We'll stop telling the truth about them
when they stop lying about us...

Cost of the War in Iraq
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Saturday, November 20, 2004

NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF puts out 3 good ideas for improving the American democracy

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Colmunist: No More Sham Elections:

"1. Have nonpartisan experts draw up boundaries for Congressional districts after each census. Both Republicans and Democrats have shamelessly drawn boundaries to serve their own needs, and that's one reason Congressional races are so uncompetitive. Normally, state legislatures do the redistricting, but Iowa and Arizona have handed the responsibility over to independent commissions.

2. Eliminate the Electoral College, so that the president is chosen by popular vote. This was seriously discussed as a constitutional amendment after the 1968 election, when George Wallace's third-party candidacy could have prevented Richard Nixon from receiving a majority of the electoral vote. And in this election, if just 21,000 voters had changed their votes in Nevada, New Mexico and Iowa, the electoral vote would have been tied and the choice of the president would have gone to the House.

'We don't run elections well enough to have clear winners that we all accept if it's really close,' said Rob Richie, executive director of the Center for Voting and Democracy. 'I think if the winning side had been ahead by only 20,000 votes in Ohio, the losing side wouldn't have accepted it.'
It's time for America to develop the kind of full-fledged popular-vote democracy that is enjoyed by, say, the good people of Afghanistan.

3. Funnel campaign donations through a blind trust. The funkiest idea in politics is to make donations anonymous even to the recipient. Citizens would make contributions through a blind trust, so that candidates wouldn't know to whom they were beholden.

If officials don't know who their major contributors are, they can't invite them to spend the night in the Lincoln Bedroom or write tax loopholes. A donor might boast about having made a contribution, but special interests will realize they can save money by telling politicians that they have donated when they haven't, and then politicians will doubt these boasts."


Monday, November 15, 2004

Your Monkey thinks Joshua Micah Marshall says some very smart things

Talking Points Memo: by Joshua Micah Marshall: November 07, 2004 - November 13, 2004 Archives:
"For years I've joked about Republicans who find themselves saying, wittingly or not, "Well, we've locked up the white racist vote. Now, if we could just get the blacks too, then we'd be cooking with gas!." As I wrote in an article in the late 90s, "The GOP's problem with minorities isn't incidental; it's fundamental. Any genuine effort to aid minorities or the poor would instantly alienate a substantial portion of the Republican base. It's an electoral bind, inexorable and fixed. The Republicans can't be the party of both black opportunity and anti-black resentment, no matter how big the tent. The Democrats tried it; it didn't work."

A similar logic applies to the urban vs. rural, modern vs. traditional cleavage that is so apparent in our politics today. I believe as fervently as anyone that the Democrats can't allow themselves to be seen as the party of irreligion. And Democrats must at least be competitive throughout the Midwest and Southwest, if not necessarily in the core states of the old Confederacy. But let's not be like the Jack Kemps of the GOP and forget the intensely dynamic nature of coalitional politics.

The Dems did not get 48% of the popular vote for nothing. They got it because of what they were clearly for and clearly against. 48% isn’t enough for the White House or enough to be the country’s majority party. But it’s nothing to sneeze at either. And many changes that would gain Democrats votes in the Red States would lose them votes or unity in the Blue ones.

This doesn’t mean Dems should just stand-pat or be satisfied with what they have. They shouldn’t; indeed, they can’t. It is only to say that there are real limits to how many positions and rhetorical styles Dems can ape to good effect. And it means having a little more respect for themselves, their voters and what they claim to believe in than to collapse into a puddle of self-doubt just because this election didn’t go their way."


Friday, November 12, 2004

BOB HERBERT on the pain of war

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Death Comes Knocking: "As much as possible, the reality of war is kept at a distance from the American people, which is a shame. My own belief is that the pain of war should be much more widely shared. That would help guard us against wars that are unnecessary, and ensure a more collective effort in those that are inevitable."


better late than never Posted by Hello


Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Nothing, nothing, zippy zip to worry about these times!

The New York Times > Opinion > NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF: Our Not-So-Free Press: "The Chinese government recently arrested Zhao Yan, a research assistant for The New York Times in Beijing, and the Bush administration has been very helpful about protesting the case. Maybe Colin Powell can work out a deal: the Chinese government will stop imprisoning journalists if the U.S. government will do the same.
Protecting confidential sources has been a sacred ethical precept in publishing ever since John Twyn was arrested in 1663 for printing a book that offended the king. Twyn refused to reveal the name of the book's author, so he was publicly castrated and disemboweled, and his limbs severed from his body. Each piece of his body was nailed to a London gate or bridge.
So, on the bright side, we have evidently progressed.
In May, Iran's secret police detained me in Tehran and demanded that I identify a revolutionary guard I had quoted as saying 'to hell with the mullahs.' My interrogators threatened to imprison me unless I revealed my source. But after a standoff, the Iranian goons let me go. Imprisoning Western journalists for protecting their sources was too medieval, even for them. Let's hope the U.S. judicial system shows the same restraint as those Iranian thugs. "


Friday, November 05, 2004

And W saw that all was well...

If W Had Written the Declaration of Independence: "When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and superior station to which the Laws of God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of Republican Christian U.S. citizens who are married heterosexually and who earn more than $200,000 a year requires that they should declare some of the causes which might possibly impell them to the separation or which might possibly trick the country and the world into supporting the separation."


Thursday, November 04, 2004

Your Monkey also admits he was very wrong...

James Wolcott: Anyone Know How to Make a Noose?: "It takes a big man to admit he's wrong, and although I'm not a big man, I can imitate one for purposes of this blog. I was wrong. Wrong in my hopes, my expectations, and my sense of where the country is. Writers I've mocked about the election and Bush's popular hold--Mark Steyn, Jonah Goldberg, Victor Davis In Excelsis Deo Hanson, et al--have earned their bragging rights, and they're welcome to them. No consolation was to be found last night and this morning. All of the exit polls, good omens (Red Sox winning the series), and previous indicators (such as the under-50-approval incumbent rule), and dramatic lifts (a recuperating Clinton hitting the campaign trail) meant a jot, whatever a jot is. Philip Roth's The Plot Against America is likely to seem like a documentary when the next four years are put through the wringer, and us with them. "


More than a 1000 words... Posted by Hello


Fafblog thinks I think the system is workin just fine.

Fafblog! the whole worlds only source for Fafblog.: "Silly Brad DeLong! This is a GREAT way to pick presidents! Presidents aren't sposed to be big smart compentent people who 'know stuff' and can 'solve problems'! The President is like America's Dad! He's there to comfort you on a stormy night when you've had a real bad dream, or be tough when your lunch money's been stolen by terrorists! When Osama bin Laden pushes you around during recess or a bully crashes a plane into the World Trade Center, you can always count on America's Dad to make you feel better by buyin you ice cream or by huggin a firefighter at Ground Zero!

A President is supposed to be a role model for the whole country, which is why he has to Uphold Family Values. Just like your dad, the President has to teach you right from wrong - 'Just Say No to drugs an sex an condoms in schools! Gay marriage? Not under my roof young man!' - which means the president needs strong moral fiber, which as nutritionists will tell you is plentiful in the South an the Midwest but is nowhere to be found in the barren an fiberless North.

That's why you wanna get a Southern governor! Southern governors have never been exposed to the evil corruption of Washington DC where nasty things like legislative an foreign policy experience would corrupt em an make em less American! Or a Midwesterner - they're made entirely of corn, which the most American thing ever!

Would you want your dad to be a grumpy ol Senator with borin ol Experience, or would you like him to be an inexperienced outsider with Good ol Heartland Values an whose wife bakes cookies for Jesus?"


General Glut translates GWB's acceptance speech

General Glut's Globblog: "Thanks to our superior campaign tactics which have given the GOP not only the White House but an expanded margin in both the Senate and the House, we are entering a unique two-year window in which our party is for all practical purposes unaccountable and unassailable. Thus we'll continue with tax cuts. We'll eliminate the federal income tax and introduce a national sales tax in its place. We'll partially privatize Social Security. We'll continue eroding local control over public schools in favor of unfunded federal mandates. And we will pass a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in all 50 states."


THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN tells it like it is...

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Two Nations Under God: "We don't just disagree on what America should be doing; we disagree on what America is.
Is it a country that does not intrude into people's sexual preferences and the marriage unions they want to make? Is it a country that allows a woman to have control over her body? Is it a country where the line between church and state bequeathed to us by our Founding Fathers should be inviolate? Is it a country where religion doesn't trump science? And, most important, is it a country whose president mobilizes its deep moral energies to unite us - instead of dividing us from one another and from the world?
At one level this election was about nothing. None of the real problems facing the nation were really discussed. But at another level, without warning, it actually became about everything. Partly that happened because so many Supreme Court seats are at stake, and partly because Mr. Bush's base is pushing so hard to legislate social issues and extend the boundaries of religion that it felt as if we were rewriting the Constitution, not electing a president. I felt as if I registered to vote, but when I showed up the Constitutional Convention broke out.
The election results reaffirmed that. Despite an utterly incompetent war performance in Iraq and a stagnant economy, Mr. Bush held onto the same basic core of states that he won four years ago - as if nothing had happened. It seemed as if people were not voting on his performance. It seemed as if they were voting for what team they were on.
This was not an election. This was station identification. I'd bet anything that if the election ballots hadn't had the names Bush and Kerry on them but simply asked instead, 'Do you watch Fox TV or read The New York Times?' the Electoral College would have broken the exact same wa"


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Kos urges Democrats to stay united in their fight

Guardian Unlimited | US elections 2004 | Divide and rule ... for now: "The United States is a bitterly divided nation, at war with itself. Tuesday was merely one battle in a long-term war for the heart and soul of our nation. There will be the usual blather about unity and nonesuch, but the time for that is past. Bush has won himself four additional years to further inflict damage upon the world. Half of of the US public is not happy about that tonight.
In the meantime, we will be training our forces, re-evaluating our tactics, marshalling our strength, and, ultimately, keeping our eyes on the prize."