August 8, 2007

Obama Deserves the Progressive Vote

The media, right, left and in-between, is distorting Barack Obama’s words and record so much that I cannot take it anymore. Please consider these corrections of unreported/misrepresented facts regarding Senator Barack Obama’s foreign and domestic policies:

Obama on the NSA Surveillance Act that makes US spying on US citizens legal and uncontestable for six months, and that just disgracefully passed with some Democrats’ support of the Republican bill: Obama votes Nay. What about DLC Dems like Lieberman (Independent when convenient) and Sen. Feinstein? Both voted "aye". My Dem Sen. Boxer? No vote.

And what about Hillary? Whatever Obama does, she follows if the netroots is watching; otherwise she'd vote with her DLC Dems. John Edwards if he could vote? Look at his record
Edwards was a DLC member who voted closer to Repubs than almost all other Dems when he was Senator. Obama directly excluded himself from membership in the DLC when they saw he was a viable IL Senate candidate and courted him.

Obama on Foreign Policy: Obama spoke not only against the Iraq War Resolution in his speech at an anti-Iraq war rally in October 2002, but against nuclear proliferation, and against US arms merchants, and calling for true democratic reforms from our allies:

"You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to make sure that the UN inspectors can do their work, and that we vigorously enforce a non-proliferation treaty, and that former enemies and current allies like Russia safeguard and ultimately eliminate their stores of nuclear material, and that nations like Pakistan and India never use the terrible weapons already in their possession, and that the arms merchants in our own country stop feeding the countless wars that rage across the globe. You want a fight, President Bush?

Let's fight to make sure our so-called allies in the Middle East, the Saudis and the Egyptians, stop oppressing their own people, and suppressing dissent, and tolerating corruption and inequality, and mismanaging their economies so that their youth grow up without education, without prospects, without hope, the ready recruits of terrorist cells. You want a fight, President Bush? Let's fight to wean ourselves off Middle East oil, through an energy policy that doesn't simply serve the interests of Exxon and Mobil. Those are the battles that we need to fight. Those are the battles that we willingly join. The battles against ignorance and intolerance. Corruption and greed. Poverty and despair."

Obama on folks hating us and diplomacy with “adversaries”: Obama has been for genuine diplomacy in support of genuine democracy for years before he decided to run for office (see 2002 speech above). After all the noise and rhetoric from both Dems and Repubs, a publication as mainstream as Bloomberg News can state unequivocally that Obama’s diplomacy stance is in total agreement with our own allies, and that US unilateralism has alienated most of the world on issues from the environment to trade to war.

Obama on Pakistan’s infiltration by al Qaeda and the Taliban: The second foreign policy contrived firestorm:

Here’s the first part of Obama’s speech, the first of two paragraphs about Pakistan in a pages-long speech:
"I understand that President Musharraf has his own challenges. But let me make this clear. There are terrorists holed up in those mountains who murdered 3,000 Americans. They are plotting to strike again. It was a terrible mistake to fail to act when we had a chance to take out an al Qaeda leadership meeting in 2005. If we have actionable intelligence about high-value terrorist targets and President Musharraf won't act, we will.”

And here’s the second and last paragraph on Pakistan:

“And Pakistan needs more than F-16s to combat extremism [a reference to Bush announcement of F-16 sales to Israel, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan-v3]. As the Pakistani government increases investment in secular education to counter radical madrasas, my Administration will increase America's commitment. We must help Pakistan invest in the provinces along the Afghan border, so that the extremists' program of hate is met with one of hope. And we must not turn a blind eye to elections that are neither free nor fair -- our goal is not simply an ally in Pakistan, it is a democratic ally.”

So, Obama won't leave the Taliban, used up and spit-out by the CIA and Unocal Petroleum, to plot calmly in Pakistan where Musharraf couldn't even keep extremists from taking over part of a university in Islamabad, terrorizing the residents to not play music, watch TV, drink, smoke or let women be “uncovered”, until the extremists took alleged Chinese prostitutes hostage and China told Musharraf: send in your army, which he promptly did.

Since then the fundamentalist resistance has spread far beyond the mountainous borders with Afghanistan, into the central Pakistan cities with the original demand that Musharraf make all government laws conform to fundamentalist Sharia Law. When you see “news reports” and photos/footage of Pakistanis burning American flags supposedly in response to Obama’s “hard line” with Musharraf, keep in mind it could easily be a demonstration against US-backed Pakistani "elected" Dictator Musharraf himself that’s shown in the footage/photos.

Obama would give Afghanistan $1 billion in non-military aid, and aid to Pakistan in exchange for real democratic reform and not another farcical "election". As he’s stated since 2002, he would bilaterally reduce nuclear arms, destroy outdated nukes and bring all nations into Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty compliance with UN inspections, including India and Pakistan. That's a lot more info than I got from the MSM and the blogosphere about this speech's actual content. Welcome to it. And more:

Obama on nuking civilians: “U.S. presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday he would not use nuclear weapons «in any circumstance» to fight terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, drawing criticism from Hillary Rodham Clinton and other Democratic rivals.”

Hillary, Biden and Dodd keep saying they want all options on the table, including nuclear options against anyone from Iran to Pakistan, lovely declarations on the eve of the Hiroshima/Nagasaki remembrances around the world.

The US has the conventional military capacity to obliterate most enemies, thousands of armed nukes for every one aimed at us or at our allies. Obama's the only one who promises defensive attacks with only conventional weapons (and going after bin Laden and the Taliban is not a first-strike, whether they did all they did with - or without, which seems more doubtful every day - the CIA's and Bush Crime Families' help!).

Obama's a pragmatist with principles, not the pacifist I fantasized about in the past, but from where we stand right now, pacifism isn't much of an option.

Obama on Public Campaign Financing (PCF): He tried to go into the primaries on PCF but Hillary had already made it a donor-race, so he shut out PACs (including AIPAC and USIPAC, Israel and India's lobbies respectively) and federal lobbyists instead, the two bundling sources that constitute millions of Hillary's fundraising. Obama still committed to PCF in the final race if his Republican opponent would also, and only McCain said he might agree to that. Note when you look up industry donor political donation watchdog websites that they cannot differentiate within industry donations between individuals vs. bundlers because there’s no transparency to draw the data from. E.g., if I were a janitor for Fox News and got my fellow janitors to donate $100 each to Obama, it would be part of the total of News Corp. total donations - no differentiation between small donors and big CEOs holding $1,000/plate fundraisers. Thus if Fox News janitors gather $10,000 among them for Obama, it looks like News Corp. gave him that money. Obama pushed the bill to put all donations, for legislator's campaigns but also charities, clubs, development projects, etc., on the web within 3 months, and Obama and Sen. Feingold pushed for and got bundling transparency in the [still too-lame] latest ethics bill.

Obama on Healthcare: Unlike Edwards or Hillary, Obama has more time as a legislator and passed more legislation, to expand healthcare coverage for children in IL and establish a commission to prepare an assessment for a universal healthcare plan for IL.

Obama on prisons, criminalization and real rehabilitation: An issue the others ignore but one that impacts people of color, the disabled and poor whites disproportionately: the two million prisoners and millions more parolees in our streets and towns. He helped pass a death penalty moratorium and got kids excluded from being tried as adults in some cases. He got a traffic-stop racial profiling study instituted so cops became more aware of their own behavior and became more cooperative in changing their practices (federal/state/local law enforcement and prison guard unions are human rights' activists biggest, most organized and best-funded opponents next to Republicans). Obama pushes his Second Chance Act to provide education, relevant job training, end legal employment and voting rights discrimination against ex-felons who comply with their parole, and he presses it as the only humane and logical solution to chronic crime, poverty and unemployment not only in black audience venues, but also in big business venues like the Detroit Economic Club.

I’m not naïve; I don’t expect Obama to be my sainted revolutionary savior. I’ve got my old Che Guevara images for those nostalgic idealistic dreams (meaning his dreams to save everyone, down to the lowliest leper). In today’s miserably hostile environment, thanks to the Unitary Executive greedy insanity of the Bush-Cheney petroleum and war profiteering crime families, only pro-Constitution, pro-Bill of Rights, civil rights activist and grassroots-funded anti-nukes Obama can make a difference and should be elected.

Experience is like tail-lights on a boat which illuminate where we have been, when we should be focusing on where we should be going. John F. Kennedy

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