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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:04 pm 
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The main campaign thread is getting so crowded I thought it better to branch off a new one.


Last edited by solicitr on Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:18 pm 
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Meanwhile, we have this from of all places Der Spiegel:

Quote:
1:42 p.m.: SPIEGEL ONLINE has learned that Obama has cancelled a planned short visit to the Ramstein and Landstuhl US military bases in the southwest German state of Rhineland-Palatinate. The visits were planned for Friday. "Barack Obama will not be coming to us," a spokesperson for the US military hospital in Landstuhl announced. "I don't know why." Shortly before the same spokeswoman had announced a planned visit by Obama.


I note with interest that Der Spiegel has become the modern Murray the K:

Quote:
OBAMA LIVE TICKER
Obama 'Has a Vision for America and the Whole World'

US Presidential Candidate Barack Obama started his much-anticipated trip to Germany on Thursday, and the expectations are massive. SPIEGEL ONLINE will be following his every move through Berlin with its Live Ticker.

++ Obama Makes His Way to Victory Column ++

7:02 p.m.: Obama leaves his hotel to make his way to the Victory Column, where he is to give his speech. Around 100,000 people are reported to be awaiting him there.

++ Pop Concert for Obama Fans ++

6:33 p.m.: The tens of thousands of Obama fans are being entertained as they await the senator. The reggae musician Patrice kicked things off, followed by the rock band Reamonn.

++ Fan Mile Fills Up ++

6:14 p.m.: An hour to go before Obama's speech and tens of thousands of people have already made their way to the Fan Mile. The visitors have to empty their bags and go through metal detectors similar to airport security checks.

PHOTO GALLERY: OBAMA TAKES IN THE GERMAN CAPITAL




Click on a picture to launch the image gallery (23 Photos)

++ Wowereit Lauds Obama ++


6:01 p.m.: Berlin's mayor sings Obama's praises after their meeting. "He is a very charming and determined man, who has a vision for America and the whole world," says Klaus Wowereit after meeting with the senator.

++ Hold-Ups as Visitors Throng Fan Mile ++

5:08 p.m: The huge amount of people hoping to gain entry to the Fan Mile is causing big hold-ups. It is currently taking around half an hour to gain entry to the area.

++ Obama Takes Time to Work Out ++

4:49 p.m.: Obama enters the luxury Ritz Carlton hotel wearing a T-shirt, black sweatpants and white trainers -- apparantly to work out in the hotel's gym. He kept up the campaigning on the way there, smiling and waving at tourists and other onlookers.

++ Obama Signs Berlin's Guest Book ++

4:33 p.m.: The meeting between Obama and Wowereit lasts 20 minutes, during which the Berlin mayor asks the senator about integration strategies in the US. Obama then signs the city's guestbook, which Wowereit has brought with him to the Hotel Adlon. He writes: "Thank you so much for this open-hearted welcome. Berlin is a symbol for the victory of hope over fear and that it is impossible to separate people in their pursuit of freedom."

++ Americans Throng toward the Fan Mile ++

Dozens of Americans wearing Obama buttons swarm from Berlin's Central Station in the direction of the Fan Mile.

++ Kick-Off for the Onlookers ++

4:04 p.m.: Onlookers run down the broad avenue towards the stage in front of the Victory Column where Obama will give his speech in a few hours. The first visitors have now been allowed to enter the area and are searching for the best vantage points. They want to be able to hear exactly what the US politician has to say to the Germans.

++ Wowereit Arrives at the Hotel Adlon ++

4:01 p.m.: Berlin's Mayor Klaus Wowereit, a member of the center-left Social Democrats, arrives at the Hotel Adlon for his meeting with Obama. The senator is expected to sign the city's guest book.

++ Onlookers Wait for Access to Victory Column ++

2:57 p.m.: Hundreds of people wait in the sunshine in front of the barriers at the Brandenburg Gate, hoping to be some of the first to enter the Fan Mile. The area around the Victory Column where Obama will hold his speech is still sealed off. Visitors will be allowed entry starting at 4 p.m.


Time to work out and for meaningless photo-ops, but no time for wounded vets.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:47 pm 
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The guy should learn to spell Obama's name, doncha think?

I'm sorry I opened this thread, sorry I read that junk, and wonder what purpose you hope to serve with it. No doubt now someone will start a similar thread about McCain and more time and energy will be wasted on really stupidly time-wasting meaningless crap. One cranky and disgruntled anti-Obama soldier means no more than one Obama-fan. There are thousands of forums devoted to this sniping and bitching, why not post on one of them, among kindred spirits?

November cannot possibly come soon enough.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 5:59 pm 
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I agree, vison. soli, you're better than that. If you have something to say, say it, don't rely on this type of particularly unreliable sources.

As it happens, I was considering starting a new thread to discuss the very different views of war that McCain and Obama represent. My reluctance has to do with the fact that it is such an emotionally charged subject, and its difficult for people on different ends of this particular spectrum to have much emphathy for each other, or to even discuss the subject without de facto insulting each other. So the challenge is to work all the harder to be careful to express these respective views without insulting those whose points of view are so different.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:09 pm 
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Thank you to both Vison and Voronwë. My thoughts exactly.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:17 pm 
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All right, Voronwë, I'll retract the unsourced serviceman letter.

I do however think that Obama's declining to visit our principal military hospital for the wounded of both wars is telling and a valid point to raise, especially given this, from his impromptu press session today:

Quote:
Obama noted that in a break from his whirlwind schedule, "we've got some down time tonight. What are you guys gonna do in Berlin? Huh? Huh? You guys got any big. plans? ...I've never been to Berlin, so...I would love to tour around a little bit."


http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch ... onigh.html

Nor do I think it irrelevant, in the context of 'press bias', a valid issue, to obseve press coverage that does alarmingly resemble The-Beatles-On-Ed-Sullivan.

Quote:
"Why don't you guys go out and distribute some fliers?" Obama asked. "Is that a conflict for you guys?"

Joked a cable news correspondent: "We have been. It's called television."


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 6:26 pm 
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Paul Simon
The Boxer

"A man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest."

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:15 pm 
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You know, this could be a very helpful discussion, if people really put the effort into communicating effectively and courteously. But if it just turns into a series of digs against the candidates (and by implication those who support them), like your post, soli, or snarky one-off comments like sf's, I'll just move it to Nan Elmoth and be done with it.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:23 pm 
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All right, Vor- but I'm not sure why it's a "dig" to note Obama's priorities, with the suggestion of a discomfort (at least) around the military in a man who wants to be commander in chief; and I think it entirely inbounds (if perhaps on another thread) to discuss media bias.


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 8:36 pm 
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Yes, I agree that media bias is a fair topic, but I do think one for another thread.

Regarding discussing Obama's priorities, I certainly think it is relevant to this thread, but honestly I don't you can read too much into whether or not he had an opportunity to visit a military hospital on this trip, particularly since he has made the issue of care of veterans a fairly high profile issue in his campaign.

But I do think there is a fundamental difference in the way the two candidates look at war, and the military, and that it would be instructive to compare those points of view, not to establish one as "right" and the other as "wrong" or one as "better" and the other as "worse" but simply to understand the difference. I think so much of the rancor that discussions about the war cause is due to a fundamental failure of the two sides to even attempt to understand each other.

I'll be back later to speak more about my perspective of the difference.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:01 pm 
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Just to close the loop on the hospital issue, here is what the Obama campaign had to say on why he did not make th visit:

Quote:
(CNN) — Barack Obama has opted against plans to visit wounded members of the U.S. military in Germany over concern that trip might be viewed as a political one.

“During his trip as part of the CODEL to Afghanistan and Iraq, Senator Obama visited the combat support hospital in the Green Zone in Baghdad and had a number of other visits with the troops,” Obama senior advisor Robert Gibbs said in a statement.

“For the second part of his trip, the senator wanted to visit the men and women at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to express his gratitude for their service and sacrifice. The senator decided out of respect for these servicemen and women that it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign.”


I think that is a reasonable concern.

Anyway, I still plan to be back later to speak more about my perspective of the different attitudes about war and the military.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:03 pm 
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I moved a post of sauronfinger's to the Nan Elmoth forum

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The senator decided out of respect for these servicemen and women that it would be inappropriate to make a stop to visit troops at a U.S. military facility as part of a trip funded by the campaign.


Voronwë, do you really buy that?????? The stated reason at the time of the cancellation was "scheduling"- only after the criticisms ran for half a day was the story changed.

"I won't visit them because I respect them too much." Voronwë, I know you're smarter than to fall for that. If appearing 'political' was to be avoided, then he could have visited without cameras (like McCain does).

I don't for a moment think that Obama hates the military. I don't think he's some closet anti-American radical. But I do think that his biography has produced in him feelings akin to those Jny has expressed- the military is 'other;' service personnel are alien to him. I think he feels uncomfortable around them (it doesn't help that the Armed Forces are such a GOP voting bloc- not that Obama 'dislikes' them for that, but he does have an aversion for non-supportive environments).

And herein lies the problem. Both Obama and McCain have been about equal in their advocacy for veterans, as well they should; the difference is that where both offer compassion, Obama's is not of the same flavor. In a letter passage I can't seem to find, Tolkien distinguished between the pity that stems from identification, or empathy, and the pity that is self-referential and born of pride (I can't phrase it nearly as well). Obama, community organiser and advocate, sees the troops as victims: and the troops themselves don't want *that* kind of compassion: they want compassion with *respect.* Speaking as an ex-sailor, I have a hard time finding that respect in Obama's attitude, since he doesn't (for all his rhetoric) seem to place any value on what the troops actually do. (Imagine a high school pep rally, and the reaction of the team as the cheerleaders lead the student body in a chant of "For-FEIT! For-FEIT!)


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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:24 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
In a letter passage I can't seem to find, Tolkien distinguished between the pity that stems from identification, or empathy, and the pity that is self-referential and born of pride (I can't phrase it nearly as well).


It's not from a letter; its from the Athrabeth, with Finrod speaking:

Quote:
pity is of two kinds: one is of kinship recognized, and is near to love; the other is of difference of fortune perceived, and is near to pride.


I certainly would agree that McCain's attitude towards the military is much closer to the latter than Obama's.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 10:30 pm 
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What's this thread about? :scratch:

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:01 pm 
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Quote:
Both Obama and McCain have been about equal in their advocacy for veterans, as well they should;


Solicitr - how do you define this statement. It is not factually accurate and distorts the records of both men. See this article


http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/05/2 ... rans-bill/

The above link will show you that inconvenient truth.

It begins

Quote:
Sen. John McCain used Memorial Day to defend his opposition to a Senate bill that vastly expands education benefits for veterans. The bill passed the Senate last week 75-22 over the objections of Sen. McCain, and President Bush, both of whom argued the benefits were too generous and likely to discourage reenlistment.

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Last edited by sauronsfinger on Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:13 pm 
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This is from July 10th.

Posing the first question in a Denver town hall meeting yesterday, a Vietnam veteran challenged Sen. John McCain on his Senate voting record regarding veterans issues, remarking he had voted against increasing vets health funding four years in a row. Ignoring the veteran’s point, McCain testily — and repeatedly — insisted that he had “received every award from every major veteran’s organization in America”:

MCCAIN: I’ve received every award from every major veteran’s organization in America. I received every organization in America their awards. … The reason why I have a perfect voting record from organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and all the other veterans service organizations is because of my support of them. […]

VETERAN: You do not have a perfect voting record by the DAV and the VFW. That’s where these votes were recorded. These votes were proposals by your colleagues in the Senate to increase health care of the VA in 2003, 4, 5, and 6 for troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. And you voted against those proposals. […]

MCCAIN: I’ve been endorsed in every election by every veterans organization that do that, I’ve been supported by them, and I’ve received their highest awards from all of those organizations. So I guess they don’t know something you know.

McCain has made the exact same claim before — and it is just a false today as it was then. As ThinkProgress documented, McCain’s so-called “perfect” record has been roundly criticized by prominent veterans groups: He received a grade of D from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America and a 20 percent vote rating from the Disabled Veterans of America; Vietnam Veterans of America noted McCain had “voted against us” in 15 “key votes.”

As for the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars — with whom McCain claims to have a “perfect voting record” — both groups vigorously supported Sen. Jim Webb’s (D-VA) GI Bill that McCain tirelessly opposed.

Later in the town hall, McCain admitted he does “not have a perfect voting record,” but then declared that questions about veterans issues were off limits: “I will be glad to debate a lot of things, but not that one,” McCain said.

=========================================

The last line of this is interesting. It repeats comments made by the McCain campaign when General Clark challenged him on what it means to be qualified to be commander-in-chief and his record. The McCain said that his record was beyond debate. Here again, McCain says he will not discuss his record of opposing veterans legislation improvements.

Just because somebody has a flag lapel pin or gives lip service to conservative principles, does not make them a firm supporter of veterans issues.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:17 pm 
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This is a follow-up to the above incident which examines the allegations made by both Senator McCain and the veteran. It is from Fact Check
and is dated July 11th.

Quote:
Scoring the Votes


He said that he had "a perfect voting record from organizations like the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion." But we called both of those groups, and they told us they don't even release congressional scorecards. In fact, the American Legion's constitution prohibits it.

The veteran in this exchange was also wrong in saying McCain doesn't have a perfect voting record with the VFW (since such a record doesn't even exist). However, he is correct in that McCain doesn’t have a perfect score with DAV (Disabled American Veterans), a group of 1.3 million disabled veterans that supports more funding for veterans health care. McCain has a 20 percent record of voting the way DAV would like him to in 2006. The group is nonpartisan, but its 100 percent rankings disproportionately go to Democrats: 207 Democrats in Congress and only 13 Republicans received scores of 100 percent in 2006. Senators were evaluated on five votes for amendments that would have increased funding for veterans’ health care.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:21 pm 
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solicitr wrote:
But I do think that his biography has produced in him feelings akin to those Jny has expressed- the military is 'other;' service personnel are alien to him. I think he feels uncomfortable around them (it doesn't help that the Armed Forces are such a GOP voting bloc- not that Obama 'dislikes' them for that, but he does have an aversion for non-supportive environments).


I think I agree with this, soli. I would be very interested to hear whether Jn agrees with it (and in general her thoughts about this subject).

I'm not in a position, obviously, to speak for Obama, but I want to try to speak plainly about my own feelings about war and the military. I do so despite the fact that I realize that expressing some of these feelings has caused some discomfort, particularly on the part of Faramond (another person whose views on this subject I am anxious to hear). Hopefully, this thread will provide an opportunity to clarify those views, rather than to create more rancor. I ask that this be taken in that spirit.

In the campaign thread, I mentioned something about having different opinions about the definition of victory in the war in Iraq. I thought almost immediately that that was not really what I meant to say, but at the time I couldn't really think how to rephrase it. I'm not sure I know now, but I'm going to try. To me, I can not even think in terms of victory in any war, let alone one that I felt was as unnecessary as this one. Even a "just war" such as World War II I consider to be impossible to "win". I understand the truth of the statement of Éowyn to the Warden of the House of Healing that you quoted for a while in your sig, soli, and that sometimes it is necessary to take up arms. But in my world view, no one "wins" when hundreds, thousands, or millions of people get killed. At best, one "survives" a war, and the sooner it is ended, the better.

I suspect that Obama's perspective is probably not that different than my own, although he certainly cannot couch it in those terms. Certainly, he is much less willing to resort to military solutions than McCain, who after all comes from a longstanding military background. Just as you, soli, believe (with some justification, I think) that Obama doesn't place enough value on what the military does, I worry that McCain places too much value on what the military does, and would be too willing to resort to what in my opinion should be an absolute last resort.

And therein lies the dilemma.

Edit: Cross-posted with sauronfingers three (?!) posts.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 24, 2008 11:31 pm 
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More on the McCain Veterans record from the July 13, 2008 Springfield, Missouri News-Leader


Quote:
Sen. John McCain is a veteran, but he doesn't have the care of other vets at heart, according to the survivors of several wars who made a stop Saturday in Springfield.


A national bus tour dubbed the Road to Health Care tour is sponsored by the Service Employees International Union, which has endorsed Democratic Sen. Barack Obama for president.

And the labor union's endorsement of Obama didn't escape the McCain campaign when it responded to claims that the presumptive GOP candidate doesn't support veterans.

The vets not only criticized McCain's record on veteran heath care and other benefits, they also questioned whether a plan for a Veterans Affairs mental-health clinic in Greene County would meet pressing medical needs at a time when it's more expensive to make trips to VA facilities.

Speaking during the tour's midday stop at the Greene County Courthouse, the veterans made a frontal assault on fellow vet McCain.

Jack Hembree, a 22-year Army veteran who fought in Korea and Vietnam, spoke out against turning veterans' medical care over to private providers.

A self-described "yellow dog Democrat," Springfieldian Hembree said he believes McCain's proposed changes to Veterans Affairs would be a swan song for the government body that has long overseen veterans' medical care.


Active-duty health care for current members of the military has been strong in the Iraq war, but the quality of care drops substantially when military members return to the United States and move into the VA health care system, Hembree said.

"We are looking at veterans coming back right now that should be dead because of the really good active-duty medical health care we get right now as long as they're overseas," Hembree said.

World War II veteran Ed Janosik of Springfield said strong support for veterans' health care is largely fueled by surges in patriotism when the country is in conflict. But he said he believes the support dissolves along with the conflict.

"As soon as the flags stop waving, as soon as the bugles stop blaring, the American people are going to lose interest, and there is going to be no pressure put on (officials) to do right by American veterans," Janosik said.

Decked out in his personalized "Obama '08" pin, Janosik was among the veterans at the event who said they wouldn't support McCain even if his veterans' policies were different.

McCain's lack of support of veterans' medical needs concerns Akeam Ashford, 23, a National Guard veteran of Iraq.

"To have people vote against vets' health issues is just downright wrong," the Missouri State University student said.

A supporter of presumptive Democratic nominee Obama, Ashford said he discounts claims Navy veteran McCain is better suited to be president because he is a veteran, and Obama is not.

Army infantry veteran Janosik had the same opinion.

Veterans know there's a difference between leading an infantry platoon or flying a fighter and devising war strategy, he said.

McCain should be honored for his war record, but that doesn't mean he's best suited to lead the United States, Janosik said.

Watching changes in McCain's campaign leadership makes him doubt the senator's leadership ability, he said.

During the tour stop billed as a press conference, reporters were given handouts criticizing McCain's voting record, from his 2005 vote against a $2 billion emergency allocation for veterans' regional health care facilities and mental health care to not voting on a measure that would ensure veterans' educational benefits.

"That's one of the reasons I'm really disappointed in Senator McCain," Hembree said. "Throughout his time in the Senate, he doesn't even support active duty health care."

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