Politics: June 2008 Archives

Senator Val Stevens (R-39) has sent out a press release, with pictures, about her campaign signs being set on fire in Skagit County.

She is the incumbent being challenged by Fred Walser, who was convicted and sentenced to a year in jail this month. There is no reason to think his campaign had anything to do with these crimes. slashdot.org

Once upon a time, there was an amendment to the Constitution.

It was called the Fourteenth Amendment, and it said that any right you have as a U.S. citizen cannot be infringed by any state government. "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States."

Therefore, since we have a privilege, as U.S. citizens, to keep and bear arms, you would think that this means that the states cannot infringe upon that.

However, you would be mistaken (seriously, read that link, especially the quotes from Black and Howard). Over a hundred years ago, some judicial activist (there, I said it!) came up with the idea that the Fourteenth Amendment doesn't actually mean what it says; rather, every Constitutional right must be individually incorporated by the Court.

Not only is this facially nonsensical according to the plain language and history of the Fourteenth Amendment, but it also literally turns the Court into lawmakers themselves: they get to decide whether we have, in the States, any given right, and we don't know how they will decide until we challenge it.

And even different parts of the same amendment are held to apply to the states, or not. So the First Amendment applies to the states, because of the Fourteenth Amendment, but the Second Amendment doesn't. Why? Simply because the Court hasn't said so.

It's one of the dumbest doctrines the Court follows, completely opposite to the purpose of the Court and the text of the Constitution.

However, there's good news. There's only a tiny handful of rights left unincoporated, and all of them but the Second Amendment's right to keep and bear arms, and the Seventh's to civil trial by jury, are left unincorporated only because no one is bother to challenge it (such as quartering troops and indictment by grand jury).

We have a clear signal in Heller that there is an individual right to keep and bear arms. This applies to the District of Columbia, but Columbia is not a state. So the open question is: will this apply to the states? Most states banning guns will say it does not, but they will lose (assuming they even bother challenging it at all).

Selective incorporation is ludicrous historically, textually, legally, and logically. But despite that, it has persisted. There is, though, something that is more important today than all of those considerations: it would destroy all societal respect for the Court to rule otherwise. A Court that is not respected is a Court that has no real authority, and a Court that takes such an obviously illogical position is not respected.

The reason why a state cannot restrict your right to free speech, or a speedy trial, or indictment by grand jury, is because the Fourteenth Amendment says, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States," and those are privileges of citizens of the United States. And as of today, the right to keep and bear arms is also recognized as such a privilege.

So for the Court to rule otherwise would make no sense. Society will not stand for it, and the mental gymnastics required by the Court to justify it would make it look more foolish than it has ever looked before. Even if the Court veers to the left under a President Obama -- who has consistently, in recent years, asserted he believes in the individual right to keep and bear arms, though he has also supported significant restrictions of that right -- they couldn't justify such a decision to not recognize incorporation. What they'd be more likely to try would be to say, yes, the states have to recognize the right to keep and bear arms, but the right to keep and bear arms can be severely limited.

I am not sure that would be an improvement, but the point is that as of today, it is absolutely unconstitutional for a state to make or enforce any law abridging your right to keep and bear arms (whatever that means). Selective incorporation is dead. The death certificate simply hasn't been issued yet.

The fight for what rights we have under the Second Amendment, however, continues. slashdot.org

Start Packing

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So I was thinking about a couple of things this afternoon.

The first is Heller, the gun rights decision that came down today. It does not take away any rights, or open the door to such. But some people think it could make the anti-gun crowd more active.

The second is the Kennedy v. Louisiana decsion from yesterday, in which the Supreme Court held as evidence to support its decision the fact that most states were not exercising their rights, so therefore maybe that right (to execute child rapists) doesn't exist any more.

And that reinforces my long-held view that it is crucially important that everyone -- even if you don't have a gun! -- gets a concealed carry permit, if you think we should have the right to keep and bear -- not just in our homes, but in public -- arms. If a million people have permits, the state will be far less likely to try to take that right away.

Washington is a shall-issue state, meaning unless there is a specific reason in the law why you can't have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, they must issue it to you within a set time period, upon receipt of your paperwork, fees, and so on.

If -- I shudder at the thought -- Gregoire wins re-election, I have no doubt that many Democrats will be coming after our gun rights (along with the income tax and other leftist agenda items they've been holding off on until after this election). But that effort won't get anywhere if we exercise our rights now.

And if we have that many people with permits it also removes the main argument against licensure: that it gives a list of gun owners to the government. Sure, there's a legitimate fear that with hundreds or thousands of people on the list, they could come after those people specifically. But hundreds of thousands? Millions? At some point it is beyond their control.

You protect your rights by exercising them. So get your license. You don't even have to carry a gun with you: just protect your right to do so. If you don't, you might lose it. slashdot.org

I woke up this morning and saw that the Supreme Court is upholding our Second Amendment rights. Four justices dissented, apparently believing that when the Second Amendment explicitly forbids the government from restricting gun rights, that this does not constitute "limit[ing] the tools available to elected officials wishing to regulate civilian uses of weapons."

I'm still scratching my head over that one. Maybe it will make more sense when I am fully awake. I doubt it, though.

The next thing I saw was that the WA State Democrats have removed their racist ad against Dino Rossi. The ad featured the theme song from The Sopranos, attempting to leverage negative stereotypes of Italians to help make Rossi look bad.

The Democrats deny wrongdoing, saying, "It's a catchy song, which we thought jibed stylistically with our communication about Rossi's designated attack squad."

Pull the other one. slashdot.org

Judicial Activism

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If the Heller case -- the one about the DC gun ban -- goes as expected tomorrow, we will hear cries from the left about "judicial activism."

You may not know what that phrase means, especially in that context, so I'll try to help out.

To a liberal who uses the phrase, a decision they dislike is "judicial activism." To a conservative, any decision which is not justified by the law is "judicial activism."

That means that a conservative can call something judicial activism even if he thinks it is the right thing, but that it was done in the wrong way (e.g., upholding a ban on medical marijuana via "interstate commerce"), while a liberal can call something judicial activism even if it follows the law completely, but they simply believe the law should be something else (e.g., the likely outcome of tomorrow's gun case).

I hope this helps you wade through the discussions tomorrow. slashdot.org

Check out this ad from the Washington Democrats. It tries to draw a link between Rossi and organized crime by playing the theme from The Sopranos.

If you don't get it, ask yourself: if Ron Sims were running for office and an ad ran against him playing the Geto Boys' "Damn it Feels Good to Be a Gangsta," would that be acceptable? Of course not. It's racism.

This is beyond mere racial insensitivity: it is trying to play off stereotypes of a racial group to create a negative image of someone in that group. That is racism. And it is astonishing to see it coming from the Democratic Party.

After writing this up, I was told that the Italian Club of Seattle has issued its views on the subject, and unsurprisingly, they agree: "Whether the State Democratic Party thought it clever to link Rossi to Italian-American criminals through the use of a popular mobster TV show is irrelevant; it is distasteful, and it is racist." slashdot.org

The Senate Democratic Campaign Committee gave former Sultan Police Chief Fred Walser the tidy sum of $10,000 for his campaign on June 17, almost two weeks after he pled guilty to providing false information and was sentenced to one year in jail.

The obvious question is: if you're a Democrat on the ballot, what do you have to do to NOT get money from the party? What sort of corruption will the Democrats in power NOT overlook from one of their own?

I think the money will likely go to waste, and that he will not have a legacy as an elected official. But there's always skateboard parks.

Also check out the Walser Countdown Clock on our Fred Walser web site. Only 240 hours of community service, $20,000 of restitution, and 346 days of probation to go! slashdot.org

An Honest Obama Fan

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Liberal columnist and Friend of Obama (FOO) Mark Shields said of Obama on Friday:

Barack Obama made history this week. He became the first presidential nominee since Richard Nixon in 1972 to state that his campaign will be funded totally by private donations with no limits on spending.

It was a flip-flop of epic proportions. It was one that he could not rationalize or justify. His video was unconvincing. He looked like someone who was being kept as a hostage somewhere he was so absolutely unconvincing in it. It could not have passed a polygraph test. ...

But I really do think that Obama has made this so central to his mission, which is, "I'm going to change Washington, and you can't change Washington until you change the money, until you change the way we raise the money and who we raise it from." And he just basically went back on that.

And I think, in that sense, it can become a character issue against him, and I think that's potentially a problem.

Thank you, Mark Shields. There is hope for the media yet.

We need more examples of such honesty from the left. slashdot.org

Barack Obama lied about accepting public financing. He said if McCain did it, he would too. He made an important promise -- important enough that Obama himself made a big deal out of it -- and he broke that promise. He lied.

And the press doesn't care.

The talking points that all Democrats and leftwing pundits are using is that this doesn't matter, because what Obama is doing is just as good as public financing! Because his money is ... coming from ... the public! This is actually what they are saying. All of them. And some people apparently think this makes any amount of sense.

Private financing is public financing. Taxes going up are not increasing, they're just returning to their previous level, which just happens to be higher than they are now. Lobbyists working at top levels in his campaign aren't really working in his campaign if they are unpaid.

I think I need a dictionary to understand this new Obanics.

If this were McCain or Bush, of course, the news media would be saying it proves that they can't be trusted.

But it's Obama, and Obama is trusted. If he lies it doesn't matter, because he is trustworthy. He means well. Rules and promises don't apply to him. He is an englightened being.

He is not Barack Obama. He is The Obama.

I believe that if it were proposed to make Obama the King of America, more than a third of the country would vote for it, along with more than two-thirds of the news media. Perhaps not. But I am absolutely convinced that the media, and many on the left, simply believe that they -- or their candidate, at least -- well, OK, themselves too -- are simply better, and therefore the same rules don't apply.

I don't know about you, but that attitude really scares me. It alone is almost enough reason to try to make sure he doesn't win, because it is an inherent danger to liberty. There are various threats to liberty that our founders warned us about, and war is one of them, as the left likes to remind us. Another was a charismatic leader who would by, force of personality, convince us to give up our liberty.

This is what is being created before our eyes, and it is damned scary.

The news media is totally in the tank for Obama. Is the election over before it begins, just because there is apparently no chance that they will have the slightest amount of fairness in covering the race? slashdot.org

Some people (ahem) were trying to say that what Fred Walser did must not have been very bad, since he was "only" sentenced to 240 hours of community service.

I dunno, that seems like a lot to me.

But it's not the case: he was actually sentenced to a year in jail. slashdot.org

Illogic and the Constitution

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I'm going to be looking for [judicial nominees] who respect that the Constitution is an organic, growing, evolving set of principles that have stood the test of time.

-- Hillary Clinton

I can't tell if she doesn't know what "organic, growing, evolving" means, or if she doesn't know what "that have stood the test of time" means. But I am fairly certain this accurately reflects her views, and the views of most Democrats. slashdot.org

According to this page for kids from the Austrialian Broadcasting Corpotation, if you use more than "your share" of the planet's resources, you are killing the planet, and you yourself should die in a bloody mess when "your share" of the resources is used up.

I am not exaggerating. If you end up with CO2 of over 3.0 tons, the cartoon pig representing you explodes and only a pool of blood and tail remain, with the caption "You'll use your share of the planet in N years." And if you 3.0 tons of CO2 or less, your pig flies into the air and they say, "At this rate, you could live forever!"

Simple message: if you produce little CO2, you could live for a long, long time. If you produce too much, you shouldn't.

The best part is at the end, where you find out that the wealthier you are -- specifically, the more money you spend -- the quicker you should die. Unless, of course, you spend all that money on "stuff that's better for the envionment" or "ethical investments." Apparently if you donate money to single mothers or homeless vets, that kills the environment. slashdot.org

In a new ad starring John Cusack, MoveOn tells more lies about John McCain.

It lies by saying that he "supports keeping troops in harm's way in Iraq," when, in fact, his main goal is to get them OUT of harm's way, but doing so in a way that doesn't harm our national security. And if I am not mistaken, that's the same goal as Obama.

It lies through innuendo by saying McCain opposes a bill to "support [the troops] when they return home," when, in fact, the bill in question is simply a bad, stupid, wasteful bill, and McCain has given more support to vets than Obama and Hillary put together. By far.

It lies when it says McCain's "top advisors are linked to war profiteers." It's simply false.

It lies when it says McCain "opposed health care for uninsured children last year." It never happened. He opposed the EXPANSION of ONE particular program for PAYING for health care for uninsured children. To characterize this as opposing "health care for uninsured children" is a lie, as he in fact SUPPORTED the bill that extended the program.

The only true claim it made is that McCain supports the OPTIONAL (they forgot that word) privatization of Social Security, which is a good thing considering that within the next decade it will begin taking in less than it puts out, which will mean not only a likely prospect of Social Security failure to meet its obligations in another 30 years, but also that we will have increasing annual budget obligations, as no more money from the Trust Fund will be going into the General Fund, and more money will be going out of the General Fund to pay back bonds to the Trust Fund. And optional privatization is one positive step toward fixing that problem in the long run.

I know it is not a surprise when MoveOn lies. It's expected, really. But it's worth noting, I think.

If you take MoveOn's Bush-McCain challenge, it doesn't lie so much as make McCain look GOOD. It shows that he correctly anticipated we would be greeted as liberators in Iraq (although it leaves out the part where McCain said we needed more troops than the Bush adminsitration sent, which was, of course, the real problem with the long-term effectiveness of our invasion); how he supports the Second Amendment; how he opposes the clearly legally incorrect Roe v. Wade.

The fourth question doesn't make McCain look good exactly, unless, of course, you know about Obama: yes, McCain is not an expert economist. Duh. He's not going to pretend to be. But he knows a lot more about the economy than Obama does, and probably ever will.

The fifth question is odd. It says Bush promised bipartisanship cooperation, but says nothing about McCain at all, perhaps attempting to imply McCain would not have such a record as President. The fact is, of course, that McCain has one of the best records of bipartisanship in the Senate.

Then if you continue on (providing your e-mail address, mine is barry.hussein@obama.com), it's more of the same: making McCain look good (privatizing Social Security).

The best though is when they ask, "Who [Bush, McCain, or Both] said the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a 'second job' and skip their vacations?" McCain did. And I can't see how it is a bad thing to tell people who are behind on their own willingly accepted financial obligations to not spend money on luxury items, and to try to make more money. This is what my parents did. It's probably what your parents did. It's what I would think everyone should do. Apparently, though, MoveOn thinks -- and by obvious logical conclusion, they believe Obama supports the notion -- that people should NOT attempt to fulfill their own financial obligations.

Quite bizarre. slashdot.org

Who is Fred Walser?

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Fred Walser is a Democrat running for Washington State Senate in the 39th District. In a single week, he filed for office and pled guilty to providing false information in an investigation of a subordinate, which brings with it a fine of $20K and 240 hours of community service.

A new web site from the 39th District GOP, called Who is Fred Walser?, aims to inform voters about not only the many troubling circumstances surrounding this particular crime, but also about his record in other controversies, and to hold him accountable on other issues.

For now, enjoy a couple of videos about Walser's "Best Week Ever," then head on over to the new site to find out more about Fred Walser.


Presidential Age

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Thomas Jefferson once said, 'We should never judge a president by his age, only by his works.' And ever since he told me that, I stopped worrying.
-- Ronald Reagan slashdot.org

According to CNN, the Supreme Court ruled that "suspected terrorists and foreign fighters held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have the right to challenge their detention in federal court."

But this was already the case under the MCA of 2006, which amended the DTA of 2005 to the effect that anyone who was not an alien unlawful enemy combatant (AUEC) had access to the courts directly, and anyone who was given an AUEC status determination had the right to appeal that determination -- including on a factual basis, not just a procedural one -- in federal court.

I'm sure there's more to it than what CNN says, but unfortunately, the CNN headline and lead paragraph lead me (apparently falsely) to believe that the Supreme Court upheld the existing law.

The rest of the story doesn't really clarify matters. I don't have time to read the decision now, I'll get to it later. slashdot.org

The "Bush Recession"

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It is quite reasonable to discuss Bush's reaction to the recession early in his term. You could argue he didn't do the right things, or didn't do enough of the right things, to help turn the economy around.

But you cannot argue that the recession was created by him. You cannot argue that he inherited a strong economy from Clinton.

Recession is most commonly defined as negative GDP growth -- that is, a shrinking economy -- for consecutive quarters. GDP shrinkage actually began in third quarter of FY2000, which nine months before Bush even took office, let alone was elected. The consecutive quarters of shrinkage ("the recession," by some definitions) began in October 2000, which was the quarter that Bush was elected, which ended before he took office.

The latest date I have seen for marking the beginning of the recession is March 2001, which was still a mere month after Bush took office, and long before any of his economic policies could have taken effect. And even then, the evidence is clear that the economy was severely weakened at least a year before that.

The facts are clear: Bush inherited a weak economy.

So please, let's put to rest the inane idea he inherited a strong economy. Feel free to talk about whether his policies after taking office were good or bad, but don't use the fact that we had a weak economy early in his term as evidence: you're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts. slashdot.org

I have been told repeatedly that McCain is a flip-flopper and hypocrite because he was against the Bush tax cuts, but now he wants to keep them. I tell them the obvious truth that the effects of removing a tax cut are not the same as having not enacted it in the first place, and this is why McCain opposes taxes increasing from whatever the current level is.

The Democrats don't accept it. They apparently believe that if you're against the taxes at a certain level, you must always be against them at that level, no matter what route is taken to get there; that the changes between different levels of taxation are immaterial, and that only the absolute value of tax rates matters.

Recently a woman was shot in Seattle, and the bullet lodged in her leg. Presumably, she opposed being shot (I hope there's no contention on this point). But now that the bullet is in her leg, she is likely going to leave it there, because her doctors say it would do more damage to remove the bullet.

I guess that makes her a flip-flopper and hypocrite, according to the Democrats.

Or maybe they just have trouble understanding that different things are, in fact, often different. slashdot.org

A Challenge

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Find any true / fair / accurate representations of Republicans in this video. I was unable to, maybe you'll have better luck.

It's yet another example of how the left is completely willing to lie as much as possible to win. slashdot.org

Seattle mayor Greg Nickels today willfully, knowingly, and illegally ordered city departments to violate the rights of Washingtonians, as expressed and defended explicitly in state law.

Nickels knows full well that his new executive order banning all guns on city-owned property violates RCW 9.41.290:

The state of Washington hereby fully occupies and preempts the entire field of firearms regulation within the boundaries of the state, including the registration, licensing, possession, purchase, sale, acquisition, transfer, discharge, and transportation of firearms ... Local laws and ordinances that are inconsistent with, more restrictive than, or exceed the requirements of state law shall not be enacted and are preempted and repealed, regardless of the nature of the code, charter, or home rule status of such city, town, county, or municipality.

Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske supported Nickels' illegal act. Both of them should resign for their blatant disregard of civil rights and state law. The job of both offices is to protect the rights and uphold laws of the people. If you can't do that, then you shouldn't be there. slashdot.org

I was just reading a bit on the Mark Steyn hubbub up north. He is being accused, essentially, of hate speech for writing an article about Islam.

He was in Vancouver B.C. in front of the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal last week. So I am reading about all the happenings, and I find a bizarre quote. Now, I see this sentiment often expressed outside U.S. borders, but it is still incomprehensible to me each time I see it. The Chief of the Canadian Human Rights Commission wrote, "Mr. Steyn would have us believe that words, however hateful, should be given free reign. History has shown us that hateful words sometimes lead to hurtful actions that undermine freedom and have led to unspeakable crimes. That is why Canada and most other democracies have enacted legislation to place reasonable limits on the expression of hatred."

Now let us examine the quintessentially American perspective of the issue, from James Madison in Federalist 10 (emphasis added):

By a faction, I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or a minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adversed to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community.

There are two methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; the other, by controlling its effects.

There are again two methods of removing the causes of faction: the one, by destroying the liberty which is essential to its existence; the other, by giving to every citizen the same opinions, the same passions, and the same interests.

It could never be more truly said than of the first remedy, that it was worse than the disease. Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency.

The second expedient is as impracticable as the first would be unwise. As long as the reason of man continues fallible, and he is at liberty to exercise it, different opinions will be formed. As long as the connection subsists between his reason and his self-love, his opinions and his passions will have a reciprocal influence on each other; and the former will be objects to which the latter will attach themselves. The diversity in the faculties of men, from which the rights of property originate, is not less an insuperable obstacle to a uniformity of interests. The protection of these faculties is the first object of government. From the protection of different and unequal faculties of acquiring property, the possession of different degrees and kinds of property immediately results; and from the influence of these on the sentiments and views of the respective proprietors, ensues a division of the society into different interests and parties.

Shorter Madison: it is impossible for us to change your opinions by force, so the only way to prevent you from expressing things we don't like is to take away your liberty to do so, but as that liberty is what we are trying to protect, that doesn't work either. So we'll instead work to control the potential negative effects of what you say, instead of destroying your right to say it.

Sounds good to me. Actually, it sounds like the only free and sane way to be. Anything less makes no sense to me at all. Yes, people hating people sucks. But government telling me I can't hate people, or express that hatred, sucks even more. I won't use the loaded word "fascist," but it is the exact sort of thing that many of the Americans before us fought and died for. Not specifically the right to speak hatred, of course, but the right to speak hatred is a necessary precondition of self-government, and that's something worth fighting and dying for. slashdot.org

Terrorist Fist Jab

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Granted, it is ridiculous to refer to what Obama did as a "terrorist fist jab." But on the other hand, that makes more sense than referring to a potential McCain presidency as a "third Bush term."

Maybe a more fair comparison, and certainly a more important one, would be that Obama's potential eight years in office would be a "sixth Castro decade." Or maybe, a bit scarier, a "second Carter term." Well, no, I take it back, those aren't fair comparisons to "third Bush term," because they are far more meaningful and accurate.

It's funny to me how people will be so selective in what utter nonsense they find offensive. I find about 80 percent of Obama's policies to be far more offensive than any junior-high namecalling you could dream up. But those are things that actually matter, so therefore we should not care about them, I suppose. slashdot.org

Even I didn't think they would go this far. Shows what I know.

Small passenger service airline Allegiant Air wants to have service at Paine Field in Snohomish County. Because the county has accepted millions of dollars from the federal government, it is prohibited from discriminating against any type of aviation use, including commercial service.

But the four Democrats on the County Council have vowed to do precisely that: discriminate against Allegiant Air, simply because of the service it provides. And now the FAA is threatening to pull funding.

The FAA made a point of noting that the county "is obligated to make areas available for lease on reasonable terms and negotiate in good faith," because the county clearly is not meeting those obligations.

Even if funding is pulled -- as perhaps some people would prefer to having Allegiant Air service -- it would still represent Snohomish County turning its back on its obligations, its promises. When you take the money, you are promising you will abide by the terms, not just at the moment, but for the future. The runways and so on are paid for with the expectation that aviators will not be discriminated against.

The Democrats on the Council are breaking the promise Snohomish County made. It's not right.

I personally couldn't care less either way about Paine Field. I don't live close to it. And if I did live there, I probably wouldn't want expanded air service. But rules are rules, and promises are promises, and I do have an interest in my county doing what it promises it will do. slashdot.org

Fred Walser, a Democrat running for the Washington State Senate in the 39th Legislative District, pled guilty to a gross misdemeanor of providing false information this week. He had been charged last month.

A few things don't add up. He originally plead not guilty, but now he says he is guilty, and accepts all the responsibility for the "clerical error" that led to the criminal charge. But he still implies he isn't guilty: he says he couldn't afford a lengthy legal battle, and why say that if he is accepting responsibility, since he is pleading guilty anyway?

And if he can't afford the legal battle, how can he afford the $20,000 fine and 240 hours of community service? How much would the legal battle have cost?

And where will he come up with that $20,000? I think his potential Senate campaign donors have a right to know that their donations to his election bid won't go to pay off his debt to society.

Will he finish the 240 hours -- six weeks of full-time work -- of community service before the election? If not, does he plan on performing it while in office? It seems his community service would take a lot of time out of serving the community. Hm. I hope he isn't going to try to convince the judge to let him count being in office as community service.

At least he has decided to drop his $10 million lawsuit against Sultan, as "all he wanted" was "to clear his name," and his admission of guilt took care of that.

Perhaps the most puzzling question of all is: what makes Walser think the public should trust him again? He committed a crime, said he didn't do it, threatened to sue the taxpayers over it, then finally admitted he did it. All's well that ends well, right? No harm, no foul. Let bygones be bygones. Etc. slashdot.org

More Fun with Dean Logan

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Poor, beleagured, Dean Logan can't catch a break. Granted, Logan -- of 2004-King-County-WA-governor-race infamy -- stepped into a bad situation, and I wish him the best of luck because I want all voting systems to, you know, work well. But it's funny how trouble seems to follow him, innit?

And Brad Friedman is not alone. Two years ago, my own name (I was running for PCO) was left off the Sequoia Voting Systems machines in Snohomish County. There was a blank space where my name should have been. I go into vote, I see "Henning PCO," and I see two spaces: one with a blank next to it, and one for a write-in (and no, for you computer geeks, I didn't change my name to ');).

I actually selected the one with a blank to see what would happen. When it showed me the preview, it was still blank. But when it printed up on the paper trail what my vote would be, it had my actual name.

I am a proponent of electronic voting. But I am a proponent of open systems with much good security and reliability and design. Which is kinda the opposite of what we've got now.

But it's still better than mail voting. slashdot.org

Obama's "Dirty" Politics

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I've been critical of Barack Obama and the Democrats, and I will be so again. I don't think anyone doubts this.

But this time, I am going to defend him.

I saw a completely ridiculous story on CNN last weekend that accused Obama of "dirty politics" in Illinois. I hate Media Matters -- basically, it exists to twist the truth in favor of liberals -- but it has the video so I'll link to it (and a transcript is on CNN).

CNN reporter Drew Griffin's claims boil down to, simply, that Obama committed "bare-knuckle" tactics by checking his opponents' ballot signatures, to make sure they were legal. His opponents' signatures were not legal, so they didn't get on the ballot, and he did, and won an unopposed race.

So Obama is "dirty" according to CNN because he not only followed the law while his opponents broke the law, but because he helped catch his opponents breaking the law.

CNN has a very odd definition of "dirty."

Griffin responded, "I know there are rules. But let me be real ... the guy that registered 150,000 voters, the all-inclusive candidate, 'let everybody have their vote,' makes sure he's the only guy on the ballot in 1996."

I can tell Griffin is trying to contrast Obama's past actions and statements for getting broad involvement in the political process with what he did in 1996, but for the life of me, I cannot see any contrast at all. Yes, register 150,000 voters ... legally. Yes, include everyone ... who is a legal citizen and legally registered voter. Yes, let everybody who is a legal voter have their legally cast vote. Those are all good things and not in any way conflicting with making sure his opponents followed the law in 1996.

Actually, now that I think about it, it seems to me that Griffin simply assumed that Obama was in favor of breaking the law. Since his only actual complaint about Obama in 1996 is that he upheld the law, the only way I can see a contrast is if he assumes that Obama is in favor of registering people illegally, of including voters illegally, and of allowing people to vote illegally.

This reporter obviously does not understand that when election laws are violated, it disenfranchises legal voters. Obama should be applauded for helping to uphold the law, not called "dirty" for it.

I just hope Obama and the Democrats doesn't attack any Republicans for upholding election law this year, as they often have in the past. slashdot.org

Irony Alert: "The Uprising"

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Liberal David Sirota wrote a book called "The Uprising," and on The Colbert Report last week, he described "The Uprising" as people who are "angry with the status quo, who think the establishment is not working for them, and frankly, it's not." He writes a lot about civil rights, worker's rights, and so on.

He adds at the end of the interview,

American history is the history of uprises. Every great achievement in this country came because of a movement. ... My hope for the election is that the election is a vehicle for the expression of the uprising, so that after the election, like after the 1932 election, we get something like the New Deal.

So, apparently, we are uprising because we feel like we don't have rights, and then, like in 1932, we respond by ... asking the government to take away more of our rights.

Ker-ay-zee. slashdot.org

CNN reports that Obama "clinched" the nomination. They say he has "secured" enough delegates to win.

Both claims are false.

To "clinch" implies that it is not possible for someone else to win. To "secure" a delegate means that the delegate is yours, and can't be taken away.

You probably see the point here. Hillary can still win, if superdelegates choose to switch to her. Obama therefore has not secured enough delegates to win, and therefore has not clinched the nomination.

All I am saying is that we should be a bit more accurate in reporting what is actually happening. It's so easy to be accurate. Say he currently has enough delegates to win the nomination. Even call him the presumptive nominee. That's all fine.

But those don't sound as sensational as saying that he "clinched" the nomination or "secured" enough delegates to win. slashdot.org

First it was Obama vs. Clinton. Now it's Democrat vs. Democratic.

Democrats have often taken it as a personal insult when their party is referred to as the Democrat Party, instead of its proper name, the Democratic Party. Their reasoning goes that the word "democratic" implies a positive connotation, and that people who refer to the party otherwise are intentionally trying to take that positive connotation away from them.

As Republican is both a noun and an adjective, the GOP doesn't have this problem.

And normally, this is not a problem on ballots either, as the parties used to define the party name for the government to put on the ballots. But with our new election system (and to be sure, it is not merely a new primary system, but a whole new two-tiered general election system), the candidates themselves write down whatever party they wish. And the Democrats themselves can't decide which is correct. Unless maybe there's a new Democrat Party that is not the same as the Democratic Party ... maybe it's a new way to confuse voters? I blame Karl Rove.

Of course, what this really shows is that most of the time when people say Democrat Party, it is not an intentional slight. We didn't really need this illustration of the principle, but some people did. And here it is.

(Thanks to Republican candidate for the 7th Congressional District, Steve Beren, for the tip.) 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."

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