"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States


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Thursday, October 14, 2004
  Thoughts on Third Presidential Debate
So it's a couple of hours post-debate. I've been checking emails, and reading blogs on the left and right. My analysis is that, like the second debate, this is a tie. Bush was again better than his first performance, and Kerry was maybe slightly off of his.

But even though this ranks as a tie, I think it is a big loss for President Bush. He had the opportunity to literally grind Kerry into dust in the first debate. During the preceding weeks he had slammed Kerry with his record and his "flip-flopping". Yet when Kerry took the stage, his manner (and Bushes horrible performance) gave the appearance of a confident, presidential leader with a plan, that the current president couldn't answer.

Back to Bush. While he managed to respond to many of Kerry's comments, every time I watched him he reminded me of a dumb high school kid who had suddenly "remembered" what the smart kids had told him to say. As all commentators have noted, he isn't blessed with eloquence or proper grammar. In terms of body language, he again communicated uncertainty and anger at several points in the debate. Kerry by contrast looked his confident self; he appeared serene and looked to me as if he were constantly thinking what I was thinking: this is the president of the USA, this is the best the Republican party can do? It would be downright funny were it not such a grave matter. As a side note, I saw an interesting segment after the first debate where an author of a book on body language critiqued the President (this was on the O'Reilly Factor). She said that Bush's body language was totally improper for a presidential debate - a president should look confident and almost amused, because he knows the other guy's nonsense and how to counter it. That is how Kerry struck me throughout the debate.

To be fair, Kerry had his share of faults. Every time religion came up, I just cringed, because I knew that I was about to be pelted with a barrage of mystical gobble-de-gook. Bush hit a home run in the second debate when he said, "I'm still trying to decipher that." And yet Kerry did a fairly good job of saying (as he did in the second debate) that he could not legislate an article of faith on other Americans. That is the essence of the separation of church and state, something Bush cannot comprehend. Kerry also said he wouldn't appoint any judges who'd overturn Roe v. Wade, which I also found encouraging.

Bush's "culture of life" sent chills down my spine. It's obvious that he is militantly opposed to all abortions, as he wants to protect "all human life" (except for the mother's, I guess she is less human than a clump of cells).

What really came across to me tonight was two fundamental points about the two candidates:
  1. Kerry is a pragmatist along the lines of Clinton
  2. Bush is a pragmatist with better rhetoric, except when it comes to religion where he's a principled theocrat
In my next post, I'll outline why I'm definitely voting for John Kerry this November, and why you should too.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
  Cox and Forkum - Grave Evidence
  George Reisman - Reducing Poverty by Reducing Government
Dr. George Reisman has written an excellent article today on how to put an end to poverty by reducing government regulation. Here's a sumptuous tidbit:
The enemies of capitalism and economic freedom shed crocodile tears over poverty. Their policies do not alleviate it but worsen it. They deprive many workers of the very possibility of working, and when those workers are permitted to work, compel them to be confronted with the needless competition of other workers driven from other lines of work by the same kind of policies. And they compel all workers, especially the poorest, to pay needlessly higher prices: all are compelled to pay higher prices insofar as the productivity of labor is held down; and the poorest in particular are compelled to pay higher prices as the result of the same monopolistic privileges that drive their wages down.
  Quote of the Day
I've had a very strong interest in history lately, centering around the Roman empire. Along these lines I've recently been re-reading Isabel Paterson's excellent book The God of the Machine where I came across this fascinating quote. Like so much of the book, it is at once simple and profound, and to me quite enlightening.

It struck me specifically in light of the presidential election. Bush (and many pundits on the right) are pointing out that John Kerry is a "tax and spend liberal". While this is true, it seems to imply that Bush is a fiscal conservative. Unfortunately, nothing could be farther from the truth; if Kerry is a "tax and spend liberal", Bush should be called a "charge and spend conservative" for the massive deficit he has presided over. The implications of either policy for our civilization are horrendous; Ms. Paterson knew this, and described how the same policy led to the decline and fall of the Roman empire:
The exactions of the bureaucracy increased, and the number of officials multiplied. More and more of the flow was diverted from production into the political mechanism. Whatever elements in motion compose a stream of energy, enough must go through to complete the circuit and renew production. Water running in an aqueduct to turn a millwheel is a stream of energy; or electricity going through insulated wires; or goods in process from raw materials to finished product and conveyed by a system of transport. If the water channel is pierced with many small openings en route; or electricity taken off by more and more outlets; or the goods expropriated piecemeal at each stage of the process, finally not enough will go through for maintenance of the system. In the energy system comprised in an exchange of goods, the producers and processors have to get back enough to enable them to keep on producing and working up the raw materials and to provide transport. In the later Roman empire, the bureaucrats took such a large cut, at length scarcely anything went through the complete circuit.
  Cox and Forkum - Dose of Reality
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
  Stark Relief
I wanted to mention a good blog I found today (via my comments section), Stark Relief. Thanks again John for the kind words!

Some good posts I found:

  Quote of the Day
Thanks to John at Stark Relief for posting this quote on his blog, which I'm shamelessly stealing now:
It used to be widely believed that the election of a semi-conservative (a 'moderate') is a way of gaining time and delaying the statist advance. President Eisenhower proved the opposite; President Nixon proved it conclusively. Their policies have not delayed, but helped and accelerated the march to statism. A major reason is the silencing and destruction of the opposition. If Mr. Nixon's program had been proposed by a liberal Democrat, the Republicans would have screamed their heads off--either on some remnant of principle or, at least, on the grounds of narrow party interests. But when total economic controls are imposed by a Republican President--in the name of preserving free enterprise--who, among today's politicians, is going to protest and in the name of what? - Ayn Rand, "The Moratorium on Brains"
Monday, October 11, 2004
  Remembering Superman...
Actor Christopher Reeve died today at 52 of heart failure. The victim of a tragic accident at an equestrian competition, Reeve's had been completely paralyzed for the last 9 years. While I certainly didn't agree with all his political work, I vigorously supported his desire for stem cell research.

None of us wants to imagine the awful possibility of becoming quadriplegic, but it is all too possible. Bravo to Christopher Reeve for his undaunting courage and desire to overcome his disability. And God damn all you religious bastards who attempted to impede the progress of scientific research to help human beings.
  New Blog Template
Just in case anyone is reading this blog besides me, I decided to redo the style of the blog. Hope you like it - I wanted to go with simplicity, and this is exactly what I had in mind.
  Just A Coincidence?
Daily Kos has added a very intriguing post. If you watched the second presidential debate on Friday, you were probably dumbfounded when Bush said he wouldn't appoint any judges onto the Supreme Court who would support legislation like the Dred Scott case. What the hell is the Dred Scott case, and what does it have to do with the supreme court?

For those unfamiliar, essentially it involved a slave who escaped from the south to the north, and was legally ordered back to his "owner" by the supreme court because it was ruled that he was the owner's property (this by the way is an excellent example of how the evil of slavery wasn't static - it managed to wriggle its way into the freer north through this case). So now the inevitable question - what the hell does this have to do with politics today, since slavery is no longer legal?

Well, Kynn at Daily Kos has found the connection, and it's one I find entirely plausible. It is "code", if you will, that Bush will not support any justice in favor of abortion. Go to the posting now for a look at how Kynn came to this conclusion, and the evidence for it. I'm sure you'll find it illuminating.
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