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I have to say that I am totally disappointed in Senator Obama’s performance tonight. This was a perfect opportunity to put away Senator McCain, and Obama blew it. Instead, he spent a great deal of time defending himself and explaining himself. Throughout the debate, Obama was cool and collected, and he was able to connect to voters on important issues like health care and education, but he allowed McCain to assume the dominant and aggressive position throughout the night. Now, Obama did not have to hit a home-run tonight because he is in a commanding lead in the polls, but he really should have performed better. He was flat and boring. In short, Obama sucked tonight.

On the other hand, while McCain was aggressive and in attack mode (his comfort zone), he failed to hit a home-run, as well. He failed to provide any details or background on his proposals. More importantly, he failed to follow through on his attacks on Obama, vis a vis Ayers and ACORN. Like his campaign thus far, he was erratic and all over the place, instead of being focused and on message. To his credit, he beat Obama over the head with two issues: Obama’s tax policy and the economy. The latter has been Obama’s strength, but McCain bested him tonight on that topic. However, overall, McCain came across as mean spirited, hateful, and angry. This may have been the cause of his erratic responses throughout the night. While McCain may have pleased his base on issues like abortion and taxes, he did not connect with Independent voters, who will be deciding this election. And, as I wrote in my previous blog, they hate attacks, which is all McCain did tonight. It will be interesting how they respond to tonight’s debate.

Tonight was a draw. Simply put. Obama failed to wow the viewers, and McCain failed to prove his case that he is any different from Bush or that Obama is a dangerous individual. Though tonight was a draw, that is essentially a default victory for Obama and a default loss for McCain. Obama needed only maintain the staus quo of the race, while McCain needed a decisive victory, which he failed to get.

The real winner in tonight’s debate, however, was moderator Bob Schieffer, who succeeded in drawing the two candidates away from their talking points and succeeded in getting them to confront one another. He asked thoughtful and interesting questions tonight that made this the best debate of the election. Good for you, Bob!

Now, we’re off to November 4th!

Oh, and I do have to make one other point. I went to Canada over the summer for my honeymoon. My wife and I stayed in Victoria. We fell in love with the place, but we also fell in love with the people. They were so kind, tolerant, intelligent, thoughtful, and giving. I thought, “Wow, the Canadians are very different from Americans.” I come across so many people in America who are ignorant, hateful, loud, and selfish. By no means do I think all, or even the majority, of Americans are that way, but there are elements of our country that fail, I think to live up to the standards of our forefathers. I thought Canadians had.

Well, that bubble sure burst when I started getting such hateful posts from an individual called clancop, who is a Canadian. He’s a little ball of hate, that guy. I guess I was wrong about Canada. Well, that’s what happens when you make generalizations, I suppose.

The whole ACORN fiasco is nothing but a sign of the right’s desperation. They see conspiracy theories everywhere: Obama is a closet Muslim, they scream; He registered people to vote, they cry; He knew a man who was a domestic terrorist forty years ago, they squeal. Frankly, I want to hear about policy issues, not frantic accusations.

The ACORN debacle has been pushed primarily by a right-wing columnist named Stanley Kurtz, of the ultra-conservative National Review. The basic gist of his “logic” is that Obama became BFF’s with William Ayers while they sat on the board of the Annenberg Challenge, and, surprise surprise, they both attended board meetings. Most of Kurtz’s arguments are based on very weak, however passionately put forth, information. Not even Kurtz himself entirely believes his own assertions. “Does that mean Obama himself schooled Acorn volunteers in disruptive ‘direct action?’ Not necessarily,” He wrote. At another point, he only goes so far as to write, “Part of Obama’s work, it would appear, was to organize demonstrations, much in the mold of radical groups like Acorn.” Mostly, Kurtz is engaging in the lowest form of character assassination.

It should be mentioned that anytime people want to organize or help other people, it is immediately denounced as “radical” or “leftist” by pieces of shit like Kurtz. Oh, dear god, especially when people are trying to get poor people to register to vote. Boy do the right-wingers go bat shit!

The Annenberg Challenge was established to reform the schools of Chicago, which were in desperate need of help. They even were awarded a 50 million dollar grant in order to meet this goal. The Annenberg Challenge engaged in such radical and leftist activities as trying to reduce class size, trying to bring schools and the community closer together, and encouraging teachers to work together and to further their education. Wow. That’s radical. So radical, in fact, that the program was created by staunchly conservative Walter Annenberg, a friend of Ronald Reagan, a big-time GOP donor, and US ambassador to Britain under President Nixon.

Stanley Kurtz was so curious about this topic that he demanded to see the Annenberg records. Confused librarians at the University of Illinois at Chicago (where, incidently, Ayers is a Professor of Education) were unsure about whether or not Kurtz was allowed access, so they denied his request. This immediately was seized upon as evidence that Obama and Ayers were trying to cover up their relationship. He wrote, “Circumstances strongly suggest the likelihood that Bill Ayers himself may have played a pivotal role in this denial.” Again, he’s pulling this right out of his ass. He promised his readers that the files would be a treasure trove of information regarding Obama and Ayers’ relationship. Unfortunately for Kurtz and his ilk, Kurtz was allowed to view the records, but he still found nothing substantial. Oops!

The Chicago Tribune wrote this about Kurtz’s “journalism” on the subject: “This is Alice in Wonderland journalism—Conclusion first! Research afterward!” How appropriate.

Obama is slightly responisble for Kurtz’s rise in popularity… so popular, apparently, that he has gained readership around the globe (even Canada)… Instead of confronting Kurtz directly, Obama urged his supporters to call or write WGN, a radio network that allowed Kurtz air-time to spread his hate-mongering, and complain. Kurtz and his supporters again jumped on this as proof that Obama was trying to kill the story. *sigh*

Again, the reason the right is so upset by ACORN is that they have recently announced that they have registered 1.3 million new voters. The thought of people voting is frightening to the right. Especially poor people! Sure, there have been instances of fraudulent registrations across the country, but it is not voter fraud until they attempt to vote. It is also interesting to note, that these fraudulent registrations have been caught (in fact, they were even brought to the attention of election officials by… get this… ACORN itself) , thus preventing anyone from actually voting. The right screaming about voter fraud is actually very hilarious considering how they cheated Gore out of the Presidency through voter fraud in Florida.

All this talk now of potential voter fraud is designed to set Barack Obama up for charges that he stole the election. People on the right can point and scream, “See! They stole it!” Instead of accepting responsibility for the loss (bad policies, Bush fatigue, Obama is a better candidate), they’re already planning to undermine the Obama presidency.

I can’t stress enough how full of shit Kurtz is. And I can’t stress enough how much I hope McCain brings this up during the next debate, because he will lose. The American people want to hear solutions, not groundless personal attacks.

For tomorrow…

PALIN IS IN DEEP SHIT UP IN ALASKA!!

So, here we go again…

The latest attacks from right-wing bloggers, McCain sympathizers, and CNN’s Mr. Independent, Lou Dobbs, have to do with Senator Obama’s “ties” to ACORN. The right really has nothing to talk about. The McCain campaign– through McCain advisor Greg Strimple– has already said that it intends to “turn the page” on the economy, and focus on personal attacks in the final 26 days. Speakers at McCain rallies use Obama’s middle name (Hussein) in an attempt to somehow cast him as a radical Muslim in some terrorist cell. A McCain campaign co-chairman and former Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating went as far as to belittle Obama as simply a “guy of the street… who used cocaine.” He also went on to discuss Rev. Jeremiah Wright , even though Senator John McCain himself said that topic was off-limits. The rhetoric from the McCain camp is so intense that it is affecting the attitudes of people going to his rallies. People could be heard shouting “Kill him!” and “terrorist!” as VP wannabe Sarah Palin attempted to link Obama to Bill Ayers .

The bottomline is this– the McCain people are desperate and they’re willing to throw anything and everything at Senator Obama… including an ACORN.

As many may or may not know, ACORN has gotten into some trouble over the past few weeks for voter registration fraud. Apparently, dead people and the Dallas Cowboy’s want to vote in this election, which would be admirable if it were truely them registering. As with the Ayers scandal, the slightest connection to this controversial group translates into HUGE and CLOSE ties in the minds of the right-wing, who scream at the media for failing to ask Obama serious questions about his ties to ACORN, Ayers, Wright, or space invaders. The fact is, his relationship to all of them has been thoroughly investigated by the media and internet bloggers over the last 19 months.

Let’s start at the begining…

According to Fox News, there are “three stages of connection” between ACORN and Senator Obama: he represented ACORN in court; he trained ACORN orgainzers; and that he was appointed head of the Chicago Annenberg Challenge board by Bill Ayers, and then the two used government money to fund ACORN.

Let’s take the first charge…

In 1995, Barack Obama, in conjunction with the US Department of Justice, represented a group of organizations that were trying to force the State of Illinois to comply with a federal voting access law, called the Motor Voter law. One of those organizations just happened to be ACORN. In fact, much of Obama’s early work in Chicago was related to civil and voting rights, and for his efforts he was rewarded with the IVI-IPO Legal Eagle Award in 1995.

… and then the second charge…

Barack Obama never trained or organized for ACORN. In 1992, Obama did orgainze with the non-partisan group Project Vote in their registration drive, which many of the right-wing blowhards cite as proof positive of his links to ACORN. Unfortunately for them, the facts are in the way. ACORN and Project Vote did not begin to co-ordinate their efforts until 1994– for those conservatives out ther who can’t do math, that’s two years. The National Director for Project Vote‘s 1992 voter registration was Sanford Newman, who wrote an editorial in the Wall Street Journal to debunk the myth that Obama was organizing for ACORN. Newman also wrote
that Obama turned down lucrative and far more prestigious job offers to accept the “meager salary” of Project Vote. As Newman noted, this was Obama’s “deep commitment to strengthening the democratic process [which] is something that all Americans should applaud regardless of their party or politics.”

…and the last charge…

On Saturday October 3, 2008, the New York Times reported that:

Some bloggers have recently speculated that Mr. Ayers had engineered that post for him. In fact, according to several people involved, Mr. Ayers played no role in Mr. Obama’s appointment. Instead, it was suggested by Deborah Leff, then president of the Joyce Foundation, a Chicago-based group whose board Mr. Obama, a young lawyer, had joined the previous year… Ms. Leff suggested that Mr. Obama would make a good board chairman, she said in an interview. Mr. Ayers was not present and had not suggested Mr. Obama, she said. Ms. Graham said she invited Mr. Obama to dinner at an Italian restaurant in Chicago and was impressed. “At the end of the dinner I said, ‘I really want you to be chairman.’ He said, ‘I’ll do it if you’ll be vice chairman,’ ” Ms. Graham recalled, and she agreed.

The McCain camp needs to throw a Hail Mary. The polls look bad for McCain, but the Electoral map looks even worse. If recent poll findings hold, or move more into Senator Obama’s favor, then Senator McCain has no chance of victory come this November 4th. That is what is enraging his supporters. Those hardline Republican’s have been angrily demanding that McCain go after Obama more aggressively.

I agree. He should.

But here’s why–

John McCain cannot win by simply appealing to his base. He is going to need the support of Independents, but he is not going to get their support by making personal attacks against Obama’s character. They want to hear about issues that matter to them.

Bill Ayers doesn’t matter to them.

ACORN doesn’t matter to them.

What matters to them is health care, the war, the economy, and changing Washington. If John McCain wants to play in the mud, then let him. He’s only spelling out his own doom..

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What the fuck is with people and trying to connect Obama to shady people?

Recently, I had an argument with a co-worker who was trying to say that Obama’s close financial advisor was Franklin Raines, a former CEO of Fannie Mae. It took me about two minutes to go online and show him that he was full of shit. Raines and Obama are not close. Obama has never sought advice from Raines and Raines never provided him advice. According to Raines’ own statements, someone from the Obama camp called him about some general economic questions, but nothing regarding the housing industry. This hardly qualifies him an advisor, let alone a close advisor.

At a recent campaign rally, Sarah Palin took “the gloves off” and accused Obama of being a close friend of Bill Ayers, a former member of the Weather Underground. Ayers was arrested for his participation in bombings throughout the early years of the 1970. He was later released and all charges against him were dropped, due to improper surveillance by the FBI.

Remember that at the time of the bombings, Barack Obama (then Barry) was about eight years old.

Despite his criminal past, Ayers went on to become a professor of education at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He also began a life of community organizing in Chicago, where he met Barack Obama. They even lived in the same nieghborhood.

Ayers has also worked with Richard Daley, mayor of Chicago, to reform Chicago’s public schools. He went on to sit on the board of directors of the Woods Fund of Chicago, an anti-poverty, philanthropic foundation. Between 1999 and 2002, Ayers sat on that Booard with Barack Obama, however, the group met only four times a year, not including the occasional dinners hosted by the group. The two men also appeared together at academic conferences.

The source of all the controversy stems from a 1995 dinner at Ayer’s home, which Obama attended. At the dinner, Illinois Senator Alice Palmer was announcing her intention to run for Congress– and to introduce Barack Obama as her successor. In 2001, Ayers contributed a mere $200 to Obama’s re-election campaign

The bottomline is that these were two men from the same nieghborhood who had overlapping circles of interest and friends. The two men might be considered friends, but it does not neccesarily mean that the two of them are close friends. Obama has repeatedly said that he does not condone the actions of Ayers during his time as a Weatherman, and that those actions in no way should reflect negatively upon Obama’s values.

The McCain camp and right-wing bloggers want to link them as friendly like-minded radicals. They point to a New York Times interview in which Ayers said, “I don’t regret setting bombs.” This comment came during an interview for his memoir Fugitive Days. However, this was a comment made before 9/11. Since then, he has since written in his blog, “I’m often quoted saying that I have ‘no regrets’. This is not true. For anyone paying attention–and I try to stay wide-awake to the world around me all/ways–life brings misgivings, doubts, uncertainty, loss, regret. I’m sometimes asked if I regret anything I did to oppose the war in Viet Nam, and I say ‘no, I don’t regret anything I did to try to stop the slaughter of millions of human beings by my own government.’ Sometimes I add, ‘I don’t think I did enough.’ This is then elided: he has no regrets for setting bombs and thinks there should be more bombings… I’ve never advocated terrorism, never participated in it, never defended it. The U.S. government, by contrast, does it routinely and defends the use of it in its own cause consistently… ” Though there might be some contradictions in statements, he does appear to have regret for his actions.

It is not surprising, as recent Gallup Poll data suggests Obama is increasing his lead over McCain, that McCain would stoop so low as to engage in Swift-Boat style politics. For a man who, from the outset, said that he would run an honest and clean campaign, it is deplorable how much mud he slings in hopes that some of it will stick.

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I checked out Barack Obama and John McCain’s Politifact profiles. Guess which candidate is the most honest? That’s right: Barack Obama. That is not to say that he has not stretched the truth, but he doesn’t have as many distortions or downright lies as McCain.

Check out the following:

http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/personalities/barack-obama/
http://politifact.com/truth-o-meter/personalities/john-mccain/

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