Politics: November 2006 Archives

Road Rage

| | Comments (0)
OK, three stories.

Once, I was turning right onto the freeway on-ramp, and was behind a bunch of cars, and other cars were coming across the road from the other direction into the same on-ramp, taking a left across our side of the road.

So all the cars on both sides are merging. I merge just like all the other cars did, and the car from the other direction goes up on the curb around me. I move out of his way so I don't get hit, and lay on my horn for several seconds. The dude stops and gets out of his car and yells at me about yielding. I yell something back about merging. He keeps yammering and tell him to get his ass back in his car. He obeys my command and drives off.

Another time, I was in the fast lane on the freeway (three or four lanes going our direction) at commute time and a minivan is tailgating me. I tap on the brakes. They back off. Happens again. I tap again, he backs off. There's some room for him to go around if he really wants to, but I am not speeding up because all the traffic in front of me is going my speed, and I am not pulling over because that is stupid, because ... all the traffic in front of me is going my speed.

So he does it again, and this time, he is a mere few inches from me. He obviously wants to screw with me. He is too close, really, for me to attempt tapping my brakes this time. So ... I take my foot off the gas. If he won't back off, I will slow down to a speed safe enough for his distance (I could change lanes, but then he will just do it to the car in front of me; I won't put another driver in that sort of danger). Pretty soon we're going about 45, down from 65 or 70, and he finally backs off. I speed up. He does it again. I slow down again. This time we are going 25 before he decides he is done playing and he whips his van around me. Oddly, he decides to drive safely from here on out. I think I scared him straight.

I decide I am going to mess with him and I follow him. I stay in his lane. He changes lanes, I change lanes. I keep a very safe distance, sometimes a few cars away. But I stay in his lane. And then I hit the jackpot: he gets off on my exit. And he makes about two or three turns that I need to take. I think he was probably totally freaking out by that point. Finally he turned a direction I was not going, and we parted ways.

OK, last story. Technically not a road rage story, but a meta-road rage story. I got called for jury duty in MA. They have a stupid thing there about wanting diverse juries so they force you to commute to some other courthouse. I could drive 10 minutes away to the local one, or drive over an hour in heavy rush hour traffic. I write in that I can't go to the one they want me to go to because I have road rage. They re-assigned me to my local courthouse. Sweet.

Unfortunately, my jury duty got cancelled, though. slashdot.org

Sunday Thoughts

| | Comments (0)
I've not done a Sunday Thoughts in awhile. This Sunday had some exceptional statements worth mentioning. I didn't get to post it earlier because of the power outages. So here it is!

On Reliable Sources, when confronted with an accusation by Richard Perle of lying -- saying that Perle's remarks about the war would not be published by Vanity Fair until after the election -- Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter responded first by playing tu quoque, saying, "I think having the neoconservatives who helped plan the war and support the war be angry with the magazine is not the worst possible thing." Dude, your epidermis is showing! So hopes for a reasonable explanation are dashed right off the bat. And indeed, he didn't even try to explain his lie, but only added that the publication before the election was in the "public's right to know." Note to self: never, ever, trust the editors of Vanity Fair.

Charlie Rangel repeated his claim on Fox News Sunday that our fighting forces are too poor, too minority, and too uneducated. Chris Wallace quoted data that proved otherwise, and asked him, "Congressman, in fact, contrary to what you've been saying, isn't the volunteer army better educated and well-to-do than the general population?" Rangel's reply: "Of course not." He added, "who are you going to believe, me, or the facts?" OK, I made that last part up, but it's an apt summary of what he actually said (including such lies as "most all of [our recruits] come from places of very very high unemployment"), and I am astonished that Wallace didn't press the point that Rangel was just making it all up.

Speaking of astonishment, Dick Durbin, on This Week, actually said that he is tired of party politics and litmus tests in judicial nominations. "I think we ought to step back here and try to move away from this political agenda for a moment. You know, these are important lifetime appointments. These men and women who serve on the bench, we really trust their judgment and their wisdom, and giving these political litmus tests, I don't think is in the best interest of justice in America."

Durbin has been second only to Chuck Schumer in making Senate judicial nominations precisely about political agendas and litmus tests. And they've been doing it ever since Bush got into office. If you believe the Constitution means what it says when it says the executive authority of the U.S. government is vested in the President, or if you personally believe abortion is wrong, then Dick Durbin will vote against you, and if it is for an important judicial post, he will try to block your nomination from being voted on. His saying what he did would be like James Dobson saying we should keep religious views completely separate from political views. slashdot.org

Me: So these people want everyone to have sex on December 22, a global orgasm for peace. Everyone has sex at the same time, and that somehow helps make the Earth more peaceful.
Her: What time?
Me: Any time that day, they say.
Her: Darn. Well, there's always the 21st and 23rd.

I love Her.


Nancy Grace Sued

| | Comments (0)
This makes me happy.

Long story short: boy goes missing, and Nancy Grace has the mother on the air, and Grace proceeds to berate the woman and strongly imply that the mother had something to do with it. The mother was so upset by the assault that she killed herself.

I don't know what the law says on the matter, but I do know that Nancy Grace is trash and she deserves to be held accountable.

Now Playing: Dave Cleveland - Sunset Drive

The Russian Newspaper Murders

| | Comments (0)
A couple of years ago there was a documentary on PBS called The Russian Newspaper Murders, about how people connected to some reporters in Russia were being, well, murdered. More than a dozen in the previous five years.

So I was not too surprised to see the news last month of another Russian journalist being killed, or of an Exk-KGB agent critical of Putin's government being poisoned.

I was going to write more, but this journal entry on dublinopinion has all that I'd write, and more. slashdot.org

Martin Luther King

| | Comments (0)
I am against the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Also, the naming of a day in January after him.

I am not against the guy, or most of what he did. I admire him. I believe he was a great American. But I do not believe anyone is deserving of a national holiday or monument, except for maybe George Washington and Jesus (not necessarily in that order; and Jesus gets two holidays, but no monument!).

Seriously though, I greatly dislike it. I disagree strongly with the whole concept. If we wanted to have Civil Rights Day or a Civil Rights Memorial, I'm down with that. But to name it after a person has two problems.

First, you limit it too much. It's now about the man, and not the larger events that he was a part of. They become at best sideshows that are meaningful only in the context of the man, when it should be the other way around.

Second, and similarly, you are now also bound to the failings of the man. In this case, frankly, Martin Luther King had some extremely radical views (that we would even consider radical today), views that many would call downright un-American. Do we really want a monument to someone who said, "There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a Democratic Socialism"?

Maybe you will argue that King was right. I think you're crazy if you do, but that's not the point. The point is that the whole discussion is irrelevant to King's real contributions that we should be celebrating, and that they necessarily become part of the picture when you devote a day or a place to the man himself.

In a Civil Rights Day you don't have to care about the fact that Lincoln was a racist, or Jefferson owned slaves, or King was a socialist: you can celebrate their achievements for civil rights and ignore their failings. But in a Martin Luther King Day, his failings are part of the picture, and detract from what we should be celebrating.

I am not down with MLK Day, and I do not care at all for the monument being erected in his name. slashdot.org
That's the message of this entry. We should be upset because the Republicans did nothing immoral or unethical, but were merely annoying. This somehow justifies an FCC/FEC/DOJ probe, according to incoming House judiciary chair John Conyers.

To reiterate: there is not even a single allegation of actual wrongdoing in that entry, that I can see.

The crux of the actual complaint seems to be that the identification comes at the end of the message. This is not illegal. Several liberal blogs are quoting the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 47, Chapter I, Part 64, Section 1200, which is subtitled "Subpart L -- Restrictions on Telemarketing, Telephone Solicitation, and Facsimile Advertising."

The complainers are citing (b)(1), which states:

(b) All artificial or prerecorded telephone messages shall:

(1) At the beginning of the message, state clearly the identity of the business, individual, or other entity that is responsible for initiating the call. If a business is responsible for initiating the call, the name under which the entity is registered to conduct business with the State Corporation Commission (or comparable regulatory authority) must be stated

The problem is that this is in the context of the entire section, which is specific to "Restrictions on Telemarketing, Telephone Solicitation, and Facsimile Advertising." The section has these definitions, none of which fit:

(10) The term telemarketing means the initiation of a telephone call or message for the purpose of encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods, or services, which is transmitted to any person.

(11) The term telephone facsimile machine means equipment which has the capacity to transcribe text or images, or both, from paper into an electronic signal and to transmit that signal over a regular telephone line, or to transcribe text or images (or both) from an electronic signal received over a regular telephone line onto paper.

(12) The term telephone solicitation means the initiation of a telephone call or message for the purpose of encouraging the purchase or rental of, or investment in, property, goods, or services, which is transmitted to any person, but such term does not include a call or message:

(i) To any person with that person's prior express invitation or permission;

(ii) To any person with whom the caller has an established business relationship; or

(iii) By or on behalf of a tax-exempt nonprofit organization.

Bottom line, this has to be about money changing hands. Commerce. It's not: it's about voting. It doesn't apply. This is a lot of nothing (as you may have guessed from the beginning). The other complaints all stem from this one: since they did not follow the FCC law regarding identification, therefore it is fraudulent. But it did follow the FCC law, and the FEC law, which does not specify where in the message the identification must come.

What's scariest of all is that our new House judiciary chairman, John Conyers, actually is selling this line of B.S. Shouldn't the judiciary chair be able to read the law? And shouldn't have the liberal bloggers who picked this up, bothered to look it up? slashdot.org

Alcee Hastings

| | Comments (0)
Apparently there's actually a movement to get Alcee Hastings as the new chair of the House Intelligence Committee.

Hastings is a former federal judge, and was impeached by the House, and convicted and removed from office by the Senate, for accepting a bribe, and for perjury. He is only the sixth judge to ever be removed from office by the Senate.

He was later elected to Congress in Florida (the Senate did not prohibit him from holding further federal office, though this was within its power), and is the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee (which is terrible enough of the Democrats to have allowed). I believe he is the only impeached federal official ever to later serve in federal elective office.

That he is even being considered for the chairman position shows the Democrats to be no less corrupt than the Republicans are perceived to be. This is actually worse than DeLay remaining on as House speaker, and the Republicans took a lot of grief for that.

As to what Hastings even being in office says about Florida, I don't need to bother mentioning. slashdot.org

Madame Speaker

| | Comments (0)
Nancy Pelosi is not the House Speaker-Elect, as Saturday Night Live said. OK, it's only SNL, but even NewsHour's Margaret Warner the other night addressed Pelosi as "Madam speaker-to-be".

She has not been elected. When the new Congress holds an election, she will, or will not, be elected. Calling her "Madam speaker-to-be" would have been like calling Bob Corker "Senator-to-be" a few months ago, just because he was leading in the polls and was likely to be elected. slashdot.org

Some Thoughts

| | Comments (0)
In The Simpsons tonight, they had an American flag up on the wall, backward. When on the wall vertically, the field of blue goes in the top left, just like if it were horizontal. This episode was moderately antiwar. Infamous officer/criminal Ehren Watada also habitually includes the backward flag in his appearances.

The Pat Tillman statue is ... unattractive. Frankly, the hair looks stupid. slashdot.org

Me on Spiegel, Malkin

| | Comments (0)
As some of you may know, there was a video posted on YouTube last week that purported to show the White House was doctoring videos. I thought that the poster was wrong, so I wrote a short comment pointing out the error.

A few minutes later I found some evidence he was wrong, so I followed up with another comment, and I thought that was that, until he deleted my comments, and all others criticizing his work.

So I made my own video, in just a few minutes, showing his error. It's gotten quite a number of hits (almost 20,000 since Tuesday), but apart from being an entertaining diversion, I didn't think much of it. I'd read some of the comments, try to explain the error to people who didn't get it from the video (many of whom appologized to me after calling me bad names), and so on.

Then today I check my mail and Michelle Malkin has subscribed to my videos on YouTube. And I go to her web page and see she's written up the whole thing. And she links to an article on Spiegel about it all, including a quote from me.

I also see HuffPo picked up the original video. Even though someone linked to my video in the comments, I doubt they'll post a retraction.

Well, it's more interesting than the latest news about Britney Spears, I suppose! slashdot.org

Not Getting It

| | Comments (0)

The problem with this and the other GOP reason-for-loss meme (that the conservatives abandoned the party because the Republicans had abandoned their philosophy of limited government) is that it just isn't borne out by either the facts (or even the conventional wisdom that this election was a move to the center.) These people all seem to truly believe that the majority who voted for Bush two years ago came out in favor of Democrats this week because they were upset that the Republicans were insufficiently conservative. Does that make any sense? -- digby

Actually, yes, it does. It is not the whole story, but it is a huge part of it, yes.

Well, let me back up slightly: the majority who voted for Bush didn't come out in favor of the Democrats this week. More people voted for Kerry in 2004 than voted for Democrats in 2006.

Also let me clarify that the abandonment of conservatism meme he linked to has nothing to do with social conservatism, and everything to do with small-government conservatism.

So, look at the turnout. GOP turnout was way down. For the first time in several decades in a midterm election, the Democrats came out in far greater numbers than the Republicans. And the reason for that is, quite specifically, because the GOP in Washington DC was not conservative enough. Find me one Republican voter -- current or past -- who is not pissed off at the lack of small-government conservatism in the GOP. And, as we know from the numbers, many of them simply stayed home. So how could anyone not see that this election is due in large part to the GOP abandoning conservatism?

The blindness is truly mind-boggling.

There is not the slightest bit of evidence that this election was a move to the center. None of the polling shows the electorate wanting higher taxes, more social programs, more gun control, and generally more government intrusion into our lives. Sure, there's some widespread support among the electorate on a few right-of-center issues like minimum wage, but there's no evidence that these issues significantly affected the electorate.

He quotes from The New Republic:

While the publicly-available election data can't answer this question definitively, everything we know about public opinion suggests there isn't a majority constituency for economic libertarianism. (Tax cuts, perhaps, but not the smaller government that goes along with it.)

There is some truth to that, which is (I believe) why the GOP cut taxes and not spending. But 1994 taught us that Americans are quite willing to have smaller government if it also means lower taxes. Sure, they want both, but if forced to choose, they will take lower taxes. That is precisely why the Republicans won every national election since 1994 except for Clinton in 1996, until now. And the reason they lost this time, in large part, was because the people finally stopped believing the Republicans in DC were for small government. By now, it is impossible to believe it.

The TNR piece goes on:

The easiest way to see this is to focus on a specific issue. For example, amid all the conservative hand-wringing is the occasional lament about Social Security privatization. But there's a simple explanation for the GOP's wobbliness on the issue: A solid majority of the country opposes it. According to a Washington Post poll from March of 2005, Americans disapproved of the president's Social Security plan by a 56-35 margin.

But the respondents didn't understand half of what the politicians were talking about, and the Democrats exploited this by lying through their teeth, saying the Trust Fund would not go bankrupt, that Bush's privatization plan would be forced on anyone instead of being entirely voluntary, that even though it was voluntary it would endanger the rest of the program ... all lies.

This sort of poll always underestimates how much people will be against a program when they actually see the bottom line for how it will affect them. That Washington Post poll did not mention the fact the Social Security program is estimated by the federal government to go broke around 2040 (meaning, specifically, that the Trust Fund will be empty, and the SS income will not be enough to continue paying the full benefits), and that at that point, everyone's taxes will have to go up (progressively more every year, without end) to cover the deficit. They just heard in the poll, "keep it the way it is, or not?" and said "keep it the way it is."

Democrats do this all the time. They just don't get that Americans don't want to spend the money (if it is their money, and for most of us, it is our money). And this is, again, why the Republicans screwed up: they gave us the benefits and cut taxes. Gave people both of what they wanted. But it can't last, and people finally caught on.

But by all means, those of you on the left, please keep believing that this election is a validation of your big-government views. PLEASE. I really do want you to act like it, and try to implement everything you believe in. Especially the parts that will cost taxpayers a lot more money. It will make my job as a Republican chairman so much easier. slashdot.org

GOP Future

| | Comments (0)

I sent this out to my fellow Republican PCOs:

I don't know about you, but I am optimistic.

Really. I know some people would say that just to try to rally the troops, but it's true. I feel pretty good, and it's not even because of the painkillers.

The unfortunate part to me is not that we lost the federal elections overall, but that so many good candidates, who would have won in normal years, got swept up in the anti-Republican backlash. But that is how it goes.

The reason I feel good is that this is a huge opportunity for us to restore the Republican party, which we all know has been deteriorating for some time. Most of what I am going to say is about the national level, but it trickles down.

Now, for once, we don't have to defend what I know most of us agree have been failings of the GOP. Our elected officials have spent too much money, they've allowed too much corruption, they've been unresponsive, they've been inefficient, and they've generally not performed well. They haven't acted like Republicans.

Sure, they have not spent as much as the Democrats will try to (thankfully, Bush still has the veto). And they've not been nearly as corrupt as the Democrats were before the Republicans finally took control (I may be young, but not too young to remember that). And we've been in favor of most of what the Republicans have done. We still wanted the Republicans to win, even with their problems, and our disaffection.

But the voters have been heard, and they disagreed with us. They either wanted the Democrats to win, or they were so turned off by the Republicans, that they didn't care. Those GOP failings were too much for them, even at risk of giving power back to the Democrats.

So let's face it, we need to prove to the public that we can be trusted again. How do we regain that trust, and move forward?

  • Return to our Republican principles.
  • Hold ourselves, and our elected officials, accountable.
  • Cut back on the rhetoric against our opponents, and focus more on level-headed reasoning.
  • Recruit PCOs. Seriously.


We start by getting back to basics. Back to our conservative principles. What are they? This is not an exhaustive list, but to give some examples:

  • Small, local, government
  • Accountability and openness
  • Fair and legal elections
  • True property rights
  • Low government burdens on business and individuals
  • Security of our borders and ports
  • Equal justice under law
  • Sovereignty of the family
  • Respect for the Constitution

There are some notable omissions in my list above, like gun rights, right to life, and so on. I left these out for a good reason, and it is not because I don't believe in them, or because I think we shouldn't fight for them, or because I think they shouldn't be in our platform. I left them out only because while they are very important and we should fight for them, in my opinion, they are often the very things that drive us apart as Republicans. They may be part of the core of why you and I are Republicans, but they are not at the core of why everyone who is a Republican, is a Republican.

A majority party -- what we used to be -- cannot survive if it lets one of two things happen: if it lets issues that *do not* bind it together tear it apart, or if it neglects the things that *do* bind it together. The Republican Party has managed to fail on both counts.

It's a fine line sometimes, but it is one we have to be able to walk. We don't abandon issues like abortion, but those are not the most important issues to all Republicans. Those are not the things that bind us together. Those are not the things that win us elections. Because of the already noted failings of the Republican Party on those core principles that bind us, Republicans of all stripes stayed home: moderates and conservatives, and everyone in between.


We need to hold our elected Republican officials accountable. Just as a hypothetical example -- since he is the most high-profile elected Republican we have in this state -- we should not keep supporting (WA Secretary of State) Sam Reed if he doesn't keep supporting our principles. We should sit down and evaluate how he's done before we throw our support to him next time around.

This goes for every elected Republican official, at every level. For far too long, we've supported candidates who don't serve our interests just because they are electable (or already elected), and that is the biggest reason why we're in this mess, because at the national level, we get people like Republican Senator Ted Stevens being one of the most unabashedly pork-loving people in DC, who has the nerve to complain about Alaskans getting their "fair share" (since when do conservatives believe in the federal government being a source of equal giveaways for all?), even though Alaska gets more pork per capita than any other state already.

We stand by those principles, even if it sometimes hurts. The public does not respect us if we waffle, or if we are drastically inconsistent. And our party is not served by diluting it significantly with people we elect just because they are "electable."

We don't say we should respect and follow the law and that we want legal elections, and then oppose Christine Gregoire's recount. Yes, we all had serious questions about whether there was fraud going on, but the law is the law, and we don't oppose the law when we don't like the result.

We don't say small government, and then spend billions on No Child Left Behind in order to get votes.

We don't try to work the system to our advantage: we stick to our common principles.


Rhetoric has its place, but we spent eight years trashing Clinton, and sat through six years of liberals trashing Bush, and I don't think the country is better off for it, let alone the Republican party.

This time maybe we can take a bit more of the high road, and focus our arguments as much as possible on the facts of why we believe what we do.

People are sick of the meanness. Let's show the public that we can be respectful in the minority.

That doesn't mean to not attack positions and viewpoints. We should do that even more than we have in the past. But we should put more of our efforts into presenting our principles, and then showing how our views flow from those principles, and how the facts favor our principles and our views.

Especially in this information age, that is a great way to gain the respect of the public. People have heard all the rhetoric before. It's not useless, and it has its place, but the public wants to gain real understanding of what we think, why we think it, and what the issues really are.

It's the difference between "the Democrats quickly spent a $1.4 billion surplus, and we already have a deficit again" and "the Democrats are socialists."


We have had a lot of loss of warm bodies in my short time here. We need to get out and find new people. This loss can serve as a wake-up call to many.

If I am re-elected chair of the 39th District, my first order of business, and the number one goal for the next six months, is recruitment. We all need to commit to this, and we will quickly develop a plan, and execute it. We won't be putting it off.

So, that's what's on my mind. Even if you disagree with some of what I had said, it should be pretty obvious by now why I am excited at the opportunity we're presented with here. slashdot.org

Outing People

| | Comments (0)
Some liberals like to out gay Republicans. They say that they are justified because their targets are hypocrites. You see, being closeted itself is hypocritial, but more to the point, being a Republican and gay is hypocritical. To them, anyway.

What they, unsurprisingly, do not seem to understand is that in outing anyone they are themselves being hypocritial, since they are the ones who like to talk about how sexual preference is a personal issue. I happen to agree with that, which is why I find laws outlawing homosexual sex to be anathema, and why I also find outing other people against their will to be deplorable.

Recently, Bill Maher -- a bastion of smug and intellectually dishonest hypocrisy -- outed someone on Larry King's live show. CNN responsibly removed that reference from subsequent airings, without comment, but presumably because a. it was a disgusting thing for Maher to do and CNN didn't want to be a party to it by re-airing it, and b. CNN could be sued over it for defamation.

Seriously though, I can't stand Bill Maher. Most of the things he says are simply incorrect, and he is impossible to argue with because he takes the default position that you are an idiot if you disagree with him, and even if he does let you respond, he'll only use it as an opportunity for mockery. He's even worse than Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter, and that's saying something.

So it looks like I-937 will be law in WA, forcing all the big energy producers have to move to 15% renewable energy by 2020.

Well, actually, no. I lied. Because despite the fact that WA produces tons of renewable hydroelectric power, this new law does not consider hydroelectric "renewable." Because the people who wrote it are retarded. More than half of WA's electricity needs are already provided by renewable hydro power.

Seattle City Light itself provides 90 percent of its electricity through hydro. This law will force them to replace hydroelectricity with some other "renewable" energy. Retarded.

Further, the supporters lied through their entire campaign. And blatantly. They kept saying that this law will save money for ratepayers. If that were true, there would be no need to mandate it. Energy producers would pick the cheaper energy. It won't save money, it will cost more money.

So, how is that WA initiative process working out?

The voters pass $30 car tabs three times, and the state illegally ignores it. Voters eventually give up.

Then there was an initiative for a one percent cap on property tax growth, which a court incredulously threw out because it claimed the voters didn't know what they were voting for. Even though they voted exactly for what they got.

(The ruling was so backward it is mind-boggling. You see, a previous initiative set the cap to two percent, from six percent. This one then lowered it to one percent. The problem is that earlier in the same year, the previous initiative was ruled unconstitutional, so the judge said that voters didn't really know what they were voting for: is it from six to one, or two to one? As if it matters, since either way, it is going to one percent! Morons. Thankfully, the Supreme Court has stayed that ruling pending appeal.)

And then there was the Grange Initiative, which was clearly illegal under federal precedent, and wasted tons of taxpayer dollars being on the ballot. Not to mention the cost of dealing with the inevitable lawsuit, which inevitably led to its demise.

And now there's renewable energy, which might face similar death. If not thrown out by courts, it will face overturning by the voters or the legislature (voter-approved initiatives can be amended by the legislature after two years, which is stupid in and of itself anyay, as it effectively neuters the process).

I am against the initiative process, essentially. It simply doesn't work, and it violates the concept of republican government. But if we're to have it, the initiatives must be respected unless they are patently illegal according to the state or federal Constitution (as the Grange Initiative was). That even includes I-937. Even if it stands, voters will repeal it soon enough when their bills inevitably skyrocket.


Let us not forget the great Richard Dawkins, who finally freed the world of religion long ago. Dawkins knew that logic and reason were the way of the future. But it wasn't until he met his beautiful wife that he learned using logic and reason isn't enough: you have to be a dick to everyone who doesn't think like you.

-- Shpeck, of the United Atheist League, in the year 2546


| | Comments (0)
This post makes no sense. It reminds me of the popular illogical that Al Gore had more popular support in 2000, except it's far less logical.

There's no way to actually know it, because of the fact that people in different states vote for actually different things. The most important factor is that people in different states have far different liklihoods of their chosen candidate being elected, which in some cases directly impacts how they vote (for example, people might be less likely to vote in Texas, where Bush was a lock). But there's also different candidates (some states have Green and Libertarian candidates, some don't), too.

But in this case, they are doing something far worse, because they are comparing votes for a completely different and unrelated slate of Senators. A vote for Ted Kennedy (very senior, and essentially unopposed) is not the same as a vote for Maria Cantwell (freshman, and strongly opposed), and you can't reasonably compare the two. Add in the fact that the Democrats have many of their most popular Senators up for election this year, and the Republicans very few of theirs. And don't forget that a full third of the nation (by state) doesn't even get to vote at all because they have no Senators up for election in the first place.

So the actual numbers here are completely and utterly meaningless as an indication of support for Democrats. Yes, it shows Democrats have more support, but not by any particular percentage. A far more important number is simply the fact that the Democrats did not lose any seats, and the Republicans lost several. But you can't glean from these numbers any meaning about by "how much" the Democrats are favored, because there is no reasonable way to group them together to quantify it. slashdot.org

Election Night

| | Comments (0)
People have asked me about election night. Some thoughts:

It's going to be nice to be in the minority for awhile, even if the Senate is won by the Democrats. Maybe especially. The Democrats are going to either do nothing, or do crazy things, like try to get universal health care, more gun control, higher taxes, and so on: things Americans clearly do not want.

I am as angry with the GOP in DC as most. They have violated Republican principles many times, over and over, especially in regard to spending, social programs, and so on.

It's not that the country has moved to the left. The country remains divided, but many of those in the middle and on the right are pissed at the GOP. I know lots of people who hate the GOP who voted for them anyway. This is not like the revolution in 1994, where people were exicted at what the GOP could do. In 2006, people (except the existing liberals) are not excited about what the Democrats could do, they simply hate the GOP.

So hopefully this will wake the GOP up. No more compromising on core principles of small government. The problem of social issues -- abortion, stem cells, gay rights -- is not resolved in the GOP by a longshot. But there should be no more question that the GOP must be for actually small federal government. And much of the blame here goes to Bush.

I wish there were some other party other than the Dems to hand control over to. I disagree with them on most things, and think if given half the chance, they will ruin our economy and destroy my liberties. Thankfully, Bush still has the veto for two more years.

It's very unfortunate that many excellent candidates and initiatives lost this year just because of anti-Republican backlash. Doug Roulstone is a far superior candidate to do-nothing Rick Larsen. I-933 would have protected our property rights from the tyranny of the majority and bureaucracy. Mike McGavick would have been an invaluable voice in DC to keeping spending down and coming up with actual solutions to cutting health care costs for everyone.

But, if this convinces the GOP to fix itself, then this one year of big losses is worth it. slashdot.org


| | Comments (0)
What the Democrats don't yet realize is that a big Democratic House victory is just what Karl Rove wanted, to ensure victory for the GOP in 2008.

Only half-kidding. If that much. slashdot.org

Hacking Democracy

| | Comments (0)
I watched the HBO documentary Hacking Democracy today. It had lots of great information in it, but it also had some annoying junk.

Basically, much of the narrative is sensationalist and even lies.

For example, right at the beginning, the narrator says (slightly paraphrased, I don't feel like hunting the exact words), that a negative vote count for Gore in 2000 "could not have happened by machine failure because it only affected presidential votes." That conclusion is totally unwarranted by the evidence at hand. By the same logic, the fact that my own name was left off the ballot was therefore not machine failure, because it only affected a single name in a single race.

Bev Harris, the woman behind Black Box Voting, at one point asserts as fact that Diebold is lying when they say the problems were fixed because they are not listed in the release notes. Sorry, that's not proof; it is also quite possible that the release notes just left those fixes out.

A Democrat involved in Kerry's campaign asserts as "fact" (his word!) that there was widespread voter fraud in New Mexico in 2004. This assertion barely has any evidence to support it, and certainly it is not established fact.

The narrator claims Cayuhoga County, OH election workers removed ballots or precincts that threw sample count off during the recount, but they did not provide any evidence at all to back up the assertion.

And so on. Again, I like the content. There's a lot of important stuff in this documentary, but there's also some B.S. you have to wade through.

Bottom line is what I've said for a long time, and what I mentioned in the journal I linked to above: we must have open source. It should be a requirement. Further, note that the machine hacked in the documentary is not a DRE (touchscreen) machine, but an optical scan machine. This is not about electronic vs. paper, because most paper ballots are ultimately tabulated by closed source machines.


LooneyTubes Response

| | Comments (0)
Due to Mike McIntee's coverup of his deception, I've posted my own video in response.

Update: Ha. My video is now the top related video on the original video. So now anyone who goes to see his video will see a link to mine, which says "Mike McIntee Is Lying." slashdot.org

Mike McIntee Is Lying

| | Comments (0)

Mike McIntee posted a video in which he claims the White House is doctoring videos. He was wrong. And then he deleted comments pointing out he was wrong, thereby intentionally perpetuating his deception. I show here what his mistake is, since he won't allow anyone to describe it in the comments.

The original White House video retrieved via the Internet Archives had no black bar at all, and demonstrates that in fact, no banner was removed from the video:




| | Comments (0)
So, this guy purports to show that the White House is trying to censor history by blacking out the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner in the May 1, 2003 video posted on whitehouse.gov.

The video on YouTube is almost convincing, if you are not playing close attention. He says the black bar at the bottom is covering up something at the top: you see, he says, the White House shifted the movie up, to get rid of the banner, and left a black bar at the bottom.

But I happened to notice that the black bar at the bottom is about the same size as the CNN graphics crawl. And I also noticed that if you shifted the movie down to where he says it would be, that would make for some very odd TV cropping.

So I went to the page, and I looked at the May 1 video. It shows what he said. Then I clicked on the other May 1 video. And the May 2 video. And May 3, May 4, May 5, and two on May 6. I skipped up to May 31. They ALL have the same black bar. Every single one I clicked on.

Sorry, there's no Orwellian conspiracy here. They were simply blacking out the CNN graphics.

Not that I should need to tell the readers of this space, but do not just accept what people tell you. Think. Question. We now know this story was wrong after viewing just a few other videos on whitehouse.org, although I have no reason to think the Democratic activist who created and posted the video was intentionally deceptive.

But I heard another story today about a guy who has a message left on his answering machine saying he cannot legally vote in Virginia, because he is registered in NY. But how do we know this message was left by a Republican, and not by a Democrat? Even assuming the target was a Democrat (which we don't know from the stories), this message could have been left on his answering machine by a Democrat trying to make Republicans look bad.

Look at the evidence, which is scant: all we have is the message, not who sent it. We know both sides are not above dirty tricks. What is more likely: faking a call to make it look like a Republican did it, which is not a crime but is very dirty, or a Republican actually doing it, which might be a crime, and leaving evidence of that potential crime on the answering machine? Both are possible, of course, but if I had to wager, I'd wager it wasn't a Republican. Hell, maybe Timothy Daly, the target himself, left it.

I am not saying the Democrats or Daly did it. I am saying it is stupid to assume the Republicans did it, just like it was stupid of this guy in Minnesota to assume the White House was trying to hide the "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" banner from a video.

Update: Mike McIntee, the guy who posted this deceptive video, deleted my comments off the YouTube page, pointing out his error. So, I no longer believe he was simply lazy, I now believe, due to his coverup, that he was being intentionally deceptive all along. Funny that all these people think the supposed White House video manipulation was "Orwellian," when what is Orwellian is McIntee's manipulative claim.

Update: He deleted my followup comments and has now made comments moderated. "We must not let people know that I am lying!!!" slashdot.org
Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who for the last 35 years has been working to defend evil dictators and other criminals around the world, is in Baghdad defending Saddam Hussein, and was today kicked out of court by the Iraqi judge.

Clark filed a brief with the court that called the court a "mockery." The judge responded, in Arabic, "No, you are the mockery ... get him out, out." Then, in English: "Out! Out!"

Note that Clark is the same guy behind the effort to impeach Bush. He actually drafted those articles of impeachment. He thinks Bush should be impeached for "authorizing, ordering and condoning direct attacks on civilians, civilian facilities and locations where civilian casualties were unavoidable," yet defends Hussein's wholesale murder of thousands of his own citizens. slashdot.org

HOA Responds

| | Comments (0)
Received via email today, regarding my HOA and political yard signs:

Subject: CC& R's
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 2006 09:44:16 -0800

Mr. Nandor,

The CC&R committee would like to thank you for pointing out the newer Washington state law regarding election signs. We were unaware of this law and have made note in the records.

It took a month to hear back from them, and I am removing the signs tomorrow, but well, it's better late than never.


Listen to the Generals

| | Comments (0)
I keep hearing people -- irrespective of political party -- imply, or state explicitly, that if the civilian authority (President, Secretary of Defense, and so on) acts against the views of the military generals, then they are therefore doing something wrong.

Nothing could be further from the truth. There's a reason why the Constitution puts the civilians in charge of the military: because we do not want the military in charge of the military, and hence, everything else. I don't know about you, but I don't want a military government, an unelected police state (NB: if you respond to this with a crack about Bush being unelected or the U.S. being a police state now, you'll expose yourself as a moron; this is a discussion about the real world, not your hyperactive imagination).

That's not to say the opinions of generals are unimportant. It is very important to know whether generals asked for more troops, when they asked, why they asked, what the civilian authority response was, and why, all in order to judge the quality of the decisions made by the civilians. But at the end of the day, the quality of the decision is not judged entirely, or even primarily, according to whether it agreed with the military, else we wouldn't have bothered to put the military under civilian control in the first place.

The recent editorial in the Army Times says, "when the nation's current military leaders start to break publicly with their defense secretary, then it is clear that he is losing control of the institution he ostensibly leads," and therefore he must go. This is ceding way too much authority to the military leadership. By this standard, the military could reject anyone who didn't let them do anything they wanted to do, thereby effectively removing civilian control of the military.

That's not to say there's not plenty of legitimate criticism against Donald Rumsfeld. For example, it is reasonable to simply say that Iraq is a failure, so therefore he should resign. I disagree, but it's a legitimate position. But saying Rumsfeld must go because the military disagrees with him is simply wrong. It literally subverts the Constitutional system of civilian control of the military. slashdot.org

Bad Ad

| | Comments (0)
I saw a really weird ad on Boston TV last night (NESN, watching the Bruins). This guy running for governor of Massachusetts (some independent candidate) was showing that taxes are high. He showed a house, and said in 1990, taxes were $800. In 1998, taxes were $1900. In 2006, taxes were $2100. And he said "taxes are skyrocketing out of control," or words to that effect. But taxes, by his own numbers, have seen only a modest increase in the last eight years, after a huge jump in the previous eight years. That seems to me to argue for the status quo, but he was trying to use those numbers to argue against it. slashdot.org
Sequoia Voting Machine Hacking

Some of you may have seen this story about hacking Sequoia voting machines.

My county uses those machines, a grand total of four of them in the Auditor's office. They have the yellow button.

However, the steps listed on that page are wrong, according to my county's director of elections (soon to be the County Auditor). I spoke to her today about another problem (more about that in a moment), and asked her about this.

The first problem with the hack is that -- at least, on our machines, in our county -- you have to enter a ballot code. There are hundreds of precincts in the county, and each can have a different ballot, and all of them are in the machine. You need to enter a correct code to get a ballot in the first place.

The summary at the BBV page left that part out. Under "Here is the sequence" there's a note under b., that reads "You may need to first enter or select a ballot code/style depending upon the election." Further, they left out part of c., which reads, "Using the keypad, enter or select the correct ballot code/style."

In our case, you can't just get a ballot code. They are not released to the public. This may not be an insurmountable problem, but it is a problem with the hack.

More importantly, it is nearly impossible to add a vote without it being discovered. They do a reconciliation process where they match up ballots to voters, to make sure the numbers add up. They know that only two people in my precinct used the voting machines, and if they see three, they know something is up.

Revealing My Votes

Which brings me to the reason why I went to talk to her in the first place: you can see who I voted for in the primary from the county's own web site, with just one additional piece of information available on another local web site.

Long story short, you know from this report on the county web site that I live in Henning precinct (as I am the PCO being voted for), and that only two voters in Henning voted not-absentee. And you know from an article in the local paper that I voted not-absentee, but rather, at the polling booth.

So you can now look at, for example, this page and find out that I voted for John Groen for Supreme Court Position 8, because there's only two people in Henning who voted ElectionDay, and both of them voted for Groen.

You can also see how I voted for U.S. Senate, U.S. Congress, State Rep. Pos. 1, State Rep. Pos. 2, Prosecuting Attorney, Supreme Court Pos. 2, Supreme Court Pos. 9, and Fire District Prop. 1.

This is, obviously, a pretty big problem. The Auditor's office told me two things, basically: that this problem is specific to their reports for primary elections, and that they have a call in to the vendor to try to get it fixed. Normally, I am told, the reports are set to block out who voted how, if there's under a certain number of votes, to prevent just this sort of identification. I am going to continue to follow up on this moving forward. slashdot.org

So, This Kerry Joke

| | Comments (0)
I don't care how you spin it: John Kerry insulted the troops. I am perfectly willing to accept Kerry did not mean to insult the troops, but he did anyway: he said Bush is stupid for having us in Iraq, and most of the troops think we should be in Iraq, so therefore most of the troops have a stupid view. Sounds like an insult to me.

However, I also don't care that he insulted the troops. This so incredibly unimportant to me. It's not like I was going to give Kerry an award for his many years of support for the armed services.

Honestly, I think this is one of those cases where the mainstream press is driving this story in part out of guilt for hammering the Republicans so much over the past few months. slashdot.org
On NewsHour tonight:

KWAME HOLMAN: Democratic Congressman Dennis Kucinich of Ohio, a presidential candidate in 2004, is calling for a return to paper ballots for future presidential elections because, he says, paperless electronic machines are unreliable.

REP. DENNIS KUCINICH: It's not failsafe. If somebody can show me you could have an election with a 100-percent assurance, that there's no vulnerabilities to attack, there's no vulnerabilities in the software, that the software works like a dream and the hardware's perfect, people can show that, then, yes, I'm ready to hear what they have to say. But until that time, look, there's plenty of reasons to be concerned.

Of course, no voting system is failsafe, with 100 percent assurance, with no vulnerabilities, with perfect hardware. Therefore: no voting. Thanks, Dennis! slashdot.org
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from November 2006.

Politics: October 2006 is the previous archive.

Politics: December 2006 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.