Why I regret voting for Obama

Most of my regular readers know that my decision to vote for Obama for President was a very hard decision. In Oklahoma we only had 3 choices — Obama, McCain or leaving it blank (we get no third party or write-in choices), so I was left with only two possible choices, Obama and NOTA (none of the above).

Despite my indecisiveness, I swung to Obama after he made clear statements about his intent to close down GITMO and because I hoped he would at least listen to the other side. I still though was very fearful that he being elected would placate the peace movement and that he would in fact do even worse things than Bush did because he felt the need to prove how much of tough Prez he was (think LBJ in Vietnam or Clinton in Serbia).

So have my fears come true? Thus far, sadly yes.

Obama has chosen to keep the same man at the top of the DOD (Gates). He is rapidly expanding the war in Afghanistan. And now he is backtracking on plans to end the war in Iraq on even the pathetically slow timetable he committed to.

And now to top it all of, we get this news…

MSNBC: CIA employees won’t be tried for waterboarding — Holder gives first definitive assurance officials are legally in the clear

… The Obama administration last month released nine legal memos related to the interrogation program, and probably will release more as the lawsuit proceeds. But the four released Thursday represent the fullest accounting by the government of the methods authorized and used, and is the complete list, the officials said.

There is very little redaction, or blacking out, of detail in the memos, the officials said.

The methods include keeping detainees naked for long periods, keeping them in a painful standing position for long periods, and depriving them of solid food. Other tactics included using a plastic neck collar to slam detainees into walls, keeping the detainee’s cell cold for long periods, and beating and kicking the detainee. Sleep-deprivation, prolonged shackling, and threats to a detainee’s family were also used.

President Obama and AG Holder are in my opinion now complicit in these crimes. Their argument that the CIA agents were relying on legal advice is a crock of ****. I’m sure Nazi lawyers said the holocaust was “legal” too.

If the CIA agents and other responsible for torture are not prosecuted, then the message is sent to the whole world that torture is ok. And if torture is ok, then God help us all. What kind of monsters have we become?

PHOTOS: IVAW and Allies march on the DNC (all photos are now up)

I now have all of my picture from the march uploaded (that took forever… lots of cropping and tweaking, especially to deal with low light conditions at the end of the march).

The photos are organized into 2 galleries…

Part 1

August 27, 2008 These pictures are of the first part of the march, from where I caught up with it in downtown Denver to the first “confrontation site” where IVAW lined up in formation facing the DNC secured convention site. Initially participants though that there would be civil disobedience happening at the site, but a decision was made out of safety concerns (this location was one in which protesters were boxed into a very small area) to march back to the front of the building

Part 2

These pictures are all from the 2nd part of the march. IVAW led the march to the other side (I think the North side) of the secured convention area to present their demands to the DNC and the Obama campaign. Protesters were told that there was a possibility of arrest during this portion of the march. The police buildup was huge during this time of action, but thankfully the risk of police violence and/or arrest was averted. I believe the order of these pictures is roughly chronological (the last few are of my dog and I riding a pedicab back to the car if you are wondering)

My endorsement of Cindy Sheehan

I want to take this moment to echo Sinister’s endorsement of Cindy Sheehan for Congress.

I am supporting her because Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic Party establishment have done jack squat to end the war in Iraq. Cindy probably has little chance of winning, but I hope the race is close enough to scare Nancy and remind her that the Democrats came into power because the public was sick of business as usual and the public was sick of the war in Iraq, and that it is time for D’s to deliver on their promises.

Thoughts on John Edwards

Other local blogs have already discussed this, but I think I should say something too since I was a very vocal supporter of Edwards during his primary campaign.

I am deeply, deeply disappointed in him. I know that many great political and social movement leaders have very troubling personal lives and marital infidelities, but still I hoped for so much more than this. And I can’t help but wonder who else he might betray (i.e. the folks who claims to be fighting for), if he would betray his own wife.

But I’ve also just read what his wife has said to the public on Dailykos (thanks to Sinister for this link), and I think she is right. The media should leave them alone. They are not helping the situation one bit.

Probably Edwards is sunk as a VP pick (I would have so loved to see him get the nod… he would have been such a powerful voice for the working class), but I hope that whatever happens he can heal his family and overcome this. We need every eloquent voice for the poor that we can get, and I think he has the ability to speak and inspire that we so desperately need.

The moral failure of John Edwards reminds me of a similar failure of Martin Luther King. It looks like that the allegations of marital infidelity were true (I still argue we never would have or should have known about it, except for the FBI’s illegal spying on him), but it doesn’t change the fundamental rightness of life and his message. I think the world of Correta Scott King and am amazed that he would dare cheat on her, but he did, and she forgave him, and he continued to fight for justice, even with all of his very human failings.

It’s too early to know about John Edwards, but I’m hoping that he also can find redemption and can take the mercy he is shown by his wife and loved ones, and use it as an inspiration to fight for all of those in our society who have been pushed aside and told they don’t count.

Oklahoma Greens for Obama!

OKGreens4Obama Email discussion list

This discussion list is for members and friends of the Greeen Party of Oklahoma, who are supporting Obama for President, but who are also proud to be Greens and are fighting for Ballot Access reform in Oklahoma so that all political parties can be on the ballot.

Civil discussions of the Obama campaign and Green politics are welcomed.

Please note that while this list is supportive of BOTH Obama and the Green Party, this list is NOT an official Green Party of Oklahoma email list and is not endorsed or sponsored by the Green Party.

I’m hoping this will be well-received. I know some Demos love to hate Greens and blame them for the losses in 2000 and 2004 (instead of blaming themselves for picking crappy candidates) and some Greens will see this project as being divisive (but to me this election is very different than 2000 and 2004).

At the very least I hope this project is seen as what it claims to be, Greens (who see a future in an independent Green Party) who are supporting a decent candidate for President, who happens to not be Green, even though he shares many (but not all) of our Green values.

My disgust with the Democratic party and so-called “liberals” over their sexist treatment of Hillary Clinton

Tulsa World/Washington Post: What I won’t miss from Democrats’ campaign – oped By Marie Cocco

WASHINGTON — As the Democratic nomination contest slouches toward a close, it’s time to take stock of what I will not miss.

I will not miss seeing advertisements for T-shirts that bear the slogan “Bros before Hos.” The shirts depict Barack Obama (the Bro) and Hillary Clinton (the Ho) and they are widely sold on the Internet.

I will not miss walking past airport concessions selling the Hillary Nutcracker, a device in which a pantsuit-clad Clinton doll opens her legs to reveal stainless steel thighs that, well, bust nuts. I won’t miss television and newspaper stories that make light of the novelty item.

I won’t miss episodes like the one in which liberal radio personality Randi Rhodes called Clinton a “big f—in’ whore” and said the same about former vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro. Rhodes was appearing at an event sponsored by a San Francisco radio station, before an audience of appreciative Obama supporters — one of whom had promoted the evening on the presumptive Democratic nominee’s official campaign Web site.

I won’t miss Citizens United Not Timid (no acronym, please), an anti-Clinton group founded by Republican guru Roger Stone. . .

I’m not a fan of Clinton (or Obama either at this point), but this commentator is right. Sexism is alive and well in America. I expect it from the Right, but I have to say the Left’s treatment of Clinton is disgusting and reminds me of why I have almost no faith in electoral politics today.

I respect my friends and comrades in the Clinton and Obama campaigns who think that the election will be one in which the constitution will be saved and the tide can be turned, but I think it is long past the point of no return. Unless the race is close (and I have a real change of heart), I’ll likely be writing in “Eugene V. Debs” on the ballot (and to h— with the election laws that forbid write-in-votes).

Obama just lost my vote… I want to write in Reverend Jeremiah Wright

CNN: Obama ‘outraged’ by Wright’s remarks

(CNN) — Sen. Barack Obama said he is “outraged” by comments his former minister, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, made Monday at the National Press Club and is “saddened by the spectacle.”

“I have been a member of Trinity Church since 1992. I have known Rev. Wright for almost 20 years,” he said at a news conference in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “The person I saw yesterday is not the person I met 20 years ago.”

Obama said he is outraged by Wright’s remarks that seemed to suggest the U.S. government might be responsible for the spread of AIDS in the black community and his equation of some American wartime efforts with terrorism. . .

I just finished reading Reverend Wright’s message (at NYTimes: Reverend Wright at the National Press Club – transcript) and I must say that, Rev. Wright is right on in my book.

The only thing I could possibly question was his belief that AIDS was intentionally created to destroy the black community. I think it is more accurate to say that the powers that be don’t give a damn about poor people, gay people, and black people, and that’s why AIDS was ignored for so long in America and is still being pretty much ignored in Africa. But I don’t think there’s proof that AIDS was intentionally created.

But with that aside, the rest of Wright’s remarks were DEAD ON THE MONEY.

Read it for yourself. I double-dog dare you too. As far as I’m concerned, if Obama is ashamed of this message, then I don’t think Obama is someone that I can vote for. In fact if I had to vote today, I would write in Jeremiah Wright.

Here’s one excerpt from the speech that I want to leave you with, which I think is particularly profound…

. . . That is my hope, as I open up this two-day symposium. And I open it as a pastor and a professor who comes from a long tradition of what I call the prophetic theology of the black church.

Now, in the 1960s, the term “liberation theology” began to gain currency with the writings and the teachings of preachers, pastors, priests, and professors from Latin America. Their theology was done from the underside.

Their viewpoint was not from the top down or from a set of teachings which undergirded imperialism. Their viewpoints, rather, were from the bottom up, the thoughts and understandings of God, the faith, religion and the Bible from those whose lives were ground, under, mangled and destroyed by the ruling classes or the oppressors.

Liberation theology started in and started from a different place. It started from the vantage point of the oppressed.

In the late 1960s, when Dr. James Cone’s powerful books burst onto the scene, the term “black liberation theology” began to be used. I do not in any way disagree with Dr. Cone, nor do I in any way diminish the inimitable and incomparable contributions that he has made and that he continues to make to the field of theology. Jim, incidentally, is a personal friend of mine.

I call our faith tradition, however, the prophetic tradition of the black church, because I take its origins back past Jim Cone, past the sermons and songs of Africans in bondage in the transatlantic slave trade. I take it back past the problem of Western ideology and notions of white supremacy.

I take and trace the theology of the black church back to the prophets in the Hebrew Bible and to its last prophet, in my tradition, the one we call Jesus of Nazareth.

The prophetic tradition of the black church has its roots in Isaiah, the 61st chapter, where God says the prophet is to preach the gospel to the poor and to set at liberty those who are held captive. Liberating the captives also liberates who are holding them captive.

It frees the captives and it frees the captors. It frees the oppressed and it frees the oppressors.

Read that last sentence again. I wish Obama had the moral courage to say Amen to Rev. Wright instead of to condemn him.

Here are two more excerpts that I thought were pretty profound…

Dr. Jones, in his book, God in the ghetto, argues quite accurately that one’s theology, how I see God, determines one’s anthropology, how I see humans, and one’s anthropology then determines one’s sociology, how I order my society.

Now, the implications from the outside are obvious. If I see God as male, if I see God as white male, if I see God as superior, as God over us and not Immanuel, which means “God with us,” if I see God as mean, vengeful, authoritarian, sexist, or misogynist, then I see humans through that lens.

. . . to quote the Bible, “Be not deceived. God is not mocked. For whatsoever you sow, that you also shall reap.” Jesus said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

You cannot do terrorism on other people and expect it never to come back on you. Those are biblical principles, not Jeremiah Wright bombastic, divisive principles.

Undecided about Nader

Ralph Nader enters presidential race

Nader said Thomas Jefferson believed that “when you lose your government, you’ve got to go into the electoral arena.”

“A Jeffersonian revolution is needed in this country,” he said.

Nader told NBC that great changes in U.S. history have come “through little parties that never won any national election.”

“Dissent is the mother of ascent,” he said. “And in that context I’ve decided to run for president.”

I am very undecided about Nader’s run. On the pro side of things, I think he will bring an important perspective to the race and will hopefully push the Democratic nominee to not drift as far to the center as he or she might otherwise do.

On the negative side, there is a major issue with the spoiler factor. We don’t have a fair system for electing the President, so it is very possible for a third party candidate to throw the race to dark side. In 2004 there was no real substantive difference between Bush and Kerry (both of them were pro-Iraq war, pro-patriot act and pro-Nafta… Kerry even wanted to institute a surge in troop numbers), but this year I think the contrast is more pronounced. Both Obama and Clinton are today opposed to the war in Iraq. I don’t think they are nearly radical enough in ending the war or bringing about real change, but the difference between them and McCain isn’t insignificant.

My hope right now is that Nader will stay in the race but will negotiate with the eventual democratic nominee for him to pull out of the race. For instance, he could get a guarantee that all troops will be out of Iraq in one year in exchange for dropping out. Or maybe Nader could agree to run a “safe states” strategy, in which he only campaigns in states that have no real risk of him being a spoiler.

However it goes down, I’m hoping that Nader will be yet one more factor to push the Democrats to not compromise on the war, universal health care, or any other critical issues of this election year. The Dems have nothing to fear from Nader, unless they play it safe and run a disasterous stand-for-nothing campaign like they have for the last few presidential electoral cycles.

Oh and one more thing… just to make it clear to my readers, Nader is running as an Independent and not as a Green. He also ran as an independent in ’04 (he sought the GP’s endorsement but they rejected him). While I like Nader in many ways, I think the GP should again choose a grassroots candidate in ’08. There are several promising folks in the GP race right now, and I think Nader has never been much into party organizing, so it would be better to chose someone new.

Will Edwards make an endorsement?

ABC News: Edwards Weighs Clinton Endorsement — Former Candidate Torn Between Clinton and Obama in Democratic Race

It will be interesting to see what he does. The headline in this story is a bit misleading, as it sounds to me that he is in serious talks with both campaigns about a possible endorsement, and has had or will have in-person meetings with both of them.

If he can swing a deal to become either Attorney General or Vice President, I think he should go for it. I think he would definitely bring a lot to the table in a future administration, and given the precedent of Cheney, I think it would not be unexpected for a Democratic VP to play a bigger role than VP’s have in the past.

As to who he should pick, boy, I don’t know. I go back and forth pretty often. I like and dislike Clinton and Obama both. I think both will improve things a little bit on some fronts, and will hopefully provide enough political cover for the Democratic do-nothing congress to actually end the war in Iraq. (however, I’m afraid they won’t be fast about it) I’m also concerned that they are too invested in the uber-capitalistic machine and will continue to support pro corporate policies which really sucks.

At the present moment, I’m leaning a very little bit towards Clinton, but it isn’t much of a lean. I think her health care policy is better than Obama’s which is a pretty big deal, but I also am still very upset with her failure to show up to vote against BARF (Bankruptcy Abuse Reform Fiasco) and her big ties to the credit card industry. But, I think it is high time to elect a woman as president, and that coupled with the unfair and sexist abuse I’m seeing her catch from both the left and right is making me pretty sympathetic towards her.

I’ll probably change my mind tomorrow though. And I’m very open to third party choices at this point, particularly if the democratic nominee drifts to the right after the primary elections are over.

Obama or Clinton? Is there a difference — also thoughts for Republicans

Today’s Super Tuesday and for my Okie readers, don’t forget to vote in the primary (assuming you’re a registered Republican or Democrat).

I know that Obama or Clinton are almost certain to win the Democratic nomination. Certainly they are an improvement over Bush, and would be better than the Republicans (except maybe Ron Paul… I would almost be ok with his free-marketism if he really would end the war now), but they are so vapidly shallow and IMHO without any strong guiding principles on which they truly stand for.

If I had to pick right now, I would probably pick Hillary just because I think she is catching a lot of hell from sexists. I’ve heard horrible things even from progressives that have nothing to do with her issues, but rather a lot more about backwards sexual prejudices. And I would also want to pick Obama because at least he never voted for the war. But really there’s no real difference between the two of them, so I suggest that folks pick someone else so as to hopefully send a message to the powers that be.

On the Republican side of the aisle, I wouldn’t back any of them but if I had to pick, my picks (for different reasons) would be… McCain (because he is so aggressively pro-war that he will hopefully drive out the anti-war left to vote. He also isn’t quite as bad on immigration issues as the others), Guiliani (because he has a slightly better record on LGBT rights) and Paul (because despite my vehement disagreement with him on economics and immigration, he is very anti-war and in the end that trumps all of the other issues).

So my primary endorsements are…

Democrats – John Edwards (with a close second going to Kucinich)

Republican – Ron Paul

Also for folks interested, I’m tabulating the blog straw poll as we speak. Results will be up soon.