Here's something I read on a blog that Warren Buffet said is a good way to think about politics and your opinions:
If you want to have an honest discussion with yourself about how the world should work, you should consider the following scenario. What if you were given the opportunity to set up the world to work any way you want. You can change taxes, trade policies, the health insurance system, whatever. The only catch is that you then have to participate in the ovarian lottery, and randomly draw a ticket that specifies your parents, country, wealth, intelligence, beauty, etc. Wouldn't you want a system that was good to you not just in the unlikely event that you are an intelligent, well-off American, but also if you are a poor, unintelligent resident of a 3rd world country? After all, you only have a small chance of becoming an American...
If only we thought this way more in this country. Republicans and their tax cuts - it always strikes me as selfish. It's not about you! Government is not there to help you - you're doing just fine. It's there to help the people that NEED it, that have been disadvantaged for whatever reason, and that can't make it without assistance. Stop thinking about yourself and do what is right for a change.
Uncertainty, like the JFK assassination. I'd like to know who the hell did it.
Another thing I'd like to know but probably never will is what the hell this thing is on Bush's back in the first debate. A senior NASA photo analyst, who's currently analyzing photos coming down from a Saturn moon, said the following:
I am willing to stake my scientific reputation to the statement that Bush was wearing something under his jacket during the debate
10 Reasons Why You Should Not Vote For George Bush:
1. Even if you believe the war in Iraq is right, you should not support a President that is dishonest with America about the reason behind it. It has become clear that the Bush administration had conflicting evidence about Iraq's possession of WMD and possible connection to Al-Qaida. They systematically trumped up the affirmative evidence and suppressed the negative evidence, to both the American people and the UN, so they could embark on a pre-determined war to bring about regime change, something Bush said in 2000 he would never do. In a situation as serious as war, where thousands of U.S. soldiers and foreign civilians will be killed, it is NEVER right to lie or mislead the American people about the reasons. Bush is not a dictator, but he has governed like one; conducting the most secretive administration in memory. The American people should have the right to have an informed debate about the rationale for war. Instead, we were spoon-fed only one side of the argument and told we had to agree. That is a blatantly dishonest way to run the country, and treats Americans like they aren't smart enough to make the right decisions.
2. Bush is responsible for more debt and deficit than any president ever, Republican or Democrat. The GOP is the party of fiscal conservatism. But it is the DEMOCRATS who actually balanced budgets (Clinton), and the REPUBLICANS who create huge deficits (Bush), and grant tax cuts in a time of war. Wars are supposed to be a time of sacrifice. Bush doesn't understand that - he sends poor and minorities to war, while giving tax cuts to the rich. Also, people often don't realize what the debt means to them. When we're older, if the budget is operating with a surplus, instead of getting rebates, tax decreases, or more services to bring it back into balance, we would have to continue to pay in more than we get out in services in order to pay for the things Bush is doing today. It will definitely affect us in the future. It's totally irresponsible.
3. Bush actually lost the popular vote, but instead of governing from the center he has run the most idealistic right-wing administration in decades. It would have made sense, after an election in which most people actually voted for the other guy, for Bush to run a unifying presidency, enacting the best ideas of Republicans and Democrats and reflecting the middle-ground of American politics. Instead, he has gone to the right of even most Republicans, waging a neo-conservative war to change a regime and occupy a nation. This used to be called imperialism. In 2000 Bush promised not to deploy U.S. resources to do "nation-building". Indeed, if we were to depose the ruler of every nation that is not allowing its citizens freedom, we would have to go to war in approximately 50 countries. Bush also pushed through the largest tax cut in recent memory, even though most people did not support it. He is a right-wing extremist who does not reflect mainstream views.
4. Bush has caused Iraqi citizens suffering they did not deserve and did not ask for. During the month of Aug '04 alone 1,122 Iraqi civilians (not insurgents) were killed and 5,442 were wounded by U.S. troop actions. This is just one month, but we don't hear these numbers, because as Americans we aren't supposed to care about them. Clearly Saddam Hussein was a horrible dictator, but nothing even close to this level of tragedy happened under his rule. Thanks to George Bush, millions of Iraqi children will grow up thinking the U.S. is an indiscriminate murderer. What message do we send when we tell Iraqis that their lives are worth so much less than American lives? Why must America be so arrogant to think they have the right to change the government of any country it wishes? What if France in 1800 had decided to overthrow our frivolous democracy and install a monarchy, in the name of ensuring world peace. Within reason, outside of country invasions, we should allow people to determine their own fate.
5. Bush routinely mischaracterizes Kerry's plans, either on purpose or because he doesn't understand them. Take Kerry's healthcare plan, for instance. In the second debate, Bush said it would make healthcare "government run". That's just factually wrong. Kerry's plan is a direct descendant of corporate-aimed tax credits for health insurance offered by Senate republicans to counter the Hillary plan in 1994. It would simply incentivize more employers to offer choice of healthcare plans to more workers. It would also cover the poor who can't get insurance from an employer. But it would by no means force regular middle class Americans to change anything about their healtchare plan. Bush's inability to discuss policy has lowered the level of political discourse in this period to a level never seen before.
6. Bush has no desire to limit corporate incentives to outsource jobs. Outsourcing is a natural progression of a growing economy, and some amount of it is inevitable and healthy for a growing economy. But corporate loopholes currently allow companies to defer taxes on foreign operations, effectively resulting in a tax incentive for companies to move more of their operations out of the U.S. When asked in the third debate about what he would say to someone whose job had gone overseas, Bush said "I've got policies to continue to grow our economy and create the jobs of the 21st century. And here's some help for you to go get an education." Does he really expect skilled tradespeople, perhaps in their 50s and 60s who've been working in the same function for decades to go back to community college and learn technology or finance?
7. Bush is beholden to corporations, lobbyists and special interests. Almost every piece of major legislation passed under the Bush administration benefitted one of these categories. He claims to have passed a Prescription Drug benefit for seniors? He actually gave a huge win to the drug manufacturers when he made it illegal for Medicare to reimport cheaper drugs from Canada (the same exact drugs as those sold in the U.S. - so there's no safety issue), and negotiate bulk pricing discounts. Drug companies were ecstatic at the passage of this law. He also did nothing to renew the Assault Weapons Ban, which the majority of the country except for NRA members thinks is a solid law. Unfortunately, now that it has expired, AK-47s can once again be bought by any Joe Schmoe at a gun show. Bush also pulled out of the 100+ country Kyoto treaty to reduce pollution, failed to enforce the Clean Air Act, composed an "Energy Task Force" of oil company executives, and recently doled out $143bn of special interest tax cuts for the likes of Nascar and Home Depot. It's shocking.
8. Bush's tax cut went primarily to the very rich. If you believe that was right, then you probably haven't read this far. Despite Bush's rhetoric about every tax payer getting a tax cut, people must realize that Bush's tax cut made it so the top 1% of earners got 80% of the rebate. That's money that the government could have used to pay for No Child Left Behind (which is underfunded), Social Security (which is facing crisis), homeland security (which has been de-emphasized), or even the war (to avoid deficit). But instead Bush's philosophy is that it is more fair to give it back to the super-rich.
9. Bush has ignored the scientific community and set science policy based on faith. Bush has allowed his personal faith to color his decisions on scientific progress, and thus has alienated the scientific community. Hundreds of Nobel laureates have signed a statement repudiating the backward steps Bush has taken in science, and how politics incluences all of the administration's scientific decisions. Even NASA officials say they have never seen anything like the obstruction of this administration.
10. Bush is not smart or engaged enough to be President of the United States. George Bush has one consistent record all his life: failure. He failed as a college student, as a responsible national guardsman, as an oil executive, as a baseball owner, as governor, and now as President. He is a funny, down-to-earth, middle-America guy who simply was never up to the task of running the free world. He has no capacity for complex thought, for understanding and debating both sides of an issue, for grasping nuance. In a country of so many incredibly smart people, this is not the man we should trust with decisions that will affect us and our offspring for generations to come. We should appreciate Bush's bravery in doing the hardest job in the world for four years, but it's time to admit that he was just never prepared for it, and had to resort to leading blindly to accomodate for his lack of thorough understanding of issues. It's time for someone else.
10 Reasons Why You Should Vote For John Kerry:
1. Kerry will restore trust in American foreign policy, and reopen the discussion about how to fix Iraq. Foreign leaders, including the German defense minister, have given indication and in some cases explicitly stated that they would be eager to have a summit on Iraq and reopen the possibility of committing troops if the situation changes, including who is in the Oval Office. We really cannot discount the effect it will have on the goodwill around the world if Americans step up and reject Bush's arrogance. We will earn so much praise for doing what is right, and we will reopen a general worldwide discussion about what is the right path to securing and pacifying Iraq. Kerry is the ultimate statesman, and has the gravitas, not seen perhaps since FDR, to bring the world to the table.
2. Kerry will restore fiscal responsibility. The Cato Institute (a libertarian group) recently published a graph showing non-defense discretionary spending up 25% in the Bush Jr. administration, lower only than LBJ. On the contrary, Clinton's increase was 0.7%, Carter's 7.6%, Bush Sr. 25%, Nixon 23%. Democrats just run the budget better. Kerry has promised not to raise taxes, except on the top 1% to whom Bush gave the majority of the recent tax cut. He has said he is committed to ending spiraling deficits. Of course it's not easy to do, but politicians are generally held to the things they promise during campaigns, and if they don't deliver they have to own up to it 4 years later. Kerry will do everything in his power to reduce the deficit and debt, and has outlined plans to get the budget back in line.
3. Kerry will make the world look up to America again, if we choose to be represented by a smarter, more dignified, and more conscientious president - someone who demonstrates that opinions other than his own actually count for something, someone that we are proud to have represent us in the international arena. We KNOW George Bush does not make us proud to be Americans. We know what the rest of the world thinks about him. Imagine what they will think of us if we validate his arrogance with another 4 years. Of course Kerry's not a sure success, but it's a good bet that he'll do a better job, because it would be pretty damn hard to do a worse one. Give him a chance to be great.
4. Kerry has a smart plan to provide healthcare coverage for more Americans. It is a travesty that some people in this country do not have health insurance. We are one of the very few modern countries that doesn't cover all its citizens. Kerry's plan gives tax incentives to small businesses to cover more of their employees. For those that can't, Kerry offers a government-paid plan that enables them to choose a provider. Experts, economists and health professionals have all praised Kerry's plan. Bush has shown no desire whatsoever to address this problem.
5. Kerry understands that Homeland Security starts at home. Rather than invading countries and breeding a generation of people that grow up hating Americans, Kerry understands that protecting our own country happens mostly at our borders, in our cities, with our police departments, etc. No one protects their house from burglary by going to the police department, finding out who the burglars are, and trying to have them arrested. It's just impossible - you will find some, but there will always be more. Rather, to protect your house, you put good locks on the door and buy a burglar alarm. Kerry recognizes that we need to inspect crates, police the borders, safeguard chemical and nuclear plants, and make sure we are safe here first. And he will do that before spending billions of dollars on a pointless war.
6. Kerry has promised not to raise taxes on the middle class. He said it directly in the second debate. Give him a chance to prove it. Bush parades behind his tax cut, but disposable income has gone down in his administration because of increasing costs of healthcare, gasoline, education, and countless other daily necessities. Kerry has plans to decrease these costs, resulting in a real increase in income in the pocket of middle and lower class Americans.
7. Kerry will create jobs. Kerry has a very sensible plan, that multiple economists have praised, to reduce taxes on corporations by 5%, and close outsourcing loopholes, both of which will encourage corporations to add jobs in the U.S. This is extremely sensible. Rather than targeting tax cuts at rich individuals, that may or may not own small businesses, Kerry gives cuts to corporations that by definition employ large amounts of people and are forced to grow by shareholders, thus are incentivized to scale up operations by increasing jobs and output. It's typical of Republicans to justify tax cuts for their rich friends by saying they create jobs. Kerry actually deals with it directly.
8. Kerry will refocus America's energy plan away from oil companies and towards renewable, natural energy creation. Thanks to not being a former oil company exec (unlike the Pres and VP), Kerry recognizes that dependence on middle-east oil is an extreme vulnerability of America today. Kerry has a plan to pursue research in fuel efficiency and renewable energy, and will ensure that 20% of America's energy is provided by renewable sources by 2020. (See johnkerry.com)
9. Kerry has shown a commitment to women's issues. The Bush administration eliminated the Equal Pay Initiative, a program designed to expand enforcement of gender discrimination, tried to eliminate the Women's Bureau at the Dept of Labor, and has removed from government websites information about the pay disparity between women and men doing the same job (women earn 77%). Kerry is on record as saying he will push federal enforcement of equal pay and require disclosure of companies' pay practices. Kerry is also committed to increasing the minimum wage - 4.5 million women work for minimum wage today, which is at its lowest value as a percent of average wages since 1949.
10. Kerry's Supreme Court nominees will reflect mainstream American values. The next president will likely nominate between 1 and 4 new justices to the Supreme Court. Bush's record of nominations to the federal courts has shown his penchant for nominating evangelical far-right-leaning conservative justices, that believe the Constitution, like the Bible, must be taken literally and can never adapt to our changing times. Why do some Americans think 30 men 200 years ago could anticipate what society would be like today? Kerry will appoint more middle-of-the-road justices, committed to progress and not moving this country back in time by diminishing civil rights for homosexuals, women, minorities, etc.
5 Reasons to be hopeful on November 2nd:
1. Incumbents with poor job approval, poor direction of the country statistics, and <50%>. Bush can't run away from the fact that people are not happy about the current state of the country. When incumbents' approval ratings are low as Bush's are, it generally means the people are looking for a change and are simply trying to get comfortable with the challenger. Kerry's performance in the debates showed people that he has the gravitas to be the President.
2. The (other) Incumbent Rule. Multiple studies have proven that in the vast majority of elections, voters who are undecided in the week prior to the election break overwhelmingly for the challenger. That is why, historically, an incumbent who is below 50% in the 1-on-1 national polls always loses. Bush hasn't crested 50% in any polls. In a race the polls say is tied, the challenger is actually ahead.
3. The majority of new voters will be Democrats. The Democrats significantly beat Republicans at registering new voters, simply because the majority of the country is unhappy with the president's performance. Young people have registered in never-before-seen numbers, skew towards the Democratic Party, and surveys of some of the early-voter states (Florida, Texas) have shown a significant increase in voting by young people. That is great news.
4. The Democratic base is fired up. The level of dissatisfaction with the president has never been higher. Democrats recognize the importance of this decision, and will come out in record numbers. Just watch the turnout early on election day. It will be significantly up from 2000, and that will be your first sign of a Kerry victory.
5. Kerry has dominated the race for newspaper endorsements. As of 10/27, Kerry led Bush 149-126 in papers and 17.7m-11.6m in circulation. More importantly, 38 papers that backed Bush in 2000 have switched to Kerry, while just 6 have switched from Gore to Bush. Those switches are indicative of the rest of the country.
If you got this far, cheers to you. Here's to hoping we can wake up on November 3rd, proud of the step we've taken to make this country the pride of the world once again.
MyDD has more on the Gallup issue. In Florida, 7 polls have the following spreads:
K+3, tied, tied, tied, K+1, K+2, B+1.
Would lead you to believe it's farily close, right? Maybe Kerry slightly ahead?
Gallup, on the other hand, says Bush is up by 8! Now, here's the reason: in 2000 the Florida electorate was 40% Dem, 38% Rep, 22% Ind. But Gallup thinks this election it will look more like 36% Dem, 44% Rep, and 19% Ind, and they weight their poll that way. They do this in all state polls and national polls too.
Their likely voter method has been discredited - as they assume a much larger percentage of registered Republicans will vote than will registered Dems. Their likely voter model currently has Bush +5 (down from Bush +8). Also somewhat noteable is that Gallup is a big GOP donor.
A better proxy, if you must watch Gallup, are the registered voter numbers, which is currently Bush +1 (down from Bush +4).
I've been happy to learn that friends of mine who consider themselves Republican or at least conservative generally have serious problems with Bush this time around. I guess the only people that wouldn't are far-righters, and I suppose I haven't come across too many of them between San Francisco, Amherst, and New York.
Nevertheless, if anybody reading is conservative and still on the fence, this article sets out a very comprehensive case for why Bush has abandoned all of the constructive positions Republicans usually take (fiscal responsibility, a contained foreign policy, etc.) in favor of extreme and unjustifiable crusades.
A very interesting read, and recommended forward to any conservatives you know.
For an American conservative, better one lost election than the continued empowerment of cynical men who abuse conservatism through an exercise of power unrestrained by principle through the compromise of conservative beliefs. George W. Bush claims to be conservative. But based upon the unwholesome intrusion into domestic life and personal liberty of his administration and the local governments who imitate it, George W. Bush is no conservative, no friend of limited, constitutional government—and no friend of freedom. The Republic would be better served by his defeat in November.
Clinton and Kerry are holding a rally together right now in Philly. Clinton looks great - looks younger and more healthy than ever, except for the white hair. It's a real moment in Philly. The energy is great and this will definitely be the story tonight on the news. Good day for Kerry.
This article in the St. Petersburg Times is set up to warn of a tie scenario like in 2000, because the current Florida poll shows 46-46-7-1 (Bush-Kerry-Undecided-Nader). But that's actually great news, because we know from historical data that undecideds will likely break for Kerry by a factor of 3 or 4 to 1. So if this poll is right, I'd say the actual split is Kerry 51 to Bush 48.
While my belief, barring any major surprises yet to come, will continue to be that all polls are under-representing sentiment on Kerry and that he'll win by 5-8 pts on Tuesday, it's still interesting to see where the race is today. On that front, a current state of affairs:
Electoral Vote Predictor has swung towards Bush over the weekend. With the exception of Colorado, this map seems like basically a worst-case scenario for Kerry. But I don't believe the input here that Ohio is currently Bush +5, given that it was Kerry +6 in another poll on Saturday. Also not sure I believe Florida and Wisconsin either.
Slate maintains a tiny Bush victory (270 needed to win). But not sure they've updated that this morning.
Race 2004 however has Kerry with 300 EVs as of right now.
So, as you can see, from a horse-race polling perspective it's anyone's game. I truly believe if the polls are somewhat split like this that Kerry will see a huge rush of undecideds breaking his way thanks to the Incumbent Rule, and that the Dem base is more fired up that the GOP base, no matter what Ken Mehlman says.
Twenty-five years ago, the idea of a cosmopolitan Ireland that would need more than the pubs to keep its musical heritage alive might have seemed far-fetched. But now waiters in Dublin seem to come from anywhere but Ireland, and Filipino nurses walk the hospital halls. For the third year in a row, A. T. Kearney and Foreign Policy magazine have picked Ireland as the world's most globalized country. So the Irish are investing time and money to hang onto their Irish identity.
Every election has one. Last time around it was the final-weekend revelation that GWB had a DUI a couple decades back. Who knows what impact it had, but possibly quite a bit - polls showed Gore down by about 6 points right before the election.
I have a feeling that this story could be quite a big deal. As a New Yorker, I am definitely not pleased about 380 tons of explosives "used to demolish buildings" going missing. And I think people in other states won't like it either. Just continues to show that the Bush administration planned only as far as kicking Saddam out of Baghdad, and made some dreadful mistakes immediately following "Mission Accomplished" - dismantling the Iraqi army, and letting ammo stores like this one go unguarded.
May be other surprises down the road, but I'm interested to see how this one plays out. Even if it does help Kerry, it really sucks. That's years worth of terror plans past a critical phase.
WHAT WE WERE TOLD: Iraqis would greet American soldiers as liberators.
WHAT'S ACTUALLY HAPPENING: Stuff like this. Insurgents becoming more organized, and killing Iraqis execution-style. Capturing and beheading aid workers. An election that may lead to a legitimate fundamentalist Islam government led by the likes of Muqtada Al-Sadr.
We must get rid of GWB to stop mis-management like this, and, on another level, to show the world that we don't support what has happened. There's a perfect analogy in baseball - when a team fires the manager to signal the commitment to a new direction.
Today is "Super Sunday" for newspaper endorsements. Thankfully, Kerry did very well: 17 new papers endorsed Kerry after supporting Bush in 2000, bringing the total of Bush-to-Kerry "flip-floppers" to 28. Another setback for Bush: 3 newspapers that backed him in 2000 refused to back anyone in this election, including the Detroit news, which has never backed a Dem.
Bush has won the endorsement of just 2 newspapers that endorsed Gore.
Kerry leads Bush in endorsements 111-70, and in circulation 14.4 million - 8.6 million.
Kerry did lose one of the biggest prizes today, however, the Columbus Dispatch. This was probably the most sought-after endorsement in the country. At least they did say they were "less than enthused" about their choice. The Republican publisher won.
Social moderates should be very scared of what Bushcould potentially do to the Supreme Court, with 1-3 justices likely retiring during the next term. Consider his federal appeals court nominees:
Carolyn Kuhl: Urged the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and has fought against environmental protections
Bill Pryor: Said Roe is "the worst abomination in the history of contitutional law". Opposed a ruling saying tying prisoners to hitching posts is cruel and unusual
Claude Allen: Has worked to censor discussions of contraception in sex ed classes. Compared abortion to genocide
Charles Pickering: Called for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. Authored articles on how states could strengthen laws banning interracial marriage
James Leon Holmes: Wrote in a newspaper article that "the wife is to subordinate herself to the husband" and "the woman is to place herself under the authority of the man"
9 other appointees on record as wanting to overturn Roe.
The country will regress 10-40 years if Bush is allowed to shape the SupremeCourt. This is also an argument for voting a pure Democratic ticket wherever you are, so that judges like the above can be blocked.
You know the thing about all these insurgents we brag about killing? The ones we're getting are largely regular Iraqi citizens that are either growing more pissed off over our mismanagement of the country, or are forced to fight by terrorists who kidnap or threaten to torture their families. They don't hate America so much as they just think we have no business being there - and they're right. The ones we should be getting are largely just orchestrating the operation and handing over the RPGs. No wonder "the insurgency has shown clear ability to regenerate itself after losses" (TIME). We're not making progress, because we simply didn't execute the war right (If I were Bush, I would have said that slowly while banging my hand against the podium). Bush fucked it up. The whole world knows that. To give him the support of re-election will doom American credibility in the world. Maybe John Kerry hasn't proved he can do Iraq better, but just electing him will show the world that we undestand the need to change, that Bush's messianic vision is not ours.
Maureen Dowd writes about how GWB justifies his actions by saying they are what God would want. So basically he's saying that if Al-Qaeda believed their God wants the annihilation of America, and they had to means to accomplish it, then they'd be justified in doing it? Or is his God the only one that counts?
Some quotes from Dowd:
People who live by religious certainties don't have to waste time with recalcitrant facts or moral doubts.
J.F.K. had to fight the anti-papist expectation that his Oval Office would take orders from heaven. For W., it's a selling point.
W.'s willful blindness comes from mistakenly assuming that his desires are God's, as if he knows where God stands on everything from democracy in Iraq to capital-gains tax cuts.
Conservative is not just the opposite of “liberal.” It is also the opposite of “reckless.” And Bush has behaved more recklessly than any president in living memory by, among other things, rushing America into an unnecessary war on a faulty pretext.
Conservative is also the opposite of “imprudent.” Bush’s administration has imprudently and insultingly thumbed its nose at world opinion at a time when we need real allies, not just token “coalition partners.”
Another antonym of conservative is “fiscally irresponsible.” This president, through irresponsible fiscal policies such as ill-advised tax cuts benefiting mostly the wealthiest citizens, has turned a record surplus into a record deficit.
Only reluctantly do we advocate a change of leadership in a time of crisis. But the United States simply cannot afford four more years of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney.
In short, we believe John Kerry and John Edwards would oversee an open, humane administration that would be like a breath of fresh air to a country that desperately needs one.
Interesting article in the Washington Post about how GWB constantly surrounds himself with people who share his view, and doesn't really do anything to broaden his understanding of how others think, or how things are portrayed in the real world outside his bubble.