Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Impeach Bush and Cheney, Political Update From Ohio and Nationwide Discussion


AT THE TOP: ROVE HIRED BY FOX…WHY DID IT TAKE THIS LONG?

http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/he-was-bushs-fox-now-hes-murdochs/2008/02/05/1202090404193.html

http://www.observer.com/2007/threshold-will-publish-karl-roves-memoirs

DENNIS KUCINICH!

As Regards the Kucinich Cleveland Scene: Dennis has a monumental task ahead of him with the tide turning against incumbents in Ohio and his major opponent Joe Cimberman staying on course like a broken record with:

“I am running for U.S. Congress because it's time for change. Our district is heading in the wrong direction because we have an absentee congressman.

In Congress, I will be your full time advocate and deliver results by creating good jobs, attracting investments, making health care affordable and accessible, and protecting families from predatory lenders.

I have delivered results because I am a full time advocate for my constituents. I understand the problems of working families and pledge to keep fighting for them.”

In Cleveland, U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich's opponents in the March 4 Democratic primary reported varying amounts. Former U.N. worker Barbara Anne Ferris led fundraising for the year with $33,964 and spent all but $6,547 of it. North Olmsted Mayor Thomas O'Grady raised $28,000 and still had most of it on hand. Others, including Cleveland city councilman Joe Cimperman had not yet reported. He will have a problem as soon as that money becomes an issue.

That too is a problem as the Cimperman reports are well massaged avoiding the usual “Red Flags”!

Ohio 10th Open Secrets Reports

Joseph Cimperman (D) $227,599
Rosemary Palmer (D) $133,306
Barbara Anne Ferris (D) $33,964
Thomas E. O'Grady (D) $28,300
James Peter Trakas (R) $0

Kucinich had not filed as of late Thursday. His last reporting showed only about $33,000 in the bank.

Money, the general atmosphere, The Cleveland Plain Dealer and Cimperman’s “Business” contacts are mounting as serious an attack on Dennis as we have seen in recent years. The time span until the March 4 primary is brief. Workers are sufficient in number, dollars are not. Questions regarding Ohio’s election processes making their way through the courts with ACLU in a very strange position will not, cannot be given the attention necessary. Resources will not permit opening a battlefront.

It is hoped that a Televised Cleveland press Club Debate can be encouraged. I am sure the other candidates would not welcome that proposition.

URGENT!

The Congressional Campaign Site http://www.kucinich.us/

For the moment contributions are needed, letters to the Editor (Cleveland Plain Dealer) in support of Dennis are needed.

Cleveland.com: The Plain Dealer
To submit a letter, please fill out the form below. Letters may also be mailed to Letters to the Editor, The Plain Dealer, 1801 Superior Ave., Cleveland ...

Anyone with contacts in the Ohio 10th Congressional District is encouraged to make them immeadiately urging support of Dennis.

Assessment of the impact of likely voter turnout for the March 4 Primary will be on going and will have to become a major concern/activity after “Potomac Tuesday”. It is a grave concern!

Was PD Editorial Written with Straight Face?Cleveland Leader - Cleveland,OH,USAThe thrust was that Kucinich said he campaigned on the weekends so that it didn’t affect his Congressional work. So here’s proof he’s a liar. ...

POST SUPER TUESDAY ANALYSIS AND RELATED MATTERS.

Spinning Right Along To The Potomac And Talk Of Super Delegates. That’s What Happens When”Super Tuesday” Isn’t So Super.

Key for both parties could be next Tuesday's Potomac Primary in Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia. But before that, this weekend features caucuses in Washington and Kansas (Republicans only) and Louisiana (Democratic primary, Republican caucuses). On Sunday, Maine Democrats will caucus.

Republican John McCain emerged as his party's front-runner leading into the 21 states that had Republican contests on Super Tuesday. A dominant Super Tuesday showing would not technically allow McCain to nail down his party's nomination, but it would launch him into successive contests with momentum and a greater aura of inevitability.

Conversely, if any of the other GOP contenders do well enough Tuesday to carry on, states that decided to hold their primaries later, like Wisconsin on Feb. 19, could become sudden showdowns.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is trying to hold onto the mantle of the true conservative in the GOP field, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee stayed in to see how he'd do on Super Tuesday, and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, has shown no signs of giving up. Paul finished a close third behind McCain in last week's Maine caucuses that Romney easily won.

Neither Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., nor Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., emerged from Tuesday's contests as the clear Democratic front-runner, moving the spin ground to “the nominating campaign might not be settled until March 4”, when four states, anchored by Ohio and Texas, hold primaries. Obama believes he has an advantage in next week's Potomac Primary, setting up a Wisconsin showdown a week later and potentially denying Clinton a significant victory for nearly a month.
WASHINGTON - Consider this the beginning of a long hard slog. The grand spectacle of Super Tuesday's coast-to-coast nominating contests marks a turning point in the Democratic presidential contest from euphoric election night victories to painstaking delegate counting. Now it's time for spreadsheets green eye shades, coffee and cigarettes.


In early results, Hillary Rodham Clinton won primaries in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts. Barack Obama was the victor in Georgia, Delaware, Alabama and Illinois. Altogether, 22 states were in play but neither candidate emerged with enough delegates to secure the nomination. That was no surprise.

Preliminary exit polls of voters in primary states showed Obama encroaching on Clinton's traditional support. Clinton had only a slight edge among women and with whites, two areas where she has generally dominated Obama. Clinton was getting strong support from Hispanics, an increasingly important voting bloc. But Obama led among men — including white men, a group with whom he has struggled for votes in most previous contests.

Those results augur well for Obama in contests in coming weeks.

The campaigns, like sports teams that have clinched a playoff spot, already have been preparing for the matches ahead. Obama has been advertising in states with primaries and caucuses over the next seven days. Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, all of which hold primaries on Feb. 12, play to Obama's strengths with black voters and upscale, educated voters.

Clinton strategists are looking over the horizon into March and April when Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania hold primaries.

Time could work against Clinton, however. Obama raised $32 million to her $13.5 million in January — a financial edge that will help him organize and advertise in the upcoming battlegrounds. On Tuesday, her campaign called for four debates between now and March 4, a sign that she wants to supplement her financial disadvantage with free media.

After a month of early contests — from Iowa to New Hampshire to Nevada to South Carolina — the two candidates have essentially divided the electorate into two component parts. He gets young voters, educated voters, and black voters. She gets women, working-class voters and Hispanics.

Both candidates have worked hard to win over supporters of John Edwards, who dropped out of the presidential race last Wednesday after a third-place finish in South Carolina. They've spent a combined $20 million on advertising in Super Tuesday states. And whoever cuts into the other's base will gain an advantage.

Obama seemed to benefit from Edwards' departure, expanding his support among white voters from one in four in the South Carolina primary to better than two out of five in Georgia. "She has ceiling issues, and the people who aren't for her we think are very available to us," Obama campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters Tuesday.

But Clinton had reason to cheer as well. She beat Obama in Massachusetts despite Obama's strength among highly educated voters and opponents of the war and high-profile endorsements from the state's political power troika — U.S. Sens. Edward Kennedy, John Kerry and Gov. Deval Patrick.

A new direction for the country seemed to be on the minds of Democratic voters. Half of them said they favored a candidate who could cause needed change and seven out of 10 of them voted for Obama. About one-fifth of voters preferred a candidate with experience and Clinton won nearly all of them.

As usual, Obama had a decisive lead with blacks, with about eight in 10 favoring him, the early national figures showed. But Clinton was getting support from nearly six in 10 Hispanics, a group that could be pivotal in states such as California.

The two candidates, each a U.S. senator, won their home states on Tuesday — Obama in Illinois, Clinton in New York. The 22 states holding contests, as well as American Samoa, offer 1,681 Democratic delegates. A total of 2,025 delegates are needed to secure the Democratic nomination. .California is the day's biggest prize, with 370 delegates at stake. New Jersey, another state in Tuesday's mix, has 107 delegates.

With voting under way, Clinton led Obama in the hunt for delegates, 261 to 202, on the strength of so-called super delegates. Those are members of Congress and other party leaders not chosen in state presidential contests. Obama had 31 delegates in early voting Tuesday, while Clinton had 21.

Clinton aides said Tuesday that Obama might win more delegates on Tuesday than Clinton, but that they would emerge from the voting with more delegates overall.

Democrats award delegates proportionally in every state. That means the second-place finisher who gets at least 15 percent of the vote also will win delegates. Indeed, even if a candidate wins the popular vote in a state by a wide margin, the edge on delegates could be significantly smaller.

Obama entered Super Tuesday propelled by a solid victory in South Carolina on Jan. 26, the endorsement of Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and a banner fundraising month in January. Both sides have downplayed Super Tuesday expectations. The Clinton camp has pointed to his rise in the polls; Obama's campaign has cited her longtime strength and name recognition in several of the contested states.

But it's the long term that matters.

"They're both going to get a chance to recover if they lose something and get a chance to consolidate if they keep winning," California-based Democratic strategist Bill Carrick said. "The delegate count is going to be so close that this is going to go on for a while."

And A real Danger For Our Party Avoiding A Convention Train Wreck

Because remember that these folks are in the wings!

One thing that's clear after last night, we've got a tough and potentially ugly delegate fight ahead of us for the Democratic nomination. Not only might the unaccountable and undemocratic superdelegates come into play, but the prospect looms of a bitter intra-party battle to seat the Michigan and Florida delegates. The DNC, Governor Dean, and the state parties need to do some serious thinking – starting now – on how to avoid a situation where backroom deals determine the nominee and his or her legitimacy is called into question.

As most people know, the Michigan and Florida delegates aren't supposed to be counted towards determining the nominee, a penalty for unilaterally moving their elections up in the primary season against the party's wishes. The candidates agreed not to campaign in the states, and in fact, only Hillary Clinton appeared on the ballot in Michigan. Once she won both states, her campaign predictably began to argue that these delegates should be counted. This could force the Obama campaign into the unenviable position of looking like they are trying to block voters in two swing states. It's a train wreck waiting to happen – perhaps to be played out before the national media in Denver.

The question is: what can be done to preempt this?

I know that there is a Credentials Committee, and a Rules Committee, and probably even a Committee for the Selection of the Credentials and Rules Committees. I know the delegate process is laid out and explained in the bylaws. But certainly the DNC never anticipated this situation and it calls for a creative and immediate mending of the process.

One proposal is that both Florida and Michigan be permitted to caucus later this spring. It goes without saying that the Clinton forces would reject this. But if the DNC, Governor Dean, state parties, and other prominent Democrats like Jimmy Carter, John Edwards, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson, Jesse Jackson, Walter Mondale, Gary Hart, etc. – all called for a fair contest with the candidates competing head-to-head – how long would the Clintons put up a fight? They would move from looking like the defenders of Michigan and Florida voters (the niche they are currently attempting to carve out), to looking like they are once again attempting to "game" the system.

At the very least people need to be reminded that everyone agreed to the earlier decision to strip the states of their delegates – including the Clinton campaign. This fight is not the responsibility of the Obama campaign. It was a party decision, agreed to by all of the candidates, and the party needs to stand by it or come up with a better solution. Seating delegates that Clinton won during a sideshow is unacceptable.

http://www.cnn.com/POLITICS

The Democrat Delegate Countdown

The Republican Delegate Countdown

“Mike Huckabee and Mitt Romney are done. John McCain will be the Republican nominee -- he's the only one with a reasonable path to the nomination.” –Howard Dean-

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/02/06/a_party_divided_may_be_blessing___or_curse___for_democrats

Dissecting Party Primaries (Click Here To Go To Video)

The Morning After

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama dug in today for an extended battle for the Democratic presidential nomination after Super Tuesday elections that marked the half-way point in an extraordinary see-saw contest.

Clinton picked up most of the biggest states last night – including her home state of New York and neighboring New Jersey – and then the greatest prize of all: California.

Clinton also scored significant wins in Massachusetts, where the veteran Senator Edward Kennedy had thrown his considerable weight behind Obama last week, Arizona and Oklahoma, as well as tornado-hit Tennessee and Arkansas – where her husband was once governor.

But, on a night when the two Democratic rivals traded blow for blow in an tight and unprecedented coast-to-coast fight for delegates, Obama picked up at least 13 states – often by convincing margins.

He strolled to victories in the Southern states of Georgia and Alabama, as well as Kansas, Delaware, his home state of Illinois, North Dakota, Minnesota, Idaho, Utah, Colorado, Connecticut, Missouri and Alaska.

Nationally, Clinton had the edge among women, Hispanics and older voters. Obama won overwhelming majorities among black voters and younger people, as well as a smaller majority among white males.

In the Republican race, John McCain secured a raft of anticipated victories in early Super Tuesday contests across delegate-rich New York, Illinois, Missouri and New Jersey, before landing California – and setting himself firmly on course for the nomination.

He told a crowd in Phoenix, Arizona that after being an underdog for months: "We should now get used to the idea that we are now the Republican Party frontrunner for the nomination". As his words were drowned out by cheers, he added: "And I don't really mind it one bit."

It was announced today that McCain will meet Gordon Brown during a visit to London on Friday, although the Prime Minister’s office denied that the meeting amounted to an endorsement of the 71-year-old senator.

Mitt Romney defiantly promised to fight on, despite picking up only a handful of states including Massachusetts, where he was once governor, and Utah, dominated by fellow Mormons.

He was hit hard by Mike Huckabee who split the social conservative vote and picked up five states of his own.

Clinton, speaking in Manhattan to supporters who appeared jubilant even before the California result, adopted some of Obama's language of unity, saying: "Tonight we're hearing the voices of people across America - people of all ages, of all races, all faiths and all walks of life."

But she also highlighted what is regarded as her strength in a looming general election contest, saying she would not waver in the face of the kind of tactics which smeared the war record of Democrat nominee John Kerry during the last presidential race.

"We know that the Republicans will not give up the White House without a fight. I will not let anyone Swift Boat this country's future. Together, we can take back America."

Obama, addressing an equally boisterous crowd in Chicago, said: “There is one thing on this February night that we don’t need the final results to know: Our time has come.”

While professing respect and friendship for Clinton, he said: "We owe the American people a real choice. We have to choose between change and more of the same, we have to choose between looking backwards and looking forwards, we have to choose between our future and the our past." He suggested that if his rival won the nomination, Democrats would go into a general election "with half the country already united against us".

For all the headline victories last night, Super Tuesday has done little to clarify who will win the Democratic contest because party rules stipulate that delegates in most states must be awarded proportionately. This means neither Obama nor Clinton expect to emerge from last night's results with a decisive advantage over the other in terms of delegates.

Instead, there was an immediate battle for interpretation of results. The Clinton campaign issued a stream of "talking point" memos, emphasising that her wins in Oklahoma and Tennessee contradicted Obama's claims that he "had a monopoly" on Republican-leaning states.

Her victory in Massachusetts was described as "one of the biggest surprises of the night".

http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/02/06/a_loss_for_kennedy

While Obama’s overwhelming support among black voters propelled him to victory in Georgia and Alabama, . Clinton “appeared” to be splitting with him much of the white vote which might otherwise have gone to John Edwards, who dropped out of the race last week. A closer look at the data is required to make that a definitive statement.

Howard Wolfson, her communications chief, said: "This has been a strong night but the contest will continue long into the future through the February states into the March 4 contests and in all likelihood beyond."

David Alexrod, Obama's chief strategist, speaking in Chicago, said: "Both campaigns are coming out with a roughly even delegate count. It is a phenomenal thing when you think where we were a month and a half ago, when we were the prohibitive underdog against the biggest name in Democratic politics. To fight them to a draw, coast-to-coast...this is a real achievement and speaks to the power of his candidacy."

The rival campaigns are already turning their focus to fresh battles in six states over the next week – or even further ahead to critical contests in delegate-rich Ohio and Texas on March 4 – as well to the Pennsylvania primary on April 22.

This weekend, the focus shifts to Nebraska, Louisiana, Washington State and the Virgin Islands, with a total of 204 delegates on offer. Next Tuesday is the "Potomac Primary" – contests in Washington DC, Virginia and Maryland – where Obama is expected to do well because of the heavy number of black Democratic voters.

Hillary threw down the gauntlet to Obama for head-to-head duels in no less than four televised debates this month. Her campaign said this would allow voters to see how the candidates measure up "side by side" rather than rely on the "rallies and big events" favored by Obama where statements go "unchallenged".

Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe, said: "We have done 18 debates. Our schedule will not be determined by the Clinton camp. We're going to evaluate our schedule and debates will be part of it."

Clinton's aides insisted that her decision to accept the debates including two in the next five days and one from the Fox TV – a channel often viewed with suspicion by Democrats - did not mean she was now the underdog candidate trying to snatch back the spotlight.

Instead, they said she wanted to demonstrate - as she has done in the past - that she makes an "effective case". Her campaign believe Obama has recently been getting a free ride from a largely uncritical media.

The prospect of a damaging drawn out fight running even up to the convention in August is beginning to alarm Democrats, seven in ten of whom - according to exit polls last night - would be content with either Clinton or Obama as the nominee.

Howard Dean, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said that a "convention battle would be a problem". He pointed out that the previous three divided conventions in 1968, 1972 and 1980 had all resulted in the election of a Republican president.

Critical for both candidates are the 796 "super delegates", the Democratic Party's senators, congressman and congresswomen, state governors, former presidents and senior officials, who are not bound by the results of the primaries and caucuses. Clinton and Obama are lobbying them furiously, making telephone calls and sending emails to try to gain their support.

Wins - Democrat

Obama - North Dakota, Alabama , Kansas, Delaware, Illinois, Georgia, Connecticut, Minnesota, Colorado, Idaho, Missouri, Alaska, Utah

Clinton - California, New Jersey, Massachusetts, New York, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee, Arizona, American Samoa

Wins – Republicans

McCain - California, Arizona, Oklahoma, New York, Delaware, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, MIssouri

Romney - Utah, Massachusetts, North Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Alaska, Colorado

Huckabee - West Virginia, Arkansas, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee

Super Tuesday in America was also Fat Tuesday, but if anyone was expecting to gorge on the fruits of a decisive victory in the US presidential race they were out of luck.

For the Democrats, it looked more like a slightly delayed Groundhog Day – yet another day that failed to resolve the tussle between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, the tightest battle for the party’s nomination in several decades. As the night wore on it became clear that even though she secured a win in the biggest state, California, Obama’s more numerous wins in smaller states across the country kept the two candidates locked in a tight race for delegates to the party’s nominating convention.

On the Republican side, the contest edged closer towards what has seemed nearly inevitable for the last couple of weeks – the steady, somewhat reluctant coronation of John McCain, the Arizona senator. That coronation was delayed, not, as the right wing of the party had hoped, by a Super Tuesday surge of support for Mitt Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts, who had another bad night, but by the unexpected re-emergence of Mike Huckabee. The former Arkansas governor won half a dozen states in his native South and kept the race going at least for another week or two.

On both sides the complexity of an already competitive and multi-sided contest across more than 20 states was further muddied by the fact that winning the nomination is not – as it is in the general election in November - a matter of winning a simple plurality of votes state-by-state. It is determined by gaining a majority of nominating delegates from all the states. And though in the Republican race some states allocate delegates on a winner-take-all basis, many do not.

On the Democratic side, all the states award delegates proportionate to the votes cast for each candidate. That means that, while most of the headlines initially focused on the number of states won by each candidate, what really mattered was the breakdown of the delegates – and that was much more broadly distributed among the candidates.

As expected, the remaining Democratic candidates divided the spoils on Super Tuesday. Clinton’s win in California seemed likely to give her a majority of the delegates there. Both Clinton and Obama won big majorities (and therefore a haul of delegates) in their home states – Clinton in New York and Obama in Illinois.

Clinton also secured important majorities in New Jersey and Massachusetts. The last was especially sweet for the Clinton campaign, because it came in a state where Obama had won the endorsements of the state’s two greatest Democratic panjandrums – Senators Ted Kennedy and John Kerry.

Obama performed well in the deep South – adding big majorities in Georgia and Alabama to his win last month in South Carolina. Most striking, according to the exit polls, he managed to win not only black voters in the South but also a sizeable minority of whites. He also bulked up his delegate count with a series of majorities in smaller states including Connecticut, Delaware, North Dakota, Colorado, Idaho and Utah.

And yet Clinton may still have a slight advantage – not just in overall delegates (she has more so-called Super delegates – state and federal Democratic officeholders) but in the contours of her support within the Democratic party. Thanks to her continuing dominance among the party’s traditional base - the working class, older, poorer and less educated voters and especially women, she remains the narrow favorite to be the Democratic standard-bearer.

Among Republicans, the focus of the night had been expected to be the increasingly unpleasant battle between McCain and Romney. Instead Huckabee, largely written off after his defeats in South Carolina and Florida, came back strongly across the South, winning his home state of Arkansas as well as Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama.

But it is likely to be a Potemkin victory for Huckabee. He has not demonstrated that his populist, Baptist preacher’s message can play outside the South or the Bible-Belt-inclined parts of the Midwest.

McCain notched up crucial wins in the handful of large states that allocate all their delegates to the winner of the popular vote, including New York and New Jersey. He also looked set to win California, the biggest state, though the distribution of delegates there was roughly proportional so his narrow lead mattered less than his wins in other states. Like Clinton, McCain won states on Super Tuesday across the country – from California in the west to Missouri in the middle to most of the states on the Atlantic seaboard.

Romney declined to admit defeat but his failure has been spectacular. He has spent more money than any other candidate in the race. In the last week he has been the sole repository of the hopes of the frustrated right wing of the Republican party, which has been used to seeing its favourites ascend to the nomination.

Yet last night, out of 16 primary contests he was able to win only three - his home state of Massachusetts and one, Utah, the home base of his Mormon church – as well as a few less important caucuses.

Romney’s failure represents a stunning defeat not just for him but for the archpriests of the conservative movement. These figures – including religious leaders and talk-radio hosts and senior members of the party in Washington – despise McCain, whose independent streak they regard as intolerable. Despite his fervent support for the Iraq war, many have said they will not vote for him if he is the party’s nominee in November. They deeply dislike Huckabee’s economic populism too.

But Republican voters do not seem to share those views. And even if many do not like McCain it is clear now that they certainly do not regard Romney as the acceptable alternative.

When it was first planned a few years ago, Super Tuesday, the largest single primary day in American electoral history, was widely expected effectively to finish the primary campaigns in both parties, with decisive wins for a candidate in each.

It certainly hasn’t done that. But it probably has brought us a little closer to knowing who will be the Republican nominee.

About those endorsements?
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/editorial_opinion/oped/articles/2008/02/06/a_loss_for_kennedy

The Obama Group…

Celebrities:
George Clooney, actorToni Morrison, authorKen Burns, film-makerJohn Legend, singerMatt Damon, actorLarry David, comedianDave Matthews, musicianGerrison Keillor, radio personalityBenn Affleck, actor
Senators:
Sen Patrick Leahy (Vermont)Sen Tim Johnson (South Dakota)Sen Ben Nelson (Nebraska)Sen Claire McKaskill (Missouri)
Governors:
Kansas Gov Kathleen SebellusArizona Gov Janet NapolatinoWisconsin Gov Jim DoyleVirginia Gov Tim Kaine
Other endorsements:
Caroline KennedyRep Patrick KennedyShirley Franklin, Atlanta MayorFormer Sen Bill BradleyDr Zbignlew Brzezinski, former National Security Adviser (Carter)Adrian Fenty, Washington DC MayorSheila Johnson, co-founder Black Entertainment TV

The long night of February 5 ended with no final resolution. The contest has shifted to a race for the magic number of delegates, but party and state rules make amassing that figure difficult. The Democratic nominee needs 2025 delegate votes (out of 4049). The Republican needs 1191 of 2380. How can they get them? Democrats: Democrats had 1,681 elected delegates at stake on February 5. But the way the party will allocate those delegates reflect party promises that date back to the 1968 convention - to be inclusive, not exclusive. So delegates get awarded from each Congressional District as well as statewide. And they are given to candidates proportionally: as long as a candidate meets the 15 percent threshold statewide or in a Congressional District, they will get some delegates. All that serves to limit how big a lead in delegates a candidate can win; even if one candidate carries all the Super Tuesday states, the second place candidate may still remain close in the post-Super Tuesday delegate count. However, there are also 796 “superdelegates,” free to vote however they like. The superdelegates include every Democratic member of Congress, every Democratic governor, and every member of the Democratic National Committee, plus some other officials. They make up nearly one in five of all delegates. So far, they have been divided in their support: CBS News estimates that right now just over 200 favor Hillary Clinton, while just over 100 support Barack Obama. But each one of those delegates can change their minds up to and until they cast a ballot in Denver next August. They could move toward the candidate who does best in the Super Tuesday states. Republicans: The GOP has 1,015 elected delegates at stake on Super Tuesday. Party rules can vary from state to state, but generally, they are likely to favor a state’s winner (and penalize the losers) more than the Democratic rules do. Seven of the 16 primary states award all their delegates to the statewide winner, and that group includes one of the largest prizes, New York. The other winner-take-all primary states are Connecticut, Delaware, Missouri, New Jersey, Arizona, and Utah. And there are also two other states where only one candidate will win delegates that day - the West Virginia convention and the Montana caucuses award those states’ delegates to the statewide winner. Depending on the size of the winning candidate’s victory, so might North Dakota.
Several other states give the winner in each Congressional Distract all the district’s delegates, so a candidate with broad support in California can win the lion’s share of those 170 delegates.
That means that a Republican candidate is more likely than a Democratic candidate to come out of Super Tuesday with what looks to be an insurmountable lead in delegates. That is, as long as all the four remaining major candidates don’t divide up the victories!

The illusion of choice in US elections: Does it herald the dissolution of these United States of America?
By Mazin Qumsiyeh, PhD Online Journal Contributing WriterFeb 5, 2008, 00:14

The 2008 presidential elections were likened to the World Wrestling Federation matches: take time and energy but obviously fixed/staged. A more apt analogy would go beyond these elections: the whole political system in the US is a theater play with predictable script but different actors. Yet, the damage caused by elected officials is getting so severe that another four years may finish off the experiment that is otherwise known as the USA (whether those are of a Clinton, McCain, Obama, or Romney administration).

Candidates of both parties are allowed to advance to final rounds whether in congressional or presidential elections only if they are cleared by the real powers to be. This is evident from issues they can and cannot tackle. The cleared Democratic and the Republican nominees cannot for example tackle the broken system with no proportional representation and no system to allow instant runoff elections. Both cleared nominees must believe in maintaining the US Empire by force and are only allowed to differ in tactics of advancing the "white man's burden" of "civilizing" and "improving" the world. They will not be asked about why US troops are stationed in 140 countries. Cleared Candidates of both parties will continue to support pouring billions directly into Israel and many more billions to support conflicts perceived to help Israel (e.g., Iraq and Iran) or help bring money to coffers of wealthy corporations. Exxon Mobile just set a world record with PROFITS in 2007 exceeding $40 BILLION. Both will ignore (or at best pay lip service to) the racial and economic divides that are growing. Both will ignore the inability to face up to the US criminal history (slavery, genocide of Native Americans, support of brutal dictators abroad, militarism etc).

Both have no interest, let alone ideas, in tackling the entrenched military-industrial complex that is bankrupting the US. They all support the pathetic "stimulus package" (with minor variations) that will give some $600 tax rebates to 117 million Americans so that "they can spend it" and stimulate the economy. Yet the real issues gatekeepers will not allow to be addressed: trillions in private debt (corporate and individual), $9 trillion in government debt (which means our children will have to pay for it), a multi-trillion dollar mortgage debacle involving large scale fraud, the scandal of a raided/depleted Social Security safety net, the collapse of the fiat currency otherwise known as the US dollar, and much more.

Yes, some candidates may be allowed to pay lip service to reducing government deficits but the system is now beyond that. Corporations (e.g. General electric, United Technologies) and governments (e.g., Israel) that sucked up these trillions are getting to a point where they do not need the United States as a functioning or stable economic system but only a military power overseas to guard their interests there.

Cleared candidates for presidential elections will never have to answer any real difficult questions about these economic matters or about the equally important legal and social matters. When was a candidate really challenged about the violations of the US Constitution, violations that they implicitly or explicitly support? Gatekeepers make sure that cleared candidates are not challenged on impeachment or on taking legal action against an administration that:

1. Violated International treaties repeatedly. Treaties like the Geneva Conventions prohibit most actions done in Iraq and beyond, from torture to collective punishment to targeting civilians, etc., and these treaties are mandatory under the constitution as they were ratified by Congress.
2. Violated the constitution in supporting warrantless spying on US citizens and now seeking retroactive immunity for companies that helped and immunity for officials who did this.
3. Violated the constitution by holding people in jails without due process, without habeas corpus, etc.
4.
House and Senate candidates cleared for final rounds actually supported these policies with laws like renewing FISA, funding Guantanamo, funding the CIA, etc.

Cleared candidates are also not allowed to be challenged on the broken US (in) justice system: the highest incarceration rate in the world, more than 3 million people are in custody or on parole; a system that employs more people than anywhere else in the world -- privatized jails, etc. No wonder our economy has been called a service economy.

Ron Paul articulated that the Republican party of today bears no resemblance to the party of Abraham Lincoln (Lincoln for example was against the war with Mexico). But the media gatekeepers did not give Paul much airtime or exposure. Paul is also correct that despite the rhetoric of the cleared candidates in both parties, they are all pro big government, massive debt, and destroying the future of our children for short-term political gains. The differences are minor and relate to ratio of discretionary spending on the military vs. on domestic service industries: one wants it 60:40 and the other 40:60.

Cleared Republican candidates say that government can't run healthcare or other social programs, but this sounds hollow when they say in the same breath that government is to be trusted with our money to run the biggest government bureaucracy in the world: the US military. The US with 6 percent of the world population spends nearly the same amount as all other countries combined on the war machine. With military industries, bases, and other outlets spread in just about every congressional district in the US, it is politically impossible to tackle this issue with logic. Thus when the Soviet Union collapsed of its own weight (a lesson there not understood in the US), that military industrial complex found it convenient to latch onto the offered alternative (offered by Zionists): the threat of "Islamic extremism."

Cleared Democratic candidates can talk all they want about the rich not paying their fair share. But a logical person asks if this rhetoric can mean anything in the real globalized world. Democrats know very well that if they try to tax the rich, all the rich will have to do is relocate to other countries that would welcome them. Some already have dual citizenship (e.g. British, Israeli). In fact, many have already done so thanks to laws they have lobbied for ("free-trade" agreements, globalization which means capital and its owners can move freely between countries whereas workers cannot). Many billionaires like the Zionist Haim Saban (the largest single contributor to the Democratic Party) have already concluded that the US has been squeezed to the max and are already positioning themselves in other countries. Rupert Murdoch is buying European media. Halliburton relocated its headquarters to Dubai (the same Halliburton which bilked taxpayers of billions supposedly to rebuild Iraq and ended up with no completed projects in Iraq). There are literally hundreds of examples. So even as the US dollar continues to decline and the US middle class gets squeezed more, profits of these companies continue to rise. Worse comes to worse, those cleared elected officials can oblige with new wars/conflicts (look at Halliburton's profits before and after the war on Iraq as an example).

Six months ago, I stated that it is easy to predict who will be allowed to advance for final rounds of the US elections and who will be shunned and marginalized. I stated that the best indicator is to look who the Zionists in Israel and the US like. This is because Israel is not an ordinary country but is unique. Israeli preferences were published months ago and those were more predictive than anything else. Those who got the lowest scores (on "friendliness to Israel" scale) were quickly marginalized by a compliant media (e.g. Ron Paul, Gravel, and Kucinich). Those with the highest scores were elevated and exalted in a media that is populated heavily by those to whom Israeli interests are number one (e.g., Wolf Blitzer used to be a Zionist spokesperson before he became a CNN correspondent).

Those in the intermediate levels like Barak Obama have to jump many times being taken seriously (he is called a Muslim, his middle name Hussein becomes a weapon to use against him, he is chastised for once accurately saying that no one in the Arab-Israeli conflict suffered more than the Palestinians, etc). Of course Obama was attuned to this from the beginning and he started to pander to the Zionist lobby very early on when he ran for the Senate. In the past three years, he was thus supportive of Israeli war crimes in Lebanon in 2006, Israeli collective punishment of the Palestinians (crimes against humanity and war crimes), Israeli extrajudicial executions, Israeli settlement activities, maintenance of US occupation forces in Iraq (although like Sharon with Gaza, he called it redeployment to the periphery), and most recently a strong stance against Iran to serve Israeli interests. Obama even hired the services of Dennis Ross who was a lobbyist for Israel before Bill Clinton hired him and went back to work for the same lobby outfit after leaving government.

Rabbi Lerner of Tikkun explained: "Jewish voters are only 2 percent of the U.S. population, but they are mostly concentrated in the states with the highest number of delegate and electoral votes (New York, California, Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois); they contribute financially to politicians disproportionately to their percentage of the voters, and they are often in key roles as opinion shapers in the communities in which they work or live." Shlomo Shamir wrote in an analysis in Haaretz (in the Hebrew not English version) that whether Obama wins or does not win the nomination or the election, that establishment Jews in the US supported him financially as a replacement to the aging black leadership which has always been looked at with suspicion (e.g., Jesse Jackson).

Of course Hillary Clinton is a bit to the right of Obama and so are McCain and Romney. McCain and Clinton from the beginning were the favorite with Zionists in the media who play the game of Democrat vs. Republican. They range from Charles Krauthammer to Thomas Friedman to Mort Zuckerman to Wolf Blitzer to Alan Combs.

Giuliani was an interesting phenomenon. He so wanted to please the Zionist establishment and distinguish himself from other pandering politicians that he chose for advisers, staff, and friends some of the most fascist/racist neoconservative and other Zionist extremists (from Daniel Pipes to Alan Dershowitz). This was a mistake on two fronts: 1) these are people who know nothing about winning elections in the US (they are mostly about a scorched earth policy abroad); 2) these are Natanyahu Likkud Zionists who alienated the other mainstream Zionist forces in the world (Labor Zionists, Kadima Zionists, even religious Zionists etc). Most Zionists were not disappointed when Giuliani dropped out of the race (actually most Republican Zionists in Florida voted for McCain). Giuliani himself emerges a winner, as he will likely be the vice presidential candidate on a McCain ticket. The template for that role will be Dick Cheney's relationship to Bush. Instead of Afghanistan and Iraq, this time it will be Iran and Sudan (or Syria). The actors are different but the script is the same.

We must face the reality that while some candidates give lip service to challenging special interest lobbies, this is a government by and for special interests (the Israel-first lobby, the military Lobby, the industrial lobby, etc.). So what can be done beyond voting for the lesser of two evils while ignoring how these people get cleared as the final choices? We must always remember that it is our (the citizens) responsibility. We must take this opportunity to protest and speak out.

We all know that real social change occurs from grassroots movements. We all know that is what achieved ending the genocidal war on Vietnam, ending support for Apartheid South Africa, civil rights, women rights, labor rights etc. We all know that freedom is never freely given; that it must be demanded. Even the simplest things would help (like speaking out at all the candidates appearances in your state). We all know that we must look in the mirror and refuse the task given to us of being consumers rather than citizens. So if you do get your $600 check "for shopping" why not spend it only for activism? Why not join an activist group or build your own? Why not block congressional offices? Why not build the revolution that could transform the US and the rest of the world? After all, the alternative is far too disastrous and is becoming clearer every year.

Dr. Qumsiyeh is a Christian Palestinian-American who served on the faculty of both Duke and Yale Universities. He is author of Sharing the Land of Canaan: Human Rights and the Israeli/Palestinian Struggle.

His web site is located at http://qumsiyeh.org/.

Putting a wrap on it!

McCain, despite a real problem of uniting his own party behind him in what appears to a sure fired candidacy for the brass ring, needs to clinch the deal as soon as possible to stop the rancor and bloodletting of the rhetorical slashing now approach Johnny Depp/Sweeney Todd straight razor proportions, and how about his five o’clock shadow from Connecticut?

With Hillary having not closed the deal and the media expectation and pushing to close the gap with Obama, screwing with a Hillary/Obama or vice versa ticket…in your dreams…Bill and Hillary don’t have time for a back yard barbeque with the Bushes to compare note.

If all this isn’t a joke, and it’s not because it so damn serious and we have another election where change is a joke and promises are lied. So let’s have a real joke, or is it?

I once heard a joke about Americans in particular: A survey was carried out about poverty in the world.

And the questionnaire goes something like; please tell us your opinion about prosperity and poverty in the rest of the world.

And the survey broke down because many participants couldn't understand the terms in the questionnaire.

People in Africa had no clue what prosperity meant, and the people in Western Europe didn’t know what poverty was.

Eastern European were baffled by the term opinion and Latin Americans asked what is 'please'.

And Americans pondered in bewilderment, the meaning of 'the rest of the world'.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

The Button Man Cometh! The Button Man Cometh!



This Old World Needs A Sense of Humor And A Reminder That Free Speech Takes Many Forms!
Click On The Graphic For A Nice Full View.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Impeachment, Put Impeachment Back On The Table Or Else!



THE GREAT GROWING FEAR; LOTS OF THAT FEAR STUFF GOING AROUND THESE DAYS! JUST CLICK ON THE GRAPHIC FOR AN UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL VIEW.