press.

So, refresh my memory. Some women won’t vote this year because why, exactly? We have carpool duties? We have to get to work? Our vote doesn’t matter? It’s raining?

Last week, I went to a sparsely attended screening of HBO’s new movie ‘Iron Jawed Angels.’ It is a graphic depiction of the battle these women waged so that I could pull the curtain at the polling booth and have my say. I am ashamed to say I needed the reminder.

All these years later, voter registration is still my passion. But the actual act of voting had become less personal for me, more rote. Frankly, voting often felt more like an obligation than a privilege. Sometimes it was inconvenient.

My friend Wendy, who is my age and studied women’s history, saw the HBO movie, too. When she stopped by my desk to talk about it, she looked angry. She was; with herself. ‘One thought kept coming back to me as I watched that movie,’ she said. ‘What would those women think of the way I use, or don’t use, my right to vote? All of us take it for granted now, not just younger women, but those of us who did seek to learn.’ The right to vote, she said, had become valuable to her ‘all over again.’

HBO released the movie on video and DVD I wish all history, social studies and government teachers would include the movie in their curriculum I want it shown on Bunco night, too, and anywhere else women gather. I realize this isn’t our usual idea of socializing, but we are not voting in the numbers that we should be, and I think a little shock therapy is in order.

It is jarring to watch Woodrow Wilson and his cronies try to persuade a psychiatrist to declare Alice Paul insane so that she could be permanently institutionalized. And it is inspiring to watch the doctor refuse. Alice Paul was strong, he said, and brave. That didn’t make her crazy.

The doctor admonished the men: ‘Courage in women is often mistaken for insanity.’

Please, if you are so inclined, pass this on to all the women you know.

We need to get out and vote and use this right that was fought so hard for by these very courageous women. Whether you vote democratic, republican or independent party - remember to vote.

History is being made.
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Why Many in Our Working Class Vote Republican

An In Depth Psychological Exploration

By Jonathan Haidt

JONATHAN HAIDT is Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Virginia.

What makes people vote Republican? Why in particular do working class and rural Americans usually vote for pro-business Republicans when their economic interests would seem better served by Democratic policies? We psychologists have been examining the origins of ideology ever since Hitler sent us Germany’s best psychologists, and we long ago reported that strict parenting and a variety of personal insecurities work together to turn people against liberalism, diversity, and progress. But now that we can map the brains, genes, and unconscious attitudes of conservatives, we have refined our diagnosis: conservatism is a partially heritable personality trait that predisposes some people to be cognitively inflexible, fond of hierarchy, and inordinately afraid of uncertainty, change, and death. People vote Republican because Republicans offer “moral clarity”a simple vision of good and evil that activates deep seated fears in much of the electorate. Democrats, in contrast, appeal to reason with their long-winded explorations of policy options for a complex world.

Diagnosis is a pleasure. It is a thrill to solve a mystery from scattered clues, and it is empowering to know what makes others tick. In the psychological community, where almost all of us are politically liberal, our diagnosis of conservatism gives us the additional pleasure of shared righteous anger. We can explain how Republicans exploit frames, phrases, and fears to trick Americans into supporting policies (such as the “war on terror” and repeal of the “death tax”) that damage the national interest for partisan advantage.

But with pleasure comes seduction, and with righteous pleasure comes seduction wearing a halo. Our diagnosis explains away Republican successes while convincing us and our fellow liberals that we hold the moral high ground. Our diagnosis tells us that we have nothing to learn from other ideologies, and it blinds us to what I think is one of the main reasons that so many Americans voted Republican over the last 30 years: they honestly prefer the Republican vision of a moral order to the one offered by Democrats. To see what Democrats have been missing, it helps to take off the halo, step back for a moment, and think about what morality really is.

I began to study morality and culture at the University of Pennsylvania in 1987. A then-prevalent definition of the moral domain, from the Berkeley psychologist Elliot Turiel, said that morality refers to “prescriptive judgments of justice, rights, and welfare pertaining to how people ought to relate to each other.” But if morality is about how we treat each other, then why did so many ancient texts devote so much space to rules about menstruation, who can eat what, and who can have sex with whom? There is no rational or health-related way to explain these laws. (Why are grasshoppers kosher but most locusts are not?) The emotion of disgust seemed to me like a more promising explanatory principle. The book of Leviticus makes a lot more sense when you think of ancient lawgivers first sorting everything into two categories: “disgusts me” (gay male sex, menstruation, pigs, swarming insects) and “disgusts me less” (gay female sex, urination, cows, grasshoppers ).

For my dissertation research, I made up stories about people who did things that were disgusting or disrespectful yet perfectly harmless. For example, what do you think about a woman who can’t find any rags in her house so she cuts up an old American flag and uses the pieces to clean her toilet, in private? Or how about a family whose dog is killed by a car, so they dismember the body and cook it for dinner? I read these stories to 180 young adults and 180 eleven-year-old children, half from higher social classes and half from lower, in the USA and in Brazil. I found that most of the people I interviewed said that the actions in these stories were morally wrong, even when nobody was harmed. Only one groupcollege students at Pennconsistently exemplified Turiel’s definition of morality and overrode their own feelings of disgust to say that harmless acts were not wrong. (A few even praised the efficiency of recycling the flag and the dog).

This research led me to two conclusions. First, when gut feelings are present, dispassionate reasoning is rare. In fact, many people struggled to fabricate harmful consequences that could justify their gut-based condemnation. I often had to correct people when they said things like “it’s wrong because umeating dog meat would make you sick” or “it’s wrong to use the flag because um the rags might clog the toilet.” These obviously post-hoc rationalizations illustrate the philosopher David Hume’s dictum that reason is “the slave of the passions, and can pretend to no other office than to serve and obey them.” This is the first rule of moral psychology: feelings come first and tilt the mental playing field on which reasons and arguments compete. If people want to reach a conclusion, they can usually find a way to do so. The Democrats have historically failed to grasp this rule, choosing uninspiring and aloof candidates who thought that policy arguments were forms of persuasion.

The second conclusion was that the moral domain varies across cultures. Turiel’s description of morality as being about justice, rights, and human welfare worked perfectly for the college students I interviewed at Penn, but it simply did not capture the moral concerns of the less elite groupsthe working-class people in both countries who were more likely to justify their judgments with talk about respect, duty, and family roles. (“Your dog is family, and you just don’t eat family.”) From this study I concluded that the anthropologist Richard Shweder was probably right in a 1987 critique of Turiel in which he claimed that the moral domain (not just specific rules) varies by culture. Drawing on Shweder’s ideas, I would say that the second rule of moral psychology is that morality is not just about how we treat each other (as most liberals think); it is also about binding groups together, supporting essential institutions, and living in a sanctified and noble way.

When Republicans say that Democrats “just don’t get it,” this is the “it” to which they refer. Conservative positions on gays, guns, god, and immigration must be understood as means to achieve one kind of morally ordered society. When Democrats try to explain away these positions using pop psychology they err, they alienate, and they earn the label “elitist.” But how can Democrats learn to seelet alone respecta moral order they regard as narrow-minded, racist, and dumb?

After graduate school I moved to the University of Chicago to work with Shweder, and while there I got a fellowship to do research in India. In September 1993 I traveled to Bhubaneswar, an ancient temple town 200 miles southwest of Calcutta. I brought with me two incompatible identities. On the one hand, I was a 29 year old liberal atheist who had spent his politically conscious life despising Republican presidents, and I was charged up by the culture wars that intensified in the 1990s. On the other hand, I wanted to be like those tolerant anthropologists I had read so much about.

My first few weeks in Bhubaneswar were therefore filled with feelings of shock and confusion. I dined with men whose wives silently served us and then retreated to the kitchen. My hosts gave me a servant of my own and told me to stop thanking him when he served me. I watched people bathe in and cook with visibly polluted water that was held to be sacred. In short, I was immersed in a sex-segregated, hierarchically stratified, devoutly religious society, and I was committed to understanding it on its own terms, not on mine.

It only took a few weeks for my shock to disappear, not because I was a natural anthropologist but because the normal human capacity for empathy kicked in. I liked these people who were hosting me, helping me, and teaching me. And once I liked them (remember that first principle of moral psychology) it was easy to take their perspective and to consider with an open mind the virtues they thought they were enacting. Rather than automatically rejecting the men as sexist oppressors and pitying the women, children, and servants as helpless victims, I was able to see a moral world in which families, not individuals, are the basic unit of society, and the members of each extended family (including its servants) are intensely interdependent. In this world, equality and personal autonomy were not sacred values. Honoring elders, gods, and guests, and fulfilling one’s role-based duties, were more important. Looking at America from this vantage point, what I saw now seemed overly individualistic and self-focused. For example, when I boarded the plane to fly back to Chicago I heard a loud voice saying “Look, you tell him that this is the compartment over MY seat, and I have a RIGHT to use it.”

Back in the United States the culture war was going strong, but I had lost my righteous passion. I could never have empathized with the Christian Right directly, but once I had stood outside of my home morality, once I had tried on the moral lenses of my Indian friends and interview subjects, I was able to think about conservative ideas with a newfound clinical detachment. They want more prayer and spanking in schools, and less sex education and access to abortion? I didn’t think those steps would reduce AIDS and teen pregnancy, but I could see why the religious right wanted to “thicken up” the moral climate of schools and discourage the view that children should be as free as possible to act on their desires. Conservatives think that welfare programs and feminism increase rates of single motherhood and weaken the traditional social structures that compel men to support their own children? Hmm, that may be true, even if there are also many good effects of liberating women from dependence on men. I had escaped from my prior partisan mindset (reject first, ask rhetorical questions later), and began to think about liberal and conservative policies as manifestations of deeply conflicting but equally heartfelt visions of the good society.

On Turiel’s definition of morality (“justice, rights, and welfare”), Christian and Hindu communities don’t look good. They restrict people’s rights (especially sexual rights), encourage hierarchy and conformity to gender roles, and make people spend extraordinary amounts of time in prayer and ritual practices that seem to have nothing to do with “real” morality. But isn’t it unfair to impose on all cultures a definition of morality drawn from the European Enlightenment tradition? Might we do better with an approach that defines moral systems by what they do rather than by what they value?

Here’s my alternative definition: morality is any system of interlocking values, practices, institutions, and psychological mechanisms that work together to suppress or regulate selfishness and make social life possible. It turns out that human societies have found several radically different approaches to suppressing selfishness, two of which are most relevant for understanding what Democrats don’t understand about morality.

First, imagine society as a social contract invented for our mutual benefit. All individuals are equal, and all should be left as free as possible to move, develop talents, and form relationships as they please. The patron saint of a contractual society is John Stuart Mill, who wrote (in On Liberty) that “the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” Mill’s vision appeals to many liberals and libertarians; a Millian society at its best would be a peaceful, open, and creative place where diverse individuals respect each other’s rights and band together voluntarily (as in Obama’s calls for “unity”) to help those in need or to change the laws for the common good.

Psychologists have done research on the moral mechanisms that are presupposed in a Millian society, and there are two that appear to be partly innate. First, people in all cultures are emotionally responsive to suffering and harm, and so nearly all cultures have norms or laws to protect individuals and to encourage care for the most vulnerable. Second, people in all cultures are emotionally responsive to issues of fairness and reciprocity, which often expand into notions of rights and justice. Philosophical efforts to justify liberal democracies and egalitarian social contracts invariably rely heavily on intuitions about fairness and reciprocity.

But now imagine society not as an agreement among individuals but as something that emerged organically over time as people found ways of living together, binding themselves to each other, suppressing each other’s selfishness, and punishing the deviants and free-riders who eternally threaten to undermine cooperative groups. The basic social unit is not the individual, it is the hierarchically structured family, which serves as a model for other institutions. Individuals in such societies are born into strong and constraining relationships that profoundly limit their autonomy. The patron saint of this more binding moral system is the sociologist Emile Durkheim, who warned of the dangers of anomie (normlessness), and wrote, in 1897, that “Man cannot become attached to higher aims and submit to a rule if he sees nothing above him to which he belongs. To free himself from all social pressure is to abandon himself and demoralize him.” A Durkheimian society at its best would be a stable network composed of many nested and overlapping groups that socialize, reshape, and care for individuals who, if left to their own devices, would pursue shallow, carnal, and selfish pleasures. A Durkheimian society would value self-control over self-expression, duty over rights, and loyalty to one’s groups over concerns for outgroups.

A Durkheimian ethos can’t be supported by the two moral foundations that hold up a Millian society (harm/care and fairness/reciprocity). My recent research shows that social conservatives do indeed rely upon those two foundations, but they also value virtues related to three additional psychological systems: ingroup/loyalty (involving mechanisms that evolved during the long human history of tribalism), authority/respect (involving ancient primate mechanisms for managing social rank, tempered by the obligation of superiors to protect and provide for subordinates), and purity/sanctity (a relatively new part of the moral mind, related to the evolution of disgust, that makes us see carnality as degrading and renunciation as noble). These three systems support moralities that bind people into intensely interdependent groups that work together to reach common goals. Such moralities make it easier for individuals to forget themselves and coalesce temporarily into hives, a process that is thrilling, as anyone who has ever “lost” him or herself in a choir, protest march, or religious ritual can attest.

In several large internet surveys, my collaborators Jesse Graham, Brian Nosek and I have found that people who call themselves strongly liberal endorse statements related to the harm/care and fairness/reciprocity foundations, and they largely reject statements related to ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, and purity/sanctity. People who call themselves strongly conservative, in contrast, endorse statements related to all five foundations more or less equally. (You can test yourself at www.YourMorals.org <http://www.YourMorals.org> .) We think of the moral mind as being like an audio equalizer, with five slider switches for different parts of the moral spectrum. Democrats generally use a much smaller part of the spectrum than do Republicans. The resulting music may sound beautiful to other Democrats, but it sounds thin and incomplete to many of the swing voters that left the party in the 1980s, and whom the Democrats must recapture if they want to produce a lasting political realignment.

In The Political Brain, Drew Westen points out that the Republicans have become the party of the sacred, appropriating not just the issues of God, faith, and religion, but also the sacred symbols of the nation such as the Flag and the military. The Democrats, in the process, have become the party of the profaneof secular life and material interests. Democrats often seem to think of voters as consumers; they rely on polls to choose a set of policy positions that will convince 51% of the electorate to buy. Most Democrats don’t understand that politics is more like religion than it is like shopping.

Religion and political leadership are so intertwined across eras and cultures because they are about the same thing: performing the miracle of converting unrelated individuals into a group. Durkheim long ago said that God is really society projected up into the heavens, a collective delusion that enables collectives to exist, suppress selfishness, and endure. The three Durkheimian foundations (ingroup, authority, and purity) play a crucial role in most religions. When they are banished entirely from political life, what remains is a nation of individuals striving to maximize utility while respecting the rules. What remains is a cold but fair social contract, which can easily degenerate into a nation of shoppers.

The Democrats must find a way to close the sacredness gap that goes beyond occasional and strategic uses of the words “God” and “faith.” But if Durkheim is right, then sacredness is really about society and its collective concerns. God is useful but not necessary. The Democrats could close much of the gap if they simply learned to see society not just as a collection of individualseach with a panoply of rights—but as an entity in itself, an entity that needs some tending and caring. Our national motto is e pluribus unum (“from many, one”). Whenever Democrats support policies that weaken the integrity and identity of the collective (such as multiculturalism, bilingualism, and immigration), they show that they care more about pluribus than unum. They widen the sacredness gap.

A useful heuristic would be to think about each issue, and about the Party itself, from the perspective of the three Durkheimian foundations. Might the Democrats expand their moral range without betraying their principles? Might they even find ways to improve their policies by incorporating and publicly praising some conservative insights?

The ingroup/loyalty foundation supports virtues of patriotism and self-sacrifice that can lead to dangerous nationalism, but in moderate doses a sense that “we are all one” is a recipe for high social capital and civic well-being. A recent study by Robert Putnam (titled E Pluribus Unum) found that ethnic diversity increases anomie and social isolation by decreasing people’s sense of belonging to a shared community. Democrats should think carefully, therefore, about why they celebrate diversity. If the purpose of diversity programs is to fight racism and discrimination (worthy goals based on fairness concerns), then these goals might be better served by encouraging assimilation and a sense of shared identity.

The purity/sanctity foundation is used heavily by the Christian right to condemn hedonism and sexual “deviance,” but it can also be harnessed for progressive causes. Sanctity does not have to come from God; the psychology of this system is about overcoming our lower, grasping, carnal selves in order to live in a way that is higher, nobler, and more spiritual. Many liberals criticize the crassness and ugliness that our unrestrained free-market society has created. There is a long tradition of liberal anti-materialism often linked to a reverence for nature. Environmental and animal welfare issues are easily promoted using the language of harm/care, but such appeals might be more effective when supplemented with hints of purity/sanctity.

The authority/respect foundation will be the hardest for Democrats to use. But even as liberal bumper stickers urge us to “question authority” and assert that “dissent is patriotic,” Democrats can ask what needs this foundation serves, and then look for other ways to meet them. The authority foundation is all about maintaining social order, so any candidate seen to be “soft on crime” has disqualified himself, for many Americans, from being entrusted with the ultimate authority. Democrats would do well to read Durkheim and think about the quasi-religious importance of the criminal justice system. The miracle of turning individuals into groups can only be performed by groups that impose costs on cheaters and slackers. You can do this the authoritarian way (with strict rules and harsh penalties) or you can do it using the fairness/reciprocity foundation by stressing personal responsibility and the beneficence of the nation towards those who “work hard and play by the rules.” But if you don’t do it at allif you seem to tolerate or enable cheaters and slackers — then you are committing a kind of sacrilege.

If Democrats want to understand what makes people vote Republican, they must first understand the full spectrum of American moral concerns. They should then consider whether they can use more of that spectrum themselves. The Democrats would lose their souls if they ever abandoned their commitment to social justice, but social justice is about getting fair relationships among the parts of the nation. This often divisive struggle among the parts must be balanced by a clear and oft-repeated commitment to guarding the precious coherence of the whole. America lacks the long history, small size, ethnic homogeneity, and soccer mania that holds many other nations together, so our flag, our founding fathers, our military, and our common language take on a moral importance that many liberals find hard to fathom.

Unity is not the great need of the hour, it is the eternal struggle of our immigrant nation. The three Durkheimian foundations of ingroup, authority, and purity are powerful tools in that struggle. Until Democrats understand this point, they will be vulnerable to the seductive but false belief that Americans vote for Republicans primarily because they have been duped into doing so

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Photo Essay of Obama Labor Day Rally, Milwaukee 2008

The new energies being unleashed by Barack Obama hold great promise.In his person and prose Obama embodies the achievements of the movements of the 20th century and the hope that we can become the change we want to see in the 21st century.

“All of God’s Children” at an Obama Labor Day Rally in Milwaukee 2008

The challenges we face demand profound changes not only in our institutions but in ourselves. That means we can’t leave it all to Obama. Instead of being followers of a charismatic leader, we must be the leaders we’ve been looking for.

Youngsters, Prime of Life Men and Women, Revered Elders

Obama can become a great President only if we become a great people. We must grow together.

Newly engaged citizens, lifetime heavy lifters/detail angels from the movements of our time

The above lines came from legendary Detroit activist philosopher urban farm advocate Grace Lee Boggs the 3rd week of January, 2008.

Viva, Obama the Community Organizer!

Obama, at his deepest public level, is a great community organizer,
Perhaps the greatest community organizer this nation has ever known.

Pride and Joy Have Been Obvious Themes at Obama Rallies in Milwaukee

His oratory and Harvard level mind and organizing skills,
His hip, good looks, natural manner, his authenticity:
These are very significant resources he and we profit from.

Obama campaign signup sheets

Please send an e-mail to [email protected] if you would like to sign up to help out with the Obama campaign. Name and e-mail address all that we need!

The Obama Movement Is Inspiring Expression of All of Our Movements!

But I submit that his experience as a community organizer,
Which I’m sure he approached with intense energy and thoughtfulness,
Taught him lessons, and gave him character defining experiences,
Which play a great part in explaining “the Obama phenomenon.”

  • Obama knows how to listen.
  • He knows how to make people at ease.
  • He knows how to help stimulate the highest level of discourse with the groups he works with.
  • He is not quick to say “I have the answer,” but more likely to dialog with people about visions, strategies, corrective, close-in, Intermediate, and long term goals.

This Change Inspires This Radiance!

  • He is not one to make grand promises that are “beyond the possible”

And thereby set people up for a collective sense of failure.

  • He is an in-the-trenches worker with vast quantities of energy
  • A modesty as great as a kind of “greatness.”

Manifestations of America’s Great Promise!

At a time when the need to create community,
To co-create, to “organize” our communities,

Is as great an imperative as at any time in
The long journey of the species human..

15,000 to 20,000 Showed Up Like Magic!

Viva, Obama the Community Organizer!

February, 2008
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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on November 11, 2008

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