...the government that Americans woke up to is a dangerous cocktail. Republicans control the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives, a majority of state houses and soon, President Bush will be able to stack the Supreme Court with conservative judges. America is a divided two-party democracy with an increasingly one-party state. ...For Canada and the world, not to mention Americans themselves, this will be a worrisome four years. Some analysts expressed concern that a Kerry White House would see the rise of a protectionism that could hurt Canadian interests... However, the potential impacts of a Kerry administration... would have been relatively minor compared to the challenges we face in dealing with an angry, arrogant Bush administration unconstrained by the need to seek re-election and imbued with an almost providential belief in its mission. This will be a dangerous four years for Canada and the world. - Adrian Dix, who failed in the entire piece to mention even one actual threat George Bush poses to Canada, CBC News (Canada)and
In the end it was as bad as the pessimists feared. Spurred by a Senate clean sweep in the South, the Republicans have strengthened their grip on the Senate and the House of Representatives, giving President George Bush a freer hand to push through his conservative legislative agenda in a second term. - Rupert Cornwell, writing a supposedly objective news story in The Independent (UK)and
In Ohio the Republicans made one million phone calls in the last days of the campaign. To do that they needed their allies in every right wing group to cooperate fully. Granted the vote was probably stolen from Kerry, but it was also organized for Bush. - Duncan Cameron, who apparently knows something about voter fraud even John Kerry doesn't suspect, writing in The Rabble (Canada)and my personal favorite
A mystery Northern Ireland man has become a hero of right wing Americans after claiming on national TV and radio that 95% of Northern Ireland wants to see President Bush re-elected today. The man, who identified himself as "Christopher," phoned in to a TV and radio show hosted by Rush Limbaugh, American's most popular right-wing talk show host, to claim that Northern Ireland was backing President Bush because of his stand on terrorism... Do you know Christopher? email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Sean O'Driscoll, writing in The Belfast Telegraph (Northern Ireland)
Columnist George Kerevan, writing in the Scotsman (UK), has an interesting take on why Bush won: The influence of our citizens of Scots-Irish heritage.
I don't agree with all of it (especially the silly bit about George Bush possibly appointing "reactionaries" to the Supreme Court -- sticking to the Constitution's text rather than making stuff up on a whim does not make a justice a "reactionary"), but I recommend this piece for its fresh and mostly thoughtful perspective.
Here in Scotland, where the mainstream view is anti-Bush, the instant reaction will be to dismiss [the America that gave Bush his majority] as redneck, racist, bigoted, gun-loving and ignorant. But hold a mirror to thyself: the part of America that doggedly voted Republican on Tuesday is its ethnic Scottish-Ulster heartland. These are the descendants of the lowland yeoman folk who colonised Virginia in the 17th century, then crossed the Appalachian Mountains to open up the frontier in the 18th, joined by the refugees from the Govan slums in the 19th.and
They brought with them a Celtic tribalism, a small-farmer self-reliance and a rationalist Presbyterian morality based on the Good Book. They also brought their own home-spun music, with its sentimental narratives and view of this world as a trial to be endured. From the bluegrass fiddle music of the Appalachian crofts to the Burns-like honky-tonk ballads of the itinerant oil workers in the Texas dustbowl, country music has evolved to dominate contemporary musical tastes. But beyond the saccharin-sweet commercialism of country rock, it is music that still defines the mental and moral landscape of a community that was prepared to defy the world last Tuesday. Never in a million years were America's Scots-Irish going to vote for John Kerry, whatever the eastern pollsters thought.
I... suggest a way for Europe to understand a resurgent American nationalism that conforms pretty much to what the Scots-Irish made it. Contrary to European myth, it is not an especially imperialist nationalism, but when provoked it sees things with a terrible, biblical simplicity.and
The Scots settlers who first colonised America, and then illegally slipped across the Appalachians to live among the Indian tribes, were not out to found a new empire. Having been chased out of Scotland and Ulster for economic and religious reasons, then having clashed with the conservative English merchant elites who ran the eastern colonies, the Scots just wanted to be left to their own devices. To this day, their predilection for owning guns is less to do with the desire to blast away at dumb animals, as pique at the idea that someone should tell them what to do. That's why it is not a good idea to try to frighten them by crashing airliners into tall buildings: it just makes them mad.
When roused, usually by a wholly correct moral indignation, Scots-Irish America believes it is the agency for Divine retribution. Don't snigger: you are here because of this gut reaction. Back in 1940, the United States was split down the middle - nothing new there - over the war in Europe. The large German immigrant communities of the industrial Mid-West (think Ohio) were fervently isolationist. They had just re-elected Franklin Roosevelt on a platform of non-intervention. The Americans in favour of dealing with the fascists were the Scots-Irish, who had a long tradition of military service, especially during the Civil War (on both sides). Otherwise, the capital of the EU would be called Germania.and
Like it or lump it, a Bush White House is now a fact of life. But if Scotland calms down a minute, we might discover that his America is a far less alien place than we imagine.I recommend the whole thing (free registration required).
A very amusing article in the Moscow News explains why Vladimir Putin supported Bush's re-election:
First, Mr. Putin is a white male, which makes him a Bush voter with a probability of 61 percent.Good stuff.
Second, the Putin family's financial situation clearly improved over the last four years. 79 percent of voters who share this view regarding their own families vote for Bush.
Third, Putin's annual income clearly exceeds $50,000, and 55 percent of people in this income group are supporting Bush.
Fourth, neither Putin nor his wife, his pet dog or his daughters belong to any sort of union, which makes Putin's household likely to support Bush in 55 percent of cases.
Fifth, Putin is employed full-time, and Bush enjoys the support of 52 percent of full time workers.
Sixth, Putin is neither liberal, nor moderate. His reverence to both Soviet and Orthodox Christianity legacies makes him a clear conservative, and 83 percent of all American conservatives vote Bush.
Seventh, Putin is married with children, and 56 percent of voters in this bracket vote Bush.
Eighth, Putin is the acting head of the entire Russian military, and 57 percent of uniformed voters and vets support Bush.
Ninth, Putin isn't gay, nor is he a lesbian or a bisexual. Which means a 52 percent probability of voting for Dubya.
Finally, we've seen and heard Putin preoccupied with the terror problem lately, and 86 percent of those that see terrorism as the most important issue supported George W. Bush in his reelection bid Tuesday.
Michelle Malkin has a very pretty daughter.
Like Michelle and her husband, David and I vote in Maryland. We left our kids at home this time (though I am anxiously awaiting their report later today on how they voted in the pre-school mock election), after they tried to vote for me in 2002 (admittedly, they were only two years old then and, shall we say, they behaved as such).
Voting in upscale and very blue Montgomery County, Michelle found to her dismay that voting stickers there are published in two languages. Not so where we vote, a bit to the west in Anne Arundel County. At least based on past elections, we're a decidedly red oasis in a predominately blue state.
There are some nice houses for sale in our neighborhood, Michelle. Hablamos Ingles aqui.
Bin Laden aims to bankrupt the United States, says this UPI story:
Among comments not released until Monday, bin Laden said: "We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy," adding it was "easy for us to provoke and bait this administration."Bin Laden's reference to provking and baiting the Bush Administration makes it clear that he's referring to the costs of Bush Administration anti-terror policies (presumably, the invastions of Afghanistan and Iraq), not 9/11-related economic costs.
Bin Laden presumably is trying to make the American people believe the invasions worked against our interests. That's pretty good evidence they didn't.
(It is also pretty good evidence that Bin Laden knows no more about economics than he does about theology.)
Bin Laden is showing his weakness. He has claimed he attacked the U.S. to get us out of the (supposedly holy) lands of Saudi Arabia. Now he claims his strategy all along was to get us to send armies to the Middle East.
You can't have it both ways, Osama. Bottom line: America's tiniest little baby girl is a better man (and strategest?) already than you'll ever be.
Like Whitney Houston, NCPPR executive director David W. Almasi believes that children are our future:
Almost every public school in the DC area will be closed on Election Day. Some are closed the day before as well. It is allegedly for teacher workdays and conferences, but I can imagine there is also a political motivation for the timing. After all, teachers' unions are one of the major players in liberal politics.
When I was in school, seeing the steady stream of adults coming to our school to cast their ballots helped instill in me my duty to vote. I don't think sending them home to watch television or hang out at the mall instills quite the same civic duty.
There's another reason why I am bothered. They close the schools in our area at the mere threat of snow. As a result, kids sometimes worry they are going to be in classes into July (and then parents and administrators begin worrying about schools without air conditioning being too hot). Previously-set holidays like spring break often get shortened, enraging parents who already made deposits on trips with the expectation of no school. Despite this happening on pretty much a regular basis, administrators never seem prepared for it. With this in mind, it appears selfish to seemingly put kids second and politics first. But politics seems to be the main concern of the unions these days -- not their employees or, in this case, the students their members are charged with teaching.
Congratulations to my baby brother (okay, he's 34, maybe not a baby anymore), who successfully completed the Marine Corps Marathon Sunday morning. It was his first marathon ever, and he placed 6,222 out of approximately 18,000 runners.
We made it a family affair (three generations) to cheer him on, and had a great time doing so -- although, as it turned out, he didn't see us.
Congratulations also to the winners.
Project 21's Kimberley Jane Wilson is asking why rappers Usher and Joe Budden insist on advocating violence towards women and unborn children in their song lyrics. Says Kimberley:
Some may feel compelled to jump to Usher and Budden's defense by saying the duo are just "keeping it real." Has no one noticed that no celebrity ever seems to keep it real by doing or saying something positive?Read the whole thing.
Addendum: Who Moved My Truth? has interesting observations about this issue.
As a reminder that there are other concerns in the world besides hotly-contested elections and Islamicist savages, consider this grave problem facing the citizens of Billings, Montana.
This is a new blog, and it looks good. Sample of a screed about the link between Saddam Hussein and terrorism:
Those who reject the available evidence seem to think that the absence of a big dossier labeled, "My Support for Terrorism," by Saddam Hussein, means that nothing was going on.
Executive Director David W. Almasi continues to channel surf, and sends over his comments:
Cable's Sundance Channel has a full slate of anti-Bush programming scheduled for the eve of the election. Now I see that the Independent Film Channel is following Sundance's lead with its own offering of liberal programs.
(And yet Sinclair is still taking it on the chin for airing just part of one documentary critical of John Kerry!)
The program descriptions belong to IFC, my comments are italicized:
Friday, October 29 at 10:00 pm and Saturday, October 30 at 1:00 am
"Fahrenheit 9/11: A Movement in Time"
A tribute to the most provocative documentary of our time. Featuring interviews with Mario Cuomo, Richard Gere, Susan Sarandon, Wyclef Jean, Bonnie Raitt, Michael Stipe and others.
Monday, November 1
"The War Room"
Seminal documentarians D. A. Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus capture the behind-the-scene machinations of Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign through the eyes of George Stephanopoulos and James McCarville, the two volatile generals who orchestrated their candidate's march to the White House.
Originally shot by Russell as an extra for the special DVD release of his film "Three Kings," "Soldiers Pay" was later removed at the studio's request. "Soldiers Pay" presents viewpoints on the war in Iraq from all sides of the spectrum, including veterans, Iraqis who rose up against Saddam after the Gulf War, journalists, politicians, psychologists and a two-star general who led the U.S. Marines to victory in the Gulf War.
According to an article about the film, director Russell is "anti-war in general and anti-Bush in particular." After the film was dumped from the DVD, it played in limited release paired with "Uncovered: The Whole Truth About the Iraq War" (which is, coincidentally, I'm sure, playing immediately prior to "Soldiers Pay" on Sundance Channel.
"The War Room"
And, in case you missed it the first two times, "The War Room" plays again on Election Day at 12:35 pm.
The Heritage Foundation's Nile Gardner takes a look at the role of the United Nations in the "missing" explosives controversy and speculates:
The 2004 Presidential election may be not only a defining moment in American history, but also a defining moment for the future of the United Nations.
Those who have heeded my pleas that Americans need to pay more attention to Russia will find much of value in this new Heritage Foundation paper by Dr. Ariel Cohen.
In this paper, Cohen shares more than one very harsh reality about the inadequacy of Russia's anti-terror policy (read his assessment of how badly Russian security forces screwed up rescue efforts in Beslan) and Putin's ambitions toward Russia's neighbors. But the piece is not all gloom and doom. Cohen provides a roadmap for American policymakers who want to enhance U.S.-Russian cooperation in the war on terror while doing what Americans realistically can to to help foster prosperity and progress for people living in (and near) Russia.
Cohen also has very, very good sources. Check the footnotes on the paper -- he goes to the top.
The Times of London opines about the fact that devout Catholics apparently are ineligible for leadership roles in the European Union.
But if an EU citizen is to be debarred from public office for holding personal beliefs that are at odds with the prevailing social orthodoxy -- and to be debarred despite a categorical statement that he would not let those beliefs intrude upon policy decisions, or result in any form of discrimination whatever -- then it is not only "the European project" that is undermined; it is democracy itself.I have long been opposed to the European Union, and not just for the obvious reasons. It has always struck me that a continent full of nations that have spent hundreds of years killing each other's citizens on the slightest of pretexts cannot repair their discord by vastly increasing the number and significance of the issues on which they are forced to agree.
I know the average European would rather swallow his own tongue than listen to an American, but American poet Robert Frost wrote something they should heed: "Good fences make good neighbors."
Europe needs more fences.