Posted: 17 Aug 2008 10:22 AM CDT
Going through the news today I see that the joint forum where John McCain and Barack Obama answered some questions from Rick Warren at the Saddleback Church has gotten some play around the Internet.
The transcripts can be found here but a few things are already standing out.
Abortion: Warren's question was: At what point does a baby get human rights in your view?
The question was simple, Warren wanted to know, in the candidate's minds, when rights begin. Using the word "rights" and asking for their view made it plain that Warren was talking about legal rights.
The two separate answers from the candidates showed a huge contrast between the two.
McCain's Answer: At the moment of conception. I have a 25-year Pro-life record in the Congress and in the Senate. And as President of the United States, I will be a pro-life president and this presidency will have pro-life policies. That's my commitment. That's my commitment to you.
Obama's Answer: Well, I think that whether you are looking at at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is above my pay grade.
Then he went on to speak in more general terms, completely sidestepping the actual question itself.
Another question that stood out was Warren wanting to know who each candidate would "rely heavily on" in their administration.
Warren's question: Who are the three wisest people you know in your life and who are you going to rely heavily in your administration?
Obama's answer: You mentioned one person I's be listening to and that's Michelle, my wife, who is not only wise but she's honest. And one of the things you need-- I think any leaders needs is somebody who can get in your face and say, boy, you really screwed that one up. You really blew that.
Warren: Your wife's like that too?
Obama: Yes. Yes. So, so that's very helpful. Another person is my grandmother who's an extraordinary woman. She never went to college. She worked on a bomber assembly line during WWII when my grandfather was away, came back, got a job as a secretary, worked her way up to become a bank vice president before she retired and she's just a very grounded common sense no fuss no frill kind of person and when I've got big decisions I often check with her.
In terms of the administration or how I would approach the presidency, I don't think I's restrict myself to three people. There are people like Sam Dunn a Democrat or Dick Luker a Republican who I listened to on policy on domestic policy. I got friends ranging from Ted Kennedy to Tom Colbert who don't necessarily agree on a lot of things but who both, I think, have a sincere desire to see the country improve. What I found is very helpful to me is to have a table where a lot of different points of view are represented and where I can sit and poke and prod and ask them questions. So That I'm not--so that any blind spots I have or predispositions that I have that my assumptions are challenged and I think that that's extraordinarily important.
John McCain's answer: First one I think would be General Petraeus, one of the great military leaders in America history who took us from defeat to victory in Iraq. One of the great leaders.
Fourth of July a year ago, Senator Lindsey Graham and I were in Baghdad. 688 brave Americans whose enlistment had expired, swore an oath of reenlistment to stay and fight for freedom. Only someone like David Petraeus could motivate somebody like that.
I think John Lewis. John Lewis was at the Edmund Pettus Bridge. Had his skull fractured. Continues to serve. Continues to have the most optimistic outlook about America. He can teach us all a lot about the meaning of courage and commitment to causes greater than ourself.
Meg Whitman. Meg Whitman, the CEO of E-Bay. Meg Whitman, 12 years ago there were five employees. Today they are one-and-a-half million people that make a living off e-mail in America in the world. One of these great American success stories and in these economic challenging times we need to call on the wisdom and knowledge, background of people like Mg Whitman who have been able to make such a great American story part of the world's folklore.
Those are but two examples from the uncorrected and unedited transcripts provided by the Warren website, but they show a perfect example of how McCain managed to stay on topic, focus and answer direct questions with direct answers and Obama side-stepped or enlarged his answer instead of sticking to the point.
(Note- The answers to the individual questions were taken from the transcript provided at the Warren site, which may not be in final form yet)
Another telling thing there is the people the two candidates chose. Obama picked his wife and grandmother, both of whom may help him in times of need, but neither are experts in areas needed to run a country. Military, economic, whatever the case may be, Obama chose people as inexperienced as he is in matters instead of experts that could objectively look at a problem and help solve it.
He also couldn't name just three as he was asked to do.
Reactions from around the web are varied, but The Corner points out that McCain was as good as Obama was bad.
I would tend to agree with that assessment after reading the transcript. Obama strayed, expanded and once again showed that he is not in his element without his telepromter, while John McCain focused and answered his questions directly.
Roger Kimball over at Pajamas Media called Obama's answer on the abortion question "insulting and mendacious equivocation."
Riehl World View points out one spectacular misrepresentation:
So did he vote as he claims or didn't he? Another slip of the tongue? "Bad phrasing"?
PowerLine points out other areas where McCain and Obama starkly contrasted each other.
MSNBC's First Read phrases it perfectly in one paragraph:
Quick first impressions: Obama spent more time trying to impress Warren (or to put another away) not offend Warren while McCain seemingly ignored Warren and decided he was talking to folks watching on TV. The McCain way of handling this forum is usually the winning way. Obama may have had more authentic moments but McCain was impressively on message.
Obama supporters will undoubtedly fly to his defense, but his performance was not up to par with McCain's.
Posted: 16 Aug 2008 02:10 PM CDT
The most amazing development of the Russian/Georgian war is the complete disregard for the actual happenings in favor of foaming mouth salivation over the destruction of a nation all for the sake of hate to the West. So what's new?
The Georgian conflict with South Ossetia erupted very suddenly on the western news front, but it was an action slowly building for a boil for years. The break away province of South Ossetia is a territory of Georgia that has arranged for autonomy from the small country.
South Ossetia has flexed its muscle since 1917 starting with peasants who did not want to pay taxes to the then Government of Georgia. Rebel peasants in Tskhinvali not only held off an offensive by Georgian forces lead by an ethnic Ossetian, but they also massacred the ethnic Georgians of the village. Tskhinvali is now the capital of modern day South Ossetia. Once the rebellion was put down, ethnic Ossetians built a great resentment towards the Georgians, which opened the door for Pro-Bolshevik sentiment.
In 1920 the sentiment was rewarded with the Bolsheviks assisting in a larger uprising. Although the Treaty of Moscow in May of 1920 guaranteed Georgia that their territorial integrity would be respected, the Russian forces demanded that Georgia pull out of their territory in Ossetia. At the end of the tensions the Georgia government formed the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast.
From the 1920s-1980s the two ethnicities lived in relative peace and had many inter-ethnic marriages.
In 1988 brought forth the creation of the regional party of South Ossetian Popular Front (Ademon Nykhas). The party asked for autonomy from Georgia. In response Georgia made Georgian the official language of the entire nation and abolished regional parties. South Ossetia then held its own elections and declared itself a part of the USSR. In 1990 Georgia's government lead by Zviad Gamsakhurdia abolished the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast and declared the election illegitimate. In 1991 armed conflict reared its ugly head resulting in attempted ethnic cleansing by both sides with Ossetians and Georgians being killed or fleeing to respective non-hostile territories. Along with military action there came economic blockades and other atrocities committed by both sides of the conflict. In 1992 it was reported that Russia once again became involved by supplying militants in Ossetia with arms and other support. Internal conflict in Georgia brought on by a military coup, and a threat of war involving Russia brought forth a peace agreement in the fall of 1992.
A peacekeeping force of Georgians, Ossetians, and Russians was established in the breakaway territory of South Ossetia to avoid future hostilities. IN 2003 Georgia and the United States began a stronger relationship as Georgia placed a bid for inclusion in NATO. To show support the United States began to help Georgia replenish its military with funding and arms. This support was also shown by Israel and Germany. The United States also aided in training of Georgian troops as part of the War on Terrorism.
The peace was kept tentatively till 2004 when smuggling operations in South Ossetia were met with Georgian opposition. Some of the smuggling operations involved another break away province in Georgia, Abkhazia. Georgia accused Russia of a covert military buildup in the province as well as continued smuggling of contra ban such as missiles and drugs into the South Ossetian region via the Ergneti market. The contra ban smuggling lead to further outbreaks of small scale fighting which escalated as Georgia bought in more military members to attempt to shut down the smuggling.
After the 2004 flair up events moved quickly between cooperation and contention. It is important that the Further Reading section at the bottom of the article is read to understand where Georgia stands with South Ossetia and Russia.
The cycle seems to be coming full circle today as yet another conflict between Georgia and South Ossetia is further instigated by Russia. If one looks at the history of the conflict it is relatively easy to understand that the inclusion of the United States was simply another reason for Russia to stir the pot in the already shaky region. Yet this seems to escape people across this time in space who are still foaming at the mouth with rabid hatred for the West, the United States in particular.
The coverage of the war is mostly slap shod, with the bias against the Georgians in favor of Russia simply because it is wagging its privates in the face of the big bad West. The true gems of the Internet have lurched from the depths to cheer on the death of Georgians even at the expense of the South Ossetians. Comments range from simple blaming of Georgians for all the ills of the war to outright victorious and primitive cheers that Georgians deserve war with Russia because they are "United States Ass Lickers."
Yes you read that correctly.
Since we have so many people representing "truth" where there is only perception, there should be another "truth" from the perception I offer.
Georgia has been bullied by Russia over South Ossetia since the 1920s. Specifically with Russia instigating, then seriously pounding Georgia until they give Ossetia further autonomy. Georgia then sought membership in NATO to provide itself with backing from strong western nations against Russia who constantly moved aggressively on its territory using Ossetia as a pawn. So before Georgia sought help from the West was the incursion on their territory and Russian infiltration suddenly not warranted? This is a question that I know the stubborn will answer with a yes. No skin off my back, but certainly may result in a few men, women, and children dying while feeling the world is against them for wanting safety.
When reading the diatribes from the rest of the world it is important to remember a few facts.
Georgia did not start this with the recent bombing of South Ossetia. Georgia incurred the wrath of Ossetian separatists when they closed down the Ergneti marketplace and stopped tax free contra ban from coming into Georgia. Yes much like in the 1920s this is about not wanting to pay taxes, however the Ergneti marketplace also encouraged arms, drug, and human trafficking. I suppose that the Georgians are just bad mean evil little horrible people for not allowing Russia to smuggle in arms to Ossetian forces on Georgian territory. Certainly they are completely in the wrong for not wanting separatist forces to be armed. (Please take note of the sarcasm.)
South Ossetia is not recognized as a country de jure ( by law) by the international community. That is a fact jack, and nothing but. The South Ossetians, however, have been given some autonomy. They are allowed to hold their own elections, the government is mostly of Ossetian ethnicity. Not only that but the South Ossetians have representation in the main government of Georgia. So yes, South Ossetia is by law a Georgian territory. Despite that peacekeeping forces have been operating, and it has an unrecognized border. Even in 2006 when separatists forces shot at a helicopter carrying Georgian politicians they were able to claim it was a "violation of airspace," although it was not. People can argue the "morality" of the situation all they want. International law states very simply that South Ossetia as well as Abkhazia is Georgian territory.
What Russia is proposing to do by covertly annexing the two break away territories is no different from what they have now. In April of 2008 Russia extended its policies to which Georgia declared Russia was trying to annex Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The Russians have made numerous moves, from issuing Russian passports to many in the two regions, to providing the regions with arms and other aide.
So when people claim that Georgia is all to blame, or that the United States orchestrated a war by simply existing, the claims are at best laughable. These people sit there and claim Russia and America are playing chess, but really they are no different by using this conflict which has gone back decades as a way to prop up anti-western sentiment. So who's the pawn now?
Georgia: Revolution in the Regions, Promises vs. Results.
Georgia-Ossetia Conflict History
Russian Annexation Policies
Original Story at DigitalJournal.com. Please show your support and Upvote. No account necessary.
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