omahas: (Default)
“It’s time to celebrate our democratic process and respect what I see to be the ultimate outcome of the closest North Carolina governor’s race in modern history.”

This is part of the speech that Gov. Pat McRory gave today as he conceded the race of North Carolina governor to Roy Cooper. Cooper had obtained over 10,000 more votes than his opponent, but McRory insisted on a recount in Durham County anyway. The results didn’t change.

It is a tradition in this country to accept the winner of a democratic election. In fact, it is a cornerstone of the election process of ANY democracy. If you don’t, then what you are basically saying is that you don’t accept the people’s right to make their choice.

But what happens when that majority choice (however large or small) also flies in the face of everything that we, the people, consider right and proper according to our country charter (such as the Constitution of the United States)?

This happened in the 1930’s in Germany. You remember that leader…Adolf Hitler. But Hitler did not take power through force. He was a DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED LEADER. The people put him into the office of Chancellor. And, using all of the legal means at his disposal, plus his charismatic ability to manipulate the masses, he was able to gain power over both the civilian and military roles (which in Germany were separated into two offices) and suspend certain checks and balances so that he could become a dictator.

It was all done legally, by the book, with the law on his side.

Many wondered how the German people could have let Hitler rise to power and become the ruler he was. So many blame the German people for not paying attention, secretly wanting all of this anyway, etc.

But I ask you, where was the line beyond which they should have known? Look back in history and point out to me the actual act at which point the people of Germany should have revolted against Hitler and, more importantly, what argument they could have used against the legal process he was using?

And then look at today. Tell me, where is the line? What argument can you use RIGHT NOW to convince the majority of Americans that Trump is turning our country into a fascist state, in the face of a perfectly legal election process. When will you take up arms and refuse to recognize him as your leader?

Not so easy to see that line, is it? That’s because while you’re in the throws of the action, that line can be pretty damn invisible. That line is hindsight…which is 20/20.

So the next time you want to “dump Trump”, think about Germany in the 30’s. And consider where that line really is…and whether history will say we’ve already crossed it.
omahas: (Default)
[EDIT: So, all of the comments online about California being a winnter-take-all primary...only for the Republicans. Turns out that no one wants to talk about how the Democrat Primary is a proportional system by Congressional district. No statement on the California Secretary of State website, no statement on the California Democrats website. THAT'S not good. However, it also doesn't change the importance of California...just makes it a little more flexible. Oh, and New Jersey is a combo...propotional for some of their delegates, state-wide "winnter-take-all" (in a weird way) for the others. But, hey, it's Jwersee, right?]

The 2016 Democratic Primary has been incredibly confusing, not the least because of the media itself. As much as we try to remember that the media provides us with information to help us make our decisions, each piece is written by human beings, and many of those individuals aren’t interested in facts…they are interested in getting their opinions accepted.

A great example is the headline I read today by some online blog called Common Dreams (never heard of it before). “Clinton to Californians: Your Votes Will Not Affect the Democratic Primary Whatsoever”. The site is VERY one-sided in their language. However they are absolutely correct this time that “Chris Cuomo had the temerity to use conditional language in speaking of Hillary Clinton’s chances of becoming the Democratic nominee for President.”

Because the California Primary is THE KEY to the Democratic Nomination.

Certainly Hillary Clinton knows this. Certainly Bernie Sanders knows this. But unfortunately a lot of Democratic voters don’t, because of the way that the media constantly talks about the Delegate counts between the two. So I’m going to make it very clear.

If Hillary Clinton wins the California Primary, a take-all delegate Primary, the game is over, and Sanders has lost.

Here is where Clinton and Sanders stand right now. Clinton has a total of 1768 Pledged Delegates; Sanders has a total of 1494. The difference is only 274 Pledged Delegates. So, why don’t I include the Superdelegates? Because, at this time, they don’t have ANY importance to the race…or at least, they shouldn’t.

At the King County Convention in Washington State, Democratic Senator Patty Murray stated that there has been NO Democratic National Convention where the Superdelegates did not vote for the candidate with the majority of support (she did not say whether the support came from Pledged Delegates or the popular vote, but I think it would be rare that they wouldn’t be the same). And she is correct, simply because it’s so rare that there has been a contested election at the Democratic National Convention.

If one does the research (and I have) one finds that the last time a contested elected occurred was in 1992. Bill Clinton’s first run for president resulted in a contest at the Democratic National Convention against Former California Governor Jerry Brown, Massachusetts Senator Paul Tsongas, and four others (receiving 1% of the vote each). Bill Clinton was the clear majority winner of the Pledged Delegates, with over 1000 entering the convention, while his nearest competitor had only around 500 (I couldn’t get exact figures because they are not easily available online). Bill Clinton swept the convention, taking all (or most all) of the Superdelegates with over 3300.

Since then, all contenders have withdrawn before the National Convention occurred, including in 2008 when Hillary Clinton withdrew in early June, after the last of the primary/caucuses had completed, know that with 102 pledged delegates between her and Obama, the Superdelegates would STILL vote for him. Because he was the clear majority winner.

So, back to the current race. What’s left? A handful of states and colonies (did I just say that?) that total 781 Pledged delegates. California is the key, because it will give 475 to the winner.

IF Clinton wins California, she has won the primary race, and the nomination. The remaining Pledged delegates, 306, will not be enough for Sanders to overcome that number AND her current lead. And the Superdelegates will vote for her.

IF Sanders wins California [EDIT: or a large part of California], he MIGHT still lose, but the chance will be small. With that 475, his lead will be 201. She will have to get almost all of the remaining states/colonies to beat him. And the race will end up being so close that we might, for the first time, in a quarter century, find out just what the Superdelegates will do when the race is not so clear.

IF Sanders wins [Edit: the majority of] California and New Jersey, the race is over and Sanders has won. Again, the majority will be clear, and Clinton will not be able to overcome the Superdelegate support of Sanders.

THIS is why California is so important. This is why California is key. And this is why Hillary Clinton doesn’t want anyone to think that the California Primary will not affect the Democratic Primary whatsoever. Because it will. And she’s afraid she’ll lose.
omahas: (Default)
This week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down a ban on political ads for public television and radio stations by a vote of 2-1. The reason given was that "the ban was too broad" and they felt that lifting it would "not threaten to undermine the educational nature of public broadcast stations." Interestingly, the court upheld the ban on ads for goods and services on behalf of for-profit companies.

This is going to have huge ramifications for NPR and PBS, should they allow these ads on their radio/television stations. Because, of course, striking down the ban only means that they are not prevented from accepting the ad...not that they are required to accept them.

But the real problem I have is with the reasoning that the court used, that the decision would not threaten to undermine the educational nature of the stations. Education requires honesty. You can't have a teacher lie to their students about science, math, etc and expect those students to be educated...only confused. And there's a difference between different points of view and outright lying...lying is about knowingly representing the facts wrong.

But political ads can outright lie to you. It's actually ensconced in the law through the Federal Communications Act (US Code: Title 47, Sec 315 - Candidates for public office) and upheld by the courts. So how can the educational nature of these stations not be undermined by promoting advertising that will outright lie to the people who hear and/or see them?

Worse, this will also require that the hosts of various programs on these stations will need to fact check the ads on their own stations, in fact challenging their truthfulness. The result will be stations that may be reticent to do so because they might lose funding from these advertisements because they exposed the lies in the ads.

Please contact your local PBS and NPR stations and tell them that you don't want political ads aired on their stations. For most of them, they are either in Spring Pledge-drive time or have just finished them. If you haven't pledged an amount, pledge now, and tell them it's because they DON'T place political ads. Support them, so that they don't start supporting the political machine.

It's not their job.
omahas: (Default)
Last night I was listening to the Democratic National Convention live coverage on a number of different radio stations as Elf drove me up to coven night. Unfortunately, Hillary Clinton was about to give her speech just as we got there, so I couldn't hear it. I wanted to...I was interested in whether she intended on bringing the party together, and how she would do it.

Apparently, she made a very empowering speech (she's a Clinton, she can do that) and impressed many people. Including a certain delegate from Washington state, who was then interviewed on CNN.com about her thoughts. This delegate, who happens to be from my LD, spoke from the heart about her thoughts. She's a Hillary Clinton supporter, and expressed her concern that she wasn't certain if she could vote for Barack Obama, or would choose not to vote at all in the general election.

Now, beyond the fact that I really just don't understand this way of thinking (what on earth is so frightening about Barack Obama, folks...are you really that scared of change?!) there is the problem that she expressed these views on national television.

See, when one does something like that, expressing one's thoughts from the heart, in a charged political environment...well, you're bound to get responses. Pretty charged, explosive responses. Yeah, like 60 blogs in less than 12 hours talking about you responses. Like people seeking out which LD you belong to and sending emails to you through it responses. And of course, being the webmaster, I get to field the emails.

I'm not responding to the emails...that's the delegate's and possibly the chair's job. But I've read every one, and forwarded each one to the delegate and chair, and replied to the sender that their email has been received and forwarded on.

Most of the emails, as well as the blogs I've been reading, show an interesting trend. The delegate has become an icon of the African American vote (yes, she is black). Or rather, a representation in many minds of the lack of African American vote...handing the political process over to the majority white. Turning the African American invisible again.

I don't agree with the delegate's view on who to support. When I first heard Barack Obama give his speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention, I turned to Elf and said, "That man is going to be president some day." I've been tracking him ever since, and supporting him from the day he announced.

I don't agree with the delegate's view about voting in this election. I think it's important that we Democrats support our nominated candidate. We had two excellent candidates, and if Hillary had been nominated, I would have voted for her...despite the fact that I have *very strong issues* with many of her attitudes and behaviors. My lack of vote really translates to a vote to McCain (since only those who vote will have an impact on who becomes president).

But the delegate apparently feels that withdrawing from the voting process gives her a voice for dissent regarding how she thinks Hillary Clinton was treated. Or maybe she really is just afraid of what change really means...once you open the door of change that Barack Obama represents, there's no closing it again (and dammit, I'll be putting a doorstop in there to make sure!!).

Unfortunately, when you express your views on national tv, everyone who hears you places their own expectations and views on top of yours, and the original thoughts can be blown out of proportion to a monumental degree. In less than 24 hours. And for that, I feel sorry for this delegate.
omahas: (Default)
Ordinarily I don't touch ads with a ten foot pole. But this one was sooooooooo sweet..I just had to share...

omahas: (Default)
This started, oh, maybe six or seven months ago. Being involved in the political spectrum, both at a local and national level, and being an Obama supporter, I meet up with a lot of other Obama supporters. So, I shouldn't have been surprised that, occasionally, this mistake would happen.

Every once in a while, someone would call me "Obama" instead of "Omaha".

I thought at first that it was just my imagination. But careful listening told me that, yes, these people were indeed calling me "Obama". Then it started happening more often. Tonight, at the 33rd LD meeting it happened three times. Many of these people are new, but still.

So, I'm thinking of getting a t-shirt, custom made that says:

I'm Omaha, Not Obama!


--but I still want you to vote for him anyway.

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