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Did America Grant a Progressive Mandate?

(Photo by Robin Holland)

This week on the JOURNAL, Bill Moyers spoke with scholars Eric Foner and Patricia Williams about Tuesday's historic election and what it means for America's future.

Foner suggested that Barack Obama could pursue a progressive presidency:

"There really is a chance for a new paradigm now, and I think if he moves forward and puts forward a new governing principle for the country, it will be progressive. It's not that we just have to go back and reenact the New Deal or reenact TR's policies, but something which breaks really dramatically from the Reagan ideology... I don't want to say he has the specific policy. But I think it's more of an ethos of public life, a more communal one that looks after the common good and not just individual self-interest as we've been ruled by for the last 20, 30 years, that doesn't seek competitiveness as the sole measure of a society."

In an editorial, the WASHINGTON EXAMINER argued that Obama and the Democrats carry "a mandate for conciliation, not for ideology":

"The reason it's not an ideological mandate of the sort given to the conservative Ronald Reagan in 1980 is because, unlike Reagan (who also won a much bigger victory), the liberal Barack Obama did as much to shade his ideology as to proclaim it... He consistently emphasized proposals more often associated with conservatives than liberals: tax cuts, greater numbers of military personnel, and a "net spending cut" for the federal government (even if his spending numbers never came close to adding up)... this victory certainly was not 'a progressive mandate.'"

What do you think?

  • Did America give Obama a progressive mandate?

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    By JB Williams Saturday, April 24, 2010
    Members from all three branches of the Federal government already know that Barack Hussein Obama is ineligible for the office of President. National leaders, to include members of the US Supreme Court, already know that Barack Hussein Obama is not a “natural born citizen” of the United States of America, and therefore, is ineligible for the office he currently holds. (See JB’s new article on The Bottom Line on Natural Born Citizen)
    What they don’t know is how long it will take for most Americans to figure it out, or what to do about it.
    The diversionary search for an authentic birth certificate is ongoing and Obama has now spent in excess of $2 million in legal fees to keep that search alive.

    Eric Holder’s Department of Justice continues to deploy taxpayer funded attorneys around the country to file dismissals on behalf of Obama, denying all American citizens access to the courts as a peaceful remedy, which only fuels the fire of discontent and the questions about Obama persist.

    Um... who won the election? Why are we getting the same old faces for key positions - Clintons picks - instead of something new?

    I begin to feel vaguely uneasy...

    It is important to remember just how non-specific and intentionally vague Obama was during the campaign, especilly befor the Financial Crisis became visible.

    He was about 40% of Howard Dean and less than one percent of RFK and MLK, when it comes to raising fundemental questions about the structure of the US permanent war economy.

    THIS IS A REALITY THAT MUST BE CONFRONTED WHEN WE ASK "WHAT MANDATE DOES OBAMA HAVE? The fact is that a funemental critique of the status quo, will simply not be allowed to reach November's national micraphone, no matter how popular it may prove to be.

    That is the job of Corporate Insider lobbyists like William Schneieder of CNN who is a creature of the Oil and Bank funded AEI think tank, the very think tank that RFK was investigating re: the legality of its tax exemt status at the time of the coup d'etat of 11/22/63. (See interesting Washington Post article of 1963 by Post reporter Larry Stern on this AEI investigation).

    Now whatever mandate there was is being further blunted by Obamas apointments and chirping of the need for more bipartisanship.

    The reality is just the opposite. There is all too little difference between our two political parties. The Democrats put mummies in the speaker positions of both houses, and did not say one single thing in strong opposition to the most extremist policies in American History.

    Rahm Emanuel, pro-war Likkud Democrat is the mandate of oil-bank- and weapons R' U.S. aka Wall Street, the real electorate.

    By the way please read the Daniel Ellsberg and Marcus Raskin endoresed masterpiece JFK and the Unspeakable, Why He Died and Why It Matters. This book shows JFK in the elbow of the COld War, the last time flexibility could be imagined, fleetingly.

    "I have been hearing lately US media questioning if Mr. Obama should govern from the center, I believe this would be a great disservice to the United States; I believe Mr. Obama should embrace his international mandate of real change with an American bias of course even if some of these changes are moderately painful, this is the only way to re-integrate the US whole heartedly back into the international community and more importantly teach the world much more effectively than the previous administration the valuable virtues of democracy."

    I fully vouchsafe the above quote from one of the respondents.

    We direly need a radical CHANGE and we HOPE that the change comes.
    American media-persons are misinterpreting the mandate.
    One simple example.
    Getting a pet dog to enter in the White House as president should not be the topic.
    Here is one quote

    Obama’s daughters now will get
    In Washington a brand new pet.
    The White House halls will echo — heark!
    With sounds of both Barack and bark.

    Tradition calls for presidents
    To have cute pups as residents.
    They help relieve the strain and stress
    Of known executive distress.

    Republicans and Democrats
    Who often clash like dogs and cats
    On this one point alike agree:
    The presidential family
    Deserves to have a canine pal,
    A tender, loving animal.

    On White House gate post an affiche:
    “We’ve signed a brand-new four-year leash.”
    Where better might a canine dwell?
    (We query here in doggerel).

    How nice that girls, while growing up,
    Should share the White House with a pup!
    (Not hamster, guinea pig, or guppy!
    Just a lively, playful puppy!)

    Neuter, masculine, or bitch?
    We’ll soon be told just which-is-which.
    Hirsute or bald or full of fur?
    A mongrel, thoroughbred, or cur?

    When journalists the news pursue
    (We mean the press, the White House crew),
    Attempting to attain a scoop,
    They’ll surely find the latest poop!

    I don't think Obama's and America's victory this November was a mandate for Progressivism it was amandate for Pragmatic Politics which seeks to achieve the best results for the country. It so happens the ways to do this have been part of the so called "Liberal" or "Progressive" agenda for many years. What most people in America want is a return to pragmatic governance which uses the best methods to make American strong economically and strong as a society. These objectives are best achieved by policies promoting opportunity for a good education and for jobs for all. This also means a rejection of ignorance especially in terms of deregulation of business activities as embodied in the idiot NeoCon economic philosophy that holds that the market can be left to police itself.

    Human nature being what it is, it is naive in the extreme to think people can be trusted to conduct business without some regulation and controls. The reason our economy has grown so marvelously since WWII is that there were controls in place that prevented the "bad apples" from gambling and cheating our economy into disaster as happened in the 1920's leading to the Great Depression. The NeoCon notion that it is a good idea to eliminate all the market controls introduced by FDR's New Deal is founded in ignorance which refuses to accept it's own stupidity.

    Republicans finally got Deregulation of Financial markets passed by putting the Commodities Futures Modernization Act 2000 attached as a rider to the Omnibus Spending Bill 2000 (a 19,000 page bill) so noboby in Congress knew that they were voting for it. The result is, trading in Credit Default Swaps was made legal AND unregulated and this lead to practices which created the Great Credit Catastrophe of 2008 which is now threatening another depression on the order of that of the 1930's.

    Common sense, pragmatic policies have been wrongly dubbed as Liberal or Progressive but actually they are just smart and practical and lead to a stronger growing economy and a stable business environment which fosters more risk taking and investment in innovative technologies which create new products new efficiencies and new jobs. Providing for equal opportunity for education and jobs leads to economic growth. Keeping the gamblers and cheaters from messing up the "pie" only helps the real businessmen and those who want to create real value succeed.

    "Progressive" or "Liberal" poliicies are actually just smart, practical policies. They are not ideologically based, they are performance based policies which make our economy and our society stronger.

    Since both the Democratic and the Republican parties were trying to out "change"
    each other; maybe they could get together and decide what changes need to be made and what are the best solutions. The meaning of the words "Liberal" and "Conservative" have become lost in the high stake need for change. What is important is the need for stabilizing both the demand and the supply side of economics so that we can maintain a quality society for our people.
    It will take some magic economics to stabilize our economy and rebuild our industry and our infra-structure. The sooner we arrive at the magical numbers; the sooner we will get our lives back on track.

    Dear Mr. Moyer

    I am an avid listener to your informative podcast way out here in Cairo and I thank you for it.

    Last week in your interview with Patricia Williams and Eric Foner, I sensed you where trying to capture the essence of this election and vote of confidence in President Elect Obama.

    From my perspective, Mr. Obama received an international mandate for change on Nov. 4th. It is true that the American people voted him in, but the whole world concurred! and accepted him as a credible leader to guide the way forward.

    It’s true that Mr. Obama has a charismatic air about him, possesses intellectual credibility (he makes sense!), his color familiarizes him to a good portion of the world population and even his speech skills are moving, these among other factors helped him, but to me I believe he derives his legitimacy and popularity because he credibly represents the higher human core values!! He represents our ideal self!!

    This is his change message, it is not generic or superficial, it resonates because it speaks to humanity’s core values of democracy, equality, understanding, justice and hope these values are imbedded in every human. Mr. Obama managed to move them from the theoretical realm to the real of the possible, and he is able to do that because of international consensus of hope standing behind and looking for him to deliver.

    I have been hearing lately US media questioning if Mr. Obama should govern from the center, I believe this would be a great disservice to the United States; I believe Mr. Obama should embrace his international mandate of real change with an American bias of course even if some of these changes are moderately painful, this is the only way to re-integrate the US whole heartedly back into the international community and more importantly teach the world much more effectively than the previous administration the valuable virtues of democracy.

    Ali Al-Dajani

    @Joe A. Everson,

    I got to love ya! When I discovered that neither Obama nor McCain were qualified for president, I laughed for 15 minutes. I hope someone else can see the humor.

    Americans have been pretty much ignoring the Constitution for at least 30 years, but this takes the cake--two candidates for president who are both unqualified. Even if we wanted to vote for a qualified candidate, we would have no choice (other than Nader, McKinney, Baldwin or Barr). Both corporate-sponsored candidates are unqualified, yet we elect one of them anyway. Please someone tell me you can see the irony in that. :-D

    I've decided to drink the Kool-aid and pretend, along with almost everyone else, that Obama is president-elect.

    There is no mandate--certainly not a progressive mandate. Obama has not promised to remove our troops from Afghanistan and other countries, and he has not promised to confront corporate crime, and he has not promised to return our civil rights. Any notion among progressives that Obama is one of them is imagination only.

    In the transcript, Williams is quoted as saying, "We don't deny that there is an upper class."

    But she actually said in the interview - most apparently and clearly (at least from my perspective):

    "We deny that there is an upper class."

    You said something in the Democracy book that stopped me in my tracks. It was a simple phrasing which came immediately into for foreground: "extremism in the pursuit of virtue is no vice." This is an excellent question for an action maze because it is a real test. The Eupsychian Party would insist on a good definition of extremism. Maybe when the CEO's come around, so will the mentors to the poor souls who blow their brains out on others, which is surely more disrespectful than spitting.

    Given the sad state of our economy (and the numerous other problems we are facing), I do not think that the mandate is really a "progressive" mandate. It is a mandate to fix things. Period. The American voters are fed up with the status quo. It would not have been any different had Senator McCain won the election.

    The bottom line: the U.S. has a great many problems, and we want our elected officials - especially our President - to fix them.

    The problem facing President-elect Obama is that if his administration does not start showing signs of progress, the voters may have little (if any) patience - and he may be limited to one term.

    I hope that will not be the case - but the last few administrations do not give me much reason to be confident.

    "An unconstitutional act creates no office" Norton vs. Shelby County 118 US 425 p.442 In other words, If a candidate running for president has no certificate of live birth from the United States, he wouldn't be president even if he was in the office.

    This will be a progressive WhiteHouse,one that puts a human & environmental slant on capitalism. One that will hopefully cease this so called ideology of "Peace through War". As Obama has emphatically stated time and again, he cannot make change without the people. There will be a forging ahead of a NorthAmerican Union and a common currency, something that has been going on behind closed doors, under the SPP; big business has been setting the agenda for the harmonization of laws/regulations/policies that will only enrich those same big business.If this NAU happens under the current agenda, we the people do not stand a chance. With the election of Obmama this translates into a NAU that is geared for human & environmental capitalism, and finally someone who actually talks the language of the everyday citizen. There are a great many obstacles for Obama to overcome and they are the hawks of both parties. Citizens worldwide are sick and tired of being lied to by their Governments, being treated like small children.."don't worry your pretty little head,we have it under control,go shopping"..Perhaps Progressives can all join together for a change instead of infighting about small discrepencies in their policies. We need to come together as one.

    Do your remember the commercial for Reese's peanut butter cups? "Your peanut butter got on my chocolate; no, your chocolate got on my peanut butter... mmmm!"

    Obama and his administration now has the opportunity to re-invent something. (No, not peanut butter cups, silly -- the WPA and the CCC.)

    We have rising unemployment and a crumbling infrastructure. Hmmm, remind you of something?

    Joe E., You should write a book and make people pay for your deep thoughts. You shouldn't give them away for free on this blog. I truly hope it's a progressive mandate and I fervently hope it comes to pass.

    Wow....Socialism for the rich! K Philips in the middle said that "Wall Street will now sit on the bail-out and used for CEOs bonuses. Hummm...socialism for the rich!

    Of all the comments I have read thus far on this partucular thread, I am particularly appreciative of the comments of Vince Wilyard and Elizabeth Fontaine Stabler.

    Yes, the US is in dire need of a foreign and domestic policy as enunciated by Wilyard and yes, the California defeat of equality in marriage for gays is most deeply regrettable.
    Thank you both.

    Chithra Karunakaran

    I thought Patricia Williams was awesome. Why isn't she pictured and quoted above? It was a good show. Thanks.

    Did America Grant a Progressive Mandate?
    The only mandate given to an American President born in America is to be commander in chief of the military, and to keep the oath to protect defend and obey the Constitution. Since the Constitution requires birth on US soil in the United States, neither Obama nor McCain qualify.

    Answer to the question. No.

    If we had wanted a progressive mandate, then we all would have voted for Ralph Nader.

    Although Obama received a lot of small donor contributions, he received much more money from the corporate / financial sector. But so did McCain.

    Those of you who voted for Obama better be prepared to hold his feet to the fire. What do I mean? The Wall Street Bailout package is allowing banks to buy other banks with our money, even while they still refuse to loan our money back to us in order to get the economy rolling again. Bank shareholders are still collecting dividends even though their banks failed miserably enough to warrant coming to the government, read U.S. Taxpayers, for a handout.

    Some progressive mandate we have to look forward to.

    Here is a progressive mandate you should be looking for.

    1. Get out of Iraq now!

    2. Get out of Afghanistan now!

    3. Make the Defense Department accountable by auditing them. Then cut their budget in half. World War II and the Cold War are both over.

    4. Rebuild our infrastructure.

    5. End for profit healthcare.

    6. Raise the minimum wage to $10 an hour.

    7. End all free trade deals with countries who limit our access to their markets while we grant them free access to ours.

    8. Use the money saved by cutting the defense budget to fund college tuitions for all eligible Americans.

    9. Force fossil fuel based energy companies to spend windfall profits on converting to clean energy power sources or tax them out of business.

    10. Fund public television and radio 100% by charging broadcasters a realistic fee for using our, read the American Public's, airwaves and broadband spectrums.


    If "progressive" means carrying out the law rather than subverting it, basing decisions on science rather than industry propaganda, informing citizens about government activities rather than lying about or covering them up, and spending taxpayer money wisely rather than giving it away in an orgy of crony capitalism, then Obama got a progressive mandate.

    Some would expect conservatives to demand the same thing.

    Did America give Obama a progressive mandate? Yes

    President Obama has a clear mandate for policies that appear to be good ideas. These include progressive policies that work or appear to have good chance of working. This is also true of conservative and centrist policies. But it seems safe to say that the results of this election show that America will give progressive policies a chance, when they appear to be well thought out and clearly articulated.

    I voted for President-Elect Obama. I have great confidence in him. I would have liked to have voted for Senator Clinton for president, but Senator Obama is fine. I would not have been greatly upset had Senator McCain won, but I think that Senator Obama had the edge.

    We were blessed this year. I wish our newly elected president well. He makes a fine impression.

    Obama is the president- elect. I voted for Barack Obama. This is a momentous, historic, powerfully symbolic, unprecedented election result.

    I refused to contribute one penny to either campaign, instead holding out for campaign reform, which will not come anytime soon.

    Now let me submit some qualifiers:
    In US-style advanced capitalism, most recently in its corporate bailout phase, all discourses, (from slavery onwards), are commodified. The Obama Brand prevailed (for now) against the McCain Brand, in a Coke vs. Pepsi contest. This does not imply that there are no differences between Barack Obama and John McCain. But, No matter who is elected, institutional multinational corporatism will trump democracy and civil society.

    Barack Obama was elected because he can best satisfy the American electorate's need to continue to engage in commodified discourse. The US public wants to consume without producing; wants a "tough" President and Congress and Supreme Court(which means the US cannot be a co-equal player in the world community of nations but instead will continue to try to dominate the globalized economy even though it has a failed economy; violate human rights in Iraq and elsewhere which it invaded and continues to occupy; consume energy resources in a wasteful and harmful manner.

    Barack Obama is
    a neoliberal rather than a radical progressive. He is no FDR. He is no Carter. He is a Clintocrat.

    I voted for him because he (possibly) is likely to do less harm than McCain, in the US and the world.

    Chithra Karunakaran

    There is no mandate.

    Obama's victory was hardly a landslide. And can we really be certain it was indeed a victory? Have all the voting problems of 2000 been corrected?

    How can Obama be called progressive? He wants a larger military. More wars. More security forces. He does not support impeachment of Bush/Cheney. He has not supported the 9/11 Truth movement. He has not tried to end the Iraq war. He supported the new FISA legislation. He voted for the so called bailout. Has he exposed the war on drugs as a fraud? The judicial and prison system as a fraud?

    He is nothing but a corporate shill. He is a marketing campaign. He is a fraud, and millions have been fooled.

    How can anyone not see that Obama was picked by the elite to be the President? Do you think that if he actually really cared about people, and tried to do something, he would get anywhere near the presidency? Why do you think truly honorable and courageous people like Ralph Nader and Cynthia McKinney are mocked and ignored? Because they are real. They pose a threat to the elites and corporations.

    Obama is a friend and ally of the corporations. He is owned by the corporations. Without the corporations there is no Obama.

    The mandate is for change.

    What the mandate amounts to is end the fiasco in Iraq, change the economics from supply side to demand side with trickle up instead of trickle down economics, provide universal health care and reinstate our liberties and privacy.
    We also need to define terms in such a way as they say what they mean and mean what they say. There are many words that are inconsistent with intent and/or meaningless.
    "Progressive" can mean just about anything depending on what is doing the progressing.
    "Conservative" can be fiscal, religious or just plain stingy.
    If we are going to solve the present disaster; it will be necessary to forget conservative and do what ever it takes to solve the problem. "Band aid" solutions will only prolong the agony. We need to fine tune our social and economic systems so that they provide everyone a quality life experience. When we accomplish that agenda; we will have a nation worth emulating.

    Dear selehka,
    Both Obama and McCain voted to bail out the rich with your money going up to the rich on Wall Street. How is that change? Also, I didn't mention color, you did.

    Thank you Bill Moyers, for an outstanding opening essay for tonight's show. I have always wondered why McCain went on and on about his five years as a prisoner of war and how he suffered for his country when hundreds of thousands of Blacks and people of color have suffered lifetimes for their their country! I belive the suffering of the Blacks, Native Americans, and minority immigrants is a thousand fold more meaningful than McCain "service to his country". It is minority America and the pain they have endured which deserves the highest rank of service to America. They are what makes America great.

    Dear selehka,
    Today on my way to lunch I passed a homeless guy with a sign that read ‘Vote Obama, I need the money.’ I laughed.

    Once in the restaurant my server had on an ‘Obama 08’ tie, again I laughed as he had given away his political preference—just imagine the coincidence.

    When the bill came I decided not to tip the server and explained to him that I was exploring the Obama redistribution of wealth concept. He stood there in disbelief while I told him that I was going to redistribute his tip to someone who I deemed more in need—the homeless guy outside. The server angrily stormed from my sight.

    I went outside, gave the homeless guy $10 and told him to thank the server inside as I’ve decided he could use the money more. The homeless guy was grateful.

    At the end of my rather unscientific redistribution experiment I realized the homeless guy was grateful for the money he did not earn, but the waiter was pretty angry that I gave away the money he did earn even though the actual recipient was in need of money more.

    I guess redistribution of wealth is an easier thing to swallow in concept than in practical application.

    This is a funny story, but those who advance this policy are not likely to stop distributing until all on the earth are equal, and that means equally poor.

    Dear jam,
    What is your interpretation of the first Amendment? If you are going to give all religions equal sway in our government, then if reincarnation is included you get starvation because you can’t eat your relatives. If Humanism is chosen, then schools lose all mention of God, and in one generation you have a humanist government. If some Muslim religions take sway then all infidels must die. If a Talmudic background then sodomy, bestiality, euthanasia, become law, and if we are seen as “goyins” or animals, then abortion becomes legal on all considered goyins. Now because the Christian religion has been banned from the public schools, non-Christian belief systems rather then the common law are staking a claim to the first amendment, and as a result we get Supreme Court decisions supporting homosexuality, pederasty, euthanasia, abortion, etc. If anything, the government should get out of education since all education has a religious bent one way or another, and allow the churches and parents to teach the young as they choose. Lincoln warned: “The philosophy of the classroom, is the philosophy of the government in the next generation.”
    Washington said: “True religion affords government its surest support. The future of the nation depends on the Christian training of the youth. It is impossible to govern without the Bible.”
    For your consideration-

    Poor Joe - still grasping at straws. You have my pity.

    What is wrong with Progress? What is wrong with getting rid of the status quo of redistributing the wealth from the poor and middle class UP to the rich? Why shouldn't that trend be reversed - the millionaires have made enough money off our backs.

    I voted for Obama because of who he was - not his skin color. How about we talk about the man instead of sticking a color with his name all the time? I also grew up during the 60's and well remember being aghast at people being treated that way. Kudo's to my parents for teaching me to accept someone based on Who they were, not what I thought they should be.

    The only mandate Obama got was to keep the American people involved, dump the wealthy insiders who trample on us and help us re-build an America that has been destroyed.

    Frankly - I can now at least hold my head up when I say I'm an American, and not qualify it with "I had nothing to do with the governments actions". As the Republicans found out - there are a lot of us out here. Thank you to the youth who once again, as they did in the 60's, led the way to a future of promise.

    There is still the unresolved issue of Obama providing a COLB - Certification of Live Birth - to prove he is a natural born citizen. Not a "birth certificate," but the COLB. The fact that Obama refuses to provide this document since June, 2008, says it all.

    Christianity is not the only religion practiced in America and to be reasonable all religions must be included in our government or none. Are we a reasonable people? I follow the teachings of Jesus Christ a government run on these principals would fail the at the task.

    I think Obama has more then just a progressive mandate but the chance to reassess our ideal of freedom, not the freedom to have and do but the opportunity to achieve. This will require a healthy and prosperous community.

    The American community has been fractured and dissolved into the fight of the individual. It’s a culture of attack, pillage and count the treasure later. It’s a very solitary, self-righteous rise to riches recently represented by the people at the Republican National Convention who laughed and cheered as their leadership mocked the justice of habeas corpus and the dignity of a community organizer.

    We are the living example of how the Leader sets the tone and our country mirrors our leadership of isolation, lack of accountability, unwilling to communicate and lousy neighbors. We have mocked the basics – the Constitution, health, safety and education.

    Americans are exhausted by this endless battle and lonely quest for only our individual self-interest. Most of us saw the rigid intolerance celebrated at Republican campaign events and wondered what our country has become. So when we saw an opening we jumped at the chance to move away from self-interest toward the greater good. Today we’re celebrating the leadership of a community organizer. It’s a mandate but it’s a chance to readjust and find a better fit for America. If Obama can keep us involved and invested we can rebuild from this complete moral disaster.

    Dear Bill,
    Can this be?
    Obama Was Born in Mombosa, Kenya and
    Therefore is not a “Natural Born” United
    States Citizen
    Upon investigation into the alleged birth of
    Obama in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama’s birth is
    reported as occurring at two (2) separate hospitals,
    Kapiolani Hospital and Queens Hospital. The
    Rainbow Edition News Letter, published by the
    Education Laboratory School, produced in its
    November 2004 Edition an article from an interview
    with Obama and his half-sister, Maya Soetoro, in
    which the publication reports that Obama was born
    August 4, 1961 at Queens Medical Center in 8
    Honolulu, Hawaii. Four years later, in a February
    2008 interview with the Hawaiian newspaper Star
    Bulletin, Maya Soetoro states that her half-brother,
    Obama, was born August 4, 1961, this time in
    Kapiolani Medical Center for Women & Children.
    Through extensive investigation, learned that
    Obama was born in Mombasa, Kenya. Obama’s
    biological father was a Kenyan citizen and Obama’s
    mother a U.S. citizen who was not old enough to
    register Obama’s birth in Hawaii as a “natural born”
    United States Citizen. The laws on the books at the
    time of Obama’s birth required the U.S. Citizen to
    have resided in the Untied States for ten (10) years,
    five (5) of which were after the age of fourteen (14).
    Obama’s mother was only 18 when Obama was born
    in Kenya. Nationality Act of 1940, revised June 1952;
    United States of America v. Cervantes-Nava, 281
    F.3d 501 (2002); Drozd v. I.N.S., 155 F.3d 81, 85-88
    (2d Cir.1998). The Birth of Obama in Kenya has been
    For above aforementioned reasons, Obama’s
    mother could have only registered Obama’s birth in
    the United States as a “naturalized” citizen. A
    “naturalized” United States citizen is not eligible to
    run for and/or hold the Office of the Presidency.

    Hey could obama's birth cert. be correct when no one has seen it?? it is locked up in Hawaii. are you one of the chosen who has seen it??

    Dear Bill,

    When this country was founded, the church had the responsibility of caring for the poor and teaching the young. Now the state has become inextricably intertwined in the work of the church and is daily assuming more of its duties and responsibilities until ultimately, more of our population will bow down and worship and look to the state for sustenance, then look to the Almighty.
    When prayer and the Bible are found in the schools, and contested by the state, it isn’t the church in the wrong, but the state. All education has a religious point of view, either Christian or humanistic; therefore if anything, the state has no right to be involved.
    A major reason for the American Revolution was to prevent a forced “state religion,” but now in direct conflict with the first amendment, which provides freedom of religion, not forced freedom from religion, the federal government is establishing a forced state religion through the public schools. Humanism, defined as a religion by the Supreme Court, is permitted, promoted and abetted, while any vestige of the Christian religion is vigorously restricted.
    Separation of church and state you say? It’s in the Constitution you say? It isn’t in the Constitution and never was, unless you mean the Soviet Constitution. There it says: “In order to ensure to citizens freedom of conscience, the church in the USSR is separated from the State, and the school from the church.” Every time you tell your neighbor how important it is to maintain a separation of church and state in this nation, you are aiding in the retreat of Christianity from every area of public responsibility and authority.
    Christianity teaches that God is the highest authority. That God made man and the laws that govern man. Man then created the constitution, which created our form of government and set its parameters.
    Humanism teaches that man evolved, that ethics are situational, that man is the highest authority. Under our Christian form of government, we have inalienable rights from God. Our president under the constitution is commander in chief of the armed services, while our civilian population has no king but Jesus.
    Under a humanistic form of government, you would have only the rights granted by the man in power, and with no God, every man would do what was right in his own eyes. Abe Lincoln warned: “The philosophy of the classroom, is the philosophy of the government in the next generation.”
    William Penn said: “A nation not governed by God will be ruled by tyrants.” George Washington said: “True religion affords government its surest support. The future of the nation depends on the Christian training of the youth. It is impossible to govern without the Bible.”
    It would appear that some in our court system desire the next generation to be humanist, with no one to answer to but themselves. What future do you prefer? We are “One nation under God.” If Christ is Lord, nothing is secular.

    For the first time this evening I was deeply disappointed in Mr. Moyers' moral sensibility. The erudite and joyous discussion of civil rights, freedom and justice inspired by Mr. Obama's wonderful victory on Tuesday included a dreadful lacuna. No mention was made of the irony that the voters who came to the polls in California in unusual numbers to elect Mr. Obama also made a point of taking away civil rights from a class of citizens by voting yes on Proposition 8. Proposition 8 was successful largely because of funds donated by the Mormon church and because sermons on the Sunday before Election Day in many "religious" institutions emphasized the churches' oppostion to same-sex marriage. Mr. Moyers' reference to the Dred Scott decision reminds me that many still see lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people as less than human and not deserving equal rights. In the list of civil rights struggles the speakers mentioned, gays simply did not exist. It is time, too, to differentiate between religious convictions and civil rights.

    This nonsense and lie about Obama having been born in Kenya has nothing to do with the question of this post.

    It has already been proven that Obama was born in Hawaii. His birth certificate has already been produced.

    It was McCain who was not born in the U.S. -- he was born in Panama.

    Let's stick with the question, ok?

    The pundits are saying that exit polling is showing that voters want an activist government (an activist government is not necessarily a progressive government though in many instances in U.S. history activist governments have been progressive).
    Voters want the government to return to achieving tangible accomplishments such as providing safe and efficient transportation, providing a quality education regardless of where students go to school (since education is a local and State function the federal government can only provide guidelines), enforcing the Constitution and federal laws, and protecting and defending the U.S.
    I think voters also want an end to the nanny state imposed by conservatives. A government that does not babysit its citizens would probably be thought to be progressive.
    They want the federal government to respect the rights of individuals and to fairly and equitably enforce the laws. That would mean that the government has no right to impose morals or religious beliefs on women or men -- which means the government has no business telling people whether or not to use contraceptions or have children. It should also mean that the government has no right to restrict or take away constitutional rights from people because of their sexual orientation -- one could argue that a majority of the voters of California, Florida, and Arizona decided that their State governments can and should restrict and take away constitutional rights from homosexuals. Polls show that nationwide most Americans believe that the federal constitution applies equally to all (as stated in the constitution) and that the federal government should not discriminate against its citizens.
    I think polls also show that most Americans want the federal income tax to once again become progressive thus reversing the regressive income tax system from Bush.
    In returning to protecting and defending the U.S., voters want the U.S. military to focus on defending the U.S. instead of being deployed around the world in some cases more for the protection of the governments of other countries than for the national interests of the U.S. Accordingly voters want the U.S. military to defend the U.S. borders.

    Dear Bill,
    You talked about the Bill On Rights; and the Constitution requires a US birth certificate to serve as president. There is a Petition For A Writ Of Certiorari, (Berg v. Obama). U_20S_20S...pdf
    He contends that Obama was born in Mombassa Kenya, and besides not having a US birth certificate, that unless he is a naturalized citizen, he is also an illegal alien. This is hardly a good way to uphold our Constitution.
    In Norton vs. Shelby County 118 US 425 p.442 it states, "An unconstitutional act is not law; it confers no rights; it imposes no duties; affords no protection; it creates no office; it is in legal contemplation, as inoperative as though it had never been passed."
    Also, unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.
    I hope they get it right!

    Race played no direct part in this election, and the only prejudice I've heard expressed has been by the blacks, themselves. The campaign wanted no part of the issue, even discouraging Obama from making his speech on Pastor Wright. But it did enter as a result of the political correctness that infiltrated our schools and universities beginning several decades ago, and through the changes particularly in the South that came with economic development and population shifts. Virginia, North Carolina and Georgia are examples. And it isn't just race. We have a war between Tutsis and Hutus going on in parts of three African countries at this very moment. Third, the BBC reports not only significant slavery in central Africa still, but its increase. When I saw headlines Wednesday such as the Washington Post's I thought they were doing the president-elect a considerable disservice. From the time of the voyages of discovery liberal Europeans have fantasized about the native virtue of Americans, and the notions persist. It says more tho' about the shortcomings of those who do it, than of the character of those they puff.

    I also want to point out that Murray Rothbard showed about 30 years ago how Progressive poicies championed by Hoover, LaFollette, et al, helped cause the Depression and by being continued afterwards deferred recovery. Read it online here: Progressives also came in several shapes and sizes.

    A better way to put the last part of this conversation is to use Berlin's distinction; we have had a lot of "freedom from" and nearly no "freedom to," with a consequent decline in education. You can blame Friedman and Hayek in large measure for this, which was imho a serious flaw in their economics, surprising, too, because by all accounts they were good teachers.

    I wrote at some length Wednesday and Thursday about these issues on Charlie Rose's blog.

    Depends on what is meant by progressive. See here.

    Killing "men [that] are created equal" is not a progressive idea. It is as old as Cain and Abel. (Am I my brother's keeper?)

    In the specific area of pro-abortion politics, Pres. Elect Obama wants to use the misconstrued Constitution to perpetuate the assertion (and end the debate) that some created men (at conception) are not human persons just as Dred Scott was deemed an inferior animal.

    Regarding this topic, it seems that many people aren't concerned with little murders of the real powerless.

    Pres. Elect Obama isn't primed to be a real progressive on this topic.

    I think it is critical to learn about the degree of flexibility a president has vis a vis the permanent military and intelleigence bureacracy.

    3 books.

    House of Wr by James Carroll
    Perils of dominance by Gareth Porter
    and lastly and most importantly
    JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters by James Douglass.

    This is what Daniel Ellsberg of Watergate fame said of this book

    A critical question makes the Kennedy Assassination perhaps more relevant to today than ever:to what extent is the nominal leader, the President, really in control of the permanent military, political, and communications bureacracies that shape his options? In 1961, when Kennedy became president, key components of this permannent bureacracy were thirteen years old. As a parent with a teenager there were moments of tension when one can wonder who or what called the shots. This was uniquely the case in 1960, as for eight years-- the truly formative ones in the developement of the entire post-war US society-- the CIA had been given extreme lattitude. Kennedy's relations with the permanet political and military bureacracy can serve as basis of comparison for how matters of war and peace are decided today, and under what structural limitations. NOTHING SHOWS THIS CONFLICT BETWEEN NOMINAL POLITICAL CONTROL VS STRUCTURAL MILITARY AND CIA RECALCITRANCE MORE CLEARLY THAN THE NEW BOOK JFK AND THE UNSPEAKABLE: WHY HE DIED AND WHY IT MATTERED By James W. Douglass Both Daniel Ellsberg and Marcus Raskin have stated that this book fundementally changed their thinking about the assassination. As a former Chomsky mainliner, I think that is absolutely essential for a balanced view. It is not a naive liberal book. It recognizes that JFK essentially ran as a Cold Warrior in 1960. But there is a whole different side of the story that Chomsky and Cockburn leave out. How ironic that here these two publishable leftists have so much in common with the NYT which they so openly disagree with on everything else. It makes one wonder-- at times-- about the implications of the old Encounter Magazine! “Douglass presents, brilliantly, an unfamiliar yet thoroughly convincing account of a series of creditable decisions of John F. Kennedy—at odds with his initial Cold War stance—that earned him the secret distrust and hatred of hard-liners among the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the CIA. Did this suspicion and rage lead directly to his murder by agents of these institutions, as Douglass concludes? Many readers who are not yet convinced of this ‘beyond reasonable doubt’ by Douglass’s prosecutorial indictment will find themselves, perhaps—like myself—for the first time, compelled to call for an authoritative criminal investigation. Recent events give all the more urgency to learning what such an inquiry can teach us about how, by whom, and in whose interests this country is run.” --Daniel Ellsberg, author, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers “Douglass writes with moral force, clarity, and the careful attention to detail that will make JFK and the Unspeakable a sourcebook for many years to come, for it provides us with the stubborn facts needed to rebuild a constitutional democracy within the United States.”--Marcus Raskin, co-founder, Institute for Policy Studies

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