Friday, November 05, 2004


Old Ideas

This is a little tid bit I ran into today. Definitely food for thought.

It all reminds me of a line from a famous, or rather infamous, memo Pat Buchanan, then a White House staffer, wrote for Richard Nixon in, I believe, 1972 when their idea of the moment was what they called 'positive polarization'.

At the end of this confidential strategy memo laying out various ideas about how to create social unrest over racial issues and confrontations with the judiciary, Buchanan wrote (and you can find this passage on p. 185 of Jonathan Schell's wonderful Time of Illusion): "In conclusion, this is a potential throw of the dice that could bring the media on our heads, and cut the Democratic Party and country in half; my view is that we would have far the larger half."

And there you have it. Tear the country apart. And once it's broken, our chunk will be bigger.

It is from a reasonable reliable source.


Thursday, November 04, 2004


Quote - George Bush

"I earned capital in the campaign, political capital, and I intend to spend it."

Er... okay.


Orthodox Church Plans Priestly Marrage Service


Modern Greek women are said to be increasingly unready to marry men whose vocation calls for long beards and black robes to be worn at all times.

The Church says it wants to prepare women for marrying into the priesthood.

Greek Orthodox clergy are allowed to be married, as long as the wedding takes place before they are ordained.

Because of this rule, they are not allowed to remarry if the first match ends in divorce.

A meeting of Church leaders this week pledged to establish a committee that would look into "pastoral methods to obtain and prepare priests' wives", French news agency AFP reports.

The scheme may consider educating women about marriage to a priest so as to reduce the risk of later misunderstandings.

A Greek Orthodox clergyman, who did not wish to be named, told the BBC News website he was confident the 2,000-year old Church would overcome its latest difficulty.


130-year-old Chinese fire put out

BBC - In the last four years, firefighters have spent $12m in efforts to put out the flames at Liuhuanggou colliery, near Urumqi in Xinjiang province.

While ablaze, the fire burned up an estimated 1.8m tons of coal every year, according to China's official Xinhua news agency.

Local historians said the fire first broke out in 1874, Itar-Tass reported.

Hou Xuecheng, head of the Xinjiang Coalfield Firefighting Project Office, said the Liuhuanggou fire was the largest among eight major coalfield fire areas in Xinjiang.

The burning coal emitted 100,000 tons of harmful gases - including carbon monoxide and sulphur dioxide - and 40,000 tons of ashes every year, Mr Hou told Xinhua.

The continuing blaze is also thought to have caused environmental damage to the region.

Xinjiang accounts for 1.8 trillion tons, or 40.6%, of China's total coal reserves.


Voting Fraud

Since Kerry has conceded any attempt to track election fraud is for posterity. Here are a few examples:

Wired - The National Protection Coalition, composed of several nonpartisan groups that include the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Verified Voting, reported Tuesday afternoon it had received more than 600 calls from voters complaining about problems with e-voting machines around the country. A separate group, Common Cause, reported receiving 50,000 calls, though not all of them were related to voting technology. Both groups had established toll-free phone lines for voters to report problems.

The National Protection Coalition received 80 reports of problems in New Orleans where machines made by Sequoia Voting Systems failed to start on election morning, resulting in voters being turned away from polls because election officials didn't have a back-up plan. By late afternoon some machines still had not booted up. . .

In Florida, where George W. Bush won the 2000 presidential election by only 537 votes, 10 touch-screen voting machines failed at precincts in Broward County. Voters in Florida and Texas complained about calibration problems with touch-screen machines. Problems occurred when voters touched the screen next to one candidate's name and an "X" appeared in a box next to another candidate's name. The Election Protection Coalition also received more than 32 reports from various states that spread across all the top e-voting brands made by Diebold Election Systems, Election Systems & Software, Hart Intercivic and Sequoia.

These problems involved e-voting machines that appeared to record votes correctly when voters touched the screen, but indicated a different selection on the review screen before voters cast their ballot. In some cases voters had to redo their ballot five or six times before the correct votes took. . .

Voters in Palm Beach County, Florida, reported that when they went to vote on Sequoia machines some races on their electronic ballots were already pre-marked before they started voting. They had to ask poll workers to assist them in removing the selections from the ballot so they could start with a clean ballot. In some cases they weren't successful in doing this.

In Texas, voters casting straight-party tickets reported that machines cast ballots for candidates outside of their chosen party. For example, if a voter chose to vote straight Republican, rather than automatically marking all Republican choices on the ballot, the machine marked some Democratic choices.

Daily Kos - The assertion by pundits/Bushies that exit polling was 'way off', and thus, exit polls, which showed an easy Kerry victory in both Ohio and Florida, were incorrectly skewed and did not represent the electorate, is completely bogus. This is disproved in minutes by simply noting the entire rest of the suite of exit polls conducted by AP and distributed to the news media. . .

Notice, if you will, that states with a narrow or wide Bush margin of victory not called Ohio or Florida, project perfectly. Missouri leans to Bush in exit polls, and leaned to him in the vote. Tennessee likewise was favorable to Bush in exit polls, and it showed in the final results with a clear Bush margin of victory. Pick a state, any state, there is not one single exit poll off by more than a few percentage points in any semi-competitive race. Not one.

Except two: Ohio and Florida, the latter of which has already been "awarded" to Bush, and the former, which appears to nearly be a lock for him . . . George Bush's win in each of these 2 states is nowhere near what exit polls suggest. In Ohio, Kerry had a small but noticeable lead with both male and female voters, a rare thing for him as males have tended to favor Bush in this election by a small margin. Likewise, independent voters clearly broke for Kerry, by a 21 percent margin, 60-39. This is not anywhere near the result we are seeing now, and along with Florida, whom I will get to in a moment, it is a clear and blatant sign of voter fraud. I don't use that most dangerous of "F" words lightly, but I must call a wolf a wolf and a sheep a sheep, and this whole setup stinks like Karl Rove after he's ran 15 feet.


Election Results, Sort of

I came home yesterday evening, turned on the TV and found that Bush had won the election. Since that time I have had the chance to mull over what effect this would have on the world. Truthfully I see more questions than answers but I will share them with you all the same.

The first thing that will happen is Fallujah will be attacked. This has already begun. The question that this attack raises is how much restraint will be shown. Will the marines raze the city? or will their be some attempt to differentiate between insurgents and civillian? This will be our first measure of Bush without the limitation of a coming election.

Second question: How big will the deficit be? Prognosticating is not a science, but I have reason to believe that an unrestrained Bush administration will not be fiscal prudent. I expect to see very large deficits unless congress limits the spending. However, it is difficult for a republican congress to stop a republican president. The only other possible limit is if the world (read Japan and China) stops buying American debt.

Iran: The mullah's have been playing fast and loose with IAEA for the last year. They have quite likely been scrambling to create nuclear weapons (If I was on the list of the axis of evil I would be too). The Bush administration has not wanted to threatened war while the election was underway. This may change soon, especially considering the Bush adminstrations unwavering support for Isreal. Iran is the most active state supporter of Hamas, Islam Jihad and Fatah, the main palestinian terrorist groups. The evangelicals, and the neo-cons in the bush adminstration would like to see these groups destroyed and attacking their source of funding would be a way to cripple them. To the Bush adminstration Iran must be a tempting target, whether or not they act upon it is a different question.

North Korea: It is amazing how three words managed to tie to seperate problems into one thorny knot. By proclaming the "axis of evil" Bush has made sure that North Korea is watching everything that is happening in the middle east. If the US moves against Iran, North Korea will conclude that they are next. They have previously said that they will not wait for an American military build-up, but would lauch an attack as soon as they feel sufficiently threatened.

Cabinet: Powell has said that he would not stay for a second bush administration. Ashcroft has serious health problems, Rice wants to return to academia, and Rumsfield is getting old. CNN is already saying that Ashcroft will be resigning "in the near future". Count on Powell and Ashcroft leaving. Rice may be convinced to stay by offering her either the state department or defense. Wolfovitz has also been suggested as a person to fill these potential vacancies. The Bush administration has been characterized by strong ministers. Changing the key players will change the dynamic of the administration. I am not optimistic, previous vacancies have seen people promoted for loyalty and not competence. I expect this to continue.

Well, the bed has been made. Now we get to sleep in it.


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