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Senator McCain was a key leader in pushing for the invasion of Iraq and the deregulation of Wall Street

which have put our economy at risk and left nearly 5,000 Americans dead in Iraq. Senator McCain

stood on a naval carrier yelling "Next stop, Baghdad!" as our pilots began that unnecessary war.



Obama-McCain Debate # 1

Foreign And National Security Policy
By Tom Hayden


Point 1: Although this presidential debate is about foreign policy and national security, we cannot avoid mention of the financial meltdown on Wall Street. Without a strong economy we cannot be strong in national security. The Wall Street fiasco will cost well over $700 billion dollars, the current cost of the Iraq War. The mistakes in both cases, Wall Street and Iraq, were based on irresponsible misjudgments by many people in high places, including both parties.

Senator McCain was a key leader in pushing for the invasion of Iraq and the deregulation of Wall Street which have put our economy at risk and left nearly 5,000 Americans dead in Iraq. Senator McCain stood on a naval carrier yelling "Next stop, Baghdad!" as our pilots began that unnecessary war. A few years earlier, Senator McCain was criticized for ethical transgressions by the US Senate for his direct role in the Keating S&L scandal which put billions in taxpayer money at risk. It is fair to say that Senator McCain, with his close ally Sen. Phil Gramm, has been the Senate's leading voice for deregulation of Wall Street.

Point 2: Sen. McCain will claim, with some facts to his credit, that his advocacy of the surge in Iraq has paid off. Violence against American soldiers is down. But those America has been fighting in Iraq are not defeated. The situation is like a temporary interlude until the November elections are over.

We have put one side in power, a sectarian Shi'a coalition that has conducted ethnic cleansing, torture and the detention of 50,000 people in prisons where human rights are abused every day. We have left Moktada al-Sadr's army intact in Sadr City. We have paid off 100,000 on the Sunni insurgent side with money to stop shooting us. Neither side has made any significant moves towards political reconciliation. Both sides, including those the President put in power, want us to withdraw our troops in 15 or 16 months, a position Barack Obama has long advocated.

If peace really is "on the horizon", as the White House claims, we could begin withdrawing all our troops now. Instead, under the Bush-McCain plan, we will have more troops on the ground in Iraq next year than we did before the surge started. That's not peace, that's military occupation. Iraq is a time bomb.

Point 3: The solution is to withdraw our ground troops as promised, perhaps starting with an immediate redeployment from Iraq's cities. Any American advisers left behind must not be mercenaries caught in the cross-fire of a renewed civil war. All our efforts must be diplomatic and economic, conveying the message that some sort of coalition government among the Iraqis must be put together as the American occupation ends next year.

It is worth noting that both Bush and McCain have abandoned their long-standing principle of never accepting a withdrawal deadline, and now are playing election-eve word games about "horizons" and "aspirations". We all remember past presidents promising they would never send ground troops to Southeast Asia, or that peace was at hand, promises that allowed those men to win elections by not keeping their word. Now it's time for some straight talk with the American people.

Point 4: We should not leap from the simmering quagmire in Iraq to the hot ones of Afghanistan and Pakistan without a clear plan for peace. The deployment of any American advisers or combat troops to those countries, if at all justified, should be as temporary holding actions and consistent with respecting their sovereign rights. Our only legitimate goal is to deter al-Qaeda from planning attacks on America from sanctuaries in Pakistan, but that goal cannot be pursued in isolation, if Pakistan's people see us as foreign invaders, if civilian casualties continue to mount, and if terrorism spreads across Pakistan in response to our forays into the tribal highlands.

Point 5: Every civilian casualty, every destroyed village, gives birth to new al-Qaeda recruits. The only solution is to reduce the pool of potential terrorists by ending our policies that breed and inflame them, in particular:

Afghanistan and Pakistan are two of the poorest countries in the world, and there is no credible economic development plan in place;
Iran shares a long border with Afghanistan, and was our ally in the first war against the Taliban. Negotiations with Iran on these and other issues are indispensable to finding a solution in Afghanistan.
Getting out of Iraq while continuing humanitarian assistance is crucial to opening a new chapter of diplomacy in the region.
Resuming an American initiative towards the failed Israeli-Palestinian peace process will begin to rebuild Arab and European confidence that America has a constructive role to play in dampening down the fires set by the Bush Administration with its surreal campaign to impose American-style democracy on the Middle East.

Point 6: John McCain has offered no diplomatic, political or economic approaches to managing, not to mention lessening, these multiple crises. But his acting as an isolated hawk- yelling about bombing Baghdad, singing about bombing Iran, encouraging a conflict with the Russians on their border - is comparable to being General Custer at Little Big Horn.

Point 7: Even the greatest power on earth cannot sustain more devastating experiences like the past five years in Iraq and the cascading catastrophe on Wall Street. Our military can't take the wear and tear of forever wars. Our economy can't take the flow of our taxes and profits to such a narrow stratum of the rich. Our cities and schools can't take the burden of budget cuts and tax breaks. Our environment, our rivers and streams, our eagles and polar bears, can't wait another generation. Our courts can't take the appointment of extremist judges who unilaterally diminish the civil rights, women's rights, labor rights and environmental protections past generations have fought and sacrificed for. Enough.

Source: Progressives for Obama

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Candidates Clash on Economy and Iraq—From the economy to foreign affairs to the way they carried themselves on stage, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama offered a dramatic contrast to the nation in their first presidential debate on Friday night, mixing disdain and often caustic remarks as they set out sharply different views of how they would manage the country and confront America’s adversaries abroad.

The two men met for 90 minutes against the backdrop of the nation’s worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and intensive negotiations in Congress over a $700 billion bailout plan for Wall Street.

Despite repeated prodding, Mr. McCain and Mr. Obama refused to point to any major adjustments they would need to make to their governing agendas — like scaling back promised tax reductions or spending programs — to accommodate what both men said could be very tough economic times for the next president.

For the first 40 minutes, Mr. Obama repeatedly sought to link Mr. McCain to President Bush, and suggested that it was policies of excessive deregulation that led to the financial crisis and mounting economic problems the nation faces now. . . . “The first thing we have to do is get spending under control in Washington. It’s completely out of control,” he said, and assailed Mr. Obama for requesting $932 million in earmark spending as a senator.

“That kind of thing is not the way to rein in runaway spending in Washington, D.C.,” he said “That’s one of the fundamental differences that Senator Obama and I have.”

Mr. Obama responded by assailing Mr. McCain’s call for tax cuts for the wealthy. “Let’s be clear: earmarks account for $18 billion in last year’s budget. Senator McCain is proposing — and this is a fundamental difference between us — $300 billion in tax cuts to some of the wealthiest corporations and individuals in the country, $300 billion. Now, $18 billion is important; $300 billion is really important.”

Turning to Mr. McCain, he said: “John, it’s been your president who you said you agreed with 90 percent of the time who presided over this increase in spending, this orgy of spending and enormous deficits and you voted for almost all of his budgets.” . . . Mr. McCain accused Mr. Obama of having “the most liberal voting record in the United States Senate.” He chuckled aloud, adding: “It’s hard to reach across the aisle from that far to the left.”

A few moments later, Mr. Obama responded: “John mentioned me being wildly liberal. Mostly, that’s just me opposing George Bush’s wrongheaded policies since I’ve been in Congress.” NYTimes (September 27, 2008)

posted 24 September 2008

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The Looting of America: How Wall Street's Game of Fantasy Finance

Destroyed Our Jobs, Pensions, and Prosperity—and What We Can Do About It

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How could the best and brightest (and most highly paid) in finance crash the global economy and then get us to bail them out as well? What caused this mess in the first place? Housing? Greed? Dumb politicians? What can Main Street do about it? In The Looting of America, Leopold debunks the prevailing media myths that blame low-income home buyers who got in over their heads, people who ran up too much credit-card debt, and government interference with free markets. Instead, readers will discover how Wall Street undermined itself and the rest of the economy by playing and losing at a highly lucrative and dangerous game of fantasy finance. He also asks some tough questions:  Why did Americans let the gap between workers' wages and executive compensation grow so large? Why did we fail to realize that the excess money in those executives' pockets was fueling casino-style investment schemes? Why did we buy the notion that too-good-to-be-true financial products that no one could even understand would somehow form the backbone of America's new, postindustrial economy? How do we make sure we never give our wages away to gamblers again? And what can we do to get our money back? In this page-turning narrative (no background in finance required) Leopold tells the story of how we fell victim to Wall Street's exotic financial products. Readers learn how even school districts were taken in by "innovative" products like collateralized debt obligations, better known as CDOs, and how they sucked trillions of dollars from the global economy when they failed. They'll also learn what average Americans can do to ensure that fantasy finance never rules our economy again. The Economy

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The White Masters of the World

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Ancient African Nations

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