Mind and Destiny

“I make no pretension to patriotism. So long as my voice can be heard ... I will hold up America to the lightning scorn of moral indignation. In doing this, I shall feel myself discharging the duty of a true patriot; for he is a lover of his country who rebukes and does not excuse its sins. It is righteousness that exalteth a nation while sin is a reproach to any people.”- Frederick Douglass

Name:
Location: Delhi, N.Y., United States

The author and his webmaster, summer of 1965.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Listened

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, who heads the Senate Budget Committee, said billionaire Warren Buffett told congressional negotiators that if they can’t agree on a proposed financial bailout, the nation will face “its biggest financial meltdown in American history.”

Buffett is chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Forbes magazine placed Buffett at No. 2 on its 2008 list of richest Americans. His wealth is estimated at $50 billion. In “You have the Power,” Howard Dean describes Buffett as a billionaire with a conscience.

In May of 2005, Buffett warned on CNN, that our country is becoming a sharecropper society and that if we keep doing what we’re doing, the world will own a greater percentage of this country. The cost of servicing the debt will mean that we will send abroad a percent of our GDP every year just to service debt, which arose from the over - consumption that is currently taking place. “Our sons will pay for the sins their fathers.”

When asked about Social Security, by Lou Dobbs, Buffett’s answered: “I personally would increase the taxable base above the present $ 90,000. I pay very little in the way of SS taxes....The rich people are doing so well in this county, I mean we never had it so good.... It’s class warfare, my class is winning, but they shouldn’t be.... Just take the estate tax, less than 2% of all the estates pay any estate tax. We raise $ 30 billion from estate taxes. I would like to hear a Congressman say who they are going to get the $ 30 billion from if they don’t get it from estate taxes. It’s nice to say... wipe out this tax, but we’re running a huge deficit, so who does the $ 30 billion come from?”

In March of 2007, on CBS’s “60 Minutes," the Comptroller General at the Government Accountability Office, David Walker painted a very sobering picture regarding the federal government's ability to meet its future obligations. Walker claimed our government’s entitlement spending is out of control and can’t keep its promises for Social Security and Medicare, because it’s too late to reformed our entitlement system.

Yesterday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced great progress in reaching a deal with Republican leadership on a proposed $700 billion bailout of the financial system. I’d hoped that members of the House would put political gamesmanship aside and support that bipartisan bill, but 22 Republican’s changed their minds and the stock market fell 775 point. Reportedly, they changed their mind, because Pelosi’s made a speech that they considered too partisan.

When Warren Buffett and David Walker talked, I listened. Unfortunately, a majority of Americans and their representatives in the House haven’t been listening.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Politics Of Distraction

The strategy of the McCain/Palin campaign is to distract and attack.  Their goal is to distract voters from the fact that America lost 84,000 jobs last month, and that we have the worst deficits in history, because of an unnecessary war and a necessary Wall Street bailout. Many of the problems we face such as health care hasn’t been solved, because McCain has supported Bush 90% of the time.

McCain’s strategist must think very little of the intelligence of American women, because to suggest women would voted for Hillary Clinton in the primaries and vote for the McCain/Palin ticket in the general election is an insult.  If women examine Sarah Palin’s record and Hillary Clinton’s record, they’d recognize that Palin is a right wing extremist.

Alaska has the worst high school dropout rate in the nation, but Governor Palin cut a 30 year program that is trying to get on top of the problem.  Alaska leads the nation in rapes and incest, but she’s against a woman’s right to choose, even in cases of rape and incest. These would never be Hillary Clinton’s solutions.

Obama insisted a candidates family is off limits.  However, the media continues to talk about Palin’s private life, because her unethical private life includes abuse of executive power, to get her ex-brother in law fired and being reimbursed by taxpayers for sleeping in her own house.

Gov. Palin attacked Obama’s tax plan unfairly by claiming: “The Democratic nominee for president supports plans to raise income taxes, raise payroll taxes, raise investment  income taxes, raise the death tax, raise business taxes, and increase the tax burden on the american people by hundreds of billions of dollars.”

In fact, the Tax Policy Center run by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute concluded that Obama’s plan would increase after-tax income for middle-income taxpayers by about 5% by 2012.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Deregulation

Ten years ago, McCain attempted unsuccessfully to push a moratorium on all federal regulations.

The man who drafted McCain’s current economic policy, former Senator Phil Gramm authored a piece of legislation called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which kept derivatives and much of a high-end investment market off-limits to regulators, which helped induce the current economic crisis.

In 2007, Obama warned Secretary Paulson at the Treasury and Chairman Bernanke of the Fed about the risk of mounting foreclosures and urged them to bring together all the stakeholders, to find solutions to the subprime mortgage meltdown.

Later in 2007, Obama stood up at NASDAQ and said it’s time to realize that we are in this together, that there is no dividing line between Wall Street and Main Street, and warned of a growing loss of trust in our capital markets. Months later, Senator McCain told the newspaper that he’d love to give them a solution to the mortgage crisis but: “I don’t know one.”

In January 2008, Obama outlined a plan to help revive our faltering economy which formed the basis for a bipartisan stimulus package that passed the Congress. McCain used the crisis as an excuse to push a so-called stimulus plan that offered another huge and permanent corporate tax cut, including $4 billion to the big oil companies, but no immediate help for workers.

In March 2008, in the wake of the Bear Stearns bailout, Obama called for a new 21st century regulatory framework to restore accountability, transparency and trust in our financial markets.

That same month, McCain told the “Wall Street Journal,” “I’m always for less regulation. But I am aware of the view that there is a need for government oversight but I am a fundamentally a deregulator. I’d like to see a lot of the unnecessary government regulations eliminated.”

Recently, he claimed: “I was chairman of the commerce committee, every part of the America’s economy I oversighted.” Nevertheless, McCain was unable to cite a single specific way in which he would fix the current crisis and according to him, we haven’t yet figured out what went wrong.

Meanwhile, Obama had submitted a six-point plan that he first unveiled during the primaries. It would regulate investment banks, much in the same way that commercial banks are currently regulated.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

“Fundamentally Strong”

President Eisenhower said: “We must achieve both security and solvency. In fact, the foundation of military strength is economic strength.”

John McCain has admitted that he doesn’t know much about the economy. Nevertheless, he has defended this economy by reiterating that it was “fundamentally strong.”

Our nation is $9.6 trillion in debt and we’ll have a $500 billion deficit next year. The Wall Street bail out could eventually increase our national debt by another trillion dollars.

There is no question that higher taxes are inevitable, because Bush and his supporters in Congress have raised taxes on future taxpayers. Cutting taxes for the rich and initiating two wars, while borrowing the money from China is not fiscally responsible, because it jeopardizes our national security. A fiscal conservative believes in paying the bills when they come due, not putting them on a Chinese credit card. Our national debt is a much greater national security threat to our economy than global terrorism.

The policies of the Bush regime make it imperative that the next president do the right thing and deliver fiscal responsibility. Printing more money devalues our dollar and we pay more for everything. The next president will have to increase taxes or significantly cut expenses, because our only option is to raise the money to pay the bills.

The stock market, personal income growth, energy prices, health care costs, and the budget deficit, are all part of the economy. However, if you have nine lobbyists working on your campaign, it’s understandable that you might think the economy is strong. On the day the stock market dropped 500 points McCain insisted: “The economy is in crisis. Enough is enough. I’ll meet this financial crisis head on. Reform Wall Street. New rules for fairness and honesty. I won’t tolerate a system that puts you and your family at risk. Your savings, your jobs. I’ll keep them safe.”

McCain claims he’ll reform Wall Street, but he picks William E. Timmons Sr. to head his transition team. Timmons is a lobbyist for the American Petroleum Institute, and has spent his time trying to get more tax breaks for oil companies.

Phil Graham is a banking industry lobbyist, says we’re a nation of whiners. He was the chairman of McCain’s campaign and wrote his economic plan. McCain dumped Graham after he said Americans are a nation of whiners.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Country First

Michael Parenti’s “Superpatriotism” points out: “We are told that during times of crisis we must trust the president. Democracy is not about trust; it’s about distrust, accountability, public exposure and responsible government. We must enlist our fellow Americans to trust their leaders less and themselves more. Once fear takes hold, evidence becomes largely irrelevant.”

The Bush regime has again placed Democrats in a no win situation by using the fear factor just before an important election.

We’re told: “The failed economic policies and the same corrupt culture that led us into this mess will not help get us out of it. We need to get to work immediately on reforming the broken government -- and the broken politics -- that allowed this crisis to happen in the first place.”

Henry Paulson reminded me of Colin Powell, when he said: “What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”

I’ve been asked to show my support for an economic recovery plan, which includes the following provisions:

No Golden Parachutes -- Taxpayer dollars should not be used to reward the irresponsible Wall Street executives who helmed this disaster.

Main Street, Not Just Wall Street -- Any bailout plan must include a payback strategy for taxpayers who are footing the bill and aid to innocent homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

Bipartisan Oversight -- The staggering amount of taxpayer money involved demands a bipartisan board to ensure accountability and oversight.

An additional provision is needed, because it’s time to hold the Bush regime unaccountable. The economic recovery plan must include a provision that our current incompetent President and Vice President put country first and resign. Nancy Pelosi could then be sworn in as President to serve out the remainder of Bush’s term. Henry Paulson would be dismissed, because he has disgraced the position of Treasury Secretary, and someone with the integrity of Warren Buffett should take over.

Political Scientist Franz Neumann wrote: “If the concepts ‘enemy’ and ‘fear’ constitute the ‘energetic principles’ of politics, a democratic political system is impossible, whether the fear is produced from within or without... If freedom is absence of restraints, the restraints to be removed are many, but the psychological restraint of fear ranks first.”

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Harshest Blow

A panel discussion on “This Week with George Stephanopoulos” made it clear that the members of the panel were not pleased with John McCain.

Conservative columnist George Will declared that the McCain was: “decidedly un-presidential is his unexpected call for the firing of SEC Chairman Chris Cox.”

Long time ABC commentator Sam Donaldson said that McCain’s erratic message on the economy again raised questions about his age.

George Will added: “I suppose the McCain campaign’s hope is that when there’s a big crisis, people will go for age and experience. The question is, who in this crisis looked more presidential, calm and unflustered? It wasn’t John McCain who, as usual, substituting vehemence for coherence, said let’s fire somebody. And picked one of the most experienced and conservative people in the administration, Chris Cox, and for no apparent reason... It was un-presidential behavior by a presidential candidate.”

Donaldson pointed out: “It was two days after, he said the fundamentals of the economy were strong. His talking points have gotten all mixed up. And I think the question of age is back on the table.”

Donaldson continued: “When I say age, I don’t know the difference between finding your talking points and not delivering the right ones, we have seen him do this frequently but this last week was the worst. Between two stops in Florida, McCain revise his thinking about what he wanted to say about the economy.”

McCain’s call for the firing of Cox was immediately dismissed, because the president doesn’t have the authority to fire an SEC chairman. The criticisms that Donaldson raised concerned the fact that McCain started the week by touting the fundamentals of the economy, before pivoting into a populist mantra and calling for increased regulation of the markets. A position, which is at odds with McCain’s traditional economic philosophies.

However, George Will leveled the harshest blow by saying: “John McCain showed his personality this week and made some of us fearful.”

George Will has been the voice of conservatives and Republicans for decades. In his Washington Post column of 8/23/08, Will’s wrote: “It is arguable that, because of his inexperience, Obama is not ready for the presidency. It is arguable that McCain, because of his boiling moralism and bottomless reservoir of certitudes, is not suited to the presidency. Unreadiness can be corrected, although perhaps at great cost, by experience. Can a dismaying temperament be fixed?”

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Kate Ryan

Seven years ago, Kate Ryan initiated the Peace Vigils in Delhi, N.Y. Yesterday, she had a very thoughtful letter published in the Oneonta Star. She has decided to become an optomistic pragmatist and keep alive the hope that justice will prevail.

Kate wrote: “Lately I’ve been depressed about the entire political situation. I think that innately I’m a cynic regarding politicians and wonder if they will really work to do anything about what they say concerns them. I’m a registered Democrat but I’m as wary of Democrats as I am wary of Republicans, or any other party, for that matter.

“However, I recently heard a speech by Tom Hayden that made sense. He spoke about the fact that no matter who's elected, people will still have to pressure them to put policies in place that make sense for people. For example, Roosevelt didn't take office hoping to create the New Deal or Social Security. Conditions of the time and pressure from the public (and probably his wife) led to the creation of these programs.

“This doesn't make me a cockeyed optimist but a realist. What I'd like to see happen on the national scene includes the following: an end to the war in Iraq; a diplomatic surge concerning the entire Middle East dealing with issues of Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Palestinians and Pakistan; serious steps taken to fight global warming; a single-payer health program and a return to stricter regulation of financial markets and national lands.

“Generally, you see, I believe in the adage, ‘If you want peace, work for justice.’ We need to work for a world in which all people are treated justly. We've got a lot of work to do.

“Does either McCain or Obama have my worldview or see the issues above in the same way as I do? It's unlikely, because they're both embroiled in political deals and are supported by many corporations. But I think Obama is more likely to be open to a new vision. I think McCain is dead set in his ways.”

*******
Hopefully, Kate and I will have an opportunity to join Rev.Wright, who announced: “Last year, I said to Barack Obama: If you get elected, on November the 5th, I’m coming after you, because you’ll be representing a government whose policies grind under people.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

More of the Same

Herbert Hoover, who presided over the Great Depression said: “The economy is fundamentally sound.” 

Recently, John McCain insisted: “The fundamentals of our economy are strong, but these are very, very difficult times.  And I promise you we will never put America in this position again.” The next day, McCain said: ”Before I continue with too many of my remarks, you know that there‘s been tremendous turmoil in our financial markets and Wall Street, and it is—people are frightened by these events.  Our economy, I think, still, the fundamentals of our economy are strong.  But these are very, very difficult times.  And I promise you we will never put America in this position again.  We will clean up Wall Street.”

Obama responded: “It‘s not that I think John McCain doesn‘t care what’s going on in the lives of most Americans, I just think he doesn’t know.  Why else would he say that we’ve made great progress economically under George Bush?”

Senator Schumer, who is a member of both the banking committee and the finance committee points out: “Over the last eight years, the average middle class family has not had it good, they‘ve had it bad.  The average median income went down from $48,000 to $46,000 and buying power to $43,000... He‘s not talking to average folks.  He doesn‘t understand how average folks live in this economy.  And for today, to say that the fundamentals are strong when people far more knowledgeable than him or me are really truly worried about the economy just shows how out of touch he is.”

Bush and McCain haven’t wanted to regulate anybody. The unemployment rate was 4.2 percent when Bush took office. Now it’s 6.1 percent.  We had a national debt of about $5 billion. Now it’s doubled to over $10 billion. When, Bush came into office, we had a federal surplus of $281 billion. Now, we have a $357 billion a year deficit.  The price of gas was $1.50. Now it‘s about $4. We’ve had an unemployment rate spike to 6.1 percent.

Basically, McCain is a carbon copy of Bush. Although, he says that he’s not going to let this happen again, he continues to talk about having less regulation. You can expect more of the same from McCain.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Seven Years

One day before the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Admiral Mullen made it clear, that Afghanistan is his greatest concerns, by stating: “I’m not convinced we’re winning yet in Afghanistan....It is my professional opinion that no amount of troops in no amount of time can ever achieve all the objectives we seek in Afghanistan. And frankly, we’re running out of time... We can’t kill our way to victory in Afghanistan.”

Mullen believes the war can be won, but it’s now a regional conflict involving Pakistan’s safe haven border region for al Qaeda and the Taliban. He insists much more reconstruction, aid, assistance and more troops are needed. Our military is sending 4,500 more troops to Afghanistan in January, but because of ongoing concerns about Iraq, it could be months before more troops are sent.

Cross border attacks from Pakistan are at all time highs and unless they’re controlled a quick victory in Afghanistan is impossible. Pakistan’s Army chief of staff, General Ashfaq Kayani issued a statement saying that Pakistan’s territorial integrity will be defended at all costs and no external force is allowed to conduct operations inside his country.

Michael Scheuer author on “Imperial Hubris,” is an expert on Afghanistan. He wrote: “Unless U.S. led foreign forces are massively increased and are prepared to kill liberally and remain in Afghanistan permanently, the current Afghan regime cannot survive. In Afghanistan, above all other places, familiarity with foreigners breeds not just contempt, but war to the death. The reestablishment of an Islamic regime in Kabul is as close to an inevitability as exists. One hopes that Karzai and the rest of the westernized, secular, and followerless Afghan expatriates we installed in Kabul are able to get out with their lives.”

On 6/8/06, I posted that quote on this web site and noted that a lengthening list of Afghan civilians accidentally killed by American military operations, a badly flawed American backed opium eradication program, and rising public disenchantment with President Hamid Karzai has led to a stronger than expected Taliban rebirth.

For years, our military presence has been focused on hunting down al Qaeda fighters and indifferent to Afghan civilian casualties. The answer is not for Washington to scale back legitimate American objectives. Pressing the fight against al Qaeda is essential to America’s own national security.

Most Afghans don’t want to go back to the horrors of the recent past, but we’ve failed to demonstrate that we care about a decent future the Afhgan people. We’ve been too busy in Iraq, ensuring Exxon Mobil made the greatest profits ever recorded by an American company. 

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Are You Better Off ?

Ronald Reagan asked: “Are you better off than you were four years ago ?”

In the past eight years, unemployment has risen 5.7 percent, we’ve lost 605,000 jobs since the first of the year, nearly 46 million people are without health insurance, inflation is up and accelerating at a faster rate than it has in 17 years. Gas prices are up 34 percent in the last year, oil was $26 a barrel when Bush was inaugurated, but it reached $147 a month ago. Over a million homes are in foreclosure and a Wall Street bailout may cost taxpayers a$1 trillion.

In 2001, the average median income for a family was $48,000. Today, it’s $46,000. However, buying power, for the average median income family is down to $41,000. Although, the economy overall has grown, it hasn’t trickled down to the middle class.

We’re fighting a war in Iraq at a cost of $ 10 million a month. Our military is stretched thin from two wars, and multiple deployments of our troops.

The policies of McCain and Palin do not significantly differ from Bush on the economy, taxes, health care, education or energy. Basically, they will continue to promote deregulation and a trickle down theory of economics.

Bush promised that he’d change the tone in Washington, restore honor and dignity to the White House. Instead, Americans got a record number of home foreclosures and the crisis on Main Street has stretched to Wall Street.

In 2000, former Senator Phil Gramm, was the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. One of Gramm’s major campaign contributors was Enron. Enron Chairman and CEO Ken Lay enjoyed access to Gramm’s office and his wife served on Enron’s board of directors. Ken Lay was Gramm’s 1992 campaign co-chair. Gramm rewarded his financial contributors in 2000, by slipping the “Commodity Futures Modernization Act,” into an omnibus spending bill just as Congress headed for vacation.

Warren Buffett the second wealthiest man in America and has been described as a billionaire with a conscience. Buffett was the first to noticed, that Gramm’s amendment enabled the creation of a shadow banking system, which allowed the creation of financial “weapons of mass destruction.” The act directly contributed to the current mortgage foreclosure crisis and millions of Americans have consequently suffered.

Phil Gramm was John McCain’s campaign chair and economic adviser. McCain insists Gramm is the smartest economist he knows. Do you really think you’ll be better off with McCain as president?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

“Uppity Nigger”

In a letter published in the Oneonta Daily Star, on 8/12/08, William Eckardt wrote that Obama: “exposed himself to the American public as an arrogant elitist.”

Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, the wife of British banking scion Sir Evelyn de Rothschild was a member of the DNC’s Platform Committee and Democrats Abroad chapter. Recently, she made known that she will not vote for Barack Obama: “I feel like he is an elitist.” Again the rather inapplicable word “elitist.”

The dictionary definition of the word “elitist” is a person of the highest class. William Eckardt and Lady Forester de Rothschild ignore the fact that John McCain is one of the richest members of the Senate, which is filled with millionaires.

Obama was raised by a single mother and his grandparents. At one point, his mother was on welfare and the family lived in a modest apartment. Obama’s attendance at a private school in Hawaii was made possible by his grandparents, sacrificing their own prosperity for the sake of Obama and his sister.

McCain, was born into a family of privilege, his father and grandfather were Admirals in the Navy. His mother is an oil heiress and McCain’s wife Cindy is a beer distributor heiress, who is said to be worth $100 million. Reportedly, McCain and his wife own 13 cars and seven homes, which include several plush, multi-million-dollar houses.

The word “elitist” to describe Obama doesn’t fit. Unless, it’s being used as code word for “uppity nigger.” Could this election be determined by contemptuous racism? Aren’t Americans better than that? We’ll have to wait and see.

Edward Dowling wrote: “The two greatest obstacles to democracy in the United States are, first, the widespread delusion among the poor that we have democracy, second the chronic terror among the rich, lest we get it.”

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Economy Stupid

On 9/6/09, Barack Obama said: “You would think that George Bush and his potential Republican successor, John McCain, would be spending a lot of time worrying about the economy and all these jobs that are being lost on their watch. But if you watched the Republican National Convention over the last three days, you wouldn’t know that we had the highest unemployment rate in five years.”

Obama has committed to training and educating our workforce with the skills necessary to compete in a knowledge-based economy. He wants to place a greater emphasis on areas like science and technology that will define the workforce of the 21st century, and invest in the research and innovation necessary to create the jobs and industries in America. Obama insists that one place where investment would make an enormous difference is in a renewable energy policy. He wants to end our addiction on foreign oil, provide long-term relief from high fuel costs, and builds a green economy that could create up to five million well-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. We can also create millions of new jobs by rebuilding our schools, roads, bridges, and other critical infrastructure that needs repair.

Obama expects to focus on what must be done in the short-term to lift up our workers, ease the struggle that so many families are facing right now, and restore a sense of fairness and balance to our economy.

Obama would reform our tax code so that it’s simple, fair, and advances opportunity instead of distorting the market by advancing the agenda of some lobbyist or oil company. He’d shut down the corporate loopholes and tax havens, and use that money to help pay for a middle-class tax cut that will provide $1,000 of relief to 95% of workers and their families. Obama wants to make oil companies like Exxon pay a tax on their windfall profits, and he would use the money to help families pay for their skyrocketing energy costs and other bills. He would also eliminate income taxes for any retiree making less than $50,000 per year, because every senior deserves to live out their life in dignity and respect.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Hijacked

The “New York Times” has reported that, since 2004, the number of Democrats increased by more than 200,000 in those 26 states and the District of Columbia, where there is party registration. In those same states, there has been a decrease of 1,407,971 registered Republicans.

As a member of Congress, for 16 years Mickey Edwards was chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee. His book is entitled: “Reclaiming Conservatism, How a Great American Political Movement Got Lost.” Edwards writes: “since George W. Bush has become president...Congress - the branch that is most directly accountable to the people - had been nearly destroyed as a separate, independent, and equal institution. It seemed to many to have become a virtual rubber stamp for a president who himself seemed to have very little interest in maintaining even the slightest pretense of adherence to the Constitution’s system of separated powers.”

Rep. Ron Paul has said: “the party has lost its way.” In 2000, the Republican Party strayed away from issues that matter, when Bush ran on social issues and voters again bought into the Republican mantra of lower taxes and less government. Since, there is never a free lunch, we’ve gotten what they voted for and in fact deserve, which is less services and accountability.

The GOP stood for small government, fiscal responsibility, noninterventionist foreign policy, no nation building. Mickey Edwards and Ron Paul claim their party has been hijacked by the neo-conservatives, but neither joined Dennis Kucinich in a bipartisan call for Bush’s impeachment. Consequently, the Republican Party continues to stand for big government, record deficits, unending war, domestic surveillance and telling Americans how to live their lives.

The Republican party has been taken over by neo-cons and religious extremists, who have stolen the party’s fiscally conservative and libertarian soul. The Republican party is not about to change and its leadership continues to mocks the Bill of Rights and is willing to trade liberty for the illusion of security.

John McCain was opposed to the Bush tax cuts until he decided to be for them. He opposed offshore drilling, until he decided that it was politically advantageous to be for it. In the past year, McCain has voted with the Bush regime 95 percent of the time. He hasn’t been a maverick. He’s been a Bush enabler and for him to claim that he’s an Washington outsider is the ultimate hypocrisy.

CNN’s Jack Cafferty said: “If any Republican can overcome the wretched stain of eight years of George Bush and win the White House, we deserve whatever bad things will happen to us.”

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

On Our Own

The Dutch intelligence service has called off an operation aimed at infiltrating and sabotaging Iran’s weapons industry due to an assessment that a US attack on Iran’s nuclear program is imminent.

A report claimed that the Dutch operation had been “extremely successful,” but had to be stopped because the our military planned to hit targets that were “connected with the Dutch espionage action.” Allegedly, air-strikes on Iran were to be carried out by unmanned aircraft.

The Iran’s Deputy Chief of Staff General Masoud Jazayeri warned that should the United States or Israel attack Iran, it would be the start of another World War.

Israel has made a strategic decision to deny Iran nuclear capability and will not hesitate “to take whatever means necessary” to prevent Iran from achieving its nuclear goals. It doesn’t matter to Israel if NATO succeeds in thwarting Iran’s nuclear ambitions through sanctions. They’re preparing for a separate, independent military strike.

Many Americans hoped that the end of the Cold War would allow our country to move away from its illogical attachment to war. Optimists contemplated a peace dividend and the shifting of billions of dollars, which we had been spending on conventional and nuclear weapons, being used instead to alleviate worldwide poverty and inequality.

America’s imperialistic Fascist have no intention of dismantling NATO, because it provides a scrap of legitimacy for extending its power well beyond its original mandate. The Bush regime has been the most imperialistic administration in generations. It could go down in history as the one that crippled NATO and left our nation isolated. The terrible destruction of human life in Iraq and Afghanistan and our current adventure in the Republic of Georgia could result in America losing its European Union partners in NATO.

Virtually every analyst insist that to maintain the status quo in Afghanistan will require a doubling of the NATO troop levels. However, Europeans are rethinking their commitment to Afghanistan and as the EU members of NATO pack their bags our forces and Israel will be on there own.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Russia Provoked

Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil producer, says its nuclear program is aimed at making electricity, not bombs. Our government says it wants diplomacy to end the conflict but has not ruled out military action if that fails.

According veteran Washington Times correspondent Arnaud de Borchgrave, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili made a secret agreement, which allows two military airfields be used by Israeli unmanned aircraft for spying on Russia and Iran. Since, Georgia is near Iran, Israeli fighter jets could also carry out air strikes without having to refuel their planes. There could be as many as 1,000 Israeli “advisers” in Georgia, who have already installed the logistics to carry out an attack on Iran. Furthermore, an oil pipeline is being planned, which would pass through Georgia and eventually travel to Israel.

Arnaud de Borchgrave wrote: “The attack ordered by Saakashvili against South Ossetia the night of Aug. 7 provided the Russians the pretext for Moscow to order Special Forces to raid these Israeli facilities where some Israeli drones were reported captured.... Saakashvili was convinced that by sending 2,000 of his soldiers to serve in Iraq, he would be rewarded for his loyalty. He could not believe President Bush, a personal friend, would leave him in the lurch. Georgia, as Saakashvili saw his country’s role, was the “Israel of the Caucasus.”

While driving Georgian invasion troops out of Ossetia, pursuing them back into Georgia, the Russians briefly occupied those two military airfields and destroyed most of the U.S. and Israeli equipment they found. Thus, creating serious obstacles to the near-term implementation of the Israeli plan.

The weapons supplied to Georgia to make their attack on South Ossetia came from the US, Israel and the Ukraine. Georgian President Saakashvili has stated that he won’t give up, and intends to use force against South Ossetia again, if the opportunity presents itself. This explain why Russia is reluctant to completely move out all of its troops out of the conflict zone. If Russia were to listen to the West, many thousands more could die in a new attack, by Saakashvili’s forces and Russia would be unable to prevent it.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has warned the leaders of Syria, Turkey and Qatar that an Israeli attack on Iran is inevitable. According to Sarkozy, there is nothing we can do to prevent an Israeli attack. We can only hope, that the Russians may have seriously upset their plans.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Unprovoked Attack

Recently, the Albany Times Union published a letter to the editor, by Joe Lombardo. The letter provides an additional perspective regarding our corporate media's allegations of Russian aggression, into South Ossetia.

“As George Bush and virtually all other American politicians and news media express their support for Georgia and condemn Russian “aggression” in the conflict between the two countries, it seems some important facts are being ignored. It was not Russia that started this fight but Georgia by its unprovoked attack on South Ossetia.

“According to Associated Press interviews with survivors of the Georgian assault on Tskhinvali, the South Ossetian capital, the city was left in flames with hardly a single building left untouched. The parliament, university and main hospital were destroyed. According to Eduard Kokoitym, the South Ossetian leader, more than 1,400 civilians were killed in this assault. Yet these facts seem to be unnoticed as the U.S. continues to insist that Russia is the aggressor.

“South Ossetia, along with the neighboring region of North Ossetia-Alania, has been autonomous for over 70 years including under the Soviet Union. The Ossetians are a distinct nationality with their own Persian-related language and culture. The Georgian attempt to annex this region is in clear contrast to the wishes of the Ossetian people who have fought Georgia’s attempts at annexation since the break-up of the Soviet Union.

“The U.S. is not innocent in this conflict. The Georgian government is a U.S. ally and had 2,000 troops in Iraq at the time of the South Ossetia invasion. The U.S. has armed and trained the Georgian armed forces. There are U.S. military advisers in Georgia today, and just before Georgia invaded South Ossetia 1,000 U.S. Marines left the country after conducting joint military maneuvers. In the period leading up to the invasion, the U.S. supplied the Georgian military with hundreds of tanks, armored vehicles, artillery weapons, rocket launchers and dozens of combat helicopters and anti-aircraft missile systems. These were used in the invasion of South Ossetia.

“The invasion comes as the U.S. is pushing for Georgia and Ukraine to join NATO, an act Russia sees as a threat. It also happens as the U.S. is installing missiles and listening systems in Poland and the Czech Republic, causing Russia to threaten to aim its missiles at these countries in response. So-called humanitarian aid is coming to Georgia on U.S. Navy war ships.

“Is the Bush regime trying to restart the Cold War before it leaves office?”

Actually, the neo-cons are pretending to start a conflict, which many of their most faithful supporters have been anticipating, since Bush became President. Some evangelicals are hoping for Armageddon, the second coming of Christ.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

As Other’s See Us

 
Americans have many fine qualities, but the capacity to see ourselves as others see us is not high among them.
 
In a 2006, South Ossetia, whose capital is Tskhinvali, held a referendum on independence. The voter turnout was 95%, and 99% of South Ossetians supported independence from Georgia. No one challenged the results, because the balloting was monitored by 34 international observers from the west.

There are no military installations in the city of Tskhinvali, and it was the home to 30,000 South Ossetians. Nevertheless, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili used the opening of the Olympic Games to invade the breakaway province of South Ossetia.
 
Tens of thousands of Ossetian citizens fled into Russia, Saakashvili’s army was chased back into Georgia in 48 hours. Vladimir Putin used the attack on South Ossetia as an opportunity to push the Georgian army out of Abkhazia, bomb Tbilisi and seize Gori the birthplace of Stalin. Saakashvili thought he could get away with his attack on South Ossetia, because he represents America’s only ally in the Caucasus and was friendly with Bush, Cheney and McCain.
 
Bush complained that Russia’s response was “disproportionate,” “brutal,” and “Russia has invaded a sovereign country.” The Bush regime’s hypocrisy is astonishing.
  
Moscow pulled it’s Army out of Europe, closed its bases in Cuba, dissolved its empire, let the Soviet Union break up into 15 states, and sought friendship and alliance with the United States. Nevertheless, American broke a pledge to Mikhail Gorbachev, by moving our military alliance into Eastern Europe, and onto Russia’s doorstep. Six Warsaw Pact nations and three former republics of the Soviet Union are now NATO members.

The United States unilaterally abrogated the Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty because our technology was superior and plan to build anti-missile defenses in Poland and the Czech Republic to defend against Iranian missiles. Iran has no ICBMs and no atomic bombs. A Russian counter-offer to build an anti-missile system in Azerbaijan together was rejected out of hand.

Bush, Cheney and McCain have pushed to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO. This would require the United States to go to war with Russia over Stalin’s birthplace and who has sovereignty over the Crimean Peninsula and Sebastopol, traditional home of Russia’s Black Sea fleet. These are not U.S. vital interests, and do not justifying war with Russia.
 
 

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Politics Over Country

McCain’s acceptance speech declared: “And let me offer an advance warning to the old, big-spending, do-nothing, me-first, country-second Washington crowd: Change is coming.”

Gov. Sarah Palin went from a little known governor to the most talked about woman in America. By selecting evangelical extremist Sarah Palin, McCain epitomized the “me-first, country-second Washington crowd.”

He would like us to believe that he hasn’t been part of “the old, big-spending, do-nothing....Washington crowd,” but he voted with Bush 95 percent of the time last year. He accepted over $1 million from the oil and gas industry and many of McCain’s top advisers have lobbied for big oil. Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy are central to McCain’s economic policy and he’s calling for tax giveaways, which are twice as expensive as Bush’s initial plan. Middle-class workers will have to pay for McCain’s corporate welfare.

This election is about John McCain, not about Sarah Palin. It’s about McCain’s judgment and perhaps the most important choice of his life. He is 72-years old and has had cancer four times. McCain choice for vice president clearly indicates that he has chosen politics over country first. McCain put politics over country and although his choice has been successful so far. It is important that we remember on election day that for McCain politics come first.

Many Republicans agree. For example: Peggy Noonan, a longtime speechwriter for Presidents Reagan and Bush, called it “political B.S. That’s what this is, perhaps successful politics, but this was not country first. This was politics first.”

Charles Krauthammer, a conservative columnist for “The Washington Post,” writes that: “Palin fatally undermines this entire line of attack, this through no fault of her own. It’s simply a function of her rookie status. The vice president’s only constitutional duty of any significance is to become president at a moment’s notice. Palin is not ready.”

McCain’s own one-time strategist Mike Murphy writes: “With all her charm, she is still a pick aimed squarely at the Republican base. In a high-turnout presidential year, I’m not worried about turning out the base. I’m worried about everybody else we need to win. I fear, among those voters, Sarah Palin will be a dud.”

Friday, September 12, 2008

American’s Deserve

In “Democracy in America,” Alexis de Tocqueville pointed out; “In a democracy, people get the government they deserve.”

Today, eligible voters get the government they deserve, because we have one of the worst voting records in the free world. In the last presidential election, only about 45 % of those eligible to vote did so. With a voting turnout of 45% a candidate for President or Congress can be elected by 25% of the eligible voters. If, third party candidates capture 5% of the vote the victory becomes a landslide. Congress is not to blame for the multitude of problems, we face in this country, voters are to blame.

The polls that show Congress has a 15% approval rating is misleading. Many Democrats are frustrated with Congress, because their representatives didn’t attempt to impeach Bush or end the war by cutting off funding to our troops, in the field. Both attempts would have been an exercise in futility.

Although, Nancy Pelosi, voted against the Iraq War resolution, many anti-war Democratic voters dislike her. Nevertheless, Pelosi’s Democratic colleagues rewarded her courage by selecting her to be Speaker of the House. Anti-war voters seem to have forgotten that Obama was against the war from the very beginning and that 21 Democratic Senators voted against the Iraqi War resolution.

Republicans are unhappy because, Democrats took control of both the House and Senate. However, the Democratic majority in the Senate is basically meaningless, because 60 votes are needed to get anything done and Senate Republicans set an all-time record for the most filibusters in one Congress. This could be the reason, McCain recently voted with Bush 95% of the time, instead his usual 90%, during the Bush’s first 6 years.

Independent voters are often Republicans, who don’t want to be labeled Republicans at this time. They’re dissatisfied with Congress and many are encouraging an anti-incumbent vote, which is simplistic, but a very ineffective and dangerous solution. Often frustrated voters stay home rather than compromise their “principles.” They’ve become so “principled,” that they’re incapable of being pragmatic.

Members of Congress don’t have the luxury of being “principled,” because they represent the aspirations of the voters in their congressional district and their primary responsibility is to get re-elected. Any incumbent, who votes against military appropriation to build fighter jets in their congressional district’s Boeing plant, would undoubtedly be defeated in the next election.

Usually, uninformed voters don’t read the diverse opinions expressed in letters to the editor of newspapers, and tend to limit themselves to those television news program, which agree with the political views they’ve held for decades. Therefore, uninformed voters get the government they deserve, while informed, pragmatic voters suffer the consequences.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Part 11. Obama’s Speech

Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination

“And it is that promise that, 45 years ago today, brought Americans from every corner of this land to stand together on a Mall in Washington, before Lincoln’s Memorial, and hear a young preacher from Georgia speak of his dream.

“The men and women who gathered there could’ve heard many things. They could’ve heard words of anger and discord. They could’ve been told to succumb to the fear and frustrations of so many dreams deferred.

“But what the people heard instead -- people of every creed and color, from every walk of life -- is that, in America, our destiny is inextricably linked, that together our dreams can be one.

"We cannot walk alone,’ the preacher cried. ‘And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.’

America, we cannot turn back not with so much work to be done; not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for; not with an economy to fix, and cities to rebuild, and farms to save; not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone.

“At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise, that American promise, and in the words of scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.”

******
I’ve been sent an article entitled: “Curb Your Enthusiasm for Obama” by Chris Hedges. The article pointed out flaws in Obama’s health care plan. (Google for specifics.)

On 9/1/08, I began posting portions of Obama’s acceptance speech. My post of Sept. 6, confirms Obama said: “Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.”

If Obama is elected, we’ll be able to refer to those commitments he made in his acceptance speech. Thus, we're going to monitor both his accomplishments and failures. For now, I’ll remain an optimistic, enthusiastic and pragmatic Obama supporter.




 





 

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Part 10. Obama’s speech

Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination

“You have shown what history teaches us, that at defining moments like this one, the change we need doesn’t come from Washington. Change comes to Washington.

“Change happens because the American people demand it, because they rise up and insist on new ideas and new leadership, a new politics for a new time. America, this is one of those moments.

“I believe that, as hard as it will be, the change we need is coming, because I’ve seen it, because I’ve lived it.

“Because I’ve seen it in Illinois, when we provided health care to more children and moved more families from welfare to work.

“I’ve seen it in Washington, where we worked across party lines to open up government and hold lobbyists more accountable, to give better care for our veterans, and keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of terrorists.

“And I’ve seen it in this campaign, in the young people who voted for the first time and the young at heart, those who got involved again after a very long time; in the Republicans who never thought they’d pick up a Democratic ballot, but did.

“I’ve seen it in the workers who would rather cut their hours back a day, even though they can’t afford it, than see their friends lose their jobs; in the soldiers who re-enlist after losing a limb; in the good neighbors who take a stranger in when a hurricane strikes and the floodwaters rise.

“You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

“Instead, it is that American spirit, that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

“That promise is our greatest inheritance. It’s a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night and a promise that you make to yours, a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west, a promise that led workers to picket lines and women to reach for the ballot.”

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Part 9. Obama’s Speech

Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination

“We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country.

“The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.

“I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in a hospital and to live lives free of discrimination.

“You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don’t know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. But this, too, is part of America’s promise, the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.

“I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer, and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that’s to be expected, because if you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters.

“If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.

“And you know what? It’s worked before, because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn’t work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it’s best to stop hoping and settle for what you already know.

“I get it. I realize that I am not the likeliest candidate for this office. I don’t fit the typical pedigree, and I haven’t spent my career in the halls of Washington.

“But I stand before you tonight because all across America something is stirring. What the naysayers don’t understand is that this election has never been about me; it’s about you.

“For 18 long months, you have stood up, one by one, and said, “Enough,” to the politics of the past. You understand that, in this election, the greatest risk we can take is to try the same, old politics with the same, old players and expect a different result.”

Monday, September 08, 2008

Part 8. Obama’s Speech

Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination

“As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.

“I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts, but I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.

“I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease.

“And I will restore our moral standing so that America is once again that last, best hope for all who are called to the cause of freedom, who long for lives of peace, and who yearn for a better future.

“These are the policies I will pursue. And in the weeks ahead, I look forward to debating them with John McCain.

“But what I will not do is suggest that the senator takes his positions for political purposes, because one of the things that we have to change in our politics is the idea that people cannot disagree without challenging each other’s character and each other’s patriotism.

“The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain.

“The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together, and bled together, and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a red America or a blue America; they have served the United States of America. So I’ve got news for you, John McCain: We all put our country first.

“America, our work will not be easy. The challenges we face require tough choices. And Democrats, as well as Republicans, will need to cast off the worn-out ideas and politics of the past, for part of what has been lost these past eight years can't just be measured by lost wages or bigger trade deficits. What has also been lost is our sense of common purpose, and that's what we have to restore.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Part 7. Obama’s Speech

Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination

“Individual responsibility and mutual responsibility, that's the essence of America’s promise. And just as we keep our promise to the next generation here at home, so must we keep America’s promise abroad.

“If John McCain wants to have a debate about who has the temperament and judgment to serve as the next commander-in-chief, that’s a debate I’m ready to have.

“For a while Senator McCain was turning his sights to Iraq just days after 9/11, I stood up and opposed this war, knowing that it would distract us from the real threats that we face.

“When John McCain said we could just muddle through in Afghanistan, I argued for more resources and more troops to finish the fight against the terrorists who actually attacked us on 9/11, and made clear that we must take out Osama bin Laden and his lieutenants if we have them in our sights.

“You know, John McCain likes to say that he’ll follow bin Laden to the gates of Hell, but he won’t even follow him to the cave where he lives. And today, as my call for a timeframe to remove our troops from Iraq has been echoed by the Iraqi government and even the Bush administration, even after we learned that Iraq has $79 billion in surplus while we are wallowing in deficit, John McCain stands alone in his stubborn refusal to end a misguided war.

“That’s not the judgment we need; that won’t keep America safe. We need a president who can face the threats of the future, not keep grasping at the ideas of the past.

“You don’t defeat a terrorist network that operates in 80 countries by occupying Iraq. You don’t protect Israel and deter Iran just by talking tough in Washington. You can’t truly stand up for Georgia when you’ve strained our oldest alliances. If John McCain wants to follow George Bush with more tough talk and bad strategy, that is his choice, but that is not the change that America needs.

“We are the party of Roosevelt. We are the party of Kennedy. So don’t tell me that Democrats won’t defend this country. Don’t tell me that Democrats won’t keep us safe.

“The Bush-McCain foreign policy has squandered the legacy that generations of Americans, Democrats and Republicans, have built, and we are here to restore that legacy.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Part 6. Obama’s Speech

Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination

“And we will keep our promise to every young American: If you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.

“Now is the time to finally keep the promise of affordable, accessible health care for every single American. If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves. And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.

“Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or an ailing parent.

“Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses, and the time to protect Social Security for future generations. And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons.

“Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I'll pay for every dime: by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow.

“But I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st-century challenges with a 20th-century bureaucracy.

“And, Democrats, we must also admit that fulfilling America’s promise will require more than just money. It will require a renewed sense of responsibility from each of us to recover what John F. Kennedy called our intellectual and moral strength.

“Yes, government must lead on energy independence, but each of us must do our part to make our homes and businesses more efficient.

“Yes, we must provide more ladders to success for young men who fall into lives of crime and despair. But we must also admit that programs alone can’t replace parents, that government can’t turn off the television and make a child do her homework, that fathers must take more responsibility to provide love and guidance to their children.”

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Part 5. Obama’s Speech

Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination

“So let me spell out exactly what that change would mean if I am president. Change means a tax code that doesn’t reward the lobbyists who wrote it, but the American workers and small businesses who deserve it.

“Unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America. I’ll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and start-ups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.

“I will cut taxes for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class. And for the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East. We will do this. Washington has been talking about our oil addiction for the last 30 years. And, by the way, John McCain has been there for 26 of them.

“And in that time, he has said no to higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars, no to investments in renewable energy, no to renewable fuels. And today, we import triple the amount of oil than we had on the day that Senator McCain took office. Now is the time to end this addiction and to understand that drilling is a stop-gap measure, not a long-term solution, not even close. As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America.

“I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars. And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy -- wind power, and solar power, and the next generation of biofuels -- an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.

“America, now is not the time for small plans. Now is the time to finally meet our moral obligation to provide every child a world-class education, because it will take nothing less to compete in the global economy.

“You know, Michelle and I are only here tonight because we were given a chance at an education. And I will not settle for an America where some kids don’t have that chance.

“I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries, and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability.

Part 4. Obama's Speech

Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination

“When I listen to another worker tell me that his factory has shut down, I remember all those men and women on the South Side of Chicago who I stood by and fought for two decades ago after the local steel plant closed.

“And when I hear a woman talk about the difficulties of starting her own business or making her way in the world, I think about my grandmother, who worked her way up from the secretarial pool to middle management, despite years of being passed over for promotions because she was a woman.

“She’s the one who taught me about hard work. She’s the one who put off buying a new car or a new dress for herself so that I could have a better life. She poured everything she had into me. And although she can no longer travel, I know that she's watching tonight and that tonight is her night, as well.

“Now, I don’t know what kind of lives John McCain thinks that celebrities lead, but this has been mine. These are my heroes; theirs are the stories that shaped my life. And it is on behalf of them that I intend to win this election and keep our promise alive as president of the United States.

“What is that American promise? It’s a promise that says each of us has the freedom to make of our own lives what we will, but that we also have obligations to treat each other with dignity and respect.

“It’s a promise that says the market should reward drive and innovation and generate growth, but that businesses should live up to their responsibilities to create American jobs, to look out for American workers, and play by the rules of the road.

“Ours is a promise that says government cannot solve all our problems, but what it should do is that which we cannot do for ourselves: protect us from harm and provide every child a decent education; keep our water clean and our toys safe; invest in new schools, and new roads, and science, and technology.

“Our government should work for us, not against us. It should help us, not hurt us. It should ensure opportunity not just for those with the most money and influence, but for every American who’s willing to work.

“That’s the promise of America, the idea that we are responsible for ourselves, but that we also rise or fall as one nation, the fundamental belief that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper.

“That’s the promise we need to keep. That’s the change we need right now.”

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Part 3. Obama’s Speech

Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination.

“For over two decades, he’s (McCain) subscribed to that old, discredited Republican philosophy: Give more and more to those with the most and hope that prosperity trickles down to everyone else.

“In Washington, they call this the ‘Ownership Society,’ but what it really means is that you’re on your own. Out of work? Tough luck, you’re on your own. No health care? The market will fix it. You’re on your own. Born into poverty? Pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, even if you don’t have boots. You are on your own.

“Well, it’s time for them to own their failure. It’s time for us to change America. And that’s why I’m running for president of the United States. You see, we Democrats have a very different measure of what constitutes progress in this country.

“We measure progress by how many people can find a job that pays the mortgage, whether you can put a little extra money away at the end of each month so you can someday watch your child receive her college diploma.

“We measure progress in the 23 million new jobs that were created when Bill Clinton was president when the average American family saw its income go up $7,500 instead of go down $2,000, like it has under George Bush.

“We measure the strength of our economy not by the number of billionaires we have or the profits of the Fortune 500, but by whether someone with a good idea can take a risk and start a new business, or whether the waitress who lives on tips can take a day off and look after a sick kid without losing her job, an economy that honors the dignity of work.

“The fundamentals we use to measure economic strength are whether we are living up to that fundamental promise that has made this country great, a promise that is the only reason I am standing here tonight.

“Because, in the faces of those young veterans who come back from Iraq and Afghanistan, I see my grandfather, who signed up after Pearl Harbor, marched in Patton’s army, and was rewarded by a grateful nation with the chance to go to college on the G.I. Bill.

“In the face of that young student, who sleeps just three hours before working the night shift, I think about my mom, who raised my sister and me on her own while she worked and earned her degree, who once turned to food stamps, but was still able to send us to the best schools in the country with the help of student loans and scholarships.”

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Part 2. Obama’s Speech

Obama accepts the Democratic presidential nomination.

“On November 4th, we must stand up and say: Eight is enough.

“Now, let there be no doubt. The Republican nominee, John McCain, has worn the uniform of our country with bravery and distinction, and for that we owe him our gratitude and our respect. And next week, we'll also hear about those occasions when he's broken with his party as evidence that he can deliver the change that we need. But the record's clear: John McCain has voted with George Bush 90 percent of the time.

“Senator McCain likes to talk about judgment, but, really, what does it say about your judgment when you think George Bush has been right more than 90 percent of the time? I don't know about you, but I am not ready to take a 10 percent chance on change. The truth is, on issue after issue that would make a difference in your lives - on health care, and education, and the economy - Senator McCain has been anything but independent.

“He said that our economy has made great progress under this president. He said that the fundamentals of the economy are strong. And when one of his chief advisers, the man who wrote his economic plan, was talking about the anxieties that Americans are feeling, he said that we were just suffering from a mental recession and that we've become, and I quote, "a nation of whiners."

“A nation of whiners? Tell that to the proud auto workers at a Michigan plant who, after they found out it was closing, kept showing up every day and working as hard as ever, because they knew there were people who counted on the brakes that they made. Tell that to the military families who shoulder their burdens silently as they watch their loved ones leave for their third, or fourth, or fifth tour of duty. These are not whiners. They work hard, and they give back, and they keep going without complaint. These are the Americans I know.

“Now, I don't believe that Senator McCain doesn't care what's going on in the lives of Americans; I just think he doesn't know. Why else would he define middle-class as someone making under $5 million a year? How else could he propose hundreds of billions in tax breaks for big corporations and oil companies, but not one penny of tax relief to more than 100 million Americans?

“How else could he offer a health care plan that would actually tax people's benefits, or an education plan that would do nothing to help families pay for college, or a plan that would privatize Social Security and gamble your retirement?

“It's not because John McCain doesn't care; it's because John McCain doesn't get it.”

Monday, September 01, 2008

Obama's Acceptance Speech

Obama’s speech accepting the Democratic presidential nomination.

“Four years ago, I stood before you and told you my story, of the brief union between a young man from Kenya and a young woman from Kansas who weren’t well-off or well-known, but shared a belief that in America their son could achieve whatever he put his mind to.

“It is that promise that’s always set this country apart, that through hard work and sacrifice each of us can pursue our individual dreams, but still come together as one American family, to ensure that the next generation can pursue their dreams, as well. That’s why I stand here tonight. Because for 232 years, at each moment when that promise was in jeopardy, ordinary men and women, students and soldiers, farmers and teachers, nurses and janitors found the courage to keep it alive.

“We meet at one of those defining moments, a moment when our nation is at war, our economy is in turmoil, and the American promise has been threatened once more.

“Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit cards, bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.

“These challenges are not all of government’s making. But the failure to respond is a direct result of a broken politics in Washington and the failed policies of George W. Bush.

“America, we are better than these last eight years. We are a better country than this. This country is more decent than one where a woman in Ohio, on the brink of retirement, finds herself one illness away from disaster after a lifetime of hard work. We’re a better country than one where a man in Indiana has to pack up the equipment that he’s worked on for 20 years and watch as it’s shipped off to China, and then chokes up as he explains how he felt like a failure when he went home to tell his family the news. We are more compassionate than a government that lets veterans sleep on our streets and families slide into poverty, that sits on its hands while a major American city drowns before our eyes.

“Tonight, I say to the people of America, to Democrats and Republicans and independents across this great land: Enough. This moment, this moment, this election is our chance to keep, in the 21st century, the American promise alive.

“Because next week, in Minnesota, the same party that brought you two terms of George Bush and Dick Cheney will ask this country for a third. And we are here, because we love this country too much to let the next four years look just like the last eight.”