General discussion


Run-up to the election .....

By jardinier ·
I don't find any reason to follow American politics other than knowing the names of the President, Vice President and Secretary of State; the party to which they belong, and the balance of numbers in the Congress and Senate.

So I would welcome any predictions for the outcome of the US election, accompanied by reasons for the point of view.

The date for the Australian Federal election has not yet been set (the PM chooses the date, but it must be no more than 3 years after the previous election, which in this case would be November 2004, so that the American and Australian elections will probably be held at about the same time.)

It is an exciting election year in Australia. The recently elected leader of the Parliamentary Labor Party, Mark Latham, is gaining increasing popularity as recent polls reveal that he has now passed Howard as Preferred Prime Minister (53 per cent for Latham, as against 47 per cent for Howard).

Under our two-party-preferred election procedure, Labor is now well ahead of Liberal with 56.5 per cent as against Liberal's 43.5 per cent.

So I cannot see any reason not to believe that Mark Latham will be Australia's Prime Minister before the end of this year.

If Bush is re-elected, he will find that he is dealing with someone who does not kowtow to every whim of the US President. Latham has spoken strongly against the invasion of Iraq right from the beginning, and has made adverse remarks about GWB which he has refused to retract.

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Look who WE're stuck with

by SoldierJedi In reply to Run-up to the election .. ...

President Blair, anyone?

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Deafening silence ....

by jardinier In reply to Run-up to the election .. ...

Where are all the loyal TechRepublicans? Are you afraid to express your ideas? Are you afraid your gallant leader will not be re-elected?

Your President has publicly admitted that the Intellegence information on WMDs may have been incorrect.

Your president can admit that he has erred -- cannot any of you face the reality that GWB may not be re-elected?

Don't any of you hold SOME opinion as to the likely outcome of the election?

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To paraphrase you

by maxwell edison In reply to Deafening silence ....

I've remind you of it all too frequently. But if you want my input, I'll certainly accommodate.

I think GWB will be reelected in 2004. I think he will win all of the 30 states he carried in 2000, which are: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming.

The Democrats carried 20 states in 2000, which were: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Delaware, Iowa, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin; they also carried the District of Columbia.

North Carolina's 14 electoral votes could go to the Democrats in 2004, especially if John Edwards, their very own U.S. Senator, is on the ticket (which is very likely, in my opinion). But the Republicans could conceivably pick up New Mexico's 5 and Wisconsin's 11 as an offset. However, the Republicans won North Carolina in 2000 by a rather comfortable margin, while Wisconsin and New Mexico went to the Democrats by a very small margin of less than 1 and 2 percent respectively. Michigan's 18, Minnesota's 10, and Washington's 11 are certainly attainable for the Republicans; and with a popular Republican Governor Terminator in California, and a state-wide revolt against the Democrats, California's 54 electoral vote's could also go into the Bush column. It would only take a 6 percent swing from the 2000 results to give the Golden State to Bush. If that happens, it'll be a slam-dunk for the Republicans. (A little basketball lingo there.)

Contrary to what may appear to be the sentiment in the press, most people are very happy with the way President Bush responded to 9-11 and his war on terrorism, something that should have been addressed a dozen or more years ago. The economy has been improving, and jobs are being added. Most of the press coverage today is focused on the Democrat Party primary, which is certainly understandable since the Republicans already have their nominee. But once the general election starts in full swing, the shallow and one-sided rhetoric will be shown for what it really is, and the Republicans will have a stage on which to reply.

But the bottom line is this. People aren't going to forget the images of planes being crashed into our buildings, and the decisive way President Bush responded. Ask the question again in September or October, and you may get more interest and a more accurate reading of our political sentiment.

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I really dont know

by jkaras In reply to To paraphrase you

Bush has to over come the questions of his military record vs Kerry. That he can send others to die but not himself. He also has to answer to Cheney's troubles with the contracts as well as the Enron debocale of his affiliation to that company making sizable contributions to his election and their ability to stay out of jail. He also needs to provide the world with the weapons of destruction that exist. His stand on stem cell research, and gay marriage that he wants to rewrite the constitution accordingly. Has his administration done some good, yes but there is a stink of corruption and questionable things in his administration. I do like his agressive plan for space exploration and colonization to ensure our future but his other stances dont exactly speak a good future in my opinion.

As for the Democrats I really havent heard of any stances that they have, only how well they are doing. Kerry does appear to have the Democratic vote. I am appaled that Dean's campain was tanked over a pep talk rather than the issues at hand. This might be the first presidential election that I will participate since I feel that it is a pivotal election about the future of our country as well as our world. Do I want to trade this for that, when I feel neither is truly a winner? To be honest it might be the year of the Democrat that the people are willing to take a chance that Kerry is better than trusting Bush.

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On your concerns

by maxwell edison In reply to I really dont know

On Bush's military record versus Kerry's (assuming he's the nominee):

When "draft dodger" Bill Clinton was running for the Presidency, the following was said on the floor of the U.S. Senate:

"I am saddened that Vietnam has yet again been inserted into the campaign........The race for the White House should be about leadership, and leadership requires that one help heal the wounds of Vietnam, not reopen them; that one help identify the positive things that we learned about ourselves and about our nation, not play to the divisions and differences of that crucible of our generation......."

"We do not need to divide America over who served and how. I have personally always believed that many served in many different ways. Someone who was deeply against the war in 1969 or 1970 may well have served their country with equal passion and patriotism by opposing the war as by fighting in it. Are we now, 20 years or 30 (30 or 40) years later, to forget the difficulties of that time, of families that were literally torn apart, of brothers who ceased to talk to brothers, of fathers who disowned their sons, of people who felt compelled to leave the country and forget their own future and turn against the will of their own aspirations? Are we now to descend, like latter-day Spiro Agnews, and play, as he did, to the worst instincts of divisiveness and reaction that still haunt America? Are we now going to create a new scarlet letter in the context of Vietnam?"

"Certainly, those who went to Vietnam suffered greatly. I have argued for years, since I returned myself in 1969, that they do deserve special affection and gratitude for service. And, indeed, I think everything I have tried to do since then has been to fight for their rights and recognition. But while those who served are owed special recognition, that recognition should not come at the expense of others; nor does it require that others be victimized or criticized......."

"I would like to make a simple and straightforward appeal, an appeal from my heart, as well as from my head. To all those currently pursuing the presidency in both parties, I would plead that they simply look at America. We are a nation crying out for leadership, for someone who will bring us together and raise our sights. We are a nation looking for someone who will lift our spirits and give us confidence that together we can grow out of this recession and conquer the myriad of social ills we have at home. We do not need more division. We certainly do not need something as complex and emotional as Vietnam reduced to simple campaign rhetoric."

- Spoken by Senator John Kerry in 1992

Bottom line: President Bush served in the National Guard just like tens of thousands of other Americans, he served honorably, and there's nothing to prove otherwise. Why should President Bush be treated any differently than the draft-dodging Bill Clinton? There is no issue here except the one that shines the light on yet another disingenuous Democrat who is, obviously, one who can't decide what his core principles really are.


On Enron:

Between 1989 and 2001, Enron contributed nearly $6 million to political parties and candidates from both parties, a reported two-thirds to Republicans, and one-third to Democrats.What favors did Enron receive from the White House in return? Well, in 1994 President Clinton's administration brokered a deal in which the Washington-based Export-Import Bank approved a $302 million loan toward a $3 billion Enron-controlled power plant in India. Clinton chief of staff, Thomas McLarty, then a presidential adviser, was later hired by Enron, only one of many Clinton administration officials to be hired by them. In 1996, four days before India granted approval for Enron's project, Enron contributed $100,000 to the Democratic Party.

When Enron was first faced with their problems in 2001, executives from the company went to the White House to ask President Bush for his help in getting them out of "hot water". President Bush declined. So what's your point? Are you suggesting that President Bush somehow helped his corporate buddies? How did he do that? By kicking them out on their keister to face the music that they, themselves, wrote, and by having a Bush administration justice department go after the thieves and, contrary to what you may believe, putting many of them in jail, that's how. So again, what's your point?


On Cheney:

There's nothing there except the same tired-old "Enron style" of rhetoric.


On gay marriages:

President Bush is against gay marriages. Moreover, President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1997. That act created the federal law that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman. President Bush agrees with President Clinton in that regard. In addition, 38 states have passed such marriage protection acts. However, and this is interesting, John Kerry was one of only 14 senators who voted against the federal Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 (signed into law in 1997), although Senator Kerry now claims to be against gay marriage. How can he explain the contradiction? At least President Bush is consistently standing on principle. Again, what's your point?


On rewriting the constitution:

Do you really understand what it takes to rewrite the Constitution? That's something no single President could possibly do.


On Howard Dean's tanking:

Blame the media for that one. Who else is to blame - except, perhaps for Dean himself?


On your first time voting:

Congratulations, way to go, and high-fives to you. Do us all a favor, however, and be as well-informed as possible. Try to look through all the political rhetoric, and gather the real facts for yourself. And vote your principles - regardless of who might be the recipient of your vote.

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by jkaras In reply to On your concerns

My points were about everyting I've seen in the paper or the news about what issues are being determined by voters. I have been tuning in far more than I ever have before, but the info is jaded on all sides pending on their political agenda. These points are valid as well as trivial. Both have skeletons in their closet just like the rest of us. The Cheney thing is obout playing golf with the judge that is ruling on his case of governemnt contracts to rebuild Iraq. Whether it is true or not doesnt re-enforce trust like the Enron scandal with our leaders. We want justice and Martha Stewart got her day in court way faster than any exec (who are free still living it up brokering deals for whiffle ball n chain short sentences, they need to be set as an example)and what she did was minute compared to frauding millions of people. They got off easy so far so I think as well as others that their contributions bought them time to devise a way out of their situation. Does a bank robber get these kind of chances, no? Trust is evaporating in America and our leaders need to re-instill it and the Patriot act just isnt going to be the bandaid. There is a lot of good as well as bad going on and it doesnt appear to be changing for the better.
I do understand what it takes to re-write the constitution, I just dont want any ideas or talks for changing the best law we ever wrote. We have many others that need revising and abolishing. I do feel that this is the most important election in my lifetime in regards of how we plan on shaping the world due to the middle east issue. I dont want us to become the new Regime (dont get mad at the comparison, merly how many countries see us trying to change them to be like us or else which seems to be a prevailing mindset)anymore than I want to leave something unfinished that puts us back to square one. These are tough times.

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On the same-sex marriage - Constitutional Amendment question

by maxwell edison In reply to Points

The reason for a suggested Constitutional Amendment defining a marriage as a union between a man and a woman would be to maintain consistency on the issue throughout the 50 states. Technically speaking (as I'm sure you know), the USA is made up of 50 separate states, each having the right to make its own laws. The different drinking-age laws is one example; handgun laws are different among the states; speed limit laws are different, and so on. Each state has the right to legislate themselves as its legislators (and residents) deem appropriate. If problems arise, the federal government might step in and create an umbrella law of the land. The different slavery laws adopted by different states in the 19th century are only one (extreme) case in point. It became obvious that a law of the land was necessary.

What does all this have to do with same-sex marriages, you might ask? Well, 38 states have exercised their right to pass laws banning same-sex marriages; some states do not have any laws even addressing the issue; Vermont recently passed a law that legalizes same-sex civil unions; and other states are considering such laws, one way or the other. Massachusetts was considering such a law, and the legislators asked their State Supreme Court to give a legal opinion. The court ruled that they would have to strike down any law that places a ban on same-sex marriages. They made this ruling because there was nothing in the Massachusetts State Constitution or the U.S. Constitution prohibiting it.

This brings us to an interesting question. What will happen when a gay couple "gets married" in Vermont or Massachusetts, where the union is recognized as legitimate, but they then move to Missouri, where the union is not recognized as a legitimate. Which state law applies, Vermont's or Missouri's? And what about the filing status on a federal income tax form? How can these contradictions be reconciled? Well, the obvious answer is to create a law of the land. This led to the U.S. Congress to pass, and President Clinton to sign, what they called, the Defense of Marriage Act in 1997. That act created the federal law that defined marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Okay, you might ask, why a Constitutional Amendment instead of that recently passed federal law? The reason is our court system. The Massachusetts ruling opens the door for other courts to make similar rulings. A Supreme Court, whether it be a State Supreme Court or the Federal Supreme Court, can only rule that a law (or a lower court ruling) is unconstitutional or is not specifically prohibited by the Constitution. It's only a matter of time before a case is brought before the U.S. Supreme Court asking for a ruling on the matter. They "could" rule just as the Massachusetts Supreme Court did by stating there was nothing in the Constitution to prohibit it. How would such a ruling affect the 38 states that have passed laws banning the practice? They "could" rule that each state has a right to pass their own law. Again, how would the different laws be reconciled?

So the question before us (U.S) is this. Does each State have the right to define a marriage however they prefer, even though the laws will differ between the states, and even though some States' courts may or may not rule consistently? Or should there be one law of the land, one that may not be challenged by an individual state, and may not be struck down by any court ruling.

The only thing that absolutely cannot be struck down by a court is something that's spelled out in the Constitution. I would think that regardless of where you might stand on the issue, if it was spelled out in the Constitution, one way or the other, we'd be consistent throughout the land, and we could move forward knowing that no court in the country could strike down the law. A Constitutional Amendment defining a marriage as a union between a man and a woman, or a Constitutional Amendment defining a marriage as a union between any two consenting adults (or however worded) would finally put the issue to rest.

(By the way, only three countries in the world recognize same-sex marriages: The Netherlands, Belgium, and Canada. Eight countries: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Germany, and France allow same-sex couples to enter legal partnerships. Although these registered partnerships give same-sex couples most of the benefits and protections of civil marriage, the couples are not legally married.)

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On Cheney - It wasn't golf, but a duck hunt

by maxwell edison In reply to Points

Was the duck hunt a conflict of interest?

See this article. It seems pretty straight forward, looking at both sides.

Personally, I'm not sure what to think about it. I suppose I'm not concerned about the motion before the court in the first place, so regardless of how this all works out, it's really not too much of an issue as far as I'm concerned.

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Good article

by jkaras In reply to On Cheney - It wasn't gol ...

Thanks Max, it was a good article that points out what every American fears with the justice system. The rich and powerful use their influence to get themselves out of trouble whether or not they are guilty. You or I would never get the opprotunity to meet outside of the court room to meet a judge responsible to determine our fate, hence unfairness. Cheney being the second most powerful man on the Earth or the most powerful pending on your opinion could make or break the judges career and apply pressure to rule in his favor which is not fair, lady justice is supposed to be blind and impartial. My issue is would a mass murderer, rapist, theif, mafia guy or what have you get the ability to sway a judge outside the court room? No, it would be a miss trial and you cant say either person were negligent of the law, they circumvented it with a loophole that they just happened to be at a neutral place doing the same thing, it wasnt accidental, it was planned, seeing one another in a bar or resturant by accident is another thing. They could acknowledge eachother but not converse or choose another place to go keeping separate. Do you think they only talked about the weather or ducks?

These kinds of displays makes us leary of trusting our leaders that they will ENFORCE the law, not bend it to their satisfaction, this is the reason of voter apathy. People are teaching their children to be more of a barracuda than a dolphin nowadays cause nobody plays fair, and that's really sad in this day of age. The integrity is compromised and the lack of respect is apparent. When are we the people who play by the rules (making an honest buck and spending it in America)going to get the proper examples by our leaders that they are enforcing what millions of people lost lives and limbs for when their country asked them? To me this is treason and should be treated accordingly.

As always I appreciate your wisdom in educating me on politics showing me both sides not just one, that to me proves your integrity of making my own choice. We all have our beliefs and we agree more than we disagree Max, but sometimes I feel that you like others tend to stay loyal to your party rather than denounce their indescretions. No body's an angel but my expectations of my leaders (extremly high like the customers always right) is that if they cant give their lives for their country they can at least give it their all the right way to evolve our humanity they wanted the job, and for that I would gladly give my life, limb, or whatever defending those rights, but right now I wouldnt because I've lost my faith that they are not the great people they claim to be. Right is right and wrong is wrong and today it's just called compromise and its happening in other countries as well as the UN.

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On Kerry

by Oldefar In reply to I really dont know

If Kerry wins the Democratic nomination, he will face scrutiny over his war record and more importantly his antiwar activity once he left the service.

I suspect the silence so far regarding this is that it will be a real fiasco for him and works best for the Republicans if the discussion occurs with him as the opposing candidate.

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