Tuesday, 12 February 2008


Ken Berwitz

Do you want to see and hear something genuinely pathetic?

Yesterday I blogged about the new Houston campaign office for Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign.  I showed you a picture of that office with a Cuban flag that had ernesto "che" guevara, the mass-murdering castro henchman, superimposed on it. 

At that time I said that if Obama did not have it taken down he disqualifies himself as being fit for the Presidency,  and the US Senate.

Here, courtesy of www.littlgreenfootballs.com, is our answer:

Obama Responds to Che Guevara Flag Flap

Tue, Feb 12, 2008 at 11:12:30 am PST

At least they call the Che Guevara flags inappropriate: On Reports of an Inappropriate Flag in a Texas Obama Office.

February 12, 2008
From Houston Fox News:

The office featured in this video is funded by volunteers of the Barack Obama Campaign and is not an official headquarters for his campaign.

Thats some pretty weak tea.

Note that the video also says very explicitly: Volunteers opened two new Houston offices for the Barack Obama campaign. Paid staffers for the Obama campaign are expected to man the offices by the end of the week.

A very interesting sidenote to this flap: in both of the videos linked here, the Fox 26 announcers dont even notice the Cuban flags with huge pictures of Che Guevara, staring them in the face.

That's the answer?  That's it?

It's our volunteers so it isn't an official campaign place (which, as it turns out isn't even true?)

This man is running for PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

Is it too much to ask that his campaign offices do not feature the flag of communist Cuba and a mass murdering terrorist? 

Let's see if the network news talks about this tonight.  Want to take bets?


Ken Berwitz

Wouldn't it be nice if the anti-military (not just anti-war, but anti-military) lunatic fringe were held to the same laws as everyone else?

Today there are demonstrations in Berkeley, both pro and anti military, springing from the despicable series of edicts Berkeley's city council passed to prevent the US Marines from operating a recruitment office there. 

Our friends at www.sweetness-light.com have put the following information up - information I was not aware of (as, I suspect, many of you are not as well).  Since it should be known to all of us, I am passing it along, with the most relevant part in bold print:

From US Code Title 18, Part I, Chapter 115, Section 2388:

2388. Activities affecting armed forces during war

(a) Whoever, when the United States is at war, willfully causes or attempts to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny, or refusal of duty, in the military or naval forces of the United States, or willfully obstructs the recruiting or enlistment service of the United States, to the injury of the service or the United States, or attempts to do so

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

(b) If two or more persons conspire to violate subsection (a) of this section and one or more such persons do any act to effect the object of the conspiracy, each of the parties to such conspiracy shall be punished as provided in said subsection (a).

(c) Whoever harbors or conceals any person who he knows, or has reasonable grounds to believe or suspect, has committed, or is about to commit, an offense under this section, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both

And of course 501c3 charities like Code Pink are supposed to lose their tax exemption for conducting illegal acts.

But nothing will ever happen to them.

Indeed, lest we forget (what was first reported by us here), this is the same Code Pink that helped to collect and deliver $600,000 in aid and supplies to the terrorists who are shooting at our troops.

They are the enemy of our country, pure and simple.

(Though actually not so quite pure, since some of them, like Media Benjamin are in the pay of Hugo Chavez.) .

Sweetness-light is exactly right.  This is an actionable offense, but you will not see the people engaging in it being arrested or called to account in any way.  Nor will you ever see a 501c3 group like Code Pink having their tax exemption revoked no matter how blatantly they violate its conditions.

And you also won't see almost any mainstream media advising you of this part of the US Code.  The proof?  HAVE you?  The Berkeley outrage has been going on for weeks.

But listen to them squeal like stuck pigs if you call them biased.

free why doesn't someone just do a citizens arrest and force the police to arrest those people? If you watched any videos of theses protests you would know the police wouldn't do there jobs. (02/13/08)


Ken Berwitz

Belgium is the country that competed with the Netherlands, Norway and France for being fastest to capitulate to Hitler and turn over its Jews.  Its mighty military juggernaut held out for all of 18 days.

Belgium is also the country which brutally repressed the Congo area of Africa that its King, Leopold, claimed to personally own.  Eventually it was forced -- more accurately, shamed -- into granting The Congo independence. 

Currently Belgium runs some kind of self-created world court, which issues edicts that the country has convinced itself are meaningful to the rest of the world.

Well, maybe Belgium better bring itself up before that court.  I've already given a couple of examples from the past.  Here is one from less than a month ago, courtesy of the European Jewish Press:

We are not serving Jews, an American Jewish tourist was told at Belgian caf
Updated: 10/Feb/2008 22:29

ANTWERP (EJP)---The Mayor of the Belgian city of Bruges has asked for an inquiry after an American Jewish tourist was ousted from a caf-restaurant because he was wearing a kippa or skullcap.

On a visit to Bruges two weeks ago, Marcel Kalmann, a 64-year-old US professor, entered Le Panier dOr, a renowned caf-restaurant located on the main city square, to have a coffee.
When the waiter saw his kippa under his hat, he told him to get out. We are not serving Jews, out of here, he allegedly shouted.
In shock, the man went to another caf nearby where the owners helped him to call police. An operator told him that police patrols do not go out for such cases and advised him to call on a police station.
According to the account given by Kalmann to Joods Actueel, a Jewish magazine in Antwerp, at the police station a policeman first made clear that he didn't believe his story.
Later, an  officer  indicated that a complaint can only be stated in Flemish and not in English, adding erroneously that anti-Semitic offense doesn't exist in Belgian law.
An angry Kalmann told the magazine that he is planning to lodge a complaint against the owner of the caf-restaurant and against the police.
Contacted by Joods Actueel, the owner of Le Panier dOr acknowledged that Kalmann was kicked out. He said he was ready to apology but added that the client had a strange behaviour. The restaurants in the area spoke rather of a quarrel about "outrageous prices."
Patrick Monaert, Mayor of Bruges, has asked police for an inquiry and apologized to Kalmann for the "inadequate behaviours" which, he said, are contrary to the welcoming image the city intends to give.
The Jewish community in Antwerp was all the more outraged and moved by this anti-Semitic incident that Kalmann was born in Auschwitz three days before the liberation of the Nazi camp by the Russian army.  
Around 40,000 Jews live in Belgium, mainly in the capital Brussels and Antwerp.
Let's review:
-Professor Marcel Kalmann, a Jewish man who wears a "kippa" (skullcap) under his conventional hat, goes to a famous cafe in Bruges.  The waiter notices the kippa poking out from beneath his hat.  He is then refused service, with the waiter shouting that he will not be served specifically because of his Jewishness;
-When Kalmann calls police he is told they won't send anyone to do a thing about it;
-When Kalmann goes to the police station he is first called a liar, then told he cannot make a complaint unless it is in Flemish (Belgian's national language).  But it doesn't matter anyway since there are no laws against anti-Semitism in Belgium (a lie); 
-Only when Kalmann gets an organization involved does the cafe owner acknowledge what happened (apparently because he fears the loss of business over it).  But the owner uses a classic Jewish stereotype to explain it away - one that appears to have been cooked up specifically for the occasion.
Maybe, while Belgium continues patting itself on the back over how superior it is, the "world court" it invented might look into this. 
What's wrong with that waiter anyway?  Did he think this was 1940?  Or was it just that Professor Kalmann looked too much like he was from the Congo?

peter This story is actually not true. Belgian newspaper De Standaard has an article about this story today, basically showing that the story is incorrect, and that the city of Bruges has complained to the newspaper Joods Actueel that launched the story for not checking its sources and publishing an incorrect story. Mr Kalmann is said to have gone to the press in Holland before with invented stories (02/27/08)


Ken Berwitz

Hello, illegals wherever you're from

I hope your problems are few,

All my good wishes are with you today,

Welcome to Massachoooooooo  (setts).

First off, let me apologize most profusely to Oscar Hammerstein, whose wonderful lyrics grace the music of Richard Rodgers in The King And I.  I am sorry for mangling those lyrics so completely.

But I have an excuse.  After reading Michael Graham's article about the unbelievably stupid and arrogant Boston City Council member Sam Yoon, it was impossible to resist.

Let me show you why:

In Hub, a welcome mat for illegal aliens

By Michael Graham  |   Tuesday, February 12, 2008  |  http://www.bostonherald.com  |  Op-Ed

Whats the difference between an illegal alien stealing an American job, and Martin Luther King Jr. fighting for American rights?

Dont know? Congratulations, you too could be on the Boston City Council!

Led by Councilor at Large Sam Yoon, the council passed a resolution last week endorsing something called the Welcoming Massachusetts Pledge. No, its not an effort to promote tourism - unless the word tourist has replaced undocumented worker as the amnesty crowds euphemism of choice.

The pledge is instead a document declaring that every illegal immigrant has the unalienable right to come and live in Massachusetts. As a result, enforcing immigration laws violates civil and human rights of immigrants.

All immigrants? No, just the undocumented tourists.

Do our city councilors really believe that illegal immigration is a civil rights issue? If they have any vague familiarity with the English language, surely they know that civil issues are those that relate to citizenship. Citizens have civil rights. Foreign terrorists in Guantanamo Bay and off-the-books Brazilian painters in Jamaica Plain do not.

Well, actually, Brazilian, Mexican and Irish illegal immigrants do have civil rights. To claim them, they need only return to (respectively) Brazil, Mexico and Ireland.

What made the Jim Crow era so offensive was watching American citizens being turned away from American ballot boxes. Citizens from Maine to Malibu didnt march for black people; they marched for American people.

Bull Connor took from Dr. King his rights as an American. Illegal immigrants steal across our border to take the privileges of America, and jobs, from Americans.

How utterly ignorant and offensive to compare the two.

And when I think ignorant and offensive, the City Council springs to mind. So I gave Yoon a call to talk about his resolution.

He refused to comment.

Now this is a particularly interesting fact given that part of his resolution reads, The City of Boston is committed to . . . raising the level of discourse concerning immigration.

Discourse. Thats like talking and stuff, right?

Not for Yoon. Through a staffer, he denounced any conversation questioning the civil rights status of illegals as engaging in destructive dialogue.

How could such a dialogue be destructive to anything, other than, perhaps, the perception that Yoon understands his own resolution?

Several of my radio listeners, annoyed at the councilors offer of high livin on the Boston taxpayers to every illegal immigrant in America, e-mailed him their complaints.

Not only did they receive mere form letters for their trouble (Dear Sir or Madam), but the pre-fab e-mails werent even signed by the councilor. He had a staff member send them out instead.

Sam Yoon: Too scared to sign his own spam.

Its easy to roll ones eyes at the latest irrelevant inanity from the City Council, but this resolution isnt just dumb. Its dangerous. If illegal immigrants do have, as Boston now proposes, civil and human rights to come and go as they please, then we as citizens have no rights to enforce our laws. If every illegal immigrant is Dr. King, then every American who wants border security is Bull Connor.

Perhaps thats what Yoon thinks. Perhaps hes ready to tell the millions of immigrants who came here legally and support immigration laws that they are all Jim Crow bigots.

Who knows? Reading the text of his latest resolution, theres no evidence that Sam Yoon is thinking anything at all.

I love it.  Every illegal alien has an unalienable right.  In other words these aliens are unalienable.  And since rights suggest legality, I guess it also means that they are legal illegals as well.

Legal illegals who are unalienable aliens.  I wonder how Mr., Hammerstein would have handled that one.

Is Sam Yoon an idiot?  A fool?  A joke?  In the immortal words of Yul Brynner as the King, "Yes!  et cetera, et cetera, et cetera"


Ken Berwitz

The "Hollywood writers' strike" (actually not just Hollywood) appears to be ending.  This being the case, let me ask, and answer, three questions about it::

-Are both sides greedy?  Yep.

-Are both sides overpaid compared to the average working stiff?  You bet.

-Is one side right and the other side wrong?  That's three yeses in a row.

Here, courtesy of the Associated Press, are the details:.

Hollywood Writers to Vote on Contract

Feb 12, 6:50 AM (ET)

LOS ANGELES (AP) - TV producers say they expect writers to return to work as early as Wednesday now that the Writers Guild of America has moved to end its three-month-old strike. Membership meetings will be held Tuesday in New York and Los Angeles, said Patric Verrone, president of the guild's West Coast branch.

On Sunday, guild leaders recommended a tentative three-year contract to members and asked them to vote separately on a quick end to the walkout.

"This is the best deal this guild has bargained for in 30 years," Verrone said.

The tentative contract secures writers a share of the burgeoning digital-media market, he said, including compensation for Internet-delivered TV shows and movies.

(AP) Writers Guild of America officials, left-to-right, John F. Bowman, Patric M. Verrone and David...
Full Image
"If they (producers) get paid, we get paid. This contract makes that a reality," Verrone said. But, he added, "it is not all we hoped for and it is not all we deserved."

Still, the union's negotiating committee recommended Saturday that the contract be accepted, and the West guild's board of directors and the East Coast guild's council agreed. They called for a membership ratification vote, which will be conducted by mail over about two weeks.

Member approval of the contract and the strike's end appeared likely. At heavily attended membership meetings Saturday in New York and Los Angeles, there was resounding support for the proposed deal that could put TV and movie production back on track, salvage the rest of the TV season and remove a boycott threat from this month's Oscars.

Verrone thanked television viewers who "tolerated three months of reruns and reality TV."

The guild's major bargaining concession to studios was agreeing to take unionization of animation and reality TV shows off the table, Verrone said. The guild has said it still intends to pursue those goals.

(AP) Writers Guild of America officials, seated right-to-left, John F. Bowman, Patric M. Verrone and...
Full Image
The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, which represents the studios, said it had no comment Sunday on the guild's actions.

The strike's end would allow many hit series to return this spring for what's left of the current season, airing anywhere from four to seven new episodes. Shows with marginal audience numbers may not return until fall, or could be canceled.

A minimum of four weeks would be needed for producers to start from scratch with their first post-strike episodes of comedies and get them on the air, industry members said. A drama would require six to eight weeks from concept to broadcast.

"It will be all hands on deck for the writing staff," said Chris Mundy, co-executive producer of CBS' drama "Criminal Minds." He hopes to get a couple of scripts in the pipeline right away, and for about seven episodes to air by the end of May.

"It's a real balancing act," he said, "to get up and running as fast as possible, but not let the quality slip."

(AP) Writers Guild of America board members, left-to-right, Robin Schiff, Joan Meyerson, and Nancy De...
Full Image
The strike, the first in 20 years for the writers guild, began Nov. 5 and included bitter exchanges between the guild and the producers alliance. Talks collapsed in December.

In January, the studios reached an agreement in separate negotiations with the Directors Guild of America. Top media company executives, including Peter Chernin of News Corp. (NWS) (NWS) and Robert Iger of The Walt Disney Co., asked the writers to resume bargaining.

What were termed informal talks between the executives and guild leaders led to the tentative contract that writers will be voting on.

Together, the East and West Coast guilds represent 12,000 writers, with about 10,000 of those involved in the strike. It has cost the Los Angeles area economy alone an estimated $1 billion or more.

Based on the guild's summary of the deal, it is similar to the agreement reached with directors.

It provides union jurisdiction over projects created for the Internet based on certain guidelines, sets compensation for streamed, ad-supported programs, and increases residual payments for downloaded movies and TV programs.

Writers would get a maximum flat fee of about $1,200 for streamed programs in the deal's first two years and then get a percentage of a distributor's gross in year three - the last point an improvement on the directors deal, which remains at the flat payment rate.

The writers and directors guild deals both include a provision that compensation for ad-supported streaming wouldn't kick in until after a window of 17 to 24 days deemed "promotional" by the studios.

Some writers have balked at that, saying Internet traffic is heaviest in the first few days.

I am a writer.  How good or bad a writer I am is your call, but I am a writer nonetheless.

If I write something, and a company profits by what I write, I want a piece of that profit.  It is my writing that the company is profiting from.

And if a new way of profiting from what I write comes into being, I want a piece of that too.  It is still my writing.

The writer's union was right, the studios were wrong.  Too bad that it took three months of losses on both sides to come to this obvious fact and its inevitable result. 

Now we can all go back to business as usual -- flipping through 200 channels while complaining about the writing AND the studios.


Ken Berwitz

Here is the latest news on how our world will be if radical Islam makes good on its threat to end western civilization and put us under shari'a law.  I found this story in www.kurdishmedia.com:

: Honour killings grow as girl, 17, stoned to death :

 Hala Jaber, Irbil, northern Iraq

As the sun went down and the sandstone tombs cast long shadows over the village cemetery, Badiaa Aswad threw herself on the mud grave of her 17-year-old daughter, Duaa, and howled.

Come to Mama, Duaa, she cried, caressing the plain concrete headstone. The last thing you told me was that you were hungry. Come home. Let me cook, and feed you.

Disturbed by the sobbing, a passer-by offered water in the hope of soothing her. But Aswad screamed that she could not drink a drop.

Duaa is thirsty, she shrieked, directing the stranger to pour the contents of her water bottle over the dusty grave instead. Yes, drink my baby, drink my honourable girl, drink some water, light of my eyes.

It is seven months since Duaa was stoned to death by a mob in the Kurdish hillside village of Basshiqa, northern Iraq, after being found with her 19-year-old boyfriend, Muhannad Ummayad, in an olive grove.

They were not lovers, though some in the crowd suspected they were. But Duaa was a member of the Yazidi sect, which teaches that the Earth is in the care of seven angels. Yazidis are regarded as devil-worshippers by many Muslims and Muhannad is a Sunni Muslim.

Their respective communities were outraged by their determination to marry and while Muhannad was locked up in prison, Duaa found herself dragged to the marketplace for an honour killing.

Last week, Duaas family spoke for the first time about the events that led to the stoning, which has been widely condemned after mobile phone clips were posted on the internet.

The footage was said to have prompted a revenge massacre of 23 Sunnis in nearby Mosul. But far from curbing honour killings, Duaas death has been linked with a sharp increase in them.

According to the human rights ministry in northern Iraq, 598 women have been burnt, beaten, shot, strangled, thrown from tall buildings, force-fed with lethal drugs, crushed by vehicles, drowned, decapitated or made to kill themselves so far this year, exceeding the 553 recorded for the whole of 2006.

It was around 7pm on April 5 when Duaa told her family that she was taking out the rubbish, then disappeared. The following morning an anonymous caller said she was with a Muslim man.

The caller threatened to kill her in order to wash away her shame, so her father Khalil, a 49-year-old civil defence official, and brother Nebraas went to the police. Within hours, the couple were discovered among the olives.

In an effort to cool tensions, Duaa was taken to the home of Sheikh Sulaiman Sulaiman, the senior Yazidi figure in the village. But her own relatives were bitterly divided over whether she should live or die.

A 65-year-old uncle, Salim, a science teacher, backed the head of their tribe, Omar Hamko, 73, in demanding that she be killed to cleanse the family honour.

Her father would not countenance it. He proposed that she be married to a cousin and moved to Syria.

She has committed a wrong for which she will be punished but not through death, he declared. I refuse to have my daughter killed.

When the uncle insisted that he would decide Duaas fate as the elder sibling and head of the local Communists, her father ordered him out of the house.

Her mother, meanwhile, had gone to see her for what would prove a poignant last meeting.

I promise you I am still a virgin, Duaa said the autopsy would confirm this and I did nothing wrong, Mama.

Duaas final words to her, recalled at the graveside, were: Im hungry, Mama.

The next day, April 7, Hamko, the tribal leader, telephoned her Uncle Salim, saying there was a plot to smuggle her out of town.

Salim sent sons, nephews and party supporters to surround the home of the sheikh, firing shots into the air. They came with guns and stones, shouting and screaming in anger, the sheikh said last week.

Looking back on the terrible scenes that followed, he lamented the manner of Duaas killing, but not her death.

Honour is a big thing here and each one deals with it differently, the sheikh said. It was down to her family to cleanse her shame. Maybe kill her with one bullet, electrocution, any manner but not through this awful stoning.

There is no father who does not love his daughter. When such a father kills his daughter to wash away their family shame, it breaks his heart to do so. But fathers are obliged to do this, otherwise they will be ostracised.

The sheikh is blamed by Duaas mother for what happened next. He sent her out as a defenceless young girl, she alleged. The mobile phone clips show her being taken straight from the sheikhs house to the marketplace in a headlock, wailing and screaming as armed police watched in silence.

In the marketplace, she came under a hail of stones and her face and clothes were soon covered in blood. Among those hurling the stones were several male cousins from her fathers side of the family and one Araas from her mothers.

It was Araas who approached as she tried to struggle to her feet and smashed a large piece of concrete over her head to finish her off. He told police he had done it as an act of mercy to put her out of her misery.

While Araas is still being held, Uncle Salim and the tribal leader, Hamko, are on the run. Duaas father has named 20 other men as her killers. Nobody told her parents she was dead until the following day. Her two brothers then dug her body out of a rubbish pit for burial in the cemetery, where the grave has been attacked.

A grenade lobbed into the garden of the familys home last month shattered windows and left them in no doubt that the community wants them to leave.

One of the most shocking things about Duaas death, however, is that although stoning is rare, honour killing is rampant, particularly in Kurdish areas of Iraq and Iran. Kurdish women are killed almost every day for dishonouring their families.

A law introduced in northern Iraq in 2002 allowed such killers to be convicted of murder in theory exposing them to the death sentence. In practice, it has made little difference.

Dalia Dzay, head of research studies at the human rights ministry, said the perpetrators were simply finding new ways of achieving the same grisly end, for instance by forcing women to set fire to themselves so that their deaths looked like accidents with cooking fuel.

Then there is a whole new class of victims to consider those who have fled the threat of honour killings and are alone, terrified and destitute.

In a shelter at a secret location near the town of Suleimaniya, 12 women are in hiding together for protection. One pretty girl with wide brown eyes who identified herself only as H, described how she had fallen in love with a young man from her district when she was 18 and he was 25.

Her father ordered her to marry an older business associate and was so enraged when she refused that he sent her to live with her grandmother. There, she learnt that her boyfriend had been shot dead by her father and brother, who were bragging that she would be next.

Another woman there, J, was forced to marry a much older man when she was 16 but bumped into a former sweetheart while shopping. Relatives who saw them chatting assumed the worst and drove the two of them to a remote area. Js nose was cut off with a knife; her ex-boyfriend lost an ear.

This weekend, The Sunday Times was granted access to a prison holding men who have carried out honour killings. None expressed remorse.

One, Rustum Mohamed Ali, 32, has been unable to provide for his wife and four children aged 7 to 12 since he was jailed two years ago for killing his pregnant, unmarried niece and her lover.

First he confronted the lover in the garden of his home. I begged him, in the name of God and morality, to marry her in order to protect her honour and the familys, he said.

When the man refused, Ali shot him with a Kalashnikov. He then went indoors, where he claims his niece said: I deserve to be killed. He shot her with the same weapon. No man can stand for his familys honour to be defiled, he said.

The mentality seems as alien as ever to Duaas mother in her grief. May they all burn in hell, she said last week, stroking the end of the grave as if washing her daughters feet. You were a good girl, you were honour itself and I miss you, so please come to me in my dreams, I beg you.

Iranian and Kurdish Women's Rights Organisation.

Take a good look.  Because this is what will replace western civilization if we allow it to.  And it will be the way YOU live.

If we fight against radical islam we may win and we may lose.  If we do not fight, we will most assuredly lose because, either way, they will continue fighting.  And if they win, our culture and our civilization is over, to be replaced by what?  A society in which young girls who dare to fall in love with the wrong man - defined as someone other than who their father tells them to marry -  are killed for the family honor?  Young men who are killed because they like a girl someone else decides they should stay away from?  Couples who are horribly mutilated for the crime of talking to each other?

God help the people who want to live this way.  I know I'm not one of them.  Are you?

We play political games with this lunacy at our own peril.


Ken Berwitz

David Freddoso of National Review has written a terrific explanation of the delegate battle being waged by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.  The article is so excellent that I am not only posting it below, I am even stealing the title above.

Here it is.  I guarantee you'll understand more about the Obama/Clinton battle after you read it -- with special attention to the two paragraphs I've put in bold print:

Delegate Math for Demmies
What can they have the audacity to hope for?

By David Freddoso

So far in the race for the Democratic nomination, momentum has meant nothing for either of the two major candidates. After his surprise win in Iowa, Barack Obamas inevitable victory in New Hampshire disappeared faster than Hillary Clintons tears. Obamas comeback in South Carolina was followed by a mixed decision on Super Tuesday, and his subsequent victories have tied the game.

Yet even the delegate lead Obama is expected to gain after todays contests in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., will give him only a slight lead. After that, what do Democrats have to hope for?

They may be saddled with a system incapable of delivering a clear winner. For all of the good press Obama got with his victories over the weekend, he only improved his standing versus Clinton by about 1 percent of the total number of delegates. Whats more, the 23 states involved in Super Tuesday (including their freelance superdelegates) produced a mere 49-delegate boost for Clinton against Obama signifying very little, for all the sound and fury. In terms of elected delegates, he actually gained on her.

No Democratic primary can be decisive because the proportional delegate rules prevent it. Hillarys huge 57-percent victory in New York only changed the margin in her favor by 86 delegates, or 2 percent of the total. Thats it.

Obama is expected to win big in all three Chesapeake contests Tuesday. And again, this will only slightly enhance his standing vis--vis Clinton. It is hard to estimate results, because the rules are complicated. But all three races are primaries that split delegates not caucuses, that can be easily dominated by one candidate. Obama will surely take no more than 65 percent of the 168 pledged delegates at stake today (this does not include superdelegates, some of whom have separately pledged to one candidate or the other). Even such a large victory as that would result in an estimated relative gain of 59 delegates. By the count at
Real Clear Politics, that would give him an estimated lead of 65 delegates overall, or about 1.5 percent of the total.

Clintons decision to duck out of Virginia and rely on later victories in Texas, Pennsylvania, and Ohio may prove as unwise as Rudy Giulianis retreat from the early GOP contests to his Florida firewall. But barring a sudden evaporation of support for Clinton nationwide, the Democratic systems focus on proportional allocation of delegates all but guarantees an extremely close and unsatisfying result.

After todays races are done, there will be 1,071 delegates left to be selected by voters and delegates in 17 states and territories. Obama would have to win more than 90 percent of them in order to win the nomination without the involvement of the remaining 443 superdelegates who still have not publicly declared for either candidate at this point. Of course, that is impossible. And if Clinton does indeed perform well on March 4, she might erase Obamas lead and return the contest to a near-tie.

Later this year, we might be watching the results in Puerto Ricos last-in-the-nation primary to see who wins and by how much. We may even end up hanging on news from each states convention, where some of the pledged delegates will be allocated after primaries are over.

A final result based on the actions of unelected superdelegates could be inevitable, regardless of which candidate enters the convention with a delegate lead. Even if they all break for the winning candidate, competition for their support will be fierce. Candidates will promise a wide array of meaningless federal offices: How would you like to be an assistant secretary of Commerce/Education/Energy/Transportation? Or U.S. Treasurer? Is my opponent offering you an ambassadorship in Uzbekistan? I can do better than that

If it sounds ugly, its because it is. This is the outcome Democrats dread most, the one likely to cause hard feelings more than any fair-and-square election victory ever could.

The salvation of the Democratic system has previously been the propensity for voters to unite around a winner early. John Kerrys total victory was all but guaranteed after he won the New Hampshire primary in 2004.

This time, the Democratic race has come down to just two candidates, either of whom could win. It is going into the late states, no matter what. It is an undemocratic game in which the voters are mathematically incapable of picking the winner without the help of unelected party elders

I think the key point here is that, when a party comes up with inventive new ways of counting delegates, it also creates the potential for problems no one has seen before and therefore has never dealt with.

What if Mr. Freddoso is right and the battle continues throughout the primaries, to be decided by the superdelegates?  It certainly seems like an odds-on probability, doesn't it?  

If that happens, the losing candidate - along with his/her supporters - is going to howl that the nomination was stolen by a series of bribes to kingmakers who were never selected by the voters.  There will be hell to pay.  

It will cleave the party in two and create hard feelings that will be virtually impossible to overcome.  These feelings will carry through the general election and significantly hurt the "winner" when he/she runs against, most probably, John McCain.

God help Democrats if the aggrieved party is Hillary Clinton.

God help Democrats if the aggrieved party is Barack Obama.

See the problem?

steve schneider the interesting thing is that the super delegates is classic left wing philosophy i.e. if the people who vote get it wrong the superdelegates will choose the "correct" candidate as they know best. (02/12/08)

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