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Friday, October 29, 2004

Reasons for War

By: Ed


War, death, and prisoners are shown in an endless loop 24 hours a day on news networks. The horrifying reality of the events in Iraq cannot be captured in its entirety by
these images, but we do get, at least, a glimpse of it.

Looking at these aspects of war, a person without knowledge of the reasoning behind it would naturally oppose its existence. That person would not be human if they did not. It is important to know why our country is doing this though, because it is necessary.

In 1990, showing none of the dedication to peace some protesters against the war have, Iraq launched an unprovoked invasion of Kuwait and exiled its leaders.

Surprisingly, the UN Security Council gave the Iraqi government a window to leave the forcibly occupied Kuwait without bloodshed. The Iraqi government refused. It then took a coalition of countries, including the United States, France, England, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia, to remove Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

In 1991 Kuwait was taken back and a cease-fire was called. This cease-fire was conditional upon Iraq destroying its chemical and biological weapons, discontinuing any nuclear weapons programs, paying for damage to Kuwait, and allowing UN inspections to ensure the governments compliance. Iraq agreed to these terms.

Complying with the terms of the cease-fire was not just a way to avoid fighting for Iraq, but also a chance to earn back the trust of the world. Iraq did not seem to want that opportunity, though, and did not follow all of the conditions of the cease-fire.

In the years to follow the UN would pass several resolutions, insisting each was the very last chance for Iraq. Of course, Iraq did not take these seriously. If no consequences are ever carried out then there is no incentive to comply.

Iraq denied inspectors at times, gave incorrect information on chemical weapon amounts and potency, claiming they “just forgot,” and, contrary to the inspector’s rights to interview workers privately, some interviews were only allowed to take place in the presence of government officials, thus intimidating the workers.

Finally, 11 years after Kuwait’s occupation, resolution 1441 was unanimously passed by the Security Council, even France. The world now stood together to say “this is Iraq’s last, last, really last chance to comply.”

The UN’s resolve was short lived, though, for when Iraq failed to meet UN requirements, yet again, some members of the UN still wanted more time. Come to find these countries had companies within them that had shady dealings with Iraq.

Insisting 12 years of deception from the Iraqi government was enough, coupled with the fact that Saddam was a HUGE human rights violator (having hundreds of thousands of political dissenters, ect murdered), the United States, along with England, and other allies, began the attack on Iraq our country is now in. So, this is not necessarily the start of a new war, but the continuation of an old one after a 12 year hiatus. Iraq broke the cease-fire by not following the conditions it agreed to in order to ensure peace and now it is under attack.

The question of whether or not Iraq had weapons of mass destruction can be answered with simple logic. If a country, with a proven record of deception, cruelty, and
disregard for human life, has weapons of mass destruction 12 years ago and never shows proof of the weapons destruction, which is required by the UN resolutions, then that country most likely still has those weapons, and for a reason. If they don't have the weapons then a worse scenario is being carried out. They are selling those weapons to the highest bidder. Either scenario warrants war to bring peace.

This link is the last (I am pretty sure) statement by the head UN weapons inspector Dr. Blix.
http://www.un.org/Depts/unmovic/Bx27.htm

Ed

Homosexual "Marriage"?

By: Ed


Mark 10:6-9 reads: "[Jesus said], But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

For centuries, marriage has been among societies most precious religious traditions. An act so strongly based on church law and morality should have absolutely no place in the court system. To allow government sanctioned marriage would not only defile this Holy Sacrament, but cast aside the long standing principle of separation of church and state.
With the government being void of any ethical jurisdiction over marriage, the decision falls to the church. While some preachers do condone homosexual marriage, the majority of true Christians condemn it, as does Christian doctrine. This belief is founded on the idea that men and women were meant for each other from the beginning of time.
The purpose of marriage has long been, not only to be with a loving spouse, but to start a family. Homosexuals are unable to fulfill this role by definition and thus it is impossible for them to marry. Civil unions have been proposed by those against same-sex marriage as the alternative for homosexuals. In a civil union, the assets of two people are combined, and the responsibilities of the household are shared, much like marriage.
This action, unlike marriage, can be taken by any two people, including family. Homosexuals should have the right to participate in a civil union as it is a legal consolidation of assets, almost like a business merger. To deny this right would be discrimination. Many same-sex marriage advocates have declined this option, stating that society would not consider it the same as marriage. This is true. Furthermore it should NOT be considered the same as marriage because it is NOT marriage.
The reason homosexuals shun civil unions and call out for the legalization of same-sex marriage is simple. The constant argument for tolerance could not be further from the truth. They are looking for acceptance. Anyone not fully supporting a homosexual lifestyle is automatically categorized as a bigot, whether they are or not.
Denying a homosexual the right to speak or a job is intolerant. Disagreeing with their CHOICE is maintaining your beliefs and individuality.
Let me add one last thing. This post is meant to show why homosexual marriage should not be allowed and my opinion that homosexuality is wrong. A Christian's duty is to love all even when we hate their sins. While they remain the way they are, express your disagreement about their decision when it comes up, but do not express hate towards them.

Ed

Can a normal person read the Bible?

By: Ed


I am now taking a scripture class at my church. We are all assigned a passage from the Bible in which to read after each class and during the next session we are taught what it means. To my surprise, the conclusions I came to from the passages varried greatly from the meaning. I found my classmates equally perplexed as they too are fairly new to (if not the faith) the Bible. The answer given by our teacher (a convert who has studied scripture for many, many, many years)was that the language, Hebrew, (we are studying the old testiment currently) is a "word poor" language. The Hebrew language has about a third of the words our English language does. This means may times a word does triple duty (ie: Soul=Wind=Thought -or something similar). For example:Genises 9:22 says "Ham, the father of canaan, saw his father's nakedness, and he told his two brothers outside about it." This is written after a short segment about Noah (the father) becoming intoxicated and laying down naked inside his tent. The english reader thinks Gn 9:22 speaks of Ham seeing Noah. This is not the case. Ham did not see his father's nakedness but rather the nakedness of his father's. In other words....his mother (Noah's wife). Yes, yes this grossed me out too, but it explains why Ham was cursed by Noah later in the story. Seeing Noah naked and drunk couldn't possibly be Ham's fault, but userping Noah's authority by sleeping with his wife is. Also, remember women are still thought of as property at this point in time. Anyway, the whole meaning of the story changed because of this insight. (Read the story and see) So what have I learned? A normal person can read the Bible, but should research the passages read to gain at least a basic understanding of how (and why) it is taught before they make any judgments or form any opinions.

Until the next post,

-Ed

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Abortion

By: Ed


First let me explain the Catholic view on abortion. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

2271 "Since the first century the Church has affirmed the moral evil of evey procurred abortion. This teaching has not changed and remains unchangeable. Direct abortion, that is to say, abortion willed either as an end or a means, is gravely contrary to the moral law."

2272 "Formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense. The Church attaches penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life. 'A person who procures a completed abortion incurs excommunication latae sententiae,' 'by the very commission of the offense.' and subject to the conditions provided by Canon Law. The Church does not thereby intend to restrict the scope of mercy. Rather, she makes clear the gravity of the crime committed, the irreparable harm done to the innocent who is put to death, as well as the parents and the whole of society.

Choice empowers. According to many pro-abortion activists, the choice to have an abortion empowers women. It is always good to have a choice, but does that mean we must take it? Does having the choice make any choice right? God himself endowed us with free will. We can CHOOSE to follow or not. Is choosing not to follow ok because we can? NO. There IS a right and wrong choice. There IS a good and evil. There ARE good choices and bad ones.

I believe abortion IS a bad choice. I have heard many arguments for it due to rape. How can that be when rape cases compose less than one percent of those getting an abortion (Alan Guttmacher Institute, "Facts in Brief: Induced Abortion," 2002).

From the Guttmacher institute we find these facts.

1.49% of pregnancies among American women are unintended.
2. Of the 49%, HALF have an abortion.
3.In the year 2000, 1.31 Million abortions took place.
4.2/3 of those having abortions have never been married

There are many more and I urge you to look at them on the Guttmacher site. It appears that those having abortions are not doing so for medical reasons, but as a last resort birth control method. This is VERY wrong in my opinion. There are also the lives and mental health of those having an abortion to condsider.

Many of those having abortions suffer depression, sleep loss, inability to connect to children, and mental anguish long after "recovery" (information from http://www.thinkaboutitonline.com/truth/a0000025.cfm).
I truly believe this is a frightening matter that needs to end.

Praying always,

Ed

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Mmmm... Postable!

By: Michael Akerman


I'm thinking of changing my major to communications. Why, you ask?

Because I want to know how to say "Would you like fries with that?" in six different languages!

Ha! Seriously, though, if any Comm. majors out there would like to explain why they deemed it necessary to spend several dozen thousands of dollars a year to learn how to talk and write, feel free.




Once again, I've hit that point in the school year when I feel like I could achieve more through independent study. Luckily, it's not as pronounced as last year, but I'm still writing this blog post in Chemistry class on a Palm Zire. I need a Tungsten, with a keyboard and a wireless card.

I must admit, though, that it's at least amusing here. Right now, some people behind me are discussing whether there can be "gay Christians." The girl, taking the liberal stand, said, and I quote, "Well, the Bible was written by a bunch of old white guys who didn't know what they were doing." I wonder if she realizes that the Bible was written by Middle-Easterners.




Politics time!

My last post will be my final in-depth Kerry v. Bush post until at least Nov. 2nd. I may still refer to it, and link back to it, but I've said everything I can think of. I will respond to comments and posts on the subject, but I'm not a big fan of wars of attrition, and all of these presidential posts have devolved into rhetoric, in my opinion.

I will, however, post about other races. For instance, the NC governor race.

I'm no fan of Governor Mike Weasley, of course. And, I don't hold this view purely because he's a Democrat. Actually, I'm not sure he's done anything in office. I'd certainly like a man being paid hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to be somewhat politically active.

"There was a gas shortage and a flock of sea gulls. That's about it." -Austin Powers

However, I can't support Patrick Ballantine either, who, aside from having a woefully unmockable name, suffers from the same fundamental failing as John Kerry: hidden "plans." Ballantine pulls the same trick as Kerry, in which he claims such outrageous plans as giving state workers higher pay while lowering taxes. How will the state, already in a deficit, pay for this?

Of course, we'll "reallocate."

I'm aware that no politician will give away his entire strategy, but when you avoid answering a challenge, as both Ballantine and Kerry do, it means you either don't think the citizens ought to know or that they won't understand, or you're unprepared and don't know the answer.

So, I'm not voting for governor this year. And if Easley wins by one vote, I can stand up and say, "Who cares? He doesn't change anything anyway!"

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Voting for Johnnie: Grasping at Straws?

By: Michael Akerman


I feel sorry for the Democrats. I really do. In my opinion, every party has the right to have a party representative on the Presidential ballot. It's a shame the Democrats only have Bush Lite (not as tasty, but less fulfilling).

But, Michael, what do you mean?

No offense, friend. I mean merely that Senator Kerry is really a man of truly Republican ideals, cursed with the sad necessity of acting like a member of the liberal camp to conform to party alignment.

How can you say that? What about Iraq?

I'm glad you brought that up. Let's look at the record.

In the beginning of the Iraq issue, Kerry voted for the war. He voted for the first draft of the Iraq appropriations bill. He voted against the final draft only because of a single amendment he disagreed with.

This history clearly indicates agreement with the war. That's not the end, though. One would think Kerry would at least oppose the war by the time he was running for President.

One would be wrong.

A few weeks before the Democratic primaries, Kerry stated that if a voter thought Saddam didn't have WMDs and wasn't planning on using them, they shouldn't vote for him.

Clearly, Kerry believes the war was valid. Why has he changed his tune? Well, a few months ago, Kerry stated that he thought Bush had done the right thing in Iraq.

Political commenters and hard-core Democrats erupted! At serious risk of losing many liberal votes, Kerry quickly changed his tune, claiming he misspoke. Clearly, as evidenced by his record, he did not. Rather, he had been saying that for years.

Maybe he changed his mind...

That would be what Bush calls flip-flopping. But that's unlikely. Even now, Kerry finds himself misstepping on Iraq. No, I'm afraid I must propose to you that Kerry still believes Iraq was a valid cause, and only follows the party's viewpoint to salvage votes.

At least Kerry has a plan to leave Iraq!

Ah, a plan! One of Kerry's favorite things to have... or, at least, profess to have. Take note that Kerry used the word plan over 25 times in the second debate.

Take notice of what plans he has laid out, starting with Iraq. Kerry says he will stop the insurgency by increasing troop deployments. Why is no one outraged about this?

Probably because no one knows where he's getting them!

Recall that this is the same man that claims Bush will instate a draft because we're out of troops. So, Kerry, with his magic troops from outer space will stop the insurgency how?

Who knows? He hasn't gotten to that yet.

Be that as it may, he has other plans, too!

Again, partially correct (there're a lot of things like that with Kerry, aren't there?). Again, he professes that he has plans, but has yet to reveal them. For instance, foreign relations: Kerry promises to rebuild international relations. This is very hard to do today, because those other countries because of our position as the sole superpower. We are the British empire, or the Roman empire, or the Ottomans, though I hope not as brutal as those, and many countries hate us for that, not for any action. Such being true, there is only one way to regain the alliances of those countries with antipathy toward us.

Kerry would have to station extra diplomats in those countries, and supply said diplomats. This deployment would hardly do anything for our standing unless we used those diplomats to offer premiums, of sorts, for alliances, a lá the Marshall plan. Kerry, however, has promised not to raise lower or middle class taxes, so we simply cannot afford to rebuild international relations in that manner.



At least Kerry supports stem cell research, instead of banning it.

I agree with you on this, actually. Stem cell research needs to be more open. It's a very promising field and there are thousands of frozen and forgotten embryos from attempted in vitro fertilizations that could be used for stem cell research. However, it is a misconception that there is a stem cell ban. In fact, the Bush administration has caused negligible lasting damage to stem cell research by limiting it to the 20-something existing strains. Actually, there are 3500 batches of stem cells from these strains sitting unused in a warehouse, ready to be shipped to any scientist who requests them. Dire straits, indeed, when we actually have a surplus of clean stem cell lines.

Of course, some claim these cell lines are somehow tainted. Not actually true. The cells are claimed tainted because a few of the lines were grown in proximity to mouse cells, and some have claimed this could have transferred mouse viri into them. It's really an unlikely result, and wouldn't cause much damage to humans anyways, assuming the transferred viri were not bubonic plague.

By the way, embryos are not the only place to get stem cells. Umbilical cords also carry cells with nearly the versatility of embryonic stem cells, and even adults carry slightly specialized stem cells in their bone marrow. Granted, none of these substitutes have quite the versatility of embryonic stem cells, but they're close.

Incidentally, this brings me to another point:

Did you know Kerry has miraculous healing powers? Of course, a claim that outrageous couldn't be made by Kerry himself. It would have to come from someone practiced at statements that convince Joe Everyman to act in his favor through fear... like John Edwards!

You see, at his speech in Newton, Iowa, Edwards claimed "If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again."

Utter and disgusting demagoguery. This is an absolutely wretched claim, a blatant use of fear and false hope to try to gain political advantage. As Charles Krauthammer said:

In my 25 years in Washington, I have never seen a more loathsome display of demagoguery. Hope is good. False hope is bad. Deliberately, for personal gain, raising false hope in the catastrophically afflicted is despicable.


Um... er... flu vaccine!

Now, even Smith agrees with me on this one. There is no way a rational person can honestly say this was Bush's fault. The problem is not a failure of the government to make more vaccine. It's not the government's job. Nor is it a failure of Bush to change policy in time. Rather, it is an effect of market forces and regulation colliding.

A few decades ago, when the flu vaccine was still relatively new, the flu vaccine market came under regulation. Only certain companies could be allowed to make vaccine, and they would be subject to regular inspection of their products. In the US's already-loose market for flu vaccines, the added cost of meeting FDA inspection demands and the necessity of gaining prior approval before beginning production drove the number of flu vaccine producers to three: one in the US, and two overseas (France and Britain). More companies have a hard time joining the market because they must have a very large, efficient production to turn a profit. Additionally, they must start production in order to get FDA approval. There is a chance that the approval will not occur, causing a loss of millions of dollars.

This is not normally a problem, because the three companies produce enough to meet demand, except in very bad flu years, and situations like the current problem. This year, Chiron, the British producer, was banned from the flu vaccine market because their vaccines were tainted bacterially, in such a way that using the vaccine could kill you. The problem? Chiron is the largest producer, making about half of the American net supply. Chiron being pulled out effectively cut supply by half.

There is very little Bush could have done to remedy this. Rather, the changes were necessary ten or twenty years ago, when government subsidies could help new producers succeed in the market, and build up a buffer to absorb the blow of shortages. I don't think pulling regulation out is necessarily a good idea, because of the danger of tainted vaccines, but a reduction would help enormously, and cause little damage.

Well.... I'm still voting for Kerry. He's giving health care to more people and raising the minimum wage!

It astounds me that most people still see raising the minimum wage as a good thing, especially in any kind of economic slump. When the minimum wage goes up, employment goes down. It is already fairly easy to find a job way above minimum wage (Lowe's is, what, $2.00 above minimum for starting salary?), but raising the minimum wage means that firms would have to pay more for extremely unskilled labor (janitorial services, etc.) and part-time workers who don't need more than minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage will not even necessarily help people working at minimum wage. There is a good chance they will be fired, or their colleagues will be, and they will have to work harder to maintain their jobs.

As far as health care, this is another Kerry "plan". Kerry, in this case, is going to make sure more people have health care. Again, I ask, "How?" He has not stated. He has several monumental obstacles to overcome.

He plans on increasing health care without raising taxes. He has several options. He can use government funding to give everyone under-insured a subsidy to pay for it (we don't have the money for that, of course). Alternatively, he could regulate insurance companies to reduce the price, likely causing a reduction in benefits and a failure of several smaller firms to remain open (I thought he liked small businesses). The most effective option would be to limit the payment from medical malpractice suits, or limit the reasons for which those suits can be brought to court. This won't happen. Recall first that his running-mate is a trial attorney. Know secondly that this kind of limitation is generally viewed as a reduction of private power against businesses. Again, he's being supported by Democrats. Not a good idea.

As an aside, I'd like to point out the very high quality of coverage of American insurance companies. While people complain about the price, we do have a very large number of operations covered under our insurance policies, including entirely optional operations, such as plastic surgery for people who are not disfigured. I still stand by the theory that we should limit malpractice suits, as they are amoral (most of those sued did not intentionally fail. People make mistakes) and raise insurance prices.

Okay, look. Kerry won every debate! That proves he's better than the illiterate Bush!

No, it proves Kerry is a really good debater. Kerry is a senator, and has been for a very long time. He is very good at backing his opponent into a corner, without leaving himself open, and that is exactly what he did. However, as good as it makes him look in the Senate and in debate, it is not adequate for a presidential race. Making it seem Bush did the wrong thing does not prove that Kerry will do the right thing, and that is what is important in a Presidential race. Bush has a plan to fix the current problems, at home and abroad, and their as detailed and public as he can make them. Kerry has his plans hidden, if he has them at all. I urge you to vote for someone whom you can judge as good or bad, not for someone whom you hope will be good.




Now, for an entirely different subject:

Blasphemer!

Open campuses (campi?) are strange, but surprisingly interesting. State ends up as a breeding ground for extreme radicals of both ends of the political spectrum. Too bad the campus is so big; I think a fistfight between a hippie and a Bible-thumper would be exceedingly interesting.

Today, there was one such Bible-thumper near Talley center. I know he was there for at least two hours, because I passed him twice. He was a terribly misguided man, who claimed upon inquiry from an angry liberal (and I don't mean that ironically. She was angry and liberal) that he was sinless. He told the girl to prove where the Bible says all humans live in sin. I could of, because I've seen the verse, but I would have had to find it.

I considered arguing with this man, but decided it would be futile, as he was obviously too far gone to convince. I'm positive I would have done better than the shoddy debating of those present.

I've always fantasized about what happens to people like that when they die. I would assume they would reach heaven with a smug satisfaction that they would be rewarded. They would be sent to God, thinking they would be praised for their Christian work, and God would promptly rip into them. "Did I create you stupid? Did you actually think 6 billion other people were wrong and you were right? No human's perfect! I created you in sin, and you live in sin, but you were too foolish to realize so and repent! I'm sending you back for a second try, and this time, realize man is not perfect, and question your faith, for one cannot truly believe what one has not challenged," He would say.

I also think that would be the only time reincarnation happens.

~Michael Akerman

Friday, October 22, 2004

Lies, Politics, and Cheesecake

By: UnrepentantNewDealer


What a week! First off, allow me to indulge myself a self-congratulatory or even slightly self-centered moment: Happy Birthday to me! Today marks my 19th birthday. I guess it’s everything it’s cracked up to be—which is not much. After all, at 17, you can see a rated R movie; at 18, come the joys of the draft (check this link--http://www.enjoythedraft.com/--the rumor probably isn't true, but this site is hilarious!), voting, smoking, and strip-clubs (can’t forget the strip clubs!). At 19, you get nothing. You still have to wait two long years to legally buy or consume alcohol—not that I’m really bummed out about that, but I do understand the basic unfairness argument: old enough to die for my country and vote for its leaders, but not mature enough to handle any beverage with more than 0.000% alcoholic content. Nope, 19 is nothing special, yet I’ve managed to type 155 words about it. Impressive at any age!

Moving right along: Due to my typical laziness, I declined to switch my voter registration to Mecklenburg County. So on Monday, utilizing early voting, I cast my first-ever vote in a presidential election (If you can’t guess who I voted for, you are waste of needed resources—no offense!). I used the electronic system so familiar to Guilford County voters (But no place to print out a receipt. How are election officials supposed to conduct recount then? Just a thought!). Somehow, hearing all the messages in the media about how important it is to vote made me feel as if, at the moment I cast my vote, a ray of light would shine down from heaven, and I would bask in the approving praise of God, or at least Ray Charles. Nope. Nothing of the sort. Worst of all, the polling place workers neglected to give me an “I Voted” sticker. Which of course, was the only reason I bothered to vote in the first place! I voted, and I didn’t even get a lousy sticker….

I suppose it could be worse. My girlfriend attempted to vote this week, too, only to be told by officials that her name had been flagged by the computer for some unknown reason, so she couldn’t vote on the computer, but could vote using a provisional ballot. That’s not what pisses me off. What pisses me off is the provisional ballot they gave her: a @#%*& punch-card ballot! MIT determined it to be the least reliable voting method used in America today, so of course it’s still in use in forward-looking North Carolina! Nothing wrong with it at all! At least my girlfriend was smart enough to punch all the holes cleanly through—unlike some Floridians we’re embarrassed to call fellow Americans!

Then, Tuesday night, out of the blue, I fell ill. Really ill. As in, I couldn’t keep any solid food down for more than 24 hours. Much longer and I could have died! (How did Gandhi do it?) The presumable culprit: a Burger King $1.49 Vanilla Bean Cheesecake. That I had sitting, unrefrigerated on my desk for 3 or 4 hours before eating it. D’oh! I know, I’m a dumbass, I don’t need anyone to point it out to me. I don’t think I’ll ever eat cheesecake again! At least not properly refrigerated.

This just in: Are Bush's supporters really that dumb? I'm sorry, I don't want to offend any of you, but follow this link (http://www.pipa.org/) to see what I mean. This is absolutely rediculous! Even the President doesn't claim such things! Turn off Fox News and join the rest of us in the "Reality-Based Community", for cryin' out loud!

And now, for your daily political rant: Lies (and the lying presidents who tell them). LBJ, Nixon, and Clinton all share one thing in common: they lied to the American people and were never held accountable. LBJ exaggerated the Tonkin Gulf Incident—a supposed unprovoked attack upon a U.S. naval ship by North Vietnamese forces in 1964—into a pretext for the Vietnam War. He later acknowledged, “For all I know, our Navy was shooting at whales out there.” When Vietnam exploded in his face, he wisely chose not to run for reelection, in the process denying voters the chance to repudiate his lying ways.

Richard Nixon’s lies involved Watergate and are so well-known, they hardly need to be recounted here. The initial burglary took place before Nixon’s 1972 reelection and was intended to intimidate or embarrass his opponent. But the full story did not even start to come out in the press until the following year, when all the American people could have done to express their displeasure would have been to impeach him—which they were moving towards when, abandoned by his own party, Nixon wisely chose to resign.

In his second term, Bill Clinton had an affair with an intern and lied about it under oath, for which he was impeached by a witch-hunting Republican House but pardoned by a saner Senate which realized that his actions, while illegal, did not fit the Constitution’s definition of “high crimes and misdemeanors”.

The question here is, would any of these presidents have stood a chance for reelection had they been able to, or chosen to in LBJ’s case? By 1968, LBJ was essentially a president without a party, not likely to be nominated even by the Democrats. If the full story of Watergate had come out in Nixon’s first term, he almost certainly wouldn’t have won reelection. His VP, Gerald Ford, who had nothing to do with Watergate, lost in 1976 due to guilt by association. If Clinton’s “Monicagate” scandal had erupted in his first term, rather than his second, it is doubtful he would have been reelected. Al Gore’s chances in 2000 were damaged a la Ford.

It should be obvious by now exactly where I am going with this. George W. Bush, unlike LBJ, Nixon, or Clinton, got caught red-handed in a number of lies in his attempt to drag our nation into a misguided and counterproductive war of choice in Iraq—he lied us into this war, because he could not lead us into it. Like LBJ’s lie, and completely unlike Nixon’s and Clinton’s, Bush’s lie has resulted in people dying—more than 1,100 Americans to date and more than 12,000 Iraqis. And Dubya’s duplicity was revealed in his first term. This may be the first chance American voters have ever had to vote against a president, knowing that he has lied to them, the first time voters have had the chance to rebuke a sitting president for lying to the American people. Michael Moore, ended his "documentary" Fahrenheit 9/11, with one of Bush's greatest quotes: "There's an old saying in Tennessee—I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee—that says, fool me once, shame on—shame on you. Fool me—you can't get fooled again." But we all know what Bush meant to say, right? If we vote for a known serial liar on November 2, I hate to think what that whould say about our country. That we really don't care? Just some food for thought.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

What About Poland?

By: UnrepentantNewDealer


Well, 19 days left to go until the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. I hope everyone caught last night's debate. Some highlights:

Bush: "Most of the tax cuts went to low- and middle-income Americans."

Let's see: factcheck.org points out that 53% of his tax cut went to the top 10 percent! Of course when you're as rich as the Bushes are, thinking of the 90th (or even 98th) percentile Americans as "low-and middle-income Americans" might be perfectly natural. They're all serfs compared to you aristocrats.

"Oh, THAT Time I Said I Wasn't Concerned..."

Kerry: "Six months after he said Osama bin Laden must be caught dead or alive, this president was asked, 'Where is Osama bin Laden?' He said, 'I don't know. I don't really think about him very much. I'm not that concerned.' We need a president who stays deadly focused on the real war on terror."

Bush: "Gosh, I just don't think I ever said I'm not worried about Osama bin Laden. It's kind of one of those exaggerations."

Well, gosh, that's funny, because I could have sworn I remembered hearing him say that at a press conference once. Ok, let's go right to the official source--the White House website, of course, archived press conference transcripts for March 13, 2002:
Q: "Mr. President, in your speeches now you rarely talk or mention Osama bin Laden. Why is that? Also, can you tell the American people if you have any more information, if you know if he is dead or alive? Final part -- deep in your heart, don't you truly believe that until you find out if he is dead or alive, you won't really eliminate the threat of --"

THE PRESIDENT: "Deep in my heart I know the man is on the run, if he's alive at all. Who knows if he's hiding in some cave or not; we haven't heard from him in a long time... So I don't know where he is. You know, I just don't spend that much time on him, Kelly, to be honest with you."

Q: "But don't you believe that the threat that bin Laden posed won't truly be eliminated until he is found either dead or alive?"

THE PRESIDENT: "Well, as I say, we haven't heard much from him. And I wouldn't necessarily say he's at the center of any command structure. And, again, I don't know where he is. I -- I'll repeat what I said. I truly am not that concerned about him."

THE PRESIDENT: (after the debate, upon being condemned by his own testimony) "Oh, THAT time I said I'm not concerned about the madman who orchestrated the murder of 3,000 of my countrymen in cold blood just 6 months previously! Ooops, my bad!"

Ladies and gentlemen of the voting public, I rest my case.

Truth be told, neither Kerry nor Bush delivered spell-bounding oratory last night. But no politician has since at least Kennedy. Bush did better last night than in either previous debate and Kerry turned in his worst performance yet. Yet even Kerry at his most long-winded worst bested Bush at his best. CNN's poll shows 39% thought Bush won and 52% thought Kerry won. Kerry is now 3-0, a clean sweep, and gathering momentum in the polls. Not to mention the fact that a Wall Street Journal/Zogby poll has Kerry ahead in the Electoral College. Read it and weep!
Fun With Foreign Nations
Oh, yeah, about the Afghan elections: I don't mean to say "I told you so", but well, I did. Really, I predicted voter fraud in the blog entry for October 2. It was obvious. Hey, nice touch with the "permanent" ink, guys!tp://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/asiapcf/10/09/afghanistan.elections/index.html

Fortunately, the opposition candidates seem to have dropped their calls for a re-vote. At least Karzai is committed to democracy and isn't viewed as a puppet ruler by the people, unlike a certain Iraqi "Prime Minister" and former (and current?) CIA asset.
http://www.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=6317749&src=rss/topNews&section=news

Not going to name any names--(sneezes: ALLAWI!!!)--whew! God bless me, I must have a cold! Too bad there's a flu shot shortage. Again! For the second year in a row. But since I'm a young man, my immune system can handle it! I really hope you're right about that, Bush!
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6242789/

Finally, here's something funny. As I commented on in my last post, the Iraqi Survey Group concluded that "Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them." Finally, the administration admits Saddam didn't have WMD! But their new story is that Iraq was skimming money from the UN's oil for food program. Nations were violating U.N. sanctions to get their hands on Iraqi oil vouchers. Among the nations implicated are Russia, China, Poland...Poland?The Poland? The Poland Bush chided Kerry for not mentioning in the first debate? Remember, Kerry was critcizing our Coalition Of the Willing (C.O.W.) because only the U.S., Britain and Australia contibuted significant numbers of troops. Bush blurted out "What about Poland? You're forgetting Poland. The Honorable President President Alexander Kitsstrudelfritzhowitzerauchduleibenhouser [or something like that] of Poland is a vital ally in Iraq." Then, within days, Poland's Defense Minister announced the withdrawal of 40% of Polish forces by January and complete withdrawal by no later than the end of next year.
http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/04/iraq.polandtroops

So Poland not only betrayed us by trading with Saddam, they're packing up and leaving Iraq? What about Poland, Mr. President? Go on, I believe you were saying something funny!

Monday, October 11, 2004

Weird Bits 'n' Bobbins

By: Michael Akerman


I was gonna write poetry today
But I fear that my mood went away.
It was sunny and bright,
But past dawn's early light,
I fear that my mood had turned gray.

I really was going to write a fairly long poem, but Latin is bummin' me. Cause my prof. is one of those professors who will help you enough to meet requirements so he keeps his job, but he believes that a B is basically the best anyone should get. Maybe I'll really apply myself and get a 100 on the final, because that will surprise him.

By the way, I got an 89 on my midterm exam, which is too low in a subject I've had two years of. Especially considering I got a perfect score on my Physics and Economics exams.




Hey, seriously, everyone, if you haven't joined NationStates yet, join now. I'm plugging it one last time because it'd be nice to have more countries to play politics with. We currently have a free trade agreement and a possibility of war growing, as well as some very deep animosity toward one country (Smith's... who would have guessed? Me, because he chose to play a "psychotic dictatorship"). Link's on the right, instructions on how to join the IVIC region are... like... two posts below.




I remembered something! After I originally posted this, I mean.
I love my news aggregator (Sage, for Mozilla Firefox). Without it, how would I keep up with all the wierd things, like from Dave Barry's Blog? For instance, this article. Seriously, read the link. Freaky-deeky.




Happy Christopher Columbus Day!



Today we celebrate Christopher Columbus' re-discovery of the New World (the Vikings were here first!), which opened North America to European Colonization, and allowed America to exist. No, wait, we don't celebrate it. We commemorate with a day filled with... school and open businesses? In fact, let me adjust my statement again. We commemorate it, and some mourn it.

Say wha!?!? Alright, I've heard like six times that Christopher Columbus caused the destruction of the American Indian. Well, yes, I suppose so, in the same way that Jesus caused the spread of terrorism (it's true to the same degree). For some reason, people seem to have the idea that the Europeans meant to kill the American Indians off with smallpox. Oh, yes, Ol' Chris came over with his... what, was he carrying vials of smallpox? He didn't mean to, and few, if any, even theorized about how contagious disease actually worked.

As far as those Indians who were killed by arms and action, rather than germs and bad luck, they are the minority. Many, many, many more Indians were killed by disease than by action. Besides, I blame the Spanish Conquistadors.

To summarize: Columbus Day should be a day off. For everybody. With parades. For God's sake, MLK Jr. gets a day off, and all he really did was talk and die! He wasn't even the only civil rights activist to do as much as he did. He only get his day because he was assassinated.

Continuing on that point, MLK Jr. Day should be officially changed to Civil Rights Day. It's more all inclusive, and carries a much larger meaning. Currently, it seems more like a day of mourning. None of us knew him, we have no right to mourn him. With my proposed name, it would actually commemorate the struggle for civil rights and remind people of their necessity.

It's like Patriot Day (September 11). I told people they would name it that in 2002. I was right, and it's still a stupid day. September 11th shouldn't be about patriots. It should be about remembrance. Thus, it should be Remembrance Day.

~Michael Akerman

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Yee-haw! Move Along Little Doggies! Midweek Roundup!

By: UnrepentantNewDealer


I am aware that my blog posts may appear to be too long for people who hold the "average" attention span. These people should stop watching TV, pick up a good book, and get a life! I am a verbose writer and nothing short of death or carpal tunnel syndrome is going to change that. That being said, I don't have an issue to write a full-length post about, so I will write a little bit about several issues. Think of it as the Headline News of the Blogosphere. Real News, Real Fast, Real Bad Grammer.


Declare Your Independence and Move to South Ivicia

First off, there is the little matter of the online game NationStates. Follow the top link to create your own nation and rule it how ever you like. Make sure of course, you move your nation from the South Pacific to South Ivicia. For more information, see Akerman's post below. Feel free to join the People's Republic of Ivicia (my "psychotic dictatorship"), The Republic of Kashikov, The Fiefdom of Norwelshdom, and The Theocracy of Geredad in the beautiful archipelago of South Ivicia.


Houston, This is SpaceShipOne. How D'ya Like 'Dem Apples?

Well, this is truly a historic moment. Eighty years ago, Charles Lindberg flew solo across the Atlantic Ocean, spurred on the promise of lucrative prize money offered to the first pilot to accomplish this feat. This jump-started the commercial aviation industry. The $10 million Ansari X prize was set up to accomplish the same thing for commercial spaceflight. Since the very beginning, manned spaceflight has been prohibitively expensive--so much so that only the governments of superpowers could afford it. For years, NASA has promised to deliver cheap, reusable spacecraft to enable commercial space travel. It has failed miserably, delivering instead the expensive, not-quite-fully-reusable bastardized Space Shuttle. But think about it: NASA now has a monopoly on American manned space travel. Why would they want the competition? Only private enterprise can make space travel affordable to the general public.

And so it was that SpaceShipOne took off on Monday, and by making its second trip in two weeks, went into the history books and won a cool $10 million. Things are moving quickly now. A new company called Virgin Galactic will license this technology to create an armada of commercial spacecraft which could fly up to 3,000 people in the next five years. "I have a hell of a lot bigger goal now (than NASA)," Bert Rutan said. Quoth Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson: "The development will also allow every country in the world to have their own astronauts rather than the privileged few."

http://www.cnn.com/2004/TECH/space/10/04/spaceshipone.attempt.cnn/index.html

The democratization of space travel, the universe opened up to space tourists and the average Joe, the sky's the beginning and there is no limit! God Bless the United States of America and the private enterprise system!


Apparently, Facts Aren't His Strong Suit

From the profound to the profane. Last night's Vice-Presidential debate was very informative. Dick Cheney really seemed to know what he was talking about. That is, until he rebutted John Edwards' criticism of his ties to Halliburton by telling viewers to "go to FactCheck.com" to find the truth. Naturally, I jumped on the internet after the speech. And then a funny thing happened. I was greeted on factcheck.com by the big bold words: Why We Must Not Re-Elect President Bush. Huh?

Turns out this website is also known as http://www.georgesoros.com/ . As in George Soros, the Hungarian-born financier who has contributed no less than $15 million of his own money to defeating George W. Bush. Whoops! How embarrassing for Cheney! Turns out, he actually meant http://factcheck.org/. Well, I was sure they would back up his claims. He wouldn't have tried to cite them otherwise, would he? It gets still more surreal.

According to this website, "Cheney wrongly implied that FactCheck had defended his tenure as CEO of Halliburton Co., and the vice president even got our name wrong. He overstated matters when he said Edwards voted 'for the war' and 'to commit the troops, to send them to war.' He exaggerated the number of times Kerry has voted to raise taxes, and puffed up the number of small business owners who would see a tax increase under Kerry's proposals." Even though Cheney claimed Edwards and Kerry voted "for the war", the facts show that, at the time, neither Kerry, Edwards, Bush, or even the language of the resolution support this assertion in the slightest! Cheney claimed the jobs figures Edwards spouted were old numbers from 2003. Wrong!

"Now, in my capacity as vice president, I am the president of Senate, the presiding officer. I'm up in the Senate most Tuesdays when they're in session. The first time I ever met you was when you walked on the stage tonight." Thus Cheney spake last night. Oooh! What a devastating blow to Edwards, I thought at the time. But Cheney demonstatedly met Edwards on at least two previous occasions. Cheney disputed Edwards' assertion that the United States was bearing 90% of the casualties in Iraq. Wrong again! He claimed that "900,000 small businesses will be hit" by proposed Kerry tax increases. Wrong yet again! The correct number is only about 471,000. More from FactCheck.org: " 'I have not suggested there's a connection between Iraq and 9/11.' But The Washington Post reported Oct. 6 that Cheney often 'skated close to the line in ways that may have certainly left that impression on viewers,' especially by repeatedly citing the possibility that hijacker Mohamed Atta met with an Iraqi official, a theory disputed by the 9/11 Commission."

But should we really be surprised at what could only generously be described as Cheney's willing suspension of disbelief, his apparent inability to separate fact from fiction? On August 26, 2002, Cheney proclaimed, "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussain now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies and against us." But as we now know, there were strong doubts within our nation's intelligence agencies about this matter. Reports that suggested possibilities and unknowns were transformed by this Administration into concrete certainties. There is no room for doubt in Cheney's statement, or in the countless others made by others in his Administration.

And today, the Iraq Survey Group, the U.S. team searching for Saddam's stockpiles presented their final report: "Saddam Hussein did not possess stockpiles of illicit weapons at the time of the U.S. invasion in March 2003 and had not begun any program to produce them"--this from http://www.cnn.com/2004/WORLD/meast/10/06/iraq.wmd.report/index.html. Let's face facts. Changing "possibly, the intelligence sources don't agree and we have serious doubts about some of these claims" into "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussain now has weapons of mass destruction" is misleading. If this is not a lie, I don't know what is.

Truth is, Edwards and Kerry haven't been entirely honest either. But they haven't fed the American people this bulls--t for four solid years. I'm sorry if I sound bitter. I resent being lied to and I'm tired of it. When my commander-in-chief tells us he's sending our troops into harms way for a good cause, to defend our people from an imminent foreign threat, I want to believe him. But I can't with this deceitful Administration in power. They have betrayed the trust the American people have reposed in them, as well as my trust. I can't trust anything they say. Ultimately, that is why I'm voting for John Kerry. Because I'm tired of being lied to.

With Hope For The Future,

Michael J. Smith





Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Oyez, Subjects! Welcome to Kashikov!

By: Michael Akerman


First note: I forgot to mention that Philip's Blog has his Top 14 Stupidest Things to Do list. I told him I'd mention it here, but forgot on my last post.




Now this is neat! There's a free international politics game called NationStates. It's fairly simple, takes, like, two minutes a day, and allows you to make your own region. So I did. And you'll all join (more because it's easier to keep track of each other that way than anyway else)!

Anyways, go to the homepage at http://www.nationstates.net and click "Create a Country!" There's a short questionnare (like six questions. Relax, jumpy) to determine your country's political standing. After that, click South Pacific on the left sidebar. Then click "move to a new region" in the line "Tired of life in South Pacific? Then move to a new region!" and search for South Ivicia. It should ask for a password, which is "ivicblog", without quotes.

Problem is, the game's written by an author, so his prejudices inevitably show through toward Conservatives, but it's not too bad, really.




New Subject

People don't appreciate time to think. I love it! Not that I want to be idle constantly, but I'd rather have time to meditate than rush through life constantly.

The reason I bring this up is because every time I tell people I drive about thirty minutes to school, they inevitably say some variation of "That sucks!" I don't see why (aside from gas consumption). My current working theory is that people are afraid of thinking. Hard to say why, but all I ever see is people on a constant quest to get their mind off of everything: finding parties, getting drunk, having sex, doing drugs. They're all variations on avoiding thought. Maybe thinking causes them to realize that their life is not going where they want, or perhaps they have delusions of intellectual grandeur that are shattered when they try to think

I think everybody should spend some time thinking about stuff, preferably something important: psychology, philosophy, sociology, politics, science, mathematics.

By the way, the talking heads say Cheney won tonight's debate. Tomorrow's Friday for me, so I'll watch it after school.

~Michael Akerman

Monday, October 04, 2004

Now Why You Gonna Act Like That, Brokaw?

By: Michael Akerman


Oi! Now, really, Brokaw, Jennings, and Cronkite! Do you really think bloggers are engaging in slander, libel, and "political jihad" on a regular basis and actually affecting anyone in society?

Read the Article

Time for a lesson in competition:

There are thousands of bloggers. There are millions of blogs. A blog must compete with other blogs, or be content to mediocrity. Thus, most blogs can't afford to throw slander about willy-nilly. Additionally, people are generally pretty intelligent: if a blogger is committing libel and slander, most people are aware that this is so. Most people do not believe said blogger. Granted, some will and do believe these claims, but this is no different then the old ways of spreading false information: these people would merely have believed what people gossiped about in the barber shop, the grocery store, the local bar, the racetrack.

And blogger's are not journalists. Stop expecting them to follow journalistic procedure! I'll amend my statement to make it less overarching: there are some bloggers who are legitimate journalists (we here at IVIC are legitimate editorialists).

"How is it possible for these people to get on the air with any allegation they want to make, any statement they want to make, as if it were true, as if they were journalists, which they are clearly not? They are scandalmongers." -Walter Cronkite

I take exception to this. It's these kinds of blanket statements that prove dangerous. Moreso, it's an obvious lie, it is libel, and it proves more potent that libel from a blogger, as it's from a generally respected news source.

Of course, my theory is that the old guard fears for their position. As more people seek an on-demand world, where they can access stories when they wish, they also turn to accessing stories from whom they wish. Most often, they turn to multiple stories, to compare sides and choose their viewpoint. People simply don't need the old guard anymore. It would behoove them to switch to the internet as a means of news conveyance. For instance, most people have high speed connections, so movie files of the Rathers and Brokaws of the world delivering the news are an entirely usable option.

As far as why bloggers can get any statement they wish aired, well... they're our sites, we can do what we want!

~Michael Akerman
...look for a standard-style psychological, sociological, or political post from me soon...

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Electoral Elucidations: Kerry: Back in the Game

By: UnrepentantNewDealer


Back to politics! Whoo-hooo! These are just some preliminary impressions of Thursday night's debate. Over the next few days, we'll find out what the "talking heads" thought, but more importantly, what the American people thought, as divined with the help of Mr. Gallup.

However, I think anyone not completely blinded by partisanship must acknowledge that John Kerry emerged the victor. Kerry had to convince people that he could be trusted to wage the war on terrorism and he made a convincing case, borrowing a number of arguments I have been making on IVIC now for more than a month, that he could do a better job than is being done right now. Bush on the other hand, had to vigorously defend his record on Iraq. It's what incumbents do. Defend their record. At least if they want to the American people to trust them with second term. Yet Bush focused more on the same old tired attacks on Kerry we've heard all along and appeared flustered and speechless when Kerry didn't meekly submit to Bush's labeling of him. Kerry presented clear, well-thought-out plans, while the President seemed unable to do more than childishly insist that Poland is a vital ally in the Iraq war.

And what was with Bush saying Iraq was "hard work"? Even Bill O'Reiley criticized Bush last night on his show for saying it at least a dozen times in the debate. It sounds like he's making excuses. How's this slogan: Re-elect Bush--Because Being President is Hard Work, So Cut the Man Some Slack, Give Him Four More Years To Get It Right. I'm sorry, you screw up your first term, you don't deserve a second. We can't afford such a steep learning curve...actually, I've yet to see Bush learn from any of his mistakes. Of course, when asked, Bush said he couldn't think of a single mistake he's made.

Going into this debate, one poll showed that 52% of the American people expected Bush to win the debate. In the past, Bush's debating skills were frequently "misunderestimated." He "won" debates against the more experienced Texas governor Ann Richards and Vice President Al Gore. However, modern presidential debates are a far cry from the days of Lincoln and Douglas. Bush's strength was in memorizing a few simple, yet effective phrases, and repeating them endlessly. The essential hollowness of that strategy was, I believe, exposed in this debate. Bush apparently thought he could spend all 90 minutes of the debate keeping Kerry on the defensive, as he has over the past two months, simply by bringing up Kerry's "flip-flopping" on Iraq and forcing Kerry to play defense. Instead, Kerry parried Bush's attacks, acknowledged his own lack of clarity in laying out his position on Iraq, laid it out--plain and simple--and then went on the offense.

The most delicious moment of the evening came when Kerry used the words of Bush's father in his 1998 book, explaining that fears of chaos and an insurgency against the American occupiers were the reasons he didn't finish off Saddam in 1991. As Kerry pointed out, all this has come to pass, leading to the debacle we're in now. Debacle, did I say? When the administration's own National Intelligence Council's estimate predicted a "tenuous stability", that is, more of the current level of violence in Iraq for the next 18 months, as the "best-case scenario", and full-scale civil war as the "worst-case scenario", and when even Colin Powell admits, "It's getting worse", I wonder if "debacle" is too weak a word.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A58183-2004Sep28.html

Incredibly, Bush seemed not to have expected a serious debate of ideas and policies. Whereas Kerry seemed cool and collected, even presidential, while Bush talked, when Kerry deviated from the prearranged script of letting Bush win, that famous Bush smirk faded away faster than you can say "Texas Hold 'em". Bush appeared visibly shaken, confused, and annoyed at--God Forbid!--having to actually defend his record instead of relying on negative or overly general sound bites.

On the issues, both candidates said preventing nuclear proliferation was their top priority. Bush claimed to have increased spending for securing so-called "loose nukes" from the former Soviet Union, but Kerry pointed to a recent report that clearly showed that more money was spent on this in the two years before September 11 than in the two years after. Bush also relied on some other unreliable figures. More than 10 million Afghans registered to vote, he said, not mentioning that the estimated number of voting age Afghans is far less and reports are pouring in about the rampant problem of multiple registration and other forms of voter fraud. (But not to worry, Afghanistan still has a full 7 days to fix these "minor" problems before their first presidential election on October 9. No biggie!)

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3600742.stm

But my point is that, while Bush spouted a lot of numbers, like most of the other statistics this administration has ever released, they just don't add up. Oh, wait, wasn't it Bush who accused Al Gore of using "fuzzy numbers" once upon a debate? My how times have changed! No wonder even Bush's hometown Crawford, Texas newspaper endorsed John Kerry!

http://news.iconoclast-texas.com/web/Columns/Editorial/editorial39.htm

Both Kerry and Bush agreed that what is going on now in Darfur is genocide, and although neither candidate went as far as I would have liked (regime change in Sudan, anyone?), Kerry at least said that if military intervention was necessary to end the genocide, he would commit troops. ("not another Rwanda.") Bush, apparently "soft on genocide", made no such commitment. Which is strange, as one of the arguments for the Iraq war was to retaliate for Saddam's gassing of the Kurds--15 years after it could do any good for the dead women and children of Halabja. I guess genocide is not something to be prevented before it happens, but simply to be used in an intellectually dishonest manner if you ever decide for an unrelated reason, years down the road, that it might help to pad your case for going to war. Don't even get me started...

Stranger still, this genocide took place when Bush's father was Vice President. Even after the West learned the truth about Saddam's little holocaust in Iraqi Kurdistan, the White House continued to give military aid to Saddam to fight the Iranians. He promptly used those nice little toys, such as attack helicopters, to disperse more poison gas and strafe Kurdish villages. Of course, American agricultural and corporate interests were turning a tidy profit in Iraq, so who cared if unarmed civilians died by the thousands? Try to follow this logic. Saddam gassing the Kurds = no biggie, not even worth a slap on the wrist or a word of condemnation. Saddam invading a source of U.S. oil imports = unpardonable crime, send in the Third Infantry!! Halliburton, under CEO Dick Cheney, doing business with Iraq in violation of UN sanctions in the 1990s = hey, free trade, baby! Russia, China, France, and Germany doing the exact same thing = those dirty, good-for-nothing, opportunistic, freedom-hating, backstabbing, appeasing traitors; no wonder they opposed the war!!

So, yeah, I had hoped that Kerry would simply be able to stand his own. He gave the better performance at the debate, and I think polls will show Bush's lead start to evaporate. As they've said all along, this is going to be another squeaker. Will Kerry remain clear, confident, and consistent through Election Day? Will Edwards or Cheney prevail in the VP debates? Will Bush get his little brother to stack the deck--I mean, count the votes--for him this time and will his daddy's buddies on the Supreme Court have to bail him out--yet again? Stay tuned.

~Michael J. Smith

P.S.: Akerman, stop playing Sims 2 and post something!