Farewell, President Obama… Thank You… We Really Won’t Know How Good We Had It… Until We Do…

I was a believer in Barack Obama. I don’t make any bones about it.

And, if President Obama had been treated fairly by the opposition party, we’d have accomplished so much more than we did as a country over the last 8 years.

But the obstructionists won – whether it was on gun control after Sandy Hook, or a single payer provision to the ACA – the spin was, Obama wanted your guns, he wanted socialism, and this was all – ALL – a hot steaming pile of horseshit.

It is important to realize that the obstructionists didn’t hate Obama just because he was black. They hated him because he was black and popular and smart and measured and considerate and genuine and embodied all the best qualities of America’s promise rolled up into a leader who’d represent us as best as he could.

These obstructionists weren’t just racist; they were anti-intellectual, they were anti-progress, and they were willing to lie their asses off in order to demonize a person who was so much more like the people he represented than ANY OTHER PRESIDENT we’ve had – President Obama wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth, and he wasn’t a billionaire private school elitist. Barack Obama actually cared about the prosperity of the plurality of Americans.

So, as the fakers and the haters and the liars take the reins of our country to “make America great again,” I’m going to remember the hope and optimism that not only myself, but SO MANY PEOPLE in our country had, when Barack Obama was running and then won the Presidency.

What follows is my digital scrapbook of sorts — after reading all the communications that I did during the 08 run, literally thousands of emails, I dug out my favorite emails and photos that were circulated through the 2008 campaign but weren’t made public, starting with my letter to Barack in January 2007 urging him to run, and the response from him that I received in June 2007.

This country missed a huge opportunity to do great things, because there were men and women who’d rather have put our country in peril than see Barack Obama be the kind of President we all know he could’ve and should’ve been.

 

From: J Rich <j******@gmail.com>
Date: Sun, Jan 28, 2007 at 8:27 PM
Subject: A New Kind of Leader
To: Barack Obama Exploratory Committee <info@barackobama.com>
Dear Future President Obama,
I feel that you represent everything that was, is, and can be great about America in the future. If you search your feelings, I believe you must sense that this nation needs you, your ideas, and your energy, and we need it right now. For most pundits and casual laypeople, your path to the Presidency may seem a most unlikely one, perhaps even as unlikely as Abraham Lincoln’s…
Too often Americans get the “opposing” message from politicians and the media… even our citizens themselves spend time saying they “oppose” gay marriage, or are “anti-war”, or “against a woman’s right to choose”…you sir, are the first candidate that I’ve seen in my
lifetime (33 years) that I feel is legitimately and genuinely
“pro-human rights”, “pro-peace”, and “pro-active” about doing things with the idea in mind that you want each individual American, and actually each individual citizen of this Earth, to strive to become the best person that each and every one of us is capable of becoming.

 

Your Senate campaign message of “Yes, we can” needs to be out there
again…it will resonate and fuel your candidacy sir, because it is a
universal truth. And no American will be able to deny the positivity
they will feel, for when they hear it, or when they say it with us,
and when they know that this man, this new leader who is getting us
all to say “Yes, we can!” ALSO wholeheartedly believes just that –
that we, as people living under God, CAN shape our future however we want, however we choose, and that our intentions now need to
change…

 
Sir, the way I see it, there is absolutely no way you can
lose this election.
Mr. Obama, you are an inspiration to us all, and you can help lead America back to being a beacon of prosperity and liberty. It is out of my love for this country that I ask you to do one thing: please run for President.
I, along with countless other Americans, will feel a tremendous sense of pride and purpose in dedicating time and energy to your election as the next President of this amazing nation of ours.
In closing, as you encounter those “times that try men’s souls” on the campaign trail, and in your life in general, I will hope that you would reflect on Abraham Lincoln’s political career (he had so much adversity…and was forced to act with true courage, much as you will have to continue to act), and I hope this quote, from President Calvin Coolidge, will resonate with you:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing in more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”
Yes, we can heal our nation.
Yes, we can mend the diplomatic relationships that have been fractured in this world.
Yes, we can usher in an era of unprecedented prosperity, peace, and liberty.
We can, Mr. ObamaAnd with your leadership, we will.

 

 

 

 

Best Regards,

J. Rich

from: Obama for America <no-reply@barackobama.com>
reply-to: Obama for America <no-reply@barackobama.com>
to: j*******@gmail.com
date: Tue, Jun 26, 2007 at 9:06 AM
subject: Response to Your Message to Senator Obama

Dear Jeff,

Thank you for your kind message and thoughts. Please pardon the late reply. My family and I have been touched by the outpouring of support we have received since announcing my candidacy for President of the United States.

As I traveled the country last year campaigning for Senate and House candidates, I spoke to people of diverse backgrounds from Rhode Island to Missouri to Washington state. I heard the same message in Omaha, Nebraska, that I heard in Orlando, Florida. The American people want a new kind of politics that replaces partisan name calling with honest conversation that seeks constructive change.

The cards, messages and calls I have received since the election from supporters like you reaffirm my belief that America is ready to put the era of bitter partisanship and the politics of division behind us, and that 2008 can be a watershed election for a new politics of principled, passionate, and civil debate about the future course of our country.

As we build this movement for change, please bookmark http://my.barackobama.com  and visit often.  Want to get involved right now?  We’ve built a set of easy-to-use web tools that empower you.  At My.BarackObama.com you can:

– build your own profile and connect with supporters near you
– find or create your own local or national group
– create your own personal fundraising page and track your progress
– find events near you or plan your own
– chronicle your campaign experience on your own blog

And there will be much more to come in the weeks and months ahead.

Thank you again for contacting me.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

THE CAMPAIGN STARTED, WE WON IOWA… AND THEN, WE LOST NEW HAMPSHIRE…
from: J Rich <j*******@gmail.com>
to: Los Angeles for Obama ’08! <LosAngelesforObama08@groups.barackobama.com>
date: Tue, Jan 8, 2008 at 9:05 PM
subject: It’s On…

Dear Obama Supporters/Volunteers,

Like all of you, I am disappointed with the outcome of the New
Hampshire Primary. I admit, I had to laugh and subsequently turn off
my TV as I watched Brian Williams and Tim Russert proclaim it a
“colossal” victory (of approximately 4,000 votes) for Hillary Clinton.

Punditry and declarations of victory or doom aside, let us all
remember that this is a marathon (18 miles of which will be decided on
Feb 5) and we must not take any stride for granted. We must make each stride count.

We all know what’s at stake. We all know which candidate will be a
representative of the people, for the people of the United States. We
all know which candidate inspired the record voter turnouts in the
first Democratic caucus and primary.

Now it’s up to us to convince California’s (and in the turn, the
nation’s) voters that Barack Obama is the better choice as the
Democratic nominee for President. It’s that simple.

Iowa was great result for us, but I submit that New Hampshire, January 8, 2008, is the day for us to truly remember…let us use the
disappointment of this day to our advantage, let it remind us all just
how much we want to see Barack become the nominee, and let that
motivate us all, that much more.

As disappointed as each of us must be today, can you imagine the
magnitude of disappointment we’d each feel if Barack does not win the
nomination? In that vein, can you imagine the utter phoniness that
would go along with a Hillary Clinton acceptance speech?

That is something none of us wants to see, hear, or feel. It  makes me
nauseous to even consider it a possibility.

We can do something about it now. It’s sooo early. Do not be
disheartened. We can win this thing…but let us not forget that we
can lose this thing too…this is, indeed, the urgency of now.

I close with the quote from my.barackobama.com profile…

Our campaign’s decided advantages in enthusiasm, talent, genius, and
education notwithstanding, we’ll need more to defeat Hillary’s
organization.

We have to outwork them in every way, every day, until the Democratic Convention.

It’s on… so let’s get to it. Let’s get our man the votes and
delegates he needs!

Wednesday, January 9th
What: “California Counts” Press Event
Location: Los Angeles City Hall
200 N. Spring Street (on 1st Street steps)
Time: Noon

Best Regards To All of You,
J. Rich

WE WENT ON TO WIN THE NOMINATION…
AND THE GENERAL ELECTION…
AND THEN OUR FEARLESS LEADER, DAVID PLOUFFE, AFTER MAKING OUR UNOFFICIAL INTERNAL CAMPAIGN CREED “LET’S WIN THIS FUCKING THING” SENT OUT THE FOLLOWING EMAIL.
—–Original Message—–
From: David Plouffe
Sent: Wednesday, November 05, 2008 12:16 PM
To: #Staff-All
Subject: One more thing
We WON this fucking thing.  Apologies for language.  But seemed appropriate.
NOW LOOKING BACK, THESE PICTURES ILLUSTRATE, SOMEWHAT, WHO OUR PRESIDENT REALLY WAS… A REAL MAN WHO REALLY CARED ABOUT HIS FAMILY AND HIS COUNTRY.

The campaign volutneer shirt…

My precinct captain’s t-shirt…

Yes, we did. And, yes, we can, again.

I Am One With Rogue One, Rogue One is With Me

**** THIS BLOG ENTRY CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR ROGUE ONE ****

Like many children of the early 70’s, STAR WARS was an indelible part of my views on, well, almost everything. I said as much in a letter George Lucas, penned circa 2005, in which I stated I had a clear vision for what might come next in the good versus evil, rebels versus empire, new agey Buddhist allegory mixed with Greek tragedy mixed with Germanic opera, and set in space. He politely declined to see me for that conversation, it was ambitious of me, but it was worth the try. The story has always been ambitious, and as the Star Wars films churned out over the decades have shown, there were times that the story itself may have been too “careful not to choke on it’s own aspirations.”

However, if rebellions are built on hope, are not epic, society shifting mythos built on aspirations?

Which leads me to ROGUE ONE, which, in my mind, is the most “honest” of all of the Star Wars canon, because, to me, the biggest problem with the Star Wars canon was that the Wars part of Star Wars was never too, um, warlike. Wars are not glamourous; they are not elegant; they are messy, they require sacrifice, they tear families apart and they bring political in-fighting, unforeseen conflicting agendas, senseless, indiscriminate death; and, they are horribly tragic.

Bringing the Wars back to Star Wars was the best thing for this franchise...

Bringing the Wars back to Star Wars was the best thing for this franchise…

ROGUE ONE, somehow, captured all of these somber truths, while reclaiming the inspirational Star Wars magic in a way that was not a bummer, and gave just the right amount of nods to the old fans, while it was it’s own story (something that FORCE AWAKENS failed to do in my opinion.) Let me be clear: there is still a good bit of plot pilfering going on. While FORCE AWAKENS was nearly beat-for-beat in line with A NEW HOPE, ROGUE ONE is almost too close to being beat-for-beat in line with RETURN OF THE JEDI.

But, thankfully, there’s enough that’s different here that ROGUE ONE, finally, is the story that adds depth to the mythology, and reminds me that the Star Wars canon isn’t stiff, lame, immature romantic melodrama.

(Eps 1-3 missed the mark by a mile and would’ve killed most other franchises.)

No. Just. No.

No. Just. No.

Let me start with the moment where I knew this film would be different than all other Star Wars films, in a good way. There was no need for a scrolling preamble – after “a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away” – this film cuts right to the chase, which was, this guy, Galen Erso, who’s some brilliant engineer (film might’ve been helped by showing this engineering brilliance early on, but, that’s a minor quibble) was coerced into leading a team of engineers to help build a Superweapon (the Death Star) for the Empire: his wife is murdered in front of him. He’s already made plans for his daughter to be hidden from the Empire, and he agrees to help, knowing that if he can control the work done, then maybe, maybe, he can plant a deficiency into the Death Star that can one day be exploited. (Though, how Darth Vader would not sense this is not addressed.)

His daughter, Jyn Erso, has a rough and tumble upbringing that we don’t really get to see. We open on Jyn in a prison, years later, and she’s busted out by rebel forces led by Captain Cassian Andor and his quasi-trusty, dry-witted, reprogrammed imperial droid, K2SO. As Andor busts her out, K2SO clotheslines her as she tries to escape her escape-helpers, and wryly comments: “Congratulations. You’re being rescued.”

As an aside, this tone of dark gallows humor mixed with seriousness is maintained throughout the film, with just the right amount of it peppered in. Combine that with the easter eggs galore in the film (one or two were a tad obvious) and it’s more than enough for a Star Wars geek to be engaged.

From there, we come to realize that the rebellion has fractured into factions, and that backstabbing in the Empire is a thing, especially when Galen Erso sends out word that the Death Star is almost done and there’s one way to defeat it. He gets the info out via a “defecting” Imperial pilot to an old trusted friend, Saw Gerrera, who abandoned his daughter Jyn, when it became clear that the Empire might use her against the rebellion.

Clearly, at this point, one can tell that this is not “blue sky” Star Wars.

Yes. Just. Yes.

Yes. Just. Yes.

Gerrera’s betrayal of Jyn makes Jyn skeptical about the rebellion, and humanity in general. It actually makes it plausible that she would keep her head down even if imperial flags fly above her and the Empire murdered her mother and commandeered her father.

Gerrera convinces Jyn to take up the cause of fighting the Empire when he shows her the message that her father wants to deliver to the rebellion, a father she’s not seen since she was a young girl. She trusts the message and when she tries to get others to trust her, as the messenger, this is where the film really hits a different level in Star Wars lore. Suddenly, her saviors become her potential enemies, her potential enemies become her friends, and the rebellion reveals itself to be more a pragmatic, yet ineffectual political organization than a group fighting for freedom.

When Jyn’s father is killed by the rebellion and her faith in Andor is shattered, Andor (and others) must accept and support the ultimate sacrifice, the same sacrifice Jyn is willing to make, in order for them to regain her trust and redeem themselves.

And it is an AWESOME moment when it happens.

When Jyn Erso's warnings are turned aside due to lack of political will, her team is formed, and this is one of the best moments in all Star Wars lore.

When Jyn Erso’s warnings are turned aside due to lack of political will, her team is formed, and this is one of the best moments in all of Star Wars lore.

And it has NOTHING to do with special effects.

The final sequence is spectacular, nothing short of breathtaking if you’re a Star Wars fan.

Prong 1 of Final Sequence: The Ground War.

Prong 1 of Final Sequence: The Ground War.

Prong 2: Infiltration of the Empire

Prong 2: Infiltration of the Empire

Prong 3: The Aerial Assault

Prong 3: The Aerial Assault

Prong 4: And Then... Vader Goes Vader

Prong 4: And Then… Vader Goes Vader

In the end, when you find out just how hard it was to steal those Death Star plans, how many died just to get them to Princess Leia, somehow, I think it gives A NEW HOPE the right context.

Now, is this a great movie? I don’t know.

Is this a great Star Wars movie? 100% absolutely yes.

My Letter To The Electoral College

Dear Elector,

My name is Jeff, I’m 43 years old and I live in Los Angeles, CA.

I would like to ask you to fulfill your role as an Elector, and dutifully not elect Donald J. Trump for the Presidency, for the reasons outlined below.

First and foremost, Mr. Trump, personally, has billions of dollars in debt to foreign interests, such as state-run Russian and Chinese banks.

Additionally, Mr. Trump has repeatedly stated that he does not intend to divest from his international businesses.

So, if chosen by the Electors, Mr. Trump’s Presidency will be under immediate constitutional challenge due to the Emolument Clause of the Constitution.

This will cause great stress, expense and undue harm to the American people, as lawsuits (due to the precedent of Clinton vs. Jones) will undoubtedly be filed against Mr. Trump.

I reiterate that you please keep in mind that Mr. Trump’s substantial indebtedness to foreign powers makes it reasonable to expect that Mr. Trump’s decisions will be effected due to these foreign debt overhangs. It is reasonable to suspect that his judgment could be effected due to these debts, and this would be detrimental to the interests of the United States of America.

As Electors, you are within your rights to call for Mr. Trump to clear his foreign debts and for him to divest from his international businesses.

And, if Mr. Trump complies with those caveats, then absolutely, as Electors, you should elect Mr. Trump as the 45th President of the United States as he has been awarded the most Electors within the Electoral College.

However, if Mr. Trump chooses to stay indebted to foreign powers and he chooses to keep his international business holdings, then I contend it is clear that he is more concerned with his personal interests than serving those of the American people in the Executive Branch. He would then be, henceforward, unelectable, due to provisions set forth in the Constitution of the United States.

Thank you for your time and consideration, I appreciate and respect the role you serve in our electoral process.

Sincerely,
JR

The Trumpenfuror: America Goes Gaga For Fascism

So here we are, 24 hours since some 120 million American people voted and, as can be viewed in my previous posts, my dire warnings notwithstanding, the Presidential Horserace finished with the result that I suspected since the conventions: Plantar Fascist was the winner over Hillarious by a neck.

Donald J. Trump, the up to his eyeballs in debt, “billionaire” income tax avoider, is now the 45th President of the United States of America.

Fear and loathing does not adequately describe the mood of the populace at this point in time. I’d say the more appropriate depiction is one of part desperation, part euphoria, part confusion, with some fear and loathing thrown in for good measure.

I do think that 11/9 will go down in history as a day to mark the cataclysmic shift to the “alt-right” which I think of as the “control-alt-delete” in that they want to turn off all progress, they want to shut down any sort of tolerance – they want to reboot by getting “their jobs” back, they want Mexicans and the Muslims out of America, they want to rub the elites’ and celebrities’ faces into the piss-soaked Nerf ball that is their dogma.

They want everybody who wasn’t a part of their redneck revolution to shit themselves instead of stand up to them when they commit acts of bigotry.

They want to live in some delusion of what they perceive the past was.

The alt-right is just American neo-nazis normalized, and these shitbags feel emboldened to physically confront anyone that they judge wasn’t a supporter of their leader, the Trumpenfuror, who refuses to condemn the attacks of the last 24 hours being levied in his name, nor does he condemn the KKK parades today celebrating his victory.

The first thing that must be understood here is, America has taken a turn toward the fascist. It doesn’t mean we’re all the way there yet, but the legal framework and foundation are set for political opponents to be incarcerated.

The second thing that must be understood here is, blame can be cast in a million directions, but whoever’s ultimately responsible is nearly irrelevant because our future is either 4 years under an insecure authoritarian; or, if he’s impeached, some portion of that under a truly skeevy reactionary who’s claim to fame is wanting to enact legislation forcing women who’ve had abortions to attend a “funeral” for the aborted fetus.

Wages have gone nowhere for 20 years. The one percent have gotten that much more one percenty, otherwise, the economy has pretty much sucked. Did Team HRC realize that when Lady Gaga and Jay Z were doing concerts at her rallies? Meanwhile, black people are getting gunned down by cops, some of them shot right in the back, and no one goes to jail when the courts hear the case. Citizens United makes the buying of candidates and bribery perfectly legal. The Patriot Act states that anyone ACCUSED of being a terrorist can be locked up, indefinitely, without access to an attorney, as an enemy combatant.

And now there’s a full-on candyass insecure narcissist who needs to be the lead of every single news cycle, who lives in a gold tower, who acts as if he’s going to help us all out by doing us the favor of being our President.

Believe him. He’s going to do great. Just ask him.

As Chuck D said, we gotta fight the powers that be.

However, if I act as an enemy combatant to all this WINNING, will it matter?

I guess it’s time to find out.

This Trump thing is mystery meat. The question is: is it turkey bologna? Filet mignon? Chicken sausage? Dried tiger blood sausage? Spam?

I think it’s moldy Mussolini-style mortadella, and I think we may get sick from it.

Good luck to us all.