Sunday, February 17, 2008

Obama and Clinton Are Buying Superdelegates

This was reported on my local ABC station, ABC7News, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Over $900,000.00 has been spent by the Obama and Clinton campaigns to get superdelegate support. Obama has spent over $600,000.00 and Clinton over $200,000.00 buying up superdelegates. How? By transferring money from their presidential campaign funds to the campaign funds of individual superdelegates who are in elected office such as Congress, state legislature or local offices.

This is legal under election laws and the Democratic Party rules. But it sure looks like legal bribery to me

Perhaps it is not amazing at all when campaigns are multimillion dollar affairs that every loophole will be used to get suppport. But I really don't like seeing this form of vote buying taking place.

Obama appears to be in the lead spending to buy superdelegates and appears to have more money to throw around so it looks like he has the advantage for now. It is not clear why he has spent so much more but doesn't yet have the numbers racked up. Either he is buying superdelegates at a much greater rice or the one's he has bought are keeping quite for now and will come out for him have the primaries are over.

What do others think?

Clinton, Obama wooing super delegates
Friday, February 15, 2008 | 7:18 PM
By Lisa Amin

This week's Potomac primaries made Barack Obama the Democratic frontrunner. According to the latest Associated Press estimate, Obama has 1,276 delegates and Hillary Clinton has 1,220 -- 2,025 are needed for the nomination.

The race may well be decided by the 800 super delegates at the Denver convention this summer, although one local super delegate is hoping it won't come down to that.

"I am uncommitted," says State Senator Carole Migden, a super delegate.

Senator Migden is one of nearly 800 super delegates. She has been for years. But this year is different. The candidates are not just courting these delegates, they're courting them aggressively.

"I have heard from the candidates on both sides. They're very diligent, they're doing their job, they're doing what they ought to do," says Sen. Migden.

That means phone calls from both Clinton and Obama camps.
It's not against the rules to offer perks or promises to woo a super delegate. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the candidates have already spent $900,000 on political contributions for super delegates. The majority came from Barack Obama.

The money went into the delegates' general fund. Still, Obama trails Clinton's super delegate numbers -- 163 to 242.

"Close to half of them have not made a commitment at all and the ones that have made a commitment can easily change their minds," says ABC7 political consultant Bruce Cain.

Cain says most super delegates hope there's a clear nominee come convention time.

"I think it would be problematic if either Senator Clinton or myself came in with having won the most support from voters and that was somehow overturned by party insiders," said Barack Obama.

While Obama insists voters should be the deciding factor, both candidates are still taking precautions, just in case.

"The campaign called me on Sunday night and said 'hey would you be interested in going to breakfast with Chelsea in the morning?,'" says super delegate Jason Rae.

The 21-year-old super delegate from Wisconsin of course accepted. Though no one has offered to break bread with Migden just yet, as a super delegate, she says that is unimportant.

"We're also, by design, there to try and hone and shape the best national party ticket we can," says Migden.

A ticket the senator is sure will ultimately be shaped by the voters.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Super Bowl Bread and Circuses

Dave Zirin has written an informative article titled "The Super Bowl: Who Stole the Soul?" that appears on the Edge of Sports website.

Before it is anything else, before it’s even a football game, the Super Bowl is first and foremost a two week entertainment festival for the rich and shameless: a corporate Woodstock with suits and sports cars subbing for ponchos and patchouli. Less free love and drugs, more hookers and scotch.

I agree. My response to the title question is, Empire stole the soul. A game is a game, but an Empire doesn't just have games, it has spectacles composed of gladiators, bread, and circuses. The Roman poet Juvenal's comment in his work "Satire X" stil rings true 2000 years later:

"Already long ago, from when we sold our vote to no man,
the People have abdicated our duties; for the People who once upon a time
handed out military command, high civil office, legions - everything, now
restrains itself and anxiously hopes for just two things:
bread and circuses ."

The Super Bowl spectacle is nothing different in psychological substance than the spectacles of the gladiators. It is no coincidence that professional football games take place in colosseums. NASCAR, the other top drawing audience "sport", is nothing more than a Circus Maximus, the greatest of the Ben Hur style chariot races of the Roman hippodromes. Some modern racetracks are still called hippodromes.

The American Empire relies on the Super Bowl to create a great fantasy of conflict as a diversion from the real conflicts going on in the Empire. Offered by the owners of America the Super Bowl is a diverson from their manipulations and control of society. As George Carlin said, "The owners of this country know the truth: its called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it." The Super Bowl is intended to put people to sleep so they can continue to dream the American dream.

Personally engaging in a game of sport, either in a pick-up game or a community league, for exercise, fun, and fulfillment is one thing, but the entertainment spectacle is quite another. Everyone of us who participates in the spectacles of sport putting the millions into the pockets of the plutocrats who present the entertainments instead of toward eradicating poverty, can comfort ourselves knowing that we are, as Juvenal pointed out, "abdicating our duties" as a democracy of the people, by the people and for the people.