Thursday, February 28, 2008

Did John McCain Meet With Shock Jock Bill Cunningham? Plus, Obama's Comments on al-Qaeda Taken Out of Context by McCain.

(Above: Radio Host Bill Cunningham showing his Republican "Family Values.")

By now most of us know about Cincinnati controversial talk show host Bill Cunningham's gutter politics comments in warming up a crowd before John McCain would speak. Cunningham repeatedly emphasized Obama's Muslim middle name and tried to make him sound as if he'd be friends with radical Islamic leaders. Of course this kind of talk is actively mudding up the water that was stirred up with that false viral email going around that said Obama was a radical Muslim, which is obviously playing on people's ignorance and fears of fundamentalist Jihadists.

Well McCain disavowed himself from those comments and apologized but it sounded to me like plausible deniability or the "good cop, bad cop" routine. Cunningham goes out and spews his crap and then McCain plays the good cop role and apologizes. Part of the reason that I have this suspicion is because Cunningham is now saying that the McCain campaign told Cunningham to "throw some red meat" to the crowd to warm them up. Surely the McCain campaign new of the controversial nature of this particular talk show host and keep him off the stage.

However, during the McCain disavowal he claimed that he had never met Cunningham but that is not how Cunningham sees it. "After saying that he'd met McCain twice, Cunningham insisted 'I'm not gonna meet him again.'"

"McCain says he doesn't know me, says he's never met me, can't say my name. I've met the guy twice and had dinner with him," Cunningham said. "Remember me, John?"

Someone isn't telling the truth as to if these two met and I think I believe Cunningham, what does the man have to lose? He can't keep his mouth shut and keep a secret if he wanted to but McCain has a lot to lose if he admitted that they met--twice no less. So yet again, the "Straight Talk Express" seems have become the "Double Talk Express." First it was, he doesn't have lobbyists on his staff and then he does have lobbyists on board. Now it's I never met the guy but then he did.

Obama vs. McCain on al-Qaeda in Iraq:
McCain criticized Obama for saying in Tuesday night's Democratic debate that, after U.S. troops were withdrawn, as president he would act "if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq."

"I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It's called `al-Qaida in Iraq,'" McCain told a crowd in Tyler, Texas, drawing laughter at Obama's expense.

Obama quickly answered back while campaigning in Ohio. "I do know that al-Qaida is in Iraq and that's why I have said we should continue to strike al-Qaida targets," he told a rally at Ohio State University in Columbus.

"But I have some news for John McCain," Obama added. "There was no such thing as al-Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq. ... They took their eye off the people who were responsible for 9/11 and that would be al-Qaida in Afghanistan, that is stronger now than at any time since 2001."

GOI: My take is that John "100 years in Iraq" McCain took Obama's answer out of the context of the question. Hell, by his own admission he didn't even watch the debate!! He was just spoon fed this inaccurate position by his handlers. The question was that if it was seen that al-Qaeda was beginning to take over again after America left, would a President Obama go back in.

Currently al-Qaeda is not so strong in Iraq and so Obama's answer is contingent upon al-Qaeda reforming a base in Iraq upon America leaving the Arab country. In that context Obama's comments saying,"if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq" are very appropriate. John McCain is smart enough to understand the context but he is banking in his cheap shot that many of his supporters had not watched the debate and or don't understand the nuance involved in Obama's comments.

Barack Obama isn't opposing the surge just to be "cool" or whatever. He understands that this war is not sustainable. Perhaps indeed there are signs that the surge it is working but how long can we keep this up while the Iraqis bicker in parliament and languish in a political swap? Obviously we can't keep this up militarily with soldiers going back four and five times but we can't sustain it financially either. In the midst of the financial recession that we face here at home and with all the home foreclosures we simply can't afford throwing more money into that money pit without ruining our economy further. If John McCain can bankroll this war himself then let him keep up the "good fight." The rest of us have bills to pay and families to feed. It is irresponsible for an American president to put the financial and infrastructural well-being of Iraqis before Americans.

The Center for American Progress breaks the financial burden of Iraq down further.

UPDATE: Bush is speaking up for McCain and I say if Dubya wants to be a McCain surrogate then he should keep on speaking. The more he talks about the race the more votes McCain loses.

Oh and Bush is criticizing Barack Obama for wanting to talk with our enemies. These people don't get it that you can't end tensions between the U.S. and other countries by just talking with our friends. Remember Richard Nixon going to China? We meet with the Chinese leaders all the time while trading with them and yet they are a totalitarian regime and have one of the worst human rights records in the world. the McCain/Bush ticket forgets that their great Ronald Reagan met with Gorbachev the Soviet Premier before the break up of the USSR. So meeting with these leaders can achieve success.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Barack Obama on Foreign Policy Issues.

There has been much discussion in this presidential race about what Barack Obama would do and what he understands regarding foreign affairs. So in order to answer those questions I have decided to provide a list of speeches and issues that Obama has put forth in this regard:

First off I want to beat back this idea that Barack would be weak in defending America. This shouldn't even be a concern but here is a statement about this issue from the Senator:

I believe that the single most important job of any President is to protect the American people.

Obama speech on foreign affairs. Committed to Rebuilding and Supporting Military and Disabled Veterans

Obama Speech on WMD

Obama on Israel, Iran and Iraq . Plus, Obama Supports Israel, Says Israeli Newspaper Columnist

Obama on Kosovo Independence

Obama on Terrorism:

Obama on Russia: Obama would be better suited to work with Russia since he isn't shackled by a Cold War mentality that McCain has. Obama is willing to listen to Russia and actually work on some solutions to tensions that have built up under the reckless George W. Bush. Hillary Clinton also views Russia with an outdated mentality of hard line tactics,
“This is the president that looked into the soul of Putin, I could have told him, he was a KGB agent, by definition he doesn’t have a soul, I mean this is a waste of time, right, this is nonsense.” This kind of talk does nothing to bridge the growing divide between the U.S. and Russia. Hillary lacks the tact and judgment that Obama has which would greatly enable him to strengthen trust between Russia and America.

Obama on Pakistan: Barack has faced criticism from Hillary Clinton for taking a hard line on terrorists hiding on the Pakistan-Afghan border because of saying that he would launch missile attacks on targets if Pakistan didn't act on actionable intelligence. Yet President Bill Clinton ordered a missile launch against bin Laden and al-Qaeda within the sovereign country of Afghanistan during his administration so Hillary doesn't have a very strong leg to stand on in criticizing Obama's stance. It is also important to point out that Obama's position to launch a strike on al-Qaeda in Pakistan would be a last resort. I will say though that Barack probably shouldn't have discussed this position out loud during the campaign but it does show that he wouldn't be a push over on terrorism.

On China: Obama favors cracking down on Chinese imports to ensure that they aren't dangerous to our children and animals. He would also lean on China to improve their labor standards and human rights standards. He also would take a hard stance on China's currency manipulation and seek to change the trade imbalance. He would also pressure China to back off support of Sudan given the genocide taking place there. China currently trades with Sudan giving the government more money to buy weapons to continue the slaughter in Darfur.

When I am president, we will wage the war that has to be won, with a comprehensive strategy with five elements: getting out of Iraq and on to the right battlefield in Afghanistan and Pakistan; developing the capabilities and partnerships we need to take out the terrorists and the world’s most deadly weapons; engaging the world to dry up support for terror and extremism; restoring our values; and securing a more resilient homeland.

In general, Obama's website has an excellent, in-depth menu on how he would handle foreign policy.

And of course with his African heritage, Barack would be possibly the best president in regards to Africa relations that we've ever had. He has already visited Africa and seen the issues faced by Africans first hand. Mr. Obama used his unique status to take a HIV/AIDS test in Kenya to show the citizens there that such a test is important to the stability and success of Kenya and Africa as a whole. He offers a unique opportunity to improve relations with countries such as Somalia and Sudan that have been less willing to work with America in regards to defeating and beating back terrorism. His African roots give Obama a unique opportunity to increase America's credibility in those regions. He understands the traditional struggles, he has been a citizen of the world and because of these assets he is in a position to affect some real change on the continent. In specific, Obama visited Sudan and had some tough words for the embroiled country:

The message Obama said he gave Erwa was blunt: "The genocide that has taken place is unacceptable. That we are glad some of the wholesale slaughter has diminished in the last several months and we want to be encouraging of negotiations that are starting to take place between Khartoum [the Sudanese capital] and the rebels but that the status quo of 2-1/2 million people in refugee camps who remain vulnerable to rape, murder, is simply unacceptable.''
I think it is clear that Obama understands the threats that America and our allies face and combined with the advise from very experienced advisors I am confident that he will make the correct and balanced decisions regarding foreign affairs. Barack Obama's keen judgment is a vital asset to assist him in deciding what to do in these regards. One can have much experience but if that person does not have excellent judgment to be able to make the right decisions then that experience means nothing.

Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld had decades of foreign affairs experience and despite that resume they used poor judgment which led to the hasty decision to invade Iraq. I think it is obvious that Obama wouldn't have taken us into that war. As we know, he was right in opposing this war from the beginning which showed wisdom in understanding that part of the world and emphasized his good judgment.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Hillary the Thug. Plus, Obama Moving Up in the Polls in Texas and Nationally.

I have a few more thoughts on Hillary's tirade/meltdown Thursday where she said that Obama should be ashamed of himself for daring to question her record on NAFTA.

Apparently the Obama people and we now famous "delusional" supports didn't get the memo that Hillary is to be the heir apparent to the Democratic party's nomination. I must have missed that letter from the party telling me that I had no choice but to vote for Hillary. The only thing missing was the Bill Clinton finger wagging.

Her shaming of Obama sounded like a parent talking down to a child which is telling of how much she thinks of herself and what she thinks of us lowly peasants. This is the "eat your vegetables" talk. She thinks that she is the, "grown up" the adult in the race and Obama is just some naive, dumb kid. I also think it indirectly is a slap and chastisement of all the new, young voters who are supporting him. So her tactic now is to win by talking down to a whole new generation of Democratic voters? Good luck with that Queen Bitch.

And what was this "enough with the speeches and the big rallies" part of her temper tantrum? Sounds to me like someone is jealous that they are getting the attention instead of her. She must be furious that she isn't embraced by the country and having people bow at her feet as she surely thought would happen. That is what happens when you have a huge ego and assume you are going to win the nomination. I guess she doesn't know the story of the tortoise and the hare. She coasted and was asleep at the wheel when Obama blazed past her and now she can't catch up and is pouting and making scenes. It's undignified and pathetic.

Then came this statement about "meet me in Ohio" referring to the next debate. It was said with such force and vitriol that it sounded as if she was calling him out to a good old fashioned street fight!! She better watch herself, if it's a street fight she wants she might just get beat up pretty good as Obama has a better reach with those long arms.

This whole bullying tactic doesn't make her look very diplomatic or presidential. Is this the kind of display that we will see when world leaders disagree with her? It simply fuels the narrative that she is a mean and nasty person. I'm starting to wonder if she's going to take a baseball bat with her to the Ohio debate. Then just claim victory upon taking a cheap shot in knocking him out with a swing of the bat to the back of his head when he isn't looking. Do Americans really want another thug in the White House who pushes us and the world around because that is exactly what we will get under a President Hillary. This one doesn't and so do my friends and family.

And then she started mocking Obama and his supporters in a speech after her Mommy Dearest like ranting. She mocked Obama's supporters enthusiasm for their candidate and insinuated that we have a messianic complex and are too dumb and in awe of his charisma to think for ourselves. Ironic since she has been the one who ignored the supposed "Starbucks Liberals" who tend to be more educated and support Obama. We're either stupid or highly educated, which one is it Mrs. Clinton? Here's the video:

See, this is the real Hillary. She wants to get real? Well this is the real her, mocking, insulting, sarcastic and acting like a spoiled brat. Isn't she really saying by mocking Obama that she's against hope and change? What if MLK Jr. talked this way about hope? If the early colonists listened to Hillary Clinton they would have never hoped to get out from under the thumb of the oppression of England and fought against the biggest army in the world at the time to gain our independence!! Keep it up Shrillary, this kind of immaturity will only drive more voters to Barack.

NEW POLL NUMBERS OUT OF TEXAS. AS WELL AS A NEW NATIONAL POLL:
-A new CNN poll has Obama pulling ahead in Texas. This current poll has him leading Hillary 50% to 46% whereas last week he was at 48% to her 50%.

-A new national poll has him up 51% to 39%

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Saturday, February 23, 2008

John McCain: Do as I Say, Not as I do. Plus, Hillary Wants it Both Ways on NAFTA and Health Care.

I think that the press (as usual) is missing the crux of the McCain story, that being the lobbyist aspect. I'm not talking necessarily about the female lobbyist but that his campaign is riddled with lobbyists.

Sen. John McCain is defending the private work performed by his campaign staff, many of whom earn healthy livings off the campaign trail as registered federal lobbyists. Although the so-called "maverick" Arizona lawmaker has long fought to minimize the role of special interests in electoral politics, McCain called his senior campaign staff "honorable" for their lobbying work.

"These people have honorable records, and they're honorable people, and I'm proud to have them as part of my team," he declared in Indianapolis, blaming the system and not the individuals who work within it for unduly influencing policy-making.

GOI: This argument doesn't hold water. I don't care if they are honorable people or not, (Which I'm sure is debatable anyway) you're keeping the corrupt system going that you are blaming and supposedly seeking to reform by speaking up for these specific lobbyists!! How is it fair to say that his lobbyists are "o.k." but the rest are crooks? Is he insinuating that he's the arbiter of who is a "good" lobbyist or not? Are we just supposed to "trust" him? I don't think so. In my hazy days of doing drugs I knew several honorable people who just so happened to deal in small quantities of street drugs but that didn't make the illegal drug business any less shady.

And why even have the presence of lobbyists on your plane when a major aspect of your campaign is driving out the special interests from Washington D.C.? If you were trying to convince people that gambling is wrong then hanging out with gamblers doesn't exactly gain people's trust in your message. You can argue all you want that you don't do business with those gamblers but just having them around makes you look shady. If you're against lobbying and are trying to change the system then enabling certain lobbyists within your campaign isn't "honorable."

McCain later went on to say, "The right to represent interests or groups of Americans is a constitutional right. There are people that represent firemen, civil servants, retirees, and those people are legitimate representatives of a variety of interests in America."

Unfortunately for McCain, a review of federal records maintained by the Senate Office of Public Records show that the lobbyists at the top of the senator's campaign and senatorial staffs do not represent fire fighters, civil servants, or retirees, the legitimate causes he identified in his address on Friday.

And why are they instead representing large corporations, including AT&T, Verizon, JP Morgan, Land O'Lakes, Novartis Pharmaceuticals, and Toyota? Does McCain think these interests are on the same plane as fire fighters, civil servants, and retirees?

GOI: Then there is this from his own website, "that too often the special interest lobbyists with the fattest wallets and best access carry the day when issues of public policy are being decided." Well these lobbyists who work on his campaign have pretty close access to a would be president and yet McCain wants us to believe that there is nothing to see there and that we should just all move along? How can he honestly say that these lobbyists within his campaign don't influence him when they are advising him on most likely a daily basis? He's playing us for fools.

As Associated Press writer Liz Sidoti wrote, this do as I say and not as I do lobbying rhetoric is a lot of things but one thing it is not is "straight-talk."

Hillary Wanting it Both Ways:

I'm watching CNN's "Ballot Bowl" program which shows clips from speeches of the various candidates for president and Hillary is losing it. They showed her spitting mad over a couple fliers that the Obama's campaign has been circulating. The first flier speaks of Hillary Clinton's health care plan and that it forces everyone to get health care even if they can not afford it and that Hillary has said she would garnish wages to get them to accept her plan. The fact of the matter is that this is true whether "both ways" Hillary wants to admit it. She has said that she is considering going after people's wages. In other words, she's considering it and therefore hasn't absolutely ruled it out and therefore is a legitimate issue to raise awareness about. Voters should know that garnishing wages is something that Hillary is considering.

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., this morning left open the possibility that, if elected, her government would garnish the wages of people who didn't comply with her health care plan. "We will have an enforcement mechanism, whether it's that or it's some other mechanism through the tax system or automatic enrollments," Clinton said in an appearance on "This Week with George Stephanopoulos".

Clinton went on to say, though, that such mechanisms would not include penalties. "They don't have to pay fines … We want them to have insurance. We want it to be affordable.

GOI: She says that people don't have to pay fines but they might garnish wages? What's the difference? It's pure, typical political semantics, we're back to what the definition of "is" is that was made famous by her husband during the Lewinsky affair. It is splitting microscopic hairs with a laser. In addition, she is criticizing Obama for daring to question her health care plan because he himself doesn't have the same exact plan!! "Just because Senator Obama chose not to present a universal health care plan does not give him the right to criticize me because I did." said Clinton.

In other words she doesn't think that he should be able to disagree because his doesn't share her exact policy views!! And if he doesn't have the right to criticize Obama's plan then she doesn't have the right to criticize his which she has done on numerous occasions!! What makes her so special that she doesn't have to face criticism? If Obama doesn't get to criticize and question her plan then why hold a contest for president at all!! I guess she just wants us to have sympathy for her failing campaign and just hand her the presidency. She's grasping at anything right now and near the end of her tirade said that Obama should be ashamed? She should be the one ashamed of playing everyone for fools. It was just a few nights ago when she ended the debate on a high note saying she has the greatest respect for Senator Obama but then the next day she says that he should be ashamed of himself? Which is the real Hillary, that is the question that has been at the crux on her campaign.

The other flier dealt with Hillary's support of her husband passing NAFTA. Something that she only now criticizes now that she's running for president. Here are some quotes from Senator Clinton about NAFTA:

Hillary Clinton has made statements unequivocally trumpeting NAFTA as the greatest thing since sliced bread. The Buffalo News reports that back in 1998, Clinton attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and thanked praised corporations for mounting "a very effective business effort in the U.S. on behalf of NAFTA." Yes, you read that right: She traveled to Davos to thank corporate interests for their campaign ramming NAFTA through Congress.

On November 1, 1996, United Press International reported that on a trip to Brownsville, Texas, Clinton "touted the president's support for the North American Free Trade Agreement, saying it would reap widespread benefits in the region."

The Associated Press followed up the next day noting that Hillary Clinton touted the fact that "the president would continue to support economic growth in South Texas through initiatives such as the North American Free Trade Agreement."

In her memoir, Clinton wrote, "Senator Dole was genuinely interested in health care reform but wanted to run for president in 1996. He couldn't hand incumbent Bill Clinton any more legislative victories, particularly after Bill's successes on the budget, the Brady bill and NAFTA."

Yes, we are all expected to just forget that, so that Hillary Clinton's campaign can manufacture supposed "outrage" that anyone would say she supported NAFTA - all at a time her chief strategist, Mark Penn, simultaneously heads a firm that is right now pushing to expand NAFTA into South America.

And:

"I think, on balance, NAFTA has been good for New York and America." -- HRC, 2004. This was only two years before she decided to run for president.

GOI: Here is how she wants it both ways, she now opportunistically opposes NAFTA despite these quotes yet at the same time wants to take credit of the economy of the 1990's. So much of her campaign has been based upon her husband's administration thus she can't take credit for the good and not have to answer for the bad policies. There might not be an exacte quote from her saying it was a "boon" to the economy but the above quotes of her supporting NAFTA is basically saying just that--a boon to the economy. Saying that NAFTA has been good for America is supporting NAFTA--period. Remember, this wasn't a quote from the 90's when she was in the thick of the Clinton administration. So what occurred between 2004 and now? Her decision to run for president when she conveniently shifted positions and started to oppose NAFTA.

Now today, (Sunday) she is back to playing the Bush fear card trying to scare voters mentioning the recent troubles in Serbia and the retirement of Castro. The suggestion being that if you vote for Obama then America would be toppled, cities burned to the ground and Americans enslaved or some such nonsense. As if Obama would be some dunce who would just let America be pushed around by any and all enemies of America. That is the Republican tactic of winning elections and speaking of shame, she should be ashamed of herself for going against the great Democrat, FDR's encouragement that we have nothing to fear but fear itself. It's ludicrous and so is she.

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Friday, February 22, 2008

Hillary Clinton Booed During Texas Debate. Are Obama Supporters Delusional? Plus, Obama Adds Another Win.

The video above is a segment of last night's Texas debate where Hillary Clinton was booed. Her statement about Obama was a low blow about a subject that has been roundly discarded and throughly explained. Yet she couldn't resist taking one more cheap shot and the crowd obviously didn't like it. That wasn't a smart move given that everyone agreed that this was one of the most watched and important debates of the campaign. So after angering most of the audience and getting booed she tried to do damage control today.

This morning in an interview she slickly shifted from admitting the punch to talking about how they both want to do what's best for the country. Oh yeah? Is stirring up a silly fight over the well-explained and over-hashed "plagiarism" charge in doing what's best for the country? She knows that this issue is a non-issue but being the typical political opportunist she tried to score points with a low class tactic. This is classic old school Clinton/Rove/Bush politics of divide and conquer and the bottom line is that is shows just how desperate that she is right now. Obviously this lame attack didn't help her image any.

In another great moment for Obama, he reiterated how he's the better general election candidate:

They were later asked how they would tackle John McCain as the likely Republican nominee in a November general election. Mr Obama said that his opposition to the war in Iraq would give him an advantage.

"It is going to be much easier for the candidate who was opposed to invading Iraq in the first place...In the single most important decision of our generation, the war in Iraq, I think I showed the judgment of a commander in chief and I think Senator Clinton was wrong in her judgment," he said.

GOI: This video clip highlights Obama's best line of the night responding to Hillary's "get real" phrase of late. The implication that Obama isn't a serious candidate and his supporters delusional:

In a smaller yet telling win, Barack Obama won the majority of American citizens living abroad in other countries continuing his win streak to 11 and zero. That being said, apparently the Clinton campaign doesn't understand how you win a nomination. This from chief Clinton strategist, Mark Penn:Winning Democratic primaries is not a qualification or a sign of who can win the general election.

Well no wonder they have been losing!! Hmm, maybe they think that the candidate losing the most states gets the nomination. It wouldn't surprise me given the way they have run such a disorganized and out of touch campaign.

The expatriate win didn't net him a lot of delegates but the narrative it boosts is that Obama's support and coalition reaches across the globe. It dove-tails into the polls that show Barack more favorable within our traditional allies in "Old Europe" and Americans living in hot spots. Obviously some of those votes are from members of the military in Iraq, Kuwait and elsewhere. In addition to State Department employees living throughout the world.

Furthermore, since those two demographics are seasoned in the ways of international affairs it gives Barack Obama more validation that he is ready to lead in foreign policy matters. These soldiers and government employees understand that Obama wants to do whatever it takes to understand their positions and protect them as best as he can. Whereas under Bush it has been more about Bush's legacy rather then about the soldiers, the diplomats and their families. Barack Obama understands their sacrifice and that they shouldn't have to make that sacrifice for years and years. So many of our bravest Americans have been in Iraq for 4 and 5 tours and that kind of abuse of our military will stop under a President Obama.

I don't understand Hillary's criticism that words are a bad thing, an attack in reference to Obama's ability to speak in an eloquent manner and ability to get people to listen without feeling forced into doing so. It is a trait that will serve him well in diplomatic relations. He has the calm demeanor and balanced judgment to be able to use those words to bring people of all ethic groups, countries, religions and opinions together. That kind of energy enables people to be more open about their concerns and thus more capable of being open to change with their enemies and adversaries. In other words, effective diplomacy so that positive results can emerge. I fear that Hillary Clinton or the quick to anger McCain would be too bossy, impatient and arrogant when dealing with world leaders. You can't just come roaring into a meeting of diplomats and world leaders like bull in a China shop and make people get along and work together for change. It takes finesse and Barack Obama defines finesse. I see a greatness in Barack Obama that can enable him to get some good results in healing this world a bit and fixing broken or bent relationships with other countries.

In other news, Republican Arizona Representative Rick Rezni has been indicted by a grand jury in an alleged scheme to profit from a land deal. My reaction? Same old Republican corruption. There has been a long string of corrupt, sexually hypocritical Republicans the last few years and I think it will keep hurting them in this next presidential and congressional elections.

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Thursday, February 21, 2008

John McCain's Torture Opposition all Talk.

Last week, the Senate brought the Intelligence Authorization Bill — which contained a provision banning waterboarding — to the floor for a vote. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), an outspoken waterboarding critic, voted against the bill.

At the time, ThinkProgress questioned whether McCain would stand with Bush’s threatened veto of the legislation. Today, the AP reports that McCain has come out saying Bush should veto the measure, which would make the Army Field Manual the standard for CIA interrogations.

Talking to reporters today, McCain attempted to defend his stance:

“I said there should be additional techniques allowed to other agencies of government as long as they were not” torture. “I was on the record as saying that they could use additional techniques as long as they were not cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment,” McCain said.

“So the vote was in keeping with my clear record of saying that they could have additional techniques, but those techniques could not violate” international rules against torture.

But the vote was not “in keeping” with McCain’s unclear record on torture; in the past, McCain called waterboarding a “terrible and odious practice” that “should never be condoned in the U.S.”

Furthermore, what are these “additional techniques” outside the Field Manual that McCain thinks the CIA needs? Marty Lederman noted that the CIA can currently use “stress positions, hypothermia, threats to the detainee and his family, severe sleep deprivation, and severe sensory deprivation.”

GOI: John "100 years in Iraq" McCain's "Straight-Talk Express" has become the "Double-Talk Express." I would think that given his animated opposition to waterboarding during the Republican primaries and debates that he would stand against this bill on principle. If he really was a man of his word and a "straight talking" man of principles that brags about then he would have flat out voted against this bill until the waterboarding provision was removed. Period. This isn't the kind of action you expect from someone who keeps calling everyone, "my friends." I don't know about the company you keep but I wouldn't call someone who waffles on their core principles like this a "friend."

It seems to me that waterboarding is worth taking a stand against even if it means voting against other techniques that he might deem "o.k." Yet I think that McCain himself was put into stress positions and I wonder if he has forgotten how terrible that was. And how is inducing hypothermia humane? Or threats to the detainees family? Plus, even though he says that his vote wasn't for waterboarding which he has previously described as torture his vote against the bill obviously means that he is tacitly approving of waterboarding. He's a smart and savvy enough politician to know that voting for this bill means waterboarding will continue to be practiced and that he helped establish it as standard military interrogation.

He can't have it both ways. Either waterboarding is torture and should never under any circumstances be approved in any way or it's not. This vote seems like a message to the Conservatives in his party that he will do whatever it takes to get their support and votes to help him win the White House because apparently to John McCain the ends justify the means.

It's this kind of double-speak that brings his judgment and trustfulness into question and those two important traits are something that his likely opponent, Barack Obama has in spades.

McCain was against the Bush tax cuts and now he's for them. He's not only now for the tax cuts but he wants to make them permanent!! This is the kind of weaseling around that Bush has done for eight long years, saying one thing and doing another. This and many other reasons point out to me that a vote for McCain is a vote for a third Bush term.

Falling in line with the Bush wing of the party isn't the kind of action that one would expect from an independent thinking and acting that defines a "maverick." As you know, McCain has been lauded as a maverick who supposedly thinks and acts on his own no matter what kind of pressure is leveraged against him.

As for this emerging story about a close relationship between McCain and a female lobbyist, I'm avoiding posting about it until I learn more about it. I wouldn't be surprised though if this is true given the above examples of McCain's lack of trustworthiness.

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Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Obama Wins Wisconsin and Hawaii Bringing his Win Streak to 10-0.

UPDATE: The Teamsters union has just endorsed Obama.

Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and the rest of America, the time is now, the moment is yours and now it is up to you to bring us home to our house--the White House. We can not wait any longer to take this country back and move it in a bold and new direction. This isn't about Barack but about us all. It is about reclaiming our country away from the fear mongers, the corrupt policies of George W. Bush and the pessimists that say the road is too long, the journey too great. Yet we know that nothing in the great history of America has been accomplished through fear. America has proven over and over that the power of the people united together, arms locked in solidarity can do anything that our minds are determined to do.

Let us not waiver by the doubters and naysayers who are trying an will continue to try and tear this new wave of the America dream. They can not take away our hope that gives us the conviction and motivation to do whatever is necessary to rebuild America city by city, county by county, state by state. Let us not fear the critics for there will always be someone who seeks to block our positivity because they fear change as change upsets the balance of power that has been so tilted toward corrupt politicians and corporations who have nearly killed off the American spirit. This time is different but we must act now to come to the aid of our brothers and sisters who are losing ground financially and medically thanks to the policies of the past that put business interests above those of the American people. We are hear united behind the next great president to say that we have had enough abuse, we are taking back our power and we will defeat the politics of fear and division. We need a president for all Americans instead of one who favors party over principles and corporations over the people.

Yet we must be cautious in our excitement as change isn't easy and there will be many who will seek to tear down this movement. We can not slow down, we can not become complacent but must push forward until we reach our goal of transforming this country back to the greatness that we know it has been and can yet still be. I have faith that a new day is coming, a new dawn is breaking to introduce a new period in American history that shifts the paradigm from one of fear to one of power, from one of force to one of united effort for the greater good.

This is a new century that requires new leadership and Barack Obama is that leader. His judgment is sound and he has proven that he can remain cool and calm under pressure which is an essential quality to have as president of the UNITED States of America as we blaze a new path. He has proven that he has the charisma to bring people into the process and combined with his brilliance we see that he is a leader that can not just unite American again but help greatly in uniting the world once more to combat the new challenges that face our planet such as global warming. He has the vision that is sorely needed in American politics today. America has been mired in the back and forth fighting between two families, the Bush's and the Clinton's and I don't know about you but I'm tired of playing this game of who has the better dynasty. It is a petty, immature game that is being played while American continue to suffer and fall behind. We need a leader like Barack who can end that era so that we can get on with the business of the people.

And so Texas, Ohio, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania and our other great states yet to vote--it is up to you. It is time that we say no to the destructive policy of "free trade" that was kicked open by the Clinton's and continued under Bush. The only "free trade" about it is that China has basically gotten American jobs and resources for free under Clinton and Bush. I'm tired of living pay-check to pay-check because we can no longer compete with the rest of the world and that isn't because Americans are lazy but because the last two administrations have sold us out. That is why we need the fresh vision of a Barack Obama who can bring those jobs back home and create new ones in rebuilding America's infrastructure and investing in new green technology that will create many new jobs. We may have had out jobs ripped out from underneath us but we can create new and better ones and the person to lead us into that new and better economy is Barack Obama.

Meanwhile, what did Hillary talk about last night? Fear. The first words out of her mouth were how dangerous a world we live in and somehow intimating that Obama can't handle such a world as if he wouldn't have a Secretary of Defense, Secretary of State and the Joint Chiefs to advise him. I'm not worried about his judgment it is certainly better than Bush and better than Hillary's stubbornness that tends to cloud her reasoning. Then she down shifted in saying, "Words are not enough unless you match them with action." Well Hillary, is 10 victories in a row by Obama enough action for ya?

The time to stand up and be counted again is NOW. Don't wait for a better moment for all be have is NOW. The time is NOW to acknowledge that Obama is more electable than Hillary Clinton or John McCain. The most recent Reuters/Zogby polls on this show Obama leading McCain right now 47% to 40% whereas McCain is beating Hillary 50% to 38%. It is clear that people are embracing Barack in growing numbers and that is a powerful statement on how broad his appeal is across all party lines and political views.


I'll leave you with the video of Obama speaking last night after winning the great states of Wisconsin and Hawaii:

Part II:

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Time to Vote Wisconsin and Hawaii.

I would like to urge all the citizens of Wisconsin and the Hawaiian islands to get out to vote today and hopefully you'll join the Obama movement. I simply ask that you look into your heart and vote with you conscious rather than just your head. If you've been reading GOI for a bit you know that I'm biased towards Obama and so thusly I would appreciate your vote for him. Barack Obama will not let you down, he's the start of a new generation of politicians that are needed to lead us into the 21st century.

Barack Obama has the judgment to lead not just from "day one" but by carefully weighing all the options and listening to his advisers and cabinet. I fear that Hillary wouldn't make full use of her advisers and simply stubbornly make decisions based on her own point of view whether it seems logical or not. If we have learned one thing from the Dubya years its that we don't need stubborn, selfish, arrogant, self-important presidents. We need a president who has a relaxing yet strong personality to work with foreign leaders and Barack Obama is that kind of leader. His likability abroad is seen in that a Financial Times poll shows that the majority of Europeans prefer him to Hillary.

An inspirational, powerful and bold leader only comes around once in a generation. So I urge you to join us hand in hand and work to bring the country back together. So that we can bring economic reform, resolve the war in Iraq and rebuild America to reinvest in our country through putting people back to work for America by rebuilding our infrastructure amongst other bold solutions. Obama was born for this moment and it would be a shame for Americans to ignore his reinvigorating energy and presence.

We can turn a corner past the obstacles that have held us back for nearly a decade by voting for Barack Obama to be a refreshing shake up in the good old boys crowd of Washington. We need a revolutionary president such a Obama to roll into the White House and put everyone in the belt-way on notice that business as usual is over.

YES. We. Can Wisconsin!!! Feel the energy of a new day coming in America, brave the cold up there today and vote for Barack Obama.
To my Hawaiians, Obama has the Aloha spirit and represents the diverse culture that is so wonderful about Hawaii. He is a native son from the islands. My wife grew up there on Oahu in Kaneohe and wishes that she could proudly vote for Barack as a Hawaiian. Mahalo!!

And to both the great citizens of Hawaii and Wisconsin, don't pay attention to the criticism about Obama using lines in a speech from another politician. That politician is his best friend and he didn't mind that Obama borrowed some language. He said that Obama and himself share ideas all the time and he supports and defends Obama in every way. Plus, Hillary has lifted language from Obama too and it could be argued (if we want to play this stupid game) that Hillary's entire campaign is based on everything Bill said a decade or so ago.

And then it's onto Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania to join the movement. Are you all fired up and ready to go? We can do this, we can bring true change to the system.

---End of Transmission---

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Obama, Ideas and Solutions. Plus, Gallup Poll Shows Obama Widening Lead over Clinton Nationally.

As I'm sure that you have noticed, Hillary Clinton is trying to sell us this lie that Obama doesn't have any ideas or solutions and yet in the same breath claims he has stolen her ideas. She can't have it both ways. Which one is it Mrs. Clinton? And if they both has similar ideas, which they do then what is the difference between the two?

He represents true change, a fresh face, an inspirational orator, a more electable candidate who has cross-over appeal into the Independent voting block as well as some Republicans. He seeks to run a mostly positive campaign while she has been and continues to try and drag him into fights and mud-slinging. It looks desperate and nothing turns off an electorate more than playing dirty and negative attacks.

Is it really a good idea on her part to criticize a record turn-out and support of a Democratic candidate by an inspired youth? Does she really want to disillusion them and risk them turning away from her if she wins the nomination and campaign in the general election? I don't think it's smart of her to slam every other demographic that supports Obama (the more educated, the African American community, the youth) and basically say that the blue collar Democrats tend to favor her are the only real, true Democrats. She is hitting everyone hard that doesn't support her and in doing so keeps painting herself further and further into a corner. Obama is doing the opposite, appealing to everyone and building a diverse and strong coalition. He wants to include and she mostly wants to isolate, divide and conquer. She seems to be willing to destroy the party just so long as she wins the nomination.

Other than her similar ideas as Obama's she has nothing else to bring to the table other than pessimism, the same old politics, a less chance of being elected in the general and a controversial figure who carries a lot of negative baggage that would unite a factored, less popular Republican party. Do we liberal and Democrats want to win in November and move the country forward in a new direction or do we want to get mired again in the mud of the controversial, divisive Clinton years?

As for solutions, every presidential candidate has a reservoir of ideas and solutions or else they would've been discovered as one dimensional, not serious candidates from day one of their entrance in the race. She also is throwing this desperate net out there that Obama is all talk and that talk is cheap. Well then doesn't that cut both ways? It's obvious that he has ideas and solutions so then who is the one talking cheap and in an insincere manner? They say we project onto others our own weaknesses. So if that is the case then we can't help but come to the conclusion that this accusation of Obama is nothing but cheap talk and empty rhetoric on her part.

Then there is this still stale claim that she is a better manager than Obama and that because of that she is better capable to lead on day one. Well I think that we can get a good idea of each candidates management style by the way that they are running their campaigns. Obama has run a well oiled machine from the beginning whereas the Clinton campaign has made miscalculation after miscalculation. She blew off the caucuses from the start and then whined that they were disadvantaged by the caucus system but only after they started to get spanked by Obama in them. As if we are supposed to feel sorry for her and give her another chance. She was beat by Obama's superior ground strategy and knows it.

In addition, she hasn't been able to keep track of her funds and manage a budget within her own campaign so what does that say about how she'll handle the particulars of a federal budget? It also shows that she isn't as capable of running a well balanced and smooth operating administration. To that end she can't keep control of her advisers and we keep hearing of reports of infighting and resignations. Is this the kind of chaos that we should expect from a Clinton administration from "day one"? I think it shows a lack of judgment on her part in being able to put together a well balanced, competent and professional team.

That all being said, however, I'd like to return to the idea that Obama has no solutions. Take the FDR like National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to rebuild America's crumbling bridges, cracking highways and aging dams. Is that not a solution? It will create new jobs and invest back in America rather than investing in China's infrastructure and economy. I guess that isn't a solution to a vital problem facing us.

This is just one idea and solution that is easily found through one search with Google to find Barack's website that easily lists his ideas and solutions to vital problems in America.

Gallop Poll Shows Obama Lead Nationally Widens:

PRINCETON, NJ -- For several days, nationwide Democratic voters' preferences have been shifting toward Barack Obama in Gallup Poll Daily election tracking. Now, the Illinois senator enjoys his first statistically significant lead, 49% to 42%, over Hillary Clinton, according to the Feb. 13-15 results. Additionally, the 49% support for Obama represents the high point for him in the daily tracking program.

The tracking data reflect the Obama momentum since the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday primaries, moving from a +13 Clinton advantage in Feb. 3-5 polling to a +7 Obama lead in the latest results.

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Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Obama Stumps in Wisconsin, Talks the Economy.

Barack Obama has been visiting and talking with the people of Wisconsin today and is really hitting home the economic message which I'm glad he's putting more emphasis upon. He is really starting to hit the Clinton's on NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) and discuss how disastrous it has been to our economy, especially in the manufacturing base that is/was a major employer in Wisconsin, Ohio and Michigan.

NAFTA has also hurt farmers across the country which includes a vast farming network in Wisconsin and Ohio, as well as in the upcoming contest in Vermont.

Thanks Clintons, you opened up the door to the Bush trade deals that sold out American businesses and jobs. Here's a snippet of Obama's critique of Clinton's support of NAFTA:

“You know, in the years after her husband signed N.A.F.T.A, Senator Clinton would go around talking about how great it was and how many benefits it would bring,” Mr. Obama said. “Now that she’s running for president, she says we need a time-out on trade. No one knows when this time-out will end. Maybe after the election.”

Barack has some really good ideas on how to improve the economy:

In his speech in Janesville, Mr. Obama proposed creating a National Infrastructure Reinvestment Bank to invest $60 billion over 10 years and create nearly 2 million new jobs in the construction field. He said the program would be paid for by ending the Iraq war. He also renewed his call to create an energy plan to invest $150 billion over 10 years to establish a “green energy sector” to add up to 5 million jobs in the next two decades.

“It’s time to stop spending billions of dollars a week trying to put Iraq back together and start spending the money on putting America back together instead,” Mr. Obama said. He added, “We’ll also provide funding to help manufacturers convert to green technology and help workers learn the skills they need for these jobs.”

GOI: I'm glad that he mentioned rebuilding our infrastructure as that is something that is sorely needed and would boost our economy as we would be investing in our own economy and country rather than investing so much in foreign economies like China. Reinvesting in our infrastructure was a brilliant project undertaken by my favorite president, FDR that went a long way to bring our economy out of the Great Depression. If it can help us out of a depression then I think it would more than help us out of our recession.

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

The Potomac Primary: Obama Wins All Three and Makes it Eight Straight Victories.

Obama has just been projected to win the Virginia primary and by a substantial margin which as I've discussed here before gives him more delegates. However, I'd say that the big story tonight isn't just the large margin of victories but that Senator Obama is making significant inroads into Hillary Clinton's base. In the exit polls out of Virginia, Barack is edging out Hillary in her bedrock constituencies of voters over 60 and older (52% to 47%), blue collar workers and women.

Obama led Clinton 58-42 percent among the women who were polled, took 59 percent of the votes of respondents who said they earn less than $50,000 a year and 62 percent of those who said someone in their household is a member of a union.
The Virginia exit polls are also showing that Obama is splitting the white vote with Hillary which is a big change:

And 49 percent of those who voted for Obama were white, a big change from previous contests in which Clinton held a big lead over Obama among white Democrats.

"We haven't seen that happen this strikingly before, and this in a Southern state," said CNN senior political analyst Bill Schneider.

With Virginia being an open primary, Obama won a majority of Republican voters and Independents. He won the Independents 66% to 33% and won the Republicans with 70% of the vote. These are folks that Obama is calling, "Obamacans" and my parents are two of them. They really like Obama and would much prefer voting for him than McCain. This is just more evidence that he can win in a general election in red states easier than Clinton.

He even beat Clinton with Latinos 55 to 45.

This just in....

Obama is projected to win the D.C. primary

Also, Hillary Clinton's staff seems to be imploding with the campaign manager being tossed a few days ago. However, tonight Chris Cillizza is reporting that the Deputy-Campaign Manager Mike Henry has resigned. Not the best news that you want to have out in the air on a night like tonight and following the fantastic weekend that Obama had.

Obama leading in D.C. 76% to 24%

More updates to come...

UPDATE: Obama projected to win in Maryland with similar numbers and demographics as Virginia

UPDATE 2: A couple of excepts from Obama's victory speech tonight:

"Today, the change we seek swept through Chesapeake and over the Potomac," Obama said at a rally Tuesday night in Wisconsin, the stage of the next contest on Feb. 19. "We won the state of Maryland, we won the Commonwealth of Virginia, and though we won in Washington, D.C., this campaign won't stop until there is change in Washington, D.C."

"We have now won East and West, North and South, and across the heartland of this country," Obama told the crowd in Madison, Wis. "We have given young people a reason to believe and we have brought the young at heart back to the polls who want to believe again."

GOI: So next we turn to Wisconsin. I love Wisconsin and their politics. I have roots in the Norwegian ethnic parts of Wisconsin and Minnesota. I have family who are part-time Wisconsinians and have a cozy little cabin up north of St. Croix Falls where I would visit from time to time. I have great memories of fishing, swimming and cabin life from Wisconsin. I also have some good memories of watching a lumberjack competition up in Hayward. You have some beautiful country up there.

But anyway, your politics is an awesome example of the power of grassroots, ground-up, progressive government and Obama is that kind of candidate. I dig the maverick spirit you have there that brought the great Senator Russ Feingold to the country who is one of my favorite Senators. I admire how he sticks to his principles and would love to see Feingold in an Obama administration, perhaps a V.P. He'd be a great choice I think.

I'll wrap this up with, "Let's make Wisconsin Obama country!!!"

---End of Transmission---

Clinton Blames Louisiana and Caucus System for Her Losses.

Hillary Clinton is insinuating that the only reason that Obama won Louisiana was because of the African American community there. That is quite the dismissal of Latinos, Whites, Asians, Indians and other ethnic groups that voted for Barack.

It is also quite a rebuff of African-Americans in the Pelican State since she use to brag about her own support in the African-American community. As well as suggesting that African-Americans vote as a block and don't think for themselves. However, like everyone else that dares not support her she is now dismissing those voters by basically saying that they are lemmings. However, if that is her argument then we can level the same charge against many women who support her. The ironic thing now is that she is bragging about her support in the Latino community.

However, Clinton has a way of dissing an entire state after losing. After her Iowa loss she snapped at a reporter's question that we all know that Iowa is a pour indicator of who wins the presidency.

She is continuing this whining about the caucus system and how terrible it is but she didn't say that when she won the Nevada caucus now did she? Nor did she make that claim before the primary and caucus season began back in January. It's never that she didn't run a good enough campaign or ground operation to get out of the vote in these caucus states. It's couldn't be that Obama beat her like a drum. No, instead she blames the system. As far as I can tell Obama hasn't been bitching about the primary system where he isn't as strong as in the caucus states.

At the same time, she is rebuffing the voters in these caucus states insinuating that the voters are party activists more than average voters like myself. Everyone in my precinct were just average folks, they are my neighbors and a sizable amount of the voters (whether for Clinton or Obama) were first time caucus goers. What an insult to suggest that it couldn't be that she is losing because people see her as a terrible candidate. No, it couldn't be that because she thinks she's "God's" gift to the world.

Then there is this message that she is tested because she has gone through the Republican attack machine and survived but she doesn't mention is that she was greatly wounded and weakened by those efforts. I don't want a candidate that is a favorite punching bag of the right-wing and one that will unite a fractured and disillusioned Republican party.

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Sunday, February 10, 2008

Obama Wins and by Impressive Margins.

Barack Obama went four for four last night in the ongoing primary season. He won in Nebraska, Louisiana, Washington and in the far south Virgin Islands showing yet again that he can win across the country and throughout all demographics.

However, the big story is how large his victories were. He nearly won 70% of the vote in Nebraska and Washington. In addition, he won by 57% in Louisiana and close to 90 percent in the U.S. Virgin Islands. These wide margins are important because they give him more delegates than if the victories were closer.

This adds to his already growing momentum to propel him into the "Potomac primaries" (Maryland, Virginia and D.C.) where he is favored to win in all three. If he can pull off all three wins then that will be 7 in a row and gives him a resounding vote of confidence. It would be difficult to ignore that kind of beating and could finally be the push that he needs to go over the top to gain the nomination.

He is by far the best Democratic candidate to go up against John McCain as he can compete with McCain for independents that would otherwise be heavily favored to side with McCain versus Hillary.

The polls are proving Obama's better electibility. A new Time magazine poll showed Hillary tied with McCain in a general election at 44%. However the poll shows Obama beating McCain 46% to 39%. A CNN poll showed the race tight too between Clinton and McCain with Clinton three points ahead 50% to 47%. That being said, the same CNN poll has Obama ahead of McCain by 8 points 52% to 44%.

Hillary is relying heavily now on bashing Obama's inspiration and ability to channel people's dreams as the only plank to his platform. She speaks of him as if he's nothing more than a motivational speaker with no ideas. She knows very well that he has ideas and good ones, just look the debates, not to mention looking at his website. I guess that is too much research to ask Americans though.

Hillary knows that she's misrepresenting Obama and she doesn't seem to care but what's new with the Clinton's. She seems to be betting that her large section of supporters who are less educated won't look into her claims. She should be ashamed of herself but she has shown time and time again that she can't be trusted by doing whatever it takes to win, including misleading people at every turn. I realize that every campaign spins the message but she bends the truth to the breaking point and gleefully snaps it into pieces.

One more thing, I find it ironic that McCain keeps saying, "my friends" to the GOP base when a large chunk of them hate him.

UPDATE: Hillary Clinton's campaign manager steps down as rumors swirl around that people are unhappy in camp Clinton. Campaign shake ups are sometimes good to get a campaign back on track but usually they are a sign of trouble, especially in the heat of a protracted race such as this one. Whether it was needed or not it looks desperate.

UPDATE 2: Obama is the projected winner in the Maine caucus. While the Pine Tree state doesn't have a lot of delegates, it is none the less a big victory for Obama. There are several reasons that I say this. First, he won again (like yesterday's victories) by a large margin (58% to 41%) garnering him more delegates then a close win would have. Second, New England has long been seen as Clinton country and to that end she has won both New Hampshire and Massachusetts. His victory today also adds to the momentum that he gained coming off his three out of three wins yesterday as well as the Virgin Islands.

It will be interesting to see what the polls in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania say In the wake of this two-day Obama tsunami. It is starting to look perhaps like momentum is getting away from Hillary. The perceived advantage that many "experts" say the Clinton camp has in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania might crumble from the weight of this Obama surge.

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Friday, February 08, 2008

Hillary Clinton the Change Agent?

Hillary Clinton has been saying lately that McCain represents more of the same but so does she!!!! If Democrats and Americans honestly want change, care about electability and really want to win the White House back then Obama is your only choice.

And doing what she is good at doing, whining, Hillary is complaining about the caucus system and no wonder--her campaign is terrible at canvasing and retail politics. She has a major disadvantage to Obama when it comes to the ground game. That is telling sign to me of how motivated Hillary backers are versus Obama backers.

I agree that the caucus system is flawed and I do prefer primaries but now is not the time to bitch about it like she is doing. She has to deal with it right now and whining isn't going to get it done. Or maybe it will since many seemed to be moved to vote for her in New Hampshire because of getting a little teary eyed. It's ridiculous to that some Americans are voting for a president based on how easily they cry!! Hillary wouldn't be whining about the process if she was the one better at winning caucuses.

The time to talk about reforming our political selection process is later.

The most critical problem facing the party right now is the super delegate issue. This is because although the caucus system is flawed, at least it is still the voters who decide. These super delegates should not be the one's deciding the Democratic nominee (should it come down to that) because they are party insiders, party hacks. It would be disastrous. It would ironically be the equivalent of the Florida debacle but within the Democratic party that is the party who got the short end of the stick in 2000. How sad would it be if half the Democratic party were to be disenfranchised by a super delegate decided campaign.

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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Super Tuesday Fall Out and the Pope's Exorcism Squads.

Well, I survived the night and it was a long ass night for us here at GOI. First off, we went to our first caucus and it was fascinating and rather fun. I've voted in primaries before but never a caucus so it was all new to me. I was nervous going in but excited and it went fairly well.

We first found our precinct table and sat down. Right off I recognized one of my neighbors and I don't talk to very many of my neighbors being the recluse that I am. This guy, however, I remember from a car accident at the intersection of our street and another. It turns out that he was a first time caucus goer and so were most of the other voters that showed up later. I'd say that about 3/4 of us newbies voted for Obama so that was encouraging to see new voters coming out in large numbers. It was so cute because this little old lady showed up, first time caucus goer and voted for Obama but as soon as that vote was counted she took off. I just thought it was so awesome that she turned out on such a cold night to vote for Obama.

It turns out that Obama ended up winning our state by a large margin and I was proud to have been apart of that victory. The final tally for our specific precinct was 29 people for Obama and only 9 for Clinton which gave us 5 delegates and Clinton only 1.

Obama won in the east, the deep south, the mid-west, the west and in far away Alaska. He won in diverse states such as Kansas, Georgia, Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois and Utah.

In addition, many of the states Obama won last night normally lean Republican in their politics. This tells me that he can win anywhere and unite the countries Democrats to have the best chance in defeating McCain.

What's clear now that the smoke has settled is that this race will stretch into the early spring. This is such an exciting political season!!

UPDATE: Hillary Clinton pumped 5 million dollars of her own money into her campaign in attempts to keep up with Obama and his fund raising juggernaut. In other bad news for the Clinton team, many of her staff are deciding to forgo paychecks to keep the campaign afloat.

In other news, the Pope backs exorcism squads:
The Vatican has never given up belief in the reality of demonic possession, but the practice of actual exorcisms has waned over the last few centuries. Now, however, the Vatican's chief exorcist has revealed that Pope Benedict XVI takes the problem very seriously and is "setting up exorcism squads to deal with the rampant growth of Satanism."

Exorcism Squads? Are you kidding me?? Sounds like the Ghostbusters!! Maybe instead of the Ecto-1 the Rome exorcist squad will use the Pope-mobile to answer all your demonic needs. The other image that comes to my mind is a SWAT team of black robed, white collar wearing, cross wielding priests.

GOI: Did you know that there is an International Association of Exorcists? Sounds like some kind of trade union. I wonder if there are dues to pay or outings to mental hospitals. Apparently they even have a newsletter. I wonder if you get a membership card to prove your credentials.

Father Gabriele Amorth is both the senior exorcist of the diocese of Rome and the founder of the International Association of Exorcists. He has condemned the Harry Potter novels as containing "the signature of the Prince of Darkness" and recently warned that diabolical influences can reach even into the Vatican.

GOI: This condemnation of the Harry Potter books brings to mind book burning Nazi's and the Salem Witch trials. Clearly this "Holy man" has never even read those books because good triumphs in the end. Isn't that the same story of the Bible? It's full of "demonic forces," yet good is supposed to prevail in the end? The Bible is one of the most violent books in history and is full of disturbing things but yet it's "Holy."

Amorth told IBN that "the action of the Devil is a lot more widespread than in the past, not because he has more strength, but because he is given more space." He went on to complain that these days "priests and bishops know nothing about the subject. ... They believe in the Devil, but they don't believe much in the actions of the Devil, so they prefer to send everyone to psychiatrists."

GOI: Yeah "God" forbid we encourage people who hear voices to seek the assistance of a medical doctor (psychiatrist) who can prescribe medicines that are proven to help reduce those hallucinations in a majority of cases. Damn science is always getting in the way of a good old fashion exorcism!!! To say that prayer and arcane rituals are more effective and a better solution to free people from hallucinations than modern science is foolish and dangerous.

My wife's co-worker's husband has bipolar but his church says he has "demons" in his head and have been doing these exorcisms so this guy decides he doesn't need meds anymore and yet surprise, surprise--he feels worse!! Yeah, that's what happens when people with a disease of the brain quit taking medicine. How many poor mental ill folks are still going through this kind of twisted abuse?

Meanwhile, there has been some major damage in the south because of hurricanes and many people have died. My thoughts are with them and I hope that everyone hurt will heal back to full health. In addition, I send my condolences to those who lost loved ones. It is a major tragedy and I hope that these cities can rebuild and put their lives back together.

Yet as usual you have people saying that they were saved by "God" because they prayed. I've said this before but how is it that "God" saves some people and not others? And usually when you ask that question you get the reply, "Well, it was "God's" will." Sooooo, if it's "God's will" then why pray in the first place? Another favorite reply is "I guess "God" needed them up in Heaven." To do what exactly? Help fix the "pearly gates?" Here's another greatest hit reply, "God works in mysterious ways." Yeah, because you can't prove that he exists!! He's an unsolved mystery himself!! So how can you explain one mystery with an even bigger mystery? It's circular thinking. Tell yourself whatever helps you sleep at night though I guess.

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Monday, February 04, 2008

The Hillary Clinton "Experience" Issue Debunked.

I want to address this red herring that Barack Obama isn't experienced enough to lead America. First off, it is true that Obama has only been in the U.S. Senate for two years but Hillary hasn't been in the Senate much longer, she's been in there five years--that's only a three year difference. It's not like Obama is fresh off the streets as the Clinton camp has been trying portray him. He has 8 years of political experience in the state government of Illionois. He learned there that to get things done one must compromise and have good judgment. Obama wouldn't have lasted eight years if he was seen as having poor judgment. To say that he doesn't have enough experience and understanding of important political matters and making decisions based on those matters is a slap in the face to Illinois voters who voted for him. Sure the U.S. Senate makes decisions on a bigger scale than the state level but the process of going about making a decision to base a vote upon is similar whether it is the state level or the national level.

But Hillary Clinton has White House experience you might say, well, not really. She didn't sit in on classified meetings with the President Bill Clinton and his inner circle.

Hillary may have had a front seat to her husband's presidency but in the end she wasn't responsible of the important decisions that a president must make. There is a big difference between supporting and advising a president than being the one who sees all the classified documents and has to make the difficult decisions that only a president is responsible for.

And I find it telling that the Clinton's won't release papers that would enlighten us as to exactly what Hillary did and did not do during Bill's presidency. If there wasn't anything to hide and if it would prove her talk about being so "qualified" from those years then you'd think they would want them released to help her campaign. The fact that they are being coy about these documents tells me that something stinks in those documents and isn't in keeping with Hillary's claims that she all but made the decisions for Bill.

Yet during those years she didn't hold a security clearance, did not sit in on meetings of the National Security Council and wasn't even given a copy of the president's daily intelligence briefing!! I just can't see the confident, self-important, Bill as sharing the power and prestige of a presidency with her. Bill is a great person for the most part but he loves power and feeling important so I'm pretty sure he kept Hillary from knowing too much and having too much influence/power.

In addition, during trips aboard she was limited to being a spokesperson for American ideals and not being a negotiator for important foreign policy matters. She's no more experienced in making those decisions than Obama, in fact when it mattered she voted the wrong way on the Iraq war and I'm supposed to believe she has better judgment than Barack??? I don't think so. This whole experience song and dance is dishonest and a deception of mass proportions.

The fact of the matter is that no one is fully ready for being president and every president must "learn on the job" to some degree when arriving in the White House. The important qualities that I think are important in a president are patience and the ability to compromise, listen to others and make those decisions based on the best advice and briefings available. Obama has those qualities whereas I don't see Hillary as that patient, willing to compromise and listen to others. She would most likely be a micro-manager and as anyone in business understands, that's not very effective.

The surest way to kill enthusiasm and fresh ideas from your advisers and aids is to micro-manage things. Obama understands the importance and success of delegating the vast responsibilities of an American presidency and yet the Clinton camp has doggedly been trying to spin that as a negative and proof of "irresponsibility." I think if most people are honest, they will see this quality as being one of being realistic and understanding that delegation is the best way to achieve the best results possible.

Hillary's tendency to micromanage everything risks isolating herself from those who disagree with her and isolating her from the American people not unlike our current president. Like Hillary, Bush is impatient, unwilling to compromise with anyone from across the aisle and listens about as well as a two year old.

I think the choice is clear, Obama is the only way to go.

UPDATE: Kiera Philips from CNN just called Obama, Osama. The thing that bothers me most is not the slip up but the fact that she didn't correct herself. I just emailed CNN to complain.

And isn't it convenient that Hillary "teared up" again a day before a big primary and of course the media is playing it over and over again today.

---End of Transmission---

Sunday, February 03, 2008

The Clinton Dynasty and Why it Doesn't Move the Country Forward.

I've been thinking about the last Democratic debate and in particular Hillary Clinton's throw away answer about the Clinton dynasty question. She was asked by an email question how she could say she is about change when she would be apart of either a Bush or Clinton dynasty. Her response?

It did take a Clinton to clean (up) after the first Bush, and I think it might take a second one to clean up after the second Bush," she said to applause at a televised debate with Democratic rival Barack Obama, a senator from Illinois.

What an arrogant, self-righteous answer that only a Clinton could have the ability to clean up after George W. Bush. What an insult to all the Democrats who ran for the Dem nomination. Not only did her response not answer the question, it seemed to prove the point of the question!! Not to take anything away from Bill Clinton's presidency but the beauty of a Democracy is that new leaders appear every so many years to refresh the system, retool policies and develop new and bold ideas to respond to the changes of the new decades to come.

If we elect another Clinton, where does it end? After her is it Jeb Bush's turn and then Chelsea? It becomes an incestuous circle that keeps America stuck in the mud as two families use the American populace as pawns in their personal rivalries. It ceases to be about moving America forward and focuses more about fighting the last war over and over again. It's like the same two teams always playing in the Super Bowl that is the championship game in American football. After awhile you get sick of seeing the same game over and over. I know that change is difficult sometimes but as we Buddhist's say, "Change is inevitable." Let's move forward with confidence knowing that we Americans can do anything when inspired and moved to be apart of the solution and not of the problem by a charismatic, brilliant person such as Obama. In keeping with this vein of discussion I found these great quotes:

If Hillary Rodham Clinton serves two terms, then for 28 years the presidency will have been held by a Bush or a Clinton. By that point, about 40 percent of Americans would have lived their entire lives under a president from one of these two families.

Wouldn’t that make our democracy seem a little, er, Pakistani?

We Americans snicker patronizingly as “democratic” Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Singapore, India and Argentina hand over power to a wife or child of a former leader. Yet I can’t find any example of even the most rinky-dink “democracy” confining power continuously for seven terms over 28 years to four people from two families. (And that’s not counting George H.W. Bush’s eight years as vice president.)

GOI: By the way, I saw on Meet the Press this morning that Clinton is behind McCain in the polls should they be the nominees but Obama is ahead of McCain. We Democrats and liberals need to look at ourselves in the mirror and if we want to live in the memories of the past or if we want to go with an electable candidate and finally win back the White House. Something to think long and hard about before Tuesday's mega primary day.

---End of Transmission---