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Thread: Race for the White House

  1. #2416

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    Glenn Greenwald:
    ...the statement contains many dubious claims and, in a couple cases, outright misleading statements. Worse, Obama's statement only addressed the objections to the telecom immunity provisions of the bill, while ignoring the objections to the (at least) equally pernicious new warrantless eavesdropping powers the bill authorizes.

  2. #2417

    Wink

    @BR

    2 words .. Supreme Court. Their rulings will shape this country's culture for generations to come.

    Of course you are free to vote or not vote as you choose, but the ramifications of left leaners choosing not to vote are significant. A minimum of two justices will be selected over the next 4-8 years, and McCain has already promised to select justices sympathetic to the right, and you can bet he means religious right. This group has been ready for this moment for years, there is no doubt that they have a list of folks all teed up and ready to go If Stevens and Ginsberg go and are replaced by young constructionalists who will sit on the bench for the next 20 or 30 years to come. That means the court will swing from 4-5 or 5-4 to 7-2 or 6-3 for the right and stay that way. The potential for damage is huge.

    There are other reasons to support Obama as well. Deep down inside, I think we all know McCain is a Neocon hawk. He'll go to war with Iran and keep us there forever. God knows where else we'll fight. Deep down inside I feel the man believes we should be in a perpetual state of war.

    For my part, I cannot excuse the FISA legislation, it is a disgrace. But the I look at the continual funding of Faith Based Groups slightly differently than you do. While I remain concerned about separation of church and state, because Obama's social agenda differs from that of Bush, I do not worry as much about this tool being used to promote non-sectarian principles. To that end, I see the FBG as representing delivery channels augmenting other Govt and non-faith groups in order to deliver human service aid to the poor and homeless, etc... Because I see them as nothing more than channels and because I do not see these programs as faith based, I am willing to make the compromise, uncomfortably, but make it none the less

    I prefer to think of this approach as being pragmatic. My sense is that you may refer to it in less flattering terms .

    I know where you are coming from on Obama. In the early stages of his campaign I had the same misgivings about his lack of record and the resulting uncertainty on where he will end up on the issues. In fact you and I exchanged posts in that regard. To a large extent he turned me around with his rhetoric and as he moves back to center, some of those fears are returning. But that ship sailed for me.

    If you want to know what know what kind of difference even an imperfect but competent dem president can make, think about how different this country would be today had Gore defeated Bush in 2000. That is perhaps the best reason of all for holding your nose and visiting the ballot, which is what I did in 2004 for Kerry.

    Sorry about the typos. No glasses today.
    Last edited by eddhead; July 4th, 2008 at 10:20 AM.

  3. #2418
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    Activist: Obama defense of FISA support a 'stiff arm' to constitution

    After more than a week of growing criticism of his support for a flawed surveillance bill, Barack Obama quietly responded late Thursday evening. He's not likely to quell his growing cadre of critics.

    In a blog response posted just before 5 p.m. headed into a three-day holiday weekend, Obama reiterated his support for an update to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act the Senate is expected to vote on Tuesday. (No mention of the blog post seems to have been distributed to Obama's normal press list, either.)

    Obama says he is against a provision in the bill to give legal immunity to telecommunications companies that facilitated the National Security Agency's warrantless surveillance of Americans as authorized by President Bush. He vowed to support amendments that would strip immunity but would vote for the final bill regardless.

    "It's a stiff arm to the people that care about the Constitution," said Mike Stark, a blogger and liberal activist who started a group on Obama's social networking page to urge him to fix the FISA bill.

    "It's left a question in a lot of people's mind about how committed he really is to change," Stark told RAW STORY.

    Responding to the 17,000 supporters who made the group the largest on my.barackobama.com, the Democratic candidate said he was glad to hear their concerns but reminded them that they really didn't have any other choice in this election.

    "I think it is worth pointing out that our agreement on the vast majority of issues that matter outweighs the differences we may have," Obama wrote. "After all, the choice in this election could not be clearer."

    Justifying his support for the FISA bill, Obama cited a provision in the latest version that provides FISA is the "exclusive means" through which a president can authorize surveillance. Of course, the original FISA bill, passed in 1978, had the same qualification, and three federal judges have ruled that President Bush did not have inherent authority to conduct warrantless surveillance like he claimed to have had.

    He also noted the fact that surveillance authorizations under the Protect America Act, a stopgap FISA update Obama opposed when it passed last year, would expire in August. Glenn Greenwald debunks this justification here.

    If opponents of Bush's warrantless wiretapping program can take any encouragement from Obama's statement, it is that he does repeat earlier pledges to instruct his Attorney General to fully investigate just what Bush authorized, if he's elected.

    "Given the choice between voting for an improved yet imperfect bill, and losing important surveillance tools, I've chosen to support the current compromise," he writes. "I do so with the firm intention -- once Im 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."

    Stark allowed that electing Obama remained the larger goal for him, but said the disappointment many feel about his decision to support FISA could linger even if he were elected.

    "Of course I'm going to vote for him in November," he said. But "we're keeping score, and there's going to be a time when he needs us. ... We have long memories."

  4. #2419
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    So, he states that the bill he is voting FOR he hopes to change with future legislation rather than simply getting it right first time around.

    He further implies that people will vote for him anyway, because he represents "change".

    I don't think so. It smacks of arrogance.

    If he is so certain the the immunity provision is wrong and should be stripped away, why not lead that fight and make his argument now?

    I can list a thousand offensive and arrogant things McCain has said as well. I'm not arguing that he is the better candidate. I'm just saying that Obama is nothing new and doesn't represent any change from the Washington establishment he sought to portray as out of step with "real" American's concerns.

    As for the Supreme Court, which law will they uphold on this issue? The retroactive law that this bill enacts or the retroactive law that this bill enacts? The law is the law. If the law is flawed, so will any ruling on it.

    This bill kills the right to privacy as both phone service and Internet service are provided by telecoms.

    The contention by Obama that there are clear differences between him and McCain is compromised by the clear similarities as well.

    There are also clear differences between Mccain and Obama in comparison to Bob Barr and other candidates that get no press. However, we live in a mindset that only two party candidates matter. Not really.

  5. #2420

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    ... but reminded them that they really didn't have any other choice in this election.
    That statement got my blood boiling!

  6. #2421

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    While I can understand the disappointment around Obama's turn to the right and what is arguably (if not unpredictably) duplicitous "revised" positions, I find it hard to believe that anyone can believe that there is little more than a marginal differences between the two major candidates in terms of their vision, policy initiatives, geopolitical views, and likely appointees. But if you really real the difference really is on the margins, but all means abstain. Just don't be surprised one morning to find justice stevens gone, and justive alito the 2nd on the bench. And what will that mean? Well, if Govt based funding of Faith Based Initiatives is really your thing, you'll really be in for a treat. And you can forget about racial, ethical, gender and sexual orientation based diversity programs in Universities and in the Public and Private Sector.

    Remember the Rehnquist court decided in favor of a racial diversity program at the University of Michigan law school that provided for different acceptance standards for minorities by a 5-4 vote. The basis for that ruling which was in large measure supported by US Army, as well as numerous private sector friend of the court writs was that under-represented cultural segments diminish the experience of all those who participate within a cultural group, be it a university or public/private sector groups. This ruling established much the guidance used today within educational as well as public and private sector groups for racie, ethnic, gender and sexual orientation based diversity programs. Take out O'Connor and add another Alito and that program does not get passed.

    It goes without saying that Roe v Wade is also history. Take out Kennedy and add another Roberts and Gitmo prisoners are denied Habius Corpus. There are dozens of other cases that go the wrong way if the right gets to choose the next justice.

    You may think the difference is on the margins. I strongly urge you to reconsider.

    Again, sorry about the typos. It sucks getting old and losing your reading glasses.

  7. #2422

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider View Post
    So, he states that the bill he is voting FOR he hopes to change with future legislation rather than simply getting it right first time around.
    How was his vote going to get it right?

  8. #2423
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    I'd think that if someone is opposed to a portion of a bill that offers immunity to possible criminal offenses you'd fight to prevent that law from being passed.

    Is he going to go through the campaign saying, "Yes, I voted for it, but I don't agree with it"?

  9. #2424

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    At least this bill supports the concept that FISA is the exclusive means to permit telephonic wire tapping. Had it not been passed, I am not so sure the executive would have recognized FISA's authority. So what we have is a badly flawed bill that at least curtails executive authority in some way.

    Notwithstanding that comment, I agree with you, the provision of the bill immunizing telecoms is inexcusable and by itself justifies a down vote in my eyes. And the comment about the choice not being clearer is assumes a lot with respect to the support he can expect from the people who worked to make him the presumptive nominee. But it is true, the choice really could not be clearer.

  10. #2425

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRider View Post
    I'd think that if someone is opposed to a portion of a bill that offers immunity to possible criminal offenses you'd fight to prevent that law from being passed.
    What I was going for is will his vote decide the outcome.

    The answer is no; it has more than the required support. So you would have Obama wage a losing battle in the Senate against a bill that will pass anyway. The people who understand the constitutional issues and are upset by this are not going to vote for McCain. But the people who will decide key swing-states in the election are not going to see it that way.

    To them it will simply be terrorism and security. And that's just how McCain's campaign will frame it. And we'll have President McCain, and FISA, and AG Giuliani to oversee it.

  11. #2426

    Angry Poster Child




    credit in image

  12. #2427

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    The poll also shows both candidates improving on their perceived weak points.

    ... Finally, the latest CNN poll results indicate that, regardless of who wins in November, most Americans do not believe the bitter partisanship that has characterized national politics in recent years will come to an end.

    July 3, 2008
    CNN Poll: Voters say both candidates likeable, flip-floppers

    From CNN Senior Political Researcher Alan Silverleib



    (CNN) – How do voters feel about the two major-party presidential candidates this year?

    As the marathon 2008 campaign for the White House enters its final four months, a solid majority views both Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain favorably. At the same time, a majority of voters also believes both men are flip-floppers who will change their opinions for political reasons. Voters are also skeptical that either man will be able to end the partisan gridlock in Washington.

    According to a new CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, 63 percent of registered voters have a favorable opinion of Obama, while 59 percent have a favorable opinion of McCain. Roughly one-third of voters hold a negative view of both candidates.

    Compared to President Bush, whose approval ratings continue to hover around 30 percent, both candidates are seen in a remarkably positive light. Judged against the favorable ratings of past presidential nominees at this stage of the campaign, however, Obama and McCain are registering typical favorability numbers.




    Obama and McCain are viewed favorably…
    as flip-floppers.

    [Where do they get these photos? - Z ]


    "In previous elections we have often seen both candidates get favorable ratings over 50 percent at this stage," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In mid-summer, both parties tend to be unified behind their candidates but the negative ads have generally not yet started."

    The poll also shows both candidates improving on their perceived weak points.

    The number of voters who think Obama has enough experience to be president has increased by eight points since March (40 to 48 percent), while the number of voters who say McCain cares about people like themselves has increased by seven points (51 to 58 percent).

    McCain, however, still holds a sizeable advantage over Obama on the issue of experience, with 76 percent of voters saying the Arizona senator has the right experience to be president. Obama, on the other hand, continues to hold a significant edge on the question of caring, with 67 percent of voters saying the Illinois senator “cares about people like you.”

    Do voters believe that the two presumptive presidential nominees are willing to stick their principles regardless of the political consequences? Not exactly.


    Sixty-one percent of voters believe that McCain has changed his mind for political reasons; 37 percent do not. Fifty-nine percent of voters believe that Obama also shifts positions with the political winds; 38 percent do not.

    That's a change from 2004, according to Holland. “One of the reasons President Bush won reelection in 2004 was that only one-third of voters believed he would change his policy positions because of changing political dynamics. Most voters, on the other hand, believed that John Kerry was a flip-flopper.”

    As the general election continues to heat up, charges of flip-flopping and political opportunism are becoming a more regular occurrence on the campaign trail.

    On Tuesday, while en route to Colombia, McCain argued, “I don't switch my position depending on what audience or what time it is in the electoral calendar…. I believe that [voters] will more and more see where Senator Obama has switched his positions on fundamental issues. The one thing they want is trust and confidence in their leadership, and I think I will win in that area.”

    Campaigning today in North Dakota, Obama replied by saying that McCain “is a person who opposed Bush's tax cuts before he was for them, who opposed drilling in the continental shelf before he was for [it]. [McCain] has reversed himself on a range of very substantive issues during the course of this campaign, and so I'd be happy to have a debate about consistency with John McCain.”

    According to CNN Senior Political Analyst Bill Schneider, the flip-flopping charge may not resonate as much with voters this year as it did in the past. “So what if voters think both candidates are flip-floppers?” asked Schneider. “After eight years of George W. Bush, voters may welcome some pragmatism and flexibility in their leaders. Times change.”

    Finally, the latest CNN poll results indicate that, regardless of who wins in November, most Americans do not believe the bitter partisanship that has characterized national politics in recent years will come to an end.

    Only 43 percent of voters believe that Sen. Obama can end the partisan gridlock if he is elected; 52 percent do not. Thirty-one percent of voters believe that Sen. McCain can end the gridlock; 64 percent do not.

    The poll, conducted June 26-29, surveyed 906 registered voters and carries a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.



    2008 Cable News Network LP, LLLP. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved.

  13. #2428

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    Quote Originally Posted by ZippyTheChimp View Post
    What I was going for is will his vote decide the outcome.
    So it is ok to vote against your conscience provided your vote won't change the outcome anyway?? I may be pragmatic but I am not that cynical, especially coming from someone who is supposed to be a new breed of politician.

    This is why people hate washington politics.

  14. #2429
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    Default I thought this was a good piece.

    Commentary: How dare they rip the Fourth Amendment?

    By Joseph L. Galloway | McClatchy Newspapers

    Early next week the U.S. Senate will vote on an extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, with a few small amendments intended to immunize telecommunications corporations that assisted our government in the warrantless and illegal wiretapping it has grown to love.

    That such a gutting of the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution even made it out of committee is yet another stain on the gutless and seemingly powerless Democratic majority in both houses of Congress.

    That a majority on both sides of the aisle not least of them the presumptive nominees for president of both political parties intend to vote for such a violation of Americans' right to privacy and of the sanctity of their personal communications is a stunning surrender to those who want us to live in fear forever.

    We are living in a time when the right of habeas corpus which simply put is your right to be brought before a proper court of law where the government is made to prove that there is good and legal reason to detain you recently survived by a margin of only one vote at the U.S. Supreme Court.

    Now these bad actors are prepared to set aside your right to privacy written into the Constitution as a key part of our Bill of Rights with hardly a nod in the direction of the true patriots who rebelled against an English king and his army to guarantee those rights.

    That they will do this while the last empty phrases of the political windbags at the Fourth of July celebrations are still echoing across a thousand city parks and the bright red, white and blue bunting and blizzard of American flags still flap in the breeze is little short of breath-taking.

    How dare they?

    Those denizens of the White House and Capitol Hill and all those gray granite buildings that line avenues with names like Constitution and Independence in the nation's capitol would have us believe that we must trade our rights, all of our rights, for some measure of security from the terrorists.

    They would have us believe that a nation of 300 million people must surrender what a million other Americans gave their lives in war to protect in order to protect us from a couple of hundred fanatics hiding in caves in Waziristan.

    Benjamin Franklin himself wrote of such a debate:

    "Those who can give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety."

    The fact that British troops, operating on flimsy general warrants handed out by local magistrates, were kicking in the doors of ordinary Americans and rifling through their pantries and papers in search of smuggled, untaxed goods was a prime reason why our ancestors rebelled against their king and went to war.

    This is WHY we celebrate the Fourth of July. This is why the vote on renewing the expanded version of FISA and whitewashing the egregious violations of the Fourth Amendment for seven long years by our government is important.

    If neither John McCain, the Republican, or Barrack Obama, the Democrat, can find the courage to oppose such a violation of so basic a right, then what are we to do for a president, a successor to George W. Bush, The Decider, who has since 9/11 decided what rights you are entitled to keep, what laws he will or will not obey, and whether you will be protected by these words of the Constitution:

    "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

    That's it. That's the Fourth Amendment. That is what these folks in Washington, D.C., have violated continuously and in secret for seven long years.

    Somewhere across an ocean and a desert, hiding in his cave, a man of hate named Osama bin Laden is laughing up the sleeve of his dirty robe at the thought that he and a small handful of fellow fanatics could tie a great nation in knots knots of fear stoked by our own leaders.

    We have done incalculably more and greater damage to ourselves since September 11, 2001, than a thousand bin Ladens and ten thousand al Qaida recruits could ever have done to us.

    Franklin D. Roosevelt famously declared that "we have nothing to fear but fear itself." Now it would seem that we have no one to fear but ourselves and our leaders.

    The questions I pose are these:

    How can even one senator on either side of the aisle in good conscience vote in favor of this law that does nothing to enhance our security and everything to diminish our rights as a free people?

    How can both men who seek to become our next president cast such a vote when both should be standing shoulder-to-shoulder declaring that they would govern by our consent and with our approval, not by wielding the coercive and corrosive and corrupt powers that King George III and his latter-day namesake from Texas thought are theirs by divine right?

    http://www.mcclatchydc.com/100/story/43123.html

  15. #2430

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    ... and if someone who was tapped sues a telecom over the constitutionality of the legislation the case goes to the Supreme Court they the legislation will be supported by a 5-4 vote or 6-3 vote. Guaranteed.

    So much for 'constructionalist' judges.

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