Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Reader mailbag - "Do you hate everything Bush does?"

A G.I. posted a comment on the blog from overseas, and for the benefit of our Stars & Stripes readers, I thought I'd answer it here, point by point.

Staff sergeant (name witheld) said...
Please don't mind me for being rather blunt, but do you hate EVERYTHING Bush does and try to twist it in a way to look bad?
Can you point out anything Candorville has presented as fact that wasn't true? Can you point out any specific incident of Candorville "twisting" something to make Bush look bad? When I comment on the Bush administration, I remind readers of the President's actions and promises. If he looks bad, it's not because of any twisting, its because his actions and unkept promises have not been good for the country.

Also, sometimes when your strips come out, the topic becomes old.
I accept blame for many things in life, but the nation's short attention span is not one of them. I remind people of what they'd rather forget, sometimes. That's why nearly a year later, Candorville still brings up Hurricane Katrina, and four years later Candorville continues to bring up the lies that led to the Iraq occupation. Our leaders would rather we forget. I'm not going to help them accomplish that goal. You should resent it when you're told that events don't matter because they're "old news." That's an intellectually lazy way to conduct a debate.

They don't go to that extent with spying such as the NSA guy writting on his notepad what Lemont says.
First of all, that's satire. Satire always exaggerates - everyone knows not to take satire literally. Secondly, how do we know that? A year ago, nobody thought they would go to the extent of wiretapping thousands of Americans, or of data-mining 200 million Americans. We have no reason to trust that they aren't violating the Fourth Amendment in other ways.

Have you ever thought what good the Pat. Act did? They caught bribes at the border, child abuse, lies, porn, and others.
And absolutely none of that has anything to do with terrorism. Placing an armed FBI agent in every American home would also produce positive results, but those results are not worth weakening our Bill of Rights protections. The Patriot Act allows the President to disregard the Bill of Rights -- the Bill of Rights, incidentally, along wih the rest of the Constitution, is what you (or at least your commanding officers and the Commander in Chief) are sworn to defend.

You also don't give repubs a fair chaance of sspeech, such as the Rep black guy sitting next to Lemont saying he's glad the USA Pat. Act is there because he might be a terrorist.
What's unfair about that? Again, it's satire. The man at the busstop represents Americans, such as yourself, who don't mind trading their hard-won civil liberties for a little more imaginary security.

Most importantly, shouldn't you only fear the Act if you've done something bad?
If our system were perfect, you would have a point. But no system is perfect, especially when it's being run by an administration with a history of breaking laws, locking up people who haven't committed any crimes, and violating the Constitution. They're trying to use the Patriot Act to go after reporters who expose government crimes, such as the leaking of an undercover CIA officer's name and the repeated violation of the Geneva Conventions. That is un-American.

The Stars & Stripes (I live overseas in the Army) is a cross of Rep. Dem. Independent, unlike the very liberal papers back home. It points out both pros & cons. on AFN we get Fox News, unlike the heavy heavy VERY heavy liberal CNN or CBS channels you watch or the New York Times and even 75% AP.
None of what you mentioned as "heavy heavy VERY heavy liberal" media is the least bit Liberal. They all supported the war, they all give room to people like Ann Coulter while denying it to people such as Greg Palast.

I myself am an independent but I don't see you give Repubs a fair shot at things. Hey, Over here there are naturalized US citizens from Mexico, Costa Rica, etc. who disagree with liberals at immigration (there are some who agree, however). I would like to point out that S&S got some liberal workers so now I get your Strip (started in Oct 02, 2005) along with other unfair stuff.
My job isn't to be "fair and balanced," my job is to tell the truth as I see it. If the Republicans in Congress start looking out for the average American and the President starts fulfilling his promises and stops violating the Constitution, I'd be more than happy to talk about that. In the meantime, I'm going to cover it when people do things they're not supposed to do, whether they're politicians, thugs, bosses, whatever. Pointing out wrongdoing and injustice is the purpose of social and political satire.

You also downgrade those in the Army, even to those enlisted before the war started. You said we're hopeless in a number of strips and we're doing the wrong thing. Well guess again. Zarqawi was killed, a dictator was overthrown, women have hope and we've even stopped some more hijackings. People die in war, and that's just that. They didn't die in vain (at least those who supported the war) and I'll be wrong if we lose. Bush's popularity has risen, why not include that in a future strip? Even Demos gave him a break (some)!
I haven't "downgraded" anyone in the Army. Can you point out a single Candorville strip that ridiculed enlisted men and women, or even officers or generals? Candorville has never lampooned anyone other than the civilian leadership. Even in the case of Abu Ghraib, Candorville made it clear that those who set the torture policies were to blame, not the troops who carried them out. The troops deserve better, more honest leadership than the Bush administration is providing. You deserve to have leaders who don't order you to invade and occupy a country that didn't attack us and had nothing to do with 9-11. You deserve leaders who don't order you to torture prisoners, and who don't create conditions that lead to an insurgency, which in turn leads to a few soldiers predictably snapping and committing atrocities like the Haditha massacre. The responsibility for all this lies at the feet of the people who ignored generals who asked for more troops, who ignored all the doubts about the intelligence and who presented that intelligence as iron clad - a lie that led directly to the current war. Dont' let anyone tell you that criticism of the President is anywhere in the same ballpark as criticism of the troops. There's nothing but support for the troops in this country, and increasingly condemnation for the civilian leaders who led the troops into this quagmire.

About Zarqawi, Bush could have had Zarqawi killed in 2003 in Northern Iraq. He didn't, because that would have robbed him of a reason to invade Iraq. All the deaths, beheadings and chaos Zarqawi started wouldn't have happened. And had Bush not decided to invade and occupy Iraq, Zarqawi never would have had the opportunity to wreak havoc. You're asking me to praise the President for cleaning up a mess he created.

So all I've said, would you please take it to mind?

PS, this isn't personal, but I just wanted to know: Do you approve of the ACLU (or at least some things). And also, I'm not against all liberals, in fact, you shouldn't be too conservative that you don't help! And last but not least: what do you think of independents?

Sincerely,
An American Soldier.
I think most self-described "independents" are closeted Republicans. That's why they spend most of their time defending conservatism and Republicans, and complaining about "liberals" and the "liberal Media." And yes, I approve of the ACLU, who do nothing but defend the Bill of Rights in court. They defend anyone, Left or Right. All Americans who value their civil liberties should approve of the ACLU.

Even Rush Limbaugh probably does, these days.

31 comments:

Staff guy said...

Have you ever thought what good the Pat. Act did? They caught bribes at the border, child abuse, lies, porn, and others.
And absolutely none of that has anything to do with terrorism. Placing an armed FBI agent in every American home would also produce positive results, but those results are not worth weakening our Bill of Rights protections. The Patriot Act allows the President to disregard the Bill of Rights -- the Bill of Rights, incidentally, along wih the rest of the Constitution, is what you (or at least your commanding officers and the Commander in Chief) are sworn to defend.

But we are also sworn to defend law and order (pardon the tv pun) and you'll probably say how the Patriact goes against the law, but if they caught lies, bribes, porn, and even child molesters (and I know someone who's 6 year old daughter was killed by one which was why he came to the army) isn't that a good thing? And what about Singapore stopping an embassy bombing because of wiretapping, a cathedral in Strasbourg not blown up because of wiretapping, and a hijack scheme involving a Ryanair flight out of Sweden to be flown into the US embassy in London because of authorities allowed to see who does what at the airport (that was in 2002)? And what about a bus that had innocent people on board in Italy that didn't blow up because authorities found activities looked suspicious and tracked the terrorists down, and those terrorists were harming the innocent because their government decided to help the US? Oh, and let's not forget in Spain where a gas station would've blown up if no one listened to the telephone calls where 2 terrorists are talking about blowing it up!
Yeah, those nations should stop spying on people who don't even read the Qur'an's true meanings and let them kill people who wanted to pray to God, or try to destroy relationships with nations, or hijack planes, or blow up buses containing people involved in nothing, or blow gas stations up causing serious health problems! Curse spying! No wonder people are always talking about us! It's insane! And the reason Bush hasn't found that many terrorist activities (there was one involving a bombing of the White House, and some terrorists were also found pretending they were from an elementary school in New Hampshire) is because theterrorists won't talk in the US or to the US since they know they'll be foiled. And if spying were stopped, they'd just pick that phone up and start calling each other in the US again! You also didn't tell me how spying has affected you.
There was a strip where there was a guy on tv saying that we are here and aren't gaining anything (and I mean gaining as in helping the helpless in Iraq, mideast)
It was in Early 06 late 05 I can't remember, but there was a lot of talk after that about taking you off or move you to the political strips. Trust me, some of my friends literally ripped that strip to shreds, and WE were in Afghanistan at the time! Now my tour is done and I'm in Germany. I got back only 2 weeks ago.
I'll find it at a later time and show it to you, but now, I don't have it on me.
Now there are some things I don't like about Bush, such as the national debt or how he deals with oil or trusting Saudi Arabia (his intellegence is questionable, I may point out).
CNN & CBS & NYTimes are liberal, you obviously don't realise yhey substitute insurgent for terrorist, or they reword things to make some of Bush's good things look just normal, and some slightly bad things look like he's murdered someone.
Why don't you make a strip showing what a Republic really feels like (and don't use a bad one or a stupid one or a faithless one)? You'ld probably get a little higher rating.
I'm 23 right now and I'll be 24 10/2/2006 or 2.10.2006 to those outside the US. Due to my age, you'll probably think I can be morphed easily right? Right?
I also support maybe 1/2 ACLU (such as race equality, although I'm glad they don't support AAM; I'm glad for voting rights, healthcare (as long as it's without abortion) and I support religious freedom). I don't support porn, NAMBLA (Blech!), nor do I support them supporting lessening drug laws on illegal drugs that aren't used for medical purposes.
One last thing, do you support abortion?
Am Soldier
UNITED WE STAND!
PS I went to a Dodds school (Heidelberg High) and the difference for minor & whites' grades were much narrower than in the states, and DODDS prohibits minority scholarships, It's based on how well you do, not your skin or gender or origin.

Staff sarge said...

In Germany, government spying is and most likely with more terrorism will never be illegal (a cathedral in Strasbourg wasn't blown up because of Germany and Italy wiretapping on 2 certain cellphone calls:

Sami Ben Khemais: "There is danger. Members of the bin Laden cell in Frankfurt have been captured. I am warning you that they got half the group in Germany."
Tarek Maaroufi: "No!"
Khemais: "Yes. Did you understand me? They arrested our brothers in Germany and they found the arms warehouse in Germany, Frankfurt. You need a cover."
Maaroufi: "What do you mean? God be with you."
Khemais: "Did you understand me? You need a cover. You know how."

Just showing you again.
American Soldier

Staff sarge said...

Oh, yes I'm also against the death penalty whatsoever.
Am Soldier

Staff sarge said...

I also think that Haditha was wrong. Those Marines should've been punished with at least 15 (no wait 20) years in a therapy jail. I know Bush lied, but BOTH Clintons lied and you don't talk about Hillary!

Darrin Bell said...

"But we are also sworn to defend law and order (pardon the tv pun) and you'll probably say how the Patriact goes against the law, but if they caught lies, bribes, porn, and even child molesters (and I know someone who's 6 year old daughter was killed by one which was why he came to the army) isn't that a good thing?"

Yes, but you don't need the Patriot Act to do that. Congress could have passed a separate law, specifically related to child molesters. Until Bush, that's how Congress operated. They passed different laws for different purposes, not one single law with hundreds of obscure provisions that no average American will read, much less understand.

"And what about Singapore stopping an embassy bombing because of wiretapping, a cathedral in Strasbourg not blown up because of wiretapping, and a hijack scheme involving a Ryanair flight out of Sweden to be flown into the US embassy in London because of authorities allowed to see who does what at the airport (that was in 2002)? And what about a bus that had innocent people on board in Italy that didn't blow up because authorities found activities looked suspicious and tracked the terrorists down, and those terrorists were harming the innocent because their government decided to help the US? Oh, and let's not forget in Spain where a gas station would've blown up if no one listened to the telephone calls where 2 terrorists are talking about blowing it up!"

You notice something? You haven't named a single incident of an attack being prevented in AMERICA because of illegal wiretapping. The laws we have in place, aside from the Patriot Act, are sufficient to stop most attacks. The only way to prevent ALL attacks is to have a police state, and I don't think any American who understands what America is about wants that.
To your older question: do I think wiretapping would have stopped 9-11? Absolutely not. But having an administration that didn't ignore terrorism warnings for nine months prior to 9-11 probably would have prevented it.


"Yeah, those nations should stop spying on people who don't even read the Qur'an's true meanings and let them kill people who wanted to pray to God, or try to destroy relationships with nations, or hijack planes, or blow up buses containing people involved in nothing, or blow gas stations up causing serious health problems! Curse spying! No wonder people are always talking about us! It's insane! And the reason Bush hasn't found that many terrorist activities (there was one involving a bombing of the White House, and some terrorists were also found pretending they were from an elementary school in New Hampshire) is because theterrorists won't talk in the US or to the US since they know they'll be foiled. And if spying were stopped, they'd just pick that phone up and start calling each other in the US again! You also didn't tell me how spying has affected you."

Any time Constitutional rights are limited, that affects every American. I'm not locked up in Guantanamo, but other innocent people have been (we know this because they were never charged, and after years of imprisonment and, in some cases, torture, many were released). Why does that matter to me? Because limiting rights is a slippery slope, and once it begins, none of us can know where it will end. To quote Martin Niemöller,

"When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out."


"There was a strip where there was a guy on tv saying that we are here and aren't gaining anything (and I mean gaining as in helping the helpless in Iraq, mideast) It was in Early 06 late 05 I can't remember, but there was a lot of talk after that about taking you off or move you to the political strips. Trust me, some of my friends literally ripped that strip to shreds, and WE were in Afghanistan at the time! Now my tour is done and I'm in Germany. I got back only 2 weeks ago. I'll find it at a later time and show it to you, but now, I don't have it on me."

I understand that it hits home with you and your buddies, but it's not a critique of the troops, it's a critique of the Bush administration's policies. You're all doing your jobs as best you can, but you can't really argue with the fact that the job Bush gave you to do hasn't produced the results he said it would. The Taliban is resurgent in Afghanistan. Karzai cannot safely travel outside Kabul. In Iraq, a low-grade civil war has begun, and killing Zarqawi, as good a development as that is, isn't likely to change that. Women have fewer freedoms than before, because of Islamic law (which was banned under Hussein). An evil dictator is gone, but more Iraqi civilians have been killed (by all sides) in the last four years of war than had been killed by Hussein in the entire post-Desert Storm period.

I know you and your friends who tear up comic strips would rather hear nothing negative about the occupation, but my job is to tell the truth as I see it, and to me, nothing is more American than the truth.

The strip you're referring to, I think, was one where two Americans were saying that we've bogged the enemy down in Iraq so they no longer have the manpower to fight elsewhere. Then I showed two terrorists in a cave somewhere, saying exactly the same thing. Can you argue with that? Isn't it correct to say that the Iraq War's demand on our military is making it impossible for our military to engage in another war somewhere else (in Iran, for instance)? Do you not realize that that's a critique of the civilian leadership who sets the policies, not a critique of the troops?


"Now there are some things I don't like about Bush, such as the national debt or how he deals with oil or trusting Saudi Arabia (his intellegence is questionable, I may point out). CNN & CBS & NYTimes are liberal, you obviously don't realise yhey substitute insurgent for terrorist, or they reword things to make some of Bush's good things look just normal, and some slightly bad things look like he's murdered someone."

You're simply incorrect about "substituting insurgent for terrorist." There are two different forces facing us in Iraq, Sarge. You should know this better than I. You've got "terrorists," most of whom belong to Al Qaida -- foreign fighters who came in to stir up trouble. Then you've got "insurgents," home-grown fighters who are trying to repel us from their country and bring down what they see as an American puppet government. When the media outlets you mentioned refer to Zarqawi or Al Qaida, they call them "terrorists." When they refer to the other group, they call them "insurgents." That's not "liberal," that's accurate. Most of the "rewording" you're talking about just might be more instances of them using accurate terms, rather than the terminology the Bush administration would prefer that they use. I'm really not trying to be condescending here, but check out the definitions for "terrorist" and "insurgent" in the dictionary. You'll find that "insurgent" is the more accurate term much of the time.

"Why don't you make a strip showing what a Republic really feels like (and don't use a bad one or a stupid one or a faithless one)? You'ld probably get a little higher rating."

The problem is, the Republican Congress and Administration have been disastrous for America. Bush ignored terrorism warnings for nine months, leading to 9-11. Then he opposed the 9-11 commission and tried to intimidate Congress into not investigating the attack. Then he used 9-11 for political purposes by tacking the word "security" onto every bill he submitted to Congress, from tax cuts to the shredding of environmental protections. Congress has refused to investigate wrongdoing by the administration. They've refused to investigate incompetence with regards to 9-11, the Iraq War, intelligence failures and Hurricane Katrina. The national Republican Party prefers to focus on non-issues like gay marriage and flag burning than to deal with the war, our broken intelligence agencies, high gas prices, skyrocketing healthcare costs, etc...

In light of all that, how can Republicans still support these people? Conservatives profess to believe in privacy, smaller government and fiscal responsibility, but Bush has created the most intrusive, largest government in our history, and the largest national debt in our history. Many real conservatives no longer support Mr. Bush. The ones that do -- the ones who continue to deny that anything is amiss with our country and can rationalize supporting someone whose actions are the antithesis of their beliefs -- are illogical and will continue to be lampooned in Candorville.


"I'm 23 right now and I'll be 24 10/2/2006 or 2.10.2006 to those outside the US. Due to my age, you'll probably think I can be morphed easily right? Right?"

Wrong.

"I also support maybe 1/2 ACLU (such as race equality, although I'm glad they don't support AAM; I'm glad for voting rights, healthcare (as long as it's without abortion) and I support religious freedom). I don't support porn, NAMBLA (Blech!), nor do I support them supporting lessening drug laws on illegal drugs that aren't used for medical purposes.
One last thing, do you support abortion?
Am Soldier
UNITED WE STAND!
PS I went to a Dodds school (Heidelberg High) and the difference for minor & whites' grades were much narrower than in the states, and DODDS prohibits minority scholarships, It's based on how well you do, not your skin or gender or origin."

There's a reason for that. Military families are all in the same boat, have the same resources, and are generally from the same economic class. That's not what it's like in the outside world.

I don't "support abortion," I support privacy and a woman's right to choose. Who am I to tell some woman what to do with her body? Who am I to decide when life begins? As far as I'm concerned, life doesn't begin until there's brain activity. The notion that a human life begins at conception is a religious concept. And if you truly believe in religious freedom, you wouldn't want to impose that belief on others who may not share your beliefs.


"I know Bush lied, but BOTH Clintons lied and you don't talk about Hillary!"

Everyone lies. You don't hear me talking about Clinton's lies because he lied about getting a blowjob. That was none of our business. That lie didn't lead to the death and maiming of thousands of American soldiers, not to mention tens of thousands of dead civilians in a country that didn't attack us. I don't talk about Clinton's lie just as I don't talk about any of the Republicans who cheat on their wives. I only comment on lies that affect people's lives or public policy.

That said, I did comment on Hillary's lie about how she's not even thinking of running for President. And I've commented on Joe Biden's wimp streak, Ray Nagin's incompetence, Democratic Congressman William Jefferson's corruption, Nancy Pelosi's soft-pedaling of that issue, and soon, the Congressional Black Caucus's idiotic claim that Jefferson is being scapegoated because he's Black. And one of Candorville's main characters is a constant commentary on those who use racism as an excuse for their own misbehavior.

Conservatives who write in to complain never seem to notice all that.

Sarah E. from Indiana said...

Darrin, thanks again for your insightful and respectful responses. It's awesome that you spend time engaging in dialogue with folks who disagree. Our country needs just this kind of debate.

Richard S Dem in FL said...

Darrin, Thank you for the bright spot in my mornings with your pithy and dead on commentary on us and our country and its foibles. Yup, wanted to put one of those ribbons mentioned in today's strip on the car but it would not stick. My car was actually made in the USA so that's probably the problem. Wait a minute, this came from Wal-Mart & was made in China. Their troops? Keep up the good work!

Zirconia Wolf said...

Right on (as usual) Darrin!

It never ceases to amaze me how the people who write to complain about one of your strips never seem to have actually READ the strip they are complaining about, and procced to rant about things that you never actually said! Screaming "Hey! All you do is Bush Bashing!" always makes me laugh! This is the same cry ALL blindly-lead people make when ANYONE in power is held accountable for their actions. Just change "Bush" to whoever is in charge at the time and you have a mantra that has been/will be repeted all through our history.

***sigh***

Some people, it seems (regardless of political party preference) will just NOT take off their blinders....but thankyou for trying to get them to anyway!

-ZW

thankgodwhenwbcdies said...

What do you think of the WBC (Westboro Baptist Church)? They say that God hates fags and America & Sweden & Canada & Jews & Mormons & Catholics & the Kings (Martin & Coretta Scott) & atheists & anyone who isn't a WBC member & anyone who is from another form of Protestantism other than Baptism & much, much more.
What if you make a comic about that?
From,
God hates Fred Phelps believer.

ihaterepublicans said...

Yeah, what a bunch of wax. The troops just don't know what's going on. The government keeps it a secret. Heck, that's why they get the Stars & Stripes!

ihaterepublicans said...

What a socialist you are, sarge guy

Derek said...

Excellant counter-points, Darrin. Very well-reasoned and rational.

I've said much the same thing as you have about "independents." The other self-description that always makes me chuckle is "right of center." I can't count the number of people who want to end medicare and medicaide, close down the EPA and Dept. of Education, immediately attack Iran, Syria, and France, pass "anti-queer" marriage flag burning amendments, and so on and so forth, who swear that they are "right of center."

Chuck said...

Let me enter here...Just so you know I've not forgotten.
I noticed the NSA stuff, of course. (So extreme in the strip, I find it goofy! That's not an insult, it's simply an observation!)
Of course, I noted the current bribery scandal (Jefferson) Who apparently keeps $100,000 in cash in his freezer (I guess you'd call that "Cold, hard cash".)

You mentioned that you haven't mentioned Clinton's wrongs (private matters). Many, if not all, states in this country still have laws on the books dealing with adultry and fornication.

P.O.W. are entitled to be treated fairly, like civilized human beings. But how many POW in Germany in WWII, or in Viet Nam received Lawyers? And yet you seem to support lawyers for the POW that we currently have... Maybe we should-- but how many other countries do?

You stated that Iraq never attacked us. Neither did North Viet Nam, North Korea, or World War II Germany. And yet, we had war with each of them. It's an unfortunate truth: Every generation in this country's history has a war.
You can start with 1812, Mexican-American, The War Between the States, the wars against the Tribes, Spanish-American, WWI, WWII, Korea, ... It won't stop.

We, as Americans (regardless of an sub-classification) must agree to disagree-- civilly! Until we do, there is no hope for security, and not much for civil rights.

We can close our borders. We can build fences. We can shut out our neighbors. We can refuse to answer the phone, or letters. But the facts will not change. We NEED to agree to disagree-- and respect differences of opinion.

I don't care much for the ACLU. I don't much like ACCL. I find PETA objectionable. I detest American Atheists. But I recognize these are legitimate differences of opinion. It's part of our patch-work society. It's a part of our lives. We can shut it out if we like...but it won't change a thing!

Darrin Bell said...

You mentioned that you haven't mentioned Clinton's wrongs (private matters). Many, if not all, states in this country still have laws on the books dealing with adultry and fornication.

Maybe these are apocryphal, but I've also heard that in Arkansas, a man can legally beat his wife, but no more than once a month, and in Massachussetts, it's illegal to wear a goatee without a license. In Texas, sodomy is illegal (or was, until a few years ago). The States have all kinds of outdated laws on the books, and I consider laws against "adultery and fornication" to be in that class.

You stated that Iraq never attacked us. Neither did North Viet Nam, North Korea, or World War II Germany. And yet, we had war with each of them. It's an unfortunate truth: Every generation in this country's history has a war.

You may have forgotten that Germany declared war on us. In the Korean War, we fought because an ally was attacked. Vietnam was wrong -- almost as wrong as the Iraq War.

You can start with 1812, Mexican-American, The War Between the States, the wars against the Tribes, Spanish-American, WWI, WWII, Korea, ... It won't stop.

With the exception of the Civil War, WW1 and WW2, all those wars were wrong. You have to distinguish between just and unjust wars. Our Civil War doesn't excuse what we're doing in Iraq.

We, as Americans (regardless of an sub-classification) must agree to disagree-- civilly! Until we do, there is no hope for security, and not much for civil rights. We can close our borders. We can build fences. We can shut out our neighbors. We can refuse to answer the phone, or letters. But the facts will not change. We NEED to agree to disagree-- and respect differences of opinion.

If our leaders can demonstrate that our votes are being counted honestly, I'll agree with that. Otherwise, we've already lost our security and civil rights.

Chuck said...

If our leaders can demonstrate that our votes are being counted honestly, I'll agree with that. Otherwise, we've already lost our security and civil rights.

That's why there are election judges. Unfortunately, being certain that our votes are counted "honestly" is difficult, if not impossible. Votes can be disqualified for any number of reasons. In Washington State, the election board accepted votes from Felons who had not had their right to vote restored. That cost the GOP winner the election. Finding FAIR AND UNBIASED judges is tough. Computers can be diliberately misprogrammed. On this, we have to trust. It is hard when there are hidden agendas.

The big question becomes "Where can you find a completely honest and balanced vote count method?"

Unfortunately, I can't answer that. I suspect that you cannot answer that, either. Honesty may be the best policy-- but in politics, it's a handicap!

Darrin Bell said...

"hat's why there are election judges. Unfortunately, being certain that our votes are counted "honestly" is difficult, if not impossible."

That's simply not true.

"Votes can be disqualified for any number of reasons. In Washington State, the election board accepted votes from Felons who had not had their right to vote restored. That cost the GOP winner the election."

That's also not true, no matter how many times it's been repeated on right-wing radio and the conservative blogs. Last I heard, that was debunked. If you have a link to a legitimate news source that says otherwise, I'd like to read it.

The big question becomes "Where can you find a completely honest and balanced vote count method?"

No, it doesn't. That's a false choice. The disenfranchisement of Democratic and Black voters began on a massive scale in the 2000 election, and was turned into a science in the 2004 election. This is a new set of abuses that have been easily identified and can be easily remedied, if only Congress would investigate them and pass the appropriate legislation. It's absurd to argue that if elections can't be counted with 100% accuracy, then any amount of fraud is excusable. I may be wrong here, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't be making that argument if it were White Republicans who were being systematically disenfranchised by Democratic Secretaries of State.

Chuck said...

Excuse me, one moment.
Here, in Minnesota, just in the 2004 election, there was a fair number of votes that had to be removed. It was determined that some of these people didn't even live in the state. Some of them voted in more than one precinct. Some had sent in falsified registration cards. Some of them were not permitted to vote- they were felons (rapists, murderers, robbers)

Who was the big offender? Oddly, neither DFL nor GOP. In fact, if you count the third parties (minor parties, such as Libertarian, Green, Communist) it was pretty close. Sure, the GOP sent in a bunch of falsified cards. The DFL sent in a bunch of cards for Felons. The "Green" party had a fairly strong showing in fraud.

Neither party of strength has an edge in morality. That's why we, the voters of the country, are supposed to get out and volunteer for election judge duty.

It's one of the reasons that I have supported showing an ID to be permitted to vote. Now, before you start foaming about "disenfranchisement of the poor, and the people of color", I want to propose a SOLUTION to that.

If a person has a valid driver's license, or state issued ID, there of course will be no problem--or shall I say "none that I can see".
If there is no card, due to homelessness, or similiar situation, the state ought to supply one, at no cost, to the people in question. There can be a series of checks to verify the person.

We should also expand "Election day"-- I'd say 2 days, a Saturday and Sunday. (Does that sound a bit radical?) Keep the polls open from 6AM to 11PM each day. And do not broadcast exit polls until ALL the polls have closed.

These ideas aren't new. They've been mentioned by many people over my lifetime (over 4 decades for me).

When you think there is fraud, you must act. Become an election judge. Sure, it's not paid in my state. Maybe not in any other.

When concern doesn't lead to action, it isn't truly concern.

To quote a famous phrase "When you did so to the least of these, my bretheren, you did so unto me."

Notice- it applies to both good and evil. It applies to the active and the passive. It applies to Republican and Democrat alike. It applies to me and you both. Simple answer to a complex question. GET INVOLVED.

Chuck said...

Oh, I should give one that statement: If a person doesn't vote for 8 years, it's not disenfranchising. It's removing yourself. That is not the Government. That* is the "Voter's choice". It is otherwise stated: "Use it, or lose it".

Darrin Bell said...

Here, in Minnesota, just in the 2004 election, there was a fair number of votes that had to be removed. It was determined that some of these people didn't even live in the state. Some of them voted in more than one precinct. Some had sent in falsified registration cards. Some of them were not permitted to vote- they were felons (rapists, murderers, robbers)

Who was the big offender? Oddly, neither DFL nor GOP. In fact, if you count the third parties (minor parties, such as Libertarian, Green, Communist) it was pretty close. Sure, the GOP sent in a bunch of falsified cards. The DFL sent in a bunch of cards for Felons. The "Green" party had a fairly strong showing in fraud.


I hadn't heard of that. Do you have a link to articles about it?

Neither party of strength has an edge in morality. That's why we, the voters of the country, are supposed to get out and volunteer for election judge duty.

Actually, the disenfranchisement of Blacks and other Democrats, and the corruption in the Republican Congress are two phenomena that are unparalleled in our history. The sheer scale of the criminal enterprise dwarfs the regular dirty tricks our system has always been plagued by. It's analogous to the difference between tribal warfare and the Holocaust (I'm not comparing the events, just the orders of magnitude). The Democrats have an edge on morality by default.

It's one of the reasons that I have supported showing an ID to be permitted to vote. Now, before you start foaming about "disenfranchisement of the poor, and the people of color"...

"Foaming?" I was wondering when your thin veneer of civility would peel away. Aren't you the guy who was pleading for civil discussion just a few posts ago?

Let's cut to the chase, since you've taken your gloves off: You're bringing up unsourced, random instances of alleged voter-fraud in order to excuse the wholesale theft of the last two presidential elections by the G.O.P. That's a specious argument.

You excuse the lack of any Congressional investigation about the stolen elections by saying that it's up to individuals to volunteer to be election judges. Frankly, I'd cringe at the thought of Chuck determining whether my ballot was valid. If I were to complain that I pressed "Kerry" and thought I saw the Diebold machine display "Bush," I doubt Chuck would take that seriously.

What good did election judges do in San Diego a couple weeks ago, when Bilbray defeated Busby on Diebold machines that had been illegally taken home by poll workers for weeks prior to the election (an act that decertified the machines, according to the Secretary of State's rules)? What good did "election judges" do in Florida in 2000, when 54,000 African Americans had been wrongly stripped of their right to vote by a company Katharine Harris hired? What good did "election judges" do in Ohio in 2004, when the Republican Secretary of State illegally changed the voting precincts in urban (i.e. highly Democratic) areas just a couple weeks before the election, didn't notify any voters, and then ordered votes to be tossed if they were cast in the wrong precinct?

The problems with our system of voting are now systemic and can't be resolved on the local level by individuals volunteering as election judges.


Oh, I should give one that statement: If a person doesn't vote for 8 years, it's not disenfranchising. It's removing yourself.

So-called conservatives who write in to Candorville often display this very same habit of bringing up issues that no one else has raised, and then rebutting them. Nobody has used people falling off the voter rolls as an example of fraud. Examples that have been used: Choicepoint wrongly labeling 54,000 Black Floridians as felons, stripping them of their right to vote. Jeb Bush sending state police into the homes of elderly African-Americans in 2004 to warn them against committing "voter fraud." Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell refusing to provide an adequate number of functioning voting machines to urban areas. The list goes on and on (you can find many more examples in that article I linked to above), yet instead of refuting it (because they can't), Bush apologists would rather bring up non-issues, like people who haven't voted for 8 years. Interesting.

Chuck said...

Hey, YOU were the one who originally said some of these people hadn't voted in 2 presidential elections, not I. That is actually a minimum of 9 years.

And, you seem to believe that because I follow conservative ideals that I am not honest. That rather irrates me. If you had said you pushed a button for Kerry, and you said it showed Bush, I am under a moral obligation to investigate the matter, reporting to proper authorities. This includes attorneys-general, Board of elections, Police, and whosoever may be reachable.

Now, to continue-- I wish I could give you exact dates in which the articles occurred for the Minnesota Fraud of 2004. Some of them were mentioned in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, some in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Some people admitted to committing voter fraud for Nader on WCCO-TV. Of course, the names and faces were blocked out...Protecting the person committing the fraud. Believe me, I don't know if that was the station's doing, or if the people would refuse to say anything unless their identity was protected. Quite probably both.

I must admit, I do not know anything about people taking voting machines home with them... Around here, things are locked up.
And, we simply mark our cards. We take things into the main computer.
The whole thing is well protected.

And, I do find it rather interesting that you chose to take my remark about "Disenfranchising the poor and people of color" out of the full context-- I proposed a solution. In fact, some might call it a "Liberal's" Solution. Voter ID cards for the poor/homeless at STATE COST is certainly not a poll tax. I also proposed that the STATE do a series of checks to verify the person's claims...Subject to appeal if it turns out wrong for the people in question.

I apologize if I have offended...it was not my intent.

Before you call me a "typical Republican", let me assure you... I do not always support the solutions at hand. I disagreed with them on Bankruptcy, among other things. In fact, just a few years ago, I contributed to a DFLer's campaign... he did win, but the margin was small. The GOP member did not request a recount, but was entitled to it. There are people on both sides that could have, or should have...and didn't, because it would disrupt the government. One of the most noticeable in Minnesota History took place in 1962. They were MONTHS trying to get a tally. Nixon could have requested a recount in 1960. Humphrey Could have requested a recount in 1968. Neither of them did.

On this, however, we agree: The process is not what it could be. Nor is it what it SHOULD be. I do agree that voting rights must be protected on ALL sides. But to register felons who have no rights, to register the dead (See Jimmy Carter's Book "Why not the Best", to strip the legally registered of the right (provided that they've not disenfranchised themselves)... It's ALL wrong.

In politics, there is NO MORALITY. And that's the same on BOTH sides.

________________
On a lighter note, if I may-- The St. Paul Pioneer Press reported that 2 Senators (Kerry and Feingold) are attempting to force withdrawal of our troops from Iraq by Summer of 2007. They reported that Kerry (D-MA), and Feingold (please note the error) (R-WI)* had teamed up in a bill to get the troops home. I was quite shocked. I'm sure nobody was more shocked than the Honorable Senator from Wisconsin, Russ Feingold.
Heck, he changed parties without knowing it?

Chuck said...

I see I didn't proof my copy quite enough. "Irrates me"...supposed to be "Irritates".

No matter. I still say "Keep up the good lampooning". And, I add to it "keep words tasteful--after all, we may be forced to eat our own words!"

Darrin Bell said...

Hey, YOU were the one who originally said some of these people hadn't voted in 2 presidential elections, not I. That is actually a minimum of 9 years.

I did? Where did I say this, and in what context?

And, I do find it rather interesting that you chose to take my remark about "Disenfranchising the poor and people of color" out of the full context-- I proposed a solution.

The full context was irrelevant. My comment was about a lack of civility, and I posted the relevant part ("foaming"). Adding a solution afterward doesn't alter that. I'm glad to hear you weren't trying to offend.

And, you seem to believe that because I follow conservative ideals that I am not honest.

Where did I say that? I said I doubt you would take such complaints seriously. I base that on your "foaming" comment and your prior dismissal of voting irregularities as inevitable, rather than seeing them as election theft. That's not the same as being dishonest.

Anonymous said...

I think the way Darrin Bell down grades the christians by using the character "reverend wilfred" is downright wrong. Bell portrays him as a hypocritical man who just likes Bush because he was bribed and in true nature was liberal. Let me tell you somthing. I have never met a true god-fearing minister who was a die hard complete liberal. For one thing a good christian knows abortion is murder. For another thing homosexuality is clearly portrayed as sin in the bible (see leveticus 18:22). We christians are know portrayed as hypocrites and crazy just because we stand up for what is right. If Bell can't find something really wrong with us then he shouldn't put his ridiculus accusations in his comics.
Thanks for hearing me out.

Darrin Bell said...

"I think the way Darrin Bell down grades the christians by using the character "reverend wilfred" is downright wrong."

Hello, Staff Sarge. Why are you posting as "anonymous"?

Let me tell you somthing. I have never met a true god-fearing minister who was a die hard complete liberal.

And what makes you think Reverend Wilfred is? I've never shown him saying anything about the issues you raise.

"For one thing a good christian knows abortion is murder.

"I assume "a good Christian" means a Christian who agrees with you.

"For another thing homosexuality is clearly portrayed as sin in the bible (see leveticus 18:22)."

Not by Jesus, and as a "good Christian," I would think that would mean something to you.

By the way, the Bible also lists as sins the following: Eating shellfish (like lobster), wearing clothes made from more than one kind of fiber (better check your shorts), and working on Saturday. How come I never see anyone with a Bible and a picket sign protesting the polyester trousers at Target?

That's why people like you are labeled hypocrites. You pick and choose which so-called sins to condemn, and which to ignore.

Anonymous said...

I wish to respond to your commentary. First of all I wish to thank you for responing at all and wish to ask you to not take it personally, I just disagree with you. First of all you do say reverend wilfred is a liberal. You did not say his opinions on these but since he is a liberal I assume he is pro-choice and is for gay marriage. First I used the term good christian because there are many who claim to be christians but are not true believers. Adolf Hitler himself is a prime example. I'm not saying that there won't be liberals in heaven but they certainly don't follow Jesus' example very well. As for homosexulaity being a sin did you actually read lleveticus 18:22? Homosexuality is listed with other more apparent sexual sins. Perhaps you should read the bible more. Also Jesus doesnt say homosexuality is wrong but he does say the bible is god-inspired and holy (which means it lacks lies and imperfection). If you think Jesus is the only important part to the bible than think again. There is a reason the bible isn't just four books. I appreciate you clearing up your reasoning for calling us hypocrites. I have been confused for a long time about that. Once again thanks for hearing me out.

p.s. I am not a staff seargent but a high schooler from chicago. Most of my ideas are not from my parents (who are moderates) but from my middle schooling which was a lutheran school.

Anonymous said...

oh and sorry for repeating "first" so many times and for any other typos.

Darrin Bell said...

None of this is personal to me, I just don't pussyfoot around issues when I think people are dead wrong.

"First of all you do say reverend wilfred is a liberal. You did not say his opinions on these but since he is a liberal I assume he is pro-choice and is for gay marriage."

I'm not sure why you assume that. Liberalism is about a hell of a lot more than abortion and gay marriage. Liberalism is, first and foremost, about believing there's a social contract. When you study the Enlightenment in college, you'll be studying liberalism.

Reverend Wilfred may or may not be pro-choice, and he may or may not be in favor of equal marriage, but it's not wise to make assumptions based on limited information, such as the label "liberal" or "conservative."

"First I used the term good christian because there are many who claim to be christians but are not true believers."

That still comes down to you saying a "good Christian" is a Christian who agrees with you. After all, just what constitutes a "true believer" is entirely subjective.

"I'm not saying that there won't be liberals in heaven but they certainly don't follow Jesus' example very well."

That's an odd statement. Do you have any examples to back it up?

"As for homosexulaity being a sin did you actually read lleveticus 18:22? Homosexuality is listed with other more apparent sexual sins. Perhaps you should read the bible more."

Perhaps you should tell me why it matters whether or not a sin is sexual (isn't a sin a sin?), and perhaps you should answer my question about why you condemn sexual sins, but (and I'm only assuming here, of course) you don't condemn people who wear polyester clothes, people who work on Saturdays, or people who eat lobster -- all of which are also sins, according to the Bible.

Anonymous said...

I'll think about what you said. Thanks for answering my comments. Sorry if I sounded offensive.

P.S. I still read candorville every day since it is a rare funny comic nowadays.

jakejohnson said...

i believe that all the hype on wire tapping is blown way out of porportion. i want u to keep in mind that EVERY wartime has had listening in to peoples lives to find fugitives. Even Abraham Lincoln had listening in on peoples telegraph messages to catch confederate spies, funders, etc. And for anotherthing listening in is not that bad (unless u r a terrorist). My wife called her father the other day to wish him a happy birthday, would the government care? no. If i had called Osoma bin Laden's cell phone than of course they would be on to me. just thought id give u a republican view of the issue.

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