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A US election prediction

Hardly going on a limb here, I don’t think.. but let me just say that unless something drastic happens (i.e Obama somehow does a disastrous debate or 2), I think Obama is cruising to re-election. He may not win the national popular vote by much, and he may not win as many electoral college votes as he did in 2008, but in the swing states that matter, he will win more then enough it appears, and in some cases win by good margins. Mitt Romney can’t seem to go a week without putting his foot in his mouth; he at times has proceeded to put both feet in his mouth […]

Right-wing talk radio on the US is going to be frothier then usual from now until November.

You might have heard that President Obama came out publicly and announced his support for same-sex marriage:

“It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married.”

As expected, that set off a right-wing talk-radio torrent. The funniest rebuttal to that so far is this:

To my American friends, I say same-sex marriage has been legal in Canada for several years now. There has been no moral or social collapse because of it. I also ask what’s worse for the destruction of the “traditional” family – allowing same sex marriage for a small segment of the population, or […]

Obama and Ignatieff dicuss Omar Khadr.

True to his word, Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff and (presumably) Bob Rae discussed Omar Khadr with the President today. Here’s part of the discussion President Obama had with Iggy over the Khadr file, as made public by the Liberal leader:

The leader of the official Opposition said Obama told him that the detainees are being classified at different levels. But he did not indicate in which category Khadr was being placed. The president indicated he “was glad to know that the Canadian party is concerned about Mr. Khadr,” Ignatieff said. Ignatieff (also) said he told Obama if the Liberals form a government in the future that “we would be helpful […]

Canadians can lobby Obama to not exempt tarsands from environmental regulations

I saw this link mentioned by a prominent left-wing columnist at Facebook, and was very interested in it.

This is a picture of a proposed ad Avaaz.org wishes to run in the Wednesday version of the Washington Post a day before Obama is scheduled to visit Canada (to prevent eye injury from squinting, click on ad to enlarge and read in full):

Their mission statement on this ad reads as follows:

When Barack Obama visits Canada on Thursday, Harper will desperately try to push him to agree to exempt dirty tar sands oil from global regulation – effectively undermining the global deal we need to stop catastrophic climate change. […]

Yes they did.

Congratulations to the President-elect and Vice-President elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden. The last 8 years of Bush misery are now over and will soon be a distant memory.

Colin Powell endorses Barack Obama

I’ve been a tad busy today, so I didn’t hear about retired General and former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama until this afternoon. That’s big news for Obama, and bad news for Mccain. I know there are folks down there on the progressive side of the ledger who still say that Powell was complicit in the Bush Administration’s false information on Iraq and will never forgive him for that, but opinion polls in the US still show him with a very high favourable rating amongst the American public, and this endorsement will do a lot for independents and moderate Republican voters, as well as military voters […]

Snap polls immediately after debate favour Obama

I didn’t watch the Mccain/Obama debate last night, so I don’t have an opinion on who won or who lost, but I note that all the snap polls and study groups this AM favour Obama. Some mention is made of how McCain came across as angry and not ever looking at Obama while debating.

So, if you watched the debate, what was your impression?

Barack Obama’s acceptance speech. Wow.

I just finished watching Barack Obama’s acceptance speech as candidate for the Democrats as President Of the United States.

Wow.

This wasn’t just soaring rhetoric; he laid out some of the policies he wanted to do, and he was taking it to John McCain and the Republicans and going head-on against the attacks they’ve been levelling against him. He was also being pretty gutsy in laying out that he respected those who disagreed with him on gay marriage, guns, abortion, social security, etc. Talk about being bold for bringing up all those right-wing boogeymen topics.

Full text of speech here, but you really need to see it to capture […]

Obama’s move to the centre/right.

There’s been a backlash against Barack Obama in the progressive wing of the Democratic Party for his reversal on the controversial FISA legislation. He changed course from a year ago when he vowed to oppose this law from passing and supported the passage of this law that offers retroactive immunity to telecom companies for obeying illegal orders by President Bush and his administration to eavesdrop on American citizens in the name of fighting terrorism, without a warrant, back several years ago.

This new FISA law is a sore spot for libertarians and liberals alike because it not only prevents Americans from suing these telecom companies for allowing that illegal activity, but it more importantly will cover up what exactly Bush and his administration were doing (and there has been some disclosure that Bush and his administration were getting the telecoms to do this BEFORE Sept 11, 2001 occurred); another sore spot is that this law is written in a way that more or less forces the FISA court to rubber-stamp any of this activity.

Many liberal/progressive Democrats feel that Obama has helped to push the country back to pre-Richard Nixon days, when there were basically no laws or rules in place on spying on Americans. The US administration and its law enforcement agencies could spy at will back then, which is why after Watergate and its revelations, the original FISA Court was brought into existence in the first place. This new FISA law seems to revert back to those ugly days, and the outrage amongst the liberal Democratic bloggers was so great, Obama was forced to get on his own website and issue a statement to them why he voted the way he did – an explanation that not many believed or accepted. Many charge him with “caving” in to Republican fear-mongering.

It is fair to point out that it wasnt just him that caved on this FISA vote – the Democratic Congress leadership did as well – most likely as an attempt to prevent being called “wimps” on national security and to try and prevent that being used as an attack either on them or on Obama in the upcoming congressional and presidential elections. In essence, they caved on the issue for political expediency and political cover, rather then stand up and fight this on principle.

Obama knows (as do the Democratic leaders) that he has the progressive wing of the Democratic Party in a bind. Theyre sick of Bush, so hes taking the rather safe calculation that despite FISA, they wont stay at home or vote for McCain. I dont think this cave-in was necessary, (several polls on this issue showed that the US public did not like what the US government and the telecoms were doing) but Democrats arent exactly renowned for having spines when faced with either caving or standing up to Republican fear-mongering on national security.

There is already talk amongst the Democratic blogosphere of making an example of some of the Democratic enablers in Congress of this new law by running challengers against them the next time Democratic primaries roll around (think of them as the same as the party elections up here to select candidates for each riding). Will they do the same thing to Obama and or vote for Mccain, or vote for the minor candidates, or not vote at all? I find that highly unlikely. While the US is in a 2 party setup, this is going to occur. The liberal Democrats have a choice: either try to get more progressives to run and get elected to Congress and reform the party from within, or else they’ll need to split and form a “Progressive Party”. For now, they’ve chosen the former.

As for the new FISA law, like the Military Commissions Act, it will probably take a split decision Supreme Court decision to overturn this law, rather then a Congress that abdicated its responsibilities, and that is what the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations are going to ask the US Supreme Court to do. In the meantime, progressives in the US are going to have hold their noses and vote for Obama, because if they don’t, their reward for punishing Obama is 4 more years of Republican rule – at least at the presidency – and a continuation of the Bush policies.

The US Democratic Race is over – Hillary to endorse Obama this weekend.

Check it out:

Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton will endorse Senator Barack Obama on Saturday, bringing a close to her 17-month campaign for the White House, aides said. Her decision came after Democrats urged her Wednesday to leave the race and allow the party to coalesce around Mr. Obama. Howard Wolfson, one of Mrs. Clintons chief strategists, and other aides said she would express support for Mr. Obama and party unity at an event in Washington that day. One adviser said Mrs. Clinton would concede defeat, congratulate Mr. Obama and proclaim him the partys nominee, while pledging to do what was needed to assure his victory in November.

Congratulations to Hillary Clinton for a hard-fought campaign, and congratulations as well for finally realizing the stark numbers reality of the situation and not stretching this into a Convention fight in August.

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