Monday, November 29, 2004

It has been nearly four weeks since the election but some Democrats are still fighting a lost cause. Now Jesse Jackson brought his rhymes to Ohio.

"We must use litigation, legislation, and demonstration. We must not stop until every vote counts. This is not about whether the Democrats or [John] Kerry will stand up. It's about you. It's about your dignity," Mr. Jackson told about 350 who gathered yesterday afternoon at Mount Hermon Baptist Church.
Jackson does bring something new to the discussion. The proxy for voter fraud this time is Ohio Supreme Court candidate C. Ellen Connally. It seems that she ran better than Kerry in some counties despite being a black woman and despite her opponents being better funded.

Does this prove anything? Yes. It proves that people who would normally vote a straight Democratic ticket might change their vote for the person at the top. It means that the presidential campaign is not only about turning out the vote but also about convincing people from the other party to vote for you.

Four time Ohio governor, Jim Rhodes is supposed to have said that Republicans alone are not enough to elect a governor. You need Democrats' votes, also.

That means split tickets. It means that winning candidates will get a higher percentage of the vote than losing candidates did.

All of these conspiracy theories are based on mathematical analysis of the vote. None are based on actually counting ballots. The one place that this has been tried, the election night count was accurate.

BTW, Connally lost. Jackson and company are only looking at selected counties. If they looked at the state as a whole they would conclude that Kerry got too many votes.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

There's a new rumor going around the Internet that the election was fixed. Actually the new part is that they came up with specifics. Lots and lots of specifics.

It seems that Bush used $26 million in Enron money laundered through the Saudis to bribe a bunch of voting machine technicians. Claiming to be FBI and Homeland Security agents, the technicians went to polling places were they ordered lockdown and altered the totals. But, Karl Rove didn't pay up so some of the technicians are going public.

This story has everything including gaping holes. To start with, the only time the low-level functionaries know all of the details is in bad movies. In real life, you would never bother to tell people where the bribe money was coming from. Nationwide, only one place was locked down and with all the publicity hat one got, any other lock-downs would have made national news long ago. Since when did Bush get access to Enron money? Heck, since when is there any left?

And ignoring everything else, why renig on paying the technicians when they know too much?

Even MSNBC's Keith Olbermann who has been repeating every other rumor doesn't believe this one.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Setting the record straight on some issues.

Smoking will kill you, even if someone else is doing the smoking, right?
No. Call it what you will - passive smoking, second hand smoke, whatever - it isn't dangerous. Think about it. Smokers are drawing the smoke directly into their lungs. Anything that others get has been diffusing into the air. For more information, see here.

Even if the results are accepted at face value, the impressive-sounding risk figures for lung cancer and heart disease imply that passive smoking accounts annually for one extra death in every 10,000.

This article puts the whole thing in perspective.

Habitual, lifelong smokers face a 30 to 40-fold higher risk of contracting lung cancer than non-smokers. That sounds massive and many smokers are persuaded to quit because they believe it is. But, since the risk of lung cancer in non-smokers is minuscule, it does not amount to an objectively high risk.

Sandford admits: "Smokers are more likely to die of heart disease than lung cancer." And pro-smoking campaigner Joe Jackson argues: "Even if you're a heavy smoker, your chances of not getting lung cancer are still more than 99 percent.
And my favorite quote:

Dr Ken Denson of the Thame Thrombosis and Haemostasis Research Foundation says: "I simply do not know where they conjure up their statistics. The statistics for passive smoking in particular would not be published or even considered in any other scientific discipline.

BTW, Shaken Baby Syndrome doesn't exist, either.
A new study found that an adult man or woman cannot shake a baby hard enough to cause internal damage. If a baby is shaken it will damage the neck, not the brain.

And the arctic is not warming.

"Antarctica has been cooling for the last 50 years. Most of the Arctic has not warmed over long time scales," she told the news service. "Temperatures (have) always changed in the past and (they) always will. . . . We don't have enough understanding of natural variability and we don't see enormous amounts of temperature change to be alarmed about," she explained.
And this:
Naurzbaev, et al (2002) created a proxy temperature data set spanning nearly 2,500 years for the Taimyr Peninsula of northern Russia, all of which is poleward of 70° N. The authors studied tree rings-widths of living and deceased larch trees. They reported that "the warmest periods over the last two millennia in this region were clearly in the third, tenth to twelfth and during the twentieth centuries." The first two, they claim, were warmer than those of the last century. Twentieth century temperatures appeared to peak around 1940.

The ACIA appears to be guilty of selective use of data. Many of the trends described in the document begin in the 1960s or 1970s -- cool decades in much of the world -- and end in the warmer 1990s or early 2000s. So, for example, temperatures have warmed in the last 40 years, and the implication, "if present trends continue," is that massive warming will occur in the next century. Yet data are readily available for the 1930s and early 1940s, when temperatures were comparable to (and probably higher than) those observed today. Why not start the trend there? Because there is no net warming over the last 65 years?

For that matter, can't we dispense with the use of linear trends for cyclical time series which have a cyclical nature? My college statistics prof would have been very upset at this practice, because the character of a trend line in a data set like the one shown in Figure 3 is largely a function of the starting and ending points selected.

I also looked closely at many of the charts and saw misleading information. For example, the chart on global sea level rise goes back only 10 years but shows a steep increase. Then I read the y-axis -- a total rise of about one inch! Since we don't know where the data originated (the caption says "from a satellite launched in 1992") we can only wonder whether the measurement accuracy is sufficient to even measure a one inch change (or whether such a change even matters!).

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Dan Rather is retiring. It's about time. When your credibility has become a punchline for both Jay Leno and Dave Barry you have overstayed your welcome. He's not leaving for months, yet so there is still time to get some digs in. Here's one.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Someone over at the Democratic Underground figured it out. Maybe they've been reading my blog (actually, I hope not, these guys drip venom instead of spit).

I'm about as pissed off as anybody about * winning. The Red-Blue crap is largely useless; especially talks about a boycott! Here is why:

(1) We need the Red states in 2006 and 2008. What a perfect softball for Rove to hit in those states -- see what these elitists really think of you.

(2) We don't campaign in the Red states, advertise much, or pay much attention to them. How the F are they going to get the message about our commitment to their issues? I wondered why we didn't do massive local radio advertising; great medium and lots of people listen while they drive all over the place.

(3) California elected Reagan twice and Deukmejian (R) twice. What a great move that would have been back then; boycott California. Give me a break.

(4) Are you comfortable adopting the same strategy that Nixon used to screw us; except this time we're screwing ourselves. Nixon's Southern strategy was to pit middle and lower class whites against blacks on the race issue, thus getting the white vote while not representing their interests. We're not screwing ourselves. Pit Red and Blue states against each other on location, religion, etc. when the real issues pertain to war, economic justice, racial-ethnic justice.

(5) I'm in very Blue part of a Red state, Northern Virginia. We have a Democratic Governor. I don't even think about Red-Blue (raided in CA, lived in NYC before here). Guess what we produce that you will boycott -- the f'ing internet. Telenet was the first public data network (Reston, VA); MCI set up the internet backbone (Arlington, VA); UUNET was the backbone integrator (Fairfax, VA). Go right ahead and boycott VA but be sure to use one of the other "internets."

Venting time is over. Lets be both tactically and strategically smart. If you want to see what's up, look at Montana state-wide elections, look at Colorado, look at Virginia's governor and potential in 2008.
Pretty rational post from a site that speculated that Bush (43) tried to kill his father (Bush 41) in a plane crash.

Speaking of venom, one of the most venomist cartoonists, Ted Rall, was dropped from the Washington Post. Why? Because he said that President Reagan is rasting in Hell? No. Because he said that Pat Tillman, the football player who enlisted in the army to fight terrorism deserved to die? No. Because he compared allowing Republicans to vote is like mainsteaming retarded kids? Yes, but only because he offended parents of retarded kids.

Monday, November 22, 2004

How will the Blues ever win over the Reds? In order to take the White House in 2008 they will have to convince a majority of the voters to switch parties, or at least a majority in enough states to give an electoral victory. Congress will be trickier since the Republicans have majorities in both houses.

The Blues need to make nice to the Reds. They need our votes or at least for us to stay home while they vote in their candidates. The trouble is that right now they hate us. They talk about succession, joining Canada and leaving us "Jesusland". They stereotype us as homophobic , racists fundamentalists.

As long ago as August the left felt that being a Republican was a moral failure. Remember the attempts to stage sick-outs in New York City during the Republican National Convention? More recently, the Bush twins were denied service at a restaurant.

Freemans, tuesday night the 16th of nov. the bush twins , along with 2 massive secret service men, tried to have dinner. They were told by the maitre'd that they were full and would be for the next 4 years. Upon hearing, the entire restaurant cheered and did a round of shots... it was amazing!!! [Ed: We're hearing that this is actually true.]
The Bush twins are not their father. Refusing them service is an act of spite.

Considering the reaction, are any Republicans welcome there?

Then there is the constant insistence that the vote must have been rigged based on the assumption that no one who voted for Gore would vote for Bush.

In 2000 they could blame the Supreme Court but this time they have to blame the voters. That's more than they can stand. They are really mad at us.

So, the Blues are calling us names and saying that they don't want to live in the same country that we live in.

After all this, how are they going to talk any of us into voting for them in the future?

I can hear the ads now, "Back in 2004 you stupidly voted for the wrong side. Now's your chance to make up for it." That's going to convince a lot of voters.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Is there such a thing as free will? Or, when considered as a group, do individual choices cancel each other out leaving a core behavior - sort of like a flock of sheep. That's how the talk of voter fraud strikes me. Statistitions look at the number of registered Republicans and Democrats in a county and make statements on the maximum number of votes that Bush could get vs. the number he actually got. If the actual count is higher than the projected maximum then something must be wrong with the way the votes are counted. After all, Bush couldn't have persuaded more Democrats to vote for him in 2004 than voted for him in 2000. Who you will vote for is fixed. The only variable is how well each side does at turning out the vote. No free will or voter choice involved at all, just organizational efforts by the parties.

Here is one example of this thinking:

The paper was authored by Michael Hout, a professor of sociology at U.C. Berkeley, and three other researchers. The analysis found a statistical relationship between electronic voting machines and votes for President Bush, which seems to have accounted for anywhere from 130,000 votes to 260,000 votes. Hout was not immediately available for comment.
Here's another:
Most people would have expected John Kerry's performance at the polls this year to be similar to Al Gore's in 2000. And in 229 out of 300 voting districts, or wards as they're called in New Hampshire, that was the case. Kerry either matched the percentage of votes that Gore received in 2000 in those wards or did better than Gore. But in 71 wards, Briggs found, Bush did better in 2004 than he did in 2000.
Interestingly, most of the allegations center around optical scan voting which leaves a paper trail. This is an exception. These researchers are looking at touch screen voting. Keith Olbermann (who is flogging this horse even while on vacation) says:

Hout and his research team consistently insisted they were not alleging that voting was rigged, nor even that what they’ve found actually affected the direction of Florida’s 27 Electoral Votes. They point out that in a worst-case scenario, they see 260,000 “excessives” - and Bush took the state by 350,000 votes. But they insist that based on Florida’s voting patterns in 1996 and 2000, the margin cannot be explained by successful get-out-the-vote campaigns, or income variables, or anything but something rotten in the touch screens.
Note that they only factored in two prior elections and failed to factor in the increase that Bush naturally gets as a sitting war president.

So, is there a problem. No, not according to the people doing a recount in New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire vote recount requested by independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader is still in progress, but preliminary results show no significant changes in the numbers.
So what's really going on with optical scan voting? The common points are rural, relatively poor counties that use optical scan voting. Analysis of the Florida counties showed that they have a high percentage of registered Democrats but they tend to vote Republican.

Maybe, instead of finding fraud, these statisticians are discovering two related facts:

  1. Poor, rural counties register Democrat by tradition but vote Republican.
  2. Poor rural counties often buy optical scan voting machines because they are cheaper than other alternatives.
Of course, statements like this from Nader's spokesman doesn't help.
Zeese said that ruling out voting machines as the problem in New Hampshire's results means "the problem was probably the Democrats."

"If we rule out the scapegoat of the machines, it just means more soul-searching on the part of the Democrats to figure out why they lost to the worst president in history," Zeese said. "You cannot assume that inconsistencies between exit polls and trends in voting or registration are going to turn out to show machine fraud. The Democrats really can be (just) as bad as they look."

Let's get over that "worst president in history" fixation. If Nader really believed this then he would have campaigned for Kerry himself.

Speaking of worst presidents.. the Clinton library opening gives us a chance to look back at Slick Willies record. After near-misses with Kerry and Gore, Clinton is looking better all the time. I don't think that I would call him a bad president. In 1999 he admitted that he was a "C" president and hoped to elevate himself to "B" status. His big initiative in 2000 was to try to establish a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine. Had he succeeded he would have gotten a Nobel Peace Prize. Arafat had other ideas so, failing to bring his grade up on the final, Clinton finished his term with a "C" average.

At best, Clinton's accomplishments were mixed. His assault weapon ban was meaningless. He provided extra finding to police although this mainly went for equipment, not extra manpower (also, he counted 10,000 cops for ten years each is not 100,000 cops). His welfare reforms seem to have worked pretty well.

Yes, he did balance the budget but that required an over-heated economy and cutbacks that left our military too small to properly occupy Iraq.

Yes, he did preside over a huge economic expansion but much of this was caused by Internet startups and a stock market that was way too high. The dot-coms are gone taking a lot of venture capital with them and the stoke market had its inevitable correction. Also, companies like Enron did most of their growth in the Clinton regulatory environment.

Foreign intervention was at a high point but Clinton was too risk-averse. The government that we placed in Haiti has already been overthrown. Bosnia and Kosovo are a mess, still a long way from fair democratic elections. Somalia is worse. Clinton's efforts to force a peace between Israel and the Palestinians provoked an intefada that is just now winding down. Clinton's weak reaction to terrorism encouraged Osama bin Laden to attack us in our homeland.

On a personal level, many of Clinton's associates in Arkansas were jailed over Whitewater. There might have been more to it but Clinton's people stonewalled to an amazing degree.

Clinton's personal life left much to be desired. In 1992 he pretty much admitted that he had played around but promised that those days were behind him. When he got caught with his pants down he lied to his wife, lied to the American people, and lied, under oath, to a grand jury.

His last acts in office were to pardon friends and benefactors and to loot the White House of furniture.

Maybe we should make that a "C-".

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Let's take a break from politics and talk about copyright. Hollywood is worried that people downloading movies from the Internet will kill their business the same way that file sharing did the music business. To prevent this they are pushing Congress to pass a new copyright law. I think that most people will be appalled when they discover that the new law prohibits skipping over ads.The broadcasters insist that there is an unwritten contract between them and the viewer that you will watch ads in exchange for receiving broadcasts.

Next they will insist that you use the bathroom during the show instead of the commercial break.

TiVo isn't waiting for this. They have their own way of making sure that you see ads.

Then there is the broadcast flag. This will be part of digital transmissions. When it is set you cannot record.

All of this is to stop the Napster Effect. The music industry saw sales fall several years in a row and blames Napster and other file sharing. But... is this justified?

Several things have happened since the recording industry's high point in the last 1990s. There has been an economic downturn. Three new game platforms came out. DVDs became mainstream and people started buying movies instead of renting them. Entertainment money comes out of the same pool. The same people who are buying PS2s and DVDs are the ones who buy most music and they seldom have separate pools of money for different purchases.

At the same time the recording industry eliminated the single and pushed CD prices over $20. The word is that most CDs have one good track. Why pay $20 for a music track when you can get an entire movie for the same money?

They also reduced the number of new CDs released each year. Granted most of these would have lost money but their proof of lost sales looks at total CDs sold. They don't talk about profits which are still high.

Still, on the surface it sounds logical. Why would people buy a CD when they can get the music through file-sharing? This theory falls flat when you consider how most music is sold - people buy it because they hear it on the radio. For free. The music companies even pay stations to play songs. So free music can sell CDs.

Anyway, hold onto your VCR and your cassette recorder. You may need them in the future.

Back to politics (sort of). I saw a junk fax today asking if you thought that the country made a mistake re-electing George Bush. They asked people to check "yes" or "no" and fax it back. They will send the results to Congress.

The fine print showed that there would be a minimum charge for voting. I wonder how many people who are outraged at the election will fall for this?
Red State/Slave State. In the post-election free-for-all it was pointed out that a map of the pre-Civil War slave states is similar to the slave states. There are all sorts of problems with this analysis.

First, at least half of the red states were either free states or territories "open to slavery". For the most part, these territories were not actually open to settlers until after the Civil War so they hardly count.

Second, the Electoral College gives a poor indication of actual voting patterns. The USAToday breakdown by county tells a different story. Snopes covered this subject and has a different map shaded by the percentage that counties voted Bush or Kerry.

Tech Central Station went a step further. They have the county map and a map showing population. This makes it very obvious that Kerry's support was directly proportionate to population density. The author gives a few possible explanations. One interesting correlation is that people's willingness to help a stranger goes down as population density goes up.

Not discussed is the demographic breakdown of cities. Kerry's support came from minorities, especially blacks and Hispanics, from union members, teachers, trial lawyers, college students, people with advances degrees, and high school dropouts. With the the exception of the dropouts, the rest of these people are mainly found in cities.

Those Wacky Folks at Al Jazeera. The footage of a marine was shown repeatedly but the footage of Margaret Hassan pleading for her life was not shown.

Aljazeera on Tuesday decided not to broadcast the video as it could not be sure that the woman was Hassan. An Aljazeera official said the channel would also not air it out of respect for the feelings of its audience.
I'm just speculating here but I wonder if the footage of the marine had a translation of what he was saying. His words made it clear that he thought he was about to be attacked. In fact, he had been injured by a booby-trapped corpse the previous day so he had good reason to be wary.

One thing I know for certain, Al Jazeera did not bother to tell its viewers that the man who was killed was part of a group that thought nothing of kidnapping and executing the Iraqi head of an international aid organization.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

See what happens when you violate the rules of war? I'm referring to the tape of a soldier shooting a wounded man in Fallujah. From what I could hear being said, the soldier thought that the wounded man was faking it and was armed. The enemy in Fallujah was doing things like this. They also would wave a white flag in order to get close enough to shoot at Americans. Once the enemy starts abusing the rules of war, soldiers stop respecting them.

Of course that is not how it is being presented in the Arab world or even in our own MSM.

The battle of Fallujah was savage. Terrorists were using civilians as shields the same way that they do in Palestinian settlements. Innocents will be hurt. The only choice is to ignore the terrorists which is not a choice at all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Enough about why the Democrats lost the election. Let's talk about why they thought that they would win. How could so many people who should know better be surprised? After all, Bush led Kerry in the polls for months before the election. Here is what the Democrats were telling themselves.

False patterns:
The son or grandson of a president loses re-election.
Presidents who lost the popular election lose re-election.
Members of the Bush family lose re-election.

I could add that the candidate who has the biggest treasury as of Jan. 1 will be the candidate but Howard Dean proved that "laws" like these are actually statistical blips.

Bush really lost in 2000. If every vote is counted in 2004 he will lose again. The assumption here was that Bush had already gotten as many votes in 2000 as he would ever get. This ties in with the next couple of points.

Nader. New voter registration. Getting out the vote. Getting out the youth vote. etc. If Bush had already peaked then all the Democrats needed to do was drum up some new anti-Bush votes and their candidate would be in. Michael Moore spent the Summer insisting that the country is 75% liberal but only 1/3 of them bothered to vote in 2000. By contrast he insisted that all of the conservatives in the country had voted in 2000. By getting out the vote it would be a Democrat landslide.

ABB. Bush voters for Kerry. Etc. The country was supposed to be so fed up with Bush that any presentable candidate could beat him. An obliging media kept giving us stories of people who voted for Bush in 2000 but were voting against him in 2004. For some reason they never found a single Gore voter who was going to vote for Bush even though there was a large percentage of them in nearly every county in the country. Which brings us to...

Anti-Bush Media. Dan Rather was the worst of it but anti-Bush coverage was everywhere - The Bush voters for Kerry I mentioned above, the drumbeat on Iraq, constant stories about Bush's missing months in the Air Guard. Fox News may be bigger than CNN but CBS, ABC, and NBC are each bigger still and they all hated Bush.

The Echo Chamber. This is a big one. The map of votes by county shows how concentraited the anti-Bush people were. They represent 47% of the vote but they all live on top of each other. When everyone you know hates Bush you assume that the rest of the country is the same.

Questioning the polls. The polls showed Bush ahead but Democrats convinced themselves that the polls were wrong. The pollsters were missing young voters with unlisted cell phones or they made too many calls during the week and not enough ont he weekend. The Media Fund took out full page ads arguing that one poll was skewed because they oversampled Republicans.

Misreading the polls. By Memorial Day Kerry's campaign had declared victory. They noted that whenever a president's approval ratings were below 50% he lost. The undecideds would all break for change. Zogby said this nationally several times just before the election. What they didn't look at was that Kerry's numbers were much lower at the same period than any challenger who defeated a sitting president.

Bush Hatred. When all is said and done, the left hates Bush. They think that he is either Hitler in disguise or Karl Rove's talking chimp. They are sure that he lost on 2000 and they could not believe that anyone would vote for him in 2004. Their hearts are pure, they have fire in their bellies, and they did everything right according to conventional measures. They would win because they were right. No one could tell them otherwise.

Not even the actual voters since they keep insisting fraud.

Notice how little a factor Kerry played in this? After the first debate Democrats felt more comfortable with him as their candidate but he never had more than tepid support. Too much effort was being wasted hating Bush.

And that is what it comes down to - Bush hatred. It doesn't matter what Bush does, it is wrong and they will waste even more effort fighting.

This will probably give the Republicans the White House in 2008. After 8 years of hatred, the Democrats will be too exhausted to elect someone.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Far left columnist Eric Alterman is outraged that the FCC allowed Sinclair Broadcasting to air Stolen Valor.

What the public saw was the face of a conservative media corporation that had grown so confident under Powell's Big Media-friendly reign that it no longer felt the need to even make the pretense of abiding by the FCC's fairness rules. Despite the fact that watchdog groups and 38 Democratic congressmen demanded that the FCC consider whether Sinclair's actions violated the Communications Act of 1934, which states that for a broadcaster's license to be renewed, the commission must find that "the public interest, convenience, and necessity would be served thereby," Powell told reporters after the FCC's monthly meeting in Washington, "Don't look to us to block the airing of a program," according to a Reuters report.
What was actually said was that the FCC could not block a program on no other basis than advance reports of its content.

Obviously Alterman didn't bother to watch because what Sinclair actually aired was pretty balanced. In fact, it gave more of Kerry's side than the anti-Kerry side. Only short clips of Stolen Valor were shown.

The FCC's judgement was upheld.

What if it had gone the other way? These things cut both ways. If an anti-Kery show can be blocked, could an anti-Bush segment on 60 Minutes be allowed?
David Shuster at msnbc's Hardblogger points out some interesting things about the election. Kerry got five million votes more than Gore got but they can all be attributed to two groups - Nader voters and youth. Discounting those two groups, Bush got nine million more votes than Kerry. Shuster gives a list of possibilities:

  1. The $200 million "get out of the vote" money pumped in to this election by ACT and the Media Fund was totally ineffective or wasteful.
  2. The dark Internet conspiracy theorists are correct and something massively fraudulent happened on election day. (The evidence does not support that.)
  3. John Kerry was a worse candidate than Al Gore... but it was masked by (1) ACT and Media Fund efforts that made the most of a bad hand;
  4. President Bush made significant in-roads among moderates and "security moms."
  5. The Republican "get out the vote effort" was far more effective and efficient than the democrats.

I do not agree with 1 and 2. I'm unsure about 3. But I'm definitely inclined to go with 4, and 5.

I think that 2. can be thrown out. No one has proved any fraud and the few cases that have been suggested would only account for thousands of votes instead of millions.

5. is an interesting one. Democrats made a huge effort to register new voters targeting likely Democrats. This is one reason that the actual election results shocked them so much. They won the registration battle and they thought that a high-turnout meant that all of their new voters were going to the polls. Republicans targeted infrequent voters. Since half the country usually sits out an election, this group has enormous potential. It is also easier to get these people to vote than it is to get people who have never bothered to register.

3. and 4. are flip sides of the same coin. Was Kerry a worse candidate than Gore? Is Bush a better candidate now than four years ago? I think that both are true but not for any reasons that Kerry could affect.

Gore got a lot of votes from the halo effect. Times were good during most of the 1990s and Gore was part of that administration. He distanced himself from the Clintons personally but he promised more of the same economically. Kerry was never part of the Clinton administration and could not catch any of that reflected glory.

Bush on the other hand was an unknown in 2000. By 2004 we have an idea of what to expect from him. Kerry is now the unknown. He said that he would do better but had no record of leadership (this is why governors make better candidates) .

And of course, September 11 changed a lot of people's priorities.

Suster's column goes on to say

[...]a year and a half ago, Democrats had the making of a cutting edge and impressive "bottom-up" organization. It was known as the Internet-savvy "Dean campaign." The candidate, of course, proved unworthy of what his energetic Internet supporters had built. But remember, the organization included "meet-ups" in cities and towns all across the country, local e-mail lists, and passionate local leaders who knew their neighbors.
He is wrong here. Kerry's campaign tried to make use of meet-ups, debate parties, email lists, etc. They were partly effective. The difference was that Kerry never motivated workers the way that Dean did. Kerry was always the person you thought would win but not your personal first choice.
This editorial from the New York Times touches on something that I have written about before. It is talking about framing the issues.

Values, Dr. Lakoff argues, are the key to framing campaign issues. Democrats have an unfortunate tendency, he says, to see campaigns as product launches, believing that if they roll out a candidate with the best features, or positions on issues, voters will support him. Republicans understand that people vote their identity, not their self-interest - that they seek out candidates whose values appear to match their own.
This leads Democrats to wonder why thy lose when ther campaign included something for everyone.

There are few single issue voters and their vote is usually already spoken for. Each partys base is polarized on abortion and gun control. Free trade is another factor but not as influential. If a candidate seems soft on one of these issues, the single issue voter will not vote for the other candidate, after all, that uy is likely to be worse. More likely the single issue voter will protest either by staying home or by voting for a 3rd party candidate.

The rest of the population looks at the candidate in general, not his position on a limited number of issues. This is as is should be. You have no idea what the next term will bring and you want a candidate who represents your values as a whole, not just on a few issues.

That is why Kerry's goose hunt seemed so forced. He was trying to tell us that he wouldn't take away hunters' guns. At the same time his wild assertions about the expiration of the assault weapons ban told us that he would go after some types of weapons. By trying to pick and choose on issues he seemed forced and insincere. He did the same thing when promising expanded health care and talking about fiscal restraint in the same speech.

The Times editorial doesn't offer much useful advice. The professor they are quoting doesn't want the Democrats to do any soul-searching. He just wants them to come up with catchy names for their positions - "poison-free communities" when talking about pollution and "public protection attorneys" when talking about tort reform.

I don't think that Michael Moore style exagerations will help. It will just make them seem more phony.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Michael Moore is going to make a sequel to F 9/11.

“Fifty-one percent of the American people lacked information (in this election) and we want to educate and enlighten them,” Moore was quoted in Thursday’s edition of Variety. “They weren’t told the truth. We’re communicators and it’s up to us to start doing it now.”

Mikey is flattering himself. I doubt if 5% of the population saw his first film, not 51%

A couple of interesting columns today on TechCentralStation. One looks at the environmental costs of huge wind farms. It seems that wind farms large enough to make a difference would change wind patterns as much as a kilometer up and dry the soil.

The other examines Kerry's take on terrorism and how the Democrats might seek to redefine their position. After reading this I realized why it didn't bother me when Bush said that the War on Terror might never end but it did bother me when Kerry said nearly the same words.

As of September 10, 2001 we assumed that terrorism was something that happened elsewhere. Yes, there were incidents in the US - the first World Trade bombing and the Oklahoma City bombing - but they were law enforcement matters. The rest of the attacks all happened elsewhere and were easily ignored.

Then something awful happened.

Bush came away with the knowledge that we could not ignore state-sponsored terrorists. They only get more audacious. Even groups that had previously been minor can suddenly strike beyond the cost that we are willing to bear. We cannot win the War on Terror because it requires eternal vigilance. Once we declare that we have won we will stop being vigilant.

Kerry sees it as a single group, al Qaeda, that needs to be brought to justice. Once their heads are on bayonets he would declare victory and go back to September 10.

Thankfully that will not happen, at least for another four years. I hope that in that time the far-left wing of the Democrats will come to terms with their own dislike for America and admit that some movements are worse and must be opposed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

I tend to be sceptical of conspiracy theories. On election night when the networks were quick to call states for Kerry but waited for hours after 100% of the vite was in to call them for Bush I assumed that they were being cautious after their problems in 2000.

It turns out that the conspiracy theorists were pretty close to the mark. The networks didn't call enough states to give Bush the election because Kerry asked them not to.

The New York Times told the story. At 12:41 a.m., Fox News declared that Ohio was a win for Bush. "Howard Wolfson, a [Kerry] strategist, burst into the 'boiler room' in Washington where the brain trust was huddled and said, 'we have 30 seconds' to stop the other networks from following suit." The Kerry camp dialed furiously and begged the networks to hold any more projections. The Bush camp called to make sure the networks who called Ohio would not backslide based on Kerry lobbying.

From then on, only Fox and the NBC-MSNBC combo had called Ohio, but refused to project victory in any other Bush state, especially ripe and ready Nevada. ABC, CBS, and CNN all pretended Ohio had not been decided, even with nearly 100 percent of precincts reporting. Millions of Americans woke up with a sick feeling: is there a crisis again?

Everyone, perhaps intimidated by the vision of another Michael Moore documentary accusing them of calling victory prematurely, put the science aside and waited for the politicians to make a move. When John Kerry called the White House to concede, suddenly the anchors mysteriously found the secret math in the trash can that would allow them to call Ohio and/or Nevada. This is the very definition of pack journalism: the TV news elite huddled in a mob, politically calculating, wanting less to get the call right than to avoid the wrath of angry liberals stuck on the losing end of the results again.

Charges of election Fraud go mainstream. MSNBC's Keith Olbermann repeated rumors that something was strange about the votes in Florida and Ohio. I'm not going to examine the charges. That as been done here, here, here, and here. What I'm goin to write about instead s why I dismissed these charges out of hand.

First, all of the charges are one-sided. Are we to believe that wdespread voter fraud exists but that it is limited to Republicans? After Democrats nationwide vowed to do whatever it takes to defeat Bush? If someone came forward and said, 'I can't say who did it but I know a Democrat who has stuffed the ballot box so he knows what to look for.'

Even better would be for the Democrats to produce a Republican who either had done it or knew someone who did.

Without that all we have are projections based on party registration. I suspect that this has the same problem as the exit polls - people in these rural counties are registering as Democrats because it is expected of them but, in the privacy of the voting booth, they vote their heart.

That's why we have secret ballots. To let you vote based on your wn beliefs instead of someone else's.

As for Ohio, I know something about Ohio voting procedures. I just got a refresher a week ago when I voted.

In Ohio you give your name and address to the poll takers. They find it in their book. You sign the book next to a copy of your signature and you are given a voter authorization card. This is taken by the person operating the voting machines. I don't see anyway around this without collusion by multiple people.

According to the reports, 93,000 more people voted in Cuyahoga county than are registered. Given the procedures I outlined above, it would be really tough for this to happen.

But if it did happen, why did Kerry get 2/3s of the vote? Were the Democrats the ones doin the fixing?

And how many voting machines were required?

I will bet that the registration figures were old. Nearly 1,000,000 new voters registered in Ohio. It sounds about right for Ohio's most populous county to get 10% of the new voters.

Democrats act as though voter fraud was something that never existed before 2000 and that electronic voting machine were invented for no other reason than to throw the election.

In Ohio, at least, voter fraud would be difficult. Every county board of elections has, by law, equal number Democrat and Republican members. Ken Blackwell, the Secretary of State, is Republlican so, also by law, the people between Blackwell and the counties are all Democrat. If someone tries something, someone close at hand will notice it.

Bottom line, Kerry lost, the exit polls were wrong, and rural Florida voters are fairly conservative.

Monday, November 08, 2004

Big lies about the election. Democratic spin-masters have already started re-writing the 2004 election.

"Bush won by a smaller margin in terms of percentage of any incumbent who's been re-elected," Al Franken.

The election was close but a lot of absentee and military ballots have favored Bush. By the end of last week, Bush's lead over Kerry had grown to 4.5%. This is slightly higher than Truman's 49.51% - 45.12% lead over Dewey.

Also, notice that Franken limited his sample by only looking at presidents being re-elected. Bush's margin of victory was, of course, way ahead of presidents who were not re-elected. It was also much higher than some presidents first victory. Kennedy, for example, only won by 0.2% of the vote (49.9% to 49.7%).

"We lost on "values." Given that "values" is a euphenism for anti-abortion, anti-gay..." the daily Kos.

Around 1 in five people gave 'values' as their top consideration in exit polls. This was ahead of everything else but still only a small percentage. The question itself is so vague that it can mean different things to different people. For some people, anti-abortion is an important value. For others it is as simple as viting for the candidate who says he prays daily instead of the one who was once an altar boy but is vague about his current beliefs.

Anti-gay is not much of a factor. Anti-gay marriage won nationwide by much higher margins than Bush got so Kerry got a significant number of anti-gay votes.

Fallujah is the center of operations for the worst of the terrorists in Iraq including the folks who saw the heads off of infidels for webcast. In preparation for the upcoming election, the collition is cleaning out the city. The city was given plenty of notice and women and children were ordered out before the attack started.

This is likely to bring some real peace to Iraq since the rebels in Fallujah have no compunction against killing fellow Iraqis.

So how does the left react? With an emergency demonstration on Tuesday in support of Fallujah.

But then, what else can you expect from an anti-American organization run by communists (really).
Reality Check. Lots of liberals think that Bush has a secret agenda that he will push through now that he has a clear majority in Congress and no longer has to worry about re-election. It will not happen. Bush will have trouble just getting his public agenda passed.

In making this prediction I am looking at recent history. Clinton took office in 1993 with a majority in Congress and a determination to roll back the Reagan/Bush years. His achievements were, at best, modest and he lost Congress in the 1994 election.

In 1995 Republicans took over Congress for the first time in decades. They were going to dismantle the welfare state, abolish PBS, and re-tool the country. It didn't happen. Clinton took the lead on welfare reform and little else was accomplished.

If Bush stays focused he can partially privatized Social Security. Some sort of major overhaul has to be done soon and the only real alternative that I have heard is to raise retirement age.

More on economic interest. My last post gave some examples of policies favored by some vocal members of the Democratic party that are against the economic interests of the working class. Here are a couple of more examples.

Global Warming. If you take the time to seriously research the subject you will find that there is a lot of reason to be skeptical. Never the less, many on the left want to go ahead and enact limits on CO2 emissions. In order to have any real effect we would have to cut emissions more than 60%. Industry would just about have to shut down (actually it would all move to China and India who do not have any limits under Kyoto).

Schools. 20 years ago I was a strong supporter of public schools. Then my daughter reached school age. It turns out that public schools are not set up to handle kids who are unusual. If the child has attention deficit problems (my daughter) or behavioral problems then they are labeled troublesome. Classes that are set up so that dumb kids can pass will fail smart kids with certain problems. The only alternatives are private and charter schools. Paying for private school is a burden and most Democrats want to shut down charter schools.

This is an area where the Democrats are losing some blacks. The Democrat image of the people using school vouchers and charter schools is whites running from minorities and evolution. In fact, it is overwhelmingly blacks, especially ones whose children have problems. The public schools have already failed these kids and they are looking for alternatives.

The Democrats are against all of this. The teachers unions are a major wing of the party and they hate the non-unionized private and charter schools.

Nice to know that they care. The British-based computer industry web site got a letter from the New Democratic Outreach Program. It is addressed from the blue states to the red states. Among other things is says:

Here in the Blue States, Democrats and Republicans alike generate the
lion's share of America's wealth, although it is you Reds who provide the lion's
share of the stoop labor. You are our Mexicans, so to speak. We could not have
accomplished the economic miracle that is America without your willing
capitulation to a system that lies to you and fucks you over at every

Look at economic output and educational achievement on a state-by-state
basis: it's painfully evident that we Blues are immensely more productive and
better educated than you Reds. We have lots more money. We live longer. We eat
better. We work less. We fuck more. We do cocaine and smoke fine Canadian buds,
not the homebrew crank and cheap Mexican headache reefer you guys are stuck
with. We drink French wine and Stoli martinis, not Budweiser. Our children
rarely bother us: we've got them on Ritalin and Prozac. Our teeth are straighter
and whiter, our necks longer, and our fingernails cleaner. And many of us are
the Republican elite who have just punked you.

That outreach is going to win over a lot of voters.

Whose Interests? Nickolas Kristof says this in a recent column about the election:

I'm writing this on tenterhooks on Tuesday, without knowing the election results. But whether John Kerry's supporters are now celebrating or seeking asylum abroad, they should be feeling wretched about the millions of farmers, factory workers and waitresses who ended up voting - utterly against their own interests - for Republican candidates.

This says a lot about why Democrats are losing ground. First, the column is incredibly condescending. A columnist living in New York City knows more about what is best for a factory worker or farmer in the midwest? Please!

I've seen this before. Demcrats are convinced that they have won the high bid for votes but Karl Rove keeps distracting the poor dumies with non-issues like gay marriage.

When they talk about workers' interests, they mean free medical coverage, trade protection. They also add in minimum wage rates.

What they never consider is that any of their policies hurt these workers. The green wing of the Democrats is against housing construction both through "smart growth" policies and through anti-logging policies which raise the costs of housing construction.

Trade protection tends to be a two-edged sword. Put a tarrif on steel (something that Bush shouldn't have done) and you make American cars more expensive. Some car production is moved off-shore in order to get around the tarrifs. Ao one industry is helped and another hurt.

Farmers are hurt by the Green/Democrat dislike for genetically modified crops. They also hate pesticides and furtalizer.

Plus a big factor in the rise of health care costs is lawsuits. We need tort reform but this will not happen under Democrats. Trial lawyers rank with teachers as major contributors. John Edwards said that tort reform would happen over his dead body.

The point here is that Democrats do no have a monopoly on helping the average worker and they should not fool themselves that they do.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Well, that didn't take long. The loony left have it all figured out. It seems that Kerry actually won and that Bush stole the election. The exit polls which showed a huge Kerry win were actually correct and the actual counts were wrong.

I hope that this dies down quickly. It doesn't help anyone to insist that elections are fixed. In this case they are blaming most of it on punch cards, just like in 2000. The solution to punch cards was supposed to be touch-screen voting but, after Democrats noticed that the biggest company making these machines, they changed their minds. They are convinced that the newer voting machines have secret code that allows Karl Rove to change votes at will. So, pending all sorts of challenges against these machines, we are stuck with punch cards.

What about those exit polls? There are all sorts of theories. One is that the pollsters oversampled women. Others think that it was a deliberate attempt by the media to give Kerry a last-second boost while the west-coast polls were still open.

My opinion is that:

1) They oversampled and were in such a rush to get out results that they did not properly correct.

2) Different people vote at different times. I happened to be taking the morning off for a doctor's appointment. Otherwise I would have voted after work. There must have been a few hundred people in line with me but no more than a couple of dozen were dressed for work. This was even more true when I tried to vote at 9:00. I suspect that this skews things. This is probably why they over-sampled women. They were sampling stay-at-home moms. Is this a group more or less likely to vote for Kerry? I don't know.

3) The pollsters say that they gave out warning with their numbers but the networks ignored them. If you assume that most people in the media wanted Kerry to win then they were less likely to question good news.

4) I've said it before - there are a lot of closet Bush supporters out there. When asked, face to face by someone with a clipboard, they will not admit it but in the privacy of the voting booth they can vote their preference.

Instapundit and others noticed that the networks were quick to call states for Kerry but slow to call them for Bush. This is because they check actual counts in against exit polls. When the two agree they call the state, even when a fraction of the vote has been counted. When the exit polls show a different candidate winning they assume that there must be some important precincts that haven't reported yet or some other factor.

I don't think that any of this shows a crooked system but I do think that it shows some media bias in not looking closely enough at data that matches their hopes.

And to the loony left - Bush won! Again! Get over it.
So what went wrong for the Democrats? Lots of things, some of them are ones that I have talked about before. There is a lot to cover so this might ramble a bit.

Kerry was a bad candidate. I'm not sure that a good candidate was in the race since it came down to two senators and a crazed governor. I think that the good candidates were scared off by Bush's approval ratings in 2002.

The primaries hurt Kerry. He won too easily. Iowa was the only state that he had to fight for.

The press went too easy on Kerry. If the press had been doing their job and the primaries hadn't been bunched up, the SwiftVets' story would have broken in the middle of the primaries. Kerry might have survived it. If he did, it would have been old news by August. If he didn't survive it then the Democrats would have had time to select a different standard bearer. Instead the story didn't break until August and Kerry's campaign never recovered.

Kerry won the nomination on little more than 3 months spent in Viet Nam and a promise to beat Bush in the debates. Kerry never had a vision nor did he inspire much personal enthusiasm. The reasoning was that it would be enough for him to be "not Bush" and to look presidential.

Senators have trouble running for President. Senators don't show much leadership. Instead they compromise a lot and have long voting records. That's why most Presidents have been governors or generals.

Kerry specifically and the Left in general have a lot of trouble with religion. When asked about religion, Kerry kept talking about being an altar boy. That tells us how he was raised, not what he believes. When asked about abortion he said that he believes that life starts at conception but that he would not impose his views on others. This rings false - when else has Kerry said that he would act against his beliefs. Dean had even more trouble here. A Christian with a Jewish wife and kids, he forgot that the Book of Job is Old testament.

The Left treats religion the way that Europeans do. Most European countries are either Catholic or Protestant. Which ever they are, the majority is all the same denomination. Everyone pays lip service to religion but no one actually acts like he believes in it. Around 20 years ago the Church of England created a bishop who openly questions the divinity of Christ, something that would seem to be a job requirement.

Bush, like much of "red" America, is religious and acts on it. He does not think that God is telling him what to do but that is what the Left hears when Bush talks about praying for guidance. I know lots of religious people who pray for guidance and none of them think that they are God's special messengers.

The Left needs to come to terms with its fear of Christianity. In the meantime, both protestants and Catholics favored Bush over Kerry.

Kerry is from New England. That hurts because it conjures up images of rich, condescending snobs. Southern Democrats do a better job of passing for real people. They also tend to be more moderate.

The Democrats need to come to terms with being liberals. I heard both Kerry and Edwards reply to questions about their liberal voting record by saying, "I don't believe in labels." They were obviously coached on what to say. It is a bad thing when the liberal party's candidates cannot admit to being liberal.

Just as Reagan defined a new breed of conservative, Democrats need a new breed of liberal. Reagan stood for a strong America that was less intrusive. Democrats do not have a core philosophy to match Reagan and their intellectuals don't even like America.

Kerry never figured out what to do about Iraq. His plan for bringing in foreign troops to die in place of Americans never got off the ground and he refused to say what else he would do. The Democrats in general are a worse mess. Many of them hate the war. Kerry didn't want to offend them so he backed off his early proposals for sending in 40,000 more troops.

Kerry wanted to be the next JFK but, where Kennedy was young, warm, and energetic, Kerry was old, cold, and aloof.

Michelle Malkin posted a map that she got from USA Today. Go look at it. It shows voting by county. It is staggering. The whole country is red except for a few blue dots, mainly around population centers.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

A few minutes ago John Kerry proved that he is a better man than Al Gore by conceding the election on a timely basis.

Of course, Kerry doesn't have a leg to stand on. Bush got more of the popular vote than any candidate has since 1988 and Kerry would have to get all of the provisional ballots and half of the military ballots in order to win Ohio. Neither will happen.

It is good of him to admit it.

Gore couldn't bring himself to do this. Taunted by his majority in the popular vote and the closeness of the Florida count, Gore kept trying to scrape together a few more votes. He never stopped to look around at what his endless quest was doing to the legitimacy of Bush's win or the nation as a whole.

A lot of liberals disliked Bush prior to the 2000 election but if Gore had conceded after the initial recount then they would have accepted him. Instead they convinced themselves that Bush had stolen the election.

Now that Bush has both a popular and an electoral win they will have to shut up about it and "MoveOn" to something else.

Right now, 98% of the Ohio vote has been counted and Bush leads by 130,000 votes. His margin has been going up as the last votes are counted. Other estimates are that there are only 175,000 provisional ballots.

Kerry insists that the provisional ballots will give him the state. Edwards made a "every vote must be counted" speech reminiscent of Al Gore and the ravages of Genghis Khan.

As a country, we need for the election to have a quick, clean victor. Especially since Bush has 51% of the popular vote with 91% counted. Gore at least had a close loss in Florida and a majority in the popular vote. Kerry's Ohio loss is big enough at 2% that there will be no automatic recount and he lost the popular vote which robs him of all legitimacy.

Something to keep in mind - Bush got the highest percentage of the popular vote of any President since his father won in 1988. Clinton never got 50% of the vote.

The networks should be calling Nevada and New Mexico any time. Bush has a big lead in both. The first state to be called will give Bush his 270 electoral votes. Bush may declare victory at that point.

NBC keeps stressing that they do not change how the votes are counted. They only make projections based on the totals. Maybe they have been reading Kos who already complained about the networks.

Meanwhile, in the war on terror: A Dutch filmmaker who outraged members of the Muslim community by making a film critical of the mistreatment of women in Islamic society was gunned down and stabbed to death Tuesday on an Amsterdam street.
NBC and Fox called Ohio for Bush around a half hour ago. CNN eventually followed. I haven't checked CBS or ABC. That gives him 269 votes. He only needs one more state to win.

As promised, Kerry is declaring victory. Mary Beth Cahill says that they are confident that Kerry will win when all votes are counted. With 91% counted, Bush is ahead by 2%.

With 80% of the national vote counted, Bush has 51% of the popular vote. There is a cruel irony here. Even if Kerry takes Ohio and wins the electoral college he will lose the popular vote and be a "pretender in chief" who will be "re-defeated" in 2008.

I don't expect this to happen. After the 2000 bad calls, the networks are not going to make a mistake like this.

Assuming that Bush does keep Ohio, let's look back four years. After the contested 2000 election the Democrats insisted that Bush would lose in 2004. Being a single-term president was in his genes, they said.

One reason Bush irritated them so much is that they wanted him to run a caretaker government until the 2004 election could put a legitimate (Democrat) candidate in the White House.
I'm going to go out on a limb (a real thick one) and project that Bush will win. I'm starting with the 261 eletoral votes that Bush has in today's That gives him Ohio but Kerry gets Florida. Bush is going to win Florida. He is probably going to take Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota. Bush only needs one of these states to win.

I am assuming that every other state will go as it looked at the last poll. Most of them were "strong Bush". Even if Bush loses a "weak Bush" state like Nevada he still has his 270 electoral votes.

One thing that really pleases me - the youth vote didn't change. It was 17% in this election, the same as it was in 2000. That means that the whole draft lie flopped.

As I type this, P. Diddy is on NBC saying that there was a lot of youth turnout. He obviously was not watching NBC earlier when they showed the results of their exit polls.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Voting in a swing state. I had a physical scheduled for this morning. I figured that I would vote first. This didn't quite work out.

My big problem was that my wife accidentally shut off my alarm which caused me to oversleep by around 20 minutes. I was just getting up when she called saying that I should get over to the polls as soon as possible.

I arrived there around fifteen minutes later. They were packed, both with voters and with Kerry supporters. MoveOn was there in force with tents both in front and behind the rec center where I was voting. There was also a big satellite TV truck there and a camera pointed at people in line.

People were backed out the door and halfway across the parking lot. I heard that the line had been longer a while earlier.

Democrats were handing out sample ballots. MoveOn folk were running around with clipboards. I don't know what they were doing. They were talking with people as they left and seemed to be collecting names.

Two people in front of me were talking about their efforts on behalf of Kerry. They had been passing around some secret letter that had convinced at least one Bush voter to change his mind. They felt that their pastor and other pastors nationwide should have been making this push weeks earlier.

A MoveOn person joined them and chatted politics as the line moved forward. Finally I pointed out that they were supposed to stay 100 feet outside of the polls and he was less than 20 feet from a voting machine (I could see it through an open door).

I was feeling a bit intimidated by this point.

As we got into the building an election worker was splitting people into separate lines according toward. Mine had a nice long line of its own.

I got within sight of the door where my precinct was voting when I ran out of time and had to go to the doctor's office.

There were Kerry supporters at the major intersections. I was sick of them by this time.

I got back a couple of hours later. The line outside the rec center was shorter (good thing - it was raining) but the line for my precinct was longer. It took two hours to get in and vote.

Ohio's polls officially close at 7:30. At this rate it will be after 10:00 before all of the votes are cast.

Monday, November 01, 2004

We didn't invade Iraq because they had WMDs. We invaded because they had substantial links to terrorists, they had substantial knowledge about creating WMDs and we feared that they would share this with terrorists.

The anti-Bush crowd has been claiming that there were no links between Saddam and terrorists. In order to say this they have divided terrorists into "good" and "bad" terrorists. The bad terrorists are al Qaeda. The good terrorists are everyone else who kills indiscriminately but mainly kills non-Americans.

Bin Laden's most recent video is interesting in this regard since he talks about Lebanon 22 years ago. As I remember it, Israel invaded Lebanon because it was being used to shell Israel. The US went in as peacekeepers.

The terrorists in this case were "good" ones - they were not part of al Qaeda. They were, however, supported by Saddam.

The thinking had always been that al Qaeda could not co-exist with Baathists or other Islamic terrorist groups because of theological differences. Bin Laden's last message blurs this.

The lines were also blurred when al-Zarqawi professed his allegiance to al Qaeda. Experts were previously unsure if Zarqawi was an ally or a rival.

All of this shows that Islamic terrorism is linked in ways that John Kerry is not willing to acknowledge. Kerry seems to view the war on terror as a manhunt for bin Laden. Once Osama is dead, he will declare victory and end the war.

Of course it is not that simple. A lot of Moslems hate us. Bringing in the French and throwing Israel to the wolves will not satisfy them.

For a detailed list of Saddam's links to terrorists, look here.

Bush has made mistakes in the conduct of the war. It is impossible not to. That's how war works. That does not make him incompetent. Just read about the ghastly mistakes that happened during D-Day.

I see a great deal of arm-chair quarterbacking. "If only Bush hadn't dissolved the Iraqi army." for example. All of this makes for easy targets since there is no way to know how things would have gone otherwise. The first time US troops attacked Fallujah it was with newly-trained Iraqi troops. Some fled, some helped, but some turned on the US troops. That could have happened with the entire Iraqi army. Imagine the uproar if it got out that we had retained the army only for some of them to steal away with their equipment to attack us.

There is no perfect choice. No matter which decision Bush makes, some part of it will not go perfectly and the anti-Bushies will claim incompetence.