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     Volume 7 Issue 35 | August 29, 2008 |

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Writing the Wrong

Biden my Time

Sharbari Ahmed

This weekend has been and will be an emotional roller coaster ride for me so I am trying to slow down and be reflective. First off Barack and I have hit a rough patch. Secondly at 2:30 pm EST (today Sunday) China and the US will face each other in the gold medal round of Men's Basketball. Anything could happen, though the US team is once again getting cocky, ala 2004 Athens, when Argentina soundly trounced them. That's what one gets for putting Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neil on the same teamalong with six other super stars. They negate one another. Maybe that was the wisdom behind Barack's choice of running mate. Pick someone who will in no way shape or form outshine you but instead represents everything you are not, thus, creating a balance? I couch this as a question because I am baffled a bit.
Joe Biden

There has been some sort of communication breakdown between Barack and me. I thought we Americans, roughly 44.2% (according to the Electoral College map) made it clear that we bought his platform for change now. As in something utterly not Bush. In fact I think that Obama's campaign slogan should be the line from Monty Python: And Now for Something Completely Different!

But then yesterday morning he announced who would be gracing the stage with him at the Democratic National Convention. When I first heard who it was I felt that music, something like Wagner's Weltanschauung, should accompany this pronouncement but I think I am just slightly disappointed that's all. For those of you who are not familiar with Wagner, he was a Hitler favourite and his music is virtually banned in Israel. Like Woody Allen said in Annie Hall (I quote loosely), “Whenever I listen to Wagner I get this urge to invade Poland.” That says it all.

Biden is establishment, white, male, blue eyed Aryan establishment. He represents the polar opposite of change. Which I do believe is what Obama's people want. I guess that part of America who is still not comfortable with the thought that he will be on the other end of the line when that phone call comes in at 3 am (A Hilary lineremember her?) telling him that the country is under siege, will feel better with Biden nearby. Apparently when Russia attacked Georgia last week (please take a moment and reflect on how ridiculous that sounds and how absurd MEN are in the end), many Americans felt that McCaine would be better suited to handling the talks with Putin and his thugs. Thank you Russia for helping Obama choose his running mate.

Something about my candidate does not instill security in the homeland. Perhaps his inclination to take into account the other side's perspective is worrisome. So enter Joe Biden. The man who claimed he was a Zionist and that one did not have to be Jewish to be one, or some such palaver. I realise this does not jibe with the whole Wagner reference but that is my point. I am just working this Biden thing out with you is all. What this means (to me) is that Biden is the consummate politician which then leaves Barack the freedom to take on the opposite role of leader, ideologue, visionary. Let's hope. But as the title suggests I am trying to take it slow and trust my man's judgment. After all, a relationship cannot work unless both parties trust one another (where do I come up with these gems?) and therefore have decided to do some research and try to get an idea of what Barack is thinking. The best way I believe to see where Biden's proclivities lie is to take a look at his voting record in Congress. On August 3 of this year Biden voted on the following bill:

*This amendment to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 passed 60-28 on August 3. The bill gives U.S. spy agencies expanded power to eavesdrop on foreign suspects without a court order. The bill gives the Director of National Intelligence and the Attorney General authorisation for periods up to one year, to information concerning suspected terrorists outside the United States. The existing Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act contained a 30-year-old statute requiring a warrant to monitor calls intercepted in the United States, regardless of their origin. The new Protect America Act amends this stipulation, allowing U.S. intelligence officials to monitor suspicious communication originating inside the U.S. The Bush administration argued that it needs the expanded power to confront terrorist threats. Civil liberties and privacy advocates argue the bill jeopardises the Fourth Amendment privacy rights and allows for the warrantless monitoring of virtually any form of communication originating in the United States. Democrats managed a minor victory requiring a sunset clause effective 180 days after the bill is signed. In place of a court's approval, the National Security Agency plans to institute a system of internal bureaucratic controls. The bill passed in the House 227-183, and was sent to the White House soon after to be signed into law.

Biden voted against this amendment. Okay good sign.
Next one:
In this 68 to 31 vote the Senate passed an expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program. The bill also passed the House by a vote of 265 to 159. The bill increases total funding for the programme to $60 billion over the next five years and provides health insurance for 9 million currently uninsured American children. The $7 billion yearly expansions were a major sticking point for the White House and ultimately lead to the fourth presidential veto from the Bush administration. The measure is a key agenda item for the Democratic majority in Congress, and Democratic leaders have vowed to push for a veto override, which would require a two-thirds vote.

He voted for this bill. Okay once again, nice touchy feely gesture here. He cares about uninsured kids.

Next one: 3/29/07
This $122 billion war spending bill calls for combat troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq this summer. The 51-47 vote fell mostly along party lines. Two Republicans -- Sens. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Gordon Smith of Oregon -- joined Democrats in support of the package, which would fund U.S. military activity in Iraq and Afghanistan. But Democrats also attached language that would start troop withdrawals within 120 days of passage, with a March 31, 2008, goal for completing the process.

It seems Biden votes the way his party urges him to. He keeps voting for bills that insist on troop withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan and yet does not set realistic deadlines. It is all very limp. Several bills of this nature have passed through Congress and the Dems always seem “to attach language” that urges troop withdrawal and then nothing happens. Well of course Mr. Bush vetoes but they do not push.

So folks, the jury is still out and I am over my word count. It seems Barack has made the safe choice and that at this point in my life goes against my ideologies. In fact I am urging all the people I love to take chances and here Barack is not taking one. But let us wait and see. In the meantime I have a date with Yao Ming and Lebron James at 2:30 and hope to experience actual excitement then because right now, Barack is not providing any.

*Biden's voting record was taken off the US Congress Votes Database.

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