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Obama Says Not So Fast

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Posted on Oct 18, 2007
Obama

Appearing on “The Tonight Show,” Barack Obama tells Jay Leno that he’s not worried about Hillary Clinton’s sizable lead in the polls: “Hillary is not the first politician in Washington to declare ‘mission accomplished’ a little too soon.”

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By cann4ing, October 23, 2007 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

TW, NBC’s decision to exclude Gravel from the debate is outrageous but not unexpected.  Its rationale for doing so, that Gravel had not raised enough in campaign funds only serves to underscore the extent to which the corporate media has corrupted the system.  Where the UK and European nations conduct elections over a span of weeks, we have developed a permanent electoral cycle in the U.S., precisely because of the time it takes for candidates to troll for the corporate dollars needed to purchase the deceptive 30-second spot ads, further swelling the coffers of the corporate media.

If there is a silver lining to be found in NBC’s abominable decision is that it provides a level of transparency—that in the eyes of corporate America it is money, lots of money, and not issues that counts. 

My disappointment is that Democracy Now or one of the alternative media sites has not offered to host a debate, one in which questions will be asked that compel either evasions or substance.

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By Tony Wicher, October 23, 2007 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

A Letter from Mike Gravel also posted on the Huffington Post

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

In the past year, I have attended 11 national Democratic debates of which two were sponsored by corporate media giant NBC. However, last week, NBC suddenly conjured up arbitrary polling and fundraising requirements specifically designed to exclude me. None of the previous debates I attended held such requirements.

When my staff called NBC directly to find out why I was now barred from attending, Chuck Todd, NBC news’ political director, told us that there were three criteria we did not meet, namely that I had not campaigned in New Hampshire and/or Iowa at least 14 times in the past year, that I was not polling at 5% and that I hadn’t raised $1 million.

It is clear that NBC just wants me out of the race. This was made evident by the fact that NBC did not even inform me of its arbitrary criteria before making the decision to stifle my campaign. NBC’s Todd waited until 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 19, to inform my staff that I was not invited to the Oct. 30 debate at Drexel University in Philadelphia.  That’s a fact!

Since I announced my candidacy for the Democratic Nomination for President of the United States on April 17, 2006, I have certainly traveled to New Hampshire and Iowa at least 14 times. And, according to a recent CNN poll, I am tied with Joe Biden, Dennis Kucinich and Chris Dodd.

NBC claims I haven’t raised enough money to qualify. I’m proud of the fact that I don’t collect millions from special interests (or fugitives like Norman Hsu). The reason why Senator Hillary Clinton seems to have a fundraising scandal every month is because money has corrupted our democracy. By stifling my voice on the basis of fundraising dollars, NBC is reinforcing the power of money over our national political discussion and our freedom.

But why has NBC suddenly come up with “requirements” designed to exclude me from the debate?

NBC’s decision is proof that our corporate media do not want a genuine debate over our impending war with Iran. During the last debate I was the only one to aggressively confront Senator Clinton over her vote to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Had I not brought up the subject, seasoned NBC commentator Tim Russert, the moderator of the Sept. 26 debate, would not have even asked about it.

Most Americans still don’t appreciate the gravity of that vote and they don’t understand that our government is intentionally raising roadblocks to diplomacy. Corporate media have once again failed to investigate how Bush and a compliant congress have set us on the warpath. Instead the media simply parrots the demonization of Iranian President Ahmadinejad and the administration’s unproven accusations against Iran. NBC and the other corporate media have jumped on the war bandwagon and they are determined to shut up anyone who tries to stop it.

The fact that NBC is owned by General Electric, one of the world’s leading military contractors, is frightening and certainly smacks of censorship directed at the most outspoken critic of the influence that the military-industrial complex holds over this great nation. In the past decade, GE has benefited financially from the global war on terrorism and currently holds almost $2 billion in military contracts .

So I ask that anyone, who is as concerned as I am about the power of the mainstream media and the military-industrial complex, speak out in support of my campaign today.

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By Tony Wicher, October 23, 2007 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

Re #109135 by Ernest Canning on 10/23 at 6:37 pm

EC,

I said I think Hillary is going to win, based on my own political judgment. I am not supporting her, and I will not vote for her in the primary, because of her corporate and Israel Lobby connections. I will vote for any of the other candidates who looks like they might beat her. Obviously, if she wins I will vote for her in the general.

I am supporting Kucinich, and also Mike Gravel, who was just kicked out of the Oct. 30 presidential debate by NBC, for challenging Clinton’s vote on Kyl-Lieberman. Israel lobby behind this, do you think? I think. It infuriates me. In the comment above is the letter I recently received from him.

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By cann4ing, October 23, 2007 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

Michael, as much as I want to see an end to the Orwellian nightmare that is the Bush regime, I do not see any reason why, at this stage of the contest, anyone who considers him or herself as a progressive should support Hillary Clinton.  The fact that the corporations are supporting her is all the more reason we should be opposing her and actively supporting Dennis Kucinich, at least until the primaries and nominating process is complete.

I don’t know when or where it was that we Americans came up with this concept that we must know who is going to win ab initio, and then vote accordingly.  I am far more interested in where candidates stand on issues than in predictions as to who will win.  I think that each person who values meaningful change should begin to work on those they know to stop playing the corporatist game—the one that first lops off those candidates who would best represent the interests of the middle and working classes by marginalizing them, ignoring their campaigns where possible, telling us who are the “leading candidates” and therefore the ones we should consider, and then telling us which candidate we must vote for, because, after all the corporate media has already fed us the line that she will win.

We will never restore meaningful democracy in this country until we learn to stop acting like passive consumers, buying into the corporate-packaging of candidates, and become active citizens by actively seeking out candidate positions and voting only for those candidates who truly represent our interests.  What is the point of having primary elections, if everyone is simply going to vote for candidates simply because the corporate media tells us they are the ones who will win?  If that is all we are about, scrap elections and let the corporations select our leaders.  At least then, we won’t have to deal with those deceptive, 30-second spot ads any more.

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By Tony Wicher, October 23, 2007 at 8:59 am Link to this comment

Re #108974 by Ernest Canning on 10/23 at 7:17 am

The corporations are all backing Clinton this year because they think she’s going to win. I think they’re right about that, although I wish they weren’t. If they thought Republicans were going to win they wouldn’t be backing her. She’s a corporate democrat whom they can deal with. However, like her husband, she has a history of being relatively progressive, working within that framework. She is at least rational. She won’t give the corporations everything they want. Although there is a class divide, it should be remembered that the rulers and the ruled, the rich and the poor do have some interests in common. Something will be done about global warming because corporations cannot profit if the earth becomes uninhabitable. Even corporations don’t want nuclear war. I for one will heave a huge sigh of relief if she actually gets into office. At least the country would be in relatively competent hands. 

However, I have the same fears you do that we may not get that far, because this adminstration is likely to both bomb Iran and create a “terrorist incident”, declare an emergency and suspend elections. The American sheeple may be sufficiently terrified to let them get away with it, in which case we are totally doomed.

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By cann4ing, October 23, 2007 at 8:17 am Link to this comment

TW:  The only opposition Mrs. Clinton is receiving from the right are the looney Christo-Fascists.  When it comes to campaign contributions she is receiving more money from the same corporate donors who previously funded the rise of the Bush regime than are any of the Republican candidates.  Those donors include Ruppert Murdoch, the military-industrial complex and the healthcare insurance lobby.  And if she is elected, there will be no doubt as to which side of the great class divide she will stand.  Of course, none of that may amount to much if the Bush regime follows through with the executive orders now in place that would allow our esteemed president to declare a national emergency in the event of a new “terrorist incident” on U.S. soil as a forerunner to marshall law, a suspension of elections and a shutting down of Congress.

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By Tony Wicher, October 22, 2007 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

Re #108826 by rage on 10/22 at 1:28 pm

I am also ready to bet that Clinton will CRUSH any Republican opponent in the general election.

I bet my head, not my heart.

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By Tony Wicher, October 22, 2007 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

Re #108826 by rage on 10/22 at 1:28 pm

Are you a betting man, rage? Because if you are, I’ll put $100 on Clinton to win, and you can back Edwards. If Kucinich wins, we can celebrate the divine miracle together. What do you say?

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By rage, October 22, 2007 at 2:28 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cooter put it best: The Clintons are history, Obama’s the future, and Edwards is the present.

In the end, Shillary is going to take her money filled carpet bag on back to the Senate for her New York bankers to hide in the Caymans. Obama will return to the Senate for Illinois to beef up his resume to match his charismatic image in time to run again in 2012 or 2016. And, Edwards will get the anointing and the crown from the DNC and the, per the primaries, the voters.

It’s become pretty obvious to even blind deaf mutes that the RNC is wantonly clammoring for a Shillary victory, because she’s the most beatable with the most indefensible professional resume that includes an abysmal Senate tenure that is not quite as deplorable as Uncle Freddy’s from Tennessee. That she’s polling so brilliantly is only a credit to Rupert Murdock’s resourcefulness and committment to getting her into the White House where he hopes to vicariously rule the world.

Edwards is the safe choice. Most Democrats could see their way to supporting him. That, and Edwards is not too offensive to Repug Values Voters. He’s a family man with one wife, with no history of experimental satanism nor ticket stubs from any Springsteen concerts in his pockets. He’s wholesome, tall, and goodlooking, with perfect teeth and great hair. He’s got a legal history of fighting for the little guy that America can really stand behind.

Still, Kucinich 2008! For the real little guy!

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By Tony Wicher, October 22, 2007 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

Re #108769 by Ernest Canning on 10/22 at 7:18 am

Call me a cynical realist. I am expecting the next president of the United States to be Hillary Clinton. There are three main reasons why she looks unstoppable to me. First, this is the year of the woman. They are coming into their own politically. The opposition to Clinton from the right is mostly misogyny and chauvinism. This year women are going to rise up and smite those good old boys, and that’s a good thing.  Second, after the last seven years, a lot of people remember fondly the days of peace and prosperity under Bill Clinton. Third, I have never seen a political team like Bill and Hillary. They are like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, a thing of beauty to behold. I don’t see how anybody else has much of a chance. We are going to have to work with her and do our best to give her other things to think about than what her corporate donors and the Israel Lobby might want her to do.

I would love to see Dennis Kucinich president, but realistically I think he has better chances for some such position as ambassador to the U.N. Without losing our principles, I think we progressives must work with Clinton in such a way that she sees us as an important part of her constituency rather than as “radicals” to be thrown overboard for political advantage. We won’t get everything we want from Clinton but we might get some of it. That’s politics.

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By cann4ing, October 22, 2007 at 8:18 am Link to this comment

TW, I don’t buy into this notion that we must vote for the lesser evil based upon whom is perceived to have the best chance of winning—certainly not during the primaries.  This approach is as much an impediment to meaningful change as money and the corporate media.  Meaningful change will only come when each and every individual voter stops focusing on polls and pundits; until each voter focuses on where each candidate stands on issues that truly matter, and then votes in accordance with where the candidate stands on those issues.

A recent blind poll, which listed where the Democratic candidates stand on issues but excluded their names produced a startling result.  One candidate received a whopping 58% of the vote—Dennis Kucinich.

Your post, I am afraid to say, is a reflection of the success of corporate media propaganda which, by its inordinate focus on polls and triviality, has taught Americans to focus on the wrong question.  Each of us should never ask the question, who will likely win?  Instead, we should be focused on which candidate would be the best choice to lead this nation?  Until we start asking the right questions, America will continue to suffer from what Noam Chomsky refers to as a “democracy deficit”—the gap between where the People and their elected representives stand on issues of substance.  Until Americans stop acting like passive consumers, limiting their choice to the range of candidates the media dubs as “frontrunners” and start assuming the role of citizens who actively seek the links between the candidates and what they stand for, the bad government we get will be the government we deserve.

I consider a vote for any of the corporatists who are masquerading as Democrats as a “wasted vote.”

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By Tony Wicher, October 21, 2007 at 9:49 pm Link to this comment

Re #108663 by Ernest Canning on 10/21 at 5:19 pm
(986 comments total)


Thus, while you and I usually agree, TW, I can’t agree this time.  Obama, while preferable to Clinton, is a part of the corporate elite and can be expected to govern accordingly if elected.

Ernest,

Obama has not proved himself so far and you are probably right that he is no more than another corporate Democrat, but if he does confront Clinton on the Israel lobby issue, he could prove that, and he just might do it if he sees it as his best political opportunity.

I think Kucinich and also Mike Gravel are great gadflies and doing a fine public service by keeping the race more honest, but so far I don’t see any prospect that either will get the nomination. If and when Bush bombs Iran, that may change. Meanwhile, I see Obama as the best practical bet for progressives. As for Billary, if they are corporate Democrats, they are at least rational ones, not insane troglodytes on steroids.

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By cann4ing, October 21, 2007 at 6:19 pm Link to this comment

TW—there is no doubt that Clinton panders to AIPAC, but it is a mistake to think that this one lobby explains what she, and I am sorry to say, Obama as well stand for.  Clinton and Obama both troll for corporate dollars.  Both have found support within the military-industrial complex.  (A) neither candidate is prepared to repeal NAFTA & the WTO, replacing them with bilateral trade agreements that respect workers’ rights. (B) Neither candidate advocates single payer healthcare—both offer variations of a so-called “universal health plan” that amounts to subsidy schemes for the healthcare insurance industry. (C) Neither candidate advocates a complete and total withdrawal from Iraq within the time—three months—required to safely extract our forces. (D) Neither candidate has so much as hinted that we restore the Fairness Doctrine and roll back the power and riches afforded the media conglomerates via consolidation under the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

While Obama gave lip service to opposing the war “before” he was elected to the Senate, he voted to authorize funding on several occasions, falsely claiming that he had done so because the Democrats don’t have enough votes to override a Presidential veto.  That was a canard.  All it takes is 41 Senators to block all further funds by simply refusing to allow a new funding bill from coming up for a vote.  (“Support the troops” is also an Orwellian canard. You don’t “support the troops” by enabling Bush to leave them in harm’s way.  You betray them!)

There is only one Democratic presidential candidate who voted against authorizing this war and then voted against every funding measure; only one candidate who on issue-after-issue sides with the working and middle classes.  His name is Dennis Kucinich.

Thus, while you and I usually agree, TW, I can’t agree this time.  Obama, while preferable to Clinton, is a part of the corporate elite and can be expected to govern accordingly if elected.

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By Tony Wicher, October 21, 2007 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

Re #108336 by Ernest Canning on 10/19 at 2:16 pm


Watch this video posted on the Obama site, asking Senator Clinton why she voted for Kyl-Lieberman, an amendment that could be used as support for attacking Iran, as she voted for the Iraq war in 2002.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0icVblxh2dI

This video asks very good questions of Hillary Clinton in a fair way. I would love to see Senator Obama himself asking these questions in a national debate. That is his best chance now to distinguish himself sharply from Clinton. This video does not demonize Clinton from partisan motives, as some in the Obama campaign have done, even echoing absurd conspiracy theories concocted by the right wing. I must say that I am not completely anti-Hillary (I voted for Bill twice) and if she would put distance between herself and the PNAC and AIPAC, I would not have trouble voting for her on other grounds. As long as she does not do so, however, Obama should keep hitting this point over and over.

I think the reasons why Clinton voted for the Iraq resolution in 2002 and for Kyl-Lieberman this year are the same. She, like her husband, is a total political animal and that means that principle often takes a back seat to election strategy. Her base is New York and Jewish support is especially important to her. Many prominent Jews from “the Israel Lobby” -AIPAC, the ADL, etc. - advised her to support it, and that outweighed anger from anti-war Democrats in her political calculations. Biden and Dodd, who voted against Kyl-Lieberman, evidently calculated otherwise. I hope that they are right. It is Senator Obama, however, who can best use this issue to strip away anti-war Democrats from Clinton to win the Democratic nomination. Even if he does not succeed in winning, it will still be a great service to the country if he can force her to move away from the Israel Lobby politically. But he will have to take the gloves off; he will have to say what this interviewer says, to talk openly about the influence of “the Israel Lobby”, its connections with PNAC and its influence on the Clinton campaign. Believe me, that will get headlines. The question is whether Senator Obama can handle the resulting uproar in a way that helps him by showing him to be a man who puts principle above politics and one who will take courageous stands and endure heavy political fire for what he thinks are the best interests of the country. Then Obama will show he is about more than vague feel-good generalities. He is a talented politician and may have the right political touch. It cannot be assumed that a majority of Jewish Americans support the Israel lobby. The majority of Jewish Americans are Democrats who think of themselves and want to be thought of as American citizens, not foreign nationals or dual nationals. They do sympathize with Jews in Israel, but they do not identify with the policies of the Israeli government and resent more every day attempts to force them to conform to the Israeli government line. Progressive Jewish organizations such as the Tikkun Community and many more are speaking up loudly, and if Senator Obama also speaks up on this issue and does it with the right political touch, he will find a surprising amount of progressive Jewish support.

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By cann4ing, October 19, 2007 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

Cyrena, there are numerous reasons why Kucinich is far preferable to Obama beyond the fact that Obama envisions having our troops remain in Iraq to 2013.  These include the fact that Kucinich is the “only” presidential candidate who is calling for a repeal of NAFTA & the WTO and their replacement with bilateral trade agreements that protect workers’ rights and the environment.  Under NAFTA & the WTO a tiny wealthy elite have betrayed America’s middle and working classes by outsourcing our manufacturing base in an unending search for the $2/day laborer while American labor has been Wal-Martized.  Both Hillary Clinton and Obama’s wife are former members of the Wal-Mart Board of Directors.  In 1991 Wal-Mart did not have a single store outside of the continental U.S.  Today they are the world’s largest corporation and the greatest single threat to middle-class aspirations of working men and women everywhere.

Obama’s vague generalities about a new direction remind me of the 70s movie, “The Candidate” where Robert Redford’s character ran on the slogan “McKay the better way.”  When the campaign was over and McKay won, he turned to his handler, “What do I do now?”

For those who haven’t done so, I would strongly urge reading Jeff Faux’s “Global Class War.”  It provides and analysis of how the world’s economic elites have conspired to achieve their neoliberal goals through so-called “free trade agreements” which are then used to evade democratic controls.  Faux’s book is a powerful statement of how we are in the midst of a global class war and how candidates like Obama and Hillary are on the wrong side.  The media does not cover the interests of the middle and working classes.  The range of acceptable discourse is limited to disputes within the ruling class which range from the fascists in control of the White House who call themselves Republicans and the corporatists now in control of Congress who call themselves the “Democratic leadership.”

If since Franklin Roosevelt the essense of the Democratic party is its base—American labor: the middle and working classes, there is only one candidate running for President who deserves to be called a Democrat—Kucinich.  This is precisely why, a thorough corrupt corporate-owned media works tirelessly to marginalize him and his candidacy.

In “Failed States” Noam Chomsky describes a “democracy deficit”—the gap between where the American people stand on issues that truly matter as compared to where elite politicians stand.  This deficit is a function of a corporate media that refuses to cover substance, forces candidates to troll for the corporate millions needed to buy the deceptive 30-second spot ads.  Its most effective means of preventing the election of a candidate who will really change the function of government from a tool to protect the wealth of the few to a government that serves the interests of the people is to, when possible, avoid all reference to a candidate who would bring meaningful change where possible, and, when it must cover them, as during debates, to relegate them to the furthest ends of the stage.

The corporate media banks on the majority of the electorate acting as passive consumers, bleeting sheep who remain unaware as they are led to their own destruction.  And, I am sorry to say, so far the vast majority—those supporting Hillary and Obama—are proving them right.

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By Douglas Chalmers, October 19, 2007 at 3:18 am Link to this comment

He’s going to look really stupid once World War 3 has started!!!

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By cyrena, October 18, 2007 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment

All Obama has to do (IMHO) is commit to ending the occupation of Iraq. Then, he will be acceptable. Until he can manage that…much as I like the guy, I have to go with Kucinich.

Meantime, (and I don’t want to be hasty here, since I’ve not been watching all of the Senate confirmation hearings for Mukasey) was Barack there…(at the hearings) yesterday or today?

That’s the first question. If he was NOT - then he’s screwed up. (The hearings are in D.C., Jay Leno is across the country in Southern Cal). Doesn’t mean Barack didn’t jet back and forth, but I’m just wondering.

Second question, (if he can provide an affirmative answer to the first) Has he asked any questions yet himself, -of the nominee- and what were they, and how does he feel about the nominees take on torture.

Arlen Specter has apparently told MuKasey that he will certainly be confirmed, and I can’t think of a bigger nightmare, based on the way he’s danced and hedged and evaded the questions on torture and the executive authority.

So, let’s here from Barack and the good Senator Clinton on this.

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By CaptRon, October 18, 2007 at 10:01 pm Link to this comment

I have the same sense with watching Hillary/Barack as I did watching Nixon/McGovern. I heard McGovern expressing answers to issues and plans to correct and like Nixon knew ahead he put them into action thus nullifying McGovern’s campaign. In the present, I hear Barack expressing views and ideas from the outset with everyone reacting stoneface like and others picking on his every word almost like he is nuts, yet lately Hillary is now saying those same things like it was her views from the outset, and using Barack’s very words while expressing herself. I’m not saying vote Barack, although at this point I would, I’m saying “people please wake up” and look beyond the moment back to the onset to watch where the truth really comes from and who changed just to get elected.I want change, I really want change, not more lies and promises from anybody. Example, remember when Barack said he would open up discussion with Iran and they jumped down his throat. Now others are 180 degrees different. I’m sure they mean it, or am I??

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By homovivens, October 18, 2007 at 4:46 pm Link to this comment

For those who think experience is the only measure of a man, consider this:

“We had the experience but missed the meaning;”
              T.S.Eliot “Four Quartets”

Or

“Forget about experience, I’d rather have potential. I want a young, young man…” (old standard)

OBAMA, you are the man! Rev it up! Experience without judgment is folly, or HILAR-Y-TY.

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