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I wrote this eight years ago today, towards the denouement of the Clinton/Obama contest to win the Democratic Presidential nomination. Despite being ahead in the popular vote, the DNC threw Hillary Clinton under the bus and handed the nomination to Barack Obama. It was a disgusting "fuck you" to everyone who actually believed in a fair democratic system.

Now, in 2016, I have seen many complaints during the Clinton/Sanders contest about how the DNC has treated Sanders unfairly. There have been irregularities, but nothing to the degree of what happened in 2008 and nothing tied to the Clinton campaign now which could be directly tied to the Obama campaign then.

Here's the bottom line: Hillary Clinton should have been the Democratic nominee in 2008. She won the popular vote - that's how it should work. Sanders supporters are rightly justified in complaining about an overly complicated and "rigged" system, but do themselves no good by placing all of the blame on Hillary Clinton, who was a victim of this very system only eight years ago!

And let's face it: Hillary Clinton is winning the popular vote in the 2016 primaries. To maintain this lead given by common registered Democrats is to be the legitimate Democratic nominee for President. Obama could not claim this legitimacy in 2008 as the DNC handed the nomination to him. It is my hope that Sanders does not become Obama. As much as I like Sanders and wanted him to win the nomination, I can not abide a cheater. I would hope that Sanders agrees with me.

Your vote is your own. If you don't like the nominee, you don't have to vote for the nominee. Speaking only for myself, I am at peace with voting for Hillary Clinton in the general election despite voting for Bernie Sanders in the primary because she has run as clean of a campaign as possible within the constraints of a very flawed and irregular system. In the future, my hope is that we always look to the will of the people and away from the machinations of the establishment elites.
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American Extremists - Pragmatic
Four years is not a long time. I remember the election season of 2008. In the beginning it was exciting. Fatigued by eight years of so-called "compassionate conservatism" under the regime of Bush the younger, I was ready for some drastic changes in government. As campaign season swung into full gear, the Democratic Party presented two candidates who could have made history: Hillary Clinton would have been the first female President of the United States while Barack Obama would be the first mixed-race individual to occupy the White House. In this the chance to sweep away the sins of the former administration took on an added glow. It didn't take long for that shine to dull as the campaign for the Democratic nominee for President quickly turned ugly.

In the beginning I really didn't have any negative feelings about Barack Obama. If anything, he came off as yet another politician angling for some exposure who, as of that time and place, was out of his depth. Throwing my support behind Hillary Clinton was an easy decision. I, and those like me who made the decision, became privy to more vitriol and derision than any voter should ever have to endure in what we call civilized society.

The more research I did on Obama, the less I liked him as a candidate. However, Obama's failings as a potential president paled in comparison to the cult of personality which was developing around him. His supporters treated him with a reverence undeserving of any politician; the media followed suit, abandoning all pretense of objectivity. Allegedly liberal and progressive website and 'blogs began targeting and shutting out voices of dissent. To be a Hillary Clinton supporter was to be wandering around alone in the desert - or so they wanted you to believe.

Even more unsettling was how the Democratic National Committee was doing some decidedly undemocratic things which were to the benefit of the Obama campaign. Convention delegates from Michigan were arbitrarily reassigned so as to be committed to Obama, negating the actual poll results for that state's primary. When the convention did roll around, the fact that Hillary Clinton had won the popular vote among registered Democrats was irrelevant. The deck had been stacked for Obama and Clinton conceded as the DNC pushed him over the finish line.

I was stunned. What the Republicans had done to Al Gore and the American voter in 2000 when Bush was selected, the Democrats had done to one of their own. All illusions shattered, any claim the Democrats had to the moral high ground was lost.

As the focus of Election 2008 turned to Obama versus McCain, I found that I no longer had any passion for a Democratic victory in the November. Obama's candidacy was tainted - if he didn't have the character to win the nomination fairly, how would he comport himself as President? The Obama fan base, energized by their victory did not make matters easier. Their primary argument consisted of, "you're a registered Democrat - you have to vote for Obama." If one dared point out flaws or positional inconsistencies regarding their candidate, the response generally went along the lines of the standard, "well, the other side is worse, so are you really going to let them win" if you were lucky or, if the Obama supporter wished to go nuclear the accusation of racism was leveled. All sanity had simply quit the room, so to speak.

I watched the candidates debate, even going to a couple of parties hosted by the local Democratic organizers to try and get a feel for why Obama was such an object of their adoration. I never could into the same mindset as the people who were already hooked on Obama. The tipping point came for me when I realized, while watching Obama and McCain "debating" one another, that both men were saying essentially the same thing. The words were different, the delivery honed for each candidate's respective base, but the message was the same. These two men were saying the same thing: "vote for me, I will maintain the status quo." Obama was a Republican masquerading as a Democrat while at least McCain was honest about his true party affiliation.

The Democratic Party had told me that they didn't want my vote. I obliged and pulled the lever for John McCain.

Four years later Obama has not given me any truly compelling reason to believe I was wrong in voting against him. Guantanamo Bay is still open and running. American troops are still in Afghanistan. The economy is still tanking for the 99%. And the signature legislative achievement of the Obama administration, health care reform is little more than a wet and sloppy thousand page word-kiss for the health insurance industry; funny how it took a so-called "Democrat" to pass Republican legislation on a national level. Because what they now derisively refer to as Obamacare is really Romneycare.

I've come to see voting as an exercise in measured reactions. I never expect a candidate to match my personal positions 100% or even 75%, but is it too much to ask for a public servant to actually account for and act in accordance to what the American people need? The politics of lesser-evilism is becoming more and more of a dead-end street as the metrics for what is "evil" continues to shift. It's become a game of ratios. An example: if it came down to Barack Obama versus Rick Santorum, I would hold my nose and vote for Obama - not because I think Obama deserves my vote but because in the game of ratios, Santorum triggers my personal threshold of "must block from power at all costs." I feel the same way about Ron Paul, if you're curious.

However, when it comes to a race of Barack Obama versus Mitt Romney, I just kind of shrug. Neither one of these men represents me, so why should I vote for either one? I've become one of those people the partisans love to hate: the independent voter. The Democrats think they have me because I'm registered to that party. The Republicans think they might be able to woo me because I criticize Obama (word to the wise: I criticize Obama because he isn't liberal enough, not because he isn't libertarian enough). Truth be told, I'm at peace with the fact that come November, I'm likely voting "third" party or writing in "none of the above." It wouldn't be the first time I've done it and doubt it will be the last.

I know the backlash and derision will come my way for not falling into line and supporting the legacy party duopoly. The Kossacks are already sharpening their pointing fingers to shame those of us who won't vote for Obama. I welcome their hatred and venom. I'm ready to ignore the guilt trips. I'm ready to ignore the name-calling. I'm ready to ignore the accusations of irrationality and the jeers that I'm wasting my vote (ah, but it is mine to waste, is it not?). I'm ready to draw strength from the pain of independence.

It was all thrown at me in 2008 and it's all going to get thrown at me again in 2012. Do you really think what didn't work then will work now?

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Nearly 18 months ago, Mark Morford wrote this article for the San Francisco Gate: "Is Obama an enlightened being?" An excerpt:

Here's where it gets gooey. Many spiritually advanced people I know (not coweringly religious, mind you, but deeply spiritual) identify Obama as a Lightworker, that rare kind of attuned being who has the ability to lead us not merely to new foreign policies or health care plans or whatnot, but who can actually help usher in a new way of being on the planet, of relating and connecting and engaging with this bizarre earthly experiment. These kinds of people actually help us evolve. They are philosophers and peacemakers of a very high order, and they speak not just to reason or emotion, but to the soul.

How's that working out anyhow? My sources say...not so good.

A more recent Morford work is the borderline offensive, sexually-obsessed "Please mount my hot blue alien." Apparently Avatar is a beautifully rendered fanservice film. I simply must see this film now! Well, save for the fact that these fetish pieces never cater to my fetishes.

Does Morford want to be taken seriously? Have I stumbled upon a humour columnist? Is this guy actually a 14 year old trapped in a man's body? I only have the answer to one of those questions.

Getting back to Obama, Morford is a true believer (in other words, a fool). In the column "Obama, the great disappointment?" he answers the title question with a resounding "no!" One of his main arguments for this lack of liberal failure on the part of the Obama administration is the forthcoming passage of the Health Insurance Reform bill.

A sobering thought came to mind about this bill which is about to become law: it defines my health insurance as a Cadillac plan. I'm lucky for the moment - I have a low deductible and pretty much everything I need medically is covered (with the realisation that I benefit from not being female, mind you). Meanwhile, I have loved ones who have to pay upwards of $2000 (that's a two followed by three zeros - I have not forgotten a decimal point) out of pocket before getting any benefit from the insurance company. The taxes imposed on "Cadillac" plans by this bill will likely force insurance companies to cut coverage to contain costs - that is, costs will be passed down to consumers in the form of increased deductibles.

And this is success, according to Morford? Perhaps he, like Obama and like most of our so-called representatives has been paid off by lobbyists. I'd have a dearth of disappointment too if large corporations were shoving money in my face in exchange for my conscience.

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Barack Obama's plan for sending 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan - just in time for Christmas - is irrefutably stupid. I am completely through with this piece of shit president. Oh, and you Obama apologists should ask yourself this: would you support this action if McCain was doing it? Think long and hard and don't bother to comment if you're going to say something stupid. This "racist, low information voter" had his fill of stupid during the primaries and general election of 2008.

And in case you're wondering, I wouldn't support any possible president pulling this bullshit. Not Barack Obama, not John McCain, not Hillary Clinton.

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Comedy is the best way to knock the powerful and arrogant down.

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Thank you, Joseph Cannon; your way with imagery is...eloquent.

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Yeah, it's all over the place that Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. I don't have much to say on the subject aside from "he doesn't deserve it," but Ted Rall nails it:

In what one of the most appalling decisions since the Medal of Freedom went to Paul Bremer, Barack Obama has won the Nobel Peace (cough) Prize.

Setting aside the obvious question--what peace agreement did he negotiate> in what material way did he promote the cause of peace?--one has to slap one's collective forehead in amazement at the spectacle of a man getting ready to send 40,000 more troops to kill Afghans winning such a prize. The Iraq War continues without end. Afghanistan is ramping up. Drone planes are bombing Pakistani civilians for fun and profit. He's sabre-rattling with Guinea. He continues to torture detainees in Guantanamo, Bagram, Diego Garcia, various secret prisons, etc. He hasn't restored habeas corpus. He wants to renew the Patriot Act.

Thank you, Ted - I knew I could count on you.

I've read people calling it "awesome" that Obama won this. How is this "awesome?" Is the bar for "awesome" so low that a sitting President must merely sit back and maintain the status quo of ruination left by his predecessor in order to be Nobel material? Do we really have such abysmally pathetic standards?

Yeah, apparently so.

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From the AP: Man carrying assault weapon attends Obama protest. An excerpt:

PHOENIX – About a dozen people carrying guns, including one with a military-style rifle, milled among protesters outside the convention center where President Barack Obama was giving a speech Monday — the latest incident in which protesters have openly displayed firearms near the president.

Gun-rights advocates say they're exercising their constitutional right to bear arms and protest, while those who argue for more gun control say it could be a disaster waiting to happen.

Phoenix police said the gun-toters at Monday's event, including the man carrying an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle slung over his shoulder, didn't need permits. No crimes were committed, and no one was arrested.

When George W. Bush occupied the White House, I don't recall any events where anyone was allowed anywhere near him with a firearm if they weren't a member of the Secret Service or Dick Cheney (and I'm sure Bush was a bit sketchy about Cheney and his guns after a certain incident involving a lawyer buddy and a hunting trip). In fact, I can imagine that if anyone tried to show up to a Bush event brandishing any type of firearm - to say nothing of an assault rifle - they would have ended up Gitmoed faster than you could blurt out, "A well-regulated militia..."

Given the fact that the wingnuts are up in arms over what they perceive as "socialism" and the "big bad lefties coming for their freedoms," I'm forced to wonder why the Secret Service isn't being more proactive in keeping angry people with guns and potentially itchy trigger fingers away from the President. I don't see this ending well, honestly.

Americans may have the right to bear arms, but these displays are nothing more than machismo posturing meant to threaten and intimidate others into silence. I'm fond of pointing out to gun-nuts that their favourite Amendment comes second to my favourite Amendment.

And the President does not deserve to be placed in a situation where his own safety is being so glaringly compromised.

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JibJab is up to their old tricks again:

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Barack Obama is not a great speaker. He is a great reciter. He can read phrases quite well, and translate said text into pleasing vocalisations, which while technically speaking of a high calibre, does not a great speaker make. Now that the election is long over and the media no longer needs to sell a sheeplike public their politician of choice, out comes the criticism. From Politico:

Obama’s reliance on the teleprompter is unusual — not only because he is famous for his oratory, but because no other president has used one so consistently and at so many events, large and small.

After the teleprompter malfunctioned a few times last summer and Obama delivered some less-than-soaring speeches, reports surfaced that he was training to wean himself off of the device while on vacation in Hawaii. But no such luck.

Not that I expect most - if any - politicians to be erudite, but so much reliance on a script smells faintly totalitarian (regardless of intentions). Obama needs to kick the teleprompter habit.

illusionofjoy: (Default)

...now that Barack Obama has been elected. Ted Rall goes for the jugular once again.

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Hey Obamaheads: go read today's Sidequests! Hey non-Obamaheads: go read today's Sidequests!

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With Obama now in office, I've seen a multitude of articles from those who were his self-appointed fluffers during the campaign now finding themselves disillusioned with him. This week's Pittsburgh City Paper contained a cover article which I threw down and ceased reading after the first sentence of the second paragraph:

Read more... )
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Ted Rall's column this week is a blistering piece on how Obama, not even receiving a fraction of the criticism of George W. Bush, may end up ultimately being worse for the country than the former president. A sample:

The soaring optimistic rhetoric of the campaign ("yes we can") is no more, replaced by the sober, string-synced cello strains of Yo-Yo Ma. So is Obama's million-dollar smile. The Dour One is demanding patience. And he's getting it, for now: "Most respondents [to the New York Times/CBS News poll taken January 19th] said they thought it would take Mr. Obama two years or more to deliver on campaign promises to improve the economy, expand health care coverage and end the war in Iraq."

Setting the bar low seems to be working. Seventy-nine percent of Americans say they're optimistic about the next four years under Obama.

Sad, pathetic Americans! Like a dog that's been beaten eight long years, they're so psyched about the fact that their new master doesn't drool and speaks coherent English that they'll follow him anywhere. The media is in love with The One and so, therefore, is the public. No one questions him.

The whole column is well worth reading, of course. Also it is certain to bunch of the shorts of many a Kool-Aide drinker out there. It was these first three sentences of the final paragraph however which struck me as the only blemish on an otherwise perfect piece:

Give the man a chance? Not me. I've sized up him, his advisors and their plans, and already found them sorely wanting.

The actuality of course that Ted Rall did give Obama a chance in the same manner as millions of other Americans: Rall voted for Obama. I, however, read the tea leaves during the campaign and opted not to give Obama a chance as I leveraged my vote against him.

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Klunk, ker-chang and the gears inside the great government machine shift around once more. Despite wanting to for the historical importance, my workload today prevented me from watching the inauguration of Barack Obama. I'll catch the highlights on the flipside, I'm sure. In the meantime, you should read this comic strip by the ever insightful [livejournal.com profile] agentorrange.

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As Martin Luther King Jr. Day wanes, we face the waxing of Inauguration Day, where Barack Obama will officially become the next President. I'll try to catch as much of the event as possible, seeing as I have to work tomorrow, but it is an important mark in history. There will be possibly two million people descending on Washington DC to celebrate the myth of Obama; let us all silently hope that the man can live up to even a fraction of the myth.

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Electoral College votes are based on a winner take all tally based on the popular vote on a per state basis. In Pennsylvania, Barack Obama won by eleven points over John McCain, which gave him all 21 of the state's electoral votes. This is how electoral votes are tallied in 48 of the 50 states - the two notable exceptions being Maine and Nebraska. These two states split their electoral votes in a unique manner: part of the votes are reserved for the typical winner take all tally (three in each state) while the remaining electoral votes are assigned based on the popular vote for congressional districts in each state (two in Nebraska, one in Maine). Barack Obama has won the popular vote in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District. From the Associated Press:

OMAHA, Neb. – President-elect Barack Obama won one of Nebraska's electoral votes, the first time in history that the state has split its votes and the first time in 44 years that it had given a vote to a Democrat.

After remaining ballots were counted Friday, Obama had a 3,325-vote lead over Republican John McCain in unofficial results for the 2nd Congressional District. Nebraska and Maine are the two states that divide their electoral votes by congressional districts.

Obama, who won the White House last week, has 365 electoral votes to McCain's 162. Missouri, with 11 electoral votes, is still too close to call. Election officials in that state have until Tuesday to finish counting.

The last Democrat to win Nebraska was Lyndon B. Johnson, who carried the state in 1964.

Prior to the election, when I was playing around with the interactive Electoral College map at 270toWin.com, I kept coming up with scenarios where the election was tied with 269 electors assigned to each candidate. It occurred to me that if Omaha were to come out strong for Obama, splitting Nebraska's electoral vote, that would break the tie in favour of Obama. Obviously, the electoral college results were not nearly as close when all was said and done, Obama securing himself a comfortable victory. However, it is still an interesting bit of historical trivia to note that not only will Obama be the first Black President, he will also be the first President who was elected who managed to split Nebraska's Electoral vote.

Obama wins

Nov. 5th, 2008 07:45 am
illusionofjoy: (Default)

It looks like Barack Obama will be the next President.

illusionofjoy: (No Obama)

I cast my ballot early this morning. It looked like this:

President of the United States
John McCain/Sarah Palin, Republican

US Legislature
US Representative; District 18

Steve O'Donnell, Democratic

State Executive
Attorney General; State of Pennsylvania

John M. Morganelli, Democratic

Auditor General; State of Pennsylvania
Jack Wagner, Democratic

State Treasurer; State of Pennsylvania
Robert McCord, Democratic

State Senate
State Senator; District 37

Amy Jude Schmotzer, Democratic

State House
State Representative; District 42

Matt Smith, Democratic

State Referendums
Referendum Act-64 Water and Sewer Improvements Bond Referendum

YES

So now all that is left to do is wait and see which assclown will occupy the White House starting in 2009.

illusionofjoy: (No Obama)

I received the following message on my voice mail:

"My name is Irma and I'm a volunteer for Barack Obama for America. I just wanted to call you to remind you to go to your early polling station this May and vote for Obama. Thank you, have a nice day."

Irma sounded elderly, and while the Obama campaign may have given her the wrong script to read from, I just found it sad that she didn't seem to realise that it's November and the election is three days away. Also, there's no early voting in Pennsylvania, which is as it should be - I am against early voting because it is a surreptitious way of creating inequality within the electorate.

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Seth Warren

May 2017

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