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QUOTATION: People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing. - Walter H. Judd

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2004-09-30 - 11:01 p.m.

Kerry TKO'd Bush - No Doubt!

I’m impressed by Senator Kerry’s demeanor, intelligence, and debating ability. He stayed focused, looked at President Bush during his comments, and cogently moved the debate forward by adding new information while defending his position on several different fronts. My one disappointment was that he did not mention Latin America or Cuba in his comments. I think that would have resonated with the Latino and Cuban-American voters, and, after all, the debate took place in Florida, home to many Cubans. (But, of course, the topic was terrorism and Iraq, so I'll forgive him.)

President Bush, on the other hand, looked irritated, acted defensive and troubled and sometimes spoke almost incoherently. I almost felt sorry for him, but not quite.

For a transcript of the full debate.

Earlier today I spoke with my friend Nancy (actually since we talked for nearly an hour, I’m sure there’s another word for it than “spoke”). She just returned from Ohio where she and her four roommates from college spent the week, registering voters and campaigning for John Kerry. Yeah, Nancy!

She came home with mixed emotions though. The Ohio Travelers for Kerry campaign office was wonderfully organized, had lists of homes for them to visit, and were all business. She said, “They wasted no time in serving us coffee and doughnuts!” She was saddened by some of the very poor areas they visited, where the economic situation and health care are of primary concern. She was sorry not to have been better informed about Ohio’s laws about felons registering, because they ran into several who said they couldn’t vote. Some didn’t want to vote because of what she assumed was “deadbeat dad” child support follow-up issues. Others said they were afraid they’d be called for jury duty if they registered. How sad! To give up your voice in our government and one of the ways we can so easily serve for such selfish reasons.

She said that flags fly just everywhere there. At lunch a couple of weeks ago, Nancy and I both expressed our chagrin that it seems that not only our flag, but God, has been hijacked by the Republicans. Somehow flying a flag these days seems to indicate that you approve of all that is being done in the name of our Country and that you support not just our troops, but the Neocons and their fearless leader, George Bush. THEYKNEW’sblogtoday outlines our feelings well with her Bush's Toxic Campaign - God, Country, And Perpetual Fear.

The latest dirty blows are a contemptible one-two combination with which Team Bush has portrayed John Kerry as both the enemy of God and, if not exactly the ally of al-Qaida, then at least the terrorists' candidate of choice. To hear them tell it, a vote for Kerry is a vote against God and Country. Talk about hitting way, way below the belt.

Let's start with God.

It was revealed last week that the Republican Party has sent out an incendiary mass mailing warning that, if elected, "liberals" (and I'll give you one guess which presidential candidate that includes) will try to - I kid you not - ban the Bible.

She goes on to say…

“The president's preemptive invasion of Iraq has been such a boon to al-Qaida that the British ambassador to Italy called him the terrorist organization's "best recruiting sergeant." Even Bush's good buddy, Pakistani President Musharraf (a guy who can't afford to share W's delusions when it comes to matters of security), said last week that the war in Iraq has made the world "more dangerous" and "further complicated" the war on terror.”

While you're surfing blogs you might want to stop by and read an article, Government says We Need More Government by Republican Congressional Representative Ron Paul of Texas at HamiltonianAs Pubilius says, "He has spoken out against the crimes of both parties to get to the heart of the problems that plague the federal government. Unlike the rest of the bureaucrats and demagogues in Washington DC who spend their time watching the polls instead of doing what’s right versus what is wrong." A lot to think about...and perhaps talk to your Congressional representatives about.

Retreat an Defeat?

Peter Beinart, Editor of the New Republic, writes that we can expect a change of tone from President Bush after the election should he be elected in Whose 'Retreat And Defeat'? Beinart alludes to the Pentagon already making plans for a quick exit after the Iraqi elections, as it is already apparent that the Iraqis believe the insurgency will be lessened without American troops. We’ll see.

It’s Not Just FOUR More Years – It Could Be FORTY!

Remember, folks, it’s not just four more years we’re talking about here. It could be FORTY! Whoever is elected will have the opportunity to change the course of our country. Imagine an America where affirmative action in higher education is abolished, where the government could prosecute adults for consensual sexual activity, where abortion is illegal, and where what you read at the library and on the Internet can be scrutinized.

Imagine an America where government employees could be fired for belonging to the wrong political party, where McCarthyism could be revived, where citizens could be held indefinitely without recourse, and where the Environmental Protection Agency is stripped of its power, unable to safeguard our environment.

It could happen if George Bush elected President. That America could become a reality, because as many as three or four of the justices of the Supreme Court are expected to retire within the next four years. If they were replaced with right-wing justices who share radical views of Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas, justices whom President Bush has cited as his models, the orientation of the Supreme Court would shift dramatically. Such a court could subvert our most valued rights and liberties to the social agenda of the religious right and to corporate interests.

Voters may have different views on these specific issues, but it's clear that the next President will help determine the rights and freedoms of Americans for decades to come by his appointments to the Supreme Court. Urge your friends and neighbors to think carefully about the Supreme Court when they vote in November.

I Didn’t Hear About It, Did You?

203 Asian scholars from 13 countries published a public declaration appealing to U.S. voters

It must have gotten buried on some newsman’s desk. Joan Chittister’s column this week , however, reveals that Aug. 31, during the Republican National Convention, 203 Asian scholars from 13 countries published a public declaration, endorsed by 42 Asian organizations, appealing to U.S. voters "not to vote for a president who will turn Asia and the global society into America's enemy." The statement, they tell us, was released simultaneously in both New York and Japan, a nation that understands first-hand what war can do to a people for generations.

Most surprising of all, perhaps, is the fact that it is neither rant nor screed. It simply appeals to Americans to preserve the moral leadership that Americans have been seen before now to exert. The declaration makes four major points:

1. With the war in Iraq, America's leadership and its influence have crumbled worldwide. The Iraqi war, they say, is "immoral, unlawful and unjustifiable."

The real news about such a position as this is not that others are saying what the circumstances clearly demonstrate but that Americans, who claim to be the ultimate defenders of the rule of law, don't seem to mind the fact that they are in violation of international law. Nor does it bother them that the war was launched on insufficient and old -- very, very old --data. Nor does this church-going nation seem to think that the moral dictums they teach their children -- as in "thou shalt not lie," for instance, -- has anything whatsoever to do with politics and the standards we set for our politicians even when thousands and thousands of innocent people die because of it.

2. The unilateralism and militarism of the United States in this mis-directed war has evoked "broad and seething rejections from all corners of the globe." It is, they argue, only the first attempt of this new kind of United States to achieve US domination of the world.

Most ironic of all, they maintain, is the fact that because of US militarism, the world is much less safe than it ever was before the US launched its new doctrine of preemption. There is "unprecedented political unrest to the Middle East," they argue. And, most ironic of all, this campaign to "make the world safe for democracy" is now being used as an excuse for whatever political goals other authoritarian governments may have-as in the amendment of the Peace Constitution and the military rearmament of Japan.

They maintain that in its anger over 9/11, the United States has simply unleashed another arms race all around a world that is now using the fear of "terrorism" to justify it.

3. In a globalized and interdependent world, they insist, they have a right to make this appeal because this election is no longer a local affair.

What we do politically, as they see it, effects their countries as much -- sometimes more -- than it effects us. If the United States maintains its present policies, they mourn, "peace and democracy in Asia will be only a dream long gone" as other governments use the same tactics to eliminate human rights and suppress their own peoples.

"By the rest of the world, your country is looked at as an Empire," the document goes on, "looming large over the globe with pre-emptive strike doctrines and blind anti-terrorism policies depending heavily on macho military measures and ignorance of human rights ..."

It is easy to see how this letter could have been written to Julius Caesar, or Nikita Kruschev. But to George Bush II? To us? Have we really fallen this low? "The United States of American is looked at," the document says, "as the most dangerous and destructive nation in the world by civilized global societies."

4. Another America is possible, they remind us. The one that struggled against Hitler and Stalin, against Nazism and Communism, for the rights of all people everywhere.

It is an appeal for America to be American.

From where I stand, this is one of the saddest letters I have ever read in my lifetime. What else besides arrogance or ignorance can possibly account for the fact that as a nation these things don't seem to bother us at all? Most of all, how is that such positions never see the light of day in the very democratic country that stands to lose the most by being unaware of such anger, such pain, such global despair?

We all owe the Joan Chittisters of the world a debt of gratitude. We must at all costs preserve our basic freedoms, including freedom of the press and our right to protest and speak out – to vote. If you haven’t registered, please do. If you know someone who hasn’t, help him or her to do so. And be sure to remind everyone to watch the rest of the debates and to get out to vote on November 2nd.

And God Bless America!

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