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Playing Down the Middle

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Posted on Jul 7, 2008
Obama
AP photo /J im Cole

By Bill Boyarsky

Politics is a cruel and disappointing business. This year, Democratic liberals gambled on a young man who offered hope and change. But after those wondrous primary days, they are furious over Sen. Barack Obama’s understandable effort to reach out to an electorate that is, and long has been, planted firmly in the middle of the road.

There should be neither surprise nor disappointment on the part of the sophisticates of MoveOn.org, political blogs, the New York Times editorial page and others who are busy these days mourning the loss of Obama’s purity. Still, they feel that way. Even when a liberal successfully executes the delicate dance toward the dominant moderate voters, as Bill Clinton did, he is never quite forgiven. The unforgiving attitude was extended to his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Smart Democrats understand that this is the only way to win. The smartest of them all, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was an expert at dumping the left, as his most liberal supporters learned early in his presidency.

In 1934, Upton Sinclair, a Socialist who had won the Democratic nomination for governor of California, thought he had a promise of help after a conversation with Roosevelt. But no help came. Under vicious Republican attack, he appealed to FDR. Greg Mitchell, in his book “The Campaign of the Century,” gave a chilling account of the Roosevelt White House’s political cruelty. Sinclair got no further than presidential aide Marvin H. McIntyre. “I wasn’t in the conference you had with the president,” McIntyre said, “but I really don’t think it should be classified as a promise. He doesn’t make promises of that kind.”

Sinclair, of course, should have heeded something else the charming and ambiguous Roosevelt told him: “I cannot go any faster than the people will let me go.”

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Neither will Obama.

Obama is showing this now with two important issues—withdrawal from Iraq and legislation concerning the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

He has handled Iraq with an ambiguity that Roosevelt would have admired. From Iowa on, he boasted of his 2002 vote against the war, which separated him from Hillary Clinton and his other senatorial foes. But he left a huge loophole, almost overlooked by the wildly enthusiastic crowds and media.

He said he would withdraw combat brigades in 16 months but would leave a residual force of undetermined size. When he discussed this at a press conference last week, the residual force sounded as if it could be substantial—enough troops to train Iraqi soldiers and police and maintain “a counter-terrorism strike force in Iraq that assures that al-Qaida does not regain a foothold there.”

This looks like an open-ended commitment to me, and the left has some justification for reacting as it did. But while Obama’s plans may be open-ended, they are consistent.

Not so with the debate over the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a terrible law that legalized our current electronic police state by firmly enshrining secret wiretapping in the law. It set up special FISA courts, which meet in secret. Government must have FISA court approval for wiretapping, but it is usually granted. In 2005, The New York Times reported that the Bush administration conducted electronic surveillance without FISA court permission.

The FISA court system is a phony process, but in the manner of Washington, the Democratic Congress has been at work trying to “improve” it by nibbling around the edges. One provision, insisted on by the Bush administration, would exempt the phone companies from being sued for cooperating with federal wiretappers. Obama at first opposed this, but now he goes along with a compromise worked out by congressional Democrats. It would exempt the phone companies from lawsuits over past wiretapping and make the government-phone company combine get approval from the sham FISA courts for future snooping.

The outcry from the liberal blogosphere was overwhelming. Admirably, Obama invited comment on his own Web site, my.barackobama.com. And he replied on the site: “The ability to monitor and track individuals who want to attack the United States is a vital counter-terrorism tool, and I’m persuaded that it is necessary to keep the American people safe. ... Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I’ve chosen to support the current compromise. ...”

It was a move to the center, which prompted The New York Times to attack Obama for supporting “a classic Washington deal that erodes the power of the special court. ...”

What power? The FISA courts have demonstrated very little. But that’s not the point.

The point is that Obama is being criticized for being what he always has been, a tough, exceedingly practical politician, able to hide his many ambiguities behind his charm, intelligence, charisma and oratorical skill.

He’s ahead in the polls, but he has a difficult challenge. You think it’s easy for a black man to be elected president?

I don’t want to see him locked in a bunch of doctrinaire positions that will scare away moderate Democratic and independent voters who don’t yet know much about him and who are likely to approach their historic vote with hesitancy.

I don’t give a damn what The New York Times thinks, after its disgraceful pre-Iraq war performance. Nor do I care about the left and its love of glorious defeat. Obama’s conduct is not disappointing. It’s the right thing to do. “I cannot go any faster than the people will let me go,” said FDR. Obama knows that’s the way he can win.

 


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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, July 11, 2008 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

Re Doug Tarnopol, July 11 at 4:02 am #

Doug,

Well, I like Chomsky, but I don’t agree with him about a lot of things. He calls Vietnam “Kennedy’s War”. I call it ‘Johnson’s War’. I don’t agree with him about 9-11, either. He’s kind of an old sourpuss. But I love him.

Later.

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By cyrena, July 11, 2008 at 6:56 am Link to this comment

Outraged..

“Also, if one sets their goal as mediocrity, will one ever attain anything better than precisely that?”

Interesting question. I can only say that ‘mediocre’ would have to first be defined by ‘one’ when they are ‘setting their goals’. What is mediocre to ‘one’ is not necessarily ‘mediocre’ to another. We don’t all have the same view.

~~~~
JimBob…thanks ever so much for post #167799

“…By JimBob, July 8 at 7:24 pm #
•  “…My Dog, are some people greedy or what?  Obama is the best thing since sliced bread, and they’re complaining that he isn’t frickin’ Che Guevara!  This man is intelligent, articulate, humane, energetic and, above all, sane…”
I think it’s the sane part that I appreciate above all.  Che Guevara was great. He also didn’t live long.

Thanks again for the exchange between you and Tony. Who would have thought that sanity would become so scarce? I swear, I’m not kidding. People are worried about the scarcity of oil, and I’m petrified over the scarcity of sanity.

JimC…your sanity is also appreciated. I’m right in line with your post #167765. Noted the same questions about 9/11 from about day one. (4 airplanes and all of their contents disappeared without a trace..no, not in the real world) Gave it time for them to come out with the official lie, and had my questions confirmed. It was a lie.

I don’t buy the Alex Jones stuff, and Bilderburg doesn’t scare me. Insanity does.

I’m really attached to reality.

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By Doug Tarnopol, July 11, 2008 at 5:02 am Link to this comment

Ach, JFK’s rule was *disastrous*—nearly wiped out the species, and due largely to his administration’s brinksmanship with missiles (Turkey, etc.). To say nothing of launching a war of aggression in South Vietnam in 1962, and a huge military buildup. JFK helped civil rights? That’s actually a key point of general interest: civil rights was forced upon the leadership by a long-standing, committed social movement. That’s how change occurs.

I agree that Obama has tried to coopt the Kennedy brand (and the Lincoln brand), but the historical reality is of more concern to me. A good place to start is _Rethinking Camelot_ by Chomsky, a good corrective to past and current marketing campaigns.

And cyrena, everyone enjoys a good snark every so often, but you might want to chill out. This will be the only time I interact with you, btw, unless you decide to play nice: I realize that Howard Dean is running the party in one sense; in another very real sense, as Bill Clinton said at the 2004 DNC, “our party has a new leader,” meaning Kerry, the nominee. Had Kerry won, he’d be the leader of the party, as Bush has been for the GOP.

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By jersey girl, July 11, 2008 at 4:24 am Link to this comment

beerdoctor:  Thanks for the support smile  I agree.  And I left the site for a day or two for the very reasons you state. Then I came to my senses and reminded myself that I’m not the type to be chased away by a bully.  I initially ignored her posts in the beginning because they are such longass boring diatribes filled with her beliefs and not much in the way of facts. I am going back to my original position of ignoring her, having realized I was right in the first place. lol

Btw I find your witty sarcastic posts really entertaining. A little satirical humor helps cut through the bs quicker sometimes.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 11, 2008 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

What’s this Jersey Girl, you question the righteous authority of She Who Must Be Obeyed? I have learned from experience that She Who Walks Behind The Rows resorts to personal attacks whenever her feeble logic fails. Unfortunately for you, you made the mistake of engaging in an exchange with her. I use to do that. But after a few of her ridiculous verbal bitch slaps, I felt bad. So bad in fact, I almost stop writing on this site. But then I realized why let someone do that? There are plenty of other folks thinking about stuff. Why let some nincompoop prevent you from communicating with them?
So a little advice for what it is worth: forget about engaging in discussion with someone who, when all else fails will just start personal attacks. It is just not worth the trouble. And never let taunting become the main point… that is what she revels in.

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By jersey girl, July 11, 2008 at 2:59 am Link to this comment

cyrena: You can call me names and belittle me and all your friends on the board will cheer you on. Hooray for you.  However, that won’t alter the fact that you and your peanut gallery are afraid of real change.

This country was not founded by people who settled for the status quo.  That is what you and your little cadre that’s left of obamatons don’t understand.  You’re settling because you fear the consequences.  Well some of us have to be brave and take the first step towards freedom from this corrupt system. This FUBAR system.  If McCain wins it’s because Obama blew it or the election was rigged again.  You can’t blame a citizen for voting for the candidate of his choice now can you? It seems to me that’s what you guys are trying to do.  Make us feel guilty for doing our civil duty.

Shame on you all for being so small minded and un-democratic and petty in your criticisms of those of us whose choices are different from yours.

My point is and always has been to encourage you to vote for the candidate who mirrors your values. Vote your conscience.  Don’t vote out of fear.  If Obama mirrors your conscience. Go for it.  But he doesn’t mirror mine.  Nader and McKinney do.  Since Nader already has garnered 6% of the vote on very little money he’s got my vote.

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By Outraged, July 11, 2008 at 1:19 am Link to this comment

Re: Cyrena

Your quote: “~“God grant me the serenity to ACCEPT the things I CANNOT CHANGE..The COURAGE to CHANGE the things I CAN…And the WISDOM to KNOW THE DIFFERENCE..”

Good advice, however there is another adage which you should consider, and that is “Never say never…”

Also, if one sets their goal as mediocrity, will one ever attain anything better than precisely that?

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, July 11, 2008 at 12:38 am Link to this comment

Only a fool questions the authority of someone so clearly superior that they, in their magnanimousness, offer free metaphysical advice.

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By cyrena, July 11, 2008 at 12:20 am Link to this comment

Thoughts on reality part 1 of 2
By jersey girl, July 10 at 3:19 pm

•  “Tony: you said “My reasons for supporting Obama are based on realism, not hero worship.” …If that’s the case, besides the fact that you fear McCain, just why are you voting for obama?”
~~~

JG, exactly what part of realism/reality do you NOT understand? Why is this such a difficult concept for you? And more to the point, what do you hope to accomplish on this forum by accusing other reasonable people of having your same ideologically emotion driven motivations as a base for critical thinking and analysis?

You have taken the position (like most people lacking skills in reason and critical thinking) that ALL others base their thinking on the emotionalism, just because YOU do. You accuse OTHERS of what you have consistently displayed in each and every one of your posts. YOU call it ‘fear of McCain’, when reasonable adults who are not genetically or otherwise disposed to neurosis, call it making a rational and REALISTIC choice. And, it’s a choice that all Americans are theoretically entitled to, without having to withstand the bashing, harassment, and insults that you consistently hurl from behind the anonymity of the internet. A bully is a bully, including ideological bullies. And bullies are usually bigots, cowards, or both.

You are a bully in your very tiny world, but as we watch, you’re devolving. You’re breaking up JG, and you’re frantic…just all over the place in your desperation. It’s like you’re hyped-up on some sort of drugs or something. You accuse OTHERS of things like ‘hero worship’ or ‘cultish’ behavior, and in nearly the same breath, you admit to being a ‘FAN’ of Glenn Greenwald. (whoever the hell HE is) – I’m familiar with ROBERT Greenwald, since he’s certainly made a name for himself in terms of political activism and other scholarly work, but glenn might just be another pop star blogger as far as I know.

So who REALLY has this hero-worship group-think mentality JG? Your absolute obsession with Obama as the ‘ANTI-everything’ is no different from those who may in fact see him as the ‘answer’ to everything. It’s exactly the same single-celled obsession. And it’s wasted here, because most of the people who routinely read and post to this site do NOT see Obama as the 2nd, 3rd, or 4th coming. We don’t see (or REALISTICALLY expect) a perfect specimen of a human being. We don’t see a utopia because history and reality make clear that such a thing is relative. My own experience as a mediator in alternative dispute resolution has provided ample proof that people (whether collectively or individually) can rarely if ever reach workable compromises until they first figure out what it is that they actually WANT, and WHY they want it, and whether or not it is even a realistic goal. All too often, the goals are either indefinable or unrealistic, and the motivation is nonsensical.

It’s a waste of energy to do the blame game, (at least in your case) because you’re misdirecting the blame. The ‘blaming’ is of very limited use as a singular tool, and therefore must be used sparingly, and ONLY in conjunction with the ‘naming.’ It is only helpful in routing out the source of the problem, and Barack Obama is not that source. So bullying anyone who thinks that Obama or anyone else might be able to provide some guidance in the repair of a COLLECTIVE dilemma, is also a waste, and counter-productive to whatever you think your purposes might be. If you choose to indulge in the proper combination of the ‘name/blame’ exercise, then put the correct values into the formula. WHO and/or WHAT is to ‘blame’ for the horrific situation that we find ourselves in, specifically as a collective society? Figure that out first. Narrow it down. THEN you can do your blaming, and maybe even follow-up with some sort of demand for accountability and justice. The tit-for-tat mechanics of the superficial and very shallow ideology don’t connect to anything useful.

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By cyrena, July 11, 2008 at 12:16 am Link to this comment

Thoughts on Reality Part 2 of 2

So here’s the reality of the day JG.

Ralph Nader doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of gaining enough support in the traditional system of US elections to win the office of POTUS - FOUR MONTHS FROM NOW! He’s been at it for decades, (every presidential election for the past 4 years..this one makes 5) and he hasn’t won. He’s never bothered to show any desire to begin a political career in the traditional terms of the political system in the US. He’s apparently always believed that he should just skip all of that, and be president. In reality, it doesn’t work that way.

Cynthia McKinney has done, (IMO) some excellent work in Congress, when she’s been able to. She hasn’t done any MORE (and actually LESS) than many other members of Congress, like Barbara Jackson Lee and Henry Waxman, and several dozen others that I could name but won’t. She has even LESS of a snowballs chance in hell of gaining enough support for the office. The majority of Americans have never even heard of her. Let’s just be real, OK. Indulge us in some reality, if only for a moment, and then you can get back to your alternative reality on your parallel universe.
Now all of a sudden, you come out of nowhere with Mike Gravel. Some of us actually have been paying attention since the beginning of this thing, and I for one, very much appreciated what Mike Gravel could offer to the process of repairing our system. He could still do that, and I hope that he’s still willing. He’s not gonna be the president however, for basically the same reasons that Nadar and McKinney and Kucinich won’t be. (Kucinich was my original first choice, but I still liked Gravel, Edwards, Obama, Dodd, and Richardson). In short, we started out with what I personally believed to be an excellent collection of Democratic candidates, (sorry, I can’t include Sen. Clinton here) each with their own strengths and weaknesses. We’ve come through the process, and now we have Barack Obama and John McCain, and you have 4 months to decide which of them you want, or you can opt out of the decision entirely.

Opting out includes casting a vote that will be (at best) meaningless to the process, but will make YOU feel good. At worst, such a choice, (if made by enough people) will skew the results enough to throw the election to a candidate that has only been selected by less than a third of the voting population. Every other American citizen (who hasn’t had their voting rights compromised) has that same set of choices, to the collective benefit or demise of the rest of us.

There is NO reality in any of your suggestions now Jersey Girl, and that’s the bottom line. You have only negativity and frustration to spew and it’s a waste of time and energy. You offer nothing beyond that. The frustration is understandable and most of us have it, including the ones who are unable to comprehend the source of it. Putting water on a grease fire only makes it worse. That’s what you’re doing. You’re running willy nilly all over your very small ideological SURFACE, never bothering to follow any one opening to get to anything. You might as well be in a hamster wheel. That’s not ‘progressive’. It is motion, but it’s not going anywhere.

In case you’re not familiar with the serenity prayer, I’m offering it up here for your or anyone else’s contemplation. I’m perfectly willing to include the reference to God, despite my own agnosticism.

~“God grant me the serenity to ACCEPT the things I CANNOT CHANGE..The COURAGE to CHANGE the things I CAN…And the WISDOM to KNOW THE DIFFERENCE..”~

Needless to say, the linguistic emphasis (caps) is mine.

Doug, why do you think Obama is the ‘head’ of the Democratic Party? He isn’t you know. Check out a civics or US Government 1A course at your local community college.

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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, July 10, 2008 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment

Hey everybody who hasn’t done it, go to the link below and sign Dennis’ impeachment petition! 

http://impeachment.kucinich.us/

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By Tony Wicher, July 10, 2008 at 8:50 pm Link to this comment

Re Anarcissie, July 10 at 3:58 pm #

Most of the excitement seemed to me like another turn of celebrity culture, all too reminiscent of the Kennedys.

Yes, Obama has always struck me as somehow Kennedy-like, and though Kennedy was a long, long way from  
ideal from my standpoint, still, weren’t things a lot better then? The Civil Rights movement was succeeding and Kennedy was helping, making many of us pround to be Democrats and Americans. That was nice, wasn’t it? This country was respected around the world. That Kennedy assassination was a real bummer, wasn’t it? I think it was Johnson, myself. Who else could have covered it up? Who else had all those Dallas connections? Country’s been in the shitter ever since. Everybody’s cynical now. Nobody can believe in their government anymore, and for good reason. So I’m glad see some “hope” in the faces of people, especially young people who support Obama. Yes there is a lot of hero worship among them but that is the way of the young. I too am putting my faith in Obama. It is faith, too. I pray that my judgment is good, that I am right and that all those young people won’t be disappointed, but for all I know Obama may turn out to be Caligula in disguise.

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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, July 10, 2008 at 7:56 pm Link to this comment

As a good example about what I’m talking about when I say that Democrats (including Obama) may change once they start feeling politically strong, consider this bit of cheering news that just came in from the Nation. Maybe it won’t amount to anything, but…

Pelosi Slips Impeachment Onto the Table

John Nichols
Thu Jul 10, 4:08 PM ET


The Nation—As Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich moved a “privileged resolution” to force House to consider the question of whether President Bush should be impeached for lying to Congress and the American people about the reasons for invading and occupying Iraq, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi surprised almost everyone by suggesting that the Judiciary Committee might indeed take up the issue.
Pelosi, who famously declared impeachment to be “off the table” before the 2006 election, now suggests that hearings on the president’s high crimes and misdemeanors are a distinct possibility.

“My expectation is that there will be some review of that in the committee,” the California Democrat told reporters Thursday.

“This is a Judiciary Committee matter, and I believe we will see some attention being paid to it by the Judiciary Committee,” Pelosi explained.

The speaker was not suggesting that members of the Judiciary panel would be voting anytime soon on formal impeachment resolutions. Pelosi said she did “not necessarily (see the committee) taking up the articles of impeachment because that would have to be approved on the floor, but to have some hearings on the subject.”

Judiciary Committee chair John Conyers, D-Michigan, has indicated that he is reviewing the 35 articles of impeachment Kucinich has proposed for President Bush. He has not indicated, however, whether he intends to hold hearings on any of them or on broads questions of whether violations of their oaths of office, the Constitutionally-defined separation of powers and the laws of the land by the president and Vice President Dick Cheney—the subject of three impeachment articles submitted by Kucinich—should be addressed by Congress.

It is no secret that Conyers has felt constrained by Pelosi’s “off-the-table” commitment. Whether her new line opens the door for hearings before the end of the Bush-Cheney presidency remains to be seen.

But Pelosi’s remarks do create an opening for the members of the Judiciary Committee, including Florida Democrat Bob Wexler and Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin, who have co-sponsored Kucinich’s articles of impeachment and who have urged the committee to open hearings on issues of presidential accountability.

For his part, Kucinich will keep pressing for action.

“Congress must, in the name of the American people, use the one remedy which the Founders provided for an Executive who gravely abused his power: Impeachment. Congress must reassert itself as a co-equal branch of government; bring this President to an accounting, and in doing so reestablish the people’s trust in Congress and in our United States system of government. We must not let this President’s conduct go unchallenged and thereby create a precedent which undermines the Constitution,” the Ohio congressman said Thursday, as he prepared to introduce his privileged resolution to force consideration of impeachment of a president who he accuses of “deceiving Congress with fabricated threats of Iraq WMDs to fraudulently obtain support for an authorization of the use of military force against Iraq.”.

The rest of the article is at
http://news.yahoo.com/s/thenation/20080710/cm_thenation/1336149_1

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By Ted Swart, July 10, 2008 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

Thanks Maani for drawing my attention to Senator Gravels National Initiative for Democracy.  It does seem like a ray of light. It would at minimum provide a way forward out of the current morass. This does lead to the next question namely how do we get people to act on sensible initiatives?
I do understand what Cyrena says about the powers of the US president being limited and the existence of checks and balances but it would have been good if Obama had been willing to take more of a risk with risk in not being elected. He seems, at the moment. to be focusing on doing everything he can to get elected. Of the two choices available he does have the advantage of being non-white as well as the advantage of being much younger than the alternaive.

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By Doug Tarnopol, July 10, 2008 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

Well, “uprising” might be the wrong word, even despite the recently released book (which I haven’t read), but the intense discontent across the spectrum with government is literally unprecedented. Bush’s polls numbers? Worst ever. Cheney’s? Ditto. Congress? Ditto.

In my experience, one needs to be truly educated to explain away how badly both parties have screwed over everyone not in the upper few percent of income since the ‘seventies. The meme that “none of the Great Unwashed care like they did in the ‘60s” is at best misguided.

However, whatever characterization you’d like to put on the putative uprising, the point is that Obama is serving as a safety valve. I’d be thrilled to see his supporters rise up and threaten to bail, but I’m afraid that too many of them simply want to believe in Saint Obama, which is an outsourcing of true political action to a marketing campaign run by a business, the Democratic Party, that has about the credibility of Enron at this point.

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By rowman, July 10, 2008 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

Its funny really. He promotes change but only offers the same ol dirty politics. And most of you are going to help put him in office knowing this. But you dont care. You got burned and the sooner you realize it the better.

Why is no one here discussing Rezko filling obamas pockets? Pretending he is something he is not…?

http://blogs.suntimes.com/rezko/

This is a gem. (page 17 on)
http://www.suntimes.com/images/cds/MP3/prosobama.pdf

Oh and lets not forget the FISA lies.

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By Bri, July 10, 2008 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I understand the concept of win at all costs but have some faith in the voters.  I believe a large percentage of moderate voters would have been ecstatic to see Obama castigate congress for making this ridiculous compromise.  They already compromised on the one-week waiting period to report surveillances.  How many voters are sympathetic with the telecoms?  We’ve endured 8 years of extreme pandering to the corporations.  Enough is enough.  Show some balls!
Bri

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Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, July 10, 2008 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

Re Doug Tarnopol, July 10 at 3:06 pm #

Obama, whether intentionally or not, has played a critical role in undercutting a true, across-the-spectrum uprising against the American empire.
——————————————————————————-
I wish there were such an uprising to undercut, but it looks to me like the American people are not ready for it. If they were, they would have gotten behind Kucinich. As matters stand, as the average level of popular political consciousness is, the Obama campaign is the closest thing around to such an uprising. It may not amount to much, but we will have to see what happens in November. If Obama wins a landslide victory, and Democrats get a veto-proof majority in Congress, then we shall see if Obama and the Democrats feel politically strong enough to make some fairly major changes.

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By Anarcissie, July 10, 2008 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

Doug—Do you really think “Obama, whether intentionally or not, has played a critical role in undercutting a true, across-the-spectrum uprising against the American empire”?  If there was anything like that going on, I must have missed it.  Most of the excitement seemed to me like another turn of celebrity culture, all too reminiscent of the Kennedys.

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By jersey girl, July 10, 2008 at 4:58 pm Link to this comment

maani:  That Gravel is right on. I watched the video and will check out the initiative site in a bit. Too bad they made him look like a whack job at the debates. He and Kucinich were the only two on the stage who were telling it like it is.  (I just wish Gravel didn’t make those silly tv spots :(

As for whether we have actually entered fascism or not, I believe we are there.  The next step and the most agressive of course would be martial law.

Here is that list of 14 points of fascism that I’m sure you’ve seen before. You can put a big red check next to each point..

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism
5. Rampant sexism
6. A controlled mass media
7. Obsession with national security
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
9. Power of corporations protected
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
12. Obsession with crime and punishment
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
14. Fraudulent elections

NOTE: The above 14 Points was written in 2004 by Dr. Laurence Britt, a political scientist. Dr. Britt studied the fascist regimes of: Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile).

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By jersey girl, July 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Elizabeth: You are on the right track.  Vote for someone who you feel truly represents you not someone others are pushing you to support out of fear of the republican.

Nader has 6% of the vote already. He only needs another 4 to get into the google online debates. Ralph will kick ass if he gets to sit down between the ass kissing old man and the panderer(to the right) in chief.  Cynthia McKinney is also an excellent progressive with guts as are many others in the green party.

A vote for a true progressive is never a wasted vote.  A wasted vote is one that you cast out of fear.

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By Maani, July 10, 2008 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Ted:

“And it is the political machine that needs to be changed but I don’t pretend to know how to do it.”

Although it may seem hopelessly unrealistic, even utopian, Senator Gravel has the answer: it is by empowering the voters to be able to work with Congress to create and pass laws.  Consider that they have been doing this in Switzerland, of all places (with four distinct cultures and four distinct languages) for well over 100 years.  And Switzerland remains non-military, politically neutral, economically sound, and culturally vibrant.

Senator Gravel calls this the National Initiative for Democracy.  If you have not seen his recent video on this, you can find it here:

http://www.jwharrison.com:80/blog/2008/07/04/declaration-of-independence-2008/

And here is the official site of the Initiative:

http://www.nationalinitiative.us/

According to Senator Gravel, based on his decade in the Senate - and his four decades of political activism - he sees no other way of “fixing the system” vis-a-vis the corrupting powers of money, media, and the political-election machinery.

Doug:

I agree with JG: great piece.  Bravo.  Yet while you and JG are correct that the melding of the state and corporate structures is an element of fascism, it is not the entirety of it.  And while we certainly seem to be going down the road toward a proto-totalitarian society bordering on fascism, we are not there YET, so I still believe that using the word NOW (and especially applying it to individuals) only decreaes its true power.

Peace.

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By jersey girl, July 10, 2008 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

Tony: you said “My reasons for supporting Obama are based on realism, not hero worship.”


If that’s the case, besides the fact that you fear McCain, just why are you voting for obama?

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By jersey girl, July 10, 2008 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

Doug:  Excellent article. The words “homeland security” have always sent chills down my spine.  It immediately conjures up thoughts of nazi germany.  I’m sure I’m not alone. 

maani: As far as overusing the word fascism. I could be but then again what is the melding of corporation and state called?  The telecoms were paying congress people to vote.  And in taking that money, what do you call them (besides rat bastards & whores)? Our political candidates take money from corporations of which favors are expected in kind when they enter office.  Isn’t that the melding of corporation and state?

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By loveinatub, July 10, 2008 at 4:12 pm Link to this comment

I have to agree with you Bill. Your article on Obama’s pandering to both left and right is exactly what’s necessary in order for him to win the presidency. Obama is no liberal but then he’s no conservative. He’s somewhere in between and I believe if the left were stronger in this country then Obama would find it easier to burnish his leftish credentials. As it is, he now comes across as a centrist with no real backbone to any one particular direction. It’s painful to watch because so many of us liberals thought at one time that he really would represent the liberal cause and progressive social agenda all of us espouse and care about so much. I have so little expectations when it comes to Obama. I want him to win the presidency (we just can’t afford another awful president such as McCain) but I know that Obama won’t accomplish very much and frankly, at the end of a four year Obama presidency, I doubt he’ll have achieved very much. Even if his victories are small, will it stem the awful challenges that lie ahead for our country and the world?? 

I’m sanguine about Obama’s presidential chances and downright cynical if McCain wins. But an Obama presidency would not be the salve I so desperately crave to nourish my liberal soul.

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By Doug Tarnopol, July 10, 2008 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

Hey, Tony:

I’m happy to hear you’ve resisted the marketing campaign and are voting for Obama based on real issues, and not “qualities.”

It all comes down to how significantly different Obama’s foreign policy and civil-liberties policy will be from the Bush crew. Or indeed from the Clinton crew he’s ushering back into office. On the main issues, with the exception of being as willing as Richard Nixon to talk to enemies (have we fallen so low that simply saying that maybe I won’t be for unilateral war all the time is now something to be praised?), I see virtually no daylight between Obama and McCain, and never did.

Anyone, “left” or “right,” who deviates from “the strong line of continuity” post-WWII administrations of both parties have shown on foreign policy is quickly dispensed with. Viz., Kucinich, Paul, etc. That’s a serious problem, and I agree with Obama that he has pretty much always been what he’s showing himself to be, even given some spectacularly brazen about-faces. The projection of antiwar, anti-imperialist hopes onto the self-described blank screen is what’s at issue.

Bottom line: he’s no different from any other politician; he’s quite safely conservative enough to be a good poster boy for the owners of the country; and it was ever thus for those of us who didn’t succumb either to the fancy rhetoric or to our own projection of our hopes and desires onto an undeserving screen.

Which brings up another point that’s come up on this thread, and with which I wholly agree: overly concentrating one’s attention, desires, criticism, and so forth on whomever Our Dear Leader turns out to be is itself reinforcing our “post-small-r-republican” political-propaganda system. So-called leaders always need to be pushed from below by well-organized social movements; never wait for Mommy or Daddy to act first.

Obama, whether intentionally or not, has played a critical role in undercutting a true, across-the-spectrum uprising against the American empire.

Dug

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By Doug Tarnopol, July 10, 2008 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

Hey Maani:

You’re absolutely right about not throwing the word “fascist” around, but I wasn’t going for shock value. A corporatist state in which the executive is dominant and above the law is both FDR’s and Mussolini’s definition of fascism, and that’s what we’ve been flirting with for years, well before Bush II. Anyway, if you or anyone else is interested, here’s a short article I wrote about it: http://free—expression.blogspot.com/2008/06/this-lands-homeland-by-doug-tarnopol.html

Best, Dug

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By Tony Wicher, July 10, 2008 at 3:47 pm Link to this comment

Re Doug Tarnopol, July 10 at 6:53 am #

Doug,

I don’t know where you get this “charismatic leader” buisness. Did I ever say Obama should be supported because he is a “charismatic leader”? Hitler was a charismatic leader. My reasons for supporting Obama are based on realism, not hero worship. I support him not because he is, forsooth, “charismatic” but because according to the highest principles by which I judge everything, Obama is far, far preferable to the current crew of fascist crooks, and at least getting them out and getting something halfway reasonable in is something worth doing.

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By jersey girl, July 10, 2008 at 2:43 pm Link to this comment

cyrena:  Your assumumption that I think that the president is the only one who makes decisions, is dead wrong.  In fact, what has always disturbed me about Obama is the people he surrounds himself with.  You probably disagree with that, but I am entitled to my own opinion as to who I’d like running my country.

As for the ACLU suing over the fisa law, I never said they were suing Obama personally, did I?  My point was that it is such an affront to the 4th amendment that they feel they have to take such an extreme measure.  How could the possible president of the u.s. vote for such a bill?

Cyrena, you constantly twist peoples words and meanings around to suit your purpose.  And that purpose seems to be to make everyone who isn’t on your “team” look foolish for having an opinon or thought that doesn’t go along with yours. 

If anyone needs to grow up it’s you.

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By cyrena, July 10, 2008 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

Jersey Girl writes
•  “But one thought… it’s not cool to pin your hopes on a man who is willing to cave to the fascists in the name of political expediency when he will be the one weilding that very power when and if he takes office.”

My only question, and not to be to personal, but it would seem like you are very young. Too you honestly believe that *ANY* rationally thinking American citizen is ‘pinning their hopes on ONE man/” This is a very alarming assumption, if in fact that is what you believe.

Because, CONTRARY to what you’ve witnessed in the past 8 years, the president DOES NOT wield this enormous power. It is Not the way the system was set-up. And in the past, when presidents attempted to put themselves above the law, they’ve been impeached of forced our. Nixon is the most recent example. So please stop with all of the dramatics and hysteria. It might be forgiven if you’ve only just come of voting age within the last 8 years, and so this is all you know. But it critical to get away from the assumption that Barack Obama or anyone else is going to have this extraordinary power that Dick Cheney had assumed in the doctrine of the unitary executive. It is NOT the way we’re set up. These people in this regime have in effect hijacked the government, and as much as all of you can bitch and moan about previous or future presidents, the Coup managed by the Neo-cons with Dick Cheney at the lead is a first, even in my own lifetime. So if the only ‘change’ we get from Barack Obama is simply a return to a separation of powers and the rule of law, that will be a damn good place to start.

So, start paying attention to the rest of your government, which currently includes 534 OTHER members, besides Barack Obama in the Congress. He is ONE senator right now. He has ONE vote right now. When he becomes president, he will of course have MORE power than he has as ONE Senator, specifically in his veto power. But keep in mind that the checks and balances do work, IF you pay just a tad bit of attention to who you put in the Congress, and who is ALLOWED to be placed in the all-important judiciary.

Tony writes in response to JG
•  “I never called him a “shining star” - you did. How does his vote make me feel about him? Not good. Do I still support him? Of course. Is at least 95% of the membership of the ACLU going to vote for him? I’m willing to bet on it. “
This is the standard menu from Jersey Girl, and it’s getting really, really, really, old. It’s all about Obama, non-stop, all the time, 24/7 Obama. Yes, she and troublesum have MADE HIM INTO A STAR KING. For them, no one else exists. It’s all about me against the rest of the world. For Jersey Girl, it’s not even an ‘us against them, because she has no ‘us’. She can’t offer an alternative, she can only bad mouth the most viable options available. It’s childish, and downright tacky..serving ZERO purpose.

And how naïve is it to say, “The ACLU is suing over FISA in conjunction with the on-going personal mission to bash Obama’s every word. Did the ACLU say they were suing HIM? Please forgive my impatience with such ignorance. Will they sue Obama personally, as one out of 535? Or will they sue Dick Bush? THAT’s where the ACLU efforts should have been directed long ago.

What *I* have found far more interesting, though I don’t know how this will pan out now, is that I federal judge has recently rejected (AGAIN) the warrantess wiretapping by the thug regime currently in power.

Judge Rejects Bush’s View on Wiretaps
Thursday 03 July 2008
: Eric Lichtblau, The New York Times
http://www.truthout.org/article/judge-rejects-bushs-view-wiretaps

The word is that all of the pending law suits would have to be dismissed if the immunity is signed into law. Oh the other hand, this is still on the books as the judicial opinion. It’s not going away.

Please people, get a flippin’ GRIP! PAY ATTENTION!

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By Ted Swart, July 10, 2008 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

There is an oft used phrase: If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. But since the political machine is broke the obvious question is; How does one fix it?
Maani quotes Cyrena as saying: “insanity” is “doing the same thing the same way over and over and expecting different results.”
And that is exactly what seems to be happening. I understand that congress’ approval rating has reached an all time low of 9%.  And my reaction is:  How can you expect anything different.  All too few seem to realize that we live in deadly serious times. Mankind (not just the US) is facing truly gigantic problems and to imagine a creaky wasteful system can cope is just insanity.
During a time of war politicians sometimes have the good sense to form a coalition government. This is exactly what happened in the UK during the fight to combat Hitler. The truth is we cannot afford an absurd focus on my party its better than your party nonsense. Everyone knows that US and its allies have to—and long ago should have—pulled out of Iraq but talk about how best to do this invariably seems to degenerate into throwing around a politcal football.
Obama pulled off an incredible feat of getting a large chunk of his funds from ordinary citizens but he did not escape getting a massive amount of money from special interest groups of various kinds. Go figure.
I know McCain tried valiantly to institute some degree of campaign finance reform but the system is so wrecked that Maani is right when he says: “Ultimately, Obama is no less a product of the “political machine” than any other politician And it is the political machine that needs to be changed but I don’t pretend to know how to do it.

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By Maani, July 10, 2008 at 10:40 am Link to this comment

Outraged:

I am completely flummoxed by your post; I have no idea what you are saying.  Sorry.

Doug and Jersey Girl:

Although I agree with most of your points, please don’t fall into the habit of misapplying and misusing words: “fascist” does not really apply here, and is a word relied on far too often for shock value or to underline a point for which other, more appropriate words, would suffice.

One “cheapens” the power of the word “fascist” when using it willy-nilly.

Peace.

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By Bboy57, July 10, 2008 at 10:39 am Link to this comment

* Obama invited comment on his own Web site, my.barackobama.com. And he replied on the site: “The ability to monitor and track individuals who want to attack the United States is a vital counter-terrorism tool, and I’m persuaded that it is necessary to keep the American people safe. ... Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I’ve chosen to support the current compromise. ...”

Ahh, compromise, the art and deciet of politics, always and in our day.

I’m more worried about us than them!

But it’s all about winning huh. Psshaw. When will the electorate be really represented? Who will protect us from them?!

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By jersey girl, July 10, 2008 at 9:44 am Link to this comment

tony:  I had a reply all ready until I read Doug T’s eloquent one.  Nevermind.

But one thought… it’s not cool to pin your hopes on a man who is willing to cave to the fascists in the name of political expediency when he will be the one weilding that very power when and if he takes office. It’s all about character in the end.  Obama has proven his character is more than a bit weak.

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By Doug Tarnopol, July 10, 2008 at 7:53 am Link to this comment

Hey, Tony:

Obama could have made FISA into a major campaign issue, which it deserves to be, given that it’s a direct attack on the rule of law and the Constitution, both in its retroactive immunity provisions and in its central purpose: to remove what ridiculously minimal judicial review there used to be with FISA. 

He could have called for and actively supported what he clearly stated in his original reaction: filibuster this despicable cave-in. Being the leader of the Democratic party, that might have made some waves.

As for standing up against a spectacularly illegal, unconstitutional, and impeachable offense, well, I don’t consider that “an empty gesture,” as you apparently do.

I understand the cognitive dissonance you’re experiencing: you thought Obama wasn’t lying; you wanted to believe, to clutch hope oh-so-tightly in the face of a rapidly deteriorating republic. It’ll be hard, perhaps impossible, for you to give up the illusion, but I urge you to stand up for what I assume are your true beliefs and not simply fall for the marketing pablum the Obama campaign churns out.

Charismatic leader-worship is the antithesis of democracy; suspending the rule of law for corporations is the definition of fascism. So, at best, Obama is “pragmatically” kowtowing to a little fascism in order to “take real power.” I see; and to what end? Keep clutching to hope: there’s a sucker born every minute.

Best, Dug

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By Tony Wicher, July 10, 2008 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

Also, Obama did vote for an ammendment that would have removed immunity from the telecom companies. It was defeated 2-1, about the same margin by which the bill passed, and he promises to work to remove the immunity provision after November. The bill was going to pass by a substatial margin whether Obama voted for it or not. I’m surprised he voted for it just because it would have made his progressive base happy if he had not, but it would not have changed anything else. Obama is into taking real political power, not making empty gestures.

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By Tony Wicher, July 10, 2008 at 7:08 am Link to this comment

Re by jersey girl, July 10 at 12:38 am #

Tony:  The ACLU is suing over the fisa bill when bush signs it. How’s that make you feel about your shining star obama who voted for it?
——————————————————————————
jg,

I never called him a “shining star” - you did. How does his vote make me feel about him? Not good. Do I still support him? Of course. Is at least 95% of the membership of the ACLU going to vote for him? I’m willing to bet on it.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 10, 2008 at 6:51 am Link to this comment

I guess Ross Perot’s comment about John McCain can now be applied to Barack Obama, “he’s a classic opportunist.” Law professor Jonathan Turley pointed out that the fisa bill is “not a compromise, it is a cave in”. The fix is indeed in. This is proof that when push comes to shove, Senator Obama is going to be the first one at the exit. Instead of standing up for the fourth amendment rights of the citizens, he instead chose to go along with the crimes so clearly in plain view. Is that an example of leadership? So go ahead and tell me that his style is cool, that clothes lay against him comfortably. But please don’t tell me his a man of courage… his fisa vote reveals he is simply an accessory after the fact.

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By Outraged, July 10, 2008 at 2:49 am Link to this comment

Well..this may sound completely bizarre, but just the same..I can’t resist.

This is to you Maani. Seriously Maani, each of us have commented here for a good long time, me longer than you.  And I feel compelled to ask, “Do you write for Carlson Tucker?”  Also, are you ready for that “group hug” yet….?

I want you to know I’m feeling quite dejected…

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By jersey girl, July 10, 2008 at 1:38 am Link to this comment

Tony:  The ACLU is suing over the fisa bill when bush signs it. How’s that make you feel about your shining star obama who voted for it?

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By jersey girl, July 10, 2008 at 1:36 am Link to this comment

cyrena:  Your posts are making you look more and more foolish. Weren’t you the one who wanted proof when I said he reported to the press many times that he intended to vote for the fisa bill?  You kept saying you hadn’t seen any indication of that. LOL

You have no credibility, my dear. Some of us are critical thinkers and some of us are obamatons.  Guess which one you are?

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By Doug Tarnopol, July 9, 2008 at 10:14 pm Link to this comment

Hi, Tony:

It’s political suicide if and only if one assumes that popular will plays much of a role in policy formation. On issue after issue, foreign and domestic, that has proven not to be the case.

As for unprincipled, I agree that Obama has stuck to his principles, which, as reported in his books and speeches, are wholly imperial and American-exceptionalist.

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By Tony Wicher, July 9, 2008 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

Re Doug Tarnopol, July 9 at 8:29 pm

Doug,

Thanks for this link. I’m a lifelong member of the ACLU. I called my congresspeople - all Democrats - at the ACLU’s behest to tell them to vote to put the wiretap law back the way it used to be - only for named individuals with a warrant from a judge. Boxer was the only one of them who voted against the bill. Feinstein and my congressman, Joe Baca, voted for it along with Obama. I regret Obama’s vote on the bill, but I still support him because I want to see a decisive Republican defeat in November. I think that is Obama’s priority now also.

What I wonder if you would tell me is why, if the ACLU is correct that a substantial majority of Americans agree with their position on the FISA bill, you think Obama would reverse a position that is popular with both his liberal base and the majority of Americans. This would apparently make him not only unprincipled but a politically suicidal idiot. Can this be true?

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By Doug Tarnopol, July 9, 2008 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

God, am I sick of elite “liberals” pushing this crap. A large majority of the American public—whether elite or not, liberal or not—is dead set against Obama’s stand. Like, 62%.

Viz., http://www.aclu.org/safefree/general/32189leg20071016.html

If anyone else mentioned this, my apologies. Too busy to read through every comment here.

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By Tony Wicher, July 9, 2008 at 9:04 pm Link to this comment

This is essentially a two-party system. That is the game that is being played. Obama is playing to win.  I want him to crush McCain. I want him to slaughter those Republican pigs. I don’t care how he does it. We’ll talk policy after we clear away the bodies.

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By Maani, July 9, 2008 at 8:26 pm Link to this comment

danieladamsmith:

I want to address four comments you have made.

“So I am guessing you were a Kucinich or a Gravel supporter…What planet are you living on? They didn’t have a chance…”

Since when has our representational democracy (however broken it may be) been predicated on whether a particular candidate has a “chance” of winning?  The question here is whether an individual votes with his/her conscience - even at the risk of the “bad” guy winning - or out of political expediency simply in order to get “the lesser of two evils.”

“You don’t get it do you? There was nothing Obama could do.”

Of COURSE there was!  He could have stuck to his principles - to his claims of being a “different kind of politician” - and truly remained the candidate of “character, integrity and judgment” that he claimed to be over and over - again, even if that meant losing the election.  And again, it comes down to which is ultimately more important: the courage of one’s convictions - and one’s character, integrity and judgment - or political expediency.

“You don’t get it…there is no choice.”

Again, of course there is!  And again, the choice is between one’s conscience and political expediency.

“If you would stop your knee-jerking and whining and realize that you probably agree with Obama on 85% of the issues as opposed to McBush which is what? 0%?”

This may be true (though 85% seems high - and the percentage drops almost daily).  But this does not mean that Obama should not be criticized - roundly and severely - for so radically betraying his supporters and his own conscience, and for backtracking (if not doing a complete 180) on a number of positions he took during the primary campaign.

It is of course true that Obama cannot do ANYTHING, good OR bad, unless he is actually in the Oval Office.  This seems to be your justification for political expediency.  Yet history has shown that political expediency (particularly vis-a-vis the two factions (Dem/Rep) of the transnational corporate party) RARELY IF EVER results in “change” - and certainly NOT the degree of change that Obama promised like a mantra during his primary campaign.

Ultimately, Obama is no less a product of the “political machine” than any other politician (and the Chicago machine is legendary for its pugnacity).  He is an Ivy League graduate trying to rest on “community organizer” credentials.  He is a centrist who used left-leaning positions to all but steal the primary election.  And he is just as prone to lying, dissembling, obfuscation and spin as any other politician.

Cyrena reminds us that “insanity” is “doing the same thing the same way over and over and expecting different results.”  Re his claims of “change,” why on God’s great earth do you think that Obama, as a product of the same system that has created every other politician, is somehow the exception to this rule?

Peace.

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By Elizabeth, July 9, 2008 at 7:18 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The lesser of two evils is still evil and I have finally decided I not going to play that game any more. It is a dilemma because I don’t want to condemn my countrymen to any more of what we have going on now. But really, look at the Democrats!  They keep complaining that they can’t do anything to stop the Republicans, but they won’t even vote to stop closure. It doesn’t take even 50 votes to say no, it only takes 40. I truly don’t know the answer. I like the idea of giving money to Feingold as a statement. I think its going to take the Democrats losing big when they should have won to maybe get some changes going. Maybe I’m too naive.

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By Paul, July 9, 2008 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am confused , so who is running for Mr. Bush third term?

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By cyrena, July 9, 2008 at 6:24 pm Link to this comment

Jersey Girl…

Another example of your hysteria and lack of rationality..


~~~“His vote today for the fisa bill sealed his fate with real progressives….“Now we’re gonna go to war with Iran with his blessing.”~~~~


How do you get from the FISA vote to “Now we’re gonna go to war with Iran with his blessing?”

His ‘blessing’? He’s a senator, not god, and not the president. What’s up with the ‘his blessing’ on the long planned war on Iran?

You’re really full of it Jersey Girl, but then that has been duly noted here on multiple occasions. Full of hate and resentment, and still don’t have anything to provide in it’s place.

Take a chill pill. Check into deep freeze for the next 8 years.

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By Elizabeth, July 9, 2008 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Obama told us he believed in real change and we should also believe that we could change things.  But Obama doesn’t believe.  He doesn’t believe in the rule of law. Apparently its alright to get away with a crime if you have enough political clout.  He doesn’t believe that the American people really want the change we say we do.  So he has to move to the “middle” and pander to the right, just to make sure.  Basically he tells his base that we can’t go anywhere else anyway. Looks like same ‘ol politics to me. I’m voting third party. McKinney, at least, appears to stick to the progressive side. The Democrats keep selling us out as fast as the Republicans.  I figure its going to take three election cycles to get rid of the whole lot of them.

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By Anarcissie, July 9, 2008 at 5:26 pm Link to this comment

Jim Balter: ‘... Thus there is a steady stream of criticism of Obama coming from all across the spectrum…’

I’d say the Left was pretty quiet about Obama up until the recent four-barrel sellout.  Any leftist with a bit of analysis knew that he would turn, but I don’t think many people guessed he would turn in such a sudden, dramatic, in-your-face manner.  I’m wondering what will happen next.  It seems quite possible to me that he has blown the election.  Remember, the slogan was “Change we can believe in.”

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By jersey girl, July 9, 2008 at 4:24 pm Link to this comment

yours truly:  Disgusting dilemma is it not?  Obama is about as far from a progressive as one can get.  His vote today for the fisa bill sealed his fate with real progressives. Now we’re gonna go to war with Iran with his blessing.  How anyone with a conscience could vote for this shill is beyond me.  He has joined the fascists and bowed at the feet of George Bush. 

I can hear the champagne corks poppin now in the white house. The telecom companies and the bush crime family are laughin and dancin their asses off. 

Woohooo.. thanks obama !!

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By yours truly, July 9, 2008 at 3:50 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The problem for progressives is that when a small d Democrat gets elected (ie Jimmy Carter & Bill Clinton) and doesn’t come through for the people, his/her successor is sure to be a Republican.  That’s because the public, disillusioned by small d Democratic unwillingness &/or inability to alter the status quo, give up on the Democrats, toss them out & vote the Republicans back in.  What that means is that if Barack Obama wins and doesn’t turn things around, come 2012 we get eight more years of Bushism from which could be fatal for all living beings.  Which raises the question as to whether in the long run progressives would be better off supporting a 3rd party candidate such as Cynthis McKinney, even if this put John McCain in the White House.  And this presumes that under 4 more years of Republican rule things would deteriorate such that, by popular demand, a progressive would be swept into office in 2012.  Except history tells us (Germany in l932,for example) that a rapidly disintegrating society is just as apt to move towards Fascism.  So what to do?  Oh that Barack Obama were a bonifide progressive & we weren’t caught between a rock & a hard place.

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By danieladamsmith, July 9, 2008 at 3:20 pm Link to this comment

Hey Point Taken J. Girl…..

You gotta do what you gotta do.

I am not thrilled by the FISA choice of Obama…but I still overwhelmingly support him…I will not let a disagreement than can be fixed by President Obama keep me from electing a President McCain…

So I am guessing you were a Kucinich or a Gravel supporter…what planet are you living on? They didn’t have a chance…You know if we all lived in Sweden this would be a very different argument.

WE DON’T….


IF YOU THINK THAT ALL THE OTHER THINGS THAT OBAMA WANTS TO DO AND BELIEVES IN ARE THAT HORRIBLE…

WHAT CAN I SAY…

I certainly won’t waste your time or my time on this subject anymore. You were never going to vote for him anyway so what’s the point….You are set and locked in and there is nothing that will change your mind.

He’s going to win anyway…and we’ll do everything we can to make your life better…whether you like him or not…

alright peace…and out!!!!

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By Jim C, July 9, 2008 at 3:12 pm Link to this comment

Tony Wicher , I agree . Though I must say I understand Jersy girl and others suspicions and I probably agree with them more than not . Where we have differences is I believe what is happening is somewhat more simple and basic than the all encompassing conspiracy they invision . I believe this is the same old conservative psudo calvinistic crap that the wealthy , well born and corporate enities have been trying to move forward for over a hundred years . What conservatives like the bush family and their ilk believe is that they are simply born better than the commoners . That those who have wealth and privilage by birth or by other means are products of predestination . To them the very idea of a middle class that wants to share the wealth , not to mention have a say in how their betters ( the upper class ) treats them ( the serfs ) is quite simply an abomination . Much less that the unwashed mass’s would have the ability to put limits and rules on their superiors , they see this as an intolerable situation . They fancy themselves aristocrats and the would be middle class as uppity serfs that need to be put back in their place . Of course they can’t come out and say this because the serfs most likely wouldn’t agree . So they have to use trickery and diversion to get things back to what they see as a natural order . This battle has been going on ever since we’ve had a middle class . Fascism is just that , government is an extention of corporate power and inherited privilage while the lower class’s are to be the worker units , cannon fodder etc , whose purpose is to work for , fight for and otherwise serve their betters . In other words , they want things pretty much as they were in the middle ages . Just check out who conservatives have historically been , they were the colonists who sided with king George , they were the rich midieval landowners , they were the Black knight and Elizabeth Bathory , they were the rulers . You see , I don’t neccessarly dismiss individuals and groups such as the Bilderburgs etc . I simply see them as just another wart on a very ugly frog , not the frog itself .

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By jersey girl, July 9, 2008 at 3:02 pm Link to this comment

Jim Balter:  You’re the sucker.  Obama’s pandering to the right wing, aipac and treading once again on the constitution (first time was his vote to renew the patriot act) has turned many democrats against him.  You can’t blame that on the repiglicans. 

It’s become more than obvious now where obama stands on the issues.  Those of us who had previously looked behind the scenes at who runs his show knew it all along.  The rest of you were too busy screaming yes we can like a bunch of crazy cultists.

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By jersey girl, July 9, 2008 at 2:55 pm Link to this comment

daniel:  I am no mcinsane nor hillary supporter.  I prefer character and honesty in the man I support for president. Obviously neither matters to you as long as there is a D next to his name. My candidate was marginalized by the power elite, the dem party and the msm who don’t want a true man of the people in the white house.  It wouldn’t suit their corporate agenda.  A man people like you wouldn’t vote for because you thought he was “unelectable”.  Now my vote will go to either Nader or McKinney and proudly so. 

So go ahead and vote for your corporate, war mongering, pandering candidate.  But don’t be surprised when the only change you see are the pennies left in your pocket when he’s elected.

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By danieladamsmith, July 9, 2008 at 2:46 pm Link to this comment

Go right ahead and vote for McCain…you were going to do that anyway right? Or were you a bitter Hillary Supporter?
You don’t get it do you?
THere was nothing Obama could do…it was going to pass anyway. PResident Obama can do something about that…Sen. OBama can’t…when President McCain is in office…which is what you want I guess…good for you…don’t forget to pick your nose up off the ground…you face is really ashamed and sorry…

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By jersey girl, July 9, 2008 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

daniel:  Explain to me how a constitutional lawyer who supposedly respects THE CONSTITUTION can vote for that fisa compromise?????  Are you gonna say political expediency? Maybe that’s the answer or maybe that’s how he truly feels about it. But, he’s sounding more and more like Bush and his clone McInsane every single day.

  Sorry, I’m voting for someone who I believe in, not someone I’m expected to vote for just because people like you tell me I should.

What arrogance to deride others because they have seen through obama’s little shell game all along. Feeling a little buyers remorse are you?

It’s up to the candidates to make their case to the people.  If they don’t, they lose.  If McCain wins, there is no one to blame but Obama for his pandering to the right and totally ignoring his base.

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By Jim Balter, July 9, 2008 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

People are being played by the Republicans, who inject their dishonest talking points into the media, and those talking points are then taken up by the ignorant populace. The narrative they are successfully pushing is that the election is a referendum on Obama. Thus there is a steady stream of criticism of Obama coming from all across the spectrum (and we haven’t seen anything yet; wait for the vicious swiftboating after summer), while McCain—consistently among the 10 most conservative Senators throughout his career—coasts by, unexamined, and even inflated, with all the phony talk of him being a “straight shooter”, a “war hero”, and a “moderate Republican”.

Suckers.

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By danieladamsmith, July 9, 2008 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

Scott,

I love the clever use of Obama with Same…the problem is that sounds like OSAMA…I thought that was a GOP trick to compare someone to a terrorist…

I guess even some liberals have no shame….although I think you are a troll republican…

If not and it is just mistake to compare him to OBL…cool. all is forgiven. If not…then you sir have absolutely no shame.

Vote or don’t vote or vote for Nadar or Barr…or McCain…just don’t pretend you want anything to really change….

I just wonder how President McGovern and President Kucinich did with all that progressive legislation they put in…

YOU DON’T GET IT..>THERE IS NO CHOICE. IT’S OBAMA OR 4 MORE YEARS OF WHAT WE HAVE HAD THE LAST 8. You guys seem to forget who the real problem is…

BARACK OBAMA has not changed. For all of who think he has…read his books. He has always been a different person that while overwhelmingly liberal has some conservative views on certain subjects…oh and he believes in GOD. So what. I’m an Atheist, but I am still voting for him.

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By danieladamsmith, July 9, 2008 at 1:58 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for letting me know. I didn’t realize Obama is a Republican…

Healthcare, the War, the Economy,Habeas rights, yeah you are right. I might as well vote for McCain…

He is a much better choice.

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By Anarcissie, July 9, 2008 at 1:51 pm Link to this comment

scottk: “... Leftists attempted to impose themselves on an electoral campaign where they were not wanted….”

Oh, they were wanted for a while—long enough to make Obama seem cool and edgy, thus differentiating him from stodgy old Clinton.  Since his beliefs, policies and plans would not.  So I think they were wanted briefly.  And I think as the campaign grinds on, they may be missed.

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By danieladamsmith, July 9, 2008 at 1:40 pm Link to this comment

Yeah….voting for Nadar…that’s a great idea. How did that work out for the last 8 years?

Those of you fools who think that Barack Obama has suddenly turned into George Bush are just full of poppycock….

I can see you are really thinking with your brains. This is why Democrats and Liberals always muck everything up….it’s never good enough or progressive enough….You don’t seem to understand. It doesn’t matter how progressive you are as a candidate…you cannot do anything unless you win. Lincoln, FDR, LBJ…they all knew this.

I agree. President Kucinich did a great job….so did President Feingold….


I guess that’s just what you cry babies want. Another excuse as to why AMERICA never works for you. You are contrarians…you just want to be in the position to bitch..I’m an American living in Austria…yeah…the medical care is great…but there are a ton of things that you would flip out over and complain about as being unconstitutional. America is not nearly as bad you think it is and if you want it to get better…go right ahead and not vote for Obama…or better yet…donate to the GOP…that will make your lives better…

If you would stop your knee-jerking and whining and realize that you probably agree with Obama on 85% of the issues as opposed to McBush which is what? 0%?

Who do you want to be President? I can tell you this…I wish I would have voted for Gore instead of Nader…I have regretted that for a long…..long…..time….

God…Liberals will always snatch defeat from the jaws of victory…You would have never voted for FDR OR LBJ…..YOU ARE WAITING FOR SUPERPROGRESSIVE PERSON the Hero that will never come…..

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By jersey girl, July 9, 2008 at 12:13 pm Link to this comment

PS:  I’m glad the donations are going to Feingold instead of Obama.  Feingold has earned them smile

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By jersey girl, July 9, 2008 at 11:40 am Link to this comment

ron hansing:  welcome !  you have joined the revolution and are a real progressive smile

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By jersey girl, July 9, 2008 at 11:39 am Link to this comment

outraged:  “I agree, let the money go to those who protect the interests of America’s citizenry and take their position seriously. “

I concur. That’s why I’m sending money to Nader and the green party.

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By Outraged, July 9, 2008 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

An interesting turn of events in the FISA situation, from Bob Ostertag at the Huffington Post:

“Last night I posted a blog suggesting that Obama supporters who are angry about his about-face on the upcoming FISA legislation should take the money they would have given Obama this month and give it instead to Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), who is carrying on the fight that Obama walked away from. Apparently the idea struck a chord. The Feingold campaign told me at midday that money was pouring in. Campaign manager George Aldrich was reluctant to give out precise numbers, but reported that the morning’s donations were “not a little blip but a massive spike” up from the norm.

That’s a big chunk of change that should have gone to Obama. Predictably, this infuriated many Obama supporters, but those of us who redirected our donations to Fiengold are Obama supporters too. My interest is not to derail Obama’s campaign from within, but to keep a place at the table for his activist base now that the chairs are being reshuffled to accommodate the heavy hitters of national American politics. This is the point in presidential campaigns where activists usually get sent to the kitchen to eat with the staff. But maybe with this new tool we have in the Internet, we can hold on to our seat in the dining room.

Sending money to Feingold instead of Obama the week of the FISA vote is a reasonable and powerful step to take.”

>I agree, let the money go to those who protect the interests of America’s citizenry and take their position seriously.  Good for Feingold, he’s a good senator

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By AT, July 9, 2008 at 10:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

O’bama just had his first plane trouble. What’s next?

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By ron hansing, July 9, 2008 at 10:26 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I just ordered my Ralph Nader bumber stickers and two yard signs.

I’m a late comer to the third party mantra, but at least i finally committed.

Congress has betrayed the covenant with the people.

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By thebeerdoctor, July 9, 2008 at 8:03 am Link to this comment

As if winning is what this is all about. There are people all over this planet who are fighting for their rights in much more difficult circumstances than here. Yet people in this country are so fearful of the military, the police, the Israel lobby, that they will squash down their own sense of humanity, in order to win an election.
Let’s go through this one more time:
1. Senator McCain wants to increase military spending. Senator Obama wants to increase military spending.
2. Senator McCain wants more troops. Senator Obama wants more troops.
3. Senator McCain pledges to protect Israel. Senator Obama pledges to protect Israel.
4. Senator McCain wants you to give money to further his noble cause. Senator Obama wants you to give money to further his noble cause.
5. Both candidates claim they love this country and God. Charges of elitism are bandied about, while both candidates are members of a very exclusive club, it is called the United States Senate.

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By Drpuck, July 9, 2008 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Boyarsky: “Nor do I care about the left and its love of glorious defeat.”

Okay. But, isn’t ‘love of glorious defeat’ overheated? It probably doesn’t actually describe anybody. (Unless you have the social science data that can back up this characterization.) Anyway…over-generalized ad hominem toss offs aren’t very convincing to this reader. Bill, you’re a bigger, smarter guy than that, right?

The idea that the tools which vouchsafe national security should trump or overturn the law of the Constitution is a debate worth having without the debate sinking immediately from having tons of mendacities carted on-board.

Did the Bush administration sneak in Total information Awareness using a piecemeal approach?  Can the surveillance state can now peer at whatever they please, while the public servants who work for the American people keep their lips zipped?

Should anybody be concerned about this? Is this really a left/right issue? Isn’t the track record of surveillance in democracies not very good?

What say you Bill Boyarsky about legitimate concerns about the core rights enshrined in the Constitution?

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By Anarcissie, July 9, 2008 at 6:47 am Link to this comment

I am kind of surprised that people are pulling their hair out over Obama’s supposed move to the center, i.e. his overt submission to the ruling class and the established order and its project of world domination, war, imperialism and repression.  Outside of the rhetorical flourishes, there was never any substantial difference between his positions and those of his rightist competitor Clinton.  When I told a few Obama supporters I thought they were hyperventilating, I was told I didn’t believe in “hope”.  Well, I don’t.  Hope is for the hopeless.

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By Ed Harges, July 9, 2008 at 5:15 am Link to this comment

Obama’s abject groveling to Israel at the June AIPAC conference was almost as remarkable as the fact that our media continue to hide the true nature and power of AIPAC from us.

I don’t know if it’s a “conspiracy” or just a remarkable example of the “group-think” phenomenon. But whatever it is, it’s real: our major corporate media (and even much of the “progressive” media) cooperate in keeping the public ignorant of AIPAC’s enormous power to control our policies for the benefit of a foreign state. Thus, AIPAC is able to hide in plain sight.

Philip Weiss reports:

“This was my first AIPAC conference, and the first surprise was how blatant the business of wielding influence is. The conference makes no bones about this function, the most savage expression of which is the Tuesday dinner at which AIPAC performs its “roll call,” where the names of all the politicians who have come to the conference are read off from the stage by three barkers in near auctioneer fashion. The pols try to outdo one another in I-love-Israel encomia. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi surely won the day when she teared up while dangling the dogtags of three Israeli soldiers captured by Hezbollah and Hamas two years ago.

“The second big surprise was that apart from coverage of the headline speakers, the AIPAC conference is a media no man’s land. It would be hard to imagine a more naked exhibition of political power: a convention of 7,000 mostly rich people, with more than half the Congress in attendance, as well as all the major presidential candidates, the prime minister of Israel, the minority leader, the majority leader, and the speaker of the House. Yet there is precious little journalism about the spectacle in full. The reason seems obvious: the press would have to write openly about a forbidden subject, Jewish influence. They would have to take on an unpleasant informative task that they have instead left to two international relations scholars in their 50s—Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer, authors of last year’s book The Israel Lobby.”

http://amconmag.com/2008/2008_06_30/article3.html

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By jersey girl, July 9, 2008 at 4:04 am Link to this comment

Maani:  I do know that. And they have some extremely powerful weapons to use against protesters as well.(eg microwaves to make you disoriented and sick to your stomach)  And dare I say, they won’t hesitate to use them.  It’s so easy for the govt to infiltrate agitators into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators to give the military an excuse to use such weapons.  As you know, that’s their m.o. all over the world.

I’ve been watching “morning joe” (obviously I’m a masochist) to get a take on what the office of disinfo is spewing forth today.  War with Iran is top on the menu and how it’s gonna be instigated by Israel and finished by the u.s. duh..no surprise.  I am surprised people like Andrea Mitchell are saying this though.  Pat Buchanan of course is adamant Israel is behind it.  Of course Israel is behind it and Obama is behind Israel. 

Has Obama mentioned this?  If so, what has he said in relation to the upcoming attack?  I think I hear crickets.  Anyone?  Anyone?

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By troublesum, July 9, 2008 at 3:16 am Link to this comment

Boyarsky asks us to believe that Obama is in company with Roosevelt because FDR dumped those to the left of him also.  Those to the immediate left of Roosevelt were Marxists and other socialist groups.  Today they are not even on the playing field politically.  Marxism was very much a part of American politics in the 1930’s.  Lyndon Johnson once said, “Anyone who wasnt a Marxist in the ‘30’s was either rich or stupid.”  Obama and McCain represent the apotheosis of capitalism.  To speak of left, right and center really has lost all meaning.

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By danieladamsmith, July 9, 2008 at 12:19 am Link to this comment

I know a lot of people have their favorite Progressive Presidents e.g. Lincoln, FDR, LBJ….and others.

My Favorite Progressive Presidents are Adlai Stevenson, George McGovern, and Dennis Kucinich. I think they all did a great job for our country and were and are willing to stand for a progressive agenda and push through a lot of legislation that really changed our lives.

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By cyrena, July 8, 2008 at 11:48 pm Link to this comment

re: By CJ, July 8 at 9:05 pm #

“..Problem is that anarchy that in fact prevails is accidental, product of ignorance, not in the least organized by or with intent. As such, prevailing anarchy is preservative of economic status-quo, and without any clear idea as to the nature of social being, which is not a matter of faith but a fact of biological life… Pols play roles assigned them by us. Absolutely what pols decide make differences in real life, but only because we—in our disdain born of ignorance—allow them poetic license in playing assigned roles, while we otherwise regard them only as aforementioned obstacles.

CJ…great piece here. All true, including the unique nature of the US brazenly empirical reach. I would only remind that as a nation, we are of course quite young, and so that never-before-attempted empiric reach does have a some origins in the European mind set. Considering that history, the same here might simply be the extension of it..continued from the 18th Century, long after others decided to give it up.

(well, at least Rome figured it out, but not until after the fall). We seem quite determined to continue that path..and are apparently on the last lap.

It’s very insightful about the anarchy being accidental…at least the current so-called anarchy. In other words, all of the whiners from the left that don’t seem capable of recognizing reality.

That said, it’s the same with a teacher…or at least a good one. They can’t teach any faster than the students can absorb the information. Unless the teacher can fit him/herself to the pace of the students, it’s all a waste.

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By Ostrogoth, July 8, 2008 at 10:51 pm Link to this comment

“Eight years of Obama will give us universal health care, an end to the Iraq fiasco, tax breaks for the working stiff at the expense of the ultra-rich, re-entry into the world community and maybe even reinstallation as a place others look to with envy and respect.”

By JimBob, July 8 at 7:24 pm #
______________

You’re deluding yourself. The day after he got enough delegates for the presidential nomination he betrayed his country by pledging allegiance to Israel, no friend of ours. So is he running for president of the US, or of Israel? In case you haven’t noticed, the Israel Lobby is bribing our Congressmen right now to pass HR 362, authorizing Bush to impose a naval blockade on Iran. A naval blockade of Iran, in defense of Israeli apartheid, means regional war in the ME.

Obama remains mute on HR 362 and war with Iran, unless it’s to promise support for whatever insanity the Zionists decide to provoke.

Americans can’t distinguish leadership from expedient pandering—and treason. Harsh words, I know, but that’s what we’ve come to.

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By CJ, July 8, 2008 at 10:05 pm Link to this comment

Boyarksy is all too correct, of course, far as he goes, which isn’t far enough. “Cruel” and “disappointing,” certainly obviously. How about, “tragic,” which is more apt? Or “tragicomic,” which is yet more apt?

Obama CANNOT (operable term) be different from liberal predecessors who for the last half century have all had to shift to starboard in hopes of being elected. We got the same line from Clintons, and Carter before him, and Johnson and Kennedy before him. Forgetting about Truman, who’s not worth talking about, FDR was last to have to move a little to port. So, what’s new? Given Obama’s flip-flops in reality, it’s hard to tell about how closely he holds slightly liberal-left (Move-On-ist) principles. But then that’s true of every pol out to get him- or herself elected, including McCain, who’s spent a couple years trying to appeal extremist right-wing base and so-called “independents,” who are fence-sitters evidently incapable of making a decision.

It’s not about pols; it’s only about polity/electorate.

Politics in America has become anarchism by accident. Electoral process over the last half century has become theater—tragicomedy brought to us by big media. In real life, we go about daily life as though government doesn’t exist, or worse (pending anarchism by informed intent) only as obstacle in the way of achieving individualistic objectives.Thus, buying of votes disguised as promised tax-cuts.

There is no notion of society in America beyond vagaries defined as communities of (blind) faith—from religious to capitalist free-market. Both are faith-based, both utopian.

As it’s turned out, Libertarian Party is most representative of average American’s attitude toward politics/government than any other political party. Libertarian Party founders—rather brilliantly—thought to make a virtue of extent vice—to the extent the party’s platform amounts to an epistemology founded (ironically, to say the least) in ignorance of knowledge.

Problem is that anarchy that in fact prevails is accidental, product of ignorance, not in the least organized by or with intent. As such, prevailing anarchy is preservative of economic status-quo, and without any clear idea as to the nature of social being, which is not a matter of faith but a fact of biological life.

Not life imitating art (the latter long ago impossibly hopelessly co-opted), but life AS (co-opted) art, nothing to do with economic reality. Pols play roles assigned them by us. Absolutely what pols decide make differences in real life, but only because we—in our disdain born of ignorance—allow them poetic license in playing assigned roles, while we otherwise regard them only as aforementioned obstacles.

Only citizens of an empire on the verge of self-destruction—thanks as always before to overreaching—could allow what’s happened to happen. America is historically uniquely bizarre in direct proportion to never-before-attempted empiric reach.

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By Tony Wicher, July 8, 2008 at 9:44 pm Link to this comment

Re Jim C, July 8 at 3:25 pm #

Hey, you sound quite sane to me on these subjects. Yes, I am also incredulous of the official government account of 9/11 and strongly suspect it was an inside job and the start of a plan for complete fascist takeover. Those who perpetrated this act have not given up and there is a really good chance they will engineer another incident soon. They may also assassinate Obama if he appears to be allowing the truth to come out. However, I don’t claim to “know” this, and I really can’t claim to unless and until there is a full, open government investigation that does not stop anywhere on the pretext of “national security” leading to trial and conviction of those responsible in a court of law.

On the other hand, I agree with you about the “Bilderburgers”. They are just like the
“Trilateral Commission” the John Birchers were so goofy about back in the 50’s and 60’s, or the Bohemian Grove, or the Illuminati, or the Masons. Here I think we’re talking about social clubs of the rich and powerful. Sometimes they talk business and make deals. They also have what they consider to be fun - such as performing strange rituals and ceremonies, or dressing funny, or wearing funny hats. Nixon called the Bohemian Grove “the faggiest thing you could possibly imagine”. What’s the big deal?

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By Tony Wicher, July 8, 2008 at 9:05 pm Link to this comment

JimBob,

I appreciate a bit of refreshing optimism among all these nattering nabobs of negativism! Yes, if all goes as well as can rationally be hoped, an Obama administration could accomplish all those things. It is still possible to turn the country around, and I don’t see anybody around but Barack Hussein Obama in a position to accomplish the feat.

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By bc41, July 8, 2008 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment

Why do we need the court supervised surveillance?  Because some partisans that work in that governmental body might cruise on over to the opposite party’s phone line, see what Barrack is planning.  If Barrack plans to watch the surveillance, he might want to know what the Bush’s or the Clinton’s are up to, dig up some dirt.  Nixon eavesdropped on the Democratic National Headquarters, forgotten news.  The law says, according to one source, that a judge will review such activity once a year.

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/07/06/MNFJ11IQ46.DTL&hw=surveillance+ruling&sn=001&sc=1000

I personally didn’t have much faith in the civil court going after phone companies—why they falsely yielded to governmental request—because it is analogous to going after an adult passenger whom rides in a car driven by a drunk driver, driver being the government.  The drunk is parsing the passenger’s legality with all formality and language slur, makes for great approval ratings yes?

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By bg1, July 8, 2008 at 8:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There’s still time to leave this guy (Obama) at the alter. He has shown even his core supporters (the party activists) what he really thinks of them. He has shown himself to be a duplicitous liar. Because the delegate count is so close, it wouldn’t take a very large shift to throw the nomination to Clinton or someone else. At the very least, as a matter of principle, a floor vote should be called.

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By JimBob, July 8, 2008 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

My Dog, are some people greedy or what?  Obama is the best thing since sliced bread, and they’re complaining that he isn’t frickin’ Che Guevara!  This man is intelligent, articulate, humane, energetic and, above all, sane.  And when he’s president, he’s going to be president of everybody, including those who don’t agree with us.  So what’s wrong with him working on their behalf, too?  Eight years of Obama will give us universal health care, an end to the Iraq fiasco, tax breaks for the working stiff at the expense of the ultra-rich, re-entry into the world community and maybe even reinstallation as a place others look to with envy and respect.  All this could happen, and there isn’t anyone else remotely as well suited to make it happen than Barack H. Obama—and still, some people just gotta bitch because he isn’t promising to break up every corporation in sight and disband the military.  Fie!

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By Maani, July 8, 2008 at 8:08 pm Link to this comment

Jersey Girl:

In response to Jim’s comment, you say “BTW, those camps ARE real. Halliburton is building them.. need I say more?”

Are you also aware that Blackwater has a contract with the U.S. government to “assist” the National Guard during “national crises or emergencies?”  In other words, a private security firm has been hired by the U.S. government to assist in imposing martial law!  And since the Bush administration completely eviscerated the Posse Comitatus Act - making it possible for a sitting president to UNILATERALLY declare martial law (it used to require Congressional approval) - when you put that together with Blackwater and Halliburton - and then add in the almost certain passage of the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Act (which would make certain speech and writing “treasonous”) - anyone who dissents from government policy during a 9/11-like “terrorist” attack (which may be in the offing just before or after the elections…) may be in for a really rough ride…

Peace.

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By Tony Wicher, July 8, 2008 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment

Re TomR, July 8 at 3:42 pm #

“It is irresponsible to generalize and characterize progressive values/positions (that even conservatives hold) as Left-wing fringe stuff.”
——————————————————————————
TomR,

Since I myself have deeply held progressive values and positions, I would hardly call my own views “left-wing fringe stuff”. But I would say that if a “progressive” is one who is trying to move society forward, then a progressive’s own position is almost by definition “ahead” of wherever society is at present. We are pulling society forward, and by “forward” I mean toward that which is more peaceful, more democratic and more civilized. So therefore, as I see it, as progressives we are doomed to be perpetually in the minority, always trying to move a reluctant society forward.

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By jersey girl, July 8, 2008 at 6:26 pm Link to this comment

Jim: Or perhaps a tall dark haired girl smile

BTW, those camps ARE real. Halliburton is building them.. need I say more?

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By Ostrogoth, July 8, 2008 at 6:07 pm Link to this comment

“But after those wondrous primary days, they are furious over Sen. Barack Obama’s understandable effort to reach out to an electorate that is, and long has been, planted firmly in the middle of the road.”

“Obama’s conduct is not disappointing. It’s the right thing to do. “I cannot go any faster than the people will let me go,” said FDR.”
______________

Boyarsky knows that whoever defines the terms, controls the debate.

According to Boyarsky, “middle of the road” must mean: less health care, more wars for Israel/AIPAC, more deficits and crushing taxes on our middle class to pay for said wars, more illegal surveillance of our citizens, less habeas corpus, less (or zip) due process, more media concentration, etc., etc. In functioning democracies, such as most European countries, such positions would be considered radical-right, not middle of the road.

Selling out your country to the spies and subversives at AIPAC is now the “right thing to do”? In how many other countries is swearing eternal allegiance to an enemy nation a requirement to become Head of State?

Boyarksy thinks that Obama is reaching out to the electorate and they’re the ones who won’t let him go any faster. Replace the word “electorate” with “fascists” in that sentence and it makes more sense.

How much ground is the left willing to give up to win? Is treason now OK, if that’s what it takes to become president?

If Obama is reaching out to the electorate, it’s to stab us in the back.

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By erich, July 8, 2008 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Senator Obama is proving himself to be a candidate who happens to pack along a complicated world view.  This is a good thing. This idea that one will be ‘outside’ of that ’system’ because it is not near being perfect enough for you is puritanism, and overly simplistic in the sense that it does not actually confront or negotiate with what is wrong. Not negotiating with one’s adversaries (with those we disagree with), pretending that one can have it all their way, seems in step with the Bush administration. Instead of being worried about the correct solution (the prefixed liberal or conservative solutions) or wanting to win the game (Karl Rove knows how to win the game), let us leftists realize that the process is significant.  Obama has taken the position (far from being naïve) of being the true grown-up—the one who engages in a discussion with others he disagrees with and negotiates.

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By TomR, July 8, 2008 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

——
Even when a liberal successfully executes the delicate dance toward the dominant moderate voters, as Bill Clinton did, he is never quite forgiven. The unforgiving attitude was extended to his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton.

Smart Democrats understand that this is the only way to win.
——

Bill Boyarsky is completely wrong.  To understand why, read the latest from his Berkeley colleague:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/george-lakoff/the-mind-and-the-obama-ma_b_111105.html

It is irresponsible to generalize and characterize progressive values/positions (that even conservatives hold) as Left-wing fringe stuff.  Read Glenn Greenwald for more:

http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/07/07/leftist_fringe/index.html

And here:

http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=2985

- Tom

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By Jim C, July 8, 2008 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

Jersey girl , I mentioned that I have seen lots of various information on the subjects mentioned . I simply don’t come to the same conclusions . I am quite concerned about corporate power and what I decern as a drift toward fascism . As I’m sure you’re aware our wonderful corporate power structure attempted a military takeover in 1935 with the goal of installing a fascist government . Yes , I’ve seen the pnac and was amazed that it didn’t cause more of an uproar as it layed out exactly what these criminals were up to . There’s reams of information that show that this bunch was up to no good from the beginning . The memos released by the British government , the ” browning street memos ” I believe . Then there’s the minor point that this domestic spying program was started almost as soon as bush slithered into office , a point that is consistantly ignored in this dishonest kubuki dance . Believe me , I’m plenty concerned about many things going on at present , it’s just that the Bilderburgs or whether bush worships satan aren’t on the list . I also disagree with you about Alex Jones , I think he’s simply milking paranoia , a charlaton if you will . I reinterate , I have watched several of his offerings , read materal that was supposed to be eye opening and found them to be slick , but quite dishonest and misleading , fun , but easily taken apart . I have many questions about 911 , NORAD is one , flight 93 is a big puzzle , where’s the plane , where’s the bodies , luggage , engines . How did it leave that little hole with no wreakage , no nothing . I’ve never heard of a plane crash that didn’t more traces than that , and no bodies ? Why did they find parts of it ten miles away and on and on . Hell , they found more wreakage from the space shuttle and it disinigrated at forty thousand miles an hour at more than fifty miles high , plus they recovered all the bodies , seems odd , I’m sure you’d agree . I’m sure we’d agree on many things , just not the Bilderburgs etc . I’ll tell you what though , if we wind up in those camps , watch for me . I’ll be the tall dark haired guy with another tall dark haired guy who’ll be telling me ” see I told you so ” .

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By PaulRevere, July 8, 2008 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

AmeriKKKa,

please don’t ever lecture the rest of the world about democracy ever again…

your obama who so many, even beyond your borders, were placing hopes in is no different from bush mc cain or lieberman, another neocon nazi…

I mean now he’s for:

Staying in Iraq
attacking Iran
faith based BS
amnesty for criminal telecoms
being blindly the vassal of aipac and israel

he’s against:

abortion (late term as a first step)
the US Constitution (VI and other amendments)


I mean C’mon, when are you people gonna see your stinking country and political system are rigged and do something about it…

What would a patriot do?

What would Jefferson, and all the Founding Fathers do?

let me give you a clue…


“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.” -Thomas Jefferson


“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”
—John F. Kennedy

“To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the SUPREME INTERNATIONAL CRIME differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” - Justice Robert H. Jackson, Nuremburg Trials 1946.


‘In a time of universal deceit - telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” .. G. Orwell

 


“Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities” Voltaire..

 


“It is the duty of the patriot to protect his country from its government.”—Thomas Paine

 


“Individuals have international duties
which transcend the national obligations
of obedience . . . Therefore individual
citizens have the duty to violate domestic
laws to prevent crimes against peace and
humanity from occurring”
Nuremberg War Crime Tribunal (1950).

 


“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”—Edmund Burke

 


“No one man can terrorize a whole nation unless we are all his accomplices.”
- Edward R. Murrow

 

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” ~ Aldous Huxley

 

“He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future.”—- George Orwell, 1984

Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. —Oscar Wilde

“If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered. The issuing power should be taken from the banks and restored to the people, to whom it properly belongs.”

      – Thomas Jefferson, Letter to Treasury Secretary Albert Gallatin (1802)

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By SERE GUY, July 8, 2008 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

Don’t worry my liberal friends, he’ll go back on everything he’s saying.  He’ll surrender in Iraq, socialize medicine, raise your taxes, grant amnesty to all illegal’s, destroy the military. Just to name a few. He’s just pandering to the middle, have no fear, all the government cheese you can carry.  For those who get it, no explanation is necessary , for those who don’t, know explanation is possible. Don’t bother writing back, I don’t care what you think.

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By troublesum, July 8, 2008 at 3:13 pm Link to this comment

If we are going to have a centrist for president we may as well have one who has been there for his whole career not someone who moved there on June 15th.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, July 8, 2008 at 3:11 pm Link to this comment

Jersey girl, that is why politics must move beyond the left right paradigm and start to consider decisions based upon what is best for humanity. To advocate peace and justice is not some fashionable position in the political parlor game. This is the “permanently maladjusted” condition that Martin Luther King Jr. spoke of. Truly that is the “fierce urgency of now” that Senator Obama has misappropriated. Consider Cindy Sheehan, who now wants to challenge Nancy Pelosi… she does worry if it offends democrats or republicans, she simply knows that this continual insanity has to stop.
Peace and blessings to you, The Beer Doctor.

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By Maani, July 8, 2008 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

Jim C:

“After all, if the current president, all of the candidates, all of the corporations and all of the governments of the world are already under control of the Bilderburgs which seems to be the story line, wouldn’t this be an esoteric discussion anyway?”

Sadly, yes; in many ways ANY conversation about politics is simply “spinning wheels.”  But even the “shadow government” knows that it needs to give SOME “leeway” vis-a-vis “the people,” or more people WOULD see the degree to which they control things.  So, within the context of the control they wield, there is at least a LITTLE “wiggle room” for boh politicians and the people.

Jersey Girl:

You are quite welcome for the encouragement.  We “conspiracy nuts” have to stick together, you know…LOL.

Re the SC decision on the Second Amendment, I was one of those who supported it, but solely for the reason you give: although the primary thinking behind the right to bear arms was for the protection protection OF the “state” (and country), the secondary reason was protection FROM the state (and country), should it move toward the type of “monarchy” (or similar authoritarian goverment) that the founders so despised.  Good call.

Thanks also for bringing up the infamous PNAC document, “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.”  Here is the link to the document.  For those who are unaware, this is the document that includes the realization that “the process of transformation” to the neocon political-military agenda, “is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event - like a new Pearl Harbor.”  (P. 51)Note that those words were written almost one year TO THE DAY prior to the 9/11 attacks:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/pdf/RebuildingAmericasDefenses.pdf

Peace.

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By jersey girl, July 8, 2008 at 2:52 pm Link to this comment

Right on beerdoctor!  But if Obama continues to turn a deaf ear to his progressive base and pander to the reps, he will just be carrying on the tradition of the democratic congress for more than the past 8 years.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, July 8, 2008 at 2:48 pm Link to this comment

Ed Harges has nailed this whole sorry affair. This is for all those who are Obama supporters: make your candidate understand that he is totally screwing up by capitulating to the forces that put this country in extreme jeopardy. Tell him, you who give him money, that pretending to be a peace candidate is not good enough. Tell him that rhetorical double talk will not cut it. Tell him that sucking up money from the internet like a television evangelist, is not an example of a “new kind of politics”. You who still fervently believe in his candidacy, it is really up to you to inform your beloved candidate.

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By jersey girl, July 8, 2008 at 2:16 pm Link to this comment

Jim C:  Perhaps you should, as I suggested before, do your own research.  That’s something Alex Jones always tells his listeners “don’t believe me, look it up and do your own research”.  He’s not the nutcase you think he is.  The only thing I disagree with him about now is global warming.  (I do however, agree with him that there should not be a carbon tax imposed on the citizens.)

Now I even agree with him on the gun issue.  With a fascist govt like this in command, I think every citizen should have the right to bear arms.  It may be all we have left to defend ourselves from a totalitarian takeover, if the revolution ever does materialize.  The first thing the police did after Katrina was to confiscate homeowners guns.  And this from upper middle class neighborhoods. 

9/11 was most assuredly an inside job.  I knew something was wrong that very morning when no jets were scambled by norad.  How the hell could they allow a plane to hit the pentagon over an hour after the towers were hit?

Have you ever read PNAC?  I believe they took the site down now.  It was up for years and I thought wow, they’re putting it right in front of us.  What arrogance.  If you haven’t i saved the document to my hardrive.  I’d be happy to send it to you smile We can turn it around. Knowledge is power.  There are more of us than them !

Maan:  Thanks for the encouragement.  It’s really hard to convince people to look at things objectively when they are terrified of learning the truth.  However, knowledge of what’s really going on is the only way to win back the republic. Apparently, many people prefer not to pay attention to the man behind the curtain.  They’d rather call those of us who have done the research, nutty conspiracy theorists.. ~sigh~

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