Editor's Note: Readers had comments about true patriotism, the Constitution and politics:.

Some are critical of Obama because he says that visiting Iraq, consulting with Generals and troops on the ground might influence his opinions. Would it be better if he stated that no facts, and no opinion, no matter how well-informed, will ever cause him to modify his position on Iraq? Do we really want a leader with the mindset, "I've said what I said and that settles it once and for all"?

Obama has made it clear that troops should be withdrawn, and he's suggested a timetable. But to state that this timetable and withdrawal plan is immutable and untouchable no matter what, well, that's not leadership, that's foolishness. We already have a President whose view of the world, even after seven years in office, remains reality-free. We don't need another brickhead, even one from the other side of the spectrum.

Ccjcornell

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Just in case you didn’t see “Meet the Press,” on June 29, I wanted to let you know about yet another example of mainstream media being lazy and perpetuating the often unwarranted image of McCain as a maverick. Here’s the note I sent to NBC which will likely be ignored:

Hello, On your 6/29 Meet the Press broadcast, Mr. Brokaw and Mr. Todd were rightfully commenting on Sen. Obama's 'flip-flop' regarding campaign finance and his choice to opt-out of public funds for his campaign. My question is why didn't we hear a more balanced view of Sen. McCain's positions on the flip-flop topic?

Mr. Todd was right on point stating that McCain should exploit the Obama flip-flop, but then he went on to highlight McCain's reputation as a candidate who stands up for his beliefs and bucks his party. How can a quality news show miss the follow up on the big issues McCain has clearly flip-flopped on such as the Bush tax cuts (he had opposed them since 2003 and now is a strong supporter of them), torture (he spoke out firmly and often about our need to clearly define our policy to conform with the Geneva commitments we signed and then voted with the Republicans months ago to support the CIA torture loophole), and just a few days ago, McCain pledged his support for offshore US drilling in direct contrast to his previously stated positions.

Sen. Obama deserved to be called out for his finance flip-flop, and Sen. McCain has displayed some maverick, party bucking behavior during his career, though he has voted along party lines about 90% of the time during the Bush presidency and these flip-flops truly should not have gone without comment in your discussion.

Mike Tierney
Portland, OR

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Thank you, Robert Parry, for your critical commentary on the testimony by presidential lawyers on torture.  The continued arrogance of this administration on the issue is deeply disturbing.

On one point, I'd like to differ.  You mention that the Founders sought "to establish a government of laws, not men" that included "protection against arbitrary detention and prohibition of 'cruel and unusual punishment" in reaction to these very practices by the British government.  Your characterization makes it seem that in the US, our founders invented this concept.  Actually, the founders drew from the English Bill of Rights signed by William and Mary in 1689 which prohibited "cruel and unusual punishment" and other encroachments by the government authority on the rights of citizens.

While this wouldn't alter the spirit and importance of your commentary, it has implications for how we see the struggle for human rights.  Just as the English were capable of undermining their own hard-won principles, so too are Americans.  Simply having these principles in writing is not a guarantee of their protection.  The business of safeguarding our rights must always be an ongoing process.  

In this, of course, we are all deeply indebted to you for your wisdom, courage and persistence.  

Lynn Holland, Ph.D.
Josef Korbel School of International Studies
University of Denver

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What an odd nation this is, to wake up and read the words of a Supreme Court Justice extolling the benefits of the handgun, recounting a fictional narrative of a homeowner pointing a handgun at a burglar while dialing a phone. There are many who will read the Justice’s narrative, and will have to relive the terror of the time a handgun was pointed at them, or a loved one, and a few, thanks to Mr. Scalia's imagination, will have to relive that terrible "pop," and the sight of a fellow student or loved one falling dead on the ground.

I challenge Mr. Scalia or anyone to recount an instance where an assailant was interrupted by a homeowner brandishing a handgun, while simultaneously dialing a phone. Mr. Scalia and his supporters are living in a fairly-tale universe that those who've been touched by handgun violence know full well does not exist. Everyone but the Justices seem to know that handguns point one way, at the innocent, at the employer who just gave a poor review to an employee, at a teacher who is suddenly uttering a final prayer before falling dead before a classful of students, or at an anonymous man withdrawing funds from an ATM, who’ll bleed alone ‘till morning, when he’s found lifeless in a gutter.

To render such a ruling, as those who've been shot or witnessed a shooting will attest, the High Court must be literally out of its mind.

Dshiran2

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I’m curious.  With the Forth Amendment REMOVED from The Shredded Constitution, thanks to Steny Hoyer, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, I have a very simple question for all these DC Politicians...

How are you going to take your next oath of office that includes the words:  "I ... and will to the best of my ability, PRESERVE, PROTECT and DEFEND THE CONSTITUTION of THE UNITED STATES, so help me God" ???

Or is Congress going to get back to work real fast and FIX the oath of office that cannot be said anymore without putting the Forth Amendment back in it???

And what's up with Harry Reid talking like he was the Minority Leader?  Sounds like an article is needed to remind him he is MAJORITY Leader (I think)!!

Just wondering.

Tom Wieliczka
Windsor Locks, CT

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McCain's Military experience could be summed up easily. He dropped cluster bombs and agent orange on civilian targets. This should be considered a war crime.  At no time was he engaged in planning the war.  If he had been in charge he would kept the war going and sacrificed thousands of troops until we won an un-winnable war. 

McCain is out of touch with the evolutions and revolutions that are taking place throughout the world. He apparently is unaware that all colonial occupations have failed.  Staying the course is no longer an appropriate strategy.  Can we honestly consider McCain as Presidential material?

Alex

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I know this is campaign season and it is foolish of me to expect good sense or good history from the candidates.

McCain's proposal is more like the Act of Queen Anne to encourage solution of the longitude at sea problem cf. "Longitude" by Dava Sobel.

Kennedy's proposal [for a race to the moon] was a brilliant attempt to move the superpower rivalry into a less dangerous arena.  Also, without the death of Grissom, Chaffee, and White, we would still be trying to get a man to and from the moon.  I was there.  Also, it was Dr. Gilruth's suggestion to Kennedy that he pick a project that would require a bigger booster than possessed by the Soviet Union to stress their industrial machine.  This led to a manned moon mission rather than any of the near earth projects being considered.

"Long lasting" is not a satisfactory figure of merit for the power storage unit.  And why does it have to be a battery?

Can I get $300 million if I show you that capacitor technology has more to offer in this direction than batteries?

Can I get $300 million if I show you how working, walkable cities obviate the need for cars - whatever their mileage?

Can I get $300 million if I show you that automobiles consume most of the energy they ever consume before they are ever driven?  That is, think of the mountain of iron ore at Cerro Bolivar extracted, shipped, smelted, refined, cast, and machined into engine blocks, etc. and the silicon, copper, aluminum, nickel, etc. processed by the huge industrial machine that produces, maintains, and the incredible infrastructure that supports internal combustion vehicles.  That is, make vehicles last 20 years rather than the average 6 years if you have to stick with cars and want to really save energy?

Kenneth Deffeyes has said that our grandchildren will curse us for burning our patrimony of petroleum and natural gas - no matter the mileage of the vehicles.

Sorry, I am just getting old and angry with all this killing and dying to prolong a thoughtless way of life.  We do recognize and are grateful for your work.

Dan Fritz

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I hope all of you are enjoying this 4th of July. At one time, in my view, it meant much more than it does in this nation, today, when you consider the state of affairs, that exist today.

When we look at the election 2008 politics, isn`t it a real waste of time for anyone in this nation to have their patriotism questioned. The overwhelming majority of people who were born and raised here, and go on to work and create their own families, and above all pay taxes, to be manipulated into thinking they are not patriotic, is really disturbing.

To think this band of liars can manipulate anyone of us to question this, puts them at risk of having their own patriotism questioned, as evidenced by their acts to weaken the very reason for us all to be patriotic, in the first place, and that is, these freedoms, handed down by our framers, which they so wisely have drawn up in our Constitution and Bill of Rights.   

What have we gotten from this noble bunch of lying manipulators. When you think about it, this administration has done in their time in the WH, what the destruction of the twin towers did not do. If the goal by carrying out this dastardly act, was to disturb the continuity of our financial institutions, it did not work, so, in retrospect, this Bush, Cheney cabal has done what OBL, could not do. Could our financial state, be in worse shape, if actually caused by a terrorist act.

How noble of this bunch, who`s only reason to be at the seat of power is to maintain there grip on this nation with their wealth and power, and see to it, that it stays that way. This whole cycle has to start somewhere, and I look back to the financial icons, who controlled the most essential industries at the time, to acrue their wealth. So we get to the fabled "chicken or the egg" scenario, and in my view it was wealth, which established a clear road to power. This has grown in our time to by this ugly monster, who`s, stewards, will go so far as to create enemies here and abroad, and in domino fashion, buy into the very industries that will provide the most wealth to them.

When our military budget is 48%, in the world, it only takes a little thought to know that where the most money is, that is where the most corruption goes on. When from a position of wealth and power, you can promote this, using of all things patriotism, and when dignitaries like James Baker come down from their ivory towers to help with world affairs, and we here the first words out of their mouths, is "it is in the interest of our national security", is he not promoting in truth, what is evident, and that is, they must, at all costs, keep this "club", in control, even if it means, the blood of our own. Again I say, how noble of them all.

Did we not see in recent times the same old same all, with new enemies being created, which lead to more war, and the reliance on our military industrial complex, which will be at an unfathomable cost to replenish, which will produce more untold wealth for the lobbyists, legislators, and those at the seat of power. All of our industries or corporations, have a connection to this, and at all costs, through their clones, "our leaders", that will keep them in control of the nations fortunes. So, now we are at the crossroads of another run for power in the nation, with a fellows named Obama, and McCain, and we are those gamblers, I mentioned in my recent post, and are they the dishonest gamers who when interrupted, will also jump the counter and pursue and silence all opposition to their game.

It is my hope, as in my post, that the progressive media, are fleet of foot, and can continue to educate and inform, against this illegal and corrupt administration, which has been proven as manipulative liars. This use of "illegal and corrupt" is not used loosely and is corroborated by by former Nixon aide, John Dean, which he says he will show the evidence in his post in "Find Law" as to their illegal acts.

"Corrupt", need we go further than the Iraq war, itself to prove this. According to recent revelation on the media, there are 900 corrupt contractors, who have not been investigated as of yet. Could it be that, it would reveal, participation by our leaders and their corrupt legislators, that would dump this in their laps. How about the ten billion misappropriated funds, in Pakistan. With the mention of Pakistan, we can not go without being reminded of Benazir Bhutto, who was urged by the U.S. and the U.K. to share power with Pakistan` leader, only to be murdered right before every ones eyes. She was also under the charge of "Condi", for who the family and her ogranisation says was guaranteed, her security and safety. How then, could a potential world leader, be handed this fate. Something is not right in Pakistan.

How can we then, on this memorable day, listen to these same liars and manipulators, beat their chest about their own patriotism and love of this country, when you read what I just said about all of this. Isn`t it up to them to disprove any of what I have said and some in the progressive media have said, and make their case, and provide evidence that will vindicate them, instead of listening to their surrogates, who lawyer them out of it all.

Is it at all possible for a new leader to "change" as they say, the politics of the "beltway". This will take participation by all, to save this nation from this control by other interests, and our corporations. We must all inform and educate, in the hope, that the nation at large will finally listen.

Bill

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