Stolen Election

Gregoire certified as next governor,” by Chriss McGann, Seattle Post-Intelligencer,, 31 December 2004.

Why bother winning, when you can just cheat?

OLYMPIA — Democrat Christine Gregoire was declared Washington’s next governor yesterday, but Republican Dino Rossi refused to quit the race and cited thousands of “mystery voters” in King County as ample ammunition for continuing the fight.

The state Republican Party obtained a list of the people who voted in King County as part of a larger request for information designed to show systemic problems with the election.

The data showed that 895,660 people voted in the state’s largest county. That’s a problem, Republicans said, because King County tallied 899,199 votes — 3,539 more votes than there were voters.

They stole the 1960 Presidential election, tried to steal the 2000 Presidential election, and now are stealing the 2004 Washington Gubernatorial election. God bless the Democratic Party.

Insurance and Retirement

Social Security Formula Weighed: Bush Plan Likely to Cut Initial Benefits,” by Jonathan Weisman and Mike Allen,
Washington Post,, 4 January 2005.

Currently, the social security system combines two philosophically different programs — an insurance program to guard against poverty in old age, and a retirement program to allow retirees to live comfortably. They are seperate because higher wage-earners are better treated by the retirement program (rich people are paid richly to not work under SS), but anyone who has worked 40 quarters gets the minimum insurance benefit.

The problems with this are obvious. Why should poor current wage-earners disproportionately pay for rich retirees to earn more in retirement than they can earn working? Why are we going bankrupt as a nation to support the idle class?

President Bush sees this problem, and intends to fix it

The Bush administration has signaled that it will propose changing the formula that sets initial Social Security benefit levels, cutting promised benefits by nearly a third in the coming decades, according to several Republicans close to the White House.

Under the proposal, the first-year benefits for retirees would be calculated using inflation rates rather than the rise in wages over a worker’s lifetime. Because wages tend to rise considerably faster than inflation, the new formula would stunt the growth of benefits, slowly at first but more quickly by the middle of the century. The White House hopes that some, if not all, of those benefit cuts would be made up by gains in newly created personal investment accounts that would harness returns on stocks and bonds.

But by embracing “price indexing,” the president would for the first time detail the painful costs involved in closing the gap between the Social Security benefits promised to future retirees and the taxes available to fund them. In late February or March, the administration plans to produce its proposed overhaul of the system, including creation of personal investment accounts and the new benefit calculation.

Brilliant. Benefits continue to rise in nominal dollars, and the difference between nominal and real is felt by the richest Americans. While all Americans will have the right to individuall invest, it is the wealthiest (and hence the suavest) who will depend on private accounts the most.

Bravo Mr. President!

Hi, I’m Richard Gere, and I’m speaking for the entire world

Richard Gere Speaks ‘For Entire World’ To Palestinians: Actor Urging People To Vote In Sunday Election,”Associated Press,, 4 January 2005 (from Drudge Report).

I have never blogged a Drudge Report story yet, but this is too bizarre

JERUSALEM — Actor Richard Gere has recorded a TV commercial urging Palestinians to vote in their election Sunday.

In a transcript obtained by The Associated Press, he said: “Hi, I’m Richard Gere, and I’m speaking for the entire world. We’re with you during this election time. It’s really important: Get out and vote.”

Appearing with Gere in the spot are the head of the Islamic court in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the spokesman for the Greek Orthodox Church in Jerusalem.

The spot is apparently an attempt to use both glamour and religion to get Palestinians to the polls. It will air soon. It’s unclear what kind of sway Gere may have with Palestinians. One man who appeared with him in the spot said he’d never heard of Gere.

The ad will be aired on Palestinian TV and Arabic satellite channels in the next few days.

Catholic Student Movement

Statement of Solidarity for the Acehnese,” IMCS Asia Pacific et al,, 30 October 2004.

I haven’t blogged on the terrible tsunami, because so many can express the tragedy so much better.

One of the things that made it so much worse is the unrest that already existed. Aceh, Indonesia was very, very badly hit. Entire villiages have been swept away. It’s also been struggling for its independence for many years.

Browing the web I found the following statement. It is worth a read. I’ll let it speak for itself — no further comment.

Statement of Solidarity for the Acehnese

We, the International Movement of Catholic Students Asia Pasific (IMCS Asia Pacific), composed by Catholic student movement of Asia, acknowledges and respect the self-determination rights of Acehnese people. We oppose the Martial Law, which led the inhumane actions taken by Indonesia Military (TNI) towards the children, students and senior citizens in Aceh. The Acehnese people should protected by international human right laws and democratic referendum on their independence or autonomy is needed.

We call on the governments to recognize the status of Acehnese as asylum seekers who fled to other countries. They are political refugees admitted by UNHCR Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and their safety and life should be protected by government authorities. We also urge the countries that have not signed ratified the Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees to do so.

Penang, 30 October 2004.

In Solidarity,

IMCS Asia Pacific
IMCS International Team
All India Catholic University Federation
Bangladesh Catholic Student Society
Catholic Association UMac (Macau)
Catholic Student Groups in Japan
Catholic Undergraduate Centre of Thailand
Eindoven Student Church (Holland)
Hanoi Catholic Student Movement (Vietnam)
Hong Kong Federation of Catholic Students
IMCS Pakistan
Malaysia Catholic Student’s Council
Myanmar Young Catholic Student (Bangkok)
Sri Lanka Catholic University Student Movement
Student Christian Movement Philippines
Union of All Catholic Student of Republic of Indonesia (PMKRI)

A Civil War?

If Sunnis won’t vote, then what?,” by Dan Murphy, The Christian Science Monitor ,, 5 January 2005.

The Following is Pretty Obvious

1. The Reconstruction of Iraq could have been handled a lot better
2. There is a civil war in Iraq

But not to the Christian Science Monitor.

With growing tension between Iraq’s majority Shiites and the Sunni Arab minority who have always dominated the country’s government, low Sunni participation come election day is likely to further divide, rather than unite, Iraq’s two most important constituencies. Further division, in the worst case, could nudge Iraq closer to civil war.

I hereby create the Dan Murphy Award for Least Explicable Iraq Comment. There is a civil war. The enemy is capable of attacking cities, and holding them against the central government. The enemy is killing Iraqi military and civiliant officials. The enemy represents the bitter remnants of the Ba’athi apartheid system, and it must bed estroyed.

The leading Sunni political parties are now positioning themselves to reject the vote and its consequence – the writing of a new constitution – as unfair. If there is high turnout among the country’s Shiites, as expected, that assembly will be packed with Shiite politicians who suffered mightily under Saddam Hussein’s Sunni regime and could write a constitution that emphasizes majority rights at the expense of minorities.

Wonderful! In all probability the Sunnis will be treated better than the remnants of Germans in eastern Europe in 1945, and probably about as well as Russians throughout the shatered Soviet Empire. The Sunnis have invested themselves on the losing side of an antidemocratic struggle.

Many worry this could lead to sectarian conflict. A largely Shiite government, vested with the sovereignty that an election lends, will be fighting a largely Sunni insurgency that has killed thousands of Iraqis in recent months.

Yes! That’s the point!

A bit later in the story…

There are also conspiracy theories circulating. Omar Saadi, a laborer, says he’s not voting both out of fear and because he suspects the election results are being fixed by the US and Iran, the Shiite theocracy next door that has close ties to many of Iraq’s leading Shiite politicians.

The Islamic Republic is about as democratic as Britain was a century ago. Its on the right side of the war on Iraq — the democratic side. The Iranians are our friends. The Salafist Sunnis are our enemies. And the Iraqi Shia-Kurdish supermajority is the future.