Sunday, July 27, 2008

OMNi information on coming presidential election

OMNI OBAMA NEWSLETTER‏From: Omnicenter Communications ( on behalf of Dick Bennett (
Sent: Sun 7/27/08 3:32 PM
Reply-to: Dick Bennett (


Compiled by Dick Bennett, July 22, 2008.

For a Culture of Peace and Justice by We, the People.
We should stand by our principles, search for the truth about McCain and Obama, do our best to make them wiser candidates, vote, and then continue to do our best to make the winner respect the Constitution, avoid illegal wars, restore the economy.
[For rest of Obama Newsletter go to and click on periodicals]
Websites for researching Obama
Type Obama into the search field at
Topic pages and databases about Obama

Chicago Tribune - Candidate coverage
On the Issues - Issue positions
Project Vote Smart - Candidate information, including issue positions
Disability issues

Obama answers questions on disability issues
Obama & environmental issues: Comprehensive review from the League of Conservation Voters.
Foreign affairs
"Renewing American Leadership" - detailed article article by Barack Obama in Foreign Affairs
Barack Obama's positions on top foreign policy issues - extensive material documented by the Council on Foreign Relations
Health care
They've Got You Covered? - Obama and Clinton ads both claim all Americans would be covered by their health plans. Clinton's would come close. Annenberg Public Policy Center, University of Pennsylvania.
2008 Presidential Candidate Health Plan Report Card issued by the National Physicians Alliance
Envisioning the Future: The 2008 Presidential Candidates' Health Reform Proposals from The Commonwealth Fund
Israel and the Middle East conflict
Obama on Zionism and Hamas - extensive interview with Jeffrey Goldberg
Speech by Senator Barack Obama
McCain, Obama positions on Mideast issues Associated Press June 6, 2008
Obama and the Progressive Base
Thursday 10 July 2008 by: Norman Solomon, t r u t h o u t | Perspective
"The Audacity of Hope" is embraced during an Obama campaign rally on the eve of the Super Tuesday primaries. Supporters have long projected their hopes onto Barack Obama. (Photo: Reuters)
A reasonably evenhanded biography of Barack Obama, published last year, describes him as "an exceptionally gifted politician who, throughout his life, has been able to make people of wildly divergent vantage points see in him exactly what they want to see." The biographer, David Mendell, reports, "the higher he soared, the more this politician spoke in well-worn platitudes and the more he offered warm, feel-good sentiments lacking a precise framework."
Now, less than four months before Election Day, with growing disquiet among significant portions of Obama's progressive base, the current negative reactions can't be dismissed as potshots from the political margins. Even The New York Times, in a July 4 editorial headlined "New and Not Improved," has expressed alarm: "We are not shocked when a candidate moves to the center for the general election. But Mr. Obama's shifts are striking because he was the candidate who proposed to change the face of politics, the man of passionate convictions who did not play old political games."
But on July 8, Obama made a valid point - even if it wasn't exactly the point he was trying to make - when he disputed "this whole notion that I am shifting to the center" and argued: "The people who say this apparently haven't been listening to me." Overall, his career as a politician has embraced conciliation and compromise rather than pushing against centrist corporate agendas.

These days, an appreciable number of Obama supporters are starting to use words like "disillusionment." But that's a consequence of projecting their political outlooks onto the candidate in the first place.

The best way to avoid becoming disillusioned is to not have illusions in the first place.

The more that spotlights move from Obama's uplifting eloquence to his specific policy positions, complete with loopholes and wiggle room, it's predictable that some of his progressive base will become displeased - whether on issues related to the death penalty, fair trade, government funding of religious-based projects, Iraq, Iran, evenhandedness between Israel and Palestinians, gun control or (perhaps most flagrantly) warrantless surveillance.
On Wednesday, when Obama cast a vote in the Senate to undermine the Fourth Amendment, he fulfilled his frequent prediction during the primary season that "I will make mistakes." This was a very big one. As an attorney who's well acquainted with constitutional law, he participated in damaging one of the most precious provisions in the precious Bill of Rights.
Barack Obama is an extremely smart guy. And I can't remember a major contender for president less inclined to insult the intelligence of the public. Let's return the favor by directly challenging him when appropriate. We'd do him - and the Obama campaign, ourselves and the country as a whole - no favors by opting for silence instead.
We can help the Obama for President effort when we hold him to his good positions - and move to buck him up when he wavers.
While speaking of the Iraq war, Obama made one of the most insightful statements of the primary campaign: "I don't want to just end the war; I want to end the mindset that got us into war." He needs to be held to that wisdom. Obama should feel enormous counterpressure from the grassroots against the forces in the media and foreign-policy establishment that are pushing him to go wobbly on ending the Iraq war.
The vortex of what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of militarism" is enormously powerful - and, in the context of presidential politics, routinely enticing. To the extent that Obama gears up anti-Iran rhetoric that he seemed to have mercifully abandoned months ago, for instance, he may reassure some pundits and other influential power brokers in Washington, but at the same time he's liable to weaken some of the allegiance to his candidacy among progressive constituencies.
As an elected Obama delegate to the Democratic National Convention, I've been hearing from people who are upset by the recent direction of the campaign. Some were always a bit skeptical of Obama, but are becoming much more so. Others have been strong supporters from the outset. In the latter category, an attorney sent an email to me a few days ago: "I must confess that my enthusiasm for Senator Obama has waned in recent weeks with a number of his policy announcements (on FISA, gun control, etc.). While I of course will vote for him and help him get elected, I must say that I feel a bit deflated after having put so much hope, effort and money into his candidacy."
Obama and his top advisers will have to gauge the importance of such deflation and waning enthusiasm. A key factor in the election will be the extent to which the Obama campaign can pull off a massive mobilization of voters. Deflated constituencies don't mobilize as well as inspired ones.
Anyone who assumes Obama will be elected president in November is on ground as solid as the assumption in 2000 that Al Gore would be elected president. On July 9, when releasing new results from nationwide polling, the Democratic research outfit, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner, reported Obama has a mere four-point lead over John McCain. Despite its propensity to spin for Democrats and its eagerness to note Obama seems "well-positioned," the firm acknowledged "some diminished enthusiasm for the presumptive Democratic nominee and only small gains among independent voters."
Some progressives, now disaffected, might consider the prospect of Obama falling short on Election Day to be his problem, not ours. But this isn't about Obama. It's about whether the levers of power in the Executive Branch, and the Supreme Court along with it, are going to be redelivered into the hands of the right wing for yet another four years.
We're facing the historic imperative of keeping McCain out of the White House. If major progressive change is going to be feasible during the next several years, defeating McCain in November is necessary. And insufficient. The insufficiency does not negate the necessity.

Under a McCain presidency, we'd be back to square one, where we've found ourselves since January 2001. Putting Obama in the White House would not by any means ensure progressive change, but under his presidency, the grassroots would have an opportunity to create it.
Along the way, let's strive to eliminate disillusionment by dispensing with illusions. No one who is a presidential candidate can proceed to overcome corporate power or the warfare state. The pervasive and huge problems that have proved to be so destructive are deep, structural and embedded in the political economy. The changes most worth believing in are the ones social movements can make possible.

Norman Solomon, the author of "War Made Easy," is a national co-chair of Healthcare NOT Warfare. The other co-chairs of the campaign, launched by Progressive Democrats of America, are Donna Smith (featured in "Sicko"), Marilyn Clement (national coordinator of Healthcare-NOW) and Representative John Conyers, chief sponsor of H.R. 676
July 25, 2008
Dear Dick,
We are guardedly optimistic about the growing consensus for a timeline to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq. But unlike Barack Obama, we don't want to see our troops removed from the "bad war" in Iraq only to be sent to fight "the good war" in Afghanistan.

One of the very first actions of CODEPINK when we formed in 2002 was to go to Afghanistan to see, firsthand, the results of our invasion. We were horrified by the "collateral damage" -- the steady stream of innocent civilians killed and maimed by our "smart bombs." We pushed our government to stop killing civilians and to compensate the families of those who we had mistakenly killed or maimed.

Seven years later, innocent Afghans continue to be killed by our troops, more US soldiers are now dying in Afghanistan than Iraq, the Taliban are gaining new strength, opium production has soared, and Osama bin Laden has not been found. The Afghan people continue to be among the poorest in the world, women continue to be oppressed, and the U.S. government reneged on its promise of a "Marshall Plan" to rebuild Afghanistan.

Barack Obama and John McCain are advocating the exact same "solution": Send more troops. But more troops will only mean more violence, more suffering, more killing of innocents, and more recruits for the Taliban.

We know that war is not the answer, but what is? Should the U.S. peace movement call for talks with the Taliban? In Iraq, the U.S. government has not just talked to Sunni insurgent groups that killed U.S. soldiers but it is now allied with them.

Back in 2006, Greg Mills, an advisor to the NATO forces in Afghanistan, wrote: "Countering an insurgency requires a mix of military pressure, institution-building, reconstruction and development, and international aid. But ultimately, the key to defeating it is political accommodation. In Afghanistan, that means talking to the Taliban."

A June 2008 report by Canada's Senate Committee on National Security, said, "The conflict in Afghanistan could go on for a very long time if there is no attempt to resolve the issue through diplomacy."

Would you advocate a timeline for the withdrawal of U.S. troops? How can we best support Afghan women?

Click here to share your thoughts with us and take our survey about the issues that are being brought to the surface by Obama's recent trip to Afghanistan. You can join the conversation by posting your comments on Common Dreams and Huffington Post. We will cull through your responses and comments and promote the best to the presidential candidates. Surely we can come up with a better answer than simply advocating more violence!

Thank you for your insights and your commitment to peace.
Alicia, Anne, Dana, Deidra, Desiree, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Jean, Jodie, Liz, Lori, Medea, Nancy, Rae and Tighe

P.S. While Obama has been in Iraq listening to generals, we are listening to the soldiers standing up against war. James Burmeister, who suffers from PTSD and other ailments related to traumatic brain injury, was recently court-martialed for refusing to return to Iraq and speaking out against the horrors of war. He is currently serving six months in prison for his courageous stand. You can read more about his story here and send a letter of support- get the address here.

P.P.S. Our website won the 2008 Progressive Source Awards Judges' Choice for Best Microsite, making this CODEPINK's second win in a row! Congratulations to Farida Sheralam, our brilliant webmistress, who continues to make our work shine. Be sure to check out her awesome new homepage redesign at

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Take our survey and share with us your thoughts about Afghanistan

Send a letter of support to war resister James Burmeister

at the DNC/RNC!

Robert Dreyfuss, “Obama’s Evolving Foreign Policy.” The Nation (July 21/28, 2008). His foreign policy views are “a work in progress.” Dreyfuss’ references seem thorough.


“Naivete, thy name is Arkansas Democrat-Gazette” By Richard Drake

With their editorial “Willful Blindness Dept.: Naivete, thy name is Barack Obama” [the ADG took] Obama - and by extension the Supreme Court - to task for their old-fashioned view that the rule of law, and granting prisoners the right of Habeas Corpus will somehow result in in all of these prisoners being free to attack the U.S. again, they reveal a serious mistrust in the basic rule of law in the United States, that which other nations often look to as an example of how to conduct themselves.
Guilt? Innocence? These are just words! So what if a lot of these guys were just innocent schmucks turned in by people for the reward, who may not be guilty of anything at all, except being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The new mind-set: Guilty until proven guilty.

Lest we forget that Libs and Demos have a less than perfect candidate, read this Wash Post story on the Court
GO TO and click on periodicals for the full biblio.

Dick Bennett
(479) 442-4600

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