Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Clinton right about something? - Edwards out?

Damn it. I hate when Hillary Clinton might be right. After all, now that I've come out as endorsing Barack Obama for president, I'm supposed to take his side in their little battles, but unfortunately, my greater obligation is to honesty.

Last night Hillary Clinton won the Florida Democratic primary. But, due to changes in the primary, and a battle with the party, the Democrats had earlier decided not to certify the primary or to seat any delegates from Florida, rendering the primary meaningless. All the candidates had agreed to this, and none actively campaigned in the sunshine state as a result.

Now that Clinton has won, she says she'll fight to have the Florida delegates seated, to which Obama is claiming that's not fair. Now, on the one hand, Obama is right; they had all agreed before the primary that it would yield no delegates and they campaigned (or didn't) accordingly. Changing the rules now, after the fact, just doesn't seem fair.

The problem is that it was a stupid decision to decertify the Florida primary in the first place. If I'm going to be intellectually honest with myself and my readers, continue maintaining that the restoration of democracy in the U.S. is my top priority, and ever post another "Carnival of the Decline of Democracy," I've got to stand up for the right of Florida's Democrats to have a say at their convention - even if it means that decision could hurt my candidate of choice.

Meanwhile John Edwards is expected to drop out of the Presidential race today, which is too bad. I like John Edwards, and I think if he continued to collect delegates he could play a big role in the Democratic convention in shaping the eventual ticket. He ran a good campaign, and is a decent guy - not easy traits for a lawyer and a politician.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Bill: "Hillary = Dukakis"

Here's a little exchange earlier today between a reporter and former president, Bill Clinton...

Reporter: What does it say about Barack Obama that it takes two of you [Clintons] to beat him?

Bill Clinton: (laughs) ... Jesse Jackson won South Carolina twice in '84 and '88...

1) This doesn't answer the question asked, 2) It's an attempt to downplay a primary loss by dismissing the state as unimportant or non-representative, and 3) It's an obvious ploy to reduce Obama to being "the Black candidate" and nothing more. But the other blogs are already discussing these three points quite thoroughly.

I'd like to look at the other implication here. If Obama equals Jackson, then where does that leave Hillary? In 1984 few Democrats were willing to risk their reputation and future electoral plans by running against the extremely popular Ronald Reagan. In 1988 the lackluster field was openly referred to by the press as "the seven dwarfs."

These primary contests resulted in the nominations of Walter Mondale and Michael Dukakis. So, when Hillary is unable to beat Obama/Jackson, does that mean she's on the same level as Mondale/Dukakis, or that she couldn't have beat them either? And what does that say about her chances in November?

Of course, the former president wasn't intending that comparison. He was simply trying to inject race into a contest where it doesn't belong. Obama is no more "the Black candidate" than Hillary is "the female candidate." Clinton does nothing but damage his own reputation along with the chances of either leading Democrat to win in November.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Hey There Obama

This is too funny, cute, and on target not to share. And the kid got detention for writing and singing it in class, so he deserves a little positive reinforcement.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Carnival of the Decline of American Democarcy, edition 3.01

Welcome to the Carnival of the Decline of [American] Democracy, Edition 3.01 - Blogging 'till the secret police take us away.

Carnival of the Decline of Democracy Barry Leiba has some thoughts on how the media effects the primaries in The press and the election posted at Staring At Empty Pages.

Ian Welsh gives a brief history of labor and politics in The Glorious Future that American Unions Walked Away From posted at The Agonist.

Shaun Connell gives a look at how our economics effects our politics in Wealth and Poverty posted at Reason and Capitalism.

I'll be back again in two weeks (February 4) with the next edition of the Carnival of the Decline of Democracy - Submit Your Posts Here. More information on future carnivals can be found on our carnival home page.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


----- Original Message -----
Sent: Tuesday, January 18, 2008 9:53 PM


-------------- Forwarded Message: --------------
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2008 13:23:27 +0000

Okay, just one more on Clinton and I'll back off for a while. I just think it is important that we know exactly who we might be voting for, if New Hampshire is any indication of her strength, it is time to educate ourselves on not only Clinton, but all the candidates on both sides.

-------------- Forwarded Message: --------------
Date: Fri, 8 Jan 2008 10:53 AM

Who is Hillary Rodham "Clinton"?

Very interesting and something that should be considered in your choice.

If you do not ever forward anything else, please forward this to all your contacts... this is very scary to think of what lies ahead of us here in our own United States... better heed this and pray about it and share it.

Probable U. S. presidential candidate, "HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON" was born with the name of Hilary Diane Rodham, and only later changed her last name to "Clinton" - some claim for political purposes - and dropped completely her former middle name of Diane.

Consider this fact: Since being elected to public office, Ms. "Clinton" has never once publicly explained her change of name!!! Just what is Hilary DIANE Rodham hiding?

Fact Two: Hilary Diane Rodham "Clinton" is a member of an exclusive and secretive organization that refers to itself as "The United States Senate." This "Senate" maintains a powerful hold over our nation's government while limiting its membership to only 100 persons at a time. Although this "Senate" purports to uphold our treasured principles of democracy, "Senators" only put themselves up for re-election every six years!

As a member of the exclusive and powerful "Senate," Hilary Diane Rodham "Clinton" has several times cast votes in DIRECT OPPOSITION to the ELECTED President of the United States!

Most Shocking Fact: Hilary Diane Rodham "Clinton" practices a type of Christianity often broadly referred to as "Protestant." This is the same religion as the Radical White Christian Terrorists who bombed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995 and the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta in 1996.

While Ms. Clinton claims to support abortion rights, the very same Radical White Christian Terrorist who was responsible for the Atlanta Olympic bombing (Eric Rudolph) was also convicted of bombing several abortion clinics!

Ms. Clinton has steadfastly refused to denounce her race or religion or make any public statements regarding her relationship with Mr. Rudolph!!!!!

The White Christian Radicals have said they plan on destroying the US from the inside out and "returning it to Christ," what better way to start than at the highest level - through the President of the United States, one of their own!!!!

Please forward to everyone you know. Would you want this person leading our country?...... NOT ME!!!

I have checked all these facts thoroughly using, wikipedia, and and all have shown this to be THE TRUTH - - - WAKE UP AND OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!!

------------ End Forwarded Message -----------

This is an original work of satire, although you are free to forward it to the easily alarmed. Careful, the gullibility virus is spreading.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Green No More - Independent for Obama

I am not a Democrat. I used to be one, but not anymore. If you've been reading my blogs and political writings for a long time, you may recall that I'm officially a Green. At least, I was until about 2:30 this afternoon.

But, let me go back a ways and tell you the whole story...

When I turned 18 in 1979 I registered as a Democrat, and was fairly loyal from that time until the mid 90s. I walked my Sacramento precinct for Clinton in '92 (as I had for other Democrats before), but some of the shine had already begun to come off my love of the party.

The way the Clinton's squandered their opportunity with a failed (and poorly led) bid at national health care and then quickly turned to the right was a major disappointment, as was their later implementation of a very Republican welfare "reform." But the final straw for me came from my Democratic State Senator up in Sacramento.

I had written him a letter during the '94 elections asking for clarification on his position on the death penalty, as he had made a statement implying he wanted it applied even to drug dealers, rapists, etc. He wrote back basically telling me that I was an idiot, and asking if I thought I'd get any more of a liberal position out of his Republican challenger, and basically told me that I had no choice but to support him. Needless to say, I didn't vote for him.

Following that election (early in '95) I changed my registration to Green, and I have been a Green ever since. But I don't always vote Green. I consider myself "left-of-center independent" and my votes can be for Greens, Democrats, or whomever else I feel best represents my views in any given election.

With Barack Obama, however, there is finally a Democrat who I can not only "hold my breath and vote for," but a Democrat who I can truly believe in, and want to help win this election.

No, I won't be changing my registration back to Democrat. The party itself still has a long way to go before I can proudly wear that label again. But, in California, true independents (registered as "decline to state" not in any third party) may select a Democratic ballot in the Primary election.

And so, this afternoon I stopped off at Barack Obama's new San Jose office and filled out a new voter registration form as "decline to state" (the CA registration deadline is 15 days prior to any election, so that would be next Monday). This will allow me to support him in the primary on February 5, as well as in the general election next November.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The Establishment Strikes Back

Much is being made of Senator Clinton's "big comeback" to win yesterday's New Hampshire Democratic primary, more so, it seems, than even John McCain's victory on the Republican side.

McCain, who only did slightly better in Iowa than I did (joke: I didn't enter the Iowa Republican race) came in five points ahead of his nearest competitor in New Hampshire (37% to 32%), whereas Clinton came in only two points above Obama (39% to 37%) in a race that was considered "too close to call" for much of the night.

How is it that the two-year front-runner and presumed nominee barely squeezing by the presumed upstart is considered any sort of victory? Only when reported on by media hacks who've been Hilary's darlings since the evening before day one.

(And I mean "hack" with all due love and respect. My wife and I watched the coverage on MSNBC, and I truly enjoy Olbermann, Matthews, and Elder Brokaw, but come on guys...)

Meanwhile, Senator Obama used his airtime last night to give not only the most gracious of concession speeches to Senator Clinton, but one of the finest political speeches I've heard in many, many years.

Here it is (and, Yes, We Can):

Monday, January 07, 2008

Carnival of the Decline of Democracy - Edition 3.0

Welcome to the Carnival of the Decline of [American] Democracy, Edition 3.0 - Blogging 'till the secret police take us away.

Carnival of the Decline of Democracy Howard Ditkoff gets the new election year off to a great start discussing one of my favorite electoral reforms (IRV), the "spoiler effect," and Ralph Nader, in Instant Runoff Voting Excluded: An Unreasonable Omission from An Unreasonable Man posted at Blog.

Carole G. McKay takes us all to task for allowing the current demise of democracy in Truth or Consequences posted at McKay Today.

Ian Welsh looks at the U.S. in contrast to the decline and fall of previous empires in American Parallels posted at The Agonist.

Michael Carlin discusses sweatshops as a natural result of our political culture in The Divine Right of Corporations posted at The Future of Science.

Madeleine Begun Kane uses humor to make her case for news with substance in Dear Editor: Enough With The Polls, Already! posted at Mad Kane's Political Madness.

Finally, the ever-brilliant Jon Swift makes sense of EVERYTHING in Iowa Caucus Results Explained posted at Jon Swift.

I'll be back again in two weeks (January 21) with the next edition of the Carnival of the Decline of Democracy - Submit Your Posts Here. More information on future carnivals can be found on our carnival home page.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Iowa and Glassbooth

I'm very pleased with the results from Iowa last night, from each of the major parties. What I saw was a victory of democracy and the people over the arrogance of entrenched powers and those at the heads of the parties (and the media) who think they can tell us what to think and who to vote for.

If Obama and Huckabee actually hold their leads and become their party's nominees, we could actually have an election on substance and direction, rather than the usual crap. And by the usual crap, what I mean is this:

We have typically faced a choice between two rubber-stamp candidates that are groomed to appeal to the middle of the road, and have very little political space between them. In order to attempt to draw distinctions, they must result to mud-slinging and focus on personal issues that have nothing to do with the business of the nation.

With Obama and Huckabee, we have two candidates who, agree with them or disagree with them, actually each seem genuine and open and willing to have a conversation at a lower-than-usual decibel level. There are clear and great differences between them when it comes to policy and direction, and the election would actually be able to focus on those real issues that are important to each of us and our future.

But, the establishment still has another 49 primaries to fight back and install their candidates at the top of each ticket, so don't start celebrating yet.

And who should you vote for when the party comes to your town? Glassbooth (dot-org) has a two-part test to help find your ideal candidate. Part one has you divide up 20 points among the issues that matter to you most. Part two is a more typical "Strongly Support / Support / Neutral Oppose / Strongly Oppose" romp through policies based on the same issues areas. Answer them all, and you get your results of which candidates agree with you.

Here's my (partial) results:
  • Kucinich: 94%
  • Gravel: 88%
  • Edwards: 80%
  • Obama: 80%
  • Clinton: 73%
  • Paul 48%
  • McCain: 45%
  • Huckabee: 34%
  • Giuliani: 34%
  • Romney: 31%
I guess there's no real surprises there.

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