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Archive for June 3rd, 2008

Obama’s Nomination Victory Speech

By- Suzie-Q @ 6:30 PM MST

Obama’s Nomination Victory Speech In St. Paul

The Huffington Post | June 3, 2008 08:56 PM

Remarks of Senator Barack Obama
Final Primary Night
Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
St. Paul, Minnesota

As Prepared for Delivery

Tonight, after fifty-four hard-fought contests, our primary season has finally come to an end.

Sixteen months have passed since we first stood together on the steps of the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Illinois. Thousands of miles have been traveled. Millions of voices have been heard. And because of what you said – because you decided that change must come to Washington; because you believed that this year must be different than all the rest; because you chose to listen not to your doubts or your fears but to your greatest hopes and highest aspirations, tonight we mark the end of one historic journey with the beginning of another – a journey that will bring a new and better day to America. Tonight, I can stand before you and say that I will be the Democratic nominee for President of the United States.

I want to thank every American who stood with us over the course of this campaign – through the good days and the bad; from the snows of Cedar Rapids to the sunshine of Sioux Falls. And tonight I also want to thank the men and woman who took this journey with me as fellow candidates for President.

At this defining moment for our nation, we should be proud that our party put forth one of the most talented, qualified field of individuals ever to run for this office. I have not just competed with them as rivals, I have learned from them as friends, as public servants, and as patriots who love America and are willing to work tirelessly to make this country better. They are leaders of this party, and leaders that America will turn to for years to come.

That is particularly true for the candidate who has traveled further on this journey than anyone else. Senator Hillary Clinton has made history in this campaign not just because she’s a woman who has done what no woman has done before, but because she’s a leader who inspires millions of Americans with her strength, her courage, and her commitment to the causes that brought us here tonight.

We’ve certainly had our differences over the last sixteen months. But as someone who’s shared a stage with her many times, I can tell you that what gets Hillary Clinton up in the morning – even in the face of tough odds – is exactly what sent her and Bill Clinton to sign up for their first campaign in Texas all those years ago; what sent her to work at the Children’s Defense Fund and made her fight for health care as First Lady; what led her to the United States Senate and fueled her barrier-breaking campaign for the presidency – an unyielding desire to improve the lives of ordinary Americans, no matter how difficult the fight may be. And you can rest assured that when we finally win the battle for universal health care in this country, she will be central to that victory. When we transform our energy policy and lift our children out of poverty, it will be because she worked to help make it happen. Our party and our country are better off because of her, and I am a better candidate for having had the honor to compete with Hillary Rodham Clinton.

There are those who say that this primary has somehow left us weaker and more divided. Well I say that because of this primary, there are millions of Americans who have cast their ballot for the very first time. There are Independents and Republicans who understand that this election isn’t just about the party in charge of Washington, it’s about the need to change Washington. There are young people, and African-Americans, and Latinos, and women of all ages who have voted in numbers that have broken records and inspired a nation.

(more…)

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Evening Jukebox… Burning Down the House

By- Suzie-Q @ 6:25 PM MST


Talking Heads- Burning Down the House

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By- Suzie-Q @ 6:00 PM MST

McCain Tries Aggressively To Distance Himself From Bush In Speech Tonight

June 3, 2008 07:39 PM

The frame of John McCain being an extension of the Bush presidency is apparently getting under the Senator’s skin.

In his speech tonight in Louisiana — the kick-off, of sorts, of the general election campaign — McCain takes overt steps to distance himself from President Bush. In the process, he revealed, however vaguely, that the attacks he’s been receiving at the hands of Barack Obama and the Democratic Party are proving politically irritating.

“You will hear from my opponent’s campaign in every speech, every interview, every press release that I’m running for President Bush’s third term,” McCain said. “You will hear every policy of the President described as the Bush-McCain policy. Why does Senator Obama believe it’s so important to repeat that idea over and over again? Because he knows it’s very difficult to get Americans to believe something they know is false. So he tries to drum it into your minds by constantly repeating it rather than debate honestly the very different directions he and I would take the country. But the American people didn’t get to know me yesterday, as they are just getting to know Senator Obama. They know I have a long record of bipartisan problem solving. They’ve seen me put our country before any President — before any party — before any special interest — before my own interest. They might think me an imperfect servant of our country, which I surely am. But I am her servant first, last and always…”

From there, the presumptive Republican nominee pivoted to a list of issues on which he has shown resistance to the Bush White House. The problem, however, may be that the record isn’t entirely clear that there is distance between the old and the new GOP standard-bearers.

McCain began with Iraq: “I disagreed strongly with the Bush administration’s mismanagement of the war in Iraq. I called for the change in strategy that is now, at last, succeeding where the previous strategy had failed miserably.”

Maybe so, but there is ample evidence that Senator was a great cheerleader for both the president and his policy. “No one has supported President Bush on Iraq more than I have,” McCain himself declared in April 2008. “Let me emphasize that there are many national security issues that I have strongly supported the president and steadfastly so,” he added.

Moreover, a full yesr before the troop surge — on which McCain has hung his campaign — the Senator was advocating a (in his words) “stay the course” policy.

“I think the situation on the ground is going to improve. I do think that progress is being made in a lot of Iraq,” he told the Hill newspaper in December 2005. “Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course. If I thought we weren’t making progress, I’d be despondent.”

In his speech on Tuesday night, McCain hit on other policy points in which he and the president have butted heads. And several of them may prove poignant attacks points against Obama.

“No problem is more urgent today than America’s dependence on foreign oil,” the Senator declared. “Senator Obama voted for the same policies that created the problem. In fact, he voted for the energy bill promoted by President Bush and Vice President Cheney, which gave even more breaks to the oil industry. I opposed it because I know we won’t achieve energy independence by repeating the mistakes of the last half century. That’s not change we can believe in.”

But these points are far fewer and far between than McCain would like to acknowledge. Nowhere in his speech, for instance, does the Arizona Republican touch on tax cuts, judicial philosophy or social security reform — all areas in which McCain’s progressive critics point out, he is in line or more regressive than the soon to be departing president.

Update: Bill Burton, Obama’s chief spokesman, e-mails the campaign’s response to McCain’s speech:

While John McCain has a record of occasional independence from his party in the past, last year he chose to embrace 95% of George Bush’s agenda, including his failed economic policies and his failed policy in Iraq. No matter how hard he tries to spin it otherwise, that kind of record is simply not the change the American people are looking for or deserve.

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By- Suzie-Q @ 5:00 PM MST

Fox News Finally Identifies Karl Rove As McCain Adviser

Huffington Post | June 3, 2008 01:04 PM

ThinkProgress noted today that Fox News has finally identified Karl Rove as an informal adviser to the McCain Campaign, almost four months after hiring him as an on-air political analyst.

Rove first appeared on Fox as an “FNC political contributor” on Super Tuesday (February 5), and it took the network 118 days to acknowledge his affiliation with McCain, according to ThinkProgress’ “Rove Watch Clock.”

The mention slipped out during an interview with Rove on Hannity & Colmes, when Colmes asked him a question about Obama (see video below):

“Look, Karl, I know you’re supporting McCain. But how do you know — and I know you’ve helped informally advise McCain — but how do you know that he’s a weak general election candidate?”

Last month, Amanda Terkel and Matt Corley remarked in Salon that Rove was regularly introduced on Fox as a “former senior advisor to President Bush,” “the architect,” a “political wizard” and a “famed political consultant” — but his connection to McCain was never disclosed.

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Meeting…Bush, Cheney, Olmert, And AIPAC!

GEF @ 4:08 PM MST

Olmert begins U.S. visit; set to meet with AIPAC, Bush

By Barak Ravid, Haaretz Correspondent

Prime Minister Ehud Olmert begins a two-day visit in Washington on Tuesday, which will include an address at the annual gathering of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby, and a meeting with president George Bush that will focus on the Iranian nuclear program and upgrading the bilateral defense ties between Washington and Jerusalem.

The prime minister decided to travel to Washington in spite of the political crisis in Israel, because the security dialogue with Bush, which began when he visited Israel in January, requires attention, sources close to Olmert said Monday.

During the cabinet meeting Sunday, Olmert said the security-related issues on the agenda with Bush addressed “the essence of Israel’s existence.”

In his meetings in Washington, Olmert will concentrate on the efforts to foil Iran’s nuclear program.

A senior political source said Monday that Israel continues to emphasize, in contacts with U.S. officials, that Iran is developing military nuclear capabilities. “There is progress in the dialogue with the Americans, but no decisions are expected [to be made],” the source said.

Olmert will try to convince Bush to set aside the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program in favor of data presented by Israel, and determine the administration’s policy on Iran accordingly.

Another central issue in the talks will be upgrading defense ties between the two countries. Olmert and Bush are not scheduled to sign any definitive or binding agreements, but Israel is interested in reaching an agreement on a series of joint projects that will begin under the current administration, and bind the next U.S. administration.

A political source said that the projects in question are very sensitive and have to do with missile defense systems and advanced warfare capabilities that Israel would like to acquire in the coming years.

The United States is expected to allow Israel to participate in a number of advanced American defense industry projects.

Olmert will also brief the president on developments in the indirect negotiations with Syria and the upcoming start of resumed talks, as well as the meetings with the Palestinian Authority.

On Monday, Olmert met with PA President Mahmoud Abbas, and the two leaders discussed issues of borders and security.

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GEF @ 3:18 PM MST

Greenspan and his ilk believed that they could prosecute the class war and make up the difference by relaxing lending standards, changing bankruptcy laws, and by creating a nearly endless array of exotic financial products that expanded credit. But shifting wealth from one class to another has its costs. By crushing the worker the Friedmanites have killed the golden goose. The world’s most prosperous consumer society is in terminal distress and no amount of “free market” gibberish will keep it from crashing.

Economic depression in America: Evidence of a withering economy is everywhere

by Mike Whitney

Look around. The evidence of a withering economy is everywhere. In “good times” consumers shun the canned meat aisle altogether, but no more. Today, Spam sales are soaring; grocery stores can’t keep it on the shelves. Everyone is looking for cheaper ways to feed their families. The Labor Dept. assures us that core-inflation is only 4 per cent, but everybody knows it’s load of malarkey. Food prices are going through the roof. White bread is up 13 percent, bacon is up 7 percent and peanut butter is up 9 percent. Inflation is rampant and there’s no end in sight. The dollar is closing in on the peso and working people are struggling just to get by. The bottom line is that more and more people in “the richest country on earth” are now surviving on processed pig-meat. That says it all.

In Santa Barbara parking lots are being converted into hostels so that families that lost their homes in the subprime fiasco can sleep in their cars and not be hassled by the cops. The same is true in LA where tent cities have sprung up around the railroad yards to accommodate the growing number of people who’ve lost their jobs or can’t afford to rent a room on service-industry wages. It’s tragic. Everywhere people are feeling the pinch; that’s why 9 out of 10 Americans now believe the country is now headed in the wrong direction and that’s why consumer confidence is at its lowest ebb since the Great Depression. This is the great triumph of Reagan’s free trade “trickle down” Voodoo economics; whole families living out of their cars waiting for the pawn shop to open.

The economy is on life-support. The rest of the world would be doing us all a favor if they decided to chuck the dollar and boycott US financial products altogether. That would put an end to Wall Street’s chicanery once and for all. Foreign investors should be demanding restitution and impounding American assets to compensate for the trillions of dollars they lost in the subprime/securitization swindle. Litigate, litigate, litigate; that’s the only way to make the guilty parties pay for their crimes. Either that or set up a gallows on Wall Street and get down to business.

The pundits on the business channel are telling us that the “worst is over”; that the Force 5 hurricane in the financial markets has weakened to a squall. Don’t believe it. The corporate bond market is still frozen, housing is in free fall, and the banking system is buckling from the overload of bad investments. The FDIC is even trying to lure former employees out of retirement to deal with the tsunami of bank failures set to touch down later in 2008. Corporate defaults are on the rise and and commercial real estate is crashing.

“Commercial property prices in the US in February saw their sharpest decline since records began nearly 15 years ago as sources of finance for deals has dried up, according to data from Standard & Poor’s out yesterday. Sales of commercial properties were down 71 per cent in the first quarter compared with a year earlier.” (Financial Times) Commercial real estate is following the same downward trajectory as residential housing. They’re both headed for the bottom of the fish-tank. Any slump in CRE will send unemployment skyrocketing while adding to the solvency problems facing the banks.

We’re not out of the woods by a long shot, and won’t be for years to come. According to Bloomberg News, soaring raw material costs have caused a sharp rise in costs to producers that they won’t be able to pass on to cash-strapped consumers. That means that corporate profits will fall and stock values will plunge.

Last week, Oppenheimer analyst Meredith Whitney announced that:

“The real harrowing days of the credit crisis are still ahead of us and will prove more widespread in effect than anything yet seen. Just as strained liquidity pushed so many small and mid-sized specialty finance companies to the brink, we believe it will do the same to the US consumer. We believe losses will only accelerate further and far worse than the most draconian estimates.”

Whitney has been one of the few consistently accurate analysts of the current market meltdown.

The fate of the larger investment banks is just as uncertain as the smaller “depository” banks. Carlyle Group Chairman David Rubenstein summed it up like this last week, “US and European banks and financial institutions have enormous losses from from bad loans they haven’t yet recognized and may have a harder time wooing sovereign fund rescuers. Based on information I see, it will take at least a year before all losses are realized, and some financial institutions may fail. Many financial institutions aren’t going to be able to survive as independent institutions.”

That means there will be greater consolidation and more formidable banking monopolies, all of which is bad for the consumer.

The banks and financial institutions have never been in worse shape. They’ve already written down $344 billion since the credit crisis began last August and they’ll write down another $200 billion next year. By the time the crisis is over, they will have racked up an estimated $1 trillion in losses. That represents a $3 trillion contraction in loans to consumers and businesses. Also, these estimates don’t take into account the losses of revenue from the slowdown in consumer spending, shrinking GDP, and massive business failures; all of which will wreak further havoc on the financial sector.

The amount of stress on the banking system is unprecedented. The Fed is loaning out money hand-over-fist just to keep the scaffolding in place. Take a look at what is going on at the Fed’s so-called “auction facilities” where the Fed is providing loans and US Treasuries for “unsellable” mortgage-backed junk and other toxic bonds. The numbers are staggering.

According to the Seattle Times:

“The Federal Reserve’s emergency loans to banks climbed to the highest level on record even as Wall Street investment companies scaled back their borrowing….Banks stepped up their borrowing, according to the Fed report. They averaged $15.95 billion in daily borrowing for the week ending May 28, compared with $13.5 billion for the previous week, and the total was a record. The previous high of $14.4 billion came in the week ending May 14…In the broadest use of the central bank’s lending power since the 1930s, the Fed in March scrambled to avert a market meltdown by giving investment houses a place to go for emergency overnight loans….The Fed also announced Thursday it will make a fresh batch of short-term cash loans available to banks as part of an effort to ease stressed credit markets…The Fed said it will conduct three auctions in June; each will offer $75 billion in short-term cash loans. It would mark the latest round in a program that the Fed launched in December to help banks overcome credit problems so they will keep lending to customers.” (“Banks step up Fed loans, investment firms scale back”, Seattle Times)

Another $225 billion?!?

The Fed is trashing its balance sheet–to the tune of $225 billion–when the money could be used to provide free college tuition and universal health care. What a waste. Instead, the money is being used to throw a lifeline to dodgy speculators would were trying to snooker foreign investors with garbage securities. At the same time, the Fed’s emergency facilities have done nothing to restore trust between the individual banks who are more reluctant to lend to each other than ever. The ongoing scandal surrounding Libor (the interest rate that banks charge each other and which determines the rates on $3 trillion of financial products including mortgages) strongly suggests that the banks are lying about the true rate they are paying so the public doesn’t find out how battered they really are.

Bloomberg News: “Banks routinely misstated borrowing costs to the British Bankers’ Association to avoid the perception they faced difficulty raising funds as credit markets seized up.”

Consumer spending is sluggish too, since lending standards have tightened and home equity continues to vanish. Subprime problems have migrated from Wall Street to Main Street as credit trends appear to be getting worse. Consumers are maxed-out on their credit cards, student loans, mortgages and car loans. The lack of personal savings is not the result of a profligate lifestyle (as the right wing media likes to opine) but 30 years of stagnant wages and class warfare waged via big business and the federal tax code. None of the baby boomers are counting on Social Security to pay the bills when they retire but, still, that doesn’t justify the money being ripped-off from their paychecks every week and slipped into the general fund where it is used to pave roads and purchase cluster-bombs. Social security is nothing but a flat tax for paupers. (The rich get a free-ride after the first $87,000 income) These are some of the factors that are bearing down on an American economy like a Daisy Cutter. 2009 is looking is looking more and more like a chapter out of Revelation.

An article is this week’s The Economist summarizes the malaise in housing in particularly apocalyptic terms:

“America’s house prices are falling even faster than during the Great Depression. As house prices in America continue their rapid descent, market-watchers are having to cast back ever further for gloomy comparisons. The latest S&P/Case-Shiller national house-price index, published this week, showed a slump of 14.1% in the year to the first quarter, the worst since the index began 20 years ago. Now Robert Shiller, an economist at Yale University and co-inventor of the index, has compiled a version that stretches back over a century. This shows that the latest fall in nominal prices is already much bigger than the 10.5% drop in 1932, the worst point of the Depression. And things are even worse than they look. In the deflationary 1930s house prices declined less in real terms. Today inflation is running at a brisk pace, so property prices have fallen by a staggering 18% in real terms over the past year.” (“The Economist”)

The country is undergoing a collapsing real estate market that surpasses the Great Depression and former Fed-chief Alan Greenspan’s book is still on the New York Times Best Seller list. How’s that for irony?

Regrettably, there’s no sign of a bottom yet in housing. Some markets have already dropped by 30% costing the states (like California and Florida) billions in tax revenue and triggering a steep increase in foreclosures. In California, sales are not only down by roughly 50 per cent, but 40 per cent of new sales are sales of foreclosed homes. The pool of potential buyers has dried up. Now the vultures are circling and picking up homes for $.50 on the dollar. The losses are enormous. If the downward trend continues, (as many now expect) and housing prices drop 30 per cent nationwide; the market will shed $6.5 trillion in aggregate value and lower household spending by $300 billion. That means GDP will shrink at least another full percentage point.

The crisis in the financial markets won’t be resolved until housing prices stabilize, that’s why the Fed and Congress are scrambling to put together a plan (Hope Now) that will slow the rate of foreclosures. Trillions of dollars in complex bonds and mortgage-backed securities will continue to be downgraded until investors see that it is safe to “dip their toes in the water” again and reinvest in a (currently) moribund market. So far, Congress has made little headway in keeping homeowners from defaulting on their mortgages. Credit Suisse predicts that foreclosures will be somewhere north of 6.5 million homeowners over the next few years. It is the equivalent of Hurricane Katrina sweeping from one side of the country to the other.

The next administration—whether it’s McCain or Obama—will be forced to restore the Resolution Trust Corp., which was created in 1989 to dispose of assets of insolvent savings and loan banks. The RTC would create a government-owned management company that would buy distressed MBS from banks and liquidate them via auction. The state would pay less than full-value for the bonds (The Fed currently pays 85 per cent face-value on MBS) and then take a loss on their liquidation. “According to Joseph Stiglitz in his book, Towards a New Paradigm in Monetary Economics, the real reason behind the need of this company was to allow the US government to subsidize the banking sector in a way that wasn’t very transparent and therefore avoid the possible resistance.”

There it is; a taxpayer-funded bailout of Biblical proportions looming on the horizon, possibly as soon as 2009. Ultimately, it is the only sure-fire way to stabilize the crumbling banking system and put a floor under housing prices. The effects on the dollar, however, will be catastrophic. Don’t expect the greenback to survive as the world’s “reserve currency”. Those days are about over.

The troubles in the financial markets will be with us for some time. The massive expansion of credit has created numerous equity bubbles that are unwinding at an unpredictable pace. Author James Howard Kunstler calls the present process “the remorseless algebra of a deflationary death spiral”. That’s about as close to a perfect description as imaginable. There’s bound to be considerable disagreement about the origins of the bubble and who is to blame. Was it the Fed’s “low interest ” policy following the dot.com bust in 2000, or the lack of government regulation in the securitzation process, or was it just the natural corollary of a political system which invariably bows and scrapes to Wall Street?

The real origin of the problem is ideological. It’s rooted in the prevailing “trickle down” orthodoxy which opposes any increases in wages or benefits for working people. Henry Ford realized what today’s captains of industry and finance refuse to accept; that if workers aren’t adequately paid for their labor—and wages do not keep pace with production—then the economy cannot grow because consumers do not have the money to buy the things they make. It’s just that simple. Greenspan and his ilk believed that they could prosecute the class war and make up the difference by relaxing lending standards, changing bankruptcy laws, and by creating a nearly endless array of exotic financial products that expanded credit. But shifting wealth from one class to another has its costs. By crushing the worker the Friedmanites have killed the golden goose. The world’s most prosperous consumer society is in terminal distress and no amount of “free market” gibberish will keep it from crashing.

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Tired of Main Stream Media? try ~NET CENTER~

by Geezer Power…12:49 pm

Center for Truth

“One if by Land and the Lantern is Lit…”
** Doing What the Multi-Billion Dollar Media Won’t do **
The Truth will set you free. . . But only if You share it!

The video employs clips from a 2004 “60 Minutes” Interview with 2001-2003 Secretary of the Treasury, Paul O’Neil. O’Neil, a Permanent Member of the then formed NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL (NSC), was eventually FIRED in 2003, for what he OPPOSED and witnessed in the Early days of the JUST elected 2001 Bush Whitehouse.

He was appalled at the Secrecy and Contradictions in the George Bush he thought he knew. It was apparent a new agenda was rolling…and he wanted NO part in it. War plans were in the works, long BEFORE the 911 World Trade Center attack. Far from a tragedy, 911 was an OPPORTUNITY for the Bush/Cheney White House to proceed with Plans.

In his Presidential run at the office, Ron Paul continues to bravely disclose and reference this same “hidden agenda” that has been cloaked as “Foreign Policy” and “Patriotism”, only to be ridiculed by the Main Stream Media, radio talk show Hosts, Bloggers, whether Democrat or Republican, and OTHERS (Guiliani!), who feign SHOCK at the mere suggestion, that our POLICIES are why “They Hate Us”. Incumbent Politicians and the other contending Presidential Candidates just grow silent when Ron Paul Speaks. Why?

Folks, what I see here is an excellent and comprehensive archive that documents the crimes of the Bu$hite’s from his first day in office to the present. I haven’t looked at everything here, but so far what I see is documentation of the travesties of justice, abuse of human rights, and especially the deceit that we have witnessed by this Neoconservative gang of thieves who illegally occupy the
White House…G:

netcenter.com

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AP: Clinton To Concede But Campaign Pushes Back

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:05 PM MST

In this June 2, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., and her husband, former President Bill Clinton react to supporters during a rally in Sioux Falls, S.D. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

From: Carpetbagger Report

AP says Clinton to concede; campaign pushes back

For a few minutes, this AP report certainly captured the political world’s attention.

Hillary Rodham Clinton will concede Tuesday night that Barack Obama has the delegates to secure the Democratic nomination, campaign officials said, effectively ending her bid to be the nation’s first female president. […]

The former first lady will stop short of formally suspending or ending her race in her speech in New York City. She will pledge to continue to speak out on issues like health care. But for all intents and purposes, the two senior officials said, the campaign is over.

Most campaign staff will be let go and will be paid through June 15, said the officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to divulge her plans.

Just a few minutes later, the Clinton campaign issued a formal statement. In its entirety:

The AP story is incorrect. Senator Clinton will not concede the nomination this evening.

That sounds pretty categorical, though “will not concede” doesn’t rule out the possibility of suspending campaign operations.

Either way, there is increasing evidence that the withdrawal announcement may not come tonight, but it may not be too much longer, either.

Clinton campaign chairman Terry McAuliffe’s comments this morning sounded encouraging to those looking forward to the end of the Democratic race.

When asked whether Clinton would concede if Obama reaches the magic number today or tomorrow, McAuliffe said, “Yeah, I think that if Sen. Obama gets the number, I think Hillary Clinton will congratulate him, and call him the nominee.” He added, “I don’t think she’s going to the Credentials Committee…. We’re not gonna have a fight over four delegates.”

If McAuliffe’s perspective reflects the campaign’s current thinking, his remarks this morning tell us an awful lot. First, as we discussed yesterday, there was some talk that the Clinton campaign would not stop fighting even if Obama reached the 2,118 threshold, under the assumption that they Clinton and her team could change superdelegates’ minds between now and the convention. This morning, McAuliffe said this is not the case, and that Clinton is prepared to congratulate Obama once he reaches the magic number.

Second, McAuliffe certainly didn’t sound like a guy ready to appeal the Rules and Bylaws Committee compromise to the Credentials Committee. Just the opposite; he suggested Clinton doesn’t want to pursue that avenue at all.

It is, in other words, almost over.

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Afternoon Jukebox… Paralyzer

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:00 PM MST

Finger Eleven – Paralyzer

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After Bobby Kennedy

anthony @ 18:23 BST

Robert Kennedy, Barack Obama

“These people love you,” I said to him as we left Calexico, California, where the immigrant population lived in abject poverty and people came like a great wave and swept him out of his car, his hands fastened to their lips.

“Yes, yes, sure they love me,” he replied. “I love them!” I asked him how exactly he would lift them out of poverty: just what was his political philosophy? “Philosophy? Well, it’s based on a faith in this country and I believe that many Americans have lost this faith and I want to give it back to them, because we are the last and the best hope of the world, as Thomas Jefferson said.”

“That’s what you say in your speech. Surely the question is: How?”

“How . . . by charting a new direction for America.”

The vacuities are familiar. Obama is his echo. Like Kennedy, Obama may well “chart a new direction for America” in specious, media-honed language, but in reality he will secure, like every president, the best damned democracy money can buy.

John Pilger | New Statesman | Published 29 May 2008

Bobby Kennedy’s campaign is the model for Barack Obama’s current bid to be the Democratic nominee for the White House. Both offer a false hope that they can bring peace and racial harmony to all Americans, writes John Pilger

In this season of 1968 nostalgia, one anniversary illuminates today. It is the rise and fall of Robert Kennedy, who would have been elected president of the United States had he not been assassinated in June 1968. Having travelled with Kennedy up to the moment of his shooting at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on 5 June, I heard The Speech many times. He would “return government to the people” and bestow “dignity and justice” on the oppressed. “As Bernard Shaw once said,” he would say, “‘Most men look at things as they are and wonder why. I dream of things that never were and ask: Why not?'” That was the signal to run back to the bus. It was fun until a hail of bullets passed over our shoulders.

Kennedy’s campaign is a model for Barack Obama. Like Obama, he was a senator with no achievements to his name. Like Obama, he raised the expectations of young people and minorities. Like Obama, he promised to end an unpopular war, not because he opposed the war’s conquest of other people’s land and resources, but because it was “unwinnable”.

Should Obama beat John McCain to the White House in November, it will be liberalism’s last fling. In the United States and Britain, liberalism as a war-making, divisive ideology is once again being used to destroy liberalism as a reality. A great many people understand this, as the hatred of Blair and new Labour attest, but many are disoriented and eager for “leadership” and basic social democracy. In the US, where unrelenting propaganda about American democratic uniqueness disguises a corporate system based on extremes of wealth and privilege, liberalism as expressed through the Democratic Party has played a crucial, compliant role.

In 1968, Robert Kennedy sought to rescue the party and his own ambitions from the threat of real change that came from an alliance of the civil rights campaign and the anti-war movement then commanding the streets of the main cities, and which Martin Luther King had drawn together until he was assassinated in April that year. Kennedy had supported the war in Vietnam and continued to support it in private, but this was skilfully suppressed as he competed against the maverick Eugene McCarthy, whose surprise win in the New Hampshire primary on an anti-war ticket had forced President Lyndon Johnson to abandon the idea of another term. Using the memory of his martyred brother, Kennedy assiduously exploited the electoral power of delusion among people hungry for politics that represented them, not the rich. (more…)

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