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And then there were three…

Mitt Romney withdrew from the race for the Republican nomination this afternoon, and that leaves McCain, Huckabee, and Paul.  And McCain has the lead in delegates.

Where Romney’s delegates go, I’m not sure.  But even if they were split evenly among the remaining contenders or given to a candidate other than McCain, I don’t think it would make a difference – McCain has the momentum to gather up the rest of the delegates, and Huckabee’s star is starting to wane.  Paul is so far back that there is no way he would ever be able to catch up unless everyone else dropped out.

It will be interesting to see what happens on the Democratic side in the next few weeks –  no clear leader, and the DNC leadership is going to go through hell trying to figure out how to determine their candidate.  On the one hand, there is their favorite son’s wife, on the other, a charismatic minority.  The DNC can’t make the choice without alienating their base – after all, they keep touting their party as the “party of choice.”  And the super-delegates will only make it worse, especially if they vote on the basis of political payback and favoritism.

Yes, it has been an interesting year in politics thus far, and will prove to be more interesting in the year to come.

Counts from Real Clear Politics:

Democrats:

  • Clinton: 1012 Delegates with 211 Super Delegates
  • Obama: 933 Delgates with 128 Super Delegates

Republicans:

  • McCain: 697 Delegates
  • Romney: 244 Delegates
  • Huckabee: 187 Delegates
  • Paul: 14 Delegates

The interesting part of the Democratic counts is that if the Super Delegates are removed from the count, Obama is leading HRC 805 to 801. Just goes to show that friends in high places (along with political strong-arming & blackmail) will get you just about anything…

I am surprised at how close the Democratic primary really is. Just a few months ago, it looked like HRC was going to run away with the nomination with the rest of the candidates just along for the ride to make it look good. Now she has some real competition, the gloves have come off, and she looks desperate. Those shenanigans have not helped her, and Obama has narrowed the gap. The remaining primaries and caucuses will certainly have an impact, but I do wonder if the super delegates will really represent the people of the party or the will of the leadership of the DNC. Only time will tell.

On the Republican side, it appears that unless some miracle happens, John McCain will be the nominee of the Party. I’m really not sure if I like that or not – he has been described as a loose cannon by several of his counterparts. I also remember that he has supported the failed immigration bill and other pieces of legislation that I do not think were in the best interest of this country. Yes, he appears to be Liberal in his leanings.

So at this point in time, barring a lightning strike at the ballot box for a third-party president, it looks like no matter who you vote for in the upcoming Presidential election, we will end up getting a Liberal President. That’s not good for those of us with conservative leanings.

So what is now important is voting for conservative Senate and House candidates. These Congress-critters are the ones that will introduce legislation, ratify treaties, and confirm Supreme Court Justice candidates. If anything, it will be these representatives that will be important, not necessarily the President.

Yes, the 2008 election is more important than ever, and it’s not just about electing another President. It’s about who is going to represent you.

I have no idea where everyone is at right now – the news pundits are “projecting” winners all over the place. What this means as far as number of delegates everyone gets is up in the air.

We’ll see tomorrow morning who gets what. And we’ll comment tomorrow evening on the results – I’m not staying up to watch the news reports!!

Global Warming. Islamic Radical Terrorism. National Health Care. The 2008 Presidential Elections. Illegal Immigration. The Inner Workings of Government.

How much of the above really concerns the common person? In many respects, none of it.

What?!?!?!?

According to the Media, Scientists, & Politicians, all of the above is important.

Perhaps it’s the cynic in me, but I don’t think that the common person really gives a rat’s behind about if the polar bears have a place to live, terrorists are blowing each other up “over there,” another illegal crosses the border, or what Government does behind closed doors (or open ones, for that matter). Yeah, for the time being, the common man is concerned about the elections and if government is going to take care of the “health care crisis,” but that’s only until the election is over. Then it’s back to whatever is considered “normal.”

Why, you may ask? Here’s the answer – The common person is concerned with the roof over their head, food in the tummy, a job that will pay for the roof and the food, and what’s on television for the night. Yeah, I’m cynical all right…

Many of the readers of this blog identify themselves with the common person. Ask yourself these questions from a realistic standpoint – Does the common person actively seek out the story behind the story, and do they really dig down into the details? Or do they go about their daily business trying to make ends meet, and just take for granted what is going on around them is for their own good?

Sounds like a choice between taking the red pill or the blue pill…

Ignorance is bliss only in the short term. In the long term, the consequences of ignorance will come back to haunt us with a vengeance. For instance:

The 2008 Presidential Elections (Primary Edition) is interesting on the Democratic side as it is ho-hum on the Republican side. The Dems are mudslinging like crazy, playing every card in the deck to gain an advantage over their opponent. The Republicans are running on the issues with a little mud on the side, which isn’t making hardly any news nor is it really putting forth what is on their menu. With the Media promoting the Democrat’s Liberal / Socialistic agenda and ignoring the Republican’s conservative message (except for the lone RINO in the group), the Media is playing kingmaker, hoping that the public sheep will follow them to the Liberal pasture of plenty. This could have some catastrophic consequences.

Depending on who is elected, your taxes would go up a little or a lot to pay for “free” health care. National defense may or may not protect United States citizens and property worldwide from terrorist attacks (probably not the way the Liberals are talking). The borders would not only be open but the illegals coming across the borders would be welcomed with open arms and amnesty. The continued prosecution against Islamic terrorist organizations would be doubtful, especially since everyone should now take mandatory diversity training to “help us understand them” while they are cutting our heads off. And let’s not forget about the movements to “go green” which will most likely cost everyone money in the good intentioned but doubtful reversal of Global Warming. Of course, Government will be doing all of this at the behest of a Liberal President “to help you.” I think Ronald Reagan said it best,

The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.

And what is the real cost? The most priceless of all – the freedoms & rights guaranteed by the Constitution legislated away by power-hungry politicians and ignored by a populace more interested in American Idol & Britney Spear’s antics. Don’t believe me? Just read a previous post for just the tip of the iceberg on the most valuable right we have under the Constitution – Free Speech.

Of course, this is just the tip of the iceberg, and I could just keep on ranting. But the point is that the media, our politicians, and various power brokers are shaping and forming our opinions for us.

Yeah, I’m cynical… Just don’t call me paranoid, because I already know the world is out to get me…

We, the citizens of the United States, should not take our First Amendment Rights to Free Speech for granted. Citizens in other countries do not have the freedoms that we enjoy on a day by day basis.

For instance, there is the case of a blogger with the name of Lionheart from the United Kingdom. Always on Watch has the details on her website, Lionheart states his case here, and there is a two-hour web cast on Blog Talk Radio in which there is a discussion of the incident with Lionheart. To recap the situation and interview:

  • Lionheart published photos & material on his blog dealing with Islamic terrorist involvement in drug-related activities in England. (It should be noted that Time Magazine published a report on the same activity in 2001.)
  • As an indirect result of the blog entries, the authorities in the UK have issued a warrant for his arrest, supposedly citing hate crime laws in “stirring up racial hatred” against Islamic people. However, a formal charging has not happened, and will not happen until he is arrested.
  • During the interview, Lionheart was understandably upset, especially when questioned by a caller for the details of the situation. He interrupted the caller constantly, which didn’t help his case. But then, considering everything he is going through, I’m not sure if I would have handled the situation any better.

Here is the problem with hate crime laws – they are subject to what someone finds objectionable to their race, religion, and/or belief system. In other words, there are no absolute standards or limits to what these laws could eventually cover. Where this could eventually lead is a suppression of our ability to voice our opinions for fear of being charged with a hate crime. Freedom of speech now becomes a casualty of “political correctness” and “hate crime” laws.

And now this is leading to censorship of you and I, the private citizen, of what we think, say, and write as well as the Media at large. Lionheart’s case is not the first nor do I think it will be the last. And if taken to the extremes, will severely impact what we write in our blogs.

Recently, I found a deal with an internet provider that would supply a free domain and site for life for a one-time price. Here are the two catches: The provider is located in Canada, and their terms of service include the following:

XYZ’s hosting service may only be used for lawful purposes. Transmission of any material in violation of any Federal, Provincial or local regulation is prohibited. This includes, but is not limited to copyrighted material, material legally judged to be threatening or obscene, or material protected by trade secret.

XYZ has the right to refuse to host adult content and to remove it from our servers at any time. Further, you are not permitted to distribute material promoting hatred against individuals or groups or any content which may be deemed to be illegal according to the laws of your country of residence.

THIS AGREEMENT SHALL BE GOVERNED BY AND INTERPRETED AND ENFORCED IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE LAWS OF PROVINCE OF QUEBEC AND THE FEDERAL LAWS OF CANADA APPLICABLE THEREIN WITHOUT REFERENCE TO RULES GOVERNING CHOICE OF LAWS. ANY ACTION RELATING TO THIS AGREEMENT MUST BE BROUGHT IN QUEBEC AND YOU IRREVOCABLY CONSENT TO THE JURISDICTION OF SUCH COURTS.

OK, so that means if I write something that pisses someone off enough that they believe I have violated a hate law, I could not only lose my site but potentially be prosecuted internationally. Considering that there is at least one province in Canada that considered adopting Sharia law into their civil legal system, it is almost asking for it if I write something about Islam and posted it on a server located in Canada in that province. I have enough problems keeping track of this country’s laws, and who knows where Canada is headed with their hate crime statutes. No thanks, I don’t need anymore headaches than I already have…

Let’s step away for the moment to just check on the status of the freedom of the media worldwide. The media in various countries, when not restricted by their government, impose upon themselves censorship. The perfect example of this is the now infamous Mohammed cartoons.

Some European papers as well as some US papers feared publishing the cartoons for fear of inciting violence among the Muslim population. And yet these same papers have no qualms about publishing a less than complementary cartoon of Jesus Christ. According to my belief system, such a depiction is objectionable, and could even be considered hateful. What’s the difference? In a perfect world, absolutely none! In this imperfect world, whoever files the most lawsuits and generally screams the loudest is the winner.

Coming back the United States, our Freedom of Speech is also being curtailed, although not evenly through the various groups. For instance:

The KKK and other white supremacist groups are often called hate groups because of their beliefs and speech. But when Louis Farrakhan makes a public speech along the same racial lines (although reversed in color), no one ever seems to call neither his speech hateful nor his organization a hate group. Why?

In short – politics.

Who has the greater influence on elections? Who must the politicians pander to in order to be elected? Last, who makes the laws that we must follow?

The result is that hate crime legislation and the enforcement thereof is written to protect certain groups. And now our country has slid further down the slippery slope of where the law by the people & for the people is not protecting all of the people. Of course, this is facilitated by the ever changing Political Correctness crowd.

So now Islamic radicals, thinly veiled Black hate groups, and other vocal militant groups that wield political, financial, and physical power are claiming protection under Free Speech statutes as they are spreading their hatred while also claiming being the victims of hate crimes. Our Media and politicians allow this to happen without challenge because it is the easiest path to follow and often fits their Liberal agendas.

The barbarians are not at the gates, they are through the gates and in the city…

Soon, the common person like you and I will not be able to voice our opinions without being labeled a bigot, racist, or hate-monger. And in some respects, we already have.

Many of us who have posted blogs have been called the above and more by the people visiting and commenting on our sites. Some we will edit, others we will delete, and the rest we will leave just to prove the person commenting is an idiot. Nonetheless, the seeds are being planted of where it will be extremely uncomfortable to voice or write our opinions from a legal standpoint.  But there is hope on the horizon.

There is a resource for the blogger from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. From their website:

EFF’s goal is to give you a basic roadmap to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger, to let you know you have rights, and to encourage you to blog freely with the knowledge that your legitimate speech is protected.

To that end, we have created the Legal Guide for Bloggers, a collection of blogger-specific FAQs addressing everything from fair use to defamation law to workplace whistle-blowing.

Yes, we have the Right to Free Speech and resources to fight those who want to restrict that right. But for how long? I’ll leave you with this quote from Voltaire (1694 – 1778):

I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.

Found this over at Real Clear Politics:

Democrat Delegate Count:

State Delegates   Clinton Obama Edwards
Total   236 152 50
 
Super Delegates 463   200 114 32
 
Iowa 57   15 16 14
 
New Hampshire 30   9 9 4
 
Michigan 0 *  
 
Nevada 33   12 13
 
2,025 Delegates Needed to Win (Delegate Counts Come From AP, Wash Post, ABC News & RCP)

Republican Delegate Count:

State Delegates   Romney Huckabee McCain Thompson Paul Giuliani
Total   59 40 36 5 4 1
 
Unpledged RNC 0  
 
Iowa 40   7 30
 
Wyoming 14 *   8 3
 
New Hampshire 12 *   4 1 7
 
Michigan 30 *   23 1 6
 
Nevada 34   17 3 4 2 4 1
 
South Carolina 24 *   5 19
 
1,191 Delegates Needed to Win (Delegate Counts Come From AP, Wash Post, ABC News & RCP)

The interesting thing about the Democrats is the “Super Delegates,” who are not selected by the voters. From MSNBC:

Voters don’t choose the 842 unpledged “super-delegates” who comprise nearly 40 percent of the number of delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination.

The category includes Democratic governors and members of Congress, former presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter, former vice president Al Gore, retired congressional leaders such as Dick Gephardt, and all Democratic National Committee members, some of whom are appointed by party chairman Howard Dean.

Although dubbed “unpledged” in Democratic Party lingo, the super-delegates are free to come out before their state’s primary and pledge to support one of the presidential contenders.

So the voters have 60% of the say, but in the tight contests that the Democrats have between the top three contenders, it now is going to boil down to who owes whom the most favors (or who has the most dirt on a delegate), or who has the fewest skeletons in their closet. And that could lead to someone that the voters really don’t want.

On the Republican side, Fred Thompson announced today that he was withdrawing from the race for the Republican nomination for President. Where Thompson’s delegates will go is not known at this time.

The winning Democratic candidate needs 2,025 delegates to secure the nomination, the Republican candidate needs 1,191 delegates.

Ain’t politics wonderful?

The Michigan Primary did nothing but muddle the front runners of the Republican Party. And in some respects, that seems to sum up the candidates thus far in this silly season.

Romney finally got his first place with McCain in second. Huckabee in third, and everyone else far down the line. And none of the candidates really seem to have what it takes for a decisive primary for that needed knock-out blow.

For the Democrats of Michigan, they certainly didn’t have much of a choice, and they certainly are not going to get a voice in their own party’s selection of a Presidential candidate. HRC was the only candidate on the ballot – and the DNC is probably going to pull Michigan’s delegates because the Michigan Democratic Party pushed the Primary date ahead without the blessing of the DNC. But even then, HRC didn’t have a great showing even running unopposed. From RealClearPolitics.com:

As for the Democratic side – the big story is Hillary Clinton losing the African American vote to “uncommitted.” The exit poll pegged African Americans going against Clinton, 68% to 30%. It appears that opposition by African Americans induced a split in Wayne County (where Detroit is), 50% to Hillary, 45% to uncommitted.

Next is South Carolina and Florida where Fred Thompson is expected to make his last stand with a strong showing.  HRC, Obama, and Edwards are going to do battle in these Southern states, and Edwards should(?) have a stronger showing.  Will this happen? Who knows? Hint – Pay no attention to the Pollster behind the curtain – they don’t know a damn thing.  Just send in the clowns…never mind…they’re here…

Given that the Polls called for HRC to ride to a close victory in Iowa and the reality is that she finished third, does anyone believe polls? I don’t.

Polls are opinions – period. Anyone with an ounce of sense knows that opinions change, and that polling questions can be slanted to get the answer the pollster wants. Which is where the media excels at…

The Media, up to Iowa, has been trying to elect HRC long before any other Democratic candidate. Except that HRC keeps shooting herself in the foot with her own stupidity and non-committal statements on issues. People are not fooled (except those that have partaken of the Clinton-branded Kool-Aid).

Now there is a chink in the Clinton machine where there is a very real possibility that someone else can earn the Democratic nomination for President. I believe that the politics are going to turn very ugly after the New Hampshire Primary. If it is close like the pundits are calling, or if Obama stomps all over HRC like Iowa, look out!! HRC’s campaign will pull out all the stops and go negative on everyone.

Obama, to his credit, has been running a remarkably clean campaign. One does wonder if he has the political will to fight the eventual Clinton-lead firestorm with one of his own. Personally, I would like to see him stay clean and show the world that an HRC lead White House will be nothing more than the same drama as when Bill was there.

But even then, can the Democrats pull it all together for the remaining primaries? As long as HRC remains a divisive factor, I don’t think so. If anything, they are on the verge of self-destruction.

Iowa was also a surprise for the Republicans. Huckabee won big, Guiliani tanked, and who knows where this is going to go from here.

The reality is that I’m not impressed with any of the candidates this election cycle, Democratic or Republican. While I’m leaning toward the Republican side of the ticket, none of the candidates really thrill me – each of them has their pluses, but their minuses turn me off. And the polls are all over the place on a daily basis.

And yet we the voters, while we should have the choice of the best and the brightest to lead us, don’t. I see that we have people that are spending millions of dollars campaigning for a job that pays $400,000 a year. Where is the financial sense in that, and if the politicians are crazy enough to spend all that money to get elected, are they going to do to spend your tax dollars in a responsible manner? Not likely.

Besides, I somewhat feel held hostage to the two main political parties. For instance, primaries are for the political parties to select their best candidate. And yet we the people subsidize this effort. After all, it’s state government workers of each party manning the voting machinery. But nowhere is there a primary for a third, fourth, or fifth party. Yes, there are the usual candidates for the Green and Libertarian parties, but no one ever seems to hear about them or their stance on the issues. And even then, they are often portrayed as being nut-job wackos by the Media.

A few quotes from The Quotations Page:

Politics, n. Strife of interests masquerading as a contest of principles. – Ambrose Bierce (1842 – 1914)

When the political columnists say ‘Every thinking man’ they mean themselves, and when candidates appeal to ‘Every intelligent voter’ they mean everybody who is going to vote for them. – Franklin P. Adams (1881 – 1960)

Politics is not the art of the possible. It consists in choosing between the disastrous and the unpalatable. – John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 – 2006)

The word ‘politics’ is derived from the word ‘poly’, meaning ‘many’, and the word ‘ticks’, meaning ‘blood sucking parasites’. – Larry Hardiman

The problem with political jokes is they get elected. – Henry Cate VII

Most people assume the fights are going to be the left versus the right, but it always is the reasonable versus the jerks. – Jimmy Wales

No, I don’t trust the politicians to have the general population’s best interests at heart. They’re in it for themselves and whoever will support them. After all –

…a typical politician’s primary job is not to serve the people who elected him. His primary job is to get himself (or herself) elected or re-elected. Second is to reward all those contributors that gave $$ to help him get elected. Third is to get as many perks & benefits as he can while he is in office. Last on the list is the common person like you & I.

Passing by the Union board this afternoon, I briefly read a notice on how the UAW Leadership would like us to vote in the Michigan Primary coming up in about 12 days. What I read was disgusting, but not surprising.

The Leadership basically wants us to cast our votes for the top three Democratic candidates – HRC, Obama, and Edwards. Rather than voting for any of the other candidates, the instructions were to vote uncommitted, which means that any of the delegates could nominate anyone that they want, even though we didn’t cast our vote for them.

No Republican (or other) Party candidates were listed.

I think that this whole process is insulting, especially coming from the Union Leadership. Not only do they wish to dictate who to vote for, but give them the liberty to nominate someone that you didn’t want in the first place! Have we no minds of our own, or do they think that we are sheep that need leading? And what about even considering a candidate from another political party?

Union membership is declining, probably for good reasons, and this is one of them. Considering the terms of the last contract that our “leaders” signed, it’s no wonder. And then there are the reasons from a prior post titled Unions for Democrats? Why?

Now understand that the next statement is not an endorsement, but it shows that the Union in Michigan is not paying attention to what the times are, but falling in lockstep with the same old BS as before.

Listening to the Sean Hannity show, Mitt Romney was talking about how he is from Michigan, his father was a past governor, that the state is in a one-state recession, that the Big Three must survive, and that he would do what is possible to get this state back on its feet again.

I ask our Leadership: What other candidate for President has publicly made these statements, and has strong ties to Michigan? None. And even though the Democratic Party has shafted the Union on more than one occasion, they refuse to consider alternative parties and candidates.

If the Union refuses to change with the times, they will go the way of the dinosaur. And you know what happened to them…

In a previous post waaaay back in 2006, I stated my reasons for not liking HRC. Now that she is running for the highest office in the land, I thought I would add to and update my reasons for disliking the female of the Clinton name…

HRC cannot take a stand on an issue (for very long…) Besides the aforementioned flip-flopping in the original post, it took 6 speeches and two weeks to clarify her position on issuing driver’s licenses for illegal aliens, and even now I have no idea where she really stands on this issue. Why is it so hard for her to take a position and stick with it without changing it because of a focus group’s findings? Or better yet, clearly state what her position is on the issue.

HRC takes a very biased view of the law (updated) When thinking about the above issue and HRC’s actions on the illegal immigration issue, HRC cannot and will not make a statement that people that are in this country illegally are criminals!

Healthcare reform (updated) In the last Democratic candidate debate, HRC made statements to the effect that everyone would be covered by governmental healthcare coverage. Not affordable coverage, but something that would be managed by the government. When was the last time that the government ran anything efficiently? All you need to do is look at other countries such as Canada, England, and France to see what raving failures their healthcare systems are.

Taxes (updated) HRC has come out (along with all the other Democratic hopefuls) in stating that she will want to raise your taxes. Of course she will – how else will the bills be paid for the bloated agency that will manage and pay for the government run healthcare system?

HRC plays the gender card badly HRC and her entourage have accused her opponents of attacking her because she is a female of the species, but tries to tell the rest of us that she is as tough as the rest of the boys. I’m sorry, HRC, you cannot have it both ways. And besides, if she is elected President (shiver!!), would you think that the rest of the world would give a rat’s behind that you are a girl, especially those female-repressing dictators, despots, and madmen?

HRC avoids tough questions Otherwise, why would she go after Tim Russert like she has, and her staff puts planted questions in her audience? Probably because she doesn’t want to take a position on almost anything that could hurt her chances of being elected queen, er, President.

HRC is not open to scrutiny HRC has made statements that documents on her role as First Lady are open to the public…that is unless you ask for them. The Clinton Presidential Library will not release any of the former First Lady’s papers because of a request by her husband not to release any letters pertaining to a shopping list of topics (which is just about everything). Given the incident with the Rose Law Firm billing records, should anyone really be surprised?

Do we really want more drama in the White House with another Clinton? Just think back during the eight years that Bill was President with all the scandals and controversy surrounding him and HRC, and that is what you would get if HRC is elected President. I sure don’t want it. Do you?