Yankee Blog

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Fun and games...

I have been amusing myself at times over the last few days by imagining how great a George W Bush concession speech would be to watch. Seeing that smug, arrogant man humbled by a second straight failure to convince the majority of Americans to vote for him would be excellent. He will probably be a stammering mess. I am sure that he will do some conventional things, like thank his supporters and will do fine, but how will he handle having to be gracious in defeat.

Do you think he will still maintain that we are at war and need to be united behind our Commander in Chief? I think it more likely that he will lay the future groundwork for blaming Kerry for any future terrorist attacks. If it is somewhat close, but not razor thin, do you think he will say something like it is more important to put the good of the nation ahead of his own ambitions? I doubt it.

There are times when I think about how this could play out that he just might refuse to accept the results of the election. He will claim something like there was just widespread voter fraud and that he will remain in the White House until it is all investigated. At that point things could get very ugly, like blood in the streets ugly. I hope that it does not happen, but I would put the chances at a real, yet marginal 5%.

What I hope for is that the message our nation sends is loud and clear. Bush is not the leader that we want. We don't embrace his politics of fear and policy for special interests. We want to reluctantly go to war, not gleefully and ignorantly. We want a government that can be open and honest with the people and not rely on lies and deception to get its message across.

I sincerely hope that this election produces not just a Democratic President, but a more responsible Republican party. I want the choice to be real and not forced on me. I want to actually think that what the Republican promises he might deliver and be capable of doing it well. I hope that there is some massive bloodletting from the Republican party, and that several people go to jail, but I don't want to see the GOP crippled for decades as a result.

More questions...

I realized that I forgot two questions. Maybe you want to vote, know who to vote for, but don't know where to go. Well, assuming you are registered (and if you are not shame on you), you can just go to MyPollingPlace.com and enter your address and zip code and find the location you go to vote. It is impressive what the internet can do today.

Now, let's say you are confused about your rights as a voter. Well, after the last election a few people thought this might be an issue. So a variety of groups have put together information about your rights as an American voter (again, assuming that you are registered). You can read the DNC's version of voting rights. You also might want to print out the form to distribute to your friends and co-workers.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Why should I do anything else?

Read the earlier posts and you will see that this eleciton matters. Unfortunately in our "democracy" not all votes are created equally. There are lots of votes that end up being meaningless. In addition the vote of someone who cares very deeply about the outcome can count a lot less than a vote cast by someone who decides on the basis of which candidate they would rather have a beer with.

But by volunteering and asking your friends to vote you are overcoming these problems. Let your passion make a difference. Each person you call or drive to the polls increases the impact that you have in the election. It can be your personal protest against the electoral college.

Additionally it would be a shame to wake up on Wednesday morning, be stuck with four more years of Bush, and know that you did not do everything possible to prevent that from happening. Doing more than just voting will make sure that you wake up on Wednesday morning with a smile.

What else can I do?

You should first vote. Then comes the next part. Here are just a few ideas:

You can volunteer for the Kerry Campaign. Just click on this link and they will find a way to put you to use. It might be making phone calls, it might be going door to door. It might be driving people to the polls or it might be standing on a corner with a sign. All of these things make a difference.

You can also volunteer with MoveOn or ACT. These organizations are dedicated to making sure that the right to vote is preserved for every American. Help them out and you will be helping John Kerry put our nation back on the right path.

You can also just make sure that your friends vote. This election matters...big time. And it is important to remind all your friends that it does. Call them early on election day and remind them to vote. If they are hestitant, just ask them to consider it a personal favor. People care about you, and if you make it clear that this matters to you, than it should matter to them as well.

Why should I vote?

First, you should vote because you have the responsibility to do so. Democracy does not work if people don't vote. I think we saw in the 2000 election that every vote can matter.

Of course there is the little thing called the Electoral College that is fundamentally un-democratic. But even though some votes mean a lot less in selecting a President it is still important to send a message. I will have a lot more confidence saying that Bush does not represent America if he lost two straight popular votes.

But that is just why you should vote in general. For this election the stakes are so high and the candidates are so different. We need to send a message that failure is not a basis for re-election. If the way Bush has treated America and Americans over the last four years is not repudiated it will only be worse in the next four years. And the only chance you have to send that message is on November 2nd. So take the time, even if it is all day in line, to make your voice heard.

Who should I vote for?

If you are seriously asking this question at this point in time I really wonder what you are thinking. Read just about anything in this blog and it will be pretty clear what I think. But there are two major types of reasons why you should vote for John Kerry. The first is that our nation will be a better place with John Kerry and a worse place with another four years of George Bush. The other one is that Bush and the Republicans are engaging is some of the most despicable moves to undermine this election and that alone is a reason to preserve our democracy and let these people know they cannot steal an election.

On the policy side, let me just provide a few links to posts from the past year that highlight Kerry's strength and some of the larger failures of the Bush administration. First, check out this speech by Kerry on our foreign policy challenges. I really think that speech was a turning point of the campaign and gave Kerry momentum into the debates, which he dominated. And remember his convention speech. That was the best vision of a different America I heard in a long time.

But what about Bush's failures (and there are many). Think we are just losing troops in Iraq, and that is a price we should be willing to pay? Read about how our failure impacts our ability to intervene in other areas, like the Sudan. Remember the hate fest that was known as the GOP convention, I thought that was a low point in our nation's politics, only to be surprised how much worse they have been since then. How awful is it that when a story comes out about our failure to secure explosives in Iraq the Pentagon spokesperson dedicates himself to trying to spin the story.

And looking back to Iraq, read what I wrote on the eve of that war. It is chilling how much has failed since those days and how wrong I was to trust our government. It is helpful to be reminded how screwed up our intelligence was before our invasion of Iraq. But if you want to remember the symbol of this war that sums up our failure best, look no further than the hooded and wired up Iraqi prisoner. It is tragic that the US invaded to bring freedom and all we did is provide millions of Muslims with a symbol of US oppression. We have created far more terrorists with our Iraqi mis-adventure than we have eliminated.

I am always chilled to think how fighting terrorism is our highest priority, until it starts to make sense to outlaw weapons that could kill hundreds in minutes, which are sold right here in America. And also on the domestic side, how about hate being put into our Constitution. Let's not forget the deficit and tax cuts, we are putting our nation into debt today, and that debt will be borne by my generation and our children. That is not responsible policy.

Finally, here is what I thought was going to be my last word on this election. But you don't have to take my word for, read what the New York Times has to say or what the New Yorker has to say. And if you don't actually think about those arguments because it is just "the media" than our nation is in worse shape than I thought.

Now on the stealing the election side, there are a lot of stories that I could reference, but just take a look at this post and you will get a sense of what I think about this. If you want to read some more stories about election fraud, then check this out, or this, or this, or this. And remember the Swift Boat Veterans for Destroying American Democracy. At some point the stories just start to make you sick. You have to wonder about a democracy where one side believes that their best chance is to lie and try to make it more difficult for some groups of people to vote than others. For those on the fence, just think about how privledged you are to have the right to vote, and think about which side is more interested in seeing the election reflect the views of all Americans.

A series of posts...

I have been silent on the blog for the week, but I am about to spend my day writing a series of posts. Each post will try to answer a question about the election. These questions will be:

Who should I vote for?
Why should I vote?
What else can I do?
Why should I do anything else?

So, let me try to get right to this. For my purposes, each of these questions will be a different post.

Friday, October 22, 2004

In jail without a key...

This is the most disgusting thing I have ever read. These people really should be thrown in jail and have the key thrown away. People who try to discourage people to vote are the most virulent anti-Americans in the world. They are terrorists. There are not enough words for me to express the anger that I feel towards these people.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

I wonder...

Starting from the assumption that all parties involved are sane, the only explanation I have for this story is that Bush and Co. really must have done something to piss off Pat Robertson. If that is the case, it is a great example of doing something little that really screws someone over.

Now the assumption that all parties involved are sane is certainly open to questioning.

Great post...

The Decembrist comes through again with a classic. This post about the sewage pit that American conservatism has become puts down what I have been thinking and unable to articulate for a long time. In my work I come across a lot of serious Republicans. These people are owners of small and mid-size businesses. They look at what they have accomplished and only see government as a hassle to them. There is something to this view. These people encounter tons of red tape every day and some (not all) of it is nothing more than a pain in the ass. For government to do its job as well as possible you need times when new regulations are passed and times when the regulations that don't work are tossed out.

But what are seeing today is so beyond the pale that it is not working to a productive end. Bush and DeLay are not trying to roll back regulations that don't work, they are just working to expand the government in ways that control peoples' lives, while getting rid of regulations that work. It is the opposite of what conservative government is supposed to be.

Now unfortunately politics today is not about debating the issues that affect people's lives, rather it is about tribal loyalty. The small business owners and other traditional Republicans are so distrustful of Democrats (due to divisive rhetoric) that they are unable to see when Bush and DeLay are betraying the faith their party and their nation put in them. It is this sad state of affairs that Jon Stewart was railing against on Crossfire last week.

But all of what I am saying now is about the same as what Kevin Drum wrote in this post where he compares George Bush with Jimmy Carter (although I really have no idea what Carter did that is so bad, but I was 5 when he left office so I might have missed something).

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Because I am angry...

Dan Drezner has been on an epic campaign to stay on the fence regarding who he is going to vote for this year. Dan is historically a Republican, he supported the invasion of Iraq, but he also thinks about things and is willing to look at how things really are. His most recent post put his chances of voting for Kerry at 80%, but he put up a last minute plea for comments that might change (or reinforce) his decision. And I just need to take a few minutes to refute and ridicule the idiocy of some of the arguments for re-electing Bush.

Comment #1:
I fear for the future of this country when 1,000+ dead in a country of 290 million is considered too high a price to pay for what our ancestors willingly sacrificed everything for.

This is just silly, people are not bothered by the number of deaths, they are worried because those deaths are not making us safer, and the entire invasion of Iraq has only undermined our credibility in the world and made more people really, really, like terrorist angry with us. Ten thousand deaths of brave soldiers would not be too high a price for peace, but with the way we are waging this war those deaths right now are only a sign of pending defeat.

Comment #2:
I fear Kerry has been able to get by on anti Bush sentiment to this point and, if he is elected, we are going to regret it sooner and later.

Well, the Bush campaign had a chance to make the campaign about Kerry and they failed. The focused on a made up story attacking his heroism from three decades ago. If you actually listen to what Kerry has said in the debates, and what he has said throughout the campaign you will see that Kerry has a better vision for America. The Bush campaign insists on repeating that Kerry is a Massachusetts Liberal, but that is just a meaningless label. But the fact is that a re-election campaign should be about the incumbent. If Bush did a good job he would deserve to be re-elected, but he did not, so we need a change. That is the way the world works.

Comment #3:
I understand the fear that a second administration may be taken as a validation of bad policy decisions. However, I think that is unlikely. I think most people, and the president especially view this election not as a referendum on the policy decisions, but on the foreign policy instincts.

OK, now we are drifting into the world of denying reality. America is not going to be judged and our peace will not be determined by good instincts. We are going to be judged by the decisions and the results of those decisions. We cannot just create our own reality out of our instincts, but have to deal with reality. Bush has screwed things up, that is the reality, and we have to deal with reality, not with "instincts".

Comment #4
Kerry's doctrine seems to be best described by a do-nothing approach unless (a) we get the green light from a variety of non-U.S. actors, including those who may or may not have adverse interests in the U.S. in taking the action, and (b) the threat is so imminent as to be completely unavoidable.

Again, please listen to what Kerry actually says. That refutes the first part. But more troubling is this belief that we really should be attacking everywhere in the world just because we have a hunch (that might be wrong) that they are a threat. When did it become our job to attack every nation in the world? What is bad with trying to work with the rest of the world to stop threats?

Comment #5
I might be moved to vote for Kerry, if only I thought he had any character. And if only he weren't a Democrat.

Well, this one is at least honest. I feel like this is the real reason why most people stick with Bush, and it has nothing to do with records, beliefs, and policy positions. It is just about the label, and when labels trump all else that is not a good decision making process. I think the only people who continue to be believe that Kerry has not character are those who are willing putting their heads in the sand, and voting purely based on a label is good indication of that.

Comment #6
Kerry's problem is not that he has excessive faith in diplomacy, it is that he doesn't understand the nature of diplomacy at all...Diplomacy had failed to bring Saddam into compliance with international will not because more countries needed to scowl disapprovingly at his obfuscation, but because he had no reason to believe he personally would suffer.

Well, actually diplomacy was ready to work. Bush could have had a great victory in Iraq if he was ready to take it. He got the authority to invade, he went to the UN, he got the inspectors in, and he could have left them there and demonstrated that as a victory over Sadaam. But Bush ignored that process. Kerry talks about it. The absence of data on Kerry is just a function of being a challenger. That ends up being the core of many arugments for Bush, and it basically boils down to vote for Bush because we can't change Presidents now. And that just gets me mad. That is not an argument for Bush, but an argument for dictatorship.

OK, I am tired and sick of this crap. Bush voters are not going to change, because they don't deal with reality or objective examination of facts. The media also sucks, they seem to have no desire to call Bush out on his lies and mis-truths. They allow this election to be about who is willing to tell the biggest lie.

It would be sad...

The New York Times has made official what anyone with half a brain would have seen coming for months. That they are endorsing John Kerry for President. And while making it official is not really noteworthy, the editorial is worth reading. It is ruthless in laying out what harm Bush has done to our nation and what little concern he actually has for the national interest. In reading it I started thinking it was over the top, and it was sad to just pile on a President who is so clearly a horrible leader for our nation. A horrible leader at any time, but an especially tragic choice at a time when the stakes are so high.

But you know what, it is not over the top and it is not sad. It is entirely neccesary because we have an electoral process that completely sucks and we have a vast number of citizens who are so willing to stick their heads in the sand and vote on the basis of such idiotic reasons as which person they would rather have a beer with.

I am pretty sick and tired of people calling our nation the best in the world. We have a lot to learn from the rest of the world. We could be great, but our greatness is hampered by our almost willful ignorance of reality and our horrible Electoral College that completely skews the political process. Maybe someday these things will change, but in the meantime the only reasonable thing to hope for is to have Bush removed from office and give some grown-ups a real mandate to try to fix the mess that Bush has created in our nation and in the world.

Friday, October 15, 2004


I have a friend who believes that everybody who commits election fraud and takes votes away from people who have the right to vote should spend a long time in prison. I agree. People who try to take away the right to vote are essentially saying our government is not for certain people. This is lower than low. It is only done by the kind of scum that lives off the slime that grows in the darkest corner of the wettest, dirtiest pools of sewage. And while I believe that these people will be punished ultimately for their deeds, that is little consolation while they are conspiring to take away the representative nature of our government and pose a real threat to our democracy. I do hope that we have

Thursday, October 14, 2004


I really am sorry for not posting more. I just checked the stats on this site, and for some reason I am getting more visitors a day that I did a year ago when I was writing several posts a day (it is actually interesting to read them...at least for me).

I have said this before, but let me say it again, the problem really is that there is nothing left to say. I have made it quite clear that Bush is the worst President ever. I don't really think it makes a difference to add another reason to the pile of why he is the worst President ever.

I have thought for a long time that Kerry will make a good President. I think that everything in the debates confirmed my view.

The last couple of months have really bothered me (and I assume that is not going to change in the next couple of weeks). I find the political process to be so dirty that it turns me off from what I like, which is a real discussion of what is the best thing for America. I do have to tip my hat to the debates though. They have been great for showing each candidate for what they are and also for showing some stark differences in their policies and approaches to how to govern America.

But each day I read more stories about voter fraud in Nevada, Oregon, etc. and it turns me off. I think it is time to stop fooling ourselves in America; we do not have a great democracy. We have a political system that is run by a very strong executive, and the election system for that executive effectively disenfranchises millions of voters. I have mentioned this before, but let me ask you to indulge in this thought exercise again: Imagine how different the focus of the election would be if the popular vote determined the winner. Imagine what issues we would hear about and which ones we would not. Imagine how much more confidence we could all have in our President. Imagine how much less of an impact the dirty political stunts of each side would have. Imagine if you had a neighbor whose vote mattered.

It is at this time of the political cycle when I start thinking about these things more and how fundamentally imperfect our system is, and how utterly impossible it would be to change the system. It really bothers me.

Perhaps I should just get back to writing more posts about sports. Did you know the Yankees (at least for now) kicking the crap out of the Red Sox? Did you know that the US qualified for the next round of World Cup Qualifying? Did you know that Australia won the first test of a four test series, but has since fallen behind in the second test? Did you know that Queens Park Rangers have put together an amazing run in the Championship? Did you know that Port Adelaide kicked the crap out of Brisbane in the Grand Final? Did you know that the New York Football Giants are 4-1? Maybe a few more posts about all of that stuff would get me interested in blogging again.

Also, did you know that they are thinking about building a Gondola as a mass transit system in Ogden, Utah? There is lots of interesting stuff, but I just have to get excited about it again. Hopefully I will be able to be happy and think about all of it after November 2nd. I really hope that I am a happy camper after November 2nd. Really!

Great Column...

I have been kind of enjoying the post-hiatus Thomas Friedman. And while he got the whole Iraq thing wrong every which way, he gets this right. Read IT

Monday, October 11, 2004

Pedro Sucks...

We learned in the last couple of weeks of the regular season that Pedro sucks. We are also learning it hear at the Yankee Blog when Pedro abandons all posting to the Yankee Blog. Well, in the spirit of ALCS rivalry Pedro is hearby officiallly suspended from all posting activities. I am sure that you will miss his lack of posts. To say good bye let me quote what he wrote, but didn't post about the recent elections in Afganistan:

The funniest and saddest thing in the Sunday paper this week will be
thearticle about the Afghan presidential elections. Three years, thousands of
troops providing security, scores of highly paidinternational elections experts,
hundreds of meetings, tens of murderedregistered voters and elections
volunteers, hundreds of millions ofdollars of development money, and about a
billion speeches made by the Bush Administration trumpeting the success of
democracy in Afghanistan. And the UN never bothered to make sure that the ink
used to mark the handsof voters wouldn't wash off with soap.Unbelievable. Except that it was really the most predictable outcome.

Friday, October 01, 2004

What I think...

Well, clearly I think that Kerry won the debate. But that is because I listen to their ideas, and I know that Kerry's ideas are superior in my mind to those that Bush has been repeating for months on end. So, really, my opinion on who won is meaningless. But it is nice to see that lots of people agree with me.

During the debate Bush asked,

"What's the message going to be?" he asked. "Please join us in Iraq for a grand
diversion? Join us for a war that is the wrong war at the wrong place at the
wrong time? I know how these people think. I deal with them all the time. I sit
down with world leaders frequently, and talk to them on the phone frequently.
They're not going to follow somebody who says this is the wrong war in the wrong
place at the wrong time."

I think there is a fairly straight forward answer to this question posed by Bush. The message will be,

"We screwed up. We thought that Sadaam was an imminient threat, you thought that he was a threat, and we were all wrong. We thought that we could put Iraq on the path towards democracy, but we were wrong there too. We need help. The fact is that the previous President of the United States made a series of errors in judgement. I wish that we could fix those errors quickly, but we cannot without help. We are coming to the world and specifically the arab community to ask for your help. Regardless of how we got here, we need your help now. A broken Iraq, with chaos on the streets, and the potential for civil war helps no one. We need to spend the time to work together now to get this right, or we will all be paying the price in the future. The US is in trouble here, but the future of the middle east is in trouble too. We need to look forward from this day, and say what can we do to make the world safer. Step one is to stabilize Iraq, and the last 18 months have shown that the US cannot do that by itself. We need help, and we are asking you for that help. We will work together to find the best way to put Iraq back on track and make the world safer for the next five years and the next generation. "

That is a message that only John Kerry can deliver. It is a message that Bush has explicited refused to deliver. And it is the only message that will make the US safer in the long run. It is the message that will start restoring the US's credibility, which is the most important thing in the world right now.

The other thing that amazed me about the debate was the absolute banality of Bush's answers. Every argument that he made basically boiled down to, "I am the President today, and because of that I should be the President tomorrow" There was no rationale to this argument, it was just put forward as a truth that should not be argued with.