No Equal Suffrage In Senate Until June. At Least.

The Minnesota Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments in the Norm Coleman/Al Franken Senate race until June 1. In the meantime, this leaves Minnesota’s current US Senator Amy Klobuchar as their sole representation in the Senate. At some point, we have to wonder if Minnesota can be said to be denied its equal suffrage in the Senate. Article V of the US Constitution Continue reading

Attempted Sabotage Foiled in Deerfield Beach, Florida!

This is sad that this kind of tactic is still going on.  TMZ is reporting that Deerfield Beach, Fla. which is one hour south of Palm Beach had 400 people waiting to vote at 6:15 a.m. this morning.  All were waiting for the polls to open at 7:00 a.m and this is what they found.

There is one voting machine to accommodate all of them.

The area almost entirely African American. Many of the people never have voted before. One woman was 101 years old. She was wheeled into the polling place and on her way out she said that before she died, she wanted to vote for a black man.

Continue reading

Vote As If Your Life Depends On It, Because It Does

It’s no secret that we Critters are pretty liberal. And while it is our official policy to not endorse any particular candidate, it’s not hard to guess who we would like to see win. (It may surprise you to learn that some of us, for our own reasons, may not vote for him.) Still, we do want every eligible voter to vote in this election. Remember that every seat in the House of Representatives is up for re-election (as they are every two years), and about one third of the Senate is up for grabs. Even if neither of the major party candidates impresses you enough to go out and vote next Tuesday, consider the other issues that need to be decided by you, the voter. Many states have ballot referendums that require your input. In my own home state, we’re voting to amend our state constitution, which is never something to be taken lightly. It’s important that matters like this be decided by the widest number of people possible, instead of just a few who vote regularly. Below are links to each state’s election information. Check your state to see what else you need to vote on.

And remember, if you are eligible, it is your civic duty to vote. So be proud of the fact that you can vote, as there are many people in the world who cannot have any say in their government’s makeup. The issues are too important to dismiss. The future is too imperiled to ignore. Your life, and the lives of your children, may depend on the decisions we as a nation make on November 4th. So vote as if your life depends on it, because it does. Thank you for voting.

Alabama | Alaska | Arizona | Arkansas | California | Colorado | Connecticut | Delaware | District of Columbia | Florida | Georgia | Hawaii | Idaho | Illinois | Indiana | Iowa | Kansas | Kentucky | Louisiana | Maine | Maryland | Massachusetts | Michigan | Minnesota | Mississippi | Missouri | Montana | Nebraska | Nevada | New Hampshire | New Jersey | New Mexico | New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Ohio | Oklahoma | Oregon | Pennsylvania | Rhode Island | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Texas | Utah | Vermont | Virginia | Washington | West Virginia | Wisconsin | Wyoming

NOTE: If you discover that any of these links do not work, please leave a comment specifying the state (or District), and I will try to find a good link. Thank you. And VOTE!

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Dear John McCain

Here is what I would say to John McCain, if I thought he’d listen to me. I was looking for a video to post with this one, and I almost rejected it until it got to around 3:14 in the video. What a hilarious shot. I hope you enjoy it. And John McCain, I hope you listen.

Dear John McCain
Original words and music “Photograph” by Richard Starkey and George Harrison
Additional lyrics by Wayne A. Schneider, 2008

Ev’ry time I hear his voice
It reminds me of the choices, we have to vote
But all I want is a Democrat
Who will realize we’re not going back to before

I think I’ll make it the day you go away
But I can’t take it
If you get voted in to stay-yi-yay-yi-yay

I can’t get used to living here
While my bank is broke, my fears supplied by you
I want the one who’s young and bold
Continue reading

From a Distance: “The Economist’s” poll of economists

The Economist has compared the economic plans of both candidates and concludes:

A candidate’s economic expertise may matter rather less if he surrounds himself with clever advisers. Unfortunately for Mr McCain, 81% of all respondents reckon Mr Obama is more likely to do that; among unaffiliated respondents, 71% say so. That is despite praise across party lines for the excellent Doug Holtz-Eakin, Mr McCain’s most prominent economic adviser and a former head of the Congressional Budget Office. “Although I have tended to vote Republican,” one reply says, “the Democrats have a deep pool of talented, moderate economists.”

All in all Barack Obama has a big advantage in the views of economists. You can find more on the topic in “The Economist” here, here and here.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

NY Election “Mix Up”…?

In upper state New York, hundreds of absentee ballots were sent out with the following candidates names:

John McCain

Barack Osama

That’s right. Osama.

Are you kidding me?

Sure, it only affected 1 in 13 ballots that were sent out, but what do you think the overall effect was?

http://www.comcast.net/articles/news-politics/20081010/Osama.Ballot/

GOP Ties To Bush Kill Chances

With 23 Republican Seats up for grab this November, polls are showing GOP candidates are plummeting. The likelihood of the Democrats getting a 60 seat majority looks very possible. Best news I’ve heard in eight years.

Rasmussen Reports show that Bruce Lunsford (D) is leading Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) 49-44 for McConnell’s Kentucky seat. Kay Hagan (D) has been leading Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R) is the North Carolina race. These two races in particular are going to be close; but the Democrats seem to be gaining steadily every week since the economic meltdown.

Democrats have now polled ahead or within the margin of error in 11 Republican-held seats, as polls conducted in recent weeks show openings in second-tier targets including Mississippi, Texas, and in other states.

“I don’t know whether to put too much stock or too little into one given poll; each poll is a piece of data,” DSCC spokesman Miller said. “But those certainly aren’t the only polls that show these incumbents in trouble.”

Democrats have also polled ahead in at least some of the polling in Alaska, Colorado, New Hampshire, New Mexico and Virginia, polling substantial leads in the latter three. They have also been within the margin of error in Minnesota and Oregon.

If these leads hold or continue to grow the Senate race this year could be the most important change we have seen in a long time. The magic number is 60, the closer the Democrats get to that, the more political strength they will have next year to make the changes this country so desperately needs.

Continue reading

McCain wins Debate!

The word bizarre doesn’t even begin to cover how the McCain campaign presents itself to my eyes. For a minute or two I was taken in by McCain’s announcement on Wednesday. I wondered if this would play out right in American voters’ minds. “Patriotism and putting the country first always goes down well with the American public” I have been told in my political science seminars. But the unbelievably incompetent execution of McCain’s ill thought-out plan and the resulting developments in the race from Wednesday till tonight, the total public disintegration of a presidential campaign within a timeframe that you can still measure in hours, is something I would not have thought possible.

As details are emerging about the dismal performance during the White House crisis meeting, John McCain eats his own words and heads to Mississippi for tonight’s debate with Barack Obama. He can’t not, now that his incompetence is so very obvious and the Democrats have called his bluff. And he is in it to win it. So much so that the McCain campaign has issued a campaign ad claiming McCain had won the debate. A wee bit premature. Not only hasn’t the debate even started yet, the ad already has been published before McCain even announced his participation in the thing.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

A Quiz About the Savings and Loan Scandal

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

This was originally published in one of “Uncle John’s Bathroom Readers“, but I can’t find which one. It was written several years after the famous S&L Scandal of the ’80’s, and I have made only minor editorial changes. (Such as identifying Neil Bush as the current President Bush’s brother, as opposed to the former President Bush’s son.) The quiz was found on a Snopes.com comments page, so I can only hope that guy copied it right. Anyway, I hope you enjoy taking this True-False quiz. Answers and scoring guide are below the fold, along with some additional reminders about how one of the current presidential candidates fit into all this.

You, your children, and your grandchildren are going to be paying for the savings & loan scandal for years, but how much do you know about it? See if you can tell which of the following statements are true:

1. The S&L scandal is the second-largest theft in the history of the world.

2. Deregulation eased restrictions so much that S&L owners could lend money to themselves.

3. The Garn Institute of Finance, names after Senator Mike Garn–who co-authored the S&L deregulation bill–recieved $2.2 million from S&L industry executives.

4. For his part in running an S&L into the ground, Neil Bush, (President George W. Bush’s brother), served time in jail and was banned from future S&L involvement.

5. Rep. Fernand St. Germain, House banking chairman and co-author of the S&L deregulation bill, was voted out of office after some questionable financial dealings. were reported. The S&L industry immediately sent him back to Washington…as its lobbyist.

6. When asked whether his massive lobbying of government officials had influenced their conduct, London Savings president Charles Keating said, “Of course not. These are honorable men.”

7. The S&L rip-off began in 1980, when Congress raised federal insurance on S&L deposits from $40,000 to $100,000, even though the average depositor’s savings account was only $20,000.

8. Assets seized from failed S&Ls included a buffalo sperm bank, a racehorse with syphilis, and a kitty-litter mine.

9. Working with the government in a bailout deal, James Fail invested $1 million of his own money to purchase 15 failing S&Ls. In return, the government gave him $1.8 billion in federal subsidies.

10. Federal regulators sometimes stalled as long as seven years before closing hopelessly insolvent thrifts.

11. When S&L owners who stole millions went to jail, their jail sentences averaged about five times the average sentence for bank robbers.

12. The government S&L bailout will ultimately cost taxpayers as much as $500 billion.

13. If the White House had admitted the problem and bailed out failing thrifts in 1986, instead of waiting until after the 1988 election, the bailout might have cost only $20 billion.

14. With the money lost in the S&L rip-off, the federal government could provide prenatal care for every American child for the next 2,300 years.

15. With the money lost in the S&L rip-off, the federal government could have bought 5 million average houses.

16. The authors of Inside Job, a bestselling exposé of the S&L scandal, found evidence of criminal activity in 50% of the thrifts they investigated.

ANSWERS Continue reading

Deja vu all over again

Truthout

You’re a Florida resident. You want to do your civic duty, and vote in the upcoming 2008 election. You fill out your voter registration form promptly and correctly, and turn it in. You’re not a convicted felon, and you’ve lived at the same address in Florida for 20 years — no residency problems.

But, the data entry clerk who entered your name into the voter registration roles made an error, and you were entered as Jon Smith, rather than John Smith. Oh heavens, mistakes are made sometimes, and they’re easily fixed. Right?

Wrong. If this error is discovered when you arrive to vote on November 4 — YOU WILL NOT BE VOTING.

At issue is Florida’s so-called “no-match, no-vote” law, which allows county officials to reject new voter registration applications if the names on the forms do not match other state databases. Voter advocacy groups sued the state, claiming that database errors can cause applications to be rejected – through no fault of would-be voters.

This week, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida sided with the state, saying it has the right to reject voter applications if they didn’t match an applicant’s Florida driver’s license or the last four digits of their social security number. The state had been sued by a coalition of voting rights groups after election officials rejected applications from 14,000 African-American Floridians dating back to 2006.

That’s right, boys and girls. Shades of election year 2000. Who needs Katharine Harris, when you have the U.S. District Court in Florida?

Well, you think, I’ll just take my ID to the polls with me — just in case.

“The most senseless part is that the state creates these errors, and then makes it unnecessarily hard to fix the problem,” said Elizabeth Westfall of Advancement Project, another attorney for the plaintiffs. “You can’t show a passport. You can’t show a military ID. And though you can show your driver’s license itself, it doesn’t count if you show it at the polls – the very place where voters have to show a photo ID anyway.”

You cannot fix this at the polls, and you can’t even fix it in the weeks leading up to the election. Florida has rules against that sort of thing. They do not have the staff to check all the voter records, and if they happen to find a mistake, you will not be notified. SOL, ladies and gentlemen.

Still, voter advocates hope local Florida election officials will use their discretion to help all voters this fall.

“At the very least, the counties can and should help avoid the chaos that this law creates by making it possible to fix the problem at the polls,” said Brian Mellor, attorney for Project Vote, another plaintiff in the suit. “We hope that the (county) Supervisors of Elections use the discretionary power they have to allow corrections at the polls so that voters are inconvenienced as little as possible.”

Maybe someone will write a sternly worded letter….

Bye Bye Hillary – Opinion

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

There is no love lost here. Throughout my blogging on the primary campaign I was obviously anti-Hillary. Not specifically pro-Obama at first, but he increasingly gained my interest and then my admiration. At the start of the campaign I would have strongly favoured Al Gore, in a way I still think he would be the perfect man for these times, but he chose not to run. Seeing the kind of flak Obama got from the Clinton camp, I don’t blame Al Gore at all.  I guess he knew what was coming.

I used to be very impressed by Hillary Clinton and thought at one time that she was actually superior to her husband.  I was sure she could have been a President and wasn’t, only because she was a woman. I have amired her speech at the memorial service after 9/11 a wonderfully emphatic speech. I admired her for being so hard working and focused on the issues at hand and the problems to be solved. I admired her for being able to curb her ambitions in the interest of getting things done. My sympathy was entirely hers to lose.

And she lost it first about Iraq. Hillary Clinton’s ambition got the better of her and badly screwed up her judgement. Her “stay the course” mentality that reminded me so much of George W. Bush’s inane stubbornness in the face of a botched war added to my resentment. Her refusal to admit to a mistake, her apparent disregard of the suffering this war brought and her apparent lack of empathy for the victims, topped it off.

Then she lost it in the campaign. Her arrogance during the first part of the primaries, not campaigning in states she didn’t think were important in the final tally. What about their “every single vote”? Her attempt at changing the rules in mid game. Her lies about Bosnia and sniper fire. Was it her being so stupid or did she think everyone else was? Her secrecy about her schedules as a First Lady and her tax returns, which again reminded me of the current White House.

Her very poorly and much less than profesionally led campaign, left me flabbergasted. This is what I would never have expected from a Clinton who puportedly had an overwhelming political machinery at her fingertips. Was that the effective, hard working Senator I used to admire? She didn’t even have her finances under control, nor Bill, nor much of anything else.

And, when it became clear she had lost it, she really dug deeper. Her ill disguised attempt to stir up racism. “Hard working white Americans” as opposed to what? Lazy coloured people??? And finally the “assassination” insinuation. Did she believe I would believe that was misspoken. Politicians of her ilk almost never misspeak. They don’t utter a single sentence on the campaign trail that isn’t vetted and practised in a closed environment before. There are more examples of primaries that have been contested into the month of June than just Bill Clinton’s and Bobby Kennedy’s. This very successfully created a discussion about Barack Obama’s safety and was deliberate to instill doubts in voters if their candidate would even live to see the general election.

These primaries upended most of the impressions I started out with. The strong candidate, the inevitable candidate, had clay feet after all. And the young inexperienced candidate grew more and more presidential with every challenge he faced and finally matured into a  formidable opponent to John McCain. The seemingly neverending story of the Democratic Primary 2008 has a happy ending after all.

I am sure you can find more reasons, why Hillary Clinton has lost the respect and the admiration of, not only foreign bystanders like me, but many Americans, feel free to add those in the comments section.

Hello from Europe – The Obituaries are in

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

Hello Everyone, the European commentators are busily writing obituaries on the Clinton campaign. I wouldn’t be surprised if they drew back again after West Virginia, this race is crazy, but some of the press coverage is mental.

The Times brings you Daniel Finkelstein’s “endgame”

17.37: Not all superdelegates are making the leap. At least according to Washington Wire:

While four superdelegates jumped on the Barack Obama bandwagon Wednesday, handfuls of others said they’re perfectly happy remaining neutral, at least through June 3, when the primary season ends.

17.18: Ben Smith reports on more embarrassment for Clinton as Obama hits the House:

New York Rep. Yvette Clarke, in theory a Clinton superdelegate, asked him to autograph the cover of today’s New York Daily News, with the headling “It’s His Party.” (more…)

The Independent

It was telling that her schedule included a meeting with key campaign donors in Washington, as well as a session with Democrat superdelegates in Congress. The second meeting appeared to be in jeopardy, however, with some superdelegates reluctant to appear with her.(more…)

The Telegraph

Mrs Clinton’s aides revealed that she had now loaned her own campaign $11.4 million (£5.7 million) – more than her earnings from her senate salary and book royalties last year. Howard Wolfson, her spokesman, said that it was a sign of her “commitment to the race”. Democratic strategists, however, said that her dire financial situation might prompt Mrs Clinton to end her presidential bid.(more…)

The Guardian

It is all over, bar the weeping, for Hillary Clinton. With six primaries left to go, she is running out of contests with which to challenge Barack Obama’s lead in pledged delegates and in the popular vote. After a landslide defeat in North Carolina and a narrow win in Indiana her campaign will carry on, but only, one senses, to pick a good moment in which to bow out. If she wanted to end on a high, the next two contests in West Virginia or Kentucky, which she will win, might be the places to do it.(more…)

Germany’s Der Spiegel presents you with their own round-up on their english page.

“Clinton’s last, most poisonous move could be to play the ‘race card.’ Obama was presented as a new kind of candidate, one with the potential to reconcile race and class differences. This image has developed some cracks now that the prejudices of his pastor and longtime supporter Jeremiah Wright have come into the spotlight. Wright’s anti-American and racist statements scared white voters and discredited Obama.”(more…)

I hope we will be able to concentrate on Obama vs McCain from now on. This race is over.

Daddy, what is Cheating?

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

What is cheating?
Why are there rules?

If there is no penalty for breaking the rules, then the rules are useless. How do you explain to your children the stance that the Clinton camp is making to seat the Michigan and Florida delegations as currently constituted?

When attempting to answer these questions that your children inevitably bring up, the Michigan and Florida primaries and delegations make a great example.

Although both states have been pushing the DNC to change the timing of the primary cycle for years, they were unable to get the DNC to change the rules.
So they broke them.
There must be consequences for breaking rules, or they have no meaning.
Senator Obama removed his name from the Michigan ballot, and neither candidate campaigned in earnest in either state.
The rules were clear, and accepted by both candidates, although Senator Clinton failed to remove her name from the Michigan ballot as Obama did.

No one thought much of the fact that the DNC insisted, up front, that these delegates would NOT be seated.

So now, in a desperate ploy, the Clinton campaign is trying to move the goal posts to include those delegates in the count for the nomination.
This will be decided by the rules or credentials committees, whose job it is to determine the fate of those delegations.

To agree to a set of rules, then, when things don’t go your way, you attempt to change the rules is cheating.
Even a child understands this.

Good Morning from Europe: It’s Obama vs. McCain finally

Bill Clinton knows, Chelsea knows and Hillary Clinton knows. Coming out of yesterday’s primaries without any decisive win, but rather a very decisive loss in North Carolina, running or even being out of money, she doesn’t stand a chance to win the nomination now. A view that is mainly reflected in the English newspapers of today:

The Times

In headline terms it might have looked like a split decision. In the latest instalment of the long-running Democratic primary election saga on Tuesday, Sen Barack Obama won North Carolina and Sen Hillary Clinton won Indiana. These results went roughly as expected – one for each camp. So at least in terms of the state-wide winners it was a tie, and the race looks set to go on through the final few primaries in the next month.

But beneath the headlines, this was clearly a triumphant night – and perhaps even a decisive one – for Sen Obama. (more…)

The Independent

The split outcome will mean that the struggle of the Democratic nomination is not over yet. It will give cause for relief and for frustration in each of the camps – as well as grief for the party’s hierarchy which frets that the longer the slug-fest between them continues the better it is for the Republicans. (more…)

The Guardian

Barack Obama took North Carolina by … let’s just say it’s a generous portion. His 14-point victory was far in excess of what his supporters had hoped. Far more than Hillary’s people had dreamed. Words like “rout” and “devastating” come to mind. No one saw a win this big in the cards. Hillary was pumping plenty of cash into the air, here, but Obama won North Carolina on the ground. For two weeks his supporters had been acting as if Hillary were breathing down their necks. The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the race-baiting, the questioning of Obama’s patriotism – even James Carville’s shot at his masculinity – all of it had Obama’s people in NC convinced that his once-commanding lead here was slipping away.

So they made one more phone call. They knocked on one more door. They put up one more sign. That’s how elections are won. (more…)

The Telegraph

According to Russert, Clinton has cancelled appearances on the morning shows. There are also reports that Hillary has had to give her own campaign another loan. While there was nothing in her speech that indicated she was about to drop out, she’ll be conferring with her advisers, some of whom will have the courage to deliver some hard truths. Here are 10 things she might want to consider as she ponders whether to remain in this race. (more…)

The Economist

BARACK OBAMA once said that of the three contests in Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Indiana, the last would be the “tie-breaker”. He was right. His Democratic presidential rival, Hillary Clinton, won the first. He won the second on Tuesday May 6th, romping home in North Carolina with 56.2% to Mrs Clinton’s 41.5%. The margin of victory, nearly 15 points, was much larger than had been expected. As for the tie-breaker, Mrs Clinton won in Indiana, but by such a small margin (50.9% to 49.1%), that it all but counts as a victory for Mr Obama. (more…)

Der Spiegel

The former first lady bet everything — and lost. Barring some kind of miracle, Barack Obama will become the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate. A dramatic finale on Tuesday night brought an end to the Clinton era. (more…)

It’s time to look ahead now. There is a Republican out there who wants to become the next President and we can’t have that, can we? It is going to be hard work after this grueling primary campaign and is better started right away.

add to del.icio.us : Add to Blinkslist : add to furl : add to ma.gnolia : Stumble It! : add to simpy : seed the vine : : : TailRank : post to facebook

How The Clintons Have Framed The Race

Here in Washington, D.C., the home office of political self-promotion…prevailing Conventional Wisdom has now moved beyond popular consensus over the suddenly “inevitable” presidential nomination of New York senator and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton to pretentious speculation about her choice of a vice presidential running mate (either Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland or former Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Jones).

We’ll get to when that was written a little later. My point is that there was a time when Sen Hillary Rodham Clinton was hands-down going to be the first woman nominated from a major political party to be President of the United States of America. Now, to hear her campaign talk about it, they are arguing that you should still pick her as the nominee because Senator Obama hasn’t knocked her out yet! What the f^&%? She was supposed to be the “inevitable” candidate, and now she’s squeaking by in Pennsylvania with, as I write this, a single-digit victory (possibly a bare two-digit victory, it’s not final yet). Most political pundits agreed seven weeks ago that she needed to win with two-thirds of the remaining states if she wanted to win eneough pledged delegates to win the nomination. Single-digits doesn’t cut it. This is nothing but pure bullshit spin, designed to convince the superdelegates to ignore the will of the people and give her all of their votes to put her over the top.

(Please continue reading here…)

In 344 days Bush will retire! But who is going to be President?

You are working on it. And this election year harder than any election year before, you are all doing a fine job in going to the polls. You, the people, will provide an answer to this question in 268 days. Until then, no one knows.

You should need two or more candidates first and this year there will not be a coronation or proclamation, but the lengthy process of choosing a candidate precedes the nomination. Even the Republicans who have McCain and a clear frontrunner, chose to vote for Mike Huckabee in large numbers. They are not happy with McCain and look what they do? Execute their right to chose. How dare they?

Barack Obama’s  winning streak first reduced Mrs Clinton to tears and now her top advisers to outright panic. Prematurely and unnecessarily a compromise candidate Al Gore is being considered. The knight in shining armour to relief the democratic party from the painful process of waiting out a perfectly democratic process of choosing a candidate. There is still time and there are as many as 20 opportunities left for one, either Hillary Clinton of Barack Obama, to prevail. And if the Delegates have to decide at the nomination convention, so be it, it has happened before.

For more European coverage on the primaries and caucuses see:

The Times                  here and here
The Guardian            here and here and here
The Independent      here and here and, how morbid is this?
The Telegraph           here and here and here.

“Europeanview”wishes you all a happy, healthy and peaceful Sunday. If you vote, vote wisely and check our “Fact-Checker” if you’re not sure.

Breaking: Romney gives up!

Mitt Romney has given up on his bid for the White House.

(Source: CNN-Political ticker)

WASHINGTON (CNN) – Mitt Romney ended his presidential run Thursday, telling a conservative audience that continuing the race against rival John McCain would make it more likely Democrats would win the White House — and “in this time of war, I simply cannot let my campaign be a part of aiding a surrender to terror.”

Read the rest of the story here…

Good Morning from Europe – 348 Days ’till Change Day

I was wondering about the claims, that Barack Obama wasn’t even a senator in the run up to the Iraq war and it was easy for him to say he didn’t vote for the war, when his vote hadn’t been asked for. So read what Barack Obama had to say in October 2002:

Good afternoon. Let me begin by saying that although this has been billed as an anti-war rally, I stand before you as someone who is not opposed to war in all circumstances.

The Civil War was one of the bloodiest in history, and yet it was only through the crucible of the sword, the sacrifice of multitudes, that we could begin to perfect this union, and drive the scourge of slavery from our soil. I don’t oppose all wars.

My grandfather signed up for a war the day after Pearl Harbor was bombed, fought in Patton’s army. He saw the dead and dying across the fields of Europe; he heard the stories of fellow troops who first entered Auschwitz and Treblinka. He fought in the name of a larger freedom, part of that arsenal of democracy that triumphed over evil, and he did not fight in vain.

I don’t oppose all wars.

After September 11th, after witnessing the carnage and destruction, the dust and the tears, I supported this Administration’s pledge to hunt down and root out those who would slaughter innocents in the name of intolerance, and I would willingly take up arms myself to prevent such a tragedy from happening again

Read on, here.

The Tuesday primaries/caucuses are well covered by blogosphere and MSM alike. Here’s the European take from The Guardian and The Times and Der Spiegel. Read jurassicpork’s live blogging, if you have the time.

Back to war: Afghanistan is lost, plain and simple. Despite frantic attempts to find support for the US strategy in Afghanistan, there is no chance left of winning this. Robert Gates alienated his allies first by claiming, they didn’t have the necessary skills to fight a counterinsurgency and then by writing a coercive letter to a member of his coalition, fully aware that he asked for the impossible. Condoleeza Rice tripping the globe in a last-ditch attempt to find renewed support, or just an idea how to go on. Simon Jenkins writes:

The American secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, flies to Britain this week to meet a crisis entirely of London and Washington’s creation. They have no strategy for the continuing occupation of Afghanistan. They are hanging on for dear life and praying for something to turn up. Britain is repeating the experience of Gordon in Khartoum, of the Dardanelles, Singapore and Crete, of politicians who no longer read history expecting others to die for their dreams of glory.

 Read on…

“Europeanview” wishes you a happy and peaceful Wednesday, take care.

In 350 Days someone new will be your President – This man?

Good morning from Europe. This morning, checking the major english spoken newspaper websites for news, I stumbled across an article, an extract of “The Audacity of Hope” by Barack Obama printed by “The Independent”.

“The Zoo” does not endorse any particular candidate and I am sure my colleagues would agree if I said, that we encourage diversity in opinion. On the other hand, after reading this, I personally and I’m speaking for myself only here, found it inspiring to read. So I’m sharing it with you to come to your own conclusion:

First, he captivated the world. Now a young senator from Illinois has a fighting chance of becoming the first black president in US history. But who exactly is he? And what inspired his bid for the White House? On the eve of Super Tuesday, Barack Obama explains why he wants to become the most powerful man on earth

Monday, 4 February 2008

 The inside of the White House doesn’t have the luminous quality that you might expect from TV or film; it seems well kept but worn, a big old house that one imagines might be a bit draughty on cold winter nights. Still, as I stood in the foyer and let my eyes wander down the corridors, it was impossible to forget the history that had been made there – John and Bobby Kennedy huddling over the Cuban missile crisis; FDR making last-minute changes to a radio address; Lincoln alone, pacing the halls and shouldering the weight of a nation.

As I munched on hors d’oeuvres and engaged in small talk with a handful of House members, I recalled my previous two encounters with the President, the first a brief congratulatory call after the election, the second a small White House breakfast with me and the other incoming senators. Both times I had found the President to be a likeable man, shrewd and disciplined but with the same straightforward manner that had helped him win two elections; you could easily imagine him owning the local car dealership down the street, coaching Little League, and grilling in his backyard – the kind of guy who would make for good company so long as the conversation revolved around sports and the kids.

There had been a moment during the breakfast meeting, though, after the backslapping and the small talk and when all of us were seated, with Vice President Cheney eating his eggs Benedict impassively and Karl Rove at the far end of the table discreetly checking his BlackBerry, that I witnessed a different side of the man. The President had begun to discuss his second-term agenda, mostly a reiteration of his campaign talking points – the importance of staying the course in Iraq and renewing the Patriot Act, the need to reform Social Security and overhaul the tax system, his determination to get an up-or-down vote on his judicial appointees – when suddenly it felt as if somebody in a back room had flipped a switch. The President’s eyes became fixed; his voice took on the agitated, rapid tone of someone neither accustomed to nor welcoming interruption; his easy affability was replaced by an almost messianic certainty. As I watched my mostly Republican Senate colleagues hang on his every word, I was reminded of the dangerous isolation that power can bring, and appreciated the Founders’ wisdom in designing a system to keep power in check.

Read the rest of the article, here

Good Morning from Europe – 354 opportunities to impeach!

Good Morning! The GOP Californian Debate has caught the eye of “The Times'” US editor Gerard Baker. And, if an article starts thus:

Another pretty dreadful debate, to be frank. Once again CNN demonstrated how little it really understands the Republican party. Anderson Cooper in particular continues to treat Republicans as some sort of anthropological curiosity, gingerly throwing them silly questions as a zookeeper might throw lumps of rotting meat into a cage full of irritable lions.

it’s made for TheZoo.

Here are the highlights, according to my borrowed European view:

I actually thought the worst moment of the whole debate was McCain’s stupid little snipe about how Romney had done a good job buying and selling companies resulting in some people being laid off. It was the kind of thing that testified both to McCain’s uncontrollable tendency towards nastiness and to the rather troubling attitude he sometimes displays towards business. No-one likes the idea of workers being laid off but it sounds very odd for a self-described conservative and strong supporter of the free market to be expressing doubt about a company’s feeedom to control its labour costs.

(…)

More than a third of the way through (it seems longer) and I don’t think anyone’s earth has moved yet. Tedious doesn’t begin to capture it.

Public Works: Interesting exposition of classical Keynesian stimulus economics by the ever-entertaining Huckabee.

Climate Change: McCain looks and sounds tired. Maybe he’s hoping that if he talks…really…slowly….everybody will just fall asleep and the debate will change nothing.

Read more here: It sounds like you didn’t miss much, when you decided to do something useful instead of watching the debate.

What if McCain prevails and will be nominated in the end? Hard times for the Republican Party ahead. As said in yesterday’s post, the likes of Malkin and Coulter are livid and the Party establishment will work him hard to change some of his positions. To top this off, Republican outsiders Giuliani and Schwarzenegger have endorsed McCain.

Now, the Democratic Party has another set of problems to solve. Sadly, John Edwards has quit the race. Who is going to get his delegates, asks “The Guardian”. And the Times helps us out with a useful list of endorsements for either candidate. “Der Spiegel” provides us with a calculation, why none of the candidates will finally win the nomination on Super Tuesday. Here’s why: Democrats need 2025 delegates for nomination. Hillary Clinton has 232, Barack Obama 158, (Edwards 62). 1678 Delegates will be determined at Super Tuesday. Given that one cadidate takes all Hillary Clinton can get 1910 (1972 if she gets Edwards’), Obama 1836 (1898 Edwards’ included) that’s still not 2025. And, it explains, why Hillary Clinton is so keen on including the Florida delegates despite her signing a party agreement, that the Floridians are out. The calculation for the Republicans looks similar (McCain max. 1178, Romney max. 1155/ 1191 needed). So, prepare for an ongoing battle. Even if you don’t live in a Super Tuesday State, your vote may still make a difference.

And finally, away from the elections. Which branch of the economy is still reaping record profits? Right – Oil

“Europeanview” wishes you all a happy and healthy day. Take care!

Hello from Europe – 358 Days of Bush left

The Sunday papers today know but one headline: Obama, Obama, Obama, Obama and Obama.

Wait a minute: Here’s something interesting, a must-read: “The Sunday Times” again covers  the Sibel Edmonds story.

AN investigation into the illicit sale of American nuclear secrets was compromised by a senior official in the State Department, a former FBI employee has claimed.

The official is said to have tipped off a foreign contact about a bogus CIA company used to investigate the sale of nuclear secrets.

The firm, Brewster Jennings & Associates, was a front for Valerie Plame, the former CIA agent. Her public outing two years later in 2003 by White House officials became a cause célèbre.

The State Department official denied the story:

The State Department official said on Friday: “It is impossible to find a strong enough way to deny these allegations which are both false and malicious.”

From the look of it, the allegations are worth a hefty jail sentence, I’d deny it too. The Zoo’s “nwmuse” has posted on this story very early on and you can find more coverage here.

Germany is holding elections in two states today. They are considered a litmus test for the ruling grand coalition in Berlin. Hesse is particularly of interest, because of a dirty campaign by the ruling governor Roland Koch, which appealed mostly to the baser instincts like xenophobia.

Have you ever heard of Jérôme Kerviel? Well he’s the young man who helped the Société Générale to lose $7 Billion. What a villain? Not if you’re French:

 ‘He was your ideal son-in-law,’ said 62-year-old Martine Le Pohon, who remembers Jérôme helping his mother out on Saturdays at Un Monde Imagin’ Hair. ‘And if it turns out that he has stood up to the system to the tune of €5m, well, as far as I am concerned, that makes him even more ideal.’

By the way, President Sarkozy and his minions learned about the  fraud only three days after the bank’s management was aware of it. Sarkozy was livid, for not being informed. Well, maybe taking care of your job instead of your “singer-model-wife-mistress” would help you along in getting taken serious Monsieur Le Président!

And here’s another “conservative” poised to return to power and, in his case most importantly, immunity from prosecution, Silvio Berlusconi.

Did you think businesses are concerned about global climate change? Think again!

And there may still be one day when the world’s weakest are not subject to abuse anymore, but that will still be a long time from today.

This is what struck me a interesting or important in the Sunday Papers. I wish you all a peaceful and happy Sunday. Take care!

Let’s take a walk on the wild side of campaigning

Mike Huckabee wins the crown of wittiness. He has understood that in America, where free speech is considered a pillar of civil rights, you are not going to be shot, when disagreeing publicly and directly with what a candidate has to say. You just get tased!

“The fact is, in a lot places where a person would do that, they’d get shot on the spot. Not in this country, they’ll just tase you bro,’ that’s all they’ll do”, he said, referring to the incident at the University of Florida when a heckler tried to confront Sen. John Kerry during a speech and ended up getting tased by police.

The crowd at the Huckabee rally erupted in laughter and applause.

The google search words “Giuliani on the trail” don’t give you any results from the current year on the first page. But he is still around. He just phones in, if necessary.

Mitt Romney at a Nashua Rotary Club event ( quite the ordinary people’s candidate isn’t he ?) was asked how he’d combat the nation’s burgeoning pet population? One commenter on  the blog had the following solution to offer:

Romney would have all unwanted pets strapped to the roofs of cars and driven to Canada. Problem solved.

Posted by: bokonon13 | January 7, 2008 03:26 PM

Mitt Romney himself would … would …would ? Right, form a committee to deal with the problem! But you really can’t ask Mitt anything!

What a wild bunch!

How to win a primary – Just a thought – Do we really want to count backwards on Jan 21st, 2009 again?

When women voters stay away from you, you have to win them over, by snarky remarks on sexist heckling, for instance:

Shedding a few well placed tears could help you, too:

Was this all well calculated and planted? Well, she did it before:

And never mind the Diebold vote counting machine “glitches”, this has happened before as well, though not with the democratic side, as far as I know. BTW. It’s 375 Days of Bush left.

Obituaries premature: Hillary Clinton wins New Hampshire

The race to the Democratic nomination is undecided, still. Hillary Clinton has, quite unexpectedly, after the poll numbers we’ve read in the run-up to the New Hampshire primaries, won in New Hampshire. Accordingly the European media are celebrating the “comeback kid” across the board. And John McCain, too, when it comes to that, but the Republican race, again, is not making the headlines. Republican primaries are still reported on almost as an afterthought.

The Times: Hillary Clinton wins New Hampshire, defying polls 

The Guardian: Clinton fights back to take New Hampshire 

The Independent: Surprise win for Clinton the comeback kid

The Telegraph: Hillary Clinton stages comeback in New Hampshire

Der Spiegel: The reinvention of Hillary Clinton 

What is common ground? The victory of Hillary Clinton in the New Hampshire primaries has surprised the very people, who have hyped Barack Obama’s Iowa triumph into some kind of revolution, me included. Hillary Clinton seems to have won over the women of New Hampshire and traditional Democrats. Barack Obama’s supporters are likely younger and he has a strong performance when it comes to independent voters. But there are still 17% votes for John Edwards, 5% for Bill Richardson and 1% for Dennis Kucinich. A closer look reveals that her “tearful moment” may have been a turning point, when the Hillary campaign became Hillary the person. Much more important could be the fact, that Hillary Clinton has taken up the “change” mantra, as have all the other candidates and has succeeded in combining “change” and “experience” in the minds of the voters.

The next steps ahead are  South Carolina and Nevada and after that “Super Tuesday” should bring a clearer picture. Money is playing a bigger role now, too, because the campaigning goes national. And for Hillary Clinton, money is sure no problem.

And as an afterthought here, too. The media is still waiting for Rudy Giuliani. McCain’s victory has been dubbed a “comeback”  as much as Hillary Clinton’s. The lack of support from the party establishment for John McCain, makes it unlikel, that he will be the candidate. The Republican race is still open, but Mitt Romney has, again, not delivered.

 “Europeanview” wishes you all a good and healthy day, enjoy the pundits’ egg on their collective faces and take care!

 UPDATE: It must have been the tears! See here and here and here

Hillary Clinton revealed today the turning point which helped to resurrect her presidential campaign and stall the seemingly unstoppable bandwagon of her rival Barack Obama.

She described the incident in a New Hampshire diner when she almost broke into tears as a “wonderful moment” that allowed voters to “get a sense of why I do what I do”.

I, personally, immediately got a sense of why she does what she does. I hope the voters do as well.