Friday, May 30, 2008

From the Colbert Report: Democralypse Now - Florida and Michigan

Steve Colbert does it again. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

U.S. Cuba Policy: A H.C. Anderson Moment In Miami

Barack Obama went to Miami to talk to the exile-Cuban lobby group, and in one swoop he swept aside half a century of failed U.S. policies towards Cuba.

The Emperor is naked. Nobody has had the guts to say it. Not the "Straight Talking Express" John McCain, who just four days before told the Cuban Americans what he thought they wanted to hear, and not the "fighter" Hillary Clinton who would not dear to challenge her presumed Florida voters. But Obama did. He went right to the core, and laid out a radically different policy against Cuba and Latin America. 

America is ready for change, and so is Miami and Florida.

''I believe he is the only candidate who has spoken sincerely about the intentions that he has toward Cuba,'' said Alina Fernandez, Fidel Castro's daughter living in exile.

Hans Sandberg

Watch his speech:

Friday, May 23, 2008

This Just In From Norway: Let the Government Feed the Bloggers

Two apparently desperate Norwegian bloggers have applied to the Norwegian Government for a salary similar to the one artists can obtain. All according to a report from the Swedish news agency TT published in

The two Norwegian bloggers claim that they are no less needed by society than other artists, such as painters and composers, but the Department of Culture said no. One of the bloggers wrote in her application that her blog has 150 unique visitors every week, and more are coming. Hence, she needs money to continue her heavy lifting in cyberspace. To which the Department replied that the salaries to artists only goes to artists that "have shown over a long time that they are providing a useful social value of high quality."

I certainly feel her pain.

Making money from blogging is tough. I have passed 12,000 page views, and that has earned me less than 62 dollars in five months. But if not even this stinking rich Northern OPEC member can spare a dime for the starving artist, I will probably have to stick to my day job for now.

It's not fair, but one day we will have had enough!

We will withdraw our digits from our keyboards, massage our tired temples, ditch our iced lattes, and emerge from Starbucks to face the real world. No more words will flow onto the screens for others to exploit without attribution, and all you free riding readers will regret that you didn't even have the courtesy to click on those little ads that make billions for Google and pennies for us.... The day will come when we will direct our digital toil against our oppressors as they once turned on their analog predecessors.

Let the ruling media tycoons tremble at a web 2.0 revolution. The bloggers have nothing to lose but their carpal tunnel pain. They have a web to win.

Bloggers of all domains, unite!

Hans Sandberg 

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Is There A Sexist Bias Against Hillary?

It has been suggested that there is sexism behind the democratic voters preference for Barack Obama, rather than Hillary Clinton, but that is just another myth from the Hillary spin machine.

Sexism would probably have been the case if Hillary had become the democratic nominee, as older white republicans might have hesitated to vote for a woman the same way some older white democrats hesistate to vote for a black man. But we haven't seen any sexism in the democratic primary. To the contrary, sex has helped rather than hurt Hillary in this campaign.

I never had any problem with Hillary as a woman, and I might have voted for her, despite the fact that I find her too much like on of the boys in the traditional political game. What is so fresh about Obama is that he dares to be himself as a politician, but who knows who's behind that mask Hillary always wears? I don't know her, and the harder she fights to look like a fighter, the less I like her. In a way I feel bad for her, like I felt for Al Gore Jr., before he broke out of his shell and became a global hero. What she needs is not the White House, but a vacation as Larry David pointed out when he switched from Hillary to Obama. And while sipping a diet coke by the pool somewhere, she would do well reading Eckhart Tolle, the German zen master.

Hans Sandberg

For another take on the sexist issue, read Nathanial Bach's post Obama's Sexist Victory in Oregon on the Huffington Post.

Obama Shines As Orator After Oregon Victory

Barack Obama returned to Iowa after his strong victory in the overwhelmingly white state of Oregon. Even though Hillary won convincingly in Kentucky, her victory will not change the fundamentals in this campaign.

On Tuesday night, Obama announced in Des Moines, Iowa, that he now has the majority of the pledged delegats, and laid out his program in a powerful and passionate speech that left no uncertainty about who is the democratic leader in  this race. It was short, sharp and sassy.

There is now no way for Hillary to win the nomination unless she stages a coup that could split the Democratic party. Obama must be furious about her tactics and egotism, which has hurt the overall democratic campaign and aided John McCain's chances, but he gentlemanly waits for her to do what she needs to do - to muster as much strength as she can, maybe hoping to force her way into the VP-slot, before she bows out of the primary campaign.

Hans Sandberg

Watch the speech!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

So, Who Would You Hire? Clinton Or Obama?

In Kentucky, Hillary Clinton once again framed the primary election as a hiring decision. Well, let's think about it as a hiring decision.

Who would you hire?

Candidate A is a wealthy Washington insider who fudges her math (the popular vote is with me....), embellishes on her already inflated resumé (bringing peace to Northern Ireland), lies (ducking sniper fire in Bosnia), panders (no gazoline tax this Summer!), refuses to acknowledge a major mistake (voted to authorize Bush war in Iraq), and doesn't stop at playing the race card (Obama can't win the white working class!)

Candidate B, the son of a struggling single mother, is a brilliant young Senator who gave up a lucrative career as high paid Harvard educated lawyer to become a community organizer in Chicago, a man who has made it a matter of principle to run an honest campaign, refusing the sirens of the lobbyists, and instead leads one of the most innovative, well organized and successful election campaigns in U.S. history, a Senator who had the guts and good judgement to not vote to authorize the war.  

Well, I guess it's a hiring decision after all.

Hans Sandberg

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bush Whacks Obama Who Smacks Him Right Back

After having being pounded by leading democrats and smacked by Barack Obama, George W. Bush changed his tune on Friday, saying that "I wasn't talking about Obama". Yeah, sure...

It wasn't just his usual blend of dimwittedness and slyness he displayed in Knesset, but his total disregard for the dignity that is supposed to go with the Presidency. It's plainly bad style to use a foreign arena when picking a partisan fight.

The whole thing backfired. It gave Obama a chance to fight back; to contrast Bush's imperial bluster with an intelligent approach to foreign policy. 

And poor John McCain who yesterday picked up where Bush left off failed to achieve anything else than to strengthen people's impression that he is running to become Bush III. And if that wasn't bad enough, news broke yesterday that McCain was for talking to Hamas before he was against it, causing his foreign policy attacks against Obama land in his own lap. 

Hans Sandberg 

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hillary After W. Virginia Victory: "I Deeply Admire Senator Obama"

Hillary Clinton won the West Virginia primary as expected, and of course she promised to stay in the fight, but more interesting was the soft tone she choose when mentioning Barack Obama. "I deeply admire Senator Obama," she said in Charleston, West Virginia.

And that may be more important than the rest of the sentence where she said what she had to say at this moment of her campaign, i.e. that "I believe our case, a case West Virginia has helped to make, our case is stronger." Yes, it made her case a little stronger, from 1.2 to 1.4 on a scale from 1 to 10.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

And the Winner Is....(Says Time Magazine)*

Veteran political reporter Joe Klein has a very interesting essay about the primary campaign in the new issue of Time magazine, which features Barack Obama on the cover.

"In the end, Obama's challenge to the media is as significant as his challenge to McCain. All the evidence — and especially the selection of these two apparent nominees — suggests the public not only is taking this election very seriously but is also extremely concerned about the state of the nation and tired of politics as usual. I suspect the public is also tired of media as usual, tired of journalists who put showmanship over substance ... as I found myself doing in the days before the May 6 primaries. Obama was talking about the Republicans, but he could easily have been talking about the press when he said, 'The question, then, is not what kind of campaign they will run; it's what kind of campaign we will run. It's what we will do to make this year different. You see, I didn't get into this race thinking that I could avoid this kind of politics, but I am running for President because this is the time to end it.'"
(Joe Klein, Time magazine)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

It’s Groundhog Day All Over For Hillary Clinton

Like Phil Connors (Bill Murray) in the movie, Hillary Clinton wakes up every morning, forced to repeat the previous day, although not in the same place and with the same people.... Today she is off to West Virginia, where she stated "I'm staying in this race until there's a nominee."

She’s obviously not listening to the voters who has rejected her, the analysts who by now have given up on her chances or many of her own advisors, which makes her awfully similar to our current Bubble-Boy-In-Chief, George W. Bush. Like him, she seems to feel that she has been chosen for this job by some higher power than the people, and like him she finds it impossible to admit a mistake, even when it’s such a major one as authorizing George W. Bush to launch an attack on Iraq that sensible people at that time warned would end up in a disaster (Al Gore, Jr., Barack Obama, and many others.)

She knew that she lost big by not scoring big in Indiana. It might very well have been Rush Limbaugh’s republican storm troopers that gave her the less than 2 percent lead over Obama.
It was obvious from her meek voice in her speech late last night, and even more obvious in Bill Clinton’s face where he stood behind her. He didn’t exactly gloat over the minute victory…

Just past midnight, NBC’s Tim Russert blurted out the inconvenient truth:

“We now know who the Democratic nominee’s going to be, and no one’s going to dispute it. Those closest to her will give her a hard-headed analysis, and if they lay it all out, they’ll say: ‘What is the rationale? What do we say to the undeclared super delegates tomorrow? Why do we tell them you’re staying in the race?’ And tonight, there’s no good answer for that.”

But the next morning Hillary woke up and went back to repeating herself, continuing a campaign that she can't win. In Shepherdstown, W.Va. she told reporters "I'm staying in this race until there's a nominee."

"She is the Japanese soldier in the Pacific island that hasn't been told the war is over," Democratic pollster John Anzalone told Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza. "Occasionally she picks off a few islanders and considers it a victory. Well, yesterday she found out the war was over."

But maybe she didn’t get it. Like the Bushies, she had her reality distortion shield up, which is why she probably won’t here the news that the former senator and presidential candidate George McGovern, who is a superdelegate and a longtime friend of the Clinton’s, today asked her to drop out of the race. CNN reports that McGovern was switching his support to endorse Barack Obama. “I think mathematically the race is all but won by Barack Obama and the time has come for all of us to unite and get ready for the general election in the fall,” he said.

Or maybe her race is actually for the 2012 election. By undermining Barack Obama’s campaign, she would help John McCain win the 2008 election, making it harder for him to win the nomination battle and securing it for her self against the then incumbent president who will by then be very old and probably not very popular.

There is only one problem with this strategy, if that is what it is, and that is that Obama is a very strong candidate and that America may have moved further away from prejudice and partisanship than the Clinton’s think.

Hans Sandberg

Hillary Clinton's Pyrrhic Victory In Indiana

Washington Post's media columnist Howard Kurtz gave a neat summary of the outcome in his Media Notes column:

"In a nutshell: After a month of horrible coverage for Obama, the Jeremiah Wright debacle, the caricaturing of the candidate as an elitist, he nonetheless managed to fight Clinton to a virtual dead heat in a state in which she had been favored. All the media chatter about how Hillary had found her voice, won the hearts of the working class and captured the momentum didn't amount to squat. Whether she won Indiana by a few thousand votes was, by that time, beside the point.

Have I mentioned lately that the commentators have been consistently wrong in this campaign?

Clinton had claimed victory in her speech--indeed, Obama had conceded Indiana minutes earlier--but it may have been a pyrrhic victory at best." (May 7, 2008)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Barack Obama Is Back, While Hillary Clinton Is Down

Barack Obama won a convincing victory in North Carolina and delivered a brilliant speech after the election was called, while Hillary Clinton still (at 10:00 PM) waits as the Indiana result is still undecided when 79 percent of the votes are reported.

What happened to the game change? Nothing! The voters rejected Hillary's smear campaign, her sheer dishonesty, and shameless pandering. Obama is winning, and he is winning by playing clean.

It's beautiful! It's hopeful! It speaks well of America.

Hans Sandberg

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Obama's Comment On Hillary's Gas Tax Holiday

Interview with Tim Russert, Meet the Press, May 4, 2008:

Click here to see Obama's ad on the subject!
And click here to see Hillary's corresponding ad!

Friday, May 2, 2008

The Clinton-McCain Election Energizer Policy

Hillary Clinton is soo down to earth. All that mudslinging must be doing her some good. Running up and down those steps in Phila, ducking the sniper fire in Waziristan (there too?), changing tires on her rig (why not? It would look great on camera!) There is nothing the Middle Age Lady cannot do (except getting a cup of coffee from that pesky electric coffee brewer!)

She sure as hell is full of energy, and if you can’t afford to fill up your car or truck now that rising gas prices have eaten up the President’s simulation package before IRS even had a chance to get the cheks out, there is allways Hillary Clinton. Just holler, and she’ll be right there next to you, promising instant gas relief.

Compare that to the elitist Barack Obama. He’s not at all like her and John McCain. Because they are different (well, the rich are different, they have more money, to paraphrase Earnest Hemingway). Hillary and John trust each other, well, at least she trusts that you can call him too at 3 AM in the morning. But Barack Obama, no he doesn’t feel your pain. He scoffs at even the thought of giving the little guy a break at the pump. But Hillary’s new trucker friends doesn’t think so. And John McCain himself said the other day that a gas-tax holiday would come in handy for partents at the end of the summer. They could take the money and use them to buy school supplies, or they could have dinner out for a change. McCain also feels people's pain.

And Barack Obama is actually totally wrong about the impact of a tax cut on gasoline. It’s totally wrong to say that the average consumer is going to save 30 dollars over the period of the proposed tax cut. Totally wrong, but wrong in the right way, because the average consumer won’t even save a tenth of that if we are to believe Leonard Burman, one of many experts who have commented on the Clinton-McCain idea. Leonard Burman was a treasury official in the Clinton and the Reagan administrations, and now heads up the Tax Policy Center, and is a senior fellow at the nonpartisan Urban Institute in Washington. Here is what he told Glen Ifill at Jim Lehrer’s Newshour on Tuesday:

"GWEN IFILL: It's hard for voters trying to decide what to do this year, to decide who's right on things like this. We just heard Hillary Clinton say this can be a lot of money for people who are long-distance truckers or who drive great distances to work. We heard Barack Obama say, 'This is 30 bucks of savings.' Who's right?

LEONARD BURMAN: Well, they're actually both wrong. I mean, $30 bucks assumes that the price would fall for an average consumer and the price isn't going to fall very much. It's maybe a couple of bucks for an average American family driving their car in the summer." (To read a transcript of the entire interview, click here!)

The whole idea is ridiculous, wrote Thomas L. Friedman in his NYT-column aptly named ”Dumb as We Wanna Be”. He credited Barack Obama for ”resisting this shameful pandering”:

”Unfortunately, the unifying idea is so ridiculous, so unworthy of the people aspiring to lead our nation, it takes your breath away. Hillary Clinton has decided to line up with John McCain in pushing to suspend the federal excise tax on gasoline, 18.4 cents a gallon, for this summer’s travel season. This is not an energy policy. This is money laundering: we borrow money from China and ship it to Saudi Arabia and take a little cut for ourselves as it goes through our gas tanks. What a way to build our country.”

This silly discussion is being held instead of giving the alternative energy industry the tax cuts the should have, and developing a real energy strategy.

Friedman concluded:

”The McCain-Clinton proposal is a reminder to me that the biggest energy crisis we have in our country today is the energy to be serious — the energy to do big things in a sustained, focused and intelligent way. We are in the midst of a national political brownout.”

Hans Sandberg

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Obama Is Invisible To GOP Strategist Ed Rollins

Just who is Barack Obama anyway? asks GOP Strategist and Former Huckabee National Campaign Chairman Ed Rollins on Anderson Cooper 360° blog today. We don't know, is his answer, taking a cue from Hillary Clinton's slippery campaign.

I wrote him an answer on the CNN blog, and it goes likes this:

Who he is? I guess, you need to be a GOP Strategist and Former Huckabee National Campaign Chairman to be that clueless. What is it about Barack Obama that makes so many people trust him, from the little guy who is leaning republican to democratic superdelegates, former fed chairmen (Volker) and labor secretaries (Reich) and foreign policy experts (Brzezinski)? What is it that they all see, but Ed Rollins can't see? And what would an Ed Rollins have seen and thought about another young and inexperienced representative from Illinois, Abe Lincoln? Inexperienced? We don't know who he is? No record? Connections to suspicious black rebels (John Brown)... I guess you see what you want to see, and ignore the rest.

Hans Sandberg