Saturday, November 06, 2004

A win-win suggestion

With so many frightened Democrats looking to leave the country, why not consider a South-of-the-Border alternative. They need more asses down there.

When you speak of this, and you will, be kind.

Tim Blair reports on the psychological trauma this election has been for liberals.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

So much for healing

From a Netscape discussion on Why Kerry Lost. The first poster says it's because Kerry betrayed his Catholic faith. A respondent had these great insights [quotes from first post are in brackets]:
[He said he was Catholic, but didn't support those views and people with strong moral convictions saw right through his lies.]

Most really evil leaders have strong moral convictions. The pope doesn't approve of Bush so your argument doesn't make much sense unless you think firm evil is beter than pragmatic good.

[He supported Gays and pro-choice objectives.... Let this be a message to all politicians: the American people want pro-traditional family and pro-life leaders!]

Yep, you're a bigot and proud to be like all the other redneck bigots

[He was on both sides of many issues. There was too much uncertainty of who he was and what he stood for... I still don't know.]

The truth itself is on both sides and there are many things you're not bright enough or honest enough to know - but hey, enjoy four more years of war,declining income and turmoil. It's what you deserve.
I love civil dialogue in the morning!

I think the first poster was somewhat factual about factors that influenced people who rejected Kerry, but the second guy just seems gonzo. "All truly evil leaders have strong moral convictions"? "The truth itself is on both sides"? "You're a bigot" and "there are many things you're not bright enough or honest enough to know" The cogency of those arguments. Kerry feels the love.

How can you have a reasoned discussion with somebody whose best argument is "you're a bigot?" Granted nobody really expected a scintillating conversation here, but sheesh!

Tim Blair rools

Go here and click on Thursday. It's surreal to listen to all these guys who talk like Mick Dundee discussing American politics like they lived here. This Julian Ninio character sounds like a weenie. He's apparently an American, but I can't tell if he was born here by his accent. He's picking up the Aussie accent. He left the U.S. in protest against Bush's election became president, but he voted in California for Nader. His preference for socialism came through loud and clear. Yeah, he gets it. I'm sure his book sells better elsewhere than here.

Tim sounds much more sober and civil than I expected. Not at all like the voice that does the voiceover for the Outback Steakhouse commercials or the Foster's beer ads.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

I wouldn't say it quite that way

Steve Landburg boils down democracy to this: "The theory of democracy (stripped down to bare essentials, and omitting all sorts of caveats that I could list but won't) is that the guy who gets more votes is the better guy."

I'd say that we need leaders, and that an Athenian democracy is not practical. So we let the people decide at regular intervals who should make the laws and run things from day to day. That doesn't mean the ones they pick are the better leaders, just that the people should have the right to decide who they want making the decisions. I think that's why public opinion was against removing Clinton from office, even though most people didn't think he was the "better guy" once he became a national embarrassment. They just didn't want their votes being set aside.

Landsberg goes on:
You might have a strong preference for one candidate over the other, but if you have an overriding preference for democracy ("Let the majority rule, even when I'm in the minority"), then you can stop worrying about miscounts. Surely there's not much difference between a world where Bush gets 3 more votes than Kerry and a world where Kerry gets 3 more votes than Bush. If Bush is the rightful president in one of those worlds, he's got to be darn close to rightful in the other.
I wouldn't say that that either. To paraphrase the Book of Mormon, most of the time the majority of the people choose what's right. If they consistenly choose wrong, the whole people suffer the consequences, so there's a self correcting effect. But if the majority are perverse and choose wrong long enough, the who society goes down the tubes. That's why Democracy is the worst system of government except for all the others.


Ann Althouse recounts how the first day of "common cause" is going. I don't know how it's ever going to heal when half the country insists that if you don't approve of gay marriage you must be a hateful bigot. That's a recipe for permanent division, not healing. These are educated, nuanced people, yet they recite this line like an article of faith, dehumanizing the majority who don't much care what gays do in private, but don't want to live in the Castro district either. We seem to have thrown out the social contract and replaced it with an admonition that people can behave however they like in public and you'll keep your mouth shut about it if you don't want to be hauled into court.

What are the limits of democracy and the right of the majority to decide the natura of society should be? For a number of years, recently, some Baptist preachers decided that they should have the right to verbally assault the crowds of LDS members going to their semiannual general conferences in Salt Lake City, with bullhorns. When the church purchased a section of a street from the city and turned it into a public plaza with benches and fountains and flowers, but reserved the right to insist that no panhandling, vagrancy, street preaching and skimpy clothing were allowed, the ALCU and a local Unitarian congregation took the city and the LDS Church to court to protect these activities as protected freedoms. The plaza in question had become part of Temple Square and opened up an area around the Salt Lake Temple. Many wedding parties celebrated in the plaza taking photos with from the East with the front of the temple in the background. A few lay preachers took it upon themselves to interrupt these private events by intruding on the photos, haranguing the wedding parties with amplified warnings that they were going to hell, and other obnoxious behavior. The city's population is no longer majority LDS and they have elected a former ACLU attorney as mayor, so he basically sided with those who wanted to verbally abuse Mormons wherever and whenever possible in as loud and hostile a fashion as possible.

It occurred to me that this kind of stuff would normally be considered a public nuisance, but because of court decisions elevating Freedom of Speech above such presumed rights as the right to go through a public areas without being insulted and harangued, the kind of civility that used to be expected is no longer allowed to be guaranteed by the law. Even a wedding party on a public right of way was no longer protected from being spoiled by hostile disturbance from zealots of a rival relition. So much for public peace and quiet. No ordinance against disturbing the peace could stand up to the First Amendment. Even the right to assemble peacefully was subject to interference by jerks with bullhorns. That did not apply during the Winter Olympics, however, only to LDS General Conference.

This is what has caused me to reconsider my previous libertarian assumptions, when I realized that the Bill of Rights was trumping basic nuisance and public order laws.

I think that something similar is at least part of what those Right-way/Wrong-way poll results were about. And if you aren't allowed to have a say about what kind of behavior is acceptable in public and to a certain extent in your own neighborhood, what's the point of living in society? It's particularly troublesome when the courts allow themselves to be used by proponents of social change to impose it regardless of democratically-arrived-at laws. I think that a lot of religious conservatives already feel that their right to have a say in what is allowed in public life has been given short schrift. Maybe that's why the turnout for Bush was so great in the face of the turnout efforts of the Democrats, and why his support among blacks almost doubled. This year gay marriage was on the ballot in 11 states.

I believe that there must be a balance between public order, public safety, much of which are matters of perception, and the freedoms guaranteed in the Bill of Rights, which were intended to protect dissent and speechifying, but not harrassment and activities that put others in fear, such as the Nazis marching in Skokie Illinois. I think that courts should be capable of distinguishing the two, but they seem to think they are hamstrung by the preeminence of the First Amendment over the right to feel secure in one's home or even on the street.

Downtown Main Street in Salt Lake City is dying commercially today because the "walkability" of it has been ruined by vagrants and panhandlers. Businesses have closed and the city fathers are feeling the loss of sales taxes to suburban malls. The mayor thinks the answer is a more vibrant nightlife, which he thinks will result from more bars and nightclubs, but I doubt that this will make up for the daytime trade which has been lost because people no longer feel safe to just walk along main street and window shop without being accosted by panhandlers and mentally ill homeless people.

I generally believe that public life should be bland enough to be as inoffensive to as many people as possible, consistent with requirements of peace, order and safety, and that people should be tolerant and accepting of others' religions, race, cultural backgrounds and basic freedoms guaranteed by the constitution. That's why it doesn't bother me if the majority of those attending a football game want a prayer to open the fesitivities. That's why it's ok to drink alcohol, but not to drink and drive or be falling down drunk in public, for example. It's ok to be a nudist at home, but not in the shopping mall. And so forth.

I think that we no longer seem concerned by "a decent respect to the opinions of mankind." It's all about everybody being free to do his own thing, and that worries me.

Gag me with a spoon!

I'd been reading blogs complimenting Kerry for a classy concession speech. Then I found a link to a transcript. It starts as follows:
Thank you so much. Thank you, thank you. I love you. I love you, thank you. Thank you, thank you so much. Thank you so much. You just have no idea how warming and how generous that welcome is, your love is, your affection. And I'm gratified by it. I'm sorry that we got here a little bit late and little bit short.
Did they have to include that in the transcript? Did they include Dean's crazed "Yeaagh!" in the transcript? Somebody at the Times needs to edit that out!

Beyond that the speech was as gushy, maudlin and trite as every other concession speech I've ever heard. These have to be published in order to help the losers to accept defeat. It's good that Kerry repeated the obligatory litany about how we all need to come together now for the good of the country, but nobody really believes that. It's just part of being a gracious loser. The best concession I'ver heard was Adlai Stevenson's:
�Someone asked me, as I came in, down on the street, how I felt, and I was reminded of a story that a fellow-townsman of ours used to tell, Abraham Lincoln. They asked him how he felt once after an unsuccessful election. He said that he was too old to cry, but it hurt too much to laugh.�

I appreciate one thing Kerry said:
�In America, it is vital that every vote count ... but the outcome should be decided by voters, not a protracted legal fight.

I would not give up this fight if there was a chance that we would prevail, there won�t be enough outstanding votes for us to win Ohio, and therefore we cannot win this election.
The first part is important. I don't think this tactic of implying that someone has suppressed valid votes can lead to anything but division and a breakdown of civility. My answer to the challenges of vote counts in Florida would have been to keep the courts out of the vote counting processes. That is that elections can't be totally without flaws, but we have procedures and where they have been followed and there is no evidence of intentional fraud or skullduggery they have to be accepted for the sake of peaceful and timely transitions of power. That's why I'm so opposed to the tactic of filibustering judicial nominations. It puts one ideology above lawful process, by obstructing the process when it doesn't go your way. I don't think that either party should hold up nominations and use procedural tricks in the Senate to obstruct the process. I understand the problem of lame duck appointments, and I suppose that the best way to handle it would be to say that between the elections and the inauguration, no nominations should be submitted or acted upon.

As for being friends again, I'm going to wait and see. You don't call someone a liar, a chimp Nazi, Fascist, evil, murderer, imperialist, etc. and then forget all the bitterness and anger that made you say that stuff. I'd like for us to get over this little sojourn of the Democrats into madness, and I'm ready to forgive and forget. I became intemperate at times myself in response to some unusually hateful statements and tactics. But you don't let down your guard until you're sure it's safe.

You can't beat the blogs for bon mots

(Via Instapundit) Here's the best recap line so far:
First President Bush was misunderestimated.

Now he has been unredefeated.

Bush! It was close but not enough that they could cheat.

NPR is reporting that throughout the red states exiting voters told pollsters that the major issue for them was "moral values." That suggests that gay marriage was a major concern that got a lot of people out to vote for Bush. Who'da thunk it.

I'm not feeling triumphant, although I was hoping Bush would win. It never occurred to me that gay marriage was an issue in voting for president. I feel sad that the country is so closely divided.

I am very bitter, though, toward the media. Their talk about journalistic ethics is a crock. They excuse partisan coverage with the claim that their job is to "hold those in power accountable," but that just won't wash.. CBS and the NYTimes deliverately targeted Bush and participated in October surprise strategies, aimed at meddling with politics. They should start running the "Yellow Kid" comics again.

As far as I'm concerned the role of the media is to report current news accurately, regardless of who it favors or hurts. That's the only ethical issue for journalists; Keep the editorial content out of the news pages.

Daschle got beat. I'm sure the $25.00 I sent Thune did the trick. I hope this will send a message to the Dems in the Senate about filibustering judicial nominees. They risk becoming irrelevant, especially if they keep working to make voter fraud easier and litigation to win close races. This isn't a case of wanting every vote to count. It's wanting illegal votes to count and absentee ballots from the military not to count. Ed Rendell should be ashamed. This is the kind of vote fixing that should have died with Richard J. Daley.

Resorting to lawsuits to determine election outcomes is playing with fire. They played that card in 2000 and then spent the next four years whining about the fact that it didn't work. They need to focus on restoring their credibility on Red State issues. Labor unions, ethnic minorities and gays is not a strategy with promise. Machine politics is not democracy. An educated and informed electorate should be the goal, not bloc voting like automatons.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Just past midnight on the East Coast

Bush has won Florida convincingly.

Ohio is still hanging, as the most urban areas are still to report. Nope, Fox just called it for Bush. That pretty well cinches the election unless the Democrats' lawyers can change it.

Alaska is expected to go for Bush, 62% to 35%. The Bush campaign says it's cofident of winning Nevada, because the voting from Las Vegas was much improved for Bush over 2000. New Mexico, Iowa, Wisconsin are still toss-ups. I can't get any network sites to load, but Fox's coverage is pretty good.

CNN isn't calling Ohio for Bush, neither has CBS or ABC. They're waiting for provisional votes to be reported. NBC has called it for Bush, but they're doing a eulogy of Kerry and the Democrats.

Election jitters

I haven't been this nervous for a long time, even when I was on the ballot. I came home from work early when the power went out at 4:30 p.m. MST and hadn't come back on 20 minutes later. I started my laptop to see if there was any news on the internet, but found that Instapundit, Power Line, and Captain's Quarters wouldn't come up. A few minutes later, the power came back on, and I turned on Fox and found Brit's "All-Stars" talking about the vote as if Bush had lost. Sinking feeling. Finally got RCP to open, and found that it was predicting just under 300 electoral votes for Bush. As I finally got some blogs to download, the picture looked better.

There have been some pretty bitter columns, from E. J. Dionne and Richard Cohen. The Bush-hate is still spewing. Perhaps these morons also have that sinking feeling.

There have been some calls for pledge taking like this one from Dean Esmay:
[Whoever wins,] I will refuse to call him traitor, loser, liar, incompetent. He will be my President, my Commander In Chief, the Chief Executive of a great nation, elected by the will of a majority of the electors in these 50 great united States. So even if he does things I disagree with in conducting foreign policy, I will say, "I respectfully disagree with the President's directions, but I will do my best to express my dissent respectfully and hope that I am mistaken and that he has made the proper decisions after all."
Or this one from Jeff Jarvis:
After the election results are in, I promise to:
: Support the President, even if I didn't vote for him.
: Criticize the President, even if I did vote for him.
: Uphold standards of civilized discourse in blogs and in media while pushing both to be better.
: Unite as a nation, putting country over party, even as we work together to make America better.
Fine, if Democrats and other liberals have realized that they have been acting and talking like barking moonbats since 2000, I welcome them back to civil discourse. I don't feel any shame for what I have said or written about Kerry. He is a boring, arrogant jerk. I didn't say he was a traitor, a moron, a Marxist, a deserter, a cokehead, a murderer, or any of the other things that people on the left have been saying about Bush. I do think that his anti-war activities upon his return home were cynical and intemperate and caused harm to this country generally and to his fellow veterans and POWs being held by the North Vietnamese specifically. I'm willing to let others decide whether such a person deserves to be called a patriot.

The Swiftboat Vets are entitled to their opinions, having seen Kerry in action during his heroic third of a year in Vietnam, they were in a better position than I to judge. Should they take these pledges? Only if they are willing to admit being hypocrites.

If I have to promise anything, I'm more inclined to take the Spoons pledge. If Kerry gets elected, it will have been with the substantial and monetarily valuable support of the mainstream media. I will never forgive them. They are in my mind Elsworth Tooheys, as greedy for power as they claim Bush and Cheney are for oil. They are the Pharisees of our time, whited sepulchres, hypocrites, arrogant and dishonest. They promoted campaign finance reform, all the while knowing that the only way to overcome the tidal wave of disinformation they were purveying would be to buy air time. If the FEC were to charge them with donating illegally to the Democrats through in-kind contributions of PR, they'd squeal like stuck pigs about their First Amendment Rights. They'd be right, but they'd never admit that their own bias is what makes such "reform" more of a trick bag than real reform. The only way to redress this problem if for the owners of these enterprises to imitate Roger Ailes by serving the markets for news that they have ignored.

Thank goodness for media pundits!

I like Michael Barone a lot, but sometimes he's a bit too coy:
My theory: The news media, much of it heavily biased, has been a more effective Bush opponent than Kerry and the Democrats. That's why both Kerry and John Edwards in debates urged voters to remember what they've been seeing on television.
Without the broadcast media and the vast majority of print, Bush would be 20 points ahead. The good news is that talk radio and the internet are making inroads into the consciousness of the nation. The old media have tried ignoring, then dismissing, then just dissing them, but they're going to have to take them into account in the future. No blogger is going to threaten the business of the NYTimes, as much as that is devoutly to be wished, but it will never have the unquestioned confidence of anybody but NPR and CBS from now on.

Monday, November 01, 2004

How you're supposed to vote

Like this, not early, not registered by some paid flunky, not given a ride on a party-hired shuttle, and not illegally. For all the hoohah about wanting every vote to count, I think every vote should be a real vote, not a clone of some labor leader or ACT or the NAACP. I was raised Republican, but I've never voted a straight ticket, even when I was a Republican County Chairman.

There's an old story that in Carbon County, north of here, which was populated by many immigrant coal miners from Greece, Yugoslavia and Italy, the illiterate miners were told by the party organizers to "put the X under the chicken," which referred to the practice of printing a picture of a rooster for the Democrat slate. I don't remember what the Republican ballot symbol was. I don't object to these people voting, even if they have to have ballots in a language other than English, I just don't want them to be pawns for some ward heeler.

I like using paper ballots. We use optically scanned ballots, and while I'm sure some ballots don't get counted because people don't mark them well enough to be read, I think it's the job of the voter to make sure. I think that voters who have to be cajoled into voting are worse than non-voters.

I'm liking Instapundit as a group blog

Megan McArdle has been reading and thinking about Osama's first excursion into democratic politics. He's as dumb and as dishonest as Michael Moore if he thinks Al Qaeda will bankrupt the U.S. Of course, he has an excuse. Moore doesn't.

The Osama-Moore Connection

Megan McArdle asks, "SHOULD WE BE BOTHERED because Osama seems to have gotten a helping hand with his propaganda from Michael Moore?" Not especially. What we should be bothered by is the fact that the arguments being made by a major party were so suitable for a terrorist's message. But I guess that would reflect badly on their patriotism, and John Kerry won't have that.

We can afford to bail out on Iraq, but can they afford it?

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Is Osama a Democrat?

If not, how did he get ahold of their talking points to use in his latest video. Maybe Michael Moore is writing for him. It sure sounds like it. Aid, comfort and script writing for the enemy.