AT SATURDAY’S New Hampshire debate, Democratic candidates were confronted with a question that they have been ducking for some time: Can they concede that the “surge” of U.S. troops in Iraq has worked? All of them vehemently opposed the troop increase when President Bush proposed it a year ago; both Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama introduced legislation to reverse it. Now it’s indisputable that the surge has drastically reduced violence. Attacks have fallen by more than 60 percent, al-Qaeda has been dealt a major blow, and the threat > of sectarian civil war that seemed imminent a year ago has receded. The monthly total of U.S. fatalities in December was the second-lowest > of the war.
Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, who has actively sought union support during his campaign, crossed WGA picket lines outside NBC studios in Burbank Wednesday in order to appear on the Tonight Show, all while offering several (often lame) excuses for his actions.
Robin Garrison, an off-duty 42-year-old firefighter, was walking in Berliner Park in Columbus, Ohio, in May when he saw a woman sunbathing topless under a tree.
He approached her and they started talking and getting comfortable, the woman smiling and resting her foot on his shoulder at one point.
Eventually, she asked to see Garrison’s penis; he unzipped his pants and complied.
Seconds later, undercover police officers pulled up in a van and arrested Garrison; he was later charged with public indecency, a misdemeanor, based on video footage taken by cops who were targeting men having sex or masturbating in the park. While topless sunbathing is legal in the city’s parks, exposing more than that is against the law.
At Garrison’s trial, his attorney argued that it was a case of entrapment. “Columbus police utilized this topless woman to snare this man,” said Sam Shamansky. “He sees her day after day. He’s not some seedy pervert.”
I think this is a ridiculous thing for the police to be doing. Not only is it entrapment, I don’t believe public indecency is such a scourge that even non-entrapping sting operations are justified to fight it. This is clearly not an operation concocted by somewhat focused on the idea of “protect and serve.”
Michael J. Totten is a fantastic independent journalist. He’s currently in Isreal. Check out his latest piece on Gaza. Or this piece from the Israel-Lebanon border. Hopefully from there you’ll want to read everything he’s been writing. If, like me, you find that Michael is providing valuable information in a direct fashion you can’t get elsewhere, then make sure to donate some money to him so he can keep reporting from the Middle East.
Your Political Profile
|Overall: 65% Conservative, 35% Liberal|
|Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal|
|Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal|
|Fiscal Issues: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal|
|Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal|
|Defense and Crime: 100% Conservative, 0% Liberal|
Q: One quick follow-up. Is it fair to say, using the convention center as an example, that one reason it took until Friday to get aid in is the National Guard needed time to build up a response team with military police to ensure law and order because the New Orleans Police Department had degraded so much?
GEN. BLUM: That is not only fair, it is accurate. You've concisely stated exactly what was needed, and I told you why. We took the time to build the right force. The outcome was superb. No lives hurt, nobody injured. It was done almost invisibly.
Q: And you estimate there's about a third of the New Orleans Police Department left. Do you remember about how many are in the New Orleans Police Department?
GEN. BLUM: On a normal day they should have 1,500 paid officers in New Orleans, give or take. Some people have said it's 1,650. It's in the rough order of 1,500-man police force, and I think the mayor told me they're down to less than 500.
New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin in this radio interview (transcript) about one cause of the looting:
And one of the things people -- nobody's talked about this. Drugs flowed in and out of New Orleans and the surrounding metropolitan area so freely it was scary to me, and that's why we were having the escalation in murders. People don't want to talk about this, but I'm going to talk about it.
You have drug addicts that are now walking around this city looking for a fix, and that's the reason why they were breaking in hospitals and drugstores. They're looking for something to take the edge off of their jones, if you will.
And right now, they don't have anything to take the edge off. And they've probably found guns. So what you're seeing is drug-starving crazy addicts, drug addicts, that are wrecking havoc. And we don't have the manpower to adequately deal with it. We can only target certain sections of the city and form a perimeter around them and hope to God that we're not overrun.
I've finally written another post over on my politics blog. For those that read before, and may have been concerned over the somewhat conservative tone during the election, you may wish to read this post, as I do go after a bit of what I perceive to be conservative hypocrisy.
The 9th Amendment and Unenumerated Rights. Read through the comments.
It's interesting to see how a currently highly politicized concept can take a discussion in a direction that, without knowledge of the political concerns, would seem totally illogical. In this cae, the politicized concept is the current fear of "activist judges" and the power of "the Court." The arugment over unenmuerated rights gets turned on its head: people argue that recognizing unenumerated rights give more power to the Government vs. the People, because it gives the Court more power to overturn laws based on these unenumerated rights.
Without this fear, such discussions are at least generally stated in more straight-forward terms: unenumerated rights give more rights to the people, and limit "democracy" (the State). The idea that just because, within the State, power flows from the Legislative to the Judicial branch, that somehow increases the total power of the State is, to me, clearly foolish. Additionally, it totally ignores the fact that unenumerated rights greatly expand the liberty of the individuals.
It's also amusing to note the irony and hypocrisy created by this particular case. The two primary issues that have led to the recent concern over "activist judges" are gay marriage and prayer-in-schoools (abortion also plays a role here). Since these are all issues decided against "conservative" beliefs, conservatives began to have a concern about the Judicial branch. This lead them to actually begin to worry about the flow of power from the Legislative branch to the Judicial. The only way to justify this is to express concern over the Court overruling "the will of the people." The collective people. When this leads "conservatives" to invert an unenumerated rights argument to take the side of worrying about the rights of the collective over the rights of the individual, either the world has gone topsy-turvy, or conservatives making the switch are exhibiting hypocrisy.
On Unexpected Consequences. Jane Galt writes a post vaguely addressing the issue of gay marriage, mostly by making lots of points about unintended consequences. While I can't see any conclusion coming out of this (and neither can Jane), it's absolutely essential that you read this and keep the issues in mind. It's a very valuable truth, even if it makes things harder to decide.
Is this post going to convince anyone? I doubt it; everyone but me seems to already know all the answers, so why listen to such a hedging, doubting bore? I myself am trying to draw a very fine line between being humble about making big changes to big social institutions, and telling people (which I am not trying to do) that they can't make those changes because other people have been wrong in the past. In the end, our judgement is all we have; everyone will have to rely on their judgement of whether gay marriage is, on net, a good or a bad idea. All I'm asking for is for people to think more deeply than a quick consultation of their imaginations to make that decision. I realise that this probably falls on the side of supporting the anti-gay-marriage forces, and I'm sorry, but I can't help that. This humility is what I want from liberals when approaching market changes; now I'm asking it from my side too, in approaching social ones. I think the approach is consistent, if not exactly popular.
Read the comments section too. Lots of good arguments. Here's some of the best points:
I'm going to start using the political blog not just for partisan politics (which it mostly was during the Presidential election campaign), but for anything on matters pertaining to government, law, and politics.
Eugene Volokh on "Punishing Monsters". Eugene wrote an earlier post expressing support for using punishment that many would deem cruel in extreme cases, such as someone who raped toddlers. In defending his position, he manages to come up with a pretty compelling set of reasons why it's not necessarily wrong. As always, the devil's in the details, as his conclusion indicates:
One can certainly reach a different judgment than I do: Even if one thinks there's some moral benefit to executing the Eichmanns or even the serial rapist-killers, one might say that the benefit is small enough that it's exceeded by the risk of error, and the very serious moral cost of that error. As I mentioned at the outset, I am keenly aware that I may be wrong on this general question, and the matter that causes me the most trouble is precisely this one. Yet my tentative current sense is that for a small number of extraordinarily monstrous crimes, the need for retribution is so strong — and the risk of error can be made so low — that not just death but deliberately painful death is the proper punishment.
"How can you call yourself a political party?". Ann Althouse provides an excerpt from last night's Hardball.
MATTHEWS: Yes. Well, that's why you're losing. Why you're losing. now is, you can't even point to your leaders.
At least George Bush is the leader of the Republican Party.
GOODMAN: It's not about my leaders. It's about...
To be fair, reading the whole thing, it's more about Goodman's silly desire to appear on a show like Hardball and try to stay on their talking points than necessarily an inability for anyone to name Democratic leadership. (A lot of political people do this while going on show's like Hardball, the O'Reilly Factor, etc. It makes them look like automatons instead of people with ideas to me.) I think the lack of leadership and the lack of positive positions (rather than just negative reactions to Republican positions) are intertwined; I'm not sure if you could say which caused the other...
Focusing on the negative: the Left - from Ann Althouse.
hat I've noticed, over and over, is that the bloggers on the right link to you when they agree and ignore the disagreements, and the bloggers on the left link only for the things they disagree with, to denounce you with short posts saying you're evil/stupid/crazy, and don't even seem to notice all the times you've written posts that take their side. Why is this happening? I find it terribly, terribly sad.
While it would be easy to take this as an opportunity to bash liberals, I think there is a potential explanation. People frequently blog to spread the opinions they feel aren't being given a strong voice elsewhere. With a mainstream media that slants so far leftward, it's primarily extremist leftist nuts who have incentive to blog. Could that be why the reaction from leftist bloggers is so different?
Update: Josh Poulson writes a longer post going into detail on the mechanics of how the difference in perception of how much you're voice is heard might affect these kind of reactions.
Jeff Jarvis: Shame on the New York Times. Jeff provides a detailed rebuttal, as well as an ethical condmenation of this NYT article. Jeff, ever the optimist, considers this an attempt to improve journalism and the NYT:
: Let me make one thing very clear: I like, read, and respect The New York Times and I care about journalism and that is why it's worth going after this story: to turn journalism into a self-correcting mechanism, as we call our new medium.
I'm not feeling that optimistic. I take it, instead, as another sign journalism right now is a very sick industry. It seems likely that it will take something more drastic before the problem is fixed.
War on Terror not Global Issue - Mitch Kapor links to a NYT article stating that the War on Terror is not the most pressing issue in the world to most people outside America. Is the result of, or the cause of, America being the leader and primary participant in said War on Terror?
As I think Randy Barnett's work convincingly shows, the whole point of the 9th Am is that rights are innumerable. It's only government powers that are limited and numbered. We don't list your inviolable rights, because liberty means the inviolable right to do anything that doesn't violate someone else's rights, in which case one of the government's listed powers ought to cover it. The burden of proof should always be on the government in exercising its power, not the citizen in acting. Thus Barnett would relieve Scalia of the burden of deciding which rights are "fundamental," by saying, "They all are. You know the kind of scrutiny of government action you apply when free speech or religious practice is involved? Just use it all the time." The presumption is of liberty, the burden of proving entitlement is on the government. Make the government file the Brandeis brief. Make it prove that it has a legitimate end and is using narrowly tailored means to achieve it. If so, fine.
While I gave Ken's post the hat-tip on 9th Amendment point, this comment from Chris deserved it's own post. I find his argument (via Randy Barnett) very persuasive. But am I missing something? Does my heart lead me astray?...
Activism ain't just a river in Egypt - JaneGalt.net
This is undoubtedly true. But that doesn't mean that judicial activism doesn't exist; it just means that it's a bipartisan vice. Even if the normal political usage of the term isn't strictly objective, one can still define what judicial activism is--broadly, starting from the desired result, and then reasoning backwards to the decision, as the court did in Roe v. Wade, and a lot of other cases.
I think that's a bad thing, even when I support the result; while I'm ambivalent about Roe, I'm certainly not about Lawrence v. Texas (I'm in favour of the result, if you had to ask), and yet I think that Scalia probably had the right of it: the constitution nowhere empowers the federal government to decide what we may, or may not do in bed, nor to prevent the states from deciding.
An interesting, detailed essay on judicial activism. I'm not in agreement with everything, but it's a good starting point, so read it!
I agree in the details of the results: the "rights" created do not appear in the Constitution, and should therefore be relegated back to legislative action at whichever level of government is appropriate. But, I believe this because I believe that the desirable end-state is a government severely limited by a Constitution. This can only be acheived if the consitution is treated in a manner that gives it power: holding government strictly accountable to it, and only it. Made up rights weaken the power of actual rights in the Constitution, and make it harder to strictly enforce it.
I'm not certain I've disagreed yet. Here's where I differ: I'm not interested in the concept of the Consitution as merely providing the necessary framework for democracy to be exercised. I'm not interested in democracy at all. Democracy is the least-of-all-evils method of government. It is necessary, because it's the only form of government that is somewhat stable: all other forms have a built-in prejudice towards revolution. But Democracy is only desirable for this pragmatic reason. Otherwise, it has no particular tendency to produce the best results in terms of good government, and is not an ethical ideal to strive towards. I'm interested in a Constitution to provide a form of government conducive to free living, with democracy as the method of choice to deal with the times that we can't be left alone.
But enough of being the contrarian. Judicial activism is a danger to an enforcable Constitution, and should be fought against, even when it creates rights we find desirable. The proper procedure is to get back to a strict interpreation of the Constitution, and then add amendments (if you can convince enough of your fellow Americans) for rights that are both desirable and important.
Update: I should read the comments on blog posts before I make my own. Ken makes a good point:
There's a big problem in determining whether a particular judgement makes Constitutional sense or not: the text of the 9th Amendment.
It explicitly denies the very possibility that we can say that something definitely isn't a right of the people that the government is bound not to infringe. It tells us that there are rights that aren't explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, but doesn't offer any real clues as to what those rights are.
The Ninth Amendment does make it tricky to decide what is activism, and what is proper use of the Constitution. On the one hand, JaneGalt's focus on democracy would indicate limited application of the 9th; my preference towards a focus on the Constitution as a limited reagent would lead to a larger use of the 9th amendment. Nevertheless, I think it's necessary for the sake of properly framing the debates in American politics to distinguish between explicitly-protected rights in the Constitution, and those left un-stated, and treat them with a different level of protection.
Blue State Blues. Hilarious. Read it. Now.
"I'm not sure where we went wrong," says Ellen McCormack, nervously fondling the recycled paper cup holding her organic Kona soy latte. "It seems like only yesterday Rain was a carefree little boy at the Montessori school, playing non-competitive musical chairs with the other children and his care facilitators."
"But now..." she pauses, staring out the window of her postmodern Palo Alto home. The words are hesitant, measured, bearing a tale of family heartbreak almost too painful for her to recount. "But now, Rain insists that I call him Bobby Ray."
While not exactly about politics, the "press" plays an important role in politics. And its failures are therefore important to note. In this case, Mark Cuban notes the laziness of reporters in regards to the Pacers-Pistons-fans brawl.
A Thanksgiving Lesson. A discussion on Gov. Bradford of the Pilgrim's Plymouth Rock founding colony, and his statements on their initial attempt at communism.
Among Bradford's many insights it's amazing that he saw so clearly how collectivism failed not only as an economic system but that even among godly men "it did at least much diminish and take off the mutual respects that should be preserved amongst them." And it shocks me to my core when he writes that to make the collectivist system work would have required "great tyranny and oppression." Can you imagine how much pain the twentieth century could have avoided if Bradford's insights been more widely recognized?
Comparisons of these two maps make startlingly obvious the extent to which population density predicts voter behavior. Though not a perfect match, the relationship is undeniable -- and ultimately enigmatic.
The relationship is definitely there. I've seen another map where the population is shown as a 3d bar graph coming out of the locations, with red vs. blue counties.
The statistician's perennial caveat is that "correlation is not causation." but there is little doubt that there is connection, largely unexplained, between ideology and demography.
One thing I noted throughout this article though, is that the question of causation which way was never asked. Are people in low population density areas then influenced to become Republican? Or do Republicans tend to move towards low density areas? The first seems to be assumed in the article, but the second seems quite likely to me as well. Republicans are seen as the party of small government, generally favored by the "leave me alone" sorts. Those same sorts are the type that would tend to like some elbow room, and would prefer to live in low population density areas.
I voted today, at around 4:30 pm. Happily, my polling place is just a block and a half away. The line was not too long, though it had been longer earlier in the day, apparently. The touch-screen system was pretty fool-proof as long as you assume that DieBold can guarentee that what my vote showed up as on the screen is what will get registered. Is it so hard to provide a paper receipt that I can check and turn in, to be used in the case of a recount?
There were only two positions on the ballot here. I actually voted straight Republican. I voted pretty much straight Libertarian last election, so take it for what you will.
"Jane Galt" on why she's not voting for the Libertarian candidate. She basically says exactly what I said to my wife yesterday afternoon: with the current state of the LP, now is not a good time for the LP to get publicity.
This is how he does when he's being interviewed by a libertarian. As Mr Balko says, "Given how close this election is, even if Badnarik does worse than Harry Browne did in 2000, there's a small chance that the LP could draw enough votes in a few states to tilt the outcome one way or the other. Should that happen, both Badnarik and the LP could get more media exposure than the LP's gotten in years. I'm sorry, but I'm just not convinced that either Badnarik or the LP speaking on behalf of libertarianism to a national audience with limited exposure to the ideology would ultimately be good for libertarianism, the philosophy."
Michael Totten on Instapundit and Eugene Volokh disagree over the implications of the Federal Marriage Amendment and whether Bush's acceptance/support of civil unions is in conflict with supporting the FMA. Is this a matter of reading comprehension? No. It's a matter of which version of the text we're looking at. Totten is using this version (emphasis added by me):
Neither this constitution or the constitution of any state, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.
Volokh, on the other hand, is using this version:
Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the constitution of any State, shall be construed to require that marriage or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon any union other than the union of a man and a woman.
Volokh mentions that he quotes from the Mar. 22, 2004 version. I believe that Totten's version is the original, older version. Anybody know when the text was changed, or where to look for the latest version? Both interpretations I believe to be correct, based upon the text each was using.
Update: After I sent an e-mail to Mr. Volokh, he updated his post to mention that he got his version from thomas.loc.gov. A search for marriage amendment will reveal that S. J. RES. 40 is the current version, and has been placed on the calendar. That version is the version quoted on Volokh Conspiracy. So, good to see that at a minimum, some of the worst of the original wording has been taken out, though I doubt such a rediculous amendment to the constitution, even still, could pass.
Well, it is for where I live. Virginia was redistricted in 2001. This was controversial due to state Republicans being accused of attempting to pack black voters into the 3rd District. What district am I in? Well, as of 2001, the 3rd District. According to the 1999 district lines, which the Virginia state government web site still shows as current, I would have been in the 2nd District. The 3rd District would have started exactly a block over from me.
According to the bill setting the districts from 2001, my precinct (the St. Andrews precinct) is the only one in Norfolk that is split: part of it is in the 2nd District, part in the 3rd.
John Kerry says he wants to "rejoin the community of nations." There is no issue on which the United States more consistently fails the global test of international consensus than Israel. In July, the U.N. General Assembly declared Israel's defensive fence illegal by a vote of 150 to 6. In defending Israel, America stood almost alone.
You want to appease the "international community"? Sacrifice Israel. Gradually, of course, and always under the guise of "peace." Apply relentless pressure on Israel to make concessions to a Palestinian leadership that has proved (at Camp David in 2000) it will never make peace.
Case in point: Oregon State Trooper Andy Kenyon. Moore sent a crew to interview him under the guise of making a documentary about cutbacks in some state police programs. Moore did not attend the filming himself and his name never came up, for obvious reasons. The film crew led Kenyon to believe that the documentary was probably bound for public television, if it made broadcast at all. So Kenyon consented to the interview and answered questions related to those cutbacks. The day before Fahrenheit 9/11 opened, someone from Moore's production company called Kenyon to tell him he was in that film. Shocked, Kenyon went to see the film, only to see his answers about state-level cutbacks blamed on the Bush administration, and twisted to insinuate that in cutting Oregon's state police budget (something no president has the authority to do, since state-police budgets are a state matter), President Bush had left the Oregon coastline without police protection. But it was never the Oregon state-police force's job to patrol the coast in the first place. That responsibility belongs to the Coast Guard. In researching the story of Oregon's state-police cutbacks, it is impossible for Moore not to have learned these salient facts. Yet he left them all out to create a false impression that the Bush administration's tax cuts directly took needed police off the streets.
Kenyon's story is but one of several that Moore misuses to create false impressions and to willingly fool gullible or simply uninformed viewers. In exposing Moore's rampant dishonesty, FahrenHYPE 9/11 amounts a prosecutor's dossier against him.
But this morning, I hear an NPR story about Libertarian candidate Michael Badnarik and it consigns libertarians right back into the looney bin: Their candidate thinks driver's licenses are unconstitutional, the report says, and so Badnarik makes it a point to get arrested for driving without a license whenever he can to prove his alleged point. This is exactly the image libertarians had for years: impractical, obnoxious loons.
I agree. It's why it's that other B* candidate that's getting my vote for President this year, not Badnarik. We need a Libertarian Party that is pragmatic and moderate. We need a libertarian approach to government, not an attempted libertarian revolution. Plus we need to get rid of the isolationist wing of the party, no matter how big they are. That's negligent naivete. How do we get there? Hell if I know.
Summary on the Jon Stewart Crossfire thing. I thought I'd have to summarize my thought on it, but Jim Treacher does it well enough for me.
Stewart's been bugging me... I've been getting more and more annoyed with him trying to have it both ways, being an increasingly self-righteous advocate and yet deflecting criticism with "It's just a comedy show!" Which is pretty much perfectly encapsulated in his 15-odd minutes on Crossfire. I remember when he was a lot more convincing about being a moderate, not that long ago. And I think his interview with Kerry is certainly fair game for criticism. But then again, calling Tucker Carlson a dick? Right to his face? That is a Golden TV Moment.
Can it be that I am politically to the right of all those millionaire arts patrons? If so, I don’t accept that label. On foreign policy, Bush is the idealist and Kerry the conservative, afraid to disturb the status quo. I’ve never abandoned my belief in human rights and democracy.
Charles Austin discusses the similarity of this election to that of Winston Churchill. Really well written essay, check it out.
I like that word -- unconditionally. It is how we used to fight and win wars by demanding the unconditional surrender or destruction of our enemies on the battlefield. It sounds very harsh to our sensibilities today, yet it was only sixty years ago when we followed through with our demand for unconditional surrender by destroying our enemies in the Pacific when they would not surrender. I recently watched Hell in the Pacific, which documented in the clearest terms possible, and with shockingly graphic footage, what the destruction of our enemies on the field of battle meant and why it was necessary. It seems to me that it is only when we abandoned the idea of complete victory with the unconditional surrender or destruction of our enemies in Korea, Vietnam, Gulf War I, Bosnia, and again in Iraq that we have had left bleeding, festering wounds that will not heal rather than pursuing decisive, though undoubtedly painful, final results from which we can move forward.
Oh, I'm blogging as a Democrat? Well, I read it in the New York Times, so it's probably true. Did Rutenberg read enough of my blog to see that I'm voting for Bush, or is he just concluding from the fact that I don't mind saying that I observed spittle in the corner of Bush's mouth that I must be opposed to him? Maybe Rutenberg is assuming that these bloggers are all so partisan that if they say one thing against a candidate, they must say everything against that candidate. Why no referrals from the New York Times on Sitemeter? WaPo made my name into a link, but the Times doesn't do links. In fact, where WaPo has the ellipsis above, the Times has "on Althouse.com," which is neither the name of this blog nor the URL. And why two b's in "Web blogger"?
First of all, MSM stands for "Main-Stream Media", for those who haven't seen the abbreviation pop up before. Secondly: Almost all the instances I can think of where someone I know or have read personally talk about an article about them, the article is always inaccurate. The myth that journalists usually do a lot of reasearch and fact-checking, and are therefore a more legitimate source than other sources, is completely absurd by my experience. I mean, my college newspaper did a short fluff piece on me (random student profile article), and got things wrong. Sure, that's a case of someone who's not quite a journalist yet; but they were only a couple years away.
I'm going to have to agree with that well-known <sarcasm>"arch-conservative"</sarcasm>, Bill O'Reilly. This is unfair, and when liberals do it, conservatives rightfully complain. So don't gloat and consider this fair payback. Denounce it equally. It's an inappropriate attempt to use media power to affect the election.
However, just because it's unfair, doesn't mean it shouldn't be allowed. It's simply wrong to limit free speech that way, and another example of why McCain-Feingold's "Campaign Reform" was a mistake.
Libyan officials said Sunday they have arrested 17 people suspected of affiliation with al-Qaida network.
As a nation, in the days following September 11, we considered the arguments of those who suggested that we had best “just get used to it,” that, like Northern Ireland or Israel, we should just learn to live with a certain amount of terrorism. And then we, as a nation, wholeheartedly rejected those arguments. We decided, as a nation, led by President Bush, that we were the United States of America, and we refused to “live with” terrorism. Bush has taken this to what he sees as its logical conclusion: we must transform the Middle East so that it is no longer a place that breeds terrorists that attack America. Kerry is still trying to have the argument that most of us settled three years ago.
Afghanistan Election Wrap-Up, from Instapundit
UPDATE: And here's more from the BBC: Observers approve Afghan election International observers have endorsed Afghanistan's first presidential election, rejecting opposition calls for a new poll amid reports of fraud. The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) said demands by 15 of the 18 presidential candidates to annul the poll were "unjustified". The local Free and Fair Elections Foundation of Afghanistan (FEFA) said the poll was "fairly democratic".
In this light, consider the quote, also in the NYT article, from Richard Holbrooke, who seems to be the most likely candidate for Kerry's secretary of state: "We're not in a war on terror, in the literal sense. The war on terror is like saying 'the war on poverty.' It's just a metaphor. What we're really talking about is winning the ideological struggle so that people stop turning themselves into suicide bombers.''
There's the difference between Kerry and Bush regarding foreign policy. Offense vs. Defense. War versus police actions only. We fight and kill them and stop them, or we attempt to change ourselves in some way to get the terrorists to stop wanting to kill us.
What do I think of Kerry's plan? "Fat chance." I don't think it's possible to win in an idealogical struggle, other than by spreading liberty and democracy and wealth to the entire world. I'm not exactly looking forward to the number of terrorist attacks that occur before we acheive that. Am I missing something?
National Review article on Alexandra Pelosi's "Diary of a Political Tourist". Interesting stuff on the personality of some of the democratic candidates from a documentary done during the primaries.
So why does she think Kerry became the Democratic nominee? "He had the most stamina and he was the most politically savvy, and I think he had the best organization," Pelosi said. Or at least, that was as good a reason as she could offer. In the end, Kerry remains as much an enigma to her as he does to voters. "The truth is," she says at the end of Diary, "after a year on the road, I know why the other guys lost. But I still don't know why John Kerry was the winner."
I tremble. I tremble because John Kerry and John Edwards have no real plan to keep America from singing its dirge again. I tremble and wonder if they will even understand what it means should they (God forbid) win this election and turn on the news to see the woman in the black hijab, rejoicing once more, coming to dance for them and singing her wicked, demented song.
Baldilocks - Drying Out - Another great essay on this presidential election.
Those of us who know that none of the domestic issues being brought up in the election run-up matter a whit if we’re dead, want to do our best to vote for the guy who will ensure that our mass domestic death doesn’t occur (again). The strangest phenomenon—to me, at any rate—is that the guy who seems to have done the most to keep that next mass death from happening seems to bring out violent, wigged-out opposition in roughly half of the constituent population that he’s attempting to protect. Call this bottle “September 10, 2001.”
Check out this great summary of the news on these investigations, with the focus where it out to be, not on the tired old bit about "no WMDs found." My arguments in favor of liberating Iraq were never predicated on an assumption about WMDs in Iraq, so I'd really like to quit hearing about them: they aren't that important.
In a moment, we’ll look at what both men said, and through a very specific filter: not their Aggregate Presidentiality, or their respective Molar Charm Ratio. We’re going to look at what both men believe in respect to deterrence: whether their positions increase or decrease the likelihood of further attacks on the US.
That’s it. That’s all. That’s the sum total of this election for me. We’ve survived boobs and crooks and idiots and charlatans of all stripes and colors, struggled through booms and recessions, surpluses and deficits, and wars on poverty and drugs and crime and General Public Lasciviousness and come through just fine, and we will again.
But the nuclear destruction of the heart of Manhattan, or Long Beach Harbor, or the Capital mall – these things are serious business and as Sam Johnson once said, the prospect of being hanged in the morning tends to focus the mind.
I've started to read a lot of political blogs, and I wanted a way to share the best stuff I see out there. I also want to discuss politics every once in a while. But, I definitely don't want to bombard my normal audience (interested in my personal life, or technical posts) with poltical stuff. I don't much like reading other techies politics stuff in their normal blog, so I do you do either.
So, I took advantage of the fact that Blogger let's you create multiple blogs. So, now I have a Political Blog. If you're interested, check it out, or subscribe with Bloglines to keep up with all the best commentary I find on the web on politics, or, occasionally, my own commentary.
Before we dismiss Bremer's statement as a belated attempt to split hairs and return to the Party Line it is important to remember one simple fact. The US arrived in Baghdad in May, 2003 minus nearly half the mechanized force intended for the operation.
This will be a ongoing topic. This isn't really about political issues. This is about structure of government: philosophy and civics. It's about ideas that generally don't receive much discussion in that civics class you probably took in high school.
Proposal: All national elected government positions should be voted for by the whole population, rather than on a by-state basis.
Reasoning: While federalism has its purposes, the representation by states was primarily a product of the fact that, at the time of the founding of our nation, individual states did have some sovereignty. They could easily have decided not to join the Union without a constitution that respected that sovereignty. In modern times, however, the national government is now where people primarily look to fulfill the necessary roles a government performs. People move more, and feel tied to their state less. People participate and are interested in the national government far more than state or local governments.
Advantages: Potentially, a significant decrease in localized pork-barrel projects. It would free congressman to vote for what's best for the nation, not what's best for their home state/district. It might also increase voter interest in elections for positions other than President, as people mostly on pay attention to national politics.
Disadvantages: Too hard for voters to know everything about the candidates. The media attention that makes a presidential race work in America can't possibly be stretched across all members of congress being elected in a given election.
Compromise: It's clearly too far-fetched to elect our Representatives at-large. Senators, however, might be feasible. A Senator was initially intended to be a representative more of their state government than of the people, but since the Constitution was amended to proscribe direct election of Senators, that purpose no longer applies. So why not know make the Senate the chamber of congress representing the people nationally, rather than by state? Obviously, a lot of theory work on how apportionment should go with this change would be required. At a minimum, I think some number of senators, perhaps additional ones, should be at-large national senators, rather than representatives of a particular state.
(Yes, I'm having fun going through the logs for my webpage)
I am the number one image search for War on Drugs on AtlaVista. Pretty damn sweet.