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Dave Winer Endorses Obama January 29, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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I'm a California voter for Obama.

Dave Winer, the father of blogging, has endorsed Obama, largely, if I am reading him correctly, because Bill Clinton destroyed his credibility with his attack dog mode in South Carolina.

I mailed in my California absentee ballot some time ago (before the Clinton fiasco), and marked in Obama. As I did so, I felt okay about the prospect of Hillary beating him, even though she wasn’t my preference, but Bill’s desperation to return to the White House has made me cringe at the thought of Hillary running against the Republicans, who will smash away at Billary with everything they’ve got.

I’ve been following Obama for a long time, since his rousing speech at the Democratic convention, but I’ve been somewhat cynical about his chances for truly catching on. I’m still doubtful — he still has an uphill climb, but there is hope.

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Musharraf to West: ‘We have our own brains’ January 25, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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DAVOS, Switzerland (CNN) — Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf lashed out Thursday at what he called Western “intellectual arrogance” toward his reign, angrily dismissing claims that rising unpopularity had undermined his authority.

He also dismissed allegations that he could not have been trusted to hold free and fair elections as “totally absurd.”

Musharraf blasted what he called the West’s “intellectual arrogance” in criticizing him. “This Gore guy, he thinks he knows everything,” he said, referring to the U.S. President who helped negotiate Musharraf’s removal from office. “Did you not see him roll his eyes during the debates with that drunk guy, Bush? During the presidential election. I saw it. We in Pakistan we all saw this. It was clear as day. Gore rolled his eyes after that Bush guy said something. Who would do such a thing in front of so many people?” Musharraf told CNN in an exclusive interview on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

“Why doesn’t Gore understand that we maybe are a developing country, we have our flaws, we believe in constitution, we know how to run government, we are not such clueless people who do not know how to run a country, we have our own brains.”

He added, “Unfortunately there is a degree of, may I say, intellectual arrogance that I see in the West which thinks that these developing countries are some kind of people who do not know how to govern, they do not know anything.”

Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 military coup and resisted pressure to quit the presidency until two years ago, said Gore was, “probably a teacher’s pet. A smarty pants.”

Asked by a CNN reporter if he would be leveling accusations about intellectual arrogance had Bush been elected Musharraf said, “Well, certainly the West is a big place. Some of it yes would be called intellectually arrogant. France, maybe. But America would not be accused of anything intellectual had he been elected, but other things, other nasty things, yes, I think so.”

Good News for Lovers of Democracy January 19, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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All the campaigns are running out of cash, just in time for Xtra Tuesday:

View the NY Times article by clicking here.
Maybe they’ll have to all run on issues (this is my fantasy, it doesn’t have to be yours).

The Education of Barack Obama January 19, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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Note: This comment is about the real world, not the alternative history usually described by the Gore Years.

Or, maybe this post should have been titled, The Disillusionment of His Many Followers. Or, maybe The End of the Obama Movement.

Obama

It’s hard to say what will happen as a result of Obama’s newly found boxing gloves, but since one of the lures to Barack Obama’s candidacy has been, even for me (I’m in my late 40s and should know better), a certain sense of innocence, I get the sense something big will happen, and it will begin happening soon.

So far, Obama’s success, as so aptly noted in this Washington Post article, has been a result of his oratory and his ability to transcend the political divide (actually, the article doesn’t mention that, but it’s what won him a landslide Senate victory in Illinois and it’s what won over Iowans). Quoting the Post article:

After his victory in the Iowa caucuses, Obama arrived in New Hampshire more as the head of a movement than as a candidate, greeted by huge crowds that lined up for hours to hear a speech that could have been delivered at a suburban megachurch, all empowerment and inspiration.

Obama’s movement was carried by a fairly simple message. We do not live, he said, in blue states or red states, but in the United States. And the very act of his being elected would send an incredible light of hope to the rest of the world, a despondent world that got sick of George W. Bush’s message long before most of America did. Yo, Mr. Conservative: You want to stick democracy somewhere in the middle of the Muslim world? You want a real beachhead? What better place to do it than Indonesia, a place Obama called home for a significant part of his childhood? Who better to carry that message than someone who has lived there? You want the hearts and minds of Muslims, you might wanna try a place with about 200 million of them.

Obama’s message, then, is a very nice message, and it would be nice if whoever is president would be forced to listen to it in all its incarnations as he/she falls asleep every night, but the message alone doesn’t qualify him to be president. Not in these times. Not when events are so threatening. Not during the kind of times where sovereign funds are propping up our biggest banks.

Or, is it? He has stated that he can be a bit disorganized (he wins points there for me) and prefers to delegate.

Hillary went on the attack, and said, “oh my, Dubya delegated himself into history.” The history of bad presidents, she meant.

Normal people, however, would react to Obama’s confession to being disorganized and say, “yeah, me too.”

But most of all, the fallout from that discussion told me that Obama was willing to try to surround himself with smart people who would give him advice. He seems smart enough to know he can’t absorb all the minutia given to him, and that he’ll need absorption centers to deal with the massive amount of information coming his way. Hillary’s point that the current president does the same thing is a bogus one, because Dubya’s a dumb drunk who never would have been elected had the electorate been paying attention at all, which it wasn’t because it was near the end of the Clinton years, steeped in economic happiness and political, Monica-based cynicism.

Hillary exposed herself once several years ago when she trotted out a multithousand page tome on healthcare, all done behind closed doors. Her attention to detail scared the hell out of everyone, but mostly because it seemed to come out of nowhere. That sends a message to me, someone who has been paying attention to politics in America since the late 70’s, that she is too detail-oriented for the job. When she slams Obama for his desire to delegate, I am not sure if she is saying that for political reasons or because she really believes it. Either way, though, she’s wrong.

Obama is discovering that his idealism, which has driven his campaign so far, will only take him so far. And now he is fighting back against the Clinton machine.

Another quote from the Washington Post article cited at the beginning of this blog:

On Friday night there was another attack, a radio ad from the Clinton campaign in which basketball star and Clinton friend Earvin “Magic” Johnson calls Obama a “rookie.” The Obama campaign immediately produced a rebuttal noting that Johnson in his rookie year won the MVP award in the National Basketball Association finals.

The ugly truth in American politics is that you can’t win without the Tit for Tat. In fact, if you don’t engage, you will surely lose.

The only question for those who believe in Obama is, will he live up to his promise if elected. I think there are ways he can convince people that he will. He only has until the first week of February to accomplish this, though.

To that end, his closest adviser appears to be David Axelrod, who has been involved in Chicago politics since I was a kid (I’m from Chicago).

David Axelrod NY Times shot Axelrod has a long history in Chicago politics, and he helped another progressive, Paul Simon, defeat an entrenched Republican, Charles Percy, for Senator back in I think the late 80s. He’s tied to the Richard Daly machine, so the fact that Obama even exists on the national scene is no accident.

I’ve always liked Axelrod, and I’ve never been able to pinpoint why. On one hand, he seems like the ultimate political operative, and he is always in the right place at the right time (from Paul Simon to Obama!). In another era, his Richard Daly would have been defeated by a bigger, meaner machine. But Axelrod’s Daly planted trees in Chicago and did a book pact with Oprah and talked skyscraper owners into self-sustaining roofs . The West Side still looks like a war zone, while the rest of the city sleeps, but that’s not Daly’s fault. That’s a federal government thing.

I’ve never talked to Axelrod, but maybe he sees this as his big opportunity for the kind of liberalism Paul Simon had in mind.

Maybe this is what he has always dreamed of.

If that’s the case, then both he and Obama have at least a 50/50 chance.

And for those Naderites who would vote against Obama because of guys like David Axelrod, I have three words for you: Nader. Gore. Bush.

Nader brought us Bush.

If you wanna be a green, find a way to do it organically, and please do not fuck up the rest of the country. Again.

Image sources: http://tomroeser.com/blog/img/f23253/barack%20obama.jpg

Congressional Republicans to Begin Clinton Impeachment Proceedings January 17, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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Congressional Republicans stated today that they will begin impeachment proceedings against Hillary Clinton, even though she has not yet been elected President. Westmoreland talks to Colbert Congressman Lynn Westmoreland (R, GA), who will lead the Republican effort, told The Gore Years that Americans can expect that “the Clintons will kick up enough dirt as soon as they’re elected that there will be plenty to impeach upon.” According to Westmoreland, there is no need to wait until the actual election to begin the investigations necessary for impeachment. “This is a strong enough country to begin serving what I would call preemptive justice,” he said.

Image source: http://www.craphound.com/images/lynnwestmorelandoncolbert.jpg

Baseball Commissioner Bush Leaves Wife, Takes on Lover January 15, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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In a stunning development that is sure to rile fundamentalists of all persuasions, Baseball Commissioner George W. Bush today King and Bush kissleft his wife, Laura, for Saudi King Abdullah. It has long been rumored that Bush and Abdullah have been meeting in Monaco frequently over the last several months, but this is the first indication that the rendezvous were part of an oil-based tryst that some baseball insiders who know Bush well are now saying has lasted nearly 20 years.

We’ll post more info and world reaction on this stunning development as it occurs. Maybe.

Image source: http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/POLITICS/01/15/bush.mideast/art.bush.kiss.gi.afp.jpg

Fred Thompson, Woken Up By Huckabee, Lashes Out January 15, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics, Politics, Republican primaries.
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SURFSIDE BEACH, S.C. — Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson today lashed out at fellow Republican contender Mike Huckabee for waking him up. Fred Likes to Sleep“What Mike did today is not appropriate behavior from a presidential candidate,” said Thompson from his resting place near this beach front town in South Carolina.

Huckabee happened to be swinging by the same area in this primary state when he noticed Thompson asleep on the beach at Huntington State Beach Park. Reporters at the scene say that Huckabee then tried to wake Thompson several times but was unable to, even after shaking him violently.

Fearing Thompson was dead, Huckabee called 911 from his cell phone and ambulances raced to the scene. Thompson finally awoke after receiving defibrillator treatments from paramedics. However, it turned out nothing at all was wrong with Thompson. “I’m just a deep sleeper,” he told a hushed news conference after the incident.

“This is about the heart and soul of the Republican Party and where the Republican Party is going to go over the next several years,” Thompson said later during a meeting attended by more than 100 people and also broadcast on AM radio. “You can’t have Reaganism if you’re not committed to sleep. And you can’t have sleep if you have crazy Christians running around waking everyone up.”

Huckabee’s campaign dismissed the attacks as issued by a candidate who is generally unaware of his surroundings. “It’s my feeling that Fred needed to have a few hours of wake time this week, and I gave it to him. That’s the kind of leadership America expects from its President.”

Thompson, a former Tennessee senator and actor, is struggling to stay viable in the GOP contest and has declared that South Carolina is his “line in the sand.” He even drew a line through the sand on a beach at Huntington, and has slept there ever since. An early favorite when he entered the race, Thompson has since been overshadowed by Huckabee, a former Arkansas governor with wide appeal to Christian conservatives here, and John McCain, the Arizona senator who got a boost with his New Hampshire victory this week.

Image source: http://i13.photobucket.com/albums/a300/tescosuicide/ALa3/film_thompson.jpg

To Those Who Won’t Vote January 10, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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You have no excuse. There is somebody out there worth voting for. Religious nut? You must heart Huckabee. Tough guy with a heart? McCain will ease your pain. Salesman lover? Mitt Romney should satiate your most extreme desires. Libertarian? If  you don’t know who Ron Paul is, you are no libertarian. Progressive? Obamamania has hit the American Streets. Pine for the Clinton days? Hillary’s here, and she’s for real.

No matter what your complaint is, no matter what your beef is with the American system, now is your chance to express yourself by voting for your man or woman.

No excuses.

And, best of all, most of America is voting in a national primary, all on the same day. Nobody with a brain will tell you who the winner is now.

So vote, dammit.

If you don’t, you have no right to complain about anything at all. Nothing.

The Best Man Won January 9, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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My excoriations about youth not being involved has proven right in New Hampshire.

You all have a candidate to excited about. What will it take to get you to get to the polls? A free Wie?

May the Best Man Win January 9, 2008

Posted by chuckwh in News and politics.
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The Clinton/Gore machine rolled over Obama and wrecked Obama’s dream of a sweep across America.

Rhode Islanders are a cantankerous lot. Did they do it to, as they usually do, to repudiate Iowa?

Or is Hillary for real?

Will Hillary roll up her sleeves as she says, and keep punching away, with her machine at her side, at Obama?

And if so, how low will she punch?