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Tuesday

Privatizing Social Security Means a New "Revenue Stream" for Financial Firms 

Exactly.
Corporate Security.
True, those same firms will layoff people if they aren't making enough revenue, or, will layoff people
to try and boost profits. But, why even have any workers whatsoever if they now have a new revenue stream to anticipate.
You, The American Worker, directly giving them even more money, courtesy the Government.
No. No. Don't be so brash as to interpret this as Corporate Welfare. It is more than that. But, don't you
worry you soon to be impoverished heads. CEOs need money. This is just a fact of life. They can't exist
with simple multi-million dollar salaries and oodles of stock options, they need cold hard cash infusion
from your taxes.

No. No. Don't anticipate a tit-for-tat. You won't really be getting anything for allowing the Government to invest
your money for you. You may not even have a chance to get a job at firms which benefit from this Corporate Secutiy.
That's what India and China are for, a decent, cheap worker pool. No. After years of telling nascent investors that their
money can work for them, now, you have the opportunity to allow even more of your money to work for Corporations.
Political Captial, I think it is called; paybacks for Corporate Donations and typical Sweetheart deals by any other name are
just caveats of having an administration which does give a rat's ass about you, Mr. and Mrs. Main Street America.

No. There is no more of a need to pander to you. After all, 50 some-odd million of you already bought into the scam that the Charleton-In-Chief sold you hook, line and sinker. So, Congratulations, you are selling yourself, your country, your fellow Americans down the river. How Patriotic of those who voted for Bush. Screwing over everyone. You and your Moral Values. I see how you really are. You taunt, you tease, you tickle and say you will please and then you just screw over everyone. My, but you are a Vixen , Red State America. Grooowwwulllll!
Suckers by any other name, is you.

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Monday

Memos. They Get Memos 

Incompetancy is a hallmark of the current administration. It is propped up on pedastals composed of lies and obfuscation. Given the recent rigamrole over whether Donald Rumsfeld should be kept on as the Secratary of Defense and the president's adamant support of the man, you'd think that each and ever revelation which appears showcasing the lies and incompetancy would only continue to tarnish both men, Rumsfeld and Bush. Since information does come to light frequently enough these days, one can only hope that the memos obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union citing that the torture in Abu Ghraib was authorized by Executive Order are signifigant.
From the ACLU's press release today:

"The two-page e-mail that references an Executive Order states that the President directly authorized interrogation techniques including sleep deprivation, stress positions, the use of military dogs, and "sensory deprivation through the use of hoods, etc." The ACLU is urging the White House to confirm or deny the existence of such an order and immediately to release the order if it exists. The FBI e-mail, which was sent in May 2004 from "On Scene Commander--Baghdad" to a handful of senior FBI officials, notes that the FBI has prohibited its agents from employing the techniques that the President is said to have authorized.

Another e-mail, dated December 2003, describes an incident in which Defense Department interrogators at Guantánamo Bay impersonated FBI agents while using "torture techniques" against a detainee. The e-mail concludes "If this detainee is ever released or his story made public in any way, DOD interrogators will not be held accountable because these torture techniques were done [sic] the ‘FBI’ interrogators. The FBI will [sic] left holding the bag before the public." "

Granted information like this would have been most appreciated when the height of Abu Ghraib prison torture scandal was percolating in late Spring. But, better late than never, I suppose.

One thing to note is how the Department of Defense impersonated FBI agents when they tortured prisoners. This just continues to show how little regard the administration has for its own parts. Given the constant wailing saying that there should be more cooperation amongt the various intelligence departments to win the war on terra, and the recent signing of the intel refrom legislation, you'd think that going behind another agency's back and trying to make that agency a fall guy for the DOD's bad behavior is just an egregious continuation of the incompetancy and the lies.

It shows a willing disregard for the rules of law and in fact the Executive Order is a brazen attempt at trying to circumvent higher laws. To think that somehow these people who comprise the Powers-That-Be can continue to get a way with pulling the hood over people's eyes so they can't see that Bush should NOT be in the White House, is just amazing.

Impeachment is in order. (If only the GOP Congress has the balls to uphold its end of the Constituion.)

The e-mails/memos can be found here at the ACLU's site.


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Christmas Is coming; The Goose is Getting Fat....The President Wants To Take Money From The Old Man's Hat 

Feh.

Social. Security.
Partial Privatization tied to the stock market.
Partially Privatized Social Security does not equal Social Security.

What it does equal is Corporate Secutiy.

By diverting funds from a system which includes a ttust fund dedicated to saving the surplus of funds which are accumulated (think a rainy day fund) the systems's very existence would become pointless. If the system is not set up so the funds are given back to people and instead are directly routed to the stock market prior to theoretically returning to the people, what you have is a ponzi scheme.

The system as it is set up now is bad enough. However, it isn't so bad that it doesn't work; it does work. The key problem with the current system is that Congress has borrowed against the trust fund for years now. This borrowing has resulted in Social Security being owed well over a trillion dollars.

Nothing I have read recently even comes close to explaining that simple fact. There is money which is owed to the Social Security program. If that money were paid back, guess what would happen? There would be more money in the system.

So, instead of the current administration saying that their partial privatization plan may cost from one to two trillion dollars to implement, why not just pay what is already owed to Social Security? Why accumulate trillions more debt and further wreck the Social Secutiry system? The only thing which makes sense is that there is a want to just give people's savings away. The only immediate beneficiaries of workers setting up private retirement accounts would be publically-traded companies and the fund management companies out there. Currently, money going into the system goes to those who receive Social Security checks. That's because current workers help support retired workers.

If current workers do not put all of their money into supporting retired workers then the entire system is bound to fall apart. What the current administration and its privatization supporters want is to break social security. Ignore the cries that the system is already broken; it isn't. Open your eyes to the fact that every thing the privatization supporters want is yet another way for taxpayer funds to go directly to the publically-traded companies.

Pnozi. Scheme. People who support changes to Social Security are trying to make money now off of denying future retirees Social Secuity.

To paraphrase the immortal words of one proponent of privatization when asked how History would view the actions of his presidency: Who cares, we'll all be dead then.

If people don't start and continue to fight for promises and rights which work and work well there are going to be people who decide to take those promises and those rights away.

Eternal vigilance and all that.

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Saturday

About Appointing the Best and Not the Best Connected 

A brief note about Bernard Kerik and his Magical Ascension Tour of Duty in Iraq and Beyond....


IN early July of 2003, roughly two months after Bernard Kerik began his job as the Coalition Provisional Authority's Interior Minister, an article appeared in the Washington Post which explained how those chosen to help rebuild Iraq were had better connections than qualifications to rebuild a nation in a volatile region.

Near the end of the article, Kerik was mentioned:

" However capable an administrator, [James K. ] Haveman has modest experience in the Arab world and limited knowledge of Islamic customs. This is a deficit he shares with many U.S. officials now running Iraq. In contrast to Afghanistan, where reconstruction has been carried out under the aegis of the United Nations, in Iraq it has been led almost exclusively by Americans -- and not Americans like [Frederick] Skip Burkle [who briefly served as the senior U.S. adviser to the Iraqi ministry of health before being almost immediatley replaced by Haveman], with long records of working with the international community in alien environments.

Thus, to reconstruct Iraqi agriculture, the Bush administration has named Dan Amstutz, a one-time executive at Cargill, the grain giant. To manage Iraq's media, it chose Robert Reilly, who served for less than a year as director of the Voice of America, leaving in August 2002. And to train the Iraqi police, it has named Bernard Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner.

Like Haveman, these men have a knack for getting things done. But their lack of exposure to the Middle East is already causing the United States problems in Iraq -- in its intrusive searches of Iraqi houses, its awkward encounters with Iraqi women, its uneasy relations with Shiite clerics. These officials reflect the Bush administration's determination to remake Iraq in America's image. And this is intensifying the resentment and frustration many Iraqis seem to feel toward the U.S. occupation.
"
(emp. mine)

From what is written in articles like Elisabeth Bumiller's recent New York Times article on Bush's relationship with Kerik, there is a belief that Bush likes Kerik's style. That in and of itself fostered respect to Bush. This could explain why Kerik was thought to be the best choice for reconstituting Iraq's police force and their security infrastructure (border security, et. al.).

Now, if the choice of Kerik and other officials to run the CPA was so recklessly thought out that those being appointed just had to look and act like they knew what they were doing, that just might explain why Iraq's reconstruction and its nascent efforts at having elections keep being delayed. The people running the show on the ground were not best equipped to run the show. They really had no clue as to how to run the show given the differences of the region and the Arab culture from that which the officials were used to in this country.

While this may not come as a surprise given the news from Iraq since summer of 2003, it does help explain why Kerik was criticized for not being that effective at the job he held for roughly 3 and a-half months as Interior MInister.

To me, the piece de resistance for his abrupt departure probably centered around something he did in August of that year. (While I should state that this is assuming that he was removed from his position and not that he left on his on recogniscience. I have seen nothing in the form of marching orders to prove the whys for his premature departure from Iraq)

From the Sunday Herald on September 3, 2003:
"s the training of these new recruits at Iraq’s existing police academies would take six years, the plan to use Taszar for their training is seen as being particularly important.

Tom Lantos, a Hungarian-born US congressman, has been lobbying both on Capitol Hill and in Budapest for Taszar as America’s actual choice. He has also approached Paul Bremer, the US governor of Iraq, seeking backing for the Hungarian base.

As the senior Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee, his views carry considerable weight on both sides of the Atlantic.

Curiously, Bernard Kerik, a former New York City police commissioner now in charge of the Iraqi interior ministry and the training of Iraqi police, referred to Taszar as a fait accompli.

In an interview he asserted that “American officials had secured Hungarian government consent to the setting up of a large police academy inside an old Soviet military base.” This would appear to leave little doubt as to where he wants the 28,000 Iraqi recruits to get their training.
"

Kerik's assertion was wrong. The U.S. had not secured that base as a place to train Iraq police cadets.

And, Hungary knocked the notion right out of the air that base would be used for a police academy, despite the U.S. using the base for dentions of some Iraqi prisoners. Go figure out how the addition of a training facility would compromise Hungary's security, but, those were the stated reasons why Hungary turned down the chance to have the academy located there.

So, the Defense Department had to change their plans on training those Iraqi policemen. That's where the country of . Jordan and a private security contractor DynCorp came in. And, curiously, that correct announcement that training would proceed in Jordan was made not to much longer before Kerik made his victory tour and skeedaddled back to the States.

Kerik's replacement, Steve Casteel, a former highly ranked DEA officer, who had worked extensively in Columbia prior to accepting the offer to work in Iraq, was someone who was better versed in deaing with international affairs than Bernard Kerik. The following statement may well inform how Casteel could say this of what needed to be done in Iraq:
A successful Iraqi democracy depends on police and not on soldiers. "If you want to build a banana republic, build the military," he says. "If you want to build a republic, build a police force."

Given details that the number of trained police officers in Iraq were inflated somewhat and that many who went through the first training sessions eventually deserted, Kerik's time was not totally spent laying the most sound foundation for Iraq's security. Given the terrorism began in Iraq and only got worse while Kerik was there and that the bombings, kidnappings and suicide attacks have not abated in the year and 3 months since Kerik left, it is fair to say that a foundation for security just is not there in that nation. This is in part due to too many reasons, but, certainly neither Kerik nor Paul Bremer, the former head of the now-defunct Coalition Provisional Authority, can say with earnest that they did great things for the security of Iraq and its people.

Suffice it to say, Kerik didn't stay in Iraq as long as his mission was scheduled for. While I'm sure other blogs and news sources have more of the scoop on the vagaries of the ins and outs of that not so illustrious part of Kerik's storied career. Hopefully, assembling some of this information together can be put to good use by someone else.

Wunderbar!








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A Brief Message to Those Who Are Proud of Living in Red States 

The Republican Party (The Party), the current president of the United States of America and his political appointed operatives in the Executive Branch of the Federal Government, and a variety of supporters of the apparatus known as the Republican Party as it is now under the whim of the current president of the United States of America think that you, voters and non-voters who are proud of living in what are known as Red States and those voters and non-voters who are not proud of living in what are known as Blue States (heretofore referred to as Supporters), are
completely and utterly idiotic people who would support the notion of amputating a limb to remove a hangnail.

This conception that rational people would support extreme actions in the name of alleviating slight discomforts and eyesores which are easily remedied gets huge support from people who chant "U.S.A.!, etc. etc.," and who fancy themselves to be not only the purveyors of the fastest stock cars but also afficionados of the finest stocks, and have provided the people who really look down upon them with all the reason in the world to think that fighting evil in the world can be done by making bad decisions. With only people who do not fit in the category of
Supporters criticizing the actions of The Party, the Supporters are free to feel superior and more patriotic than the critics (Commonly referred to as the Left, but also as The Correct).

The consequences of this superiority complex which The Supporters seem to relish in is that there is a myopic perception that they are smarter and more secure for having made their choices in choosing another quadrennial reign for the current president of the United States of America. While this superiority complex may seem quite benign, there are complications to it which The Supporters should be made aware of in order to continue to make correct choices for their future.

First and foremost, they should realize that they have already made many bad choices and that the person(s) whom they have chosen to represent them, and to represent The Critics, or The Correct, have made even more bad choices. This perpetuating deluge of bad decision-making has led this country to where it is today: A land of high moral values and no common sense.

Secondly, in having made the bad choices for representation of The Supporters and The Critics the Supporters have allowed themselves to be participants in the prophecy of one P. T. Barnum; The Supporters are demonstrating that they are Suckers. The Party knows this and takes advantage of this because they don't care a whit about you as people; It just wants your vote and any money you care to spend on It. So, even as The Party ruins the present and puts the Future on Life Support, you, The Supporters, will have your faces smeared with smiles and with glasses stares will nod approvingly at being put in a situation which is worst than the situation you found yourselves in 4 years ago. And, yet, you don't seem to care that any bad choices are being made for your present or your future. Perhaps it is because you think that the choices being made only affect other people who are not considered to be members of The Supporters? Should this be the case then you are as stupid as The Party thinks you are. It would also explain a lot about why these bad choices continue to be made.

Congratulations.
Now you are free to return to your bubbles, to your pods or to what ever holes in the ground in which you bury your heads.

Update:
How in the Hell can any person try to be good person when their attempts at doing good things constantly involve choosing bad solutions to other people's problems? After almost four years of this happening, how is it that The Supporters just don't get the fact that there hasn't been any good policy to come out of the current administration which actually improves the situation for most people. Instead, only a few benefit from policies or many suffer because of policies being made.
Case in point: The AIDS drug program for Aftrican nations which Bush trumpeted to no end before doing nothing to follow up on the $15 Billion worth of funding. Well, gee. Turns out they were administering what drugs were allocatted on the cheap. And, people who should be helped are now sufferring. Way to go Proud Red Staters, your universal death penalty program is just peachy keen.
The saddest thing is that that isn't an isolated example. The Powers-That-Be, the ones that think you're stupid and that you support like the grinning idiots that you seem to be, make horrible policies. So, keep on churning out your endless chants of "Freedom" and invoking pat phrases like "everything changed...." Ignorance may be blissful but it isn't productive or responsible. Yet, on November 2nd, you chose to continue this country, and the world, down the wrong roads.
Lame.

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Thursday

To Be Real: Keeping It Real, Cont.... 

Before I rant about how people just do not get it when it comes to American Principles and should get it, I want to point out that when it comes down to principles, one person who is in the news these days does get it. That person is Rudolph Giuliani.

Well, ok, he does not seem to completely understand principles. He talks a good talk though.
Apparently, Rudolph--also known as "Rudy" and as "America's Mayor"--has a belief in 6 principles of leadership. They are in no particular order:
Integrity
Communication
Preparedness
Courage
Optimism
Accountability

You can see from his nifty website for his consulting firm Giuliani Partners that he places these principles in a highly visible fashion. He's proud of these principles because they inform clients, potential clients and the public-at-large just what his Post-9/11/01 firm is all about. Why, if you want you can even read more about just what each principle means to Giuliani, his partners and his firm, in general.

One principle which goes unlisted is Opportunism. You see, if the above list were arranged in a particular order of importance then Opportunism would be Job Number One. Pardon me. Principle Number One.

The firm was established when Rudolph rejoined the private sector after his well-documented and rather eventful career as a federal prosecutor and his storied and much ballyhooed stint as mayor of New York City. Joining him in the firm as partners were the former Fire Commissioner and the former Police commissioner for the city of New York. All three men went through the fire together on that fateful late summer day in 2001. Each likely became endeared not only to the nation and to the world but also to one George W. Bush. The television valor which the three future business partiers would show to the world and to the president bonded them in ways which their respective tenures are top officials in NYC hadn't. To be fair, how could enduring such a period in time not bond the three?

But, when it was time for Rudolph--with his rose so bright--to retire from his mayoral roost, he had to do something. Like so many others who were in key positions in government during the day the two towers fell, Rudolph decided to cash in on the tragedy. But, he couldn't do it alone. So he invited the Commissioners of the Departments of Fire and Police to join in on the money-making. And, boy, have they done well for themselves cashing in on a national tragedy. They are quite a bit wealthier now than they ever would have become had they just retired from public life. And, after going through such a horribly stressful event such as it was, you would think that they would just retire. But, hey there is more money to be made than in just writing a book if you are Rudolph.

So, let's skip forward to today. The former Commissioner of the Police Department and a current partner of Giuliani's firm is Bernard Kerik. He himself is quite a storied man.
However, I won't get into any of his illegal actions, his salacious love affairs or his invisible immigrant nanny. There is so much on those things already out there and so many more which will come.

What I want to focus on is how Giuliani's 6 Principles of Leadership didn't pass the test when it came to Giuliani recommending Kerik to George Bush to serve as the replacement for Thomas Ridge as the Secretary of Homeland Security. Now, it bears mentioning that I have not encountered any information on the chicken and egg nature of the recommendation. It is quite possible that Bush just wanted Kerik and Giuliani seconded the nomination. Either way, Rudolph has been apologizing for days because of the Pandora's Box of Kerik's lack of qualifications for so many jobs he has held in his time as a public servant. Suffice it to repeat the apparent, Kerik is not going to be the Secretary of Homeland Security.

But, boy, if he did, wouldn't that be a boon for Giuliani. It would have been yet another man on the inside of government to get some more monies for Giuliani Partners, LLC. And this one would have been a huge inside player. But alas and a lackey, nowKerik's life if becoming an open book and an embarrassment to Bush, to Alberto Gonzales, the White House counsel nominated to become Attorney General, who purported vetted Kerik thoroughly and found no problems with Kerik as a potential nominee.

The point of posting all of this is that if Giuliani actually practiced those principles he holds so dearly, he wouldn't be in business with Kerik, he would have never promoted Kerik or recommitted Kerik for the DHS job. That is why principles matter. Generally, they matter a great deal. However, if they are broken or not followed, what good are they to begin with? They are vacuous if not followed or revered.

Sooooo...More Later on American Principles, how people should get to know them and how they always trump values......

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Wednesday

Keeping It Real 

What with Republicans thinking that they own it all and that their concept of values is synonymous with what it means to be American, there is a need to keep certain things in perspective.

So, first things first. This nation was established upon key principles. Those key principles do not jibe with where the Christian fundamentalists who erroneously define themselves as conservative. True, there were pilgrims who came to this country to flee religious persecution. But they arrived before this country became a nation. It bears keeping in mind that when the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, this land was not the nation of America nor would it become a nation immediately after that. Many years passed before the part of the New World became United States of America. When it finally happened it was founded upon principles, not religious values.

The so-called conservative right wants its fellow travellers to think that somehow the principles on which the Declaration of Independence and the core of the Constitution are repleat with empirical evidence that the founding fathers were Chrisitians who codified Christian beliefs in the documents which the rule of law is based upon. That isn't the case.

Both documents were based upon principles. Mostly derived from the Age of Reason thinking which was transpiring in Europe. The enlightened thinking may have indeed include Natural Law, which many people like Allen Keyes cherish greatly, but it was not the end all to the rationales for defining American principles.
The prinicples have much more to do with the proper role of goverenance than anything to do with God. However, our dear leaders, their minions and their well-heeled influencers would very much like people to think that God spoke to the founding fathers and said make America in my image and don't forget about me in the years to come. This is fallacious. But, apparently people believe that because many who voted believe that values enforcement is the divine role of government.

What isn't really discussed--and it should be-- is that values are relative. Principles on the other hand are typical enshrined because, well, it is the law laid down. While values can change, principles can not. If principles could change then what good were they in the first place?

It was my firm belief that Democrats should have played off of prinicples in the presidential campaign. Why? Is the source for our patriotism based upon values? What the Ten Commandments say? Or, is it based upon the conditions of the role of the governments in this country to the people?

More later.....

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Thursday

Flea Flicking Ain't Fun. So Now What? 

So, this is the way the world ends?
Not with a bang, nor with a whimper, but
with a divided choir releasing both a gasp and a sigh?

The very circulation of the air the choir creates
a whirlwind of woe which the envelopes the world. One
can only presume the rest of humanity both mutters
and shouts: why?

(For what it is worth, the world probably isn't ending anytime soon.
Things would have to become downright FUBAR to actually bring that
predicament about. In the meantime, it does feel like we are all in quite a pickle.)

I keep telling myself only four more years. The difficulty
in that rationalization is that four years is a long time. If
the past four are any indicator of just how much can occur
then the next quartet of annums might just feel like an
eternity. Certainly, I can't be the only one who feels this way.
Surely, there are others who expect the worst.

On the proverbial other side of the metaphoric coin are
people who are likely overjoyed and overzealous. The next
four years for them are likely laced with divine expectations
of a better America and a better world. After all, the main
ingredient to bliss is ignorance. That is one of the most
depressing facts post November 2nd. There are roughly
Sixty million people who threw fate to the wind. They are the
same people who exhaled the sigh. It is as if they expelled
a less useful version of the hot air they took in. That's sad.

So, there are people who are pleased and they feel they outnumber
those who are disappointed.

Now, I could try my hand at swift wit and propose something modest
to resolve the dilemma posed by roughly 4 million of those who created
a majority that thinks a mandate exists for one person. However,
what good would that do? After all, the chances are good that those
4 million have 4 million times 2.5 kids who will replace them as voters. Besides,
who would reduce themselves to cannibalizing the majority?
Cannibalism is so red state-ish. Blue staters are more civilized than that.

If eating their own is out then what is in? If red is the new black then what to
do now that blue remains, albeit superficially, so isolated and sad?

First, there should be an immediate dismissal of the notion that blue state voters live near the water.
That is so obviously a sign of an ignorant punditry trying to divine a poetic
explanation for why the electoral college produces such skewed results.
If blue-staers live near the water and/or own boats, how is it that a good chunk of the East coast and the Gulf of Mexico appear reddish on those electoral maps? Like I wrote, poetic explanations. Bad Analysis is what it is. What notions like this only do is placate pundits so they feel better about what they are saying.* In other words, spilling blather like that out in lieu of a proper methodological approach to understanding the situation of the way the nation voted makes the commentators feel better about themselves. And, in a very condescending way it also talks down to red state voters. Odd how that happens. Political commentators never once say that the whole of those red states have just a hair more of a republican voting population than does that collective of blue states. In other words, the commentators never note that it took that many red states to give that guy a slim margin of victory.
Sigh.
Additionally, to think that the red staters are red meat voters who live in the fly over states is to
do much disservice to the close margins of the votes in those states. It isn't as if
states which donated their electoral votes to that guy are not the homes to many people
who wished their states were a more royal blue. There were plenty of statistically close
popular votes in states which went red The opposite can't always be said for the states which went blue.
But, this is America. The winner takes all; the spoils go to the victor. What makes this disturbing is that guy didn't deserve to win yet people wanted him to win.

That guy didn't get a mandate. Yet somehow, yet again, he is getting a free ride through his
charmed life. The rest of us are getting hosed. But what do we matter? We are only the people.


Secondly, what should occur is that people should keep fighting. There is no time to crawl into holes and ignore any attempts at making matters worse. Fighting is the best way to show that
people have power. Resisting bad policy making is the greatest way to have voices heard. Those bad proposals need to be halted before they make it too far. Being steadfast, AnybodyButBushers. is the best method to make certain that you do indeed have power. Seriously, don't shirk the opportunity to make a difference. Now it is too important to make a difference. After all, those who feel they've done their jobs and elected that guy aren't likely to
do anything more than grasp for divisive straws and further isolate their own. The bulk of them,
the supporters of that guy, are likely to just become quite self-absorbed and reduce their participation in the process.

That is where you come in. Say it strong, say it loud....make a difference by not allowing that guy to make more bad choices. Hold his ideologically wrapped feet to the fire and make him realize that he can't walk on water, he can't even drink from the water and you'll be damned before you submit to him trying to baptize you in the water.

If you do this, the next four years might go by quickly and they might not be so bad.

Excelsior!

*Never forget that conventional wisdom is always right. Those who create it never, ever admit to being wrong. When the facts show that they are wrong, the conventional wisdom just changes to reflect the "new reality"...which CW knew about all along. Self-justification never had it so easy for anyone who isn't a political commentatorhead.

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Idiots Rule 

And, it is fair to say that most people don't like that fact.

Kerry leads Bush in newspaper endorsements and he just got the endorsement of The Economist.
That magazine endorsed Bush in 2000.

===========================
The pundits like to say that America is a 50/50 nation.
Sounds plausible, doesn't it?
It isn't true.
The thing is that there are over 170 million eligible voters in this country; a little more than half of the population. Given that almost 100 million voted in 2000 and even fewer in 2002, we really have no accurate guage on the divide in the country.
Pollsters and pundits rely on the fact that the elected officials are about 50/50 and have been for a while and how the polls bear out support for Bush and for Kerry.

The deal is the newly registered voters are likely to tip the scale. I do believe that it will tip it in the Democrats' favor, too.

It is hard to fathom that all of the newly registered voters are 3rd party supporters (who have probably been apathetic for years) or for Republicans (with the hot button issues the GOP cherishes, those folks wouldn't sit on the sidelines and suddenly emerge). Which leads me to think that there were formally apathetic people who thought they had no impact.

Given the way the 2000 election went, the way the past four years have gone it seems unlikely that these recently emerging likely voters and the newly registered ones are supporters of the status quo. It just doesn't jibe. Those who are comfortable with the status quo won't do anything. They will let others speak for them. They just don't get involved.

While the cultural war (blogged here earlier) is being bandied about by conservatives, I really don't see it impacting as much as some would think for the right. True, in state elections there are ballot initiatives which are being put forth to try to turn out the conservative vote--key amongst these being gay marraige initiatives--it is hard to think that all of the voter turnout is going to hinge upon non-national issues.

We'll see come Tuesday, obviously.
But, I'm still skeptical that this is a 50/50 nation. That's too simple. It seems like there are just more liberals (who want activist government to protect our interests) than conservatives who want conflicting government prohibition or smaller government.

The get out the vote effort on the Left is going to bear out my beliefs.

Add to that how the economy sucks for people/workers;
the bungling admit no mistake aspect of the current administration;
the cronyism of the current administration ignoring real world concerns and reality, in general;
the fact that Osama Bin Laden is still not in custody;
every little mess up that has occurred over the past 3 plus years;

It would take a nation of complete idiots to think all is well.
There are not that many idiots in this country. Certainly not more than 40 some-odd percent.
Definitely not 50 percent.

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