Posts Tagged ‘war profiteering

15
Jul
08

Notes on Obama’s Speech on Iraq and McCain’s Rebuttal

Notes taken live during Obama’s speech this morning:

  • I cringe every time Obama flubs a line – unlike giggling with glee when McCain trips up.
  • Steady the camera, MSNBC.
  • The repetition of points of interest is annoying.
  • As he looks from teleprompter to teleprompter, you’d think he was watching a match at Wimbledon. I’m getting motion sickness.
  • Is it (phonetically) Tal-e-ban or Tal-ee-ban? Obama says Tal-ee-ban.
  • I’ve said this before, Obama needs to meet with a public speaking coach who can teach him not to clip the ends of his words.
  • I feel very content that this speech will overshadow Bush’s ridiculous speech this morning.
  • “Securing nuclear weapons from rogue states.” Will that include Pakistan once Musharraf is removed from power?
  • “Senator McCain was one of the biggest supporters of the war.” That statement should be clarified to indicate he was a supporter of GOING to war. To indicate he supported the failed strategy afterward is a stretch and I hate when the Democrats take a page out of the Republicans’ play book.
  • He just said Tal-ee-ban again.
  • We need ribbons for our cars that say “Remember Afghanistan” and “Our Troops are Over-Taxed and Over-Burdened.”
  • “Iraq is not going to be a perfect place and we do not have unlimited resources to try and make it one.” Excellent point.
  • Residual forces left in Iraq to go after remnants of Al Qaeda. I find this acceptable. I think this force should be multi-national and under the authority of the U.N., however.
  • With all the talk of getting our forces out, Obama needs to address the defense contractor’s presence as well as our government’s involvement in their oil production and war profiteering.
  • Tal-ee-ban again. Is this going to be his nuke-u-lar? I just looked it up on dictionary.com and it indicates pronunciation as [taluh-ban].
  • Tripling aid to Pakistan? Would this be in return for our ability to go in and get Bin Laden?
  • Steady the cam, MSNBC or I might switch to CNN…
  • Goal of 80 percent of global emissions by 2050. Preach it!
  • America is strongest when we act alongside strong partners. Excellent point. W, are you listening? Oh, I forgot. You only listen to people who agree with you. Or Cheney.
  • Chris Matthews’ Hardball Number today should be how many times Obama used the word “moment” in his speech. (UPDATE: the Hardball number was how many times Obama mentioned the word “Afghanistan” in a speech that was meant to be about Iraq.
  • Obama should being referring to the Iraq War as a “war of choice” more. That will help raise voter ire toward Bush and McCain.
  • Great speech, give that speech writer a promotion! But it doesn’t distract me from his FISA vote.

**McCain plans to criticize Obama for never having visited Afghanistan and not having visited Iraq recently, yet establishing a strategy for ending the Iraq War. Does this mean that McCain believes the Americans who have not visited Iraq should have no opinion on the Iraq War? If my tax dollars are being used to perpetuate an unnecessary war, do I still have an obligation to keep my mouth shut regarding the prosecution and strategy of said war? Of course not. How ’bout this? How ’bout I use a portion of my taxes to visit Iraq so that I may be empowered to formulate a credible opinion of the war. We could set up programs akin to those European tour groups old people join so that Americans everywhere can have a say in the decisions of our government.

McCain speaking immediately after Obama’s speech.

  • He called again on Obama to participate in the town hall meetings. It’s an empty entreaty similar to his pander strategies.
  • McCain gives Obama quotations that indicate he didn’t think the surge would have any effect and then later claimed he always knew the surge would reduce violence. “Flip-floppers all over the world are enraged?” So, you’re enraged, McCain?
  • “The surge in Iraq shows us the way to succeed in Afghanistan.” This seems naive. The situations on the ground in Iraq are extremely different than the situations on the ground in Afghanistan (and I’m not just talking topography). But what am I talking about, I’ve never been there. Those countries in the Middle East are all the same!
  • “Iraq and Afghanistan are not disconnected. Success breeds success. Failure breeds failure.” What? What did our “failure” in Vietnam breed?
  • “I know how to win wars.” Um…which wars have you won? I forget.
  • Ooooh. McCain just said Tal-ee-ban as well.
  • “The drug issue in Afghanistan is the world’s problem and the world should share its cost.” True. Alternative crops is a good idea, though it hasn’t worked in Colombia and hasn’t worked in Afghanistan previously. The whole supply and demand thing…
  • McCain says that we must strengthen Pakistani tribes that are willing to fight terrorists in their region and this is what has worked in Iraq. This is true. But the U.S. has paid billions to Iraqi tribes to do this and they’ve also shelled out billions to the violent tribes, “bribing” them to stop their assaults. What will happen when we stop paying? And how long can we continue to pay when McCain and Bush won’t even increase college tuition for soldiers.
  • “Defeat radical Islam.” What breeds radical Islam? Poverty. Just FYI.
  • “When I am Commander in Chief, there will be no where the terrorists can run and no where they can hide.” Mkay, we’ll see. Does this mean you’re going to continue the “You’re either with us or against us” line.
  • “I will bring Osama Bin Laden to justice. I will do that.” (Audience gives standing ovation.) And if Osama’s in Pakistan?
  • The “galvanizing” factor of McCain’s speech cannot compare to that of Obama’s.

** While speaking with Andrea Mitchell, Trent Lott reiterated the claim that McCain “cornered” Obama into going to Iraq. These Republicans know fully well that, as the most probable presidential candidate, of course Obama would have visited before the election. He probably would have gone sooner had the Democratic primary not been so protracted.

Republicans are so comfortable in their cesspool of lies – whether it’s the China drilling off the U.S. Coast, Chuck Hagel going to Israel with Obama, Obama being Muslim and Racist, and many others. The Democrats are certainly not without their own political rhetoric, but an infestation of lies has not permeated Democrat strategies they way one has Republican strategies. Have they no honor, dignity or respect for the truth? They’re probably making Baby Jesus really, really angry.

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11
Jul
08

Did Obama Just Lose My Vote?

This is serious. I’ve been saying for quite a while that Obama has not yet earned my vote and I am quite happy voting for Nader to help strengthen efforts toward a multi-party system. However, I voted for Obama in the primary here in Texas and was excited to vote for the first viable African-American candidate in the U.S.

Also, this is the most important election in years, if for no other reason than the necessity to populate the Supreme Court with judges who will protect civil liberties unlike those Bush has appointed or McCain would appoint.

While I have continuously lambasted the lack of character Hillary Clinton and her husband have shown during the primary season, I would not say I have been sipping “Obama Kool-Aid.” I understand that his “Change We Can Believe In” slogan is only as effective as his ability – to put it simply – to get things done. And politicians have to work together to accomplish progress. (Unless you’re President Bush, in which case you use the 9/11 attacks and existence of terrorism to scare Americans and politicians alike into marching behind your efforts to make the U.S. more of an authoritarian regime than ever before. Ugh, the thought makes it difficult to keep my coffee and chocolate granola cereal down.)

Obama is a politician first. With a degree in Government, I never lose sight of this. While Democrats fall in love (and Republicans fall in line) we must not forget that politicians must operate within the existing confines of the Washington Dance. This will inevitably lead to widespread disapointment with Obama, when he’s president, because he simply cannot please everyone and will have to compromise in order to accomplish certain goals. A president must make decisions when no option is the right one. It’s a hard gig – the hardest one in the world; I thoroughly recognize this.

However, much of my free time this week has been spent trolling the internet for a reasonable justification for Obama’s approval of the new FISA Act of 2008. Of course, I already have my fair share of underlying bitterness because the Democrats have performed disgracefully since taking control of the Congress. They are inexplicably banner ankle-grabbers again and again despite Bush’s record disapproval ratings. Yes, they do not want to seem weak on national security, but they are greatly underestimating the American people’s desire to have their civil liberties protected in this era of heightened danger.

Congressional members have far more concern with the length of their federal careers than casting the appropriate vote – rendering them impotent in the areas of war profiteering (Diane Feinstein’s husband is a defense contractor and why she still enjoys support in California, I have no idea. BTW, she vote AYE on FISA as well), criminal activity at the executive level (erasing emails, Karl Rove and Harriet Miers refusing to testify, Valerie Plame, fixing EPA reports and much, much more), reforming health care and national energy policy, policing unfair lending practices and allowing the establishment of a credit industry that works against the American people, not for them. It inexplicable that Congress has utterly failed to inhibit Bush’s harmful activities when the majority of Americans do not favor his policies in the slightest. It is frustrating and goddamned ridiculous.

So, Obama is Change personified, right?

Apparently, not so. Yes, I have read his blog on The Huffington Post regarding his FISA vote, which proffered no substantial logic for his approval of the bill. A few gems from the piece are:

Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I’ve chosen to support the current compromise. I do so with the firm intention — once I’m sworn in as president — to have my Attorney General conduct a comprehensive review of all our surveillance programs, and to make further recommendations on any steps needed to preserve civil liberties and to prevent executive branch abuse in the future.

Democracy cannot exist without strong differences. And going forward, some of you may decide that my FISA position is a deal breaker. That’s ok. But I think it is worth pointing out that our agreement on the vast majority of issues that matter outweighs the differences we may have.

The problem with our agreement on the vast majority of issues is that his vote on the FISA bill illustrates his inherent weakness and willingness to compromise when no comprise is needed simply to prove (which he fails to do with this vote) that he is strong on national security. This “aye” was unnecessary, dangerous, wrong, hurtful and potentially, yes, a deal breaker. Especially when assessing the guts of the bill, along with those who voted against it. On The Huffpo website, David Bromwich provides a very concise, yet in-depth look at the governmental powers granted with this legislation. I strongly recommend reading the blog and the readers’ comments below.

Among the senators who opposed the vote are Biden, Boxer, Dodd, Clinton, Byrd, Durbin, Feingold, Harkin, Kerry, Leahy, Reid and Levin.

The bottom line is that political agreements with a candidate are moot if the candidate does not have the political strength or fortitude to operate in accordance with that agreement.

Of course, Obama’s folding on FISA was a political calculation – that’s practically consensus. And I wish he could offer an honest defense of his vote; but, alas, this theater of election season would lead any such candor to damage the candidate.

Obama will be elected president barring any unforeseen, intensely damaging and highly unlikely circumstances. Though the media portrays the presidential race as close – it is a facade. McCain’s chances of succeeding in November, in my opinion, are around 1 in 5. Incumbent parties do not win when the economy is in the tank – mentally or not (and it’s not mental, Phil, when milk, bread, cereal, gas and all other necessities are more and more expensive and the dollar is weaker and weaker). McCain is not galvanizing and voter trust of most election issues points toward Obama. I wish Obama the best and will be hopeful as he takes his oath of office.

Furthermore, I applaud Obama’s willingness to work across the aisle and understand there will be areas in which he will break with Liberals. Support of faith-based community initiatives, for one (and this coming from an agnostic).

The FISA Act, however, is so detrimental to democracy itself, my respect for not just Obama himself, but the very idea of Obama has been irreparably damaged. I would encourage hardcore Obama supporters to keep this particular vote of his in mind when daydreaming of the days to come as he takes on the heavy mantle of President of the United States of America. Perfection at this level does not exist and any romance with a candidate will certainly abate over time.

I would never cast a vote for McFlip-Flop, nor would I ever stay home and waste a voting opportunity. Also, I am a thorough, complete supporter of a multi-party system. While I wanted to vote for Obama – and was excited to vote for him – my decision was not cast in stone. It still is not cemented. However, the odds I would pull the lever in support of him this November are greatly diminished. Truthfully, I am ever more looking in Nader’s direction.

If Obama’s political contributions continue to decline, I encourage him to address his FISA ’08 support with increased seriousness. This is no small issue for those of us who follow politics and government activity.

This weekend, I plan on purchasing Obama’s two books and will begin reading them with a large grain of salt. Perhaps this will allow me some insight behind this recent mind-boggling decision of his.

As of this point, Obama is not Hope and he is not Change We Can Believe In. He is merely Better Than Bush, but isn’t everybody else?




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