Thursday, March 20, 2008

Tories Fail Martin

Brenda Martin who languishes in a Mexican jail got a visit from Harpers Mouthpiece; Jason Kenney yesterday. After the media focused on her case of Mexican injustice, the Harper government has finally acted. After two years. However considering the corruption of the Mexican judiciary and cops Kenney should have simply taken a bushel of money with him and paid off all concerned, and Ms. Martin could have been winging her way home.

Instead after a weak tea protest she has been promised yet another trial on trumped up charges, in thirty days. Thirty more days, perhaps Kenney should share her cell to insure she gets her trial. After all it's his government that got her put there in the first place. Despite Harpers protests to the contrary.

"Brenda Martin failed to receive any of this from the Canadian consulate. The inaction of the Canadian consulate contributed to the problem."

Martin eventually hired a lawyer from a list provided by the Canadian consulate. He turned out to be a "mercantile" lawyer, rather than a criminal defence lawyer. Family in Canada and friends in Puerto Vallarta raised $10,000 to pay the lawyer who promptly disappeared with the money and did nothing for Martin.

If she would have had an experienced criminal defence lawyer, that lawyer would have simply paid a bribe to justice officials at the local level to secure her release before her formal arrest warrant was filed.

Once again the Department of Foreign Affairs fails another Canadian, it is not only dysfunctional and incompetent in this case it is criminally negligent.

Free Brenda Martin Now Petition


Fix Those Balconies

Mexican Cover Up Redux

Mexican Murder Cover Up

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NHL The New Taliban?

Well one could be forgiven for thinking so considering this headline.....
Ex-NHLers square off with troops in Kandahar

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The Father of the Neo-Cons Dies

William F. Buckley passed away late last month. And in his passing the liberal media myth that he was the 'public intellectual of American Conservatism', continues. The laudatory obits forget top mention he was not a public intellectual but a scion of Big Oil, with aristocratic pretensions which were mistaken for intellectualism.

His Catholicism was a pining for the old world, Old Europe and its pre-revolutionary, pre-modernist, social order. On the other hand those on the far right knew him for what he was as this John Birch Society obituary reveals;

The fact of the matter is that Buckley, far from being the father of anything resembling true conservatism (as best exemplified by Senator Robert Taft, who was denied the Republican nomination in 1952 by Buckley's philosophical brethren), was merely a very capable quarterback for a team of neoconservatives (neocons) who had graduated from the World War II-era OSS into the CIA, bringing their anti-Stalinist, but definitely Trotskyite, ideas with them. The repackaging of this anti-American philosophy as "neoconservatism" rivaled any campaign Madison Avenue ever concocted for a "new" detergent that would get your clothes whiter and brighter.

The original OSS/CIA neocons, including the aforementioned Willmoore Kendall, spotted young Bill Buckley when he was on the staff of the Yale Daily News, and tagged him as a likely rising star of their movement. (Buckley, of course, was also tapped to join the secretive Skull and Bones society while at Yale, as had both presidents Bush and Senator John Kerry.) At Kendall's urging, Buckley joined the CIA after graduating from Yale. Through Kendall, Buckley became acquainted with James Burnham, another OSS/CIA veteran who would become a prominent figure at National Review. So strong was the CIA connection that the brilliant economist and former contributor to Buckley's magazine, Murray Rothbard, said in 1981: "I'm convinced that the whole National Review is a CIA operation."

He his lauded for his debating skills, the laconic eyebrow that would rise, the Bostonian drawl all a pretense aimed at creating the illusion that he was the master debater. Like his Catholicism, it was all for show.

Buckely's Firing Line was the model for later public affairs debate shows like Cross Fire. However unlike Firing Line these later versions simply declined into shouting matches. Despite the pretenses and his dismissive attitude towards opponents Buckley at least used reason in his debates with opponents. The new turks of the neo-con establishment have adopted his dismissive style, but added shouting and rank rhetoric to make their points.

He was perhaps the last real American voice of the neo-con right in America, having been replaced by ex pat Canadians like Charles Krauthammer and David Frum. Ironic that the new spokesmen for the American right are ex-Canadians.
They of course moved south because the right in Canada is not the mainstream of our body politic (which is social democratic an anathema that Frum and Krauthammer revile) as it is in America. The other irony is that the Buckley neo-con establishment has replaced the Democrat establishment as the voice of the American Empire.

And this right wing voice of the American Empire has its echo chamber in Canada, it is the core of the Harper Conservative Party. In fact one can find a little Buckley in the imperious and dismissive attitude of our autarkic PM.


The Fifth International

Leo Strauss and the Calgary School

Post Modern Conservatives

Why The Conservatives Are Not Libertarians

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

On Magick and Technology

In my obit yesterday I had overlooked my favorite quote from Arthur C. Clarke, his definition of magick.

It ranks up there with any given by
Aleister Crowley or Robert Anton Wilson.
Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic
Which of course was the logic behind the Technomages on Babylon 5, who quoted Clarke to explain their magick; "using technology to create the appearance of magic". Ah yes Babylon 5 one of the best SF TV programs ever.

And befitting his humanism Clarke leaves this vale of tears as he came.

Clarke's brother was traveling to Sri Lanka for his burial, due in Colombo's general cemetery later this week. Clarke left written instructions that his funeral be private and secular.

"Absolutely no religious rites of any kind, relating to any religious faith, should be associated with my funeral," he wrote.

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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Childhoods End

Arthur C Clarke

Arthur C. Clarke the great SF writer who put the 'science' into science fiction has passed on. He was a humanist who believed in the spirit of man. I got emails from Clarke because he supported the SETI project.

In 1945, a UK periodical magazine “Wireless World” published his landmark technical paper "Extra-terrestrial Relays" in which he first set out the principles of satellite communication with satellites in geostationary orbits - a speculation realised 25 years later. During the evolution of his discovery, he worked with scientists and engineers in the USA in the development of spacecraft and launch systems, and addressed the United Nations during their deliberations on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.

Today, the geostationary orbit at 36,000 kilometres above the Equator is named The Clarke Orbit by the International Astronomical Union.

Space expert Robin Scagell told Sky News: "He was very much a scientist and science was at the heart of his work.

"As well as predicting satellites, he saw that rockets would go into space."

Astronomer Sir Patrick Moore paid tribute to his friend.

"He was a great visionary, a brilliant science fiction writer and a great forecaster," he said.

"He foresaw communications satellites, a nationwide network of computers, interplanetary travel - he said there would be a man on the moon by 1970, while I said 1980 - and he was right."

Childhood's End is a science fiction novel by Sir Arthur C. Clarke. It was originally published in 1953, and a version with a new first chapter was released in 1990 due to the anachronistic nature of the opening chapter (the first attempts to launch rockets into orbit by both the Americans and Russians are in progress but aborted suddenly when aliens arrive, with a sense of the death of a dream). This story was originally a short story dubbed Guardian Angel which Clarke first published in 1950 for the Famous Fantastic Mysteries magazine. It is basically the novel's section after the prologue, Earth and the Overlords but with some different text in certain places.

Clarke struck notes that were poignant and challenging, as with this final, anguished question which ends "The Star":

"There can be no reasonable doubt: the ancient mystery is solved at last. Yet, oh God, there were so many stars you could have used. What was the need to give these people to the fire, that the symbol of their passing might shine above Bethlehem?"

May he join the stars in his passing unto the duat.

"Term of all that liveth, whose name is Death and inscrutable
, be thou favorable unto us in thine hour. And unto him, from whose mortal eyes the veil of physical life hath fallen, grant that there may be the accomplishment of his True Will. Should he will absorption in the Infinite, or to be united with his chosen and preferred, or to be in contemplation, or to be at peace, or to achieve the labour and heroism of incarnation on this planet or another or in any star, or aught else, unto him may there be granted the accomplishment of his true will."

My libertarian science fiction opera loving uncle Phil Smith, a bread truck driver, turned me on to sci-fi as a kid. Clarke, Asimov, Heinlein, Andre Norton, the books he read he passed on to me. And we both shared our love of sci-fi with lots of political debate as well as I became a radical teen ager. He was right wing libertarian and I was a left wing anarchist, yet we agreed more often than disagreed. My favorite memory of my uncle was the two of us seeing 2001 together.I got to help him pass into the duat when he died of cancer.

Unfortunately as I cruise the sci-fi section of bookstores I find that it is stuffed full of fantasy novels, sci-fi has been eclipsed by the money making fantasy genre. Hopefully with Clarke's passing more folks will decide to read his works, as dated as they me be, and to begin to read more sci-fi because science fiction has always been a radical critique of existing society unlike fantasy. Which may be why the publishers like it, safe money making literature, not unlike that other fantasy genre; romance novels.


Vonnegut, Dresden and Canada


Octavia Butler RIP

Van Allen Belt


Andre Norton 1912-2005

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While President Bush and his fan club over at Fox Business News refuse to admit America is in a recession the economists have moved on from fears of stagflation to absolute terror;

Wall Street fears for next Great Depression Independent

But there's no mistaking the mood within the US Federal Reserve at the moment. Pessimism was replaced by fear months ago. While the economy is moving inexorably towards a slowdown, a high-speed train wreck is taking place on Wall Street.

It is that combination that has scared the living daylights out of the Fed's hierarchy and prompted them into a history-making bail-out of the Wall Street broker Bear Stearns. To put the weekend's action into context, this is the first time since the Great Depression that the US central bank has funded the rescue of a financial institution that wasn't a regulated, deposit-taking bank.

Financial markets turmoil stirs economists' memories of 1929 crash

"The threat of contagion and wholesale breakdown on a scale of 1929 is real," said University of Maryland business professor Peter Morici.

"The real questions are - which of the big banks will be next to fail? How many more banks will fail? Will the whole system turn to panic if Citigroup (another troubled bank) unwinds?"

Harvard economist Martin Feldstein said the U.S. economy could suffer the worst recession since the Second World War.

Many economists now believe the U.S. economy has already slipped into negative territory,

Ben Bernanke has likened the Great Depression to the Holy Grail of macroeconomics – an experiment in unravelling the mysteries of global economic collapse.

As an academic specializing in the Dirty Thirties, the former Princeton University economist ultimately concluded that U.S. banking authorities botched the Depression by letting panicked runs on banks wreck the real economy.

Years from now, a new generation of academics may similarly try to draw lessons from how Mr. Bernanke, now the U.S. Federal Reserve Board chief, handles the great credit collapse of 2007-08.

By running to the rescue of investment banks and opening up the interest rate spigot, Mr. Bernanke is eager to avoid the same problems he dissected in his seminal 1983 paper, “Non-monetary effects of the financial crisis in the propagation of the Great Depression.”


Black Gold

The Return Of Hawley—Smoot

Canadian Banks and The Great Depression

Bank Run

U.S. Economy Entering Twilight Zone

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Spring Has Sprung 2

Well it is official spring has sprung earl. With the Liberals winning three of four by elections yesterday they are now gearing up for a spring election.

How do I know?

Well it could be that big honking
Claudette Roy Liberal Candidate for Edmonton Strathcona sign gracing the corner of 99th st. and Whyte Avenue over the launderette.

Or like pussy willows it could just be another sign of spring; the same sign was up last year too, same location.

Dion mum on election plans after byelection wins

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5000 Posts

As of March I have officially passed 5000 blog posts. Whoa. 5023 blog posts since I began blogging back in November 2004. Pop the champagne and read on.

Of course that's just my blogspot count. Originally I had three blogs when I started, the other two defunct blogs, Red Between The Lines and Heresiology, can be found in the side bar. Total blog posts would then be closer to 6000.

And I of course also blog over at the Carnival of Anarchy.

So again even more Plawiuk pontifications.

Which began on the web way back in 1997.

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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Spring Has Sprung

In Edmonton, Spring is now officially here. The pods covering my pussy willow tree burst this week, and the pussy willows are now blooming a sure sign spring is here.

Pussy Willow branch with catkins in early spring
Pussy Willow branch with catkins in early spring

Today we turned our clocks back to Mountain Daylight Time another sign of spring, and it came a week early due to the alignment with the Americans.

Yesterday and today I drank beer on the outdoor patio at my corner pub, a sure sign of spring. People watching I saw someone wearing shorts and the motorcycles were out. Spring is here, though not officially until March 21, which this year coincides with Good Friday.

So we actually get a day off to celebrate the return and resurrection of the Sun, and the end of winter. Which after all is what Easter is all about.

Not surprisingly the pussy willow represents resurrection, even the branches I chopped off the main tree last fall, are now sprouting. The moister of the snow feeds the orphaned limbs abandoned behind my garage.

The Lord and Lady of the Dark have given over their domain to their children of the fields and the Sun.

Within some neo-pagan traditions this is represented by The Willow King, who returns to battle winter for dominion; the passing of the old year into a new year.
After all the Willow King is simply another form of the Green Man; the old mole Robin Goodfellow, or Robin Hood.

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In the signs that bewilder the middle class, the aristocracy and the poor prophets of regression, we do recognise our brave friend, Robin Goodfellow, the old mole that can work in the earth so fast, that worthy pioneer — the Revolution
Karl Marx


In Like A Lion

Passover Song

Palm Sunday April Fools Day

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Saturday, March 08, 2008

100 Years Of Bread and Roses

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of International Women's Day one of two Internationalist Workers Holidays begun in the United States. And it is one that recognized women as workers, that as workers women's needs and rights are key to all our struggles hence the term Bread and Roses.

Women have led all revolutions through out modern history beginning as far back as the 14th Century with bread riots. Bread riots would become a revolutionary phenomena through out the next several hundred years in England and Europe.

It would be bread riots of women who would lead the French Revolution and again the Paris Commune, led by the anarchist Louise Michel.

Bread riots occurred in America during the Civil War.

It would be the mass womens protest and bread riots in Russia in 1917 that led to the Revolution there. The World Socialist Revolution had begun and two of its outstanding leaders were Rosa Luxemburg and Clara Zetkin, both who opposed Lenin's concept of a party of professional revolutionaries leading the revolution and called for mass organizations of the working class. Their feminist Marxism was embraced by another great woman leader of the Russian Revolution; Alexandra Kollontai.

Women began the Winnipeg General Strike of 1919 by shutting down the phone exchange.
Women began the Winnipeg general sympathetic strike. At 7:00 a.m. on the morning of Thursday, May 15, 1919, five hundred telephone operators punched out at the end of their shifts. No other workers came in to replace them. Ninety percent of these operators were women, so women represented the vast majority of the first group of workers to begin the city-wide sympathetic strike in support of the already striking metal and building trades workers. At 11:00 a.m., the official starting point of the strike, workers began to pour out from shops, factories and offices to meet at Portage and Main. Streetcars dropped off their passengers and by noon all cars were in their barns. Workers left rail yards, restaurants and theatres. Firemen left their stations. Ninety-four of ninety-six unions answered the strike call. Only the police and typographers stayed on their jobs. Within the first twenty-four hours of the strike call, more than 25,000 workers had walked away from their positions. One-half of them were not members of any trade union. By the end of May 15, Winnipeg was virtually shut down.

Again it would be mass demonstrations of women against the Shah of Iran that would lead to the ill fated Iranian revolution.

Today with a food crisis due to globalization bread riots are returning.

When women mobilize enmass history is made.

March is Women's History Month, March 8 is International Women's Day (IWD), and March 5 is the birthday of the revolutionary Polish theorist and leader of the 1919 German Revolution, Rosa Luxemburg. It was Rosa Luxemburg's close friend and comrade, Clara Zetkin, who proposed an International Women's Day (IWD) to the Second International, first celebrated in 1911.

Clara Zetkin, secretary of the International Socialist Women's Organization (ISWO), proposed this date during a conference in Copenhagen because it was the anniversary of a 1908 women workers' demonstration at Rutgers Square on Manhattan's Lower East Side that demanded the right to vote and the creation of a needle trades union.

The demonstration was so successful that the ISWO decided to emulate it and March 8 became the day that millions of women and men around the world celebrated the struggle for women's equality.

Actually, International Women's Day is one of two working class holidays "born in the USA." The other is May Day, which commemorates Chicago's Haymarket martyrs in the struggle for an eight-hour day.

Clara Zetkin

From My Memorandum Book

“Agitation and propaganda work among women, their awakening and revolutionisation, is regarded as an incidental matter, as an affair which only concerns women comrades. They alone are reproached because work in that direction does not proceed more quickly and more vigorously. That is wrong, quite wrong! Real separatism and as the French say, feminism à la rebours, feminism upside down! What is at the basis of the incorrect attitude of our national sections? In the final analysis it is nothing but an under-estimation of woman and her work. Yes, indeed! Unfortunately it is still true to say of many of our comrades, ‘scratch a communist and find a philistine’. 0f course, you must scratch the sensitive spot, their mentality as regards women. Could there be a more damning proof of this than the calm acquiescence of men who see how women grow worn out In petty, monotonous household work, their strength and time dissipated and wasted, their minds growing narrow and stale, their hearts beating slowly, their will weakened! Of course, I am not speaking of the ladies of the bourgeoisie who shove on to servants the responsibility for all household work, including the care of children. What I am saying applies to the overwhelming majority of women, to the wives of workers and to those who stand all day in a factory.

“So few men – even among the proletariat – realise how much effort and trouble they could save women, even quite do away with, if they were to lend a hand in ‘women’s work’. But no, that is contrary to the ‘rights and dignity of a man’. They want their peace and comfort. The home life of the woman is a daily sacrifice to a thousand unimportant trivialities. The old master right of the man still lives in secret. His slave takes her revenge, also secretly. The backwardness of women, their lack of understanding for the revolutionary ideals of the man decrease his joy and determination in fighting. They are like little worms which, unseen, slowly but surely, rot and corrode. I know the life of the worker, and not only from books. Our communist work among the women, our political work, embraces a great deal of educational work among men. We must root out the old ‘master’ idea to its last and smallest root, in the Party and among the masses. That is one of our political tasks, just as is the urgently necessary task of forming a staff of men and women comrades, well trained in theory and practice, to carry on Party activity among working women.”

International Women

Bread and Roses

As we go marching, marching, in the beauty of the day,
A million darkened kitchens, a thousand mill lofts gray,
Are touched with all the radiance that a sudden sun discloses,
For the people hear us singing: Bread and Roses! Bread and Roses!

As we go marching, marching, we battle too for men,
For they are women's children, and we mother them again.
Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
Hearts starve as well as bodies; give us bread, but give us roses.

As we go marching, marching, unnumbered women dead
Go crying through our singing their ancient call for bread.
Small art and love and beauty their drudging spirits knew.
Yes, it is bread we fight for, but we fight for roses too.

As we go marching, marching, we bring the greater days,
The rising of the women means the rising of the race.
No more the drudge and idler, ten that toil where one reposes,
But a sharing of life's glories: Bread and roses, bread and roses.

Our lives shall not be sweated from birth until life closes;
hearts starve as well as bodies; bread and roses, bread and roses


IWD: Raya Dunayevskaya

IWD Economic Freedom for Women

Water War

Feminizing the Proletariat

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Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Afghanistan the UNwinnable war

The Liberal Conservative Government of Canada will be holding a vote on continuing the Harper War in Afghanistan for another three years.
Vote on Afghanistan motion set for March 13

Or maybe four years or heck lets make it five.

A WHOLE post-Cold War European generation has grown up in peace, give or take "some Balkan horror on television," which makes it hard to explain that "it's a political and moral imperative to fight for our core values in the Hindu Kush."

The words are those of Jaap de Hoop Scheffer of the Netherlands, the NATO secretary general. As he utters them, he leans forward, insisting that he doesn't think "Europe is becoming pacifist." But Afghanistan is testing European military resolve. It's the long war. It's Europe's Iraq.

Just back from Afghanistan, where NATO now has some 50,000 troops deployed, de Hoop Scheffer says it will be four to five years before international forces can pull back, taking a limited role in support of the emergent Afghan national army.

"A window of four to five years from now is an interesting window to watch in terms of reaching a situation where our forces are in the background," he says.

That takes us to 2013 or thereabouts.

Despite knowing full well that it is an unwinnable war.

The international community's approach to aid in Afghanistan is centred around the Afghanistan Compact, a series of development benchmarks agreed upon in 2006 to be reached by 2011.

But Afghanistan remains trapped in a cycle created by the theory that security is required for development but development is what provides security.

Theoretically, the success of development programs at the local level like CDCs should foster greater security as citizens come to trust and depend on their governments and refuse to support or join the insurgency.

But a slew of statistics from private security firms, NATO and the UN all suggest that the security situation in Afghanistan, and in Kandahar, is the worst it has been in a long time.

Which even the American right admits.

It has long been an article of faith among Democrats that Afghanistan is the "good war," a righteous campaign that could be won with more money and manpower. But the facts say otherwise. The U.S. Air Force rained more than a million pounds of bombs upon Afghanistan in 2007, mostly on innocent civilians. It's twice as much as was dropped in Iraq--and equally ineffective.

Six years after the U.S. invasion of 2001, according to Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell, the U.S./NATO occupation force has surged from 8,000 to 50,000. But the Americans are having no more luck against the Afghans than had the Brits or the Soviet Union. The U.S.-backed government of Hamid Karzai controls a mere 30 percent of Afghanistan, admits McConnell. (Regional analysts say in truth it is closer to 15 percent.) Most of the country belongs to the charming guys who gave us babes in burqas and exploding Buddhas: the Taliban and likeminded warlords. "Afghanistan remains a failing state," says a report by General James Jones, former NATO Supreme Allied Commander. "The United States and the international community have tried to win the struggle in Afghanistan with too few military forces and insufficient economic aid."


And They Won Both World Wars Too

Harpers War The Manley Solution

Afghanistan A Failed State

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McCain Presumptious

Well Bomb, Bomb Iran McCain made it official last night he is the presumptive Republican candidate for President. And Mike Huckabee gave him his crown of thorns by bowing out. But wait there is still another candidate who has not dropped out of the Republican race and is the thorn in McCain's side; Ron Paul.

Despite calls from his supporters, Paul insists he will not run for president as an independent. But he has pledged to continue his Republican presidential bid, knowing full well that the odds — and delegate math — are now firmly against him.
And last night McCain flip flopped on the war in Iraq. No longer is it going to be a hundred years war, but one that is concluded soon, after victory is declared and then troops moved out to fight the real war on terror; in Afghanistan. That's a major policy change. He is sounding more like Barack Obama despite having attacked him for virtually the same policy.

We are in Iraq and our most vital security interests are clearly involved there. The next president must explain how he or she intends to bring that war to the swiftest possible conclusion without exacerbating a sectarian conflict that could quickly descend into genocide; destabilizing the entire Middle East; enabling our adversaries in the region to extend their influence and undermine our security there; and emboldening terrorists to attack us elsewhere with weapons we dare not allow them to possess.

The next president must encourage the greater participation and cooperation of our allies in the fight against al-Qaida and the Taliban in Afghanistan.


Ron Paul Spoiler

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Come Back Kid Or Pyrrhic Victory

Repeating her husbands famous 'comeback kid' routine Hillary Clinton tried to make her win in Rhode Island and Ohio and tie in Texas the big come back. Well it was a Pyrrhic victory of sorts. She has no mo', Obama has mo', she has the fight of her life, still. She was the front runner, she is the front runner, she is the inevitable candidate. Except she lost eleven primaries in a row until last night. And she lost Vermont in a big way.

Despite the her landslides in Rhode Island, and Ohio it was a squeaker in Texas, it was a virtual tie.

In Texas, with 77 percent of precincts reporting primary results, Clinton had 51 percent of the vote and Obama had 47 percent. Obama led in caucuses held after the primary vote, with 56 percent to Clinton's 44 percent, with 5 percent of precincts reporting.

Unlike Ohio she did not win overwhelmingly in Texas as she needed to. So she remains behind in delegates. And that's what counts. Delegates.

The Associated Press reported that all told, Mr. Obama retains his lead in the delegate count, with 1,477 pledged delegates compared to Mrs. Clinton’s 1,391. The A.P. said that 170 delegates from Tuesday’s contests have yet to be assigned, many from the Texas caucuses.
This is not a comeback it is a momentary gasping for air as her campaign continues to shamble along trying to figure out how to counter the Obama momentum. Sure she can claim Ohio as a big win, but it ain't really because in order to really be the come back kid she need to win big in BOTH Ohio and Texas and she didn't.

No Knockout in Dem Contest

Her whole campaign has been focused on early overwhelming victories. And in this she has been defeated by Obama. By this time her campaign had figured she would have already been her party's nominee. And she ain't. It will be decided at the convention. Which is good for the Democrats and Obama and bad for Clinton.

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Taft Toast

Before the election

After the election

Tories Lack Of Planning Wins Election

There was no enumeration done between the 2004 an 2008 election despite thousands of new people coming to the province to gain from the current boom. Instant Albertans, you only have to live here for six months to be eligible to be called an Albertan and vote, became eligible to vote during that time. But did the Tired Old Tories do a new enumeration. Nope. So massive amounts of voters found themselves having to fill out forms at polling stations identifying where they live. On line attempts to register also failed.

I scrutineered the advance poll in Edmonton Strathcona and again election night and watched as frustrate voters were directed to identify themselves with a picture id and a power bill showing where they lived. In many cases these folks had voted in the last provincial and federal and municipal elections and had not moved!!! Polling stations overlapped so voters came to a poll they thought they voted at only to be told to go somewhere else.

The Tories had no plan for this election. Which is like the rest of their policies, make em up on the fly. So the result was that they only got elected because the majority of Albertans did not vote.

The Tories got elected through voter enui, which they count on. Unfortunately the old anarchist adage, Don't Vote It Only Encourages Them, applies here but not as one would think.

Another, rather perverse, possibility is that some non-voters realize the political class is a lot more likely to worry about them if they don't vote -- by writing earnest opinion articles about the dangers of a disengaged electorate, for example -- than if they validate the process by marking ballots.

The Tories count on Albertans not voting in order to get elected. I know it appears counter intuitive but they really don't want Albertans to vote it ensures their re-election. They all but admit that. They reminded us of that Monday night when Ed told the press that Albertans "only vote to turf out a government". As they did in the landslide election of 1935 and again in 1971.

Alberta's "shameful" voter turnout for its provincial election sparked anger and disappointment Tuesday, with analysts trying to figure out the root of the apathy and Liberals calling for a probe of voting problems.

Only 41.3 per cent of eligible Albertans cast ballots Monday -- a record low for the province and the worst turnout to elect any current sitting government in the country.

Some Albertans blamed voting problems -- like being directed to the wrong voting station -- for not being able to cast their ballots.

Turnout has been sliding in Alberta since 1993, and this time the number came in below the previous worst – 44.7 per cent in 2004.

Let's conclude -- and underline the truly dreadful nature of Monday's turnout -- by stating party results in terms of all potential voters.

Doing that, we see that of 2,252,104 folks on the voters list, about 22.2 per cent voted Tory, 11.1 per cent voted Liberal, 3.6 per cent voted NDP, 2.6 per cent voted Wildrose Alliance, and two per cent voted Green.

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Monday, March 03, 2008

Alberta No Longer Rat Free

Alberta has long prided itself on being rat free. No longer. There are now 73 of the little buggers newly elected as the Tired Old Tory Government. Ed Stelmach of course is King Rat now having even beat King Ralph's election record. . Yep its the year of the rat I should have known this would happen.

When Buddha invited the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac to his New Year party those many years ago, the cunning little rat was the one who took the first seat by his side.

While the tale is told differently in each eastern culture, the rat's manipulative nature is always connected to his ability to be the first animal to arrive at the party and the first to be selected for the Chinese Zodiac.

Thus, this year, 2008, is not only the Year of the Rat, but also the beginning of a new 12-year zodiac cycle.

The Rat () was welcomed in ancient times as a protector and bringer of material prosperity. It is an animal associated with aggression, wealth, charm, and order, yet also associated with death, war, the occult, pestilence, and atrocities.

Negative Traits Controlling, obstinate, back-stabbing, resentful, manipulative, cruel, vengeful, power-driven, critical,sleepy

Rat people are endowed with great leadership skills and are the most highly organized, meticulous, and systematic of the twelve signs. Intelligent and cunning at the same time, rats are highly ambitious and strong-willed people who are keen and unapologetic promoters of their own agendas, which often include money and power. They are energetic and versatile and can usually find their way around obstacles, and adapt to various environments easily. A rat's natural charm and sharp demeanor make it an appealing friend for almost anyone, but rats are usually highly exclusive and selective when choosing friends and so often have only a few very close friends whom they trust.

Ah well I cry in my beer at the NDP victory party which began as a raucous affair only to end as a wake. They lost two seats to the Tories.

Though of course not as bad a loss as the Liberals which never even had a victory party but rather held a subdued gathering planning the upcoming going away party for Leader Kevin Taft.

And the Wildrose Alliance Party, WAP, appropriately got whapped with Leader Paul Hinman losing his seat, the only one the fledgling party had. As I had predicted. Well at least one of my prestidigitations was correct.

The Greens on the other hand, didn't win any seats but gained in popular support especially in central Alberta. Look for them to be the new party of the right to challenge the Tories.

Sigh ah well another four years of Tory democracy in Alberta, now I know how the folks in Russia feel.

With 97 percent of the precincts counted early Monday, Medvedev had more than 70 percent of the vote, according to the Central Election Commission. That percentage nearly matches Putin's tally in 2004 and infuses Medvedev's victory with the numbers to claim a clear mandate for the next four years.

As expected, Medvedev crushed the anemic challenges of three opponents who never had a chance to debate him and were drowned out by a deafening media drumbeat that Medvedev was "Putin's choice" and that his victory would ensure the continuation of the popular president's policies.

Another King Rat in the year of the Rat.

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