It's easy to decide who to vote for on November 4, 2008.
It would be logical to vote for the candidate who has the better vision for
America, and whose values are those that have best served America and
inspired others through the ages.
It would be logical to vote for the candidate with the better character -- one
who is honest, just, wise, courageous, ...
It would be logical to vote for the candidate whose position on the issues
is better for us, individually, and/or for America.
It would be logical to vote for the candidate who has experience in domestic
and global affairs, who has measurable accomplishments in positions of
Therein lies the problem.
Can we really know who has the better vision and values for America? Can we
really know who has the better character? Can we know the candidates
well enough to sort this out?
We can more easily decide whose position on the issues we like better, but can
we count on it?
President Bush campaigned as a compassionate conservative opposed to
nation-building. But Bush's nation-building (promoted as a war to eliminate
Iraq's nonexistent, weapons of mass destruction) led the U.S. into an unlawful war against Iraq, and its
mounting costs have led the economy
into the worst recession since the great depression of 1929.
Neither of the major candidates have been honest about the threats to the
U.S, and the reason for invading
Afghanistan. To this day, Bin Laden is not wanted for 9/11 by the U.S.
Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Both McCain and Obama have magnified the "threat" presented by Iran. Iran has not attacked another country in the past
250 years. U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Iran halted its
research on nuclear weapons five years ago, and at least half a dozen
countries, in the past four years, have said that they plan to enrich or
reprocess nuclear fuel.
It is the U.S. that has made a mockery of the nuclear Non-Proliferation
Treaty (NPT), and it is Israel and the neocons who got us into Iraq, that
are now pushing hard for a war with Iran.
And there are important issues about which neither of the major candidates,
John McCain and Barack Obama, have said little, if anything: such as the
effect of an aging population and immigration on Social Security and
Medicare, and defense spending (greater than the rest-of-the-world's total
spending) that leaves little for other things that American's want and need.
We also know that candidates will say just about anything to get elected.
And we can argue about who has the most relevant experience.
It would be logical to wade through this sort of thinking in trying to
decide who to vote for in November.
For the 2008 election, however, it is of secondary importance -- there are
bigger issues at stake.
If you believe in the promise of America, and its vision enshrined in the
Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, you must send a
strong message to all candidates, now and in the future, that those who
violate it -- as the Bush administration has done -- will pay a price.
If you believe in an America that works for all, then you must vote for the
candidate whose nominees to the Supreme Court, over the next four to eight
years, will work better for all Americans.
And, if you want to restore America's image and build the international
alliances needed to tackle issues such as climate change, energy, disease,
hunger, poverty, then the world needs a strong signal that the America after
January 20, 2009 will be a very different America from that of the past
The damage done to the U.S. by the Bush administration will take a
generation to undo, and this election may be the last chance we have to
begin to repair the damage to our economy, our image, and much more.
Viewed from this perspective, for me it will be an easy choice on November
4, 2008: not the Republican nominee.
[Westerners believe that Obama appeals to the Arabs because of his middle
name or because he's black. Untrue. They like him - or liked him - because
he grew up poor. Like them, he understood - or rather, they thought he
understood - what oppression was about. But they quickly found out where
they stood in the food chain. Forty-five minutes in Ramallah vs 24 hours in
Israel was the Obama equation. Yes, I know the old saw. Every US
presidential candidate has to make the pilgrimage to the Wailing Wall, to
Yad Vashem, to some Israeli town or village that has taken casualties
(albeit minuscule in comparison to those visited upon the Palestinians), to
talk about Israel's security, etc. That doesn't mean, we are always told,
that Israel is going to have it easy once the US president is elected.
Wrong. Israel is going to have it easy. Because no sooner is he elected than
he will be enmeshed in the Middle East tragedy and be forced to take sides -
Israel's, of course - and then it will be time for the next election, so the
president's hands will be tied again and he'll be talking about Israel's
security (rather than Palestinian security) and we'll be back on the same
old itinerary.--Robert Fisk, "New actor on the same old
stage," Independent, August 2, 2008]
[Americans have never been seen by Iraqis as the glue that's holding a
fragile Iraq together. Quite the contrary, the vast majority have felt for
years that the U.S. occupation is actually contributing to instability,
greatly contributing to the violence, and serving as a lightning-rod for
encouraging Islamist radicals to travel to Iraq and attack the U.S. head-on.
Historically, the U.S., rather than any scattered "insurgents," has been the
primary party responsible for the destruction of Iraq. The U.S. funded both
sides of the Iran-Iraq war, which cost an estimated one million lives,
intentionally destroyed Iraqi infrastructure during the 1991 Gulf War,
supported mass murder through sanctions throughout the 1990s (with another
estimated 1.5 million killed), and presided over an occupation that has
taken by some estimates as many as another one million lives (how many
insurgents in Iraq can claim the power to kill 3.5 million people?). Don't
expect to hear any about these inconvenient truths from Joe Biden though.
--Anthony DiMaggio, "The Myths of Joe
Biden," counterpunch.org, August 27, 2008)
[As a party, the Republicans have not only refined the art of the political
smear - with such memorable moments as the Willie Horton ads in 1988 and the
"swift-boating" of John Kerry in 2004 - but they also have defined the
concept of the October Surprise, manipulating late-breaking events to drive
the electorate toward their candidate. . . . Robert Parry, "How the Republicans
Win," consortiumnews.com, August 29, 2008]
"Pray for our military. He [Palin's son] is going to be deployed in
September to Iraq - pray for our military men and women who are striving to
do what is right for this country - that our leaders, our national leaders
are sending them out on a task that is from God, that's what he have to make
sure we are praying for, that there is a plan and that it is God's
troops in Iraq on 'task from God'," middle-east-online.com,
September 4, 2008
[The idea that the Iraqi government under Saddam Hussein helped al-Qaeda
plan the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a view once
promoted by Bush administration officials, has since been rejected even by
the president himself.--Anne E. Kornblut, "Palin Links Iraq to Sept. 11 In Talk to Troops
in Alaska," Washington Post, September 12, 2008]
[Palin is a radical right-wing fundamentalist Christian who would love to
create a theocracy. She believes we are living in the "end times" which will
result in a bloody inferno from which only true Christians will be saved.
Palin recently attended a service in her Wasilla Bible Church run by David
Brickner, who runs Jews for Jesus, a group the Anti-Defamation League
criticizes for its "aggressive and deceptive" proselytizing of Jews. Those
who don't accept Jesus as their savior will burn in Hell, according to
Palin's brand of theology.--Marjorie Cohn, "A Palin Theocracy?,"
counterpunch.org, September 11, 2008]
[McCain is 72, and he has had a serious bout with a virulent form of cancer.
Thus, he had a special responsibility to pick a running mate who could be,
in effect, a deputy commander -- someone who could take over for him if his
health should fail. The country is at war, as McCain so often reminds us,
and he was picking someone who might be responsible for the security of the
nation. . . .
But John McCain also likes to win. And he has an impulsive streak, sometimes
bordering on recklessness, which is described by many of his friends and by
McCain himself in his memoir, "Faith of My Fathers." The desire to win, and
the impulsiveness, converged in his decision to pick Palin--David Ignatius,
Nothing To Win," Washington Post, September 14, 2008]
[Mrs Palin was identified as a potential future leader of the neoconservative
cause in June 2007.
. . . the "neocons", whose standard bearer in government, Vice President Dick
Cheney, lost out in Washington power struggles to the more moderate defence
secretary Robert Gates and secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, last year
are seeking to mould Mrs Palin to renew their influence.
[Once upon a time, a politician took campaign contributions and favors from
a friendly constituent who happened to run a savings and loan association.
The contributions were generous: They came to about $200,000 in today's
dollars, . . .
[Former fundamentalists like me know that your worldview is so encompassing,
authoritarian, and powerful that it defines who you think you are, the way
you view the world, history, other people, the future, and your place in the
world. It defines you far more than hockey mom, wife, hunter, governor, or
VP candidate.--Marlene Winell, "An open letter to Sarah Palin,"
opednews.com, October 15, 2008]
[VIDEO: I'm also troubled not with what Senator McCain says but what members
of the party say and it is permitted to be said, such things as, "Well, you
know Mr. Obama is a Muslim." Well, the correct answer is that Mr. Obama is
not a Muslim. He's a Christian. He's always been a Christian. But the
really right answer is: What if he is? Is there something wrong with being a
Muslim in this country? The answer's no. That's not America.
I feel strongly about this because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was
a photo essay about troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture
at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery.
And she had her had her head on the headstone of her son's grave. And as the
picture focused in you could see the writing on the headstone. ... And then
at the very top of the headstone, you could see it didn't have a Christian
cross, it didn't have the Star of David, it had the crescent and star of the
Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan. And he was an
American.--"Colin Powell and the Muslims," kansascity.com,
October 15, 2008]
[Clinton's administration was at least as violent as Bush's - see Unicef's
report that 500,000 Iraqi children died as a result of the Anglo-American
blockade in the 1990s.
The lesson learned is that no presidential candidate, least of all a
Democrat awash with money from America's "banksters", as Franklin Roosevelt
called them, can or will challenge a militarised system that controls and
rewards him. Obama's job is to present a benign, even progressive face
that will revive America's democratic pretensions, internationally and
domestically, while ensuring nothing of substance changes.--John Pilger,
"Exercise your rights," New Statesman, October
[In state after state, Republican operatives - the party's elite commandos
of bare-knuckle politics - are wielding new federal legislation to
systematically disenfranchise Democrats.--Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Greg
Palast, "Block the Vote," Rolling Stone, October 30, 2008]