Archive for the ‘election’ Category

Prison Terms Cripple Myanmar Democracy Movement

November 16, 2008

In a devastating week for Myanmar’s democracy movement, dozens of its members have been sentenced to length prison terms, as the military-ruled government locks away writers and Buddhist monks — as well as musicians, a poet and at least one journalist.

By MICK ELMORE, Associated Press Writer

By the weekend, more than 80 had received sentences of up to 65 years — a move that seemed designed to keep them jailed long past the upcoming elections, activists and analysts said Sunday.

“They are clearing the decks of anyone who is likely to challenge their authority ahead of the election” in 2010, Larry Jagan, a Bangkok-based newspaper columnist and Myanmar analyst, said of the generals who rule the country.

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Twenty-three ... 
Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Twenty-three pro-democracy activists arrested during anti-junta demonstrations in Myanmar last year were each sentenced to 65 years in jail.(AFP/MYANMAR NEWS AGENCY/AFP)

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081116/ap_on_re_as/as_
myanmar_dissidents;_ylt=AhTQlhJm7cgret4Kc8UKg5Ks0NUE

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Since Obama’s Election: al Qaeda’s deafening silence

November 14, 2008

The election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States was greeted with elation around the world with crowds taking to the streets to express their joy from Washington, D.C., to Nairobi. Congratulatory messages to the new president came pouring in from world leaders and from some rather unexpected sources as well.

Claude Salhani
The Washington Times
Friday, November 14, 2008

The list of somewhat unanticipated well-wishers who welcomed Mr. Obama’s election to the White House included the Damascus-based leadership of the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, otherwise known as Hamas; and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose country was described as part of the “axis of evil” by U.S. President George W. Bush.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Pakistani tribesmen stand near a Humvee stolen by suspected Taliban militants near the Khyber Pass near Peshawar, Pakistan, on Monday. The Humvees were originally intended for U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan. 
Pakistani tribesmen stand near a Humvee stolen by suspected Taliban militants near the Khyber Pass near Peshawar, Pakistan.  AP Photo

Although, as pointed out by The Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, Mr. Ahmadinejad may find himself also relegated to the history books if Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei finds someone else might be better suited to Mr. Obama’s temperament.

“The [Iranian] supreme leader may have been content with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as the president of Iran to confront a George Bush America but is Ahmadinejad, this incendiary character, the right person to challenge this Barack Obama America? Probably not.” said Mr. Ignatius.

The one noticeable silence, however, comes from al Qaeda and its leader Osama bin Laden who refrained from commenting either way. The total absence of comments from the United States’ No. 1 enemy, whom the Bush administration has been trying to track down and eradicate ever since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, is somewhat strange. One would think that this might have been a good opportunity for bin Laden to gloat. After all, he outlasted his nemesis.

But then again, al Qaeda’s silence may not be so strange. Mr. Obama’s victory over the Republican John McCain must leave al Qaeda at a loss for words. What exactly could he say at this time? Bin Laden can hardly say he supports one American president over another, even if Mr. Bush was the president everyone loved to hate and Mr. Obama, as one commentator on the BBC put it, is the Princess Diana of American politics. “Al Qaeda’s top leaders have been silent so far,” said Kim Ghattas a BBC correspondent in Washington, “though some expect them to claim Mr. Obama’s election as their victory, and a defeat of President Bush’s policies.”

But, adds Miss Ghattas, “they too may have to rethink how they deal with the ‘Great Satan,’ if global good will persists.”

Indeed, the only “message” from al Qaeda to the new administration may very well yet come in the next few months. It is unlikely, though, to be a message of good biddings of fair wishes.

Vice President-elect Joe Biden’s predictions during the campaign that Mr. Obama may be tested during the first six months of his presidency could prove prophetic. Al Qaeda may decide to launch a new attack on the United States, marking its welcome to the new administration and setting the pace for the next four years, as it did with the Bush administration.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/nov
/14/al-qaedas-deafening-silence/

Voter Turnout Same or A Little More than ’04

November 7, 2008

 A new report from American University’s Center for the Study of the American Electorate concludes that voter turnout in Tuesday’s election was the same in percentage terms as it was four years ago — or at most has risen by less than 1 percent.

By Martina Stewart
CNN
.
The report released Thursday estimates that between 126.5 and 128.5 million Americans cast ballots in the presidential election earlier this week. Those figures represent 60.7 percent or, at most, 61.7 percent of those eligible to vote in the country.

“A downturn in the number and percentage of Republican voters going to the polls seemed to be the primary explanation for the lower than predicted turnout,” the report said. Compared to 2004, Republican turnout declined by 1.3 percentage points to 28.7 percent, while Democratic turnout increased by 2.6 points from 28.7 percent in 2004 to 31.3 percent in 2008.

“Many people were fooled (including this student of politics although less so than many others) by this year’s increase in registration (more than 10 million added to the rolls), citizens’ willingness to stand for hours even in inclement weather to vote early, the likely rise in youth and African American voting, and the extensive grassroots organizing network of the Obama campaign into believing that turnout would be substantially higher than in 2004,” Curtis Gans, the center’s director, said in the report. “But we failed to realize that the registration increase was driven by Democratic and independent registration and that the long lines at the polls were mostly populated by Democrats.” 

Some experts also note that national turnout trends may mask higher…

Read the rest:
http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2008/11/06/
report-08-turnout-same-or-only-slightly-higher-than-04/

“You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life.” – Bush to Obama

November 5, 2008

President Bush has called Barack Obama to congratulate him on winning the presidency.

The two-term Republican president told the Illinois senator upon his historic win: “What an awesome night for you, your family and your supporters.”

Barack Obama was elected the nation’s first black president Tuesday night in dominant fashion, besting Republican John McCain.

Bush promised Obama a smooth transition to the White House.

Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino said the president told Obama: “You are about to go on one of the great journeys of life. Congratulations and go enjoy yourself.”

From the Associated Press

President George W. Bush speaks with President-elect Senator ... 
President George W. Bush speaks with President-elect Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) during a congratulatory phone call from the Treaty Room at the White House November 4, 2008. REUTERS/Eric Draper/Handout

The “Trust Me With Blind Faith” Campaign Ends; Reality Starts Wednesday

November 4, 2008

This election will be remembered as the campaign that ignited a religious revival. Never have so many atheists, skeptics, agnostics, secularists, heretics, freethinkers and rationalists hit the sawdust trail to imbibe so much on blind faith, and to make it their religion. Eat your heart out, Billy Graham.

The Hyde Park messiah’s flock makes up a weird and unlikely congregation, ranging from the true believers on the left yearning for the Kool-Aid moment to mainstream white voters eager to shut their eyes, spin around twice, cross their hearts and hope to die, squeeze a rabbit’s hind foot, throw the ivories over a shoulder, and audaciously hope for the best.

By Wesley Pruden 
Editor Emeritus
The Times

The most disappointed may be the Kool-Aid fans, who expect to be out of Iraq by Friday noon. Or the most disappointed may be the voters seduced from the mainstream, including the recovering conservatives who have persuaded themselves that the senator from Nairobi (or Jakarta or Honolulu or Chicago) doesn’t really believe all that stuff he says about raising taxes, redistributing the wealth, apologizing to Europe and becoming good buddies with the radical Muslims eager to kill us and decapitate the culture and values of the West. They’re convinced that once in the White House the messiah will cut loose the friends, mentors and allies he has collected over his 46 years and govern like the closet Ronald Reagan they know he really is. Such is true faith in the supernatural.

Nobody will be more disappointed than those who follow Mr. Obama because he’s of a darker (barely) hue than the presidents on the paper money. The whites in the coalition of the credulous are counting on President Obama to put the politics of racial resentment behind us for good, to bring in the era of mellow feelings. He wants to give the world a Coke.

Blacks in the coalition expect to wake up Wednesday morning to find the sticky residue of slavery, segregation and discrimination to have been magically washed into the sea of forgetfulness. When it doesn’t quite happen, the disappointment will become despair; Barack Obama as winner will be more disappointing than Barack Obama as loser.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson, stopped by a reporter last week in Evian, where he was taking the French waters, was asked whether an Obama victory would “close the chapter of black grievances linked to memories of slavery,” and the Rev paused for a long time, no doubt seeing a vision of the lucrative race-hustling industry slipping away, and finally replied: “No, that chapter won’t be closed.”

The Rev does not speak for Mr. Obama, but the record is clear that he accurately reflects the hopes, fears and expectations of millions of black voters who tell the pollsters they’re faithful to the messiah of Hyde Park. Their anger will be total when white voters who fully expect an Obama presidency to “close the chapter on black grievances” tell the still-aggrieved blacks to “sit down and shut up, what else could you want?” (This is how the elites think of the rest of us.)

Bitterness will be the portion of everyone, with the election results making a toxic sour mash of the politics of resentment. Mr. Obama can write about this in his third memoir, entitled “The Audacity of Hype.”

Jewish voters, who polls show are breaking for Mr. Obama with only slightly less enthusiasm than black voters, are likely to take the hardest fall.

Jonathan Rosenblum, an Israeli author and columnist, asks in the Jerusalem Post, “Who says Jews are smart?” Arab-Americans, he notes, support Barack Obama in overwhelming numbers, and so do American Jews.

“One of these two groups,” he says, “either does not care much about the Arab-Israeli conflict and/or is stupid. My money is on the Jews.”

This is harsh, but the Israelis are entitled to their frustration. Some American Jews even argue that Israel’s survival depends on retreating to its 1967 borders, lost to the Arabs when Israel didn’t have the grace to lose a war imposed on them. (They couldn’t have found anyone to surrender to, anyway.)

Now, Israel faces the nuclear threat in Iran. Mr. Obama thinks he can tame Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by making him a buddy, and would sanction Iran only if a couple of other buddies, China and Russia, join him. He’s counting on these buddies to renounce who they are, just as millions of American voters expect him once in office to renounce who he is.

His old buddies in Hyde Park – the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, William Ayers, Louis Farrakhan, Rashid Khalidi and others – are sure he’s one of them. But not to worry. Laissez les bons temps rouler! (We must be ready with our French.) Let the good times roll.

Wesley Pruden is editor emeritus of The Times.

London Newspaper: Barack Obama asks voters to help ‘change the world’

November 4, 2008

The Democrat, who is on the verge of becoming the first black president of the US, stormed through Florida, North Carolina and Virginia – three states he is bidding to wrench from the Republicans – on the final day of his dramatic battle against John McCain.

Barack Obama has declared he is 'feeling good' as polling day closes in

From The Telegraph (UK)

“Virginia, let’s go change the world,” Mr Obama told more than 90,000 people at the end of his closing rally in Manassas.

“Fired up?” he demanded to know of the sea of supporters. “Ready to go!” they responded in a deafening roar.

But if the polls are correct and Mr Obama triumphs against McCain on Tuesday, the Democrat’s white grandmother Madelyn Dunham will not be there to see it.

The last survivor of the family that raised him died on Monday aged 86.

Mr Obama said the “unlikely journey” that started out 21 months ago was now on the cusp of remaking the stricken US economy, end the war in Iraq, take the fight to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan and restore the nation’s global leadership.

“That’s how we’re going to change this country, because of you,” he told the vast crowd, while urging his supporters on the campaign’s climax not to “slow down or sit back or let up, not for one hour, not for one second.”

Read the rest and see the video:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/uselection
2008/barackobama/3376437/Barack-Obama-asks-vot
ers-to-help-change-the-world-at-final-campaign-ra
lly.html

Hey, liberals, chill out….The Republic will survive

November 3, 2008

My liberal friends have been hard to live with for years: calling George W. Bush things like “the chimp.”  We conservatives are a little more restrained and sane.  My father used to say, “The Republic will survive.”  And so it is with me and my friend William Kristol…

Barack Obama will probably win the 2008 presidential election. If he does, we conservatives will greet the news with our usual resolute stoicism or cheerful fatalism. Being conservative means never being too surprised by disappointment.

But what if John McCain pulls off an upset?

I’m worried about my compatriots on the left. Michael Powell reports in The New York Times that even the possibility of an Obama defeat has driven many liberals into in a state of high anxiety.

And then there’s a young woman from Denver who “told her boyfriend that their love life was on hold while she sweated out Mr. Obama’s performance in Colorado.” Well, what if Obama loses Colorado? Or the presidency?

As a compassionate conservative, I’m concerned about the well-being of that boyfriend – and of others who might be similarly situated. I feel an obligation to help.

So let me tell liberals why they should be cheerful if McCain happens to win.

1. It would be a victory for an underdog. Liberals are supposed to like underdogs. McCain is a lonely guy standing up against an unprecedentedly well-financed, superorganized, ExxonMobil-like Obama juggernaut. A McCain upset victory would be a classic liberal happy ending.

2. It would be a defeat for the establishment. Obama’s most recent high-profile Republican endorser was Washington insider Kenneth Duberstein. Liberals should be on the side of hard-working plumbers, not big-shot lobbyists – oops, sorry, big-shot strategic advisers and consultants. And Duberstein said that Colin Powell’s endorsement was “the Good Housekeeping seal of approval on Barack Obama.” Doesn’t that comment embody everything that liberals (and many conservatives, including me) find creepy about smug establishment back-scratching and gatekeeping in America?

Read the rest:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/11/03/opinion/edkristol.php

Murtha, No Stranger to Trouble, Faces Tough Re-election Bid Tuesday

November 3, 2008

U.S. Rep.  John Murtha, D- Pa., left, addresses  supporters ... 
U.S. Rep. John Murtha, D- Pa., left, addresses supporters with Senator Bob Casey, D-Pa., right, during a campaign rally outside a steel workers union hall in Latrobe, Pa. Saturday, Nov. 1, 2008.(AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

Rep. John Murtha, scrambling to keep his seat after recently saying his western Pennsylvania home base “is a racist area,” told supporters Saturday he should have started campaigning sooner.

“I was blindsided this time. It was my own fault. I take full responsibility and I’m worried that I waited too long to get people activated,” Murtha, 76, a 17-term member told about 100 campaign volunteers at his campaign headquarters.

Associated Press

In addition to the Johnstown stop, Murtha toured a steel mill and held a smaller rally with steelworkers in Latrobe. He emphasized the jobs and billions of dollars he’s brought home.

“They kick the hell out of me all the time because I’m for earmarks, because I’m for taking care of the people I represent,” said Murtha, who chairs the House defense appropriations subcommittee.

At Murtha’s side at the Saturday stops was Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., who said Murtha was a close ally to his father, the late Gov. Robert P. Casey. On Monday, former President Clinton was scheduled to campaign for Murtha in Johnstown, and for another longtime House Democrat, Paul Kanjorski, in Wilkes-Barre.

Murtha’s being challenged by Republican William Russell, a retired Army lieutenant colonel who moved to Johnstown to run against him. Russell has said the earmarks have created an unhealthy dependence on federal money.

The district has heavy Democratic registration, and Murtha has a long history of handily winning his races by double-digit margins.

Murtha recently told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “There is no question that western Pennsylvania is a racist area.” He later apologized….

Read the rest:
http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2008/nov/
03/rep-john-murtha-fights-to-keep-seat/

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Murtha Called “Fat Little Bastard” By Iraq War Vet

By Alex Roarty, PolitickerPA.com Reporter

NEW STANTON — Republican congressional candidate Bill Russell’s rally on Sunday featured several Iraq war veterans vehemently criticizing U.S. Rep. John Murtha (D-Johnstown), who they say betrayed them when he said troops in Iraq killed innocent civilians in Haditha “in cold blood.”

Those remarks sparked Russell to run against Murtha and have been a theme of his campaign ever since.

During the rally, Shawn Bryan, a former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps., said Murtha visited his unit in Iraq in 2005. At the time, Murtha told the soldiers “what a great job we did,” Bryan said, only to see him tell his district back home he no longer supported the effort.

Bryan said he didn’t put his life on the line for his country “just so some fat little bastard can come back and run his mouth.”

It was the second time during his speech that Bryan, who flew in from Albuquerque, New Mexico, had called Murtha a “fat little bastard” during his speech. His remarks were not publicly repudiated at the rally.

In an interview after the rally, Russell told PolitickerPA.com Bryan’s comments didn’t reflect his own feelings, but he did the defend the fellow veteran.

The remarks are reflective of the anger many marines, who have lost dozens of fellow soldiers during combat, feel toward Murtha, he said.

“Am I going to throw him under the bus for it?” Russell asked. “No. I understand — he’s going to say what he believes.”

Murtha, who himself served 37 years in the Marine Corps and won a Bronze Star and two Purple Hearts, said about the 2005 shootings of Iraq civilians in Haditha: “Our troops overreacted because of the pressure on them, and they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.”

Charges have been dropped against…

Read the rest:
http://www.politickerpa.com/alexroarty/2481/marine
-vet-russell-rally-murtha-fat-little-bastard

Campaign: Positively Negative Home Stretch

November 3, 2008

By Shailagh Murray, Juliet Eilperin and Robert Barnes
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, November 3, 2008; Page A01

The waning hours of the longest presidential campaign in history elicited a fresh round of stinging attacks from Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain and their supporters on Sunday, a departure from the positive messages that candidates normally revert to before an election.


Above: John McCain and Barack Obama make their cases on the last weekend before Election Day. (Photos: Post)

The two candidates kept swinging at each other as their campaigns focused on a handful of states that will determine the election. Obama cut an ad that used Vice President Cheney‘s endorsement of McCain to reinforce his central argument that his rival represents a third term of the unpopular Bush administration.

Republicans in Pennsylvania brought back the controversial comments of Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., despite McCain’s admonition that he should not be used as a political weapon, and the campaign unleashed robo-calls that employed the withering dismissal that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made of Obama’s experience when the two were competing against each other in the Democratic primaries.

McCain adviser Charlie Black said his candidate would have preferred that the Pennsylvania GOP not air the ad using Wright’s controversial anti-American statements. But “as McCain said back in the spring, he can’t be the referee of every ad,” Black said.

Ending a campaign on a positive note, said Republican strategist Scott Reed, “may be part of the old way, but this is unlike any campaign we’ve ever seen. There is such a small slice of undecided out there, I think both sides are going to finish the campaign really going after them.”

Those voters, according to polls, represent McCain’s last, best hope. But his campaign manager, Rick Davis, made the rounds of the talk shows to forcefully rebut pollsters and pundits uniformly predicting an Obama victory. “I think what we’re in for is a slam-bang finish,” Davis said on “Fox News Sunday.” “I mean, it’s going to be wild. . . . John McCain may be the greatest closer politician of all time.”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/11/02
/AR2008110202604.html?hpid=topnews

Stocks likely to recover no matter who’s president

November 2, 2008

Wall Street prefers Republicans, McCain supporters argue. But stocks have done better under Democratic presidents, Obama supporters fire back.
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When it comes to the stock market — especially this turbulent market — does it really matter who is elected president?

Yes and no.

By MADLEN READ, AP Business Writer

Politicians do influence the economy — and they’ll play a big role in how the country emerges from this current crisis. But analysts say neither presidential candidate can be a cure for what’s ailing Wall Street.

Wall street broker William F. Lawrence looks at a monitor as ... 
Wall street broker William F. Lawrence looks at a monitor as he works on the trading floor of New York Stock Exchange shortly after the market opened Tuesday, Oct.28, 2008 (AP Photo/David Karp)

“The economy is a big, big machine, and the president is one government bureaucrat,” said Ron Florance, Wells Fargo Private Bank Director of Asset Allocation.

Moreover, most analysts believe the battered stock market has nowhere to go but up next year, no matter who ends up in the White House — and history will probably give the victor credit even if he actually had little to do with the rally.

“The timing couldn’t be better,” Florance said.

Still, the stock market is just one part of the economy, and under either Barack Obama or John McCain, the United States needs to recover from a downturn whose severity has not yet been determined. And either candidate will face a budget deficit of around $500 billion when he’s sworn into office — a shortfall expected to climb to $1 trillion next year.

Because of the deficit, the financial climate might end up affecting the new president’s policies more than his policies will affect the financial climate.

“This whole financial crisis will largely serve as an agenda buster for at least the first year,” said John Lynch, chief market analyst at Evergreen Investments.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081102/ap_on_bi_ge/
election_stock_market;_ylt=AjHIhG0
9rDPBeQhWEHXZESys0NUE