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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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2004-10-01 - 5:26 p.m.

A Trainwreck!

Vancookie, a Diaryland blogger, came up with a rationale for Bush’s poor performance last night that I hadn’t thought of…“There's a part of me that thinks he really wants to lose. He's on this runaway train that he can't get off. He's overwhelmed by his job and he wishes Karl and Dick would just be quiet for a minute and let him sleep. But we all know that railroad company is gonna do everything it can to win this election, and if they can't win they'll do everything they can to steal it.”

Our President Has No Clothes

Read theyknew's blog for today. She tells it exactly as it is.

Something's Rotten in the State of Florida

Speaking of which, we all remember Florida last year. I just read Something Rotten in the State of Florida by Andrew Gumbel, Independent U.K., Wednesday 29 September 2004, an overview of election possibilities in Florida 2004, that sent chills up my spine.

The mess that is Florida nevertheless came as a profound shock to a group of international election monitors who toured the state last week. Dr Brigalia Bam, who chairs South Africa's Independent Electoral Commission, was stunned by the patchwork of jurisdictions, rules and anomalies. "Absolutely everything is a violation," she said. "All these different systems in different counties with no accountability... It's like the poorest village in Africa." November could be another agonisingly long month in American politics.

Introducing John Kerry

Here’s an excerpt from Introducing John Kerry by William Rivers Pitt, a New York Times and international bestseller of two books - 'War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know' and 'The Greatest Sedition is Silence.' It’s well worth reading and sending to your friends and family.

A life of service and study crafted a man of depth, of intelligence, who can see all the sides of any issue and incorporates all available data before making a decision. The opponents he has faced and defeated throughout his career have enjoyed painting him as vacillating, as indecisive, as a man who holds several positions at once in order to cover his political backside. In truth, these incomplete views on John Kerry are born from a modern political landscape that cannot fathom a man who is judicious, contemplative and thorough, because such attributes have been all too absent from our political discourse.

Judicious, contemplative and thorough. In a dangerous world, made vastly more dangerous by politicians who think in violent black and white because simplicity polls better and fits into soundbites, a man like John Kerry may seem out of place. He is, in fact, in exactly the right place at exactly the right time.

Growing Pessimism on Iraq

An excerpt from Growing Pessimism on Iraq by Dana Priest and Thomas E. Ricks, The Washington Post, Wednesday 29 September 2004

People at the CIA "are mad at the policy in Iraq because it's a disaster, and they're digging the hole deeper and deeper and deeper," said one former intelligence officer who maintains contact with CIA officials. "There's no obvious way to fix it. The best we can hope for is a semi-failed state hobbling along with terrorists and a succession of weak governments."

"Things are definitely not improving," said one U.S. government official who reads the intelligence analyses on Iraq.

"It is getting worse," agreed an Army staff officer who served in Iraq and stays in touch with comrades in Baghdad through e-mail. "It just seems there is a lot of pessimism flowing out of theater now. There are things going on that are unbelievable to me. They have infiltrators conducting attacks in the Green Zone. That was not the case a year ago."

This weekend, in a rare departure from the positive talking points used by administration spokesmen, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell acknowledged that the insurgency is strengthening and that anti-Americanism in the Middle East is increasing. "Yes, it's getting worse," he said of the insurgency on ABC's "This Week." At the same time, the U.S. commander for the Middle East, Gen. John P. Abizaid, told NBC's "Meet the Press" that "we will fight our way through the elections." Abizaid said he believes Iraq is still winnable once a new political order and the Iraqi security force is in place.

...And Respected Again in the World

In today’s New York Times, Paul Krugman in America's Lost Respect wrote:

As a result of the American military," President Bush declared last week, "the Taliban is no longer in existence."

It's unclear whether Mr. Bush misspoke, or whether he really is that clueless. But his claim was in keeping with his re-election strategy, demonstrated once again in last night's debate: a president who has done immense damage to America's position in the world hopes to brazen it out by claiming that failure is success.

Three years ago, the United States was both feared and respected: feared because of its military supremacy, respected because of its traditional commitment to democracy and the rule of law.

Since then, Iraq has demonstrated the limits of American military power, and has tied up much of that power in a grinding guerrilla war. This has emboldened regimes that pose a real threat. Three years ago, would North Korea have felt so free to trumpet its conversion of fuel rods into bombs?

But even more important is the loss of respect. After the official rationales for the Iraq war proved false, and after America failed to make good on its promise to foster democracy in either Afghanistan or Iraq - and, not least, after Abu Ghraib - the world no longer believes that we are the good guys.

Let's talk for a minute about Afghanistan, which administration officials tout as a success story. They rely on the public's ignorance: voters, they believe, don't know that even though the United States promised to provide Afghanistan with both security and aid during its transition to democracy, it broke those promises. It has allowed the country to slide back into warlordism - and allowed the Taliban to make a comeback.

These days, Mr. Bush and other administration officials often talk about the 10.5 million Afghans who have registered to vote in this month's election, citing the figure as proof that democracy is making strides after all. They count on the public not to know, and on reporters not to mention, that the number of people registered considerably exceeds all estimates of the eligible population. What they call evidence of democracy on the march is actually evidence of large-scale electoral fraud.

… But the rest of the world has already lost faith in us. In fact, let me make a prediction: if Mr. Bush gets a second term, we will soon have no democracies left among our allies - no, not even Tony Blair's Britain. Mr. Bush will be left with the support of regimes that don't worry about the legalities - regimes like Vladimir Putin's Russia.

Last night pretty much convinced me that President Bush really is that clueless. I'm horrified to think that he is actually participating in summit meetings with foreign leaders. We must be the laughingstock! This is only an excerpt…I hope it will motivate you to check out the whole article.

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