Sunday, May 25, 2008

It's A Very Big Family

"Kennedys Feel Bobby-Socked: Outraged RFK Kin Say Hillary's Now 'Toast'"

So reports the NY Post:
Members of the Kennedy family are incensed over Hillary Rodham Clinton's invoking the assassination of Robert F. Kennedy to explain why she's staying in the race - and they think it could be the death knell of an increasingly desperate and sloppy campaign.

"That comment may be the last nail in her campaign's coffin," a Kennedy relative told The Post. "How can Hillary even use the experience argument when she repeatedly pushes the wrong buttons in her comments?"

An insider added, "I think people really felt that a line was crossed and that her campaign - and even her legitimacy as a politician - ended today."

Said a second relative, "She no longer has only her husband to blame for the ill-chosen comments coming from her camp."

While Robert Kennedy Jr. immediately came out in support of Sen. Clinton on Friday, others in the family's inner circle are fuming.
One cited "a perceived insensitivity" in her comment, made Friday before a South Dakota newspaper's editorial board, especially with the 40th anniversary of RFK's death two weeks away and Sen. Ted Kennedy battling a brain tumor.

"We were all sort of dumbfounded that she would say such a thing," the insider said.

There was also anger outside the family. Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), a Hillary supporter, told Bloomberg News that she said "the dumbest thing you could have possibly said." And the Rev. Al Sharpton ripped the comment as dangerous.

The Kennedy family insider added: "I know that many Clinton supporters in New York and New Jersey are sickened by her comments and that they are more concerned with Senator Kennedy's health and well-being than they are her campaign anymore.

Clinton was explaining why she was still in the race against Sen. Barack Obama when she said: "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June. Right?"

Then she added: "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California."

That line, which she later said was meant to convey the fact that nomination battles can extend late into the primary season, also sparked outrage for touching upon Obama's personal safety.

It was also just plain inaccurate, say historians, noting that Clinton's drawn-out battle with Obama in a seemingly endless primary season is nothing like the 1968 and 1992 Democratic campaigns.

Bobby Kennedy was not in the midst of a long-fought primary battle when he was assassinated. He entered the race on March 16, 1968, less than three months before the June 5 shooting.

As for Bill Clinton, despite his wife's perceptions, he'd won the nomination long before mid-June 1992. The race was essentially over by March 20, when Paul Tsongas dropped out and Clinton became the front-runner with a 7-to-1 delegate lead over Jerry Brown.

Obama, meanwhile, plans to give the commencement speech at Wesleyan University's graduation today in Connecticut, replacing the ailing Ted Kennedy.

Obama will be greeted by an unprecedented amount of security. The ceremony will be closed to the public, and guests will have to go through metal detectors.

One presidential historian thinks Clinton's loose-lipped reference to assassination raises the danger of someone's targeting Obama.

"Everybody, in the back of their minds, has been thinking of this, that Senator Obama could be in danger," said Rick Shenkman, a professor at George Mason University in Virginia.

"Now it's out there. It only takes one psycho."

In a radio interview yesterday in Puerto Rico, Obama said that he had accepted the apology Clinton issued Friday and that her comment about RFK was just "careless."

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Lucky It Wasn't A Pig*

Lost Parrot Gives Vet His Name & Address

Lost in Tokyo, Yosuke the parrot was able to give his name and address to get taken home.

CNN reports:
When Yosuke the parrot flew out of his cage and got lost, he did exactly what he had been taught -- recite his name and address to a stranger willing to help.

Police rescued the African grey parrot two weeks ago from a neighbor's roof in the city of Nagareyama, near Tokyo. After spending a night at the station, he was transferred to a nearby veterinary hospital while police searched for clues, local policeman Shinjiro Uemura said.

He kept mum with the cops, but began chatting after a few days with the vet.

"I'm Mr. Yosuke Nakamura," the bird told the veterinarian, according to Uemura. The parrot also provided his full home address, down to the street number, and even entertained the hospital staff by singing songs.

"We checked the address, and what do you know, a Nakamura family really lived there. So we told them we've found Yosuke," Uemura said.

The Nakamura family told police they had been teaching the bird its name and address for about two years.

But Yosuke apparently wasn't keen on opening up to police officials.

"I tried to be friendly and talked to him, but he completely ignored me," Uemura said.

* Old joke:

A New Yorker, hopelessly lost while driving through the countryside, stopped to ask a farmer for directions. The farmer was feeding pigs, dumping buckets after bucket of vegetable scraps and cut up fruit into a trough when the New Yorker noticed that one of the pigs had a wooden leg. After getting directions back to the main road, the New Yorker asked the farmer about the pig with the wooden leg.

The farmer told the New Yorker, "That's one very special pig, a real hero. He's saved my life on more than one occasion. One night a fire breaks out in the farmhouse, the pig breaks down the front door, rushes up the stairs squealing all the way, drags each of my kids out to the front of the house by their pajama collars, and then pulls me and the missus to safety. Another time, I'm plowing and the tractor turns over on me. The pig roots around, grabs me by my belt and pulls me free of the wreck. This is one helluva pig."

The New Yorker, suitably impressed, asked, "Is that how he lost his leg? Saving you and your family?"

The farmer replied, "Well, not exactly. You see, a pig like this you don't eat all at once."

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Waiting For The Election Returns

Could This Be Why Hillary Won't Leave?

U.S. to Attack Iran; Bush and Cheney Plan to Solve Disputes with Iran "radically and resolutely" reports:
The Israeli Army Radio and the Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post have both quoted unnamed Israeli officials today as saying that the US President George W Bush plans to launch an attack on Iran within the next few months.

According to officials a senior member of the Bush entourage on his recent trip to Israel said that both Bush and his Vice president, Dick Cheney planned to solve disputes with Iran “radically and resolutely”.

The unnamed sources claim the only reason the US Administration has not attacked Iran earlier is because of reservations expressed from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
The sources of this report is PressTV:
Israeli officials claim that US president George W. Bush intends to launch a military attack against Iran before the end of his term.

"George W. Bush intends to attack Iran within the next few months, before the end of his term", The Israeli Army Radio and the Jerusalem Post quoted unnamed Israeli officials as saying on Tuesday.

The officials claimed that a senior member of the president's entourage during Bush's trip to the occupied Palestine last week said that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney believed they should solve the issue of Iran 'radically and resolutely'.

They, however, claimed that Defense Secretary Robert Gates' and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's reservations had so far prevented the administration from launching an attack on Iran.

Earlier, a news website close the Israeli intelligence agency revealed that during his visit to al-Quds Bush criticized Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert for not attacking Lebanon after the political defeat of Fuad Siniora's government in the recent crisis in Lebanon.
A "Clinton cohort" reports to Huffington Post that Hillary Clinton is asking key supporters (superdelegates) not to desert her during the next two weeks of campaigning, assuring them that she "won't embarrass them".

Could her subtext be, "You'll see why I haven't gotten out of the race (war with Iran), and I'll make the case that I'm the experienced 'war president', not Obama".

If true, how could she know?

Bill Clinton, as a former president, gets the same daily intelligence briefing that Bush gets. We've heard about plans for an imminent strike against Iran for a while, but what isn't available to the public, but is in daily briefings, is the most up-to-date information on U.S. military placement. If it was happening, if a military strike against Iran was operational, the Clintons would know about it.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Price of Freedom

Pennsylvania Gets Offers For Turnpike

The Wall Street Journal reports:
At least two bidding groups submitted undisclosed cash offers late Friday for the 75-year lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, in what could represent one of the largest deals in the coveted U.S. infrastructure sector.

One of the bidding groups is led by Spanish toll-road operator Abertis Infraestructuras SA and includes undisclosed financial partners, a company official said Saturday. A person familiar with the situation said another binding bid was filed by Spain's Cintra Concesiones de Infraestructura de Transporte SA in partnership with Australia's Macquarie Infrastructure Group.

Investment bank Morgan Stanley advised Pennsylvania's government that a long-term lease of its Turnpike can cover the $1.7 billion for its annual highway and transit needs, estimating the value of the 500-mile highway at $12 billion to $18 billion.
Disclosed terms of the proposed 75-year lease of the Pennsylvania Turnpike are similar to the privatization of Chicago's Skyway and the Indiana Toll Road. The city of Chicago raised $1.83 billion in 2005 by leasing its Chicago Skyway for 99 years. Indiana, in turn, obtained $3.85 billion in 2006 through the 75-year lease of the Indiana Toll Road. Both deals allow significant toll hikes over the long run, and both were won by Cintra and Macquarie.

The proposed formula for toll increases at the Pennsylvania Turnpike includes a 25% hike set for next year. Tolls can then match inflation or rise annually by at least 2.5%. Pennsylvania's government believes such a tolling formula benefits drivers, as it won't be required to toll other highways.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Hillary's Downfall

Another Notch On Hillary's Belt of Lies & Deception

Once again, Hillary Clinton demonstrates she is a stranger to truth.

If Hillary Clinton believes that hers is an honest representation and assessment, her fitness for the job of President of the U.S. needs to be questioned.

Kathy Kiely and Jill Lawrence interviewed Hillary Clinton for USA Today:
Hillary Rodham Clinton vowed Wednesday to continue her quest for the Democratic nomination, arguing she would be the stronger nominee because she appeals to a wider coalition of voters — including whites who have not supported Barack Obama in recent contests.

"I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on," she said in an interview with USA TODAY. As evidence, Clinton cited an Associated Press article "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me."

"There's a pattern emerging here," she said.
Clinton's blunt remarks about race came a day after primaries in Indiana and North Carolina dealt symbolic and mathematical blows to her White House ambitions.

The Obama campaign, looking toward locking up the nomination, stepped up pressure on superdelegates who have the decisive votes in their race.

In both states, Clinton won six of 10 white voters, according to surveys of people as they left polling places.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton said that in Indiana, Obama split working-class voters with Clinton and won a higher percentage of white voters than in Ohio in March. He said Obama will be the strongest nominee because he appeals "to Americans from every background and all walks of life. These statements from Sen. Clinton are not true and frankly disappointing."

Clinton rejected any idea that her emphasis on white voters could be interpreted as racially divisive. "These are the people you have to win if you're a Democrat in sufficient numbers to actually win the election. Everybody knows that."

Larry Sabato, head of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said Clinton's comment was a "poorly worded" variation on the way analysts have been "slicing and dicing the vote in racial terms."

However, he said her primary support doesn't prove she's more electable. Either Democrat will get "the vast majority" of the other's primary election votes in a general election, he said.

Clinton lost North Carolina by 14 percentage points and won Indiana by 2 points after competing full-out in both states. She had loaned the campaign $6.4 million in the past month. She said she might lend more.

"We should finish the contests we have and see where we stand after they're over," she said, referring to the six remaining primaries that will end June 3.

There were signs of unrest Wednesday, even among Clinton allies. California Sen. Dianne Feinstein wondered to The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper, "whether she can get the delegates that she needs." Former South Dakota senator George McGovern, whose 1972 presidential bid gave Clinton her first political experience, switched his support from Clinton to Obama.
Can you spot Hillary Clinton's deception in the May 4, 2008 AP article she was citing?:
Barack Obama's problem winning votes from working-class whites is showing no sign of going away, and their impression of him is getting worse.

Those are ominous signals as he hopes for strong performances in the coming week in Indiana and North Carolina primaries that would derail the candidacy of Hillary Rodham Clinton, his rival for the Democratic presidential nomination. Those contests come as his candidacy has been rocked by renewed attention to his volatile former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and by his defeat in last month's Pennsylvania primary.

In an Associated Press-Yahoo News poll in April, 53 percent of whites who have not completed college viewed Obama unfavorably, up a dozen percentage points from November. During that period, the numbers viewing Clinton and Republican candidate John McCain negatively have stayed about even.

Huge preference for Clinton

The April poll — conducted before the Pennsylvania contest — also showed an overwhelming preference for Clinton over Obama among working-class whites. They favored her over him by 39 percentage points, compared to a 10-point Obama lead among white college graduates. Obama also did worse than Clinton among those less-educated voters when matched up against Republican candidate John McCain.

"It's the stuff about his preacher ... and the thing he said about Pennsylvania towns, how they turn to religion," Keith Wolfe, 41, a supermarket food stocker from Parkville, Md., said in a follow-up interview. "I don't think he'd be a really good leader."

Just before the Pennsylvania primary, Obama said many small-town residents are bitter about their lives and turn for solace to religion and guns.

Recent voting patterns underscore Obama's continued poor performance with these voters, who are often pivotal in general election swing states like Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

In Democratic primaries held on or before Super Tuesday, Feb. 5, whites who have not finished college favored the New York senator by a cumulative 59 percent to 32 percent, according to exit polls of voters conducted for The Associated Press and the television networks.

In primaries since Feb. 5, that group has favored Clinton by 64 percent to 34 percent. That includes Ohio and Pennsylvania, in which working-class whites have favored Clinton by 44 and 41 percentage points respectively.

The AP-Yahoo poll shows less educated whites present a problem to Obama in part because of who they are. Besides being poorer, they tend to be older than white college graduates — and Clinton has done strongly with older white voters.

'Lacks content'

Yet political professionals and analysts say more is at play. They blame Obama's problems with blue-collar whites on their greater reluctance to embrace his bid to become the first black president, and his failure to address their concerns about job losses and the battered economy specifically enough.

Terry Madonna, a political science professor at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pa., said Obama lost among working-class whites in the state because his message of how this generation's time has come did not address their economic needs.

"While it's incredibly motivating and passionate and compelling, it lacks content," Madonna said. "Hillary would come in and relate to them, talk about the specifics of her policy."

Pennsylvania also illustrated the problems racial attitudes among less educated whites are causing Obama.

In exit polls, one in five of the state's white voters who haven't completed college said race was an important factor in choosing a candidate, about double the number of white college graduates who said so. Eight in 10 of them voted for Clinton over Obama, and only about half said they would vote for Obama over McCain in November.

"The scab is peeled back off," Democratic pollster John Anzalone, not working for either presidential candidate, said of the latest attention focused on Wright and Obama's denunciations of him. In video clips of past sermons, Wright has damned the United States for its history of racism and accused the government of spreading the HIV virus to harm blacks.

Obama pollster Cornell Belcher said that while working-class whites have favored Clinton, the fact that huge numbers of them and other voters have participated in Democratic contests boded well for the November election.

"I don't think there's going to be erosion in the fall of a core group of Democratic voters," Belcher said.

While less educated whites tend to vote less frequently than better educated voters, they are important because of their sheer number.

Exit polls show they have comprised three in 10 voters in Democratic contests so far, a group that cannot be ignored in a contest that has seen Obama maintain a slim lead. They made up 43 percent of all voters in the 2004 presidential contest, when they heavily favored President Bush over Democrat John Kerry.

Underlining his need to connect with these voters, Obama has geared some television ads in Indiana toward economic issues. In recent days he has turned to small events, rather than his trademark huge rallies, concentrating on the economy, including lunching with a blue-collar Indiana family while discussing their problems.

He has let cameras record him playing basketball in hopes of connecting with the passionate fans of the sport who populate Indiana and North Carolina.

The findings from the AP-Yahoo News poll are from interviews with 863 Democrats on a panel of adults questioned in November and April. It has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.3 percentage points.

The poll was conducted over the Internet by Knowledge Networks, which initially contacted people using traditional telephone polling methods and followed with online interviews. People chosen for the study who had no Internet access were given it free.

The exit poll is based on in-person interviews with more than 36,000 voters in 28 states that have held primaries this year in which both candidates actively competed. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 1 percentage point, larger for some subgroups.
Setting aside some serious reservations about the methodology of this poll, it's more than a month old, and it was done before the Pennsylvania primary. Hillary Clinton makes these remarks citing this poll weeks after the Pennsylvania poll, after the Indiana and N. Carolina primaries which she lost.

Monday, May 05, 2008

White House Press Secretary Laura Bush?

Why was Laura Bush doing (Stepford press secretary) Dana Perino's job in the first place? Where was the State Department's usual spokesman, Sean McCormack? Where are the paid employees of our government? Have Bush and Grover Norquist succeeded, bankrupted the U.S. government and drowned it in the bathtub? Has everybody left and the First Family is running the show from the residence upstairs?

I had C-Span on in real time when the First Lady walked in to the Press Room, and my second thought was, "It's a sad indictment of the voters when the wife of the President is more articulate and knowledgeable than he is", and then I realized that you can't blame the voters completely (only 49% of them) when it was a coup d'etat that put him into office. But still.

Where is everybody?

Did He Really Say That?

Another Example of How The Media is Complicit in Helping Those in Power Manipulate, Ever So Subtly, the Collective Consciousness of the Masses

On Hardball with Chris Matthews, Chuck Todd's characterization of Michelle Obama's reasons for this being the one and only time Barack Obama would run for the presidency:

Chuck Todd's rendition is not exactly what Michelle Obama said. From Vanity Fair:
But Mrs. Obama has no interest in an ongoing quest for the White House. “To me, it’s now or never,” she tells me a few days later, in Chicago, where we’ve met up again at the campaign’s Michigan Avenue headquarters. “We’re not going to keep running and running and running, because at some point you do get the life beaten out of you. It hasn’t been beaten out of us yet. We need to be in there now, while we’re still fresh and open and fearless and bold. You lose some of that over time. Barack is not cautious yet; he’s ready to change the world, and we need that. So if we’re going to be cautious, I’d rather let somebody else do it, because that’s a big investment of time, just to do it the same way. There’s an inconvenience factor there, and if we’re going to uproot our lives, then let’s hopefully make a real big dent in what it means to be president of the United States.”

And what it means to Mrs. Obama is sacrificing many of the things she holds most dear, in favor of a larger goal. Although she has concluded that this mission is worth what it takes, achieving such acceptance has been difficult, and the adjustments are ongoing.

On the campaign trail in Connecticut, the NY Times reports:
Michelle Obama told a group of supporters today not to assume that her husband, Barack Obama, would return for another try at the White House, or be any more appealing as a candidate later, if this bid falls short. “It’s not a threat,’’ she said. “It’s the reality.’’

Speaking to five sympathetic women at a Stamford diner who had been hand-picked by her campaign, Mrs. Obama described some ways that youth had its advantages. “This is the only time we will have a chance to have someone who is three years from paying off his student debt,’’ she said, “and still going to Target to get toilet paper.’’

Time spent in Washington, engaging with special interests, she noted, does not always help politicians stay in touch with working-class people or their problems. “Realistically, you get more isolated,’’ she continued.

“I don’t know if things would be the same in four years, and why wait?’’ she declared.

Mrs. Obama also expressed some concern about the impact another campaign of this type might have on her daughters. “People say: ‘We like you. Do this in four years.’ Easy for you to say. But what about those two kids who have already not seen their dad much this year?’’

At times, the conversation, monitored by dozens of reporters with cameras and pads straining to hear every word, felt like an episode from the television show “The View” — women sitting around a table dishing about their home lives and their struggles, except not once in the hourlong conversation was there any evidence of nastiness.

Mrs. Obama said she was skeptical of many of the arguments behind waiting for another round. “For Americans to say, ‘Now we’re ready for you, Barack,’ it doesn’t always work that way. Wait until he’s spent more years in Washington and he’s farther away from folks? Wait till he’s made more money? Wait for what?’’

Her listeners mostly agreed. “They want him tied up in the machine,’’ said Alexis Mitchell, a 59-year-old family therapist from South Windsor. Before the event, she had said she was in Mr. Obama’s camp because she liked the “grace he exhibits, especially under pressure’’ and appreciated his background as a community organizer.

While she voted for Bill Clinton for president, she said she was dismayed by the tone of his wife’s campaign. “I have not liked the way she bared her claws and exhibited her nasty side, saying she will dig up stuff on Barack,’’ Ms. Mitchell said.

Once Mrs. Obama arrived, she wasted little time complimenting her five companions on how great they each looked, especially Meredith Olmstead, a Darien homemaker who announced that she was expecting another child.

To Taiwo Stanback, a 24-year-old Yale University graduate who said she was juggling side jobs since her position at a New Haven nonprofit group lost financing, Mrs. Obama joked: “Oh, no you can’t do three jobs? You’re not industrious enough.’’

Trying to connect to a group that ranged in age from 24 to 59, Mrs. Obama referred to her own experience after school. “So much of what you’ve said, I’ve been there,” she said. “After my law degree I wanted to go into nonprofits, but the cost of loans from all these wonderful degrees I had made it very difficult.’’

“Barack and I just paid off our college loans three years ago,’’ she said.
Todd's emphasis on Michelle Obama's expectation of "wealth", instead of the isolation from ordinary Americans that is the life of a politician in Washington is harsh and not accurate. By suggesting Michelle Obama is preoccupied with riches ("wealth"), Chuck Todd helped the Clintons anchor a question planted by their campaign rhetoric about the Obamas' character and commitment to public service: That "Barack Obama is an elitist (even if he doesn't have money now) who is out of step with our (the Clintons' and blue collar voters') concerns."

What is significant in Todd's mischaracterization is, most politicians who have no wealth before entering public service (who are not self-made or rich through inheritance) don't get wealthy until they leave government and make good on the networking and contacts they've made from over their years of service. That is, if they get wealthy at all. If you don't have money before you get to Washington, serving in Congress can be a risky proposition, character building, because of the expense of having to maintain two homes (in your home district and in Washington, D.C.), with two sets of everything and overlapping services (furniture, cable tv, newspaper services, monthly utility bills with basic monthly fees whether you're there or not), and travel expenses back and forth to your home district.

I don't think Chuck Todd is part of any grand conspiracy, but I do think that healthy distance and boundaries between the fourth estate and the people they are covering in government have all but eroded. When lobbyists are literally sitting in offices at the White House and on the Hill writing legislation, and Scooter Libby is calling executives at NBC to complain about the coverage they're getting, and the media attends spin sessions after debates, and basically takes dictation from campaign surrogates like Terry McAuliffe and Howard Wolfson, the fourth estate is no longer an impartial chronicler to be trusted.

MSNBC's David Gregory and Ken Strickland dance with Karl Rove and a Rove impersonator

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Clinton Campaign Goes [SUBLIMINAL]

ALERT: Racially offensive language ahead!

Thursday's release on of a doctored clip from the 1992 documentary,"War Room" which has Clinton advisor Mickey Kantor disparaging Indianans to George Stephanopoulos and James Carville, first by saying that "Indianas are shit", and then that Indianans are "white niggers" was an inside job by the Clinton campaign.

How do I know and why did they do it?

The answer to the latter question explains the former:

The Clinton campaign did it to get the word "nigger" out into the public. The intention wasn't to offend Indianans or to have Indianans think that people within the Clinton campaign think Indianans are the scum of the earth (because it's so obviously a fake and can easily be denounced): It was just to get the n-word out into the public arena. Ideally, in a news venue where the word itself would be repeated again and again. Even reported as "the n-word", our minds know what the reference is to. The purpose is to create a sense of discomfort in some white voters (the undecideds) at the idea of a black man becoming President of the United States. You don't even have to connect it with Obama, because the effect is that voters see Obama and the word "nigger" becomes synonymous with him.

The effect on voters doesn't have to be much. It can be mild, but the people who are being targeted are the undecideds voters who, when they walk into the voting booth, literally are not sure which button to press/name to check off. The word "nigger" provides the motivation for choosing Hillary Clinton over Barack Obama.

If only one out of a hundred voters is influenced by a feeling that they have, for example, thinking of Barack Obama and thinking "nigger", and being uncomfortable voting for him (and because they're not even thinking of it consciously, it's just a slight increase in their physical discomfort, the effect may be mild and not even register consciously), it's enough to throw the election to her. In a neck and neck race a change of one to two percent can make the difference between victory and defeat.

It's not a conscious experience. It's a gut reaction, a slight increase in discomfort. Particularly for those people who aren't aware of the issues, but who just vote based on whether they like somebody. There's a certain percentage of people who vote that way, who voted for Bush that way, over Al Gore and John Kerry. "Which candidate would you prefer to have a beer with?", as if there's even a possibility of that ever happening.

These are people who won't vote for somebody they get uncomfortable thinking about.

The diabolical 'beauty' of this plan (unlike other critically negative campaigns, such as saying that Hillary is "polarizing" which is an overt connection that people will consciously reject or accept) is that on the surface there's no connection between the phrase "white niggers", the word "nigger" and Barack Obama. You're not using the term in any way directly connected with Obama but you are getting the word into the public awareness.

In a certain number of people, the word will automatically be associated, not consciously but viscerally, with the African-American candidate. They will think "nigger" and then they will think of the candidate. They will think of the candidate and then they will think "nigger". They become interchangeable. And the voters to whom this is happening may believe that they're not racist (and consciously they may not be), but they will be uncomfortable voting for a "nigger" for President.

In a tight race such as this, enough voters may be swayed by this tactic to make the vote go one way rather decisively.

And it's feasible, given the kind of campaign Senator Clinton has chosen to run, to think that this was intentionally done with that result in mind.

It certainly dovetails into the whispering "He's unelectable"-campaign that superdelegates have been telling journalists they're being subjected to by the Clinton campaign. And also the truly bizarre comments made in the last three days by N. Carolina's governor Mike Easley ("Hillary makes Rocky Balboa look like a pansy"), Paul Gibson, president of the Sheet Metal Workers' Union in Indiana, who said of Hillary Clinton, she has "testicular fortitude", and James Carville who said if Hillary gave Obama "one of her cojones, they'd both have two". These are not spontaneous utterances, they don't just pop out these mens' mouths. These are carefully crafted and intended for the same undecided voters who, if voting for a woman as president creates similar unease as voting for the black man, the Clintons want them to think, "Worry not, this woman makes Sylvester Stallone look gay".

There is no conceivable way that the Mickey Kantor clip benefits anyone but Hillary Clinton. Once the word ("nigger") is 'out of the barn', so to speak, the voters' discomfort has been created. All that is left for the Clintons to do is to keep up the whispering campaign, that "Obama is unelectable", only they don't have to whisper anymore because it's being discussed openly in the media. It will ring true for voters because they assume others are having the same feelings of discomfort, and won't vote for him.

Guam Recount "Imminent"

Pacific News Center reports:

The Democrat Party Nominating Committee said officials will look over the large amount of "spoiled ballots" in the coming days.

At issue is the small margin of victory of Senator Barack Obama. He beat his rival, Senator Hillary Clinton by 7 votes, but well over 500 ballots were deemed invalid during the tabulation process.

Herbie Perez, chairman of the nominating committee, said she will not certify the results because the Committee needs to ensure that all the uncounted ballots were properly identified as "spoiled."

She said officials from the Party and representatives from both candidates will meet probably Monday or Tuesday to address that issue.

Perez revealed she is also looking into the missing ballots.

More than 8,100 were printed in response to reports of shortages at precinct sites. But when the final tally came in, only a little over 4,500 ballots were used.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Obama "Temporarily" Leads Guam Caucuses

What an odd way to report the fact that Obama is ahead, but that's how is choosing to report the story:

U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama temporarily led Hillary Rodham Clinton as the results of Guam caucuses are rolling out on Saturday.

With 37 percent of villages' results reported, Illinois Senator Obama led with 55.3 percent to 44.7 percent for Clinton.

The residents in the U.S. territory with a population of nearly 175,000 are not allowed to vote for president in November, but the voters are electing eight delegates on Saturday, who will each have a half vote at the Democratic presidential nomination convention in Denver in August.

Among Guam's five superdelegates, two have already pledged their votes, each to Clinton and Obama, and the rest three remain undecided.

Neither of the two Democratic hopefuls campaigned in person in the Pacific island, but they have appeared in radio and TV ads, as well as long-distance interviews.

Both of them promised voting rights for president, more affordable medical care and better economic opportunities.

Obama, in particular, wooed voters with his background of growing up in Hawaii to show his sensitiveness to the needs of islanders.

Hillary's Dilemma

How does she get people who are inclined to vote for this man...

....see this man when they look at their ballots...

ALERT: Racially offensive language ahead!

If I were Macchiavellian, and in a neck and neck race with a black opponent, and I wanted to manipulate racist attitudes, I might ask myself, "How can I get the word "nigger" into the public consciousness without actually calling him that?"

One way to do it indirectly is applying the word to a completely different group of people and creating a firestorm or setting up a straw man. For example, creating a tape where it looks as if someone on my team called Indianans, "white niggers", then release it anonymously into the public arena (on the internet, on and make sure it got reported on TV (CNN, Anderson Cooper's 360/MSNBC/ABC).

The beauty of this tactic is that it doesn't matter if it's accurate and it doesn't matter if anybody believes it. The purpose is to get the word out ("nigger") into the public consciousness. At some level, a certain level percentage of the voters will associate the word with my black opponent and that can create a reluctance to vote for him. Even if it influenced 1% of the voters, it's a significant factor in a race as close as Indiana.

It's very sophisticated, obviously very underhanded, but it can be effective, as any social psychologist can attest. [Think you're for Obama (or Clinton, or McCain)? Want to see if your unconscious mind agrees? Take the Presidential Candidates Implicit Association Test at Harvard University's virtual laboratory, Project Implicit.]

Given the kind of campaign Senator Clinton has chosen to run, I'm having a very hard time believing she isn't behind the last minute Mickey Kantor-YouTube slur video. It certainly dovetails into the whispering "he's unelectable" campaign that superdelegates have been telling journalists they're being subjected to by the Clinton campaign.

The broader implications of what this means for our country and our culture in the 21 century is unconscionable. Unless we evolve, there are always going to be those less high-minded people plotting to exploit unconscious processes for their own selfish advantage.