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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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2004-12-10 - 8:26 p.m.

No Dearth of Subject Matter

What ever made me think that when Election Day had passed I would have nothing to write about in my blog? There is so much subject matter, I hardly know where to start. First of all, one can hardly pick up a paper or turn on the TV and not hear election fraud rumors – if not here in Iowa or Florida, then in the Ukraine. It has not been enough to have the votes in this country undoubtedly manipulated – if not actually at the polls, certainly by smear politics that have risen to a high art in recent years, we have our government manipulating the election in country that has been Democratic for 13 years.

But, now our once appointed and then finally elected (although some will question the legitimacy even now, given Diebold voting machine debacle), President Bush has had the audacity to strongly condemn the alleged fraud, rejected the official result and declared that “the will of the Ukrainian people must be respected.” The irony! I should think there would be just a bit of a moral dilemma over the certification of our own election, where startlingly similar problems have been noted. The U.S. Government Accounting Office received more than 57,000 reports of voter intimidation and voter suppression. There are also indications of potential systematic tabulation fraud in swing states, with some credible evidence mounting despite intense blocking efforts.

One would think the U. S. Government, bastion of Democracy, role model for the world, would see the irony here and hasten to correct the problem here before casting stones at another country.

Moral Dilemma – Moral Abyss – Moral Vacuum

Afraid to Look in the Moral Abyss
By James Carroll |Boston Globe, December 7, 2004

WHY DON'T we Americans look directly at the war? We avert our gaze, knowing that the situation in Iraq grows more desperate by the day. Vaunted "coalition" efforts to "break the back" of the "insurgency" have only strengthened it. The violence among Iraqis would surely qualify as civil war -- except that only one side is fighting. The structures of relief and repair are gone. Whole cities are destroyed, populations displaced. The hope of Iraqi elections is mortally compromised. "Coalition" members are dropping out. The mission of American force is to secure the country, but it can't secure itself. The performance of US intelligence has been consistent: Its strategic failures caused the war, and its tactical ignorance of the enemy is losing the war.

…The war itself is the American war crime. But that is lost in the "normalcy" of the news.

On the other side, it is the proliferation of suicide bombing that has come to seem normal. Soldiers commonly risk their lives for nation, honor, or buddy -- but they will not kill themselves with forethought, in large numbers, except for the most transcendent of reasons. The United States has given itself an enemy that shows by its central tactic that it is fighting for God.

Americans, meanwhile, are so confused about religion that we have just been through an election in which "religious values" were defined as key, but precisely in ways that kept the war out of the discussion. America's purpose in Iraq is a compound of such deflection, self-deception, half-measures, and shallow thinking. The opposition, meanwhile, is absolute and unblinking. That difference partly answers the question with which this column began, but mainly we avert our eyes because the war is a moral abyss. If we dare to look, as Nietzsche said, the abyss stares back.

Meanwhile, love him or loathe him, Rush Limbaugh nailed this one right on the head, I think. I remember thinking/wondering shortly after 9/11 when plans were being made to compensate the families of victims, should the government set this kind of precedent? I mentioned to my husband at the time, it is only a matter of time until the victims of the Oklahoma bombing want a piece of the action, too. How fair is this? We have yet to compensate the families of native Americans who were slaughtered when this country was “invaded” by immigrants and moved Westward. If anyone deserves compensation, it seems to me it would be them. And certainly, the families of those in the Armed Forces …well, just read what Rush has to say about it. I so rarely agree with him on anything, it is only fair to give him a pat on the back when I think he gets it right – and this time he did.

By Rush Limbaugh:

I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.

If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable. Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt.

Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough. Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers.

We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well.

You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent housing. Make sense?

… If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed them in harm's way receives a pension of $15,000 per month.

I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting.

"When do we finally do something about this?" If this doesn't seem fair to you, it is time to forward this to as many people as you can.

This week’s column by Joan Chittister gives the American voter plenty to think about.

Doubt, the New Substitute for Proof

Politics, I have come to believe, is both science and art. The science lies in its discovery of the messages it will take to get candidates into office. Its art lies in its display of the amount of righteous indignation it will take to get political enemies out of office. The science is called polling; the art is called smear tactics. Like I said…lots to write about.

Happy Holidays!

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