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OT Partisanship 2008

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#1 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 12:39 PM

Yes, I'm using Obama's forceful one word expression here (and no, I don't think he has any ownership on the word - just commenting on my title choice).

We Ex Islers can go back and forth and forth and back about everything under the sun - and to what purpose? Do we gain anything at all with this?  Those who are going to vote for McCain/Against Obama/Republican are not likely to be persuaded by any petty scandal mongering from those of us who are going to vote for Obama/Against McCain/Democratic, and vice versa.  But we are likely to stir more animosity between friends.  

This year, let's do something different.  I know the campaigns can't avoid the mudslinging - most of America is nothing like Ex Isle, and so the campaigns are appealing to most of America, not just us.  But we here have demonstrated a remarkable capacity for honorable discussion, debate, disagreement, have often admitted fair points for the other side, and have been known to learn from one another. I even pointed to Ex Isle as an example of reasonable debate and sharing of disparate opinions on a left-leaning blog site.  I posted there to give them an opportunity to consider that their echo-chambering was not giving them a full understanding of what people outside of their "netroots" opinion set were thinking.  I thought that highly of us - and I still do.  While the news will continue to provide outrage and/or silliness for us to... well, get outraged and/or silly about, and while we may continue to thoroughly dislike the other side for (lying, cheating, mudslinging, finger pointing, etc.), I'd like to think that we can have one reasonably well sustained discussion about the candidate's positions here on Ex Isle!

We've tried before, only to get swept up in the miasma of the season - so serious policy threads don't get the attention of the lipstick on a pig threads, but honestly - there's so much to talk about this election - so many policy differences, so many ways in which the candidates are different...can we have just one thread where we civilly, openly, and vigorously discuss the issues?

I'll lead off with an opinion piece from two citizen journalists from Huffington Post.  By source you can guess that this is a piece mostly favorable to Obama, but I'm not posting it for that reason - I'm posting it because the issues themselves interest me.  I invite everyone to offer their thoughts, reasons why they think one approach is better than another, if they agree that the author's representation of the candidate's position is accurate (and if not, correct the record - preferrably with sources)?  Here's the article:

http://www.huffingto...i_b_126353.html

Quote

Eliza Margarita Bates and Cara Zwerling

Posted September 15, 2008 | 10:50 AM (EST)

McCain, Obama on International Diplomacy and Immigration

Over the course of this week, OffTheBus will be running a primer on some of the most important foreign policy issues the next president will face. The primer will act as a guide to how candidates Barack Obama and John McCain stand on each issue. Check out the links for more information on these issues. Today, the primer looks at where Obama and McCain stand on international diplomacy and immigration.

***

And what better way to talk about talking than to discuss his views on the United Nations.

In his article in Foreign Affairs magazine, Barack Obama highlighted some of the major issues facing the United Nations, a body that he insists "requires far-reaching reform." He asserted that "the U.N. Secretariat's management practices remain weak [and] peacekeeping operations are overextended." He also expressed criticism of the new U.N. Human Rights Council, which, he argued, spends a disproportionate amount of time disparaging Israel while ignoring issues in the rest of the world.

In spite of the need for change at the U.N., Mr. Obama has pledged to renew the U.S. commitment to the international body because "none of these problems will be solved unless America rededicates itself to the organization and its mission."

***

He has stated that Russia should be replaced in the G8 by India and Brazil and that the Security Council should be enlarged giving Japan and Brazil permanent seats.

Security Council enlargement is code generally for increased international representation. But for John McCain it means stacking the decks in our favor. And why not? Russia is flexing its muscles. China is on the rise. Apparently we are headed for a new Cold War.

After years of cooperation and productivity, the Security Council is once again deadlocking. Georgia. Zimbabwe. Kosovo. Sudan. Burma. Try as it might, the Security Council is having a hard time finding common purpose these days. In the heat of this summer's political crisis in Zimbabwe, the U.S. and its western allies put forth a Security Council resolution against the Mugabe regime. Their efforts were greeted with the Security Council's loudest boo - a China/Russia double veto. It was only the second time a double veto had been cast since 1972. The other time was last year.


For reasons of copyright - those are very incomplete quotes, and I've left the immigration piece out.  Just posted that to get the ball rolling...


QT

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#2 Die Walküre

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:37 PM

:thumbdown:

Never before in American history, which have been traditionally neutral on all matters of foreign affairs, have adopted policies based on misleading intelligence and ideological nonsense of the 20th Century.

Whoever attempts to shape the world as they see fit will fail.

Edited by DeltaRomeo, 16 September 2008 - 01:52 PM.

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#3 silverwind

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:42 PM

On foreign relations:

I've always approved of Obama's policy of expanding programs and involvement in things like the PeaceCorp.  The best way to improve international opinion of the American people is to get American citizens out there in the world and have them not act like the jackasses we are generally stereotyped to be.  It also has a wildly beneficial result for the people who do the volunteering and travel.  They come back with a greater appreciation for what they have in their lives, a greater understanding of other cultures, and hopefully a little less of that disastrous "Us vs. them" mentality.

As for the U.N., I’m disturbed by the “He also expressed criticism of the new U.N. Human Rights Council, which, he argued, spends a disproportionate amount of time disparaging Israel while ignoring issues in the rest of the world.” comment.

Obama’s stance on Israel is one of two major things that make me less than thrilled to vote for him.  Just because they’re “the only democracy in the Middle East” doesn’t mean they should get free reign to commit violations of human rights principles.  It also doesn’t mean that we should commit US resources to helping maintain their security and borders.  They chose to build their country on contested ground in the midst of nations with very different government styles and ideologies.  Conflict is a given.

I think backing off a bit on our “Yay Israel!” stance could go a long way to improving relations with other nations in the Middle East, and would blunt one of the recruitment points used by radical groups like al-Qaeda.

Now to McCain.  First of all, I doubt we would’ve heard anything about a move to push Russia out of the G8 if the move on Georgia had not occurred.  That brought Russia into the forefront of the news again, and made it an attractive place to make a “tough” stand.

Russia still has a lot of economic weight to throw around, so can you really have any sort of real discussion on economic issues around the world without them present?  Especially since they are in a fairly unique situation of having strong ties with both Europe and Asia.  The same goes for environmental issues.  As an industrialized country, the environmental regulation (or lack thereof) imposed within Russia can have a massive result on the earth.  Can you really exclude one of two countries with large boreal forests, the “green lungs” of the planet, from discussions about upcoming environmental challenges like, say, deforestation?  Or a country containing the massive stretches of frozen ground in Siberia from discussions of global warming?

It’s just not a reasonable solution to kick them out of the G8.

I do, though, like the idea of admitting some new major economic powers into the game.

As for immigration:

I agree with both Obama and McCain 2006 that it is essential to provide a way for undocumented immigrants to become documented.  I’ve never spoken to an immigrant—illegal or otherwise—who would not do whatever was required to gain permission to stay here and keep their jobs.  I also think there’s great importance in addressing the ability of companies and private employers to exploit those workers.  There have been a number of high-profile cases in the media lately where some rich person brought in an illegal worker and then essentially treated them as slave labor, putting them in horrible conditions.  That must be stopped, and the best way to do that is to reduce the number of them that are trapped in a situation where they’re being mistreated and cannot go to the authorities for fear of being deported.

It’s a great shame that McCain 2008 has seemingly abandoned (through choice or through GOP pressure) a lot of the moderate policies that marked his earlier career.  Before his change of tune and (I hesitate to be the first to bring her up) choice of VP, I wasn’t all that concerned about the possibility of him being elected.  Yes, I preferred Obama, but if he lost it wasn’t going to be greatly of concern to me.  That’s definitely changed.

#4 Drew

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:43 PM

Quote

After years of cooperation and productivity, the Security Council is once again deadlocking.

When were those years of cooperation and productivity, again? I think we all missed them.  :D
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#5 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:44 PM

View PostDeltaRomeo, on Sep 16 2008, 02:37 PM, said:

:thumbdown:

Never before in American history, which have been traditionally neutral on all matters of foreign affairs have adopted a collection of disparage and ideological nonsense adopted during the 20th Century.


There is a verb missing in that opening sentence, I think...

QT

Edited by QueenTiye, 16 September 2008 - 01:45 PM.

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#6 Die Walküre

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 01:54 PM

I was in a hurry today and allow me to edit that comment.

Edited by DeltaRomeo, 16 September 2008 - 01:55 PM.

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#7 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 03:55 PM

^^Thanks!

I agree largely with silverwind with the caveat that I don't think fundamentalists in Islamic countries are going to like the US any better because of strong or weak support for Israel.  That's a fundamental misunderstanding of religious sentiment to suppose that just political scene is driving recruitment.  The socio-economic conditions of the world are the external influences driving fundamentalism - and fundamentalism (in any religion) is an inward turn to combat outward ills.  Cling to the fundamentals of your faith, and become stronger in God, to bring about a world that is more pleasing to God.  That's the general gist.  Islamic terrorism, most frequently linked to Islamic fundamentalism, is a religious interpretation justifying terrorist acts nder the banner of jihad -but first and foremost - this is a religious movement - best combated religiously, not politically.   The only political influence we can really have is to create better conditions for people and expand their opportunities - especially for learning, and exploring alternative religious outlooks.  In this regard - Obama's expanded peace corps, and focus on diplomacy and humanitarianism can be helpful to reduce the adoption of extremist ideology, while aggressive counter-terrorism roots out the terrorist elements.  None of this has anything to do with a lessened support for Israel.

QT

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#8 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 04:13 PM

View PostQueenTiye, on Sep 16 2008, 04:55 PM, said:

In this regard - Obama's expanded peace corps, and focus on diplomacy and humanitarianism can be helpful to reduce the adoption of extremist ideology, while aggressive counter-terrorism roots out the terrorist elements.  None of this has anything to do with a lessened support for Israel.

Along with his brilliant idea to unilaterally invade nuclear armed Pakistan...  he is just a beacon of peace and hope for the world.  Plus if the way his campaign is refusing to listen to Democrat sources giving him advice on how not to loose it is a strong indicator Obama does not listen to outside advise.  All we need is a guy who believes in his own rock star image and surrounds himself with yes men.  Oh wait we had that for eight years and now it will just be a liberal instead.

Edited by CJ AEGIS, 16 September 2008 - 04:16 PM.

"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
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#9 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 04:25 PM

I don't find that Obama is hard of hearing at all.  In fact, he's listening just fine.  The trouble is that there are two warring factions in the democratic party - and some of the advice being given is suiting the needs of the faction.  That's kinda a side issue.

Anyway - I posted this link yesterday, to no one's interest: http://www.slate.com/id/2200134/

There, he discusses Pakistan rather harshly, and points out that Obama's position may be the right one, messy consequently though it may be.  I don't know what to think of it, but it was an interesting read (I don't like Christopher Hitchins, so I'm not holding his opinion up as proof of anything - just pointing out that at least one thinker thinks that Obama's aggressive stance re: Pakistan is the more honest and right one).


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#10 silverwind

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 04:36 PM

I didn't mean to imply that Israel was a leading factor in recruitment.  I just meant that it creates a nice selling point (among many others) for radicals to use in denouncing the US and gaining new members.

Actions should be taken to improve international relations, improve trade relations with those countries, and thereby help ease the socioeconomic factors which feed people into the arms of the radicals.  That is the first step in easing the problem with fundamentalists and terrorism, not acting as an outside force to muck with their faith.  Having a wealthy (predominately) Christian nation go into a poverty-stricken Muslim country with a massive poor-rich gap and try to combat the fundamentalist issues is a policy doomed to failure.

#11 CJ AEGIS

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 04:40 PM

View PostQueenTiye, on Sep 16 2008, 05:25 PM, said:

There, he discusses Pakistan rather harshly, and points out that Obama's position may be the right one, messy consequently though it may be.  I don't know what to think of it, but it was an interesting read (I don't like Christopher Hitchins, so I'm not holding his opinion up as proof of anything - just pointing out that at least one thinker thinks that Obama's aggressive stance re: Pakistan is the more honest and right one).

Messy?  You realize that he is proposing invading a nuclear armed state?  When nuclear armed states are attacked and they see no escape option they launch their nuclear weapons.  You want to see a nuclear weapon launched into Delhi and roughly ten million casualties then vote for Obama?  You DO NOT invade nuclear powers and expect to get off with a conventional conflict.  

Quote

QT: I don't find that Obama is hard of hearing at all. In fact, he's listening just fine. The trouble is that there are two warring factions in the democratic party - and some of the advice being given is suiting the needs of the faction. That's kinda a side issue.

Not returning phone calls from prominent Democrats in states he need to win?  Ignoring advice?  Surrounding himself with yes men?  That isn't the mark of someone who is listening.  That is the mark of someone who is exceedingly arrogant and over confident.
"History has proven too often and too recently that the nation which relaxes its defenses invites attack."
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#12 silverwind

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 04:46 PM

There's a certain irony in running on the platform that you're for a withdrawl from one conflict and then immediately try to get us into another, against a much more militarily-capable enemy.

And that blog is rather alarming.  I read it yesterday and it still makes me cringe.  It smacks of conspiracy-theorist nonsense.  "No, really, the Pakistani government was behind everything!"

#13 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 04:54 PM

View PostCJ AEGIS, on Sep 16 2008, 05:40 PM, said:

View PostQueenTiye, on Sep 16 2008, 05:25 PM, said:

There, he discusses Pakistan rather harshly, and points out that Obama's position may be the right one, messy consequently though it may be.  I don't know what to think of it, but it was an interesting read (I don't like Christopher Hitchins, so I'm not holding his opinion up as proof of anything - just pointing out that at least one thinker thinks that Obama's aggressive stance re: Pakistan is the more honest and right one).

Messy?  You realize that he is proposing invading a nuclear armed state?  When nuclear armed states are attacked and they see no escape option they launch their nuclear weapons.  You want to see a nuclear weapon launched into Delhi and roughly ten million casualties then vote for Obama?  You DO NOT invade nuclear powers and expect to get off with a conventional conflict.  

I don't expect that Obama will be so unwise.  But I do note that Bush just managed to authorize crossing the Pakistan border.  Clearly something needs to be done more than we're doing.  In general though, it might be helpful to keep in mind that Obama's default position is diplomacy - and one might hope that with an aggressive diplomatic effort, Pakistan would be less difficult to deal with than its been.

Quote

Not returning phone calls from prominent Democrats in states he need to win?  Ignoring advice?  Surrounding himself with yes men?  That isn't the mark of someone who is listening.  That is the mark of someone who is exceedingly arrogant and over confident.

I'll admit I hadn't read anything like that, unless you mean Charlie Rangel, who I've not much liked for years, and who is in his own hot seat at present.  That I heard about.  But I hadn't heard about any other situations.  More importantly though, this isn't the thread for it.  Happy to have this conversation in another thread. :)

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#14 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 05:00 PM

View Postsilverwind, on Sep 16 2008, 05:46 PM, said:

There's a certain irony in running on the platform that you're for a withdrawl from one conflict and then immediately try to get us into another, against a much more militarily-capable enemy.

And that blog is rather alarming.  I read it yesterday and it still makes me cringe.  It smacks of conspiracy-theorist nonsense.  "No, really, the Pakistani government was behind everything!"

Well - as I mentioned - I'm no Hitchins fan.  I mostly think he's a blowhard.  But as I'm not well versed on Pakistan, the article was at least somewhat educational.

BTW - Obama isn't any kind of peacenik.  There are reasons why some leftists were totally NOT in favor of Obama.  They have projected an image onto Obama that he's never matched, despite their fondest wishes.  Obama years ago said he wasn't against wars - just dumb ones.  And - he's most famous for analyzing the effects of the proposed engagement with Iraq, not for advocating peace.  So I think it isn't all that ironic at all - Obama has yet to talk about getting the US out of conflict - his Iraq withdrawal plan and concern for the overextended military has always been a centerpiece that cast a shadow over its twin plan to expand engagement in Afghanistan.  He's most certainly going to have to expand the military to meet all his objectives if elected.  Etc.

QT

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#15 silverwind

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 05:25 PM

I'm no military history expert (it generally bores me to tears, TBH), but I don't think fighting a multi-front war has ever been particularly beneficial to the one who initiates it.  I think reducing our troop commitment in Iraq gradually and refocusing on Afghanistan is a pretty good plan.  I just don't think we can safely or effectively tangle with Pakistan's military while also maintaining a presence in Afghanistan and Iraq.

#16 Batrochides

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 07:22 PM

The transfer of U.S. forces from Iraq to Afghanistan will be quite ineffective in quelling Taliban/Al-Qaeda if the latter have safe havens within the practically autonomous Tribal Areas of northwest Pakistan; and the present government in Pakistan has now communicated its opposition to cross-border incursions into its territory.

If Senator Obama thinks that it will be practical to mount attacks on both local Taliban and conventional Pakistani forces, without the serious probability of significant American casualties and the possibility of major armed conflict, then he has once again proven himself unfit to be a commander.

Now, I have for a long time believed that the United States will come into major conflict with one or more Muslim states (other than Iraq and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, of course), states with powerful conventional forces (e.g. Iran, Pakistan, Egypt, Syria), as the logical outcome to a cultural conflict that has been continuing for the past 1368-odd years; and a government in Islamabad that is officially or tacitly tolerant of America's enemies will eventually force a U.S. administration to either take extreme measures to resolve this impasse in something like its favor or withdraw from the region.

Or, to put it another way, I can easily see the United States eventually coming into a practical state of war with Pakistan, as Obama's stated policy would seem to lead to...but I do not see him--or the vast majority of the party he represents--philosophically prepared for that conflict.

Batrochides

#17 offworlder

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 10:30 PM

two things here (there's so much in this thread),
first~ this : >transfer of U.S. forces from Iraq to Afghanistan will be quite ineffective in quelling Taliban/Al-Qaeda if the latter have safe havens within the practically autonomous Tribal Areas of northwest Pakistan; and the present government in Pakistan has now communicated its opposition to cross-border incursions into its territory.< ............ ah, but if you put those troops by that border, then habitually have a dozen colonels and brigadiers crossing with only defensive pistols to meet, like uniformed diplomats with a big stick, to meet with the Pak brigadiers, and keep the dialog going, keep the pressure on, for PAK to put more troops in these areas and more pressure on the Taliban/Qaeda, commandoOPS, &etc, it could make some difference.

second~ if Obama actually said invade Pakistan , I bet it was some quick quip that press luv to jump all over, and if he had more time to sit with you and explain he wouldn't really advocate a real invasion of a fairly strong country like Pakistan; much better to keep the pressure politics, the steel-clad negotiations, the global world mixing of biz opportunities with uniformed alliances.
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#18 QueenTiye

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 10:32 PM

View PostBatrochides, on Sep 16 2008, 08:22 PM, said:

Or, to put it another way, I can easily see the United States eventually coming into a practical state of war with Pakistan, as Obama's stated policy would seem to lead to...but I do not see him--or the vast majority of the party he represents--philosophically prepared for that conflict.

Batrochides

This is the only part I disagree with.  I think you are confusing Obama with a significant portion of the democratic base that has fixed their hopes on Obama because he is the last man standing.  But - Obama has a hawkish side that gets overlooked I think.  HE is certainly philosophically ready for a fight that is necessary (should one become necessary) in the efforts to deal with terrorism.  And if he's done what he promised - talked first, attempted strong diplomacy, I think that the people will follow.

I also think he will have a sound, careful entrance and exit plan.

I will be honest and say I don't relish the thought.  But I think there's a fundamental understimation of Obama happening if we think he isn't philosophically grounded to prepare for such a conflict well.

More from the citizen journalists:

Quote

Eliza Margarita Bates and Cara Zwerling

Posted September 16, 2008 | 09:19 AM (EST)

McCain, Obama on Energy, the Environment and AIDS

Both Obama and McCain support a 'cap-and-trade' solution to carbon emissions. Obama says he will implement a system of carbon credits, in which units of pollution will be auctioned and proceeds will go to clean energy investments and "other transition relief for families." Despite his cryptic language (by transitional relief, he means he wants to provide tax breaks to consumers to reduce the impact of rising fuel prices), Obama has repeatedly expressed his commitment to reducing carbon emissions. He also hopes to wean the US off of Venezuelan and Gulf oil by the year 2010, in the interest of national security.

****

McCain's 'cap-and-trade' proposal is similar to Obama's, but he emphasizes the role of the free market in dictating how the process works. "The key feature of [cap-and-trade] is that it allows the market to decide and encourage the lowest-cost compliance options." ...  

...But pundits have called McCain's cap-and-trade proposal weak, because he refuses to take a firm stand on emission caps. Instead of regulating all carbon emissions by the cap-and-trade system, McCain wants to regulate only a fraction of emissions covered by permits.

****

Obama likes ethanol. McCain likes (you guessed it) nuclear power.

****

As we've come to expect from those wacky democrats, Obama is pro-condom and sex education.

"[A]bstinence and fidelity may too often be the ideal and not the reality - that we are dealing with flesh and blood men and women and not abstractions - and that if condoms and potentially microbicides can prevent millions of deaths, they should be made more widely available," said Obama at the 2006 Global Summit on AIDS and the Church. ...

...But, according to the AIDS resource site, the Body, Obama's international AIDS plan does not pass the "funding test."

Quote

    "He didn't commit $50 billion a year for five years to fight HIV/AIDS worldwide -- as he sort of, kind of [said] he would. Instead, he pledged $50 billion to cover all United Nation's Millenium Development goals which, in addition to fighting AIDS, include halving the number of people who die of tuberculosis, malaria and avian influenza, as well as reducing global poverty."

...
Africa Action, however, gives Senator Obama a passing grade for his stand on the global AIDS epidemic, based on two simple criteria:

"Signed Presidential Plan for Leadership on Global AIDS? - YES

Has a formal global HIV/AIDS plan? - YES"

****

Condoms! Sex! Do those words scare you? They sure seemed to frighten Senator McCain. The New York Times blog, The Caucus, reported that McCain stumbled in response to a question by reporters on his position on AIDS prevention.

...McCain is all for AIDS prevention, as long as it doesn't involve condoms (he thinks) or corrupt governments. So who and what does he actually want the money to go to? We'll have to wait for him to come out with an actual plan to find out.

Africa Action sets the record straight on McCain's position (even if he can't figure it out himself):

"Signed Presidential Plan for Leadership on Global AIDS? - NO

Has a formal global HIV/AIDS plan? - NO"

The ladies link to a site that sees lots of pitfalls in both McCain and Obama's energy plans - with their ideas making the 10 Worst Ideas list.  Here that list is:

Obama's 10 Worst Ideas


QT
McCain's 10 Worst Ideas

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#19 Themis

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Posted 16 September 2008 - 10:49 PM

Oh, gods, I don't have time to read, let alone digest until probably the weekend.  But once again, hats off to QT for an attempt to launch a thread thoughtfully discussing substance more than sound bites.  Would that the people producing ads for both major parties would follow her lead.  I'll be back when I have time to be thoughtful!!
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#20 QueenTiye

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Posted 18 September 2008 - 11:20 PM

Thanks, Themis!

QT

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