Friday, March 12, 2004
Oh I'd love to see any presidential candidate that matched even half these ideals. Maybe the internet can do for a reasonable person what it did for Dean. I can hope.
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Good Lord. This is very very frightening. We are living in interesting times.
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In high school my car sported a bumper sticker that said "If guns are outlawed can we use swords?"
Dude, you cannot make this shit up. This makes me want to vomit.
"New law to ban swordsThis is how gun control works folks. Soon it will be pointy sticks and slingshots. You cannot disarm criminals because criminals DON'T OBEY LAWS by definition. You can't outlaw weapons because humans are just too ingenious. What you can do, what Australia has chosen to do, is to create an entire population of victims.
Peter Mickelburough, state politics reporter
SWORDS will be outlawed from July under new laws to curb the growing use of the weapons in street brawls.
Police Minister Andre Haermeyer said the ban would help police overcome a culture of young people arming themselves with swords.
"For most people running around the street carrying swords there is absolutely no reason for them to be carrying those weapons," he said yesterday.
From July, anyone found possessing or selling a sword without a permit will face up to six months' jail and fines of up to $12,000.
Existing sword owners must surrender their weapons to police, sell them to a licensed dealer or apply to the Chief Commissioner for specific approval.
Collectors and people with legitimate cultural, religious or military reasons to own swords will be exempted from the ban, but must store them under lock and key and have a burglar alarm.
The sword ban follows a string of recent attacks and a regulatory impact statement undertaken by the State Government last year.
Last week, a 13-year-old boy was arrested and charged after allegedly charging police with a sword near Castlemaine, in central Victoria.
A 21-year-old man had his hand severed by a samurai sword in a confrontation between 40 men in the Fitzroy Gardens a fortnight ago -- the second brawl involving swords in 24 hours.
Huy Huynh, 19, was chased from the Salt nightclub and hacked to death nearby in July 2002 by a mob using samurai swords and machetes.
The new laws will make it illegal to sell swords to anyone who does not have a permit.
Sword sellers will have to keep a register of buyers' details and make it available for police to inspect.
Mr Haermeyer said groups such as highland dancers, historic re-enactment groups, bonafide collectors and people with family heirlooms could apply for an exemption from the licensing services branch of Victoria Police.
"Legitimate sword owners understand the importance of ensuring that their swords do not fall into the wrong hands," he said.
"The vast majority of the community would say, 'Look, there's no place for people just being able to go out there and buy these things and carry them around the street'."
Mr Haermeyer said the exact definition of a sword under the new regulations was still being considered.
He said machetes would remain a controlled weapon, requiring a person to have a legitimate reason for carrying them.
The Government is also looking at bans on some other weapons, such as crossbows, and greater restriction on the sale of prohibited and regulated weapons at weekend markets.
Mr Haermeyer warned that police would be actively hunting for knives and swords after being given new powers and 480 metal detectors late last year, allowing them to search people they reasonably suspected were carrying weapons. "
30% of the Australian population has been a victim of violent crime. In the 25 years leading up to the gun ban, crime had been dropping. Here's a handy graph of the assault rate from 1995-2001. Here's the sexual assault graph. My favorite of course is a 100% increase in the armed robbery rate over a period of 6 years. Homicide stayed fairly stable. Here's a graph of the percentage of homicide in Australia. Notice that it was dropping SIGNIFICANTLY for an entire decade before the ban.
I won't even start on the crime rate in gun-free England.
Here are US graphs. Notice a difference?
Here in the US Firearm Related crime has been dropping for decades. But since 1995 15 states have passed "Shall Issue" (qualified applicants are approved) concealed carry laws. There are now 35 states that allow any competent law abiding trained citizen to carry a gun. Millions more guns have been manufactured and sold. Yet the crime rate is dropping and the streets are not running red with blood.
And even the notoriously anti-gun CDC has had to admit that after 50+ empirical studies they just can't prove that gun-control has an effect on crime. When you're talking about violating people's rights don't you think you should be able to show a reason? When you're talking about banning, confiscating, or limiting lawfully-acquired property, don't you think there should be some evidence that it will actually do what you claim? Quite aside from any issues of legality or morality.
In feudal Japan only the elite could own weapons. Look up the history of karate and other martial arts. People figured out how to fight effectively with sticks, chains and farm tools. You cannot disarm the populace. You can only take away the most effective weapons. A 5 foot tall woman is much more evenly matched against a thug if she's armed with a gun rather than pepper spray (which is banned in some states,) or the venerable hatpin. Criminals, unconstrained by laws, will continue to seek the most effective weapons.
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More on the nastiness of the campaign.
"I do know this: I will try to be as reasonable as I can be, because we have eight months left until the election, and maintaining a vein-popping tone for thirty-two weeks is not something I wish to do. Look for me to go absolutely nuts in October, though. I mean gibbity-gibbity-gibbity nuts. My promise to you.I agree. And I'll add to the pot. If Bush starts attacking the democrats as asses, evil, lying and crooked, I will donate $100 to the Humane Society.
News wire story:
WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry called Wednesday for deeper tax cuts for the middle class than proposed by President Bush and described his Republican critics as “the most crooked ... lying group I’ve ever seen.” The chairman of Bush’s re-election campaign called on Kerry to apologize “for this negative attack.”
You really have to hear the recording for the full impact; Kerry drops his pitch, loses the patrician accent, and just sneeeeeers his words. (Apparently he thought the mike was off.) Hugh Hewitt wondered whether the story will be in the major media Thursday, and called it a “litmus test” for the papers and the news channels.
Well, I don’t expect anything aside from the NYPost or a few other papers, because it’s simply not going to register with the people who make news decisions. Here’s why: there’s an assumption that this is going to be bitter, mean, nasty, hair-pulling campaign summed up by the image of two monkeys in a cage flinging excrement at each other, and it’ll be tit for tat until election day. The truth of tit or tat isn’t the issueIf one party accuses the other of seeking a new low, well, that’s the story – not whether it actually was a new low. This puts the party that takes the high road at a disadvantage. If they don’t get down in the trenches, they get out-slimed. If they do get down in the trenches, they’re confirming what their opponent said about them, and what the media expected them to do. Or thought they had been doing all along.
If it’s played at all, I suspect this will be the angle: “it was a contentious week that began with the President’s controversial 9/11 ad, and ended with John Kerry’s unguarded characterization of his critics as deceitful.”
There you have it: tit and tat, the binary star system of modern political reporting.
AP has already decided that Kerry was talking about his critics, not the administration. Lede graf:
By MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry (news - web sites) on Wednesday called for deeper tax cuts for the middle class than proposed by President Bush (news - web sites) and described his Republican critics as "the most crooked ... lying group I've ever seen."
And how does the AP reporter know that Kerry was talking about his “critics’”? Because the Kerry spokesman said so.
Kerry spokesman David Wade said the senator was referring to Republican critics in general. "The Republicans have launched the most personal, crooked, deceitful attacks over the last four years," Wade said.
Oh, well, okay! Move along, then.
Another story from the arena:
“Kerry, the Democratic nomination well in hand, is moving to engage Bush, and the president is returning the favor. The Massachusetts senator said Bush has resorted to personal attacks at an unprecedented early stage in the campaign.
"George Bush is running on the same old Republican tactics of fear — and they're already getting tired," he said. "But we have something better than attacks, we have the facts and we have the truth."
Okay: what are the personal attacks? Criticizing someone’s record is not a personal attack. “My opponent is a sad half-man who licks laudanum off the bellies of toothless syphilitic doxies” is a personal attack.
Let me put it this way: People say all sorts of things in elections. The underlings and infantry fire the cheap shots, and let the big dogs lope along the high road. But when the top officials of the party start slinging the slander, we’ve entered a different era. And no one seems to notice, because the story becomes the charge, not the nature of the accusation.
Accusing one’s opponent of treason is a personal attack. Al Gore accused Bush of “betraying this country.” Reasonable people could say he misled the country, or misruled the country, and make the argument to support the assertion, but “betrayed” is a word that has a special quality when talking about the President of the United States. I’ve heard General Wesley Clark question the President’s patriotism, and insist that his religious beliefs were misguided, because the Democratic Party is the party that truly hews to Christian doctrines. (Note to Hewitt: you HAVE to put that tape up on your site.) And of course we heard Governor Dean insert the “Bush was warned” meme into the body politic.
There’s nothing comparable on the other side. Nothing. I mean, the Bush team runs an ad that has a second of 9/11 footage, and his opponents pitch a carefully staged fit – because that’s all they have.
I’ll contribute $100 to the Heifer Project if Bush accuses Kerry of betraying the country. Another $100 if he accuses the Kerry camp of being corrupt liars. Oh, Kerry meant the GOP machine! Okay: $100 if Bush accuses the DNC of being corrupt liars. Oh, but he meant talk radio! Okay: $100 if Bush accuses the new liberal talk radio network of being corrupt liars.
I can imagine my mail already: Klymer! Clinton! Yellowcake! Plastic turkey! So I ask: imagine, if you will, that we’re at war. (Just pretend.) A Democrat president is attempting to pacify Krepistan, which has been shooting at American planes for a decade. The Republican candidate says he’s been in contact with foreign leaders who really want him to win, and is caught on tape telling a supporter he thinks the current administration is made up of crooked liars.
Think the New Republic might write a disapproving editorial or two?
Probably not. After all, didn’t the Democrat president note that his opponent failed to grasp the strategic importance of Krepistan? Tit. Tat.
Kerry’s said some amusingly tone-deaf things lately – wanting to be the second Black president, for example. I called it Senatitus in a Newhouse column – a condition characterized by an unnatural belief in the unimpeachability of your every utterance. Twenty years of saying anything in a room full of rich guys who aren’t really listening has to have an effect on one’s ego. No one ever stands up and shouts Balderdash! Poppycock! Fatuous twaddle, sir, and if you persist in this infantile display of specious drivel I shall ask for you to meet me on the field of honor at dawn. No one ever says “Hey, Bobby Byrd. Put a sock in it. Or put a hood over it. Whatever.” This might be why so few presidents have emerged from the Senate lately. Governors have to deal with state legislatures, whose composition ranges from the canny to the truly gruesome; they have to deal with local TV reporters. They have to deal with locals, period. Senators occasionally walk among the mortals, but they often have a hitch in their gait as through their robe snagged while descending Mt. Olympus.
One last thing: Kerry said this:
Though he always has opposed the death penalty, Sen. John Kerry said Tuesday that the Sept. 11 attacks made him realize that he would want to "blow Osama bin Laden's brains out."
And I agree wholeheartedly. So can we drop all the hand-wringing about Bush’s “Dear or alive” remark? We were told that this struck sensitive ears as “cowboy” rhetoric, after all. But you know, it’s more like the words of a sheriff who draws up the reward poster. Cowboys were not known for demanding the apprehension of criminals dead or alive. Wanting to “blow someone’s brains out” sounds like the words of someone who has the temperament of Paulie from the Sopranos.
And that is a personal attack. Sue me.
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I really can't add anything to Lilek's comentary on the Madrid bombing.
"There’s a small padded room in my mind where I imagine the theories of the daft: OMG Bushitler did this, it’s part of a campaign to make us “afraid,” it’ll only get worse. That’s one take, from the foil-chapeau brigade, a decided minority. Then there’s the schadenfreuders: well, Spain supported the war in Iraq. Payback’s a bitch, eh? As if there was some sort of epiphany in the terrorist community: whoa, Spain is assisting the Crusaders now. I know it’s going out on a limb, but I propose adding Spain to the list of Western Christian polyglot democracies to destroy. All in favor, say aye. Of course one can say that the jihadists attacked Spain for its role, but to suggest that Spain earned this atrocity means that the two causes are morally indistinguishable. That's why we fight. So our children won't have to. So our daughters won't live in fear. So our sons won't worship death. So that they can study and explore and experiment and BE FREE.
To some, they are. To some, the act of "resistance" has such a romantic pull they cannot possibly renounce the use of flamboyant violence - until they find themselves in a train station on an average weekday morning, ears ringing, eyes clouded, looking down at their shirt, wondering why it's so red all of a sudden.
When I heard the Spanish PM’s address to his nation, I was struck by a repeated mention of “The Constitution.” Spain has one. So does Iraq. Spain was a fascist nation. So was Iraq.
The appeal to a document is more than a nod to flowery words on expensive paper; it’s an appeal to a shared idea, a concept of justice that resides in natural law, a notion of civil society that derives its legitimacy from the assent of the governed, not the dictates of generals. Azanar said:
"To defend these causes the Government asks Spaniards to demonstrate tomorrow in the streets of Spain. Under the slogan "With the victims, with the Constitution, for the defeat of terrorism" demonstrations have been called in all Spaniard cities tomorrow Friday at seven in the evening. I wish those demonstrations to be as overwhelming as the pain we feel today, as civic as our patriotism that makes us feel solidarity with all those that suffer the consequences of terrorism's actions."
Better in the original Spanish, I’m sure. You get the point. It makes me admire the Spanish more than ever, I’ll tell you that: after 9/11 the media – the American overclass – was all about pain and sympathy and vigils and candles; vengeance and retribution were not invited. Stand up and strike back was not a theme of those awful hours after 9/11. Partly because we didn't know who to hit. Partly because we realized eventually that we would be striking back, hard, soon. The national character best expressed itself by a brief period of introspective mourning, not brutish demands to level half the planet. Bush did not call for massive demonstrations to approve his desire to defeat terrorism. In American terms, that would have been unseemly. Grief first. Then war.
Spain doesn’t have the luxury of 200 years of Constitutional rule. Young adults sitting around the dinner table look at parents who grew up under Franco; they might value freedom more than we do. We cannot possibly imagine losing it. They have heard stories of how quickly it can be lost.
But what do I know? I know nothing. It’s ten o’clock on a cold night in a warm house in a nice town in the middle of North America. Could be ETA. Could be AQ. Could be, as some have said, that this was the opening of the the Islamacist’s front in Europe.
But it's all a front. If there’s a man sitting on a park bench reading about Buddhism: it’s a front. If there’s a woman at the mall with her head uncovered, it’s a front. If there’s a little girl in a school learning about the periodic table, it’s a front. If there’s two women in a park holding hands and sneaking a smooch, it’s a front. If there’s a guy in a room posting to his website his arguments for atheism, it’s a front. If you’re reading your child a story whose hero is a clever pig, you’re living on the edge of the front. If the appointed hour comes and the call to prayer doesn’t drift from the spiky towers, it’s a front.
So what do I hope I'll tell my child? Simple. It's over. We won."
Today more than 2 million people took to the streets to protest this. I'm very sorry that Spain had to join the ranks of the victims but I know that this will only strenghten their resolve.
My very favorite scene from any of Terry Pratchet's books was from Hogfather. Monsters are real in this world. An unusual young woman is working as a nanny. Her charge finds her and informs her that there's a monster in the cellar, and she proceeds to beat it senseless with a fire poker and heave it out the backdoor.
"The previous governess had used various monsters and bogeymen as a form of discipline. There was always something waiting to eat or carry off bad boys and girls for crimes like stuttering or defiantly and aggravatingly persisting in writing with their left hand. There was always the Scissor Man waiting for a little girl who sucked her thumb, always a bogeyman in the cellar. Of such bricks is the innocence of childhood constructed.You beat monsters. Even if you may not win. Because if everybody resists, the mosters move on to greener pastures. This is how you protect your culture and society. Be it purse snatcher or suicide bomber. You exact a high price for interference in your affairs.
Susan's attempts to get them to disbelieve in them had only caused the problem to get worse.
Twayla had started to wet the bed. This may have been a crude form of self-defense against the terrible clawed creature she was certain lived under it.
Susan had found out about this one the first night, when the child had woken up crying because of a bogeyman in the closet.
She'd sighed and gone to have a look. She'd been so angry that she'd pulled it out, hit it over the head with the nursery poker, dislocated its shoulder as a means of emphasis and kicked it out the back door.
The children refused to disbelieve in the monsters because, frankly, they knew damn well the things were there.
But she'd found that they could, very firmly, also believe in the poker.
"Never give in--never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
Sir Winston Churchill, Speech, 1941, Harrow School
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Bias in action.
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Via Eugene Volokh:
"If the existing assault weapons ban expires, I personally do not believe it will make one whit of difference one way or another" in "reducing death and injury." Who said that? Tom Diaz, of the pro-gun-control Violence Policy Center.
Well then, why renew it?
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More on Kerry and foreign leaders.
"Kerry fails to back up foreign 'endorsements'Wishing won't make it true honey. As more and more comes out about how corrupt and incompetent the UN's largest ever relief effort was, and how absolutely ineffective they were, it's going to be a real hard sell that we'd be better off or safer with Kerry behind the wheel.
By Charles Hurt and Stephen Dinan
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Sen. John Kerry refuses to provide any information to support his assertion earlier this week that he has met with foreign leaders who beseeched him to prevail over President Bush in November's election.
The Massachusetts Democrat has made no official foreign trips since the start of last year, according to Senate records and his own published schedules. And an extensive review of Mr. Kerry's travel schedule domestically revealed only one opportunity for the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee to meet with foreign leaders here.
On Monday, Mr. Kerry told reporters in Florida that he'd met with foreign leaders who privately endorsed him.
"I've met with foreign leaders who can't go out and say this publicly," he said. "But, boy, they look at you and say: 'You've got to win this. You've got to beat this guy. We need a new policy.' Things like that."
Aides and supporters of Mr. Kerry have said providing names of the leaders or their countries would injure those nations' ongoing relations with the current Bush administration.
"In terms of who he's talked to, we're not going to discuss that," spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said yesterday. "I know it would be helpful, but we're not going into that. His counsels are kept private."
Mr. Kerry has made other claims during the campaign and then refused to back them up, including statements that Mr. Bush delayed the deal with Libya to give up its weapons of mass destruction program for political reasons.
Republicans have begun calling Mr. Kerry the "international man of mystery," and said his statements go even beyond those of former Vice President Al Gore, who was besieged by stories that he lied or exaggerated throughout the 2000 presidential campaign.
"I think it's beyond that level. The results of this week, I think he's going to have a very serious credibility problem with the American people," said Rep. Deborah Pryce, Ohio Republican and chairman of the House Republican Conference.
The Kerry campaign declined to say where or when Mr. Kerry met with foreign leaders and discussed his presidential campaign, which officially began Sept. 2 last year. They refused to give any hints about the leaders such as what region, what continent or even which hemisphere they're from. The Kerry aides also have refused to say how many foreign leaders privately have endorsed their boss.
According to travel records kept by the Secretary of the Senate, Mr. Kerry's last official trip abroad was in early 2002 when he visited the United Kingdom, Jordan, Egypt and Israel. The only other trip noted in Senate records since that time is an October 2002 domestic trip to Charleston, S.C., to appear on MSNBC's Hardball program.
The Washington Times also scoured White House, State Department and other public records for all official trips made to the United States by foreign leaders since the start of last year. During more than 30 such trips, Mr. Kerry was out of town campaigning, at home or in the hospital for a prostate-cancer operation, according to his travel schedules from this year and last.
The only instance found when Mr. Kerry was in the same town as a foreign leader was Sept. 24, when New Zealand Foreign Minister Philip Goff was in Washington meeting with State Department officials. On that day, according to his schedule, Mr. Kerry received the endorsement of the International Association of Fire Fighters in Washington.
Meanwhile, Mr. Bush was in New York meeting with the leaders of Germany, India, Pakistan, Ghana and Mozambique on that same day.
Pressed about the lack of evidence for any such meetings, Ms. Cutter said world leaders are weary of Mr. Bush's "go-it-alone" handling of the war in Iraq.
"After September 11, we had an enormous amount of good will from around the world for helping us seek out who was responsible" for the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, she said. "This administration quickly squandered that good will by pursuing a very arrogant foreign policy. It's time to rejoin the community of nations."[emphasis mine]
It may well be true that leaders are pulling for Mr. Kerry to win.
A survey of world opinion in 2003 for the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that in most countries, Mr. Bush ranked lower in popularity than Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, French President Jacques Chirac and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Other presidential candidates also have been dogged by charges they were not truthful. In 1988, Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr., Delaware Democrat, withdrew from the presidential campaign after news reports that he had lifted whole passages from speeches by British Labor party leader Neil Kinnock.
Republicans said they are beginning to see a pattern in Mr. Kerry's remarks.
In a February meeting with the editorial board from the New York Daily News, Mr. Kerry said Mr. Bush, for political reasons, delayed closing the deal to have Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi surrender his weapons of mass destruction program.
"There's evidence that we could have had that deal some time ago," Mr. Kerry told the newspaper, saying he had heard "from friends in the British government that the deal was in a slow lock."
But the paper said Mr. Kerry refused to give specifics.
Then earlier this month, Mr. Kerry called for an investigation into whether the U.S. overthrew Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, telling NBC's "Today" show a "very close friend in Massachusetts" had talked with people who had made accusations that Mr. Aristide had been kidnapped.
"I don't know the truth of it. I really don't. But I think it needs to be explored, and we need to know the truth of what happened," Mr. Kerry said.
Republicans said Mr. Kerry's remarks remind them of former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark, who said — and later recanted — that he knew of a secret Pentagon memo listing the next countries after Iraq to be attacked in the war on terror.
In a speech to the Dupage County Lincoln Day dinner in Oak Brook, Ill., last night, Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie said Mr. Kerry has "a more vivid imagination than General Clark."
"Kerry's imaginary friends have British and French accents," Mr. Gillespie said.
Sen. George Allen, Virginia Republican and third-highest ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said such a political conversation occurring between a U.S. senator and the leader of a foreign country is hard to imagine.
"It would just be so inappropriate," he said. "I think it would be insulting."[emphasis mine]
Several foreign leaders denied having any such conversations with Mr. Kerry, including Mr. Schroeder, whose spokesman issued a denial.
And Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer told Australian radio this week that the remarks certainly didn't come from Australian leaders. He said it's not right either for leaders to make those comments or for a candidate to make them public.
"I think it's probably better to keep foreign leaders and the views of foreign leaders out of domestic elections, I mean, certainly we do that here in this country. I mean, people express different views to you, if you're a candidate, I tend not to pass on those kinds of views publicly," he said.[emphasis mine]
Even if Mr. Kerry's comments are true, several Republicans said, it's hardly something to brag about.
Republicans mocked Mr. Kerry after European newspapers reported that North Korea leader Kim Jong-il would prefer that Mr. Kerry win.
"Rather than dealing with President George W. Bush and hawkish officials in his administration, Pyongyang seems to hope victory for the Democratic candidate on November 2 would lead to a softening in U.S. policy towards the country's nuclear-weapons program" according to London's Financial Times, which said that Mr. Kerry's speeches are being broadcast on Radio Pyongyang and reported in "glowing" terms.
"The mullahs in Iran probably don't care to have Bush in there because he won't suffer terrorists or the country's that harbor them," said Mr. Allen. "I want a president who cares about what's right rather than the U.N. protocols."
And a poll taken by Andres McKenna Polling and Research found that Americans overwhelmingly believe "the terrorists would prefer" Mr. Kerry to win the election.
The poll of 800 registered voters, taken in February, showed 60 percent thought terrorists would be happier with Mr. Kerry, while just 25 percent said the terrorists would prefer Mr. Bush.
Said Ms. Cutter: "I don't care what the Republicans are saying. The story here is the good will squandered by the Bush administration."
That coupled with his flip flopping and the open support of terrorist states. Well, I just don't believe the American people are that stupid.
Let me be perfectly clear. I'm outraged by some of the things Bush has done. I'm frightened by the license he'll take in a second term. But we are in a WAR and that's my number 1 priority. Kerry is not a viable option. I would have happily voted for Lieberman but the lunatic fringe made sure that the Dems put up another Al Gore. This is going to be a vicious and brutal campaign season.
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