Saturday, September 18, 2004

Reservists: Check your papers

If you believe you are no longer eligible for duty, make sure you check your papers. Otherwise, you could end up like this guy:
RALEIGH, N.C. - A man who served the eight years required under his ROTC contract remains an Army reservist obliged to report for active duty because he failed to sign a resignation letter, a federal judge has ruled.

True or False?

"Never in the history of the United Nations have we faced so many opportunities to create a safer world by building a better world."

"For the sake of our common security, and for the sake of our common values, the international community must rise to this historic moment. And the United States is prepared to lead."
- George Bush in Radio address (via BBC News)

The claim seems dubious to me. It seems that, during the Clinton era, there were more oportunities, as was witnessed with the actions in Yugoslavia. With the continuous rise of terrorism and fundamentalism, it seems that we are now less safe. As for common values, it seems the concept behind those is being stretched, as more foreigners now regard the US with a wary eye than they did on the morning of 9/12.

Wishful thinking or reality?

21 reasons why Bush will win. The reason I'm bringing this up is the fact that the same site is listing Bush at a 51.1% win over Kerry's 47% win. Considering that polls generally show a 5% advantage to the incumbent vs. reality at the end of the electoral cycle, is the fact that Bush is not winning with over a 5% margin per the current polls and issue?

Maybe I'm wrong but, from where I'm sitting, this election is still too close to call.

How Polls Work

Electoral-vote.com has an interesting overview of how polls work:
It has been a long story today, but understanding the limitations of polling is very important. It is my own feeling that the mass media don't have a clue. They keep harping on the national polls, which are only peripheral, and rarely, if ever, discuss the normalization for political party issue discussed above. They give the (highly misleading) impression that a score of, say, 49% to 41% means that 49% of the people polled were for the former candidate and 41% were for the latter. In reality, that result is the consequence of a lot of statistical massaging of the data based on a model that is rarely openly discussed.

A return to Jim Crow?

Reports today show that the DOJ is investigating voter intimidation in Florida:
WASHINGTON - The Justice Department is investigating accusations that Florida law enforcement officers intimidated elderly black voters during a probe of voting fraud last spring.
Are there others out there? Between missing ballot boxes in Louisiana and word for intimidation in Florida, one has to worry about the viability of the next election.

It all depends on how you look at it...

Power line reports on new documents appearing. However, no one seems to be questioning the validity of those... Why?

Louisiana: Vote suppression or honest mistake?

You decide:
NEW ORLEANS - Many New Orleans voters were unable to cast ballots Saturday on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage because voting machines had not been delivered to polling places, a state official said.

Friday, September 17, 2004

IRR to go into Iraq after the election?

Via Drudge Report:
STATEMENT FROM REP JOHN P. MURTHA [D-PA]:
I have learned through conversations with officials at the Pentagon that at the beginning of November, 2004, the Bush Administration plans to call up large numbers of the military guard and reserves, to include plans that they previously put off to call up the Individual Ready Reserve.
As of June 22, the Ready Reserve pool had 111,323 members.

Bi-partisan 9/11 commission recommendation rejected

This showed up on the wire: House GOP to Reject 9/11 Recommendation:
The Sept. 11 commission recommended creation of a national intelligence director to control almost all the nation's 15 intelligence agencies, saying the agencies did not work together properly to stop the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York City and Washington. They also endorsed giving that position full budgetary control and hiring and firing powers to make sure the spy agencies listen to the director's orders.
[...]

The intelligence director would control agencies under the National Foreign Intelligence Program but would only "participate" in setting military agency budgets.

The director also would lack complete control over the nonmilitary agencies, holding only "guidance for developing the NFIP budgets," the White House bill proposes.
[...]
The new director will be able to control hiring only in the lower levels of the intelligence community, but the White House legislation would keep control of presidential appointments.


The Grim Reality of the War in Iraq

The following calendar tracks Americans lost in Iraq. Some quick numbers:

Worst month: April 2004 - 129 dead
Data sample: 18 months
Total in sample: 1060 dead
Total Average: 1060 /18 = 58.8

2003 Sample: 508
Average in 2003: 508 / 9 (data only started in March) = 56.4

2004 sample: 552
Average for 2004: 61.3
Expected number of lost troops in 2004 if tracking to yearly average: 735.9

September 2004: 48 dead as of September 17
Expected number of lost troops in September 2004 (if rate doesn't change): 84.7
Expected number of lost troops in 2004 if tracking to monthly average: 842.8
Current monthly trend: Above average

Things look grim but such is the cost of war. Please remain respectful to our troops and ensure they are getting proper support.

Beware the bookmark of death

Woman arrested for carrying a concealed... bookmark?!? What's next? Unpopular books?

Vote Early?

The official Bush website is telling people they should vote now. Why the emphasis on voting early? I'm assuming that this has to do with the potential for malfunctions of voting machines on election day. And why doesn't the Kerry campaign have a similar page?

A plan for Iraq

CQ highlights the lack of discussion from both campaigns as to what to do with Iraq. It's a very valid discussion. After all, with over 100k troops on the ground, we need to know where the candidates stand on this issue. It is one of the most important foreign policy issue the next president will have to deal with. The lack of a plan from either candidate is a major gap in this campaign.

Another group, beyond the candidates, must also be faulted for this: the media. While they focus on what happened during the Vietnam era (Swiftboat veterans for truth and Rathergate), they don't seem to be paying much attention to the real issues.

Sacrifice in Times of War

An interesting post at Escapable logic about the way to fight the Iraqi war. It does make sense but will it work? We are told that the country is at war so wouldn't sacrifice from all of us be warranted. If it is, then why are people looking for more tax cuts. There are American soldiers in Iraq currently putting their life on the line. They need our support. Two ways we can do this: one is repeal tax cuts, the other is impose a war tax. The funds would then be earmarked to support the conflict. I'm not a big fan of this war but now that we're in it, we have to go out and do our best to support our troops (and I don't mean bringing them back, which would only further the trouble in Iraq.)

Another thing to look at is whether we can go it alone. At the current time, the US is carrying most of this war. Would a change in leadership leave other countries more open to listening to us? That's an interesting question. I'm not sure of the answer. Maybe that's the case, maybe it isn't. But I do believe that no one really wants an ustable Iraq. The question is whether personal rancor (as is probably the case between leaders of the countries that opposed the war and the ones that supported it) is getting in the way. How do we solve this?

Stay in the center, move to the left

Centerfield has an interesting overview of changes in the GOP show that it is moving further to the right. As a result, the left would traditionally follow, which means that those of us in the center have two choices: move further to the right like everyone else, or stay put and find ourselves further to the left by default. An interesting conundrum.

K street

K street is the street on which most of the lobbyists have set up shop. The K street project is a Republican effort to ensure that they increase their support level among lobbyist by putting Republicans in place within lobbying organizations. Historically, mainstream members of the Republican party thought that this effort by fringe elements would lead to nothing. But it now seems to be working, effectively freezing out Democrats from top jobs in the lobbying industry.

This has the potential of impacting future developments in DC as lobbyist are generally the group that ends up doing the most in terms of getting financial support for elections. One of the question that remains is whether the initial assumption (more lobbyist leading in your direction will mean a better hold on power) is correct. Let's not forget that Kerry ended up getting more money than Bush during the primaries cycle.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

No debates on the network?

No matter what party or candidate you're for, it seems important that everyone get a chance to see them debate. However, the networks have not decided whether to carry the debates or not. While this is probably in violation of their edict to serve the public (in exchange for the broadcast rights they get), there may be a way to get them to step back in line: Sign this petition.

Update: Let me rephrase that... if you're a Republican, you might not want the debates to happen, according to Newsweek (which seems to be biased here):
But there's a [...] reason Bush wants to spend valuable time debating debates. It runs down the clock on discussion of important stuff, like his record in office. The debate over debates is a classic "campaign issue" as opposed to a "real issue." Campaign issues have little to do with how a candidate would perform as president; they are manufactured by the campaigns to score points. The media, particularly cable TV (which drives so much of the agenda nowadays), make it worse by favoring hot-button stories over complex, hard-to-illustrate real problems that the next president can actually work on.
So, you decide...

Who's polls are you following?

On the one hand, it looks like Bush is gaining in Democratic strongholds like New York. On the other, it looks like his post-convention bounce is over. Who can you trust on this? Democrats are fretting over it.

A basic question here regards the mind of the voters. Does a strong showing in the polls by one size energize or demoralizes the other? For example, will a Bush surge bring more or less Democrats to the voting booths? Alternately, will it bring less or more Republicans to the booths? By my read (and as a centrist, I have to admit to some bias here), people are still sitting in the center, almost equally divided. Sure, some states are leaning more to one side or the other but it looks like this election is still a draw at this point.

Examine closely: Gore lead the West Coast in the last election, and Kerry has the leads in the polls in those states. Apart from Colorado, the same is true of the states in the middle of country. The south went Bush and polls show that this will happen again. With the excepting of Wisonsin, the mid-west looks like a replay of 2000, as does the Northeast, with the exception of Pennsylvania. So it technically rides on those 4 states? Not so fast. Colorado was carried by Bush but there is a ballot initiative that would assign the delegates proportionally. This means that, if that initiative passes, the state would go about half and half. Gore won in Wisconsin by .2%, hardly something you can consider a heavy lead. A Bush lead there would hardly be surprising. This leaves us with Pennsylvania, which is still a big piece to the puzzle.

Basically, it looks like things have not moved much since 2000. My guess is that we will see pretty much a replay of 2000. If that's truly the case, the winner in Pennsylvania will be the next occupant in the White House.

Follow up on the scorecard: Taliban lives, tries to kill Karzai

The situation in Afghanistan seems to be degrading quickly. While all (OK, some, the ones not concerned with the hurricane, the new TV season, Rathergate or any other diversion) eyes are Iraq, the first front in GWOT is spinning out of control. Just today, there was an attempt on Hamid Karzai's life. This is not good:

Taliban guerrillas, who have vowed to disrupt what will be Afghanistan's first ever direct presidential poll, quickly claimed responsibility, but the government said it was too early to say who was to blame.

Taliban military commander Mullah Abdur Rauf told Reuters the guerrillas learned of Karzai's trip on Wednesday and planned the attack. "Because of shortage of time, we could fire only one rocket. It was launched by remote control," he said.

... could someone please take care of the Taliban, which is a known supporter of Al Qaida and thus directly involved in 9/11.

Will the military go to Kerry?

Traditionally, members of the armed forces have voetd heavily for Republicans. However, there seems to be some discontent about extended stays in Iraq and questions as to the value of that conflict. Many of the people I know who came back are considering voting for Kerry, even though they have always voted for Republicans in the past. However, I thought they might be the exception more so than the rule. Hence my surprise when reading the following comment:
Scott Lewis, an Army Reserve sergeant home after 15 months in Iraq, spoke just a few words. "We need some new ideas in Iraq," he said. "People criticize John Kerry for changing his mind about Iraq, but I think that's actually a strength. And I'm a Republican."
I wonder if other people are seeing the same thing...

An important question

Centerfield asks an important question:

Given that the presidential race is shaping up to be the most negative one I've ever seen, I expect both sides will be indulging in dirty tactics, under the rationalization of the ends justifying the means. It seems to me that the Republicans are better at this, with Karl Rove having learned hardball from his participation in the Nixon campaign. But Democrats are motivated to reciprocate, and the allegedly forged documents reported by CBS could be one such attempts.

What dirty tactics have you seen so far? What do you anticipate before this is over?

GWOT: The Score Card

Since the Bush/Cheney campaign has made the global war on terror a central piece of their re-election campaign, I would like to take a look at how well we are doing in this war. The following is a critical analysis of the current efforts in the Global War on Terror (aka GWOT). Because of controversy as to the importance of the Iraqi conflict in GWOT, I've left it out of this analysis on purpose.

The hunt for Bin Laden

Never mind the fact that Rumsfeld seems to be confused as to who is who, there is one clear fact in the current war on terror: Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaida were responsible to 9/11. This is the bottom line on that particular incident. The efforts to root out the Taliban, a longtime supporter of Al Qaida in Afghanistan, and to hunt down Osama in that region were a very good idea. So let's look at how successful we are there.

Well, first of all, we haven't capture Osama yet so that can be seen as an issue. However, we can assume that Al Qaida has been crippled, right? That it is at this point where it can't do anything bad. Well, not quite... According to Maj. Gen. Eric Olson:
the military had not intercepted any radio traffic or instructions from either bin Laden or his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri. But he said the involvement of well-trained foreign fighters in attacks near the Pakistani border convinced him that the fugitive leaders were pulling the strings.

"What we see are their techniques and their tactics here in Afghanistan, so I think it is reasonable to assume that the senior leaders are involved in directing those operations," Olson, the operational commander of U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan, said in an interview.
With less than 10,000 troops on the ground, Operation Enduring Freedom (the Afghan front in GWOT) , we seem to be losing ground:
Olson said some militants attacking U.S. forces along the Pakistani border with mortars and rockets expertly adjust their aim — betraying a level of training not commonly seen among Taliban fighters.

Arabs, including Saudis and Yemenis, were among fighters recently detected in Kandahar province. Russian chatter was intercepted by radio monitors in the former al-Qaida stronghold of Khost, suggesting Chechen and Uzbeks were operating there, he said.

The Pakistani army has carried out a string of bloody raids on its side of the border in an area considered a possible hide-out for bin Laden. Olson praised the "very successful" Pakistani operations, but suggested that only political and economic developments in Afghanistan could defeat the insurgency.

American and Afghan officials predict that militant attacks which have also killed dozens of aid workers and government officials will intensify with the approach of Oct. 9 presidential elections.

"I don't think we're close at all" to defeating the insurgents, Olson said, but insisted organizing a successful vote could convince many opponents to give up the fight.
Considering how things are going, it's interesting that neither Rice nor Powell really want to speculate as to Bin Laden's whereabouts. And of course, there's the matter of how much safer we are. According to the FBI, Al Qaida is preparing an attack for the fall. Are you feeling safer yet? So you'd assume that the CIA is working overtime on this. Well, there's only one problem (or set of problem) in terms of that:
Three years after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon, the CIA has fewer experienced case officers assigned to its headquarters unit dealing with Osama bin Laden than it did at the time of the attacks, despite repeated pleas from the unit's leaders for reinforcements, a senior CIA officer with extensive counterterrorism experience has told Congress.
.
The bin Laden unit is stretched so thin that it relies on inexperienced officers rotated in and out every 60 to 90 days, and they leave before they know enough to do meaningful work, according to a letter the CIA officer has written to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.
That can be a real issue if you are trying to hunt the guy down and don't have the tools to do so. So, just looking at the hunt for Bin Laden, the Global War on Terror does not seem to be that successful.

Homeland Security

The good news on homeland security is that there hasn't been an attack on the North American continent since 9/11. So one could say that homeland security is working but let's not go so fast. There are still some issues. For example, our ports are still largely left unprotected, due to some issues of funding. While the Bush administration is talking up its record on homeland security, it has not worked very hard at funding initiatives:
The Maritime Transportation Security Act - passed by Congress in 2002 to make terminal sites more secure - suffers from a fundamental flaw: It has no financing mechanism, and nobody wants to pick up the tab for improvements the act requires.

The Coast Guard has estimated that upgrading the nation's maritime sites and vessels to meet the law will cost about $7.3 billion between 2003 and 2012. But the $491 million in grants Congress has issued to ports and vessels to improve security in the past three years - about $163 million a year on average - won't come close to meeting the 10-year cost estimates if the spending patterns continue. For many sites, the new costs include adding security personnel, new access-control methods, fencing and high-tech surveillance systems, and periodic reviews.

The port industry - the terminals, vessels and factories that ship goods out of the ports - contend it's the federal government's responsibility to make up the difference. But the Bush administration says the industry should foot most of the bill. Congress has yet to find a way to pay for the requirements that it put in place two years ago.

The result: Three years after Sept. 11, 2001, there's still no telling when the anti-terrorism initiatives to shore up security at ports will be paid for. At the current spending levels, it would take 44 more years to meet what the act requires by 2012. "In other words, at this rate, the United States will put a man on Mars before it achieves effective port security," Joseph F. Bouchard said. He's the retired commander of Norfolk Naval Station and now works for ZelTech, a Hampton company helping to integrate the Virginia Port Authority's security program.

Other possible scenarios of terrorist attacks include taking control of a large ship and crashing it into a bridge; sneaking into the country by merchant ship; blowing up a vessel carrying volatile fuel vapors to cause environmental disaster; seizing control of a passenger ferry; and crashing into a Navy vessel.

This could be a pretty major problem but could be ignored it it were only one article covering the issue. However, it seems the problem is very widespread. For example, California ports are currently largely unprotected, leaving us seriously at risk:

The Port of Los Angeles has spent less than a tenth of its homeland security money. When asked to name the port's most significant security accomplishment since 9/11, officials cite the creation of a five-year plan.

Local security directors blame the federal government for shortchanging the nation's 361 seaports. Together the ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles estimate they need $500 million to protect themselves. So far, they've received a combined $27.6 million.

Indeed, funding for ports pales in comparison with airport security funding, despite the sense among many terrorism experts that seaports may be the next logical avenue for those intent on attacking the nation.

If we are to truly fight a global war on terror and secure the homeland, this kind of penny pinching seems penny wise and pound foolish. You may think that this kind of effort is ridiculous and that little would come out of doing what's right anyway but the potential impact of an attack could be very expensive. And this is not a partisan issue, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank LoBiondo, chairman of the House of Representatives Maritime Transportation Security Subcommittee, sees technology as a way to help:

With the magnitude of the problem, it just sounds loud and clear that we can't do it with manpower alone. We're going to have to do it with technology.

... and the magnitude of the problem is so high that Dr. Stephen Flynn, a Senior Fellow for National Security Studies with the Council on Foreign Relations, presented a real doomsday scenario:
Flynn told the sparsely attended hearing in Washington, D.C. that an attack carried out using a cargo ship -- or even just one of the many containers that a ship carries -- could have the effect of halting shipping trade until a response could be formulated.

"They'd have to shut it down and sort it out," he told the subcommittee.

"A two-week shutdown of U.S. ports would collapse the global trade system. That's what we're talking about," Flynn said.

"This is an extremely soft target for America's enemies to exploit," he said.

...

"I very much fear if the investments are not made," said Flynn, "I'm giving fodder for the next blue ribbon commission to ask why did we leave America grossly unprepared."
By the looks of it, it seems we are unprepared on that front. Unfortunately, the Republican-controlled Senate seems to see terrorism more as a political issue than an actual issue of national security. Highly targeted areas are not as well protected as they should be and, when the two Democratic senators from New York, which was the target of the last major attack on US Soil, introduced a bill asking for funds to help with protection, they were denied them:
Schumer said continuous security efforts in New York have been hampered by a lack of federal funding. Clinton has proposed an amendment to redistribute funding to states based on threat levels rather than population as it is done now. The Senate task force gave Homeland Security funding priorities an "F" for failing to adequately supply high threat areas.
This is very worrisome and leaves me to believe that the homeland is far from secure and that the war on terrorism has an unprotected open front right here at home.

Conclusion


So does that mean that the Bush/Cheney campaign only wants to use GWOT as a rethorical device to be used expressly for political purpose. Or is it serious about it? As Fox is proud of saying, we report, you decide.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

One presidential candidate wants to spend $3 trillion on government programs

... and it's not who you'd think. Does that mean he's a de-tax and spend person? I mean that's a whole trillion dollars more than what Kerry wants to spend (which also seems high considering the current deficits). Where is the fiscally conservative candidate? Surprisingly, he's in the democratic party.

Please explain the difference

... why is it that outing a CIA agent is not a national matter but a historical memo is? Seems inconsistent to me.

The unusual Bush campaign

From the AP (via Yahoo News) comes this interesting analysis of the Bush campaign, which highlights why an incumbent with an ailing economy and an unpopular war where thousands have died is still fighting to a tie. It comes down to two things:
1. The Bush campaign is focused and has managed to move the debate AWAY from the issues.
2. The Kerry campaign has been unfocused and doesn't seem able to get its message across.

More Tea Leaves

Salon offers up a nice election scorecard. More data to analyze. The interesting thing is that while they all show the same trend (ie. Bush leading Kerry right now), the data is different. Which one seems more right? We'll only know on election day.

Gore votes moving to Bush?

If the following is true, the Kerry campaign is in more trouble than I thought.

A great point

Blogging isn't cable TV. We don't have to fill otherwise empty pipes with "content," and we don't have to hold eyeballs still while our customers stab them with advertising messages. Most of all, we don't have to join the ranks of the professionally opinionated, or the choirs of voices raised in righteous rage against political enemies.

On the bright side, Sadam Hussein is gone...

... on the not so bright side, terrorism is up in Iraq. But don't worry things will get better. Actually, no, but that's only liberal talk from that Kerry supporter Richard Armitage.

"The lack of planning is apparent"

That's not a wild-eyed democrat saying this, that's Republican senator Dick Lugar, talking about the war in Iraq. This seems to me as a bigger issue than what happened 30 years ago when Bush was (or was not) in the National Guards.

Iraq, according to military people...

OK, OK, this is Wesley Clark so we know on which side of the aisle he stands but should there be more discussion of this: Is Iraq really helping in the global war on terror (GWOT)? Shouldn't the media ask the question of how the two are related. I, for one, am still not clear on this.

Does the Iraqi front help GWOT

You tell me. Looks like the Iraqi front is only increasing terrorism, if this analysis is to be trusted. Shouldn't this be a subject of discussion in this election cycle?

meanwhile in Florida

the saga continues. Will Nader be on the ballot? Who knows but it looks like a lot of legal work and the potential impact of a hurricane could muddy the picture.

What happened 30 years ago doesn't matter

Issues: Science and Technology

RedState: Bush gaining... in New York

RedState reports that Bush is starting to gain in New York. Granted, this is largely in upstate New York, which has traditionally being more conservative than New York city itself. Is that a problem for Kerry, probably not.

However, this brings up an interesting point. The states with cities that are potential targets for terrorism (New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago) seem to be leaning in Kerry's favor. If the war on terrorism is currently successful, why is it that states with potential targets want to change leadership? Should there be another national conversation on this?

Update: MyDD points to the fact that Kerry's base is softer than it should be.

Another useful tracking tool

electionprojection.com has another take on the current polls. Seems consistant with what electoral-vote.com is projecting.

Attack ads don't work

MartiniPundit has a good point on the new DNC ads. Let's face it, attack ads are what sunk Gephard and Dean in the democratic primaries. Can't the Kerry campaign learn that lesson? Go to the high ground and discuss the issues. No one really should care about what happened 30 years ago. That is true on both sides of the fence. Kerry went to Vietnam, Bush went to the national guard. Let's hear what their visions are for the future and, if we want to dig up the past, let's look at their record over the past 4 years at the maximum. Bush made a number of promises in 2000: did he keep them? Kerry says he would do thing differently: can he highlight how his voting record during the Bush administration maps to those differences?

Divorce rates among born again

If Bush truly wants to protect the sanctity of marriage, why doesn't he address the divorce rates among born again christians?

TPM on Iraq

Wishful thinking

The issues

Matt Stoller has an interesting entry on the issues. While I agree that Democrats confuse issues with policy, it seems Republicans also are not focusing on issues. What are Democratic vs. Republican issues. From a high level, I'd say it breaks down as follows:

1. Do you want lower taxes or balanced budgets? (Republican vs. Democrat)
2. Do you believe homosexuals getting the right to marry is a federal issue or a state one? (Republican vs. Democrat)
3. Is unilateral action OK or not (eg. Iraq) ? (Republican vs. Democract)
4. Should the balance of power be on the side of weath or work? (Republican vs. Democrat)
5. Should a woman's reproductive rights be administered by government choice or not? (Republican vs. Democrat)
6. Should the government get out of social services or provide them to everyone? (Republican vs. Democrat)

These are just high level concerns but they do show a set of differences between the two approaches. When Naderites say there isn't a difference, have them explain how those positions are similar.

Bias in the Time magazine Poll

via MyDD, via DailyKos, there seems to be some issues with the polling methodologies used by Time magazine. Will the fear of a loss get more democrats out or will it leave them with the feeling that the Kerry campaign is a lost cause so they shouldn't vote?

Primaries were yesterday...

...and myDD has a good rundown of some of the races. Important read for today.

Early morning note: Iraq

The situation in Iraq seems to be spinning out of control. Could someone please ask Bush what his plans are. Obviously, the original plan needs some changes. The administration is seeking to shift more money to security and away from rebuilding. It would be nice to have a national discussion on whether this is the right strategy.

From my standpoint:
- Bush should go back to the U.N., apologize and ask for help. No one in the world really wants an unstable Iraq and it seems that things are heading in that direction. It's time to get a true coalition there to stabilize things.
- Don't shrink from military involvement. It may be bad in the polls but the US troops need to be given order to go full bore. If they don't, things will fester.

A strategy?

Looking at the cartogram on electoral-vote.com, it seems Pennsylvania (21 EV), Virginia (13 EV) and New Jersey (15 EV) are battlegrounds.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Why Bush is currently leading

A few points to ponder as the polls show a Bush lead:
1. Iraq: No one seems to be paying attention. Over 1000 Americans dead, which makes Bush responsible for 25% of the American casualty in the so-called War on Terror.The media is asking Kerry to produce a plan for what he would do. Could we have the same question put to Bush?
2. The economy: Even by the most conservative numbers, there are hundreds of thousands of jobs that have disappeared on the Bush/Cheney watch. Why is Bush no running based on his past? If a Bush white house is a good thing, why doesn't he point out the progress made by his administration.
3. GWOT (aka Global War On Terror): Where is Osama? What is the level of support our troops around Afghanistan are getting? What is the status of Al Qaida? What about the recent bombing in Malaysia. Sure, there hasn't been an attack on US soil since September 11th but it looks like Al Qaida is active. What are we doing about it?
4. Reshape the dialogue: The republicans are turning this race into a referendum on John Kerry. Why is that? Let's not forget who's been in the White house for the last four years.

Can't be

Please tell me it's not that bad yet. If it is, we all loose.

Verified Voting: Good Idea

It's not over 'til it's over

MyDD reports it's still too close to call. When will people realize that it ain't over 'til it's over. Of course, the big question is still whether voter fraud will be taken into account. With about 30% of the votes cast electronically, there could be a lot of interesting results. Don't forget that Diebold's CEO is committed to "delivering Ohio to Bush". That's a scary rethought. Is it legal to call for a recount before the votes are cast? That may be a way to ensure this election is done properly.

Florida goes to Bush

With the success Republicans have had in adding Nader to the polls in Florida, it now seems pretty clear that the only way Kerry can win is if he musters all the votes he needs without having to rely on Florida. The big question is whether he should try to get Edwards to carry North Carolina, which has 15 electoral votes this year.

Pre-emptive strike: call for a recount

Why hasn't anyone asked for a recount of all votes cast with electronic machines. If everything the folks at blackboxvoting say is true, shouldn't there be a bi-partisan effort to ask pre-emptively for a recount of all votes cast electronically?