I just signed a petition calling for Judge Jay Bybee’s impeachment.
Judge Bybee, for those who aren’t aware, is currently under federal investigation by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility.
The investigation centers around a legal memo Bybee wrote during the Bush Administration, authorizing “enhanced” interrogation techniques- techniques that the Justice Department considers to be torture.
Mr. Bybee isn’t just in trouble in the good ol’ US of A either- he’s also being investigated in Spain for war crimes.
Currently, this not-so-nice guy enjoys a cushy gig as a federal judge in the 9th district.
Anyway, if you’re interested, the petition is being sponsored by Moveon.org.
If you aren’t interested, shame on you.
This is a morally bankrupt man.
A man that believes that torturing fellow humans is not only an appropriate action- but an action that makes us safer in our own beds at night.
He’s wrong, he’s criminal, and he needs to be held accountable for his actions.
By Andrew Heaslet, Coordinator, Peace Economy Project
What do clocks, socks, and glocks have in common? Socks, underwear, oil in a car, batteries in your smoke detector, Mr. Rogers’s cardigan sweater, and the time on your clocks on the evening of March 7th – what do these all have in common? These are all things that need changing.
In terms of word association, we should add to that list: the military procurement process, the military budget, our policies towards foreign military assistance, our ramping up of the war in Afghanistan, and the clout that military contractors wield via K street lobbying in our nation’s capital. They, too, desperately need changing.
And pushing for such change is precisely what the Peace Economy Project strives to achieve. That’s why we’ve taken a role in planning and forming the upcoming national campaign that’s being called “Beyond War, A New Economy is Possible.”
In 1967, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, in a speech at the Riverside Church in the Upper West Side of New York city called for change; a change of our national policies towards the giant triplets of Poverty, Racism, and Militarism. In this address, he warned, “A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death.”
Juxtaposed with the location of King’s historic speech in which he publicly came out against the war in Vietnam, less than 10 miles away, is today’s most famously beleaguered street in America, Wall Street.
This campaign is calling attention to the fact that King’s message, unfulfilled for more than 40 years, is related to the debacle on Wall Street. Because we didn’t change.
There is an enormous, near unanimous public outcry about our financial system that makes a house of cards look up to code. We’re furious at the fact that one man was able to cheat away $50 Billion from so many. But let’s face it, when placed next to the $165 Billion price tag of this past year in Iraq, $50 Billion isn’t looking so bad. The current $700 Billion propping up of the banking system, is, well, just a hair more than we’ve spent on the Iraq War already ($600B+), and, depending on how you break it down, ($800 Billion to $1.4 Trillion) right on par with how much we spend on the military every year. And that needs to change.
If, over the decades since his speech, our nation had, instead of investing trillions and trillions of dollars into superfluous military programs and get-rich-quick banking schemes, we had followed Dr King’s admonition to declare “eternal hostility to poverty, racism, and militarism,” one can only imagine the possibility of change we could have seen.
Despite the passage of time, Dr King’s message has not died. It is very much alive with the Peace Economy Project and with our roll in this national campaign. We’re calling for change. And at the tip of the spearhead of this call for change, is a call for a 25% reduction in total military spending. And from that point onward, we’ll be pushing for that long awaited realization of the change Dr King wanted us all to see. And by attending community events, donating to Justice and Peace Shares and the Peace Economy Project, by attending the upcoming statewide rally marking the 6th “Anniversary” of the war in Iraq in Columbia, MO on March 21st, or even going to New York City on April 4th, the 42nd anniversary of the good Doctor’s speech for the major rally of the Beyond War campaign, you’re doing the same thing you’re going to do tonight when you switch that clock and throw your socks and underwear in that laundry hamper… it’s all about change.
By Andrew Heaslet, guest Author, Coordinator, Peace Economy Project
“I refuse to accept the cynical notion that nation after nation must spiral down a militaristic stairway into the hell of nuclear annihilation… I believe that even amid today’s mortar bursts and whining bullets, there is still hope for a brighter tomorrow.”
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, Nobel Peace Prize Acceptance Address, Dec.10 1964
Out of Iraq and Afghanistan
A 16 Month Plan for Iraq is 16 Months Too Long
Reuters reported last December, “Obama said a new security pact between Iraq and the United States already put the United States on a “glide path” to pulling out of Iraq. He also noted that a “residual” U.S. force may need to remain in Iraq longer than combat troops.”
16 months does not fulfill our demand for “Troops Out Now,” and we will not be satisfied until every American serviceman and woman is back on US soil. “Residual” forces existing in Iraq is unacceptable. John McCain mused about being in Iraq for 50 to 100 years – if the American people wanted that, he, not Obama, would have been elected president.
End, Don’t Escalate the Occupation of Afghanistan.
There is No “Good War”
For all of his flaws, former president Bill Clinton has sagely said, “you cannot kill, occupy or imprison all your actual or potential adversaries… You have to try to build a world with more friends and fewer terrorists.”
The spouse of the current secretary of state’s words should be heeded, especially considering Foreign Policy in Focus’s Conn Hallinan words: “As the United States steps up its air war, civilian casualties have climbed steadily over the past two years. Nearly 700 were killed in the first three months of 2008, a major increase over last year. In a recent incident, 47 members of a wedding party were killed in Helmand Province. In a society where clan, tribe, and blood feuds are a part of daily life, that single act sowed a generation of enmity.”
Hallinan continues, “According to U.S. counter insurgency doctrine… Afghanistan would require at least 400,000 troops to even have a chance of “winning” the war. Adding another 10,000 [or 30,000] U.S. troops will have virtually no effect.”
Furthermore, Brigadier Mark Carleton-Smith, “Britain‘s most senior military commander in [Afghanistan]” has said “We’re not going to win this war,” and, according to the Telegraph.co.uk, “said the goal should be to find a non-violent resolution.”
Finally, the FY 2008 supplemental spending bill already pinned the cost of the war in Afghanistan at $173 billion. At a time when our economy needs a boost to the tune of a trillion dollars, increasing spending on an unwinnable war is not only a strategic mistake, but also a cost we simply cannot afford.
The United States should make nuclear disarmament the leading edge of a global trend towards demilitarization and redirection of military expenditures to meet human and environmental needs. (Nuclear Disorder or Cooperative Security?)
In 1995 testimony before the International Court of Justice, Hiroshima Mayor Takashi Hiraoka told the Court: “History is written by the victors. Thus, the heinous massacre that was Hiroshima has been handed down to us as a perfectly justified act of war. As a result, for over 50 years we have never directly confronted the full implications of this terrifying act for the future of the human race.”
The Nuclear Information Project has estimated that there are still more than 25,000 nuclear weapons in the world. The United States and Russia have by far the largest nuclear arsenals, with thousands of deployed weapons, capable of destroying any country and killing tens of millions. The United Kingdom, France and China each have hundreds of modern nuclear weapons and long-range missiles capable of carrying them. All of these countries promised the world, decades ago, when they signed onto the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), that they would negotiate to get rid of their nuclear arsenals. There are no such negotiations underway.
Remaining outside the NPT are India and Pakistan, believed to have fewer than 100 nuclear weapons each and engaged in an unpredictable new arms race; Israel, the only country in the Middle East with nuclear weapons, believed to have several hundred nuclear weapons that can be delivered by plane or missile; and North Korea, which claims to have conducted a single nuclear test in 2006 and which has not tested successfully any missiles that could carry a nuclear weapon to the United States. (Western States Legal Foundation Information Report, Fall 2006)
The United States is the only country that has used nuclear weapons in war. And it is the only country with nuclear weapons deployed on foreign soil. Nuclear weapons continue to play a central role in U.S. “national security” policy. Today the U.S. possesses approximately 9,400 nuclear warheads. Of these, some 2,200 strategic (long range) warheads are actively deployed on intercontinental ballistic missiles and at long range bomber bases. Another 500 or so tactical (short range) nuclear weapons are actively deployed, about 200 of them in Europe. (Federation of American Scientists, Strategic Security Blog)
But it’s not just about the numbers. A September 2008 Department of Defense report on the Air Force’s nuclear mission describes “the importance of nuclear deterrence” this way: “Though our consistent goal has been to avoid actual weapons use, the nuclear deterrence is ‘used’ every day by assuring friends and allies, dissuading opponents from seeking peer capability to the United States, deterring attacks on the United States and its allies from potential adversaries, and providing the potential to defeat adversaries if deterrence fails.”
The Pentagon’s 2001 Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) expanded the role of nuclear weapons in U.S. national security policy, including the possible use of nuclear weapons in “immediate, potential, or unexpected contingencies” and called for indefinite retention of a large, modern, and diverse nuclear force. The NPR has served as the primary justification for each subsequent annual nuclear weapons budget request as well as the current “Complex Transformation” plan to modernize the U.S. nuclear weapons laboratories and manufacturing plants for decades to come. (Western States Legal Foundation, Information Brief, Spring 2008)
According to a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace report entitled, Nuclear Security Spending: Assessing Costs, Examining Priorities ,in fiscal year 2008, the United States spent $52.4 billion on nuclear weapons programs alone. This staggering amount is a drop in the bucket compared to overall U.S. military spending ($711 billion), but it exceeds the entire military budgets of nearly every other country. In 2006, the last year for which figures are available, only China ($121.9 billion), Russia ($70 billion), the United Kingdom ($55.4 billion) and France ($54 billion) spent more on their militaries than the U.S. spent on its nuclear weapons. (CACNP)
Atomic Audit, a study by the Brookings Institution completed in 1998, found, as a conservative estimate, that the United States spent $5.5 trillion dollars on nuclear weapons from 1940–1996 (in constant 1996 dollars). The Brookings study found that nuclear weapons spending during the 56 year period it examined exceeded the combined total federal spending for education; training, employment, and social services; agriculture; natural resources and the environment; general science, space, and technology; community and regional development, including disaster relief; law enforcement; and energy production and regulation.
Bring all troops, everywhere, home. Now.
Former Cold War hawk and CIA analyst, Chalmers Johnson, has written: “As distinct from other peoples, most Americans do not recognize — or do not want to recognize — that the United States dominates the world through its military power. Due to government secrecy, our citizens are often ignorant of the fact that our garrisons encircle the planet. This vast network of American bases on every continent except Antarctica actually constitutes a new form of empire — an empire of bases with its own geography not likely to be taught in any high school geography class.” Without grasping the dimensions of this globe-girdling Baseworld, one can’t begin to understand the size and nature of our imperial aspirations or the degree to which a new kind of militarism is undermining our constitutional order.”
Noting that “official records on these subjects are misleading,” Johnson in 2004 estimated that the Pentagon maintains more than 700 overseas bases in about 130 countries, with an additional 6,000 bases in the United States and its territories. “These numbers,” he concluded, “although staggeringly large, do not begin to cover all the actual bases we occupy globally…. If there were an honest count, the actual size of our military empire would probably top 1,000 different bases in other people’s countries, but no one — possibly not even the Pentagon — knows the exact number for sure, although it has been distinctly on the rise in recent years.” According to Johnson, “Pentagon bureaucrats calculate that it would require at least $113.2 billion to replace just the foreign bases – surely far too low a figure but still larger than the gross domestic product of most countries. . . .”
When establishment of the new United States Northern Command was announced in April 2002, the official press release declared: “For the first time, commanders’ areas of operations cover the entire Earth.” DefenseLink.mil)
Military Industrial Complex
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.
Dwight D Eisenhower, Jan 17, 1961
James Quinn’s article entitled “The Economic Cost of the Military Industrial Complex” summarizes the current status of this nexus well: “The top five U.S. defense contractors generated almost $129 billion in revenues and $8 billion in profits in 2006, double the revenue and profits in 2000 when George Bush became President. The War on Terror has been a windfall for the defense industry and their shareholders. These companies have intertwined themselves into the fabric of our government and defense department. They contribute tremendous amounts of money to Congressional candidates and have thousands of lobbyists pushing for more defense contracts.” Boeing, for example, reported spending $16.6 million on lobbying in 2008 (opensecrets.org).
There is also the issue of the “revolving door,” where politicians cycle between governmental positions and private sector companies posing serious questions about conflict of interest. Famous examples are Dick Cheney, who went from the government to CEO of Halliburton, back to the government. In the new administration, Obama’s national security advisor, Gen James Jones (Ret.) sat on the board of major military contractor, Boeing as well as oil giant Chevron (TheHill.com). Additionally, a former Raytheon senior vice president now sits as the nation’s deputy defense secretary (Bloomberg.com).
B.R. Reece recently summarized some of the Economic Conversion guru, Seymour Melman’s arguments against the power of the Military Industrial Complex in a book review for The Peace Economy Project. “The defense industry profits through inefficiency at the expense of the general population,” she writes. “The difference is that consumers are free to purchase vehicles that are price competitive, efficient, have high technical standards and low failure rates, and so the inability of domestic automakers to produce competitive vehicles has resulted in lost sales. No such situation exists in defense contracting: inefficiencies and losses are absorbed by the taxpayer, not by the producer. The contractors thus have an incentive not only to ignore the hemorrhaging created by inefficiencies, but to build in greater inefficiencies in the form of huge bureaucracies, inefficient production and innovation practices, and pricing methods designed to maximize cost to the final purchaser (a practice that would be impossible to sustain if the company had to compete for buyers).” Melman’s commentary, though 35 years old, still describe the waste we encounter today; a 2005 NY Times article notes, “The Pentagon has more than 80 major new weapons systems under development… Their combined cost, already $300 billion over budget [emphasis added], is $1.47 trillion and climbing.”
The Pentagon is NOT a Jobs Engine
Jobs should never be used as a justification to produce instruments of war.
31 year veteran of the defense analysis field, Winslow Wheeler has written extensively against the idea that Pentagon should be used as a jobs program: “With its huge overhead costs, glacial payout rates and ultra-high costs of materials, I believe the Pentagon can generate jobs by spending but neither as many nor as soon as is suggested.
“…even if Congress appropriated today the USD11 billion needed for [60 new F-22s], the work would not start until 2010: too late for the stimulus everyone agrees is needed now.
“…if employment is the aim, it makes more sense to cut defence spending and use the money in programmes that do it better. As for the defence budget, less money offers the opportunity for reform – just what the doctor ordered. Despite high levels of spending, the combat formations of the services are smaller than at any point since 1946. Major equipment is, on average, older, and, according to key measurables, our forces are less ready to fight.”
The Center for Economic and Policy Research released a report in mid 2007 noting the following: “It is often believed that wars and military spending increases are good for the economy… In fact, most economic models show that military spending diverts resources from productive uses, such as consumption and investment, and ultimately slows economic growth and reduces employment.”
A 2007 University of Massachusetts, Amherst study wrote that dollars invested in alternatives to defense spending such as education, healthcare, mass transit, or even tax cuts “create more jobs and,” potentially, provide “both an overall higher level of compensation… and a better average quality of jobs.”
An honest look at the defense industry does show that millions of jobs are related to massive military contracts but it does not have to remain this way. As the above comments demonstrate, creating jobs in other sectors would be a more effective means of widespread employment. The workers who design, build, and maintain these elaborate, high priced machines are incredibly skilled workers whom could relatively easily be retrained to produce goods that create and maintain higher levels of capital.
Our current military philosophy and actions are unnecessarily dragging our nation to the poorhouse. If we actively confront the threats of illness, disease, poverty, racism, unemployment, and the environmental crisis, our dollars will create more jobs and capital and will finally honor the words of one of our nation’s greatest heroes, Dr Martin Luther King Jr.
* It should be noted that increasing reliance on biofuel is controversial. A Sustainable Energy Future is Possible Now, a report by Abolition 2000, warns that “unconstrained industrial biofuel production will produce dire consequences for the natural environment.” Concerns range from biofuel feedstock taking priority over food crops due to limited arable land, to use of pesticides, to widespread deforestation. The report makes the case that solar, wind, and geothermal power, tidal and smaller scale hydro-electric energy, and hydrogen fuel are good choices for the economy, citing a University of California finding that sustainable energy sources provide more jobs “per MW of power installed, per unit of energy produced, and per dollar investment than the fossil fuel-based energy sector.” The report concludes that “switching to sustainable energy would have an added benefit of promoting democratic values and the international aspirations embodied in the United Nations.”
A “renaissance” in nuclear energy is being promoted as part of the solution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But nuclear power is fraught with problems including the potential for proliferation of nuclear weapons by virtue of the connection between nuclear power and nuclear weapons materials and technologies; the potential for catastrophic accidents; the unsolved problem of nuclear waste storage and disposition; and the very high financial costs associated with all aspects of nuclear power production.
The United States can and should implement energy production, distribution, and use policies that will phase out the use of fossil fuels and nuclear power by the year 2050. A recent book, Carbon-Free and Nuclear-Free: A Roadmap for U.S. Energy Policy, by the Institute for Environmnetal and Energy Research and the Nuclear Policy Reseach Institute, provides a detailed analysis that shows that this goal is technically and economically feasible. The Roadmap lays out how we can get from a 4 percent reliance on fossil fuels and nuclear energy (as of 2005) to none by mid-century. Oil imports would be completely eliminated along the way.
Document compiled and organized by:
Andy Heaslet, Coordinator of the St Louis based Peace Economy Project
Part II of Andrew Heaslet’s (Coordinator, Peace Economy Project) talking points, dealing with Racism.
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
Martin Luther King Jr., Letter from Birmingham Jail, April 16, 1963
While the election of Barack Obama represents a giant landmark in overcoming racial barriers, Racism is far from behind us. The income and healthcare gaps illustrated above show clearly that minorities, particularly Blacks and Hispanics, are significantly disadvantaged compared to their white counterparts. The following statistics further show the distance still to be overcome by minority citizens in order to be at a level of prosperity equal to their white peers.
Criminal Justice System
Racism runs rampant throughout the “justice” system and must be stopped.
“At year end 2007 there were 3,138 black male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 black males in the United States, compared to 1,259 Hispanic male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 Hispanic males and 481 white male sentenced prisoners per 100,000 white males.”
Dr Manning Marable, a Columbia University Professor and director of the Center for Contemporary Black History, has written, “In practical terms, by 2001, about one out of every six African-American males had experienced jail or imprisonment. Based on current trends, over one out of three black men will experience imprisonment during their lives.” (Incarceration vs. Education: Reproducing Racism and Poverty in America)
An organization called “the Rights Working Group,” explains how immigrants are often targets and victims of profiling by law enforcement officers: “The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regularly conducts warrantless and aggressive raids on homes and workplaces to round up hundreds of immigrants, often sweeping up legal residents and citizens. Raid victims are often detained without access to counsel or a phone call to contact family members…
“Individuals detained by DHS, including vulnerable populations like the elderly, infirm, refugees and children, are being held in inhumane and overcrowded conditions often without charges for months and even years.”
The Washington Post tells us that between 2003 and 2008, “Some 83 [immigrant] detainees have died in, or soon after, custody.” Conditions are dangerous and inhumane. The same article quotes a former detention center nurse saying, “Dogs get better care in the dog pound.” In a recent case of blatant disregard for human dignity by law enforcement officials, “more than 200 men in shackles and prison stripes were marched under armed guard past a gantlet of TV cameras to a tent prison encircled by an electric fence” under the orders of Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio. (NY Times 2/5/09)
Since 2001, Arab Americans and Muslims have been victims of racial and religious profiling by local and federal law enforcement, especially via the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) “Operation Front Line.” The Yale Daily News notes, “’Though Operation Front Line claimed to target terrorist suspects, it was actually targeting people from Muslim majority nations…’ But in looking at a random sampling of hundreds of cases, it became clear that there were no crimes or immigration violations shared by those targeted… In fact, 250 of the 300 random sample cases given to the [Yale] Law School cited no immigration-related violations. The only feature the targeted group shared was that 79 percent of those targeted were from mostly Muslim nations.”
Black and Hispanic Poverty
Estimated Median Income 2007: White $52,115 – Black $33,916 – Hispanic $38,679
(2007 Census data, pg 7)
“Predatory lending practices and slumping real estate markets threaten hundreds of thousands of American families with the imminent loss of their to foreclosure. Given the disparate number of African Americans and other racial and ethnic minority Americans who have been and continue to be targeted by predatory lenders, the foreclosure crisis is certain to be especially severe in communities of color across the nation.” NAACP letter to the Senate, Feb. 22, 2008 (Center for Responsible Lending)
“A United for a Fair Economy estimate in January (2008) put the wealth loss for people of color at between $164 billion and $213 billion, roughly half [emphasis added] the nation’s overall loss. “
(The Subprime Swindle – How Banks Stole Black America’s Future, by Kai Wright.)
Thirty percent of white adults had at least a bachelor’s degree in 2005, while 17 percent of black adults and 12 percent of Hispanic adults had degrees.
(MSNBC: Census report: Broad racial disparities persist)
Statistically, African-American youths are two to three times more likely than whites to be suspended, and far more likely to be corporally punished or expelled. Also from the ACLU study, “nationally, African American students comprise 17 percent of the student population, but account for 36 percent of school suspensions and 31 percent of expulsions. (Incarceration vs. Education: Reproducing Racism and Poverty in America)
Just because a minority has reached the highest level of power, this nation cannot allow itself to become lazy when it comes to confronting the very ugly reality that racism and disparity between races that exists. Continuing with Affirmative Action, supporting home-ownership among minorities, investing in education, especially in urban centers, a re-evaluation of policies imprisoning non-violent offenders, and widespread, frank discussions of the realities that exist regarding attitudes towards minorities may represent a path towards overcoming racism and racial inequalities.
I watched John McCain on Meet the Press this morning.
What a cranky old man.
Tom Brokaw was a gracious host… and wasn’t terribly tough on McCain… though he did ask him a few hot-button issue-type questions…
A few times, I really thought McCain was about to blow a fuse or have a coronary or something.
I wonder if they had an ambulance standing by… you know… just in case?
This man is not only a danger to our country, but he’s a danger to his own health…
I have serious concerns about a man who wants to lead the free world and can’t hold it together- keep his temper in check- during an interview in which he’s simply asked about his sagging numbers in the polls.
Barack Obama, in contrast, has been called an Arab, a terrorist, a n*gger, a halfbreed Muslim (not that there’s anything wrong with being a halfbreed or a Muslim), a Communist, a Socialist, a Marxist, his wife has been portrayed as a scary left-wing black panther nut, he’s had his life threatened, his patriotism and citizenship questioned…
… And has managed to remain calm and likeable, presidential in demeanor, and he never lost his sense of humor, let alone his temper as a result of any of it.
Obama is simply ready to lead.
He has handled himself so well in contrast to McCain that I find myself believing that Senator Barack Obama was born to take on this role.
These are legitimately scary times… certainly scary enough without the added hate-fueled lies that the McCain campaign has endorsed and helped spread about the Dems and Barack Obama.
McCain is a mess.
I was trying to explain the presidential election- along with the fundamental differences between Republicans and Democrats to my 10 year old Diva.
I explained that the way to choose which nominee to vote for is to decide for herself what issues are most important to her, and then select the candidate that most closely resembles her ideals.
We talked about the historic nature of this election- how no matter who wins, history will be made.
I told her how exciting it is that if McCain should win, this country will have its first female Vice President, going on to explain that should Obama win, we will have our first black President.
It is great to know that by casting my vote, I will become a part of our nation’s history…
I think that’s worth repeating:
By casting my vote, I will be an active part of my country’s history.
My Diva (like everyone else on the planet) knows I am voting for Barack Obama…
So remaining neutral while trying to explain the dynamics of the upcoming election was no easy task… but it was important that I not tell her who to support or why…
My child needs to know how to think independently… I am raising a diva after all… not a sheep.
We talked about some of the reasons people may choose to vote for McCain/Palin, as well as why folks may decide to vote for Obama/Biden.
I reminded her that there is no right answer or wrong answer… that as long as she’s involved… and making her decisions based on what is important to her…
… She will always make the right choice.
She got on the computer for a while… saying she had some “research” to do… and then later…
The diva, complete genius that she is, informed me that she is voting for Obama.
Not one to allow anyone off the hook… even if she is the apple-of-my-eye… I asked her why- specifically-
“Because”, she says, “I did what you said- I thought about what’s important. Too many Americans and innocent Iraqis are dying every day. Nothing’s more important than that. We have to make it stop. I think Obama can help.”
Clearly my Diva is well on her way.
I was wrong.
Shocking I know, but it does happen occassionally. The good news is, I’m not the only one who screwed up on this one. Most of y’all did too.
It appears that the media got a little over-zealous with regards to Obama “flip-flopping” on Iraq. Those of us political nutzos in the blogosphere jumped on this story only to find out that… well… it wasn’t actually a story after all.
Seems my pal (well he’d be my pal if he knew who I was- I’m certain of it) Obama did not flip-flop.
Allow me to break this shit down for you.
Here’s what happened- McCain’s campaign recently looked deeply into their crystal ball and decided that Obama would… eventually, someday, probably… flip-flop on his Iraq stance. It hadn’t actually happened but because McCain said it will happen… most likely… the mainstream media jumped all over it, reporting on it as if it had happened.
Reminds me of that nutty psychic lady Cleo… only worse. People actually take this joker McCain seriously.
Before long both supporters and opponents of Obama were beating the hell out of him for his “change of position”.
I must admit, I was one of those people… I’m now hanging my head in shame.
Stepping out of the psychic realm, jumping into reality, here’s how it went down.
McCain manipulated a simple statement of Obama’s- regarding his upcoming trip to Iraq. Obama had merely said he was going to visit the region so he could make a more thorough assessment of what was happening over there… using a firsthand viewpoint to refine his strategy- if necessary- with regards to the war.
That’s all he said, folks.
McCain jumped on that- somehow twisting the meaning around and simultaneously shoving it down the media’s throat.
Before we knew what had hit us, the headlines were screaming, “OBAMA FLIP-FLOPS STANCE ON WAR”.
Now that we know it didn’t happen, now that we know McCain played a dirty trick on the media and the American people in general, where’s that story?
When the world was convinced that Obama had blatantly reversed his position we couldn’t get away from the headlines.
They were everywhere.
We now know he didn’t reverse his position after all.
We’ve also learned that the media is gullible as hell and no longer feels the need to verify the crap they decide to throw our direction.
Beyond that we also know that McCain, at best, will play games to win a few votes. At worst, he’s a lying old-as-dirt scumbag who will stop at nothing to win the election.
Why isn’t that just as big- if not bigger- a story?
McCain, with the help of the “let’s just run with it” media has made an ass out of us… I don’t understand why we aren’t just a littled ticked off by that.
Personally, I do a great job of making an ass of myself- by myself… I don’t need this guy contributing to that cause.
Barack Obama has made a colossal mistake.
I realize his statements in North Dakota Thursday were part of an attempt to boost his appeal among more centrist voters but…
He really blew it.
Regardless of his motives, he just came across as another wishy-washy politician, someone who is willing to alter his views, his very beliefs, based on what will get him the most votes.
Very typical of most political types… but atypical of Obama… and quite disappointing.
This flip-floppin’ stance on Iraq may very well have cost him the election.
Mr. Obama has always stated- unequivocally- that should he be elected President, he will immediately launch an exit strategy to get our troops out of Iraq.
His website details a plan to do so within 16 months of his inauguration.
He isn’t so sure about that anymore.
He’s backing away from those statements, and now it looks like it’s possible that even with Obama in office, Iraq will continue to be the embarrassing, deadly clusterfuck of a nightmare that it has been up to now.
Obama’s comments were part of his attempt to move closer to the center and away from the left… the strategy being that such a shift would ultimately attract swing voters.
Ironically, it will likely be those same voters who will now go running straight to McCain.
Obama’s appeal has always been based in large part on the fact that he stands strong for what he believes. Even when his position is an unpopular one… even when his colleagues are pressuring him to change his mind.
Personally, I think there were a lot of Independent voters, even some conservatives who prior to Thursday were planning to vote for Obama… because they recognize we need a completely different approach to Iraq…
McCain will be another four years of the same.
A lot of people, social conservatives, were willing to vote for Obama, regardless of the fact that he doesn’t hold the same views as them on such issues as abortion and the death penalty… but they were so desperate for a fix to this Iraq fiasco… they were willing to make some concessions and elect him anyway.
Obama was the guy who could make the difference and get us the heck out of this nonsense-of-a-war… a much needed about-face from the Bush Administration.
Many of those conservatives and middle-of-the-road people who were willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt are now going to shift their support back to McCain.
Every day I find myself more and more surprised that Senator John McCain is actually considered a viable candidate for president.
I have to wonder if Ashton Kucher is behind all this nonsense, and we’re really all just getting Punk’d.
Really, how the heck does anyone take this guy seriously?
Most recently, good ol’ McCain was makin’ the rounds, appearing on the Today Show.
As one would expect, the topic of conversation quickly turned to Iraq, and our “occupation” over there (I prefer the term cluster-fuck, but I’m trying to be nice).
He was asked if he knew when we would start bringing our troops home…
Wow. It’s not?
McCain went on to clarify- he actually feels that the casualties we’re incurring over there are more important than bringing our troops home.
Now I’m no war expert or anything… but… um… wouldn’t the casualties, oh, I don’t know… end altogether… if we brought the troops home?
So what- this guy’s plan is to keep our troops over there until there are no more casualties and then bring ’em home?
Yea. Cuz that makes all kinds of sense.
If we weren’t talking about people dying, this would almost be humorous… almost.
I love how those of us who are against this war are constantly being accused of not supporting our troops… and yet the guy those great “troop supporters” want to elect doesn’t even want to bring them home.
In the words of the Great Alanis Morissette… Isn’t it ironic?