khaosworks: (Uncle Sam)
This goes out to all those voting in the US Presidential elections. You don't need me to tell you this. But I'm going to state the obvious anyway.

Vote. Doesn't matter who you're voting for, but vote. Vote what you think, what you feel, which direction you want your country to go. Don't let anything stop you, don't let long lines discourage you, don't let anything get in your way. Because your chance to affect change happens oh so rarely, and this election will make history, no matter which way it goes.

Heinlein suggested if you don't know which measures to vote for, vote against, or ask some well-meaning fool for his advice and vote the other way. I like to quote this when I'm being facetious, but this time, the stakes are too high - for the US, for the world - to do so blindly. But you've had 20 months to think about it, so really, the choice before you should be settled by now, whether it's Obama, McCain, Barr, Nader, whoever.

Make your vote count. Check you voted who you wanted to vote for before you leave the booth. If there's something wrong, call for help - there will be people there to help you.

So for God's sake, vote.

But if you vote for Nader, I will kill you.

and vote obama.
khaosworks: (Uncle Sam)
Worth a read, especially the last page or so where he discusses Rick Shenkman's Just How Stupid Are We?.

Newsweek: In Search of Rational Voters )
khaosworks: (Uncle Sam)
NYT: Democrats criticize McCain on Iraq strategy. )

You can see the video where McCain describes when the troops come home as "not too important" here.

But as I've always said, it's all about context. What's the actual exchange?
TODAY: If it's working, Senator, do you now have a better estimate of when American forces can come home from Iraq?

MCCAIN: No, but that's not too important. What's important is the casualties in Iraq. Americans are in South Korea, Americans are in Japan, American troops are in Germany — that's all fine. American casualties and the ability to withdraw... we will be able to withdraw. General Petraeus is going to tell us in July when he thinks we are. But the key to is that we don't want any more Americans in harm's way. And that way they will be safe, and serve our country, and come home with honor, and victory. Not in defeat, which is what Senator Obama's proposal would have done.
Right now what he's saying is actually correct: it's not so much the fact that Americans are in Iraq that's the real problem... after all, as he points out, American troops are all over the world. It's that they are dying.

The very presence of American troops in Iraq is a problem, though, in terms of resources, in terms of military necessity, in terms of wastage, but at the end of the day, the human response wouldn't be as strong if they were not in danger. So he's right. It's not as important. What might be a bit off his his insistence on withdrawal with honor... which may lead to those casualties he says he's trying to avoid.

I'm no fan of the Republicans, as is obvious, but I don't think it's really fair to jump on McCain in this particular instance: there've been greater misstatements and more egregious positions he's taken. The new G.I. Bill, for instance...
khaosworks: (Uncle Sam) has a quiz that shows you which US Presidential candidate is most representative of your own political beliefs. Mine turns out to be Bill Richardson at 80%, but not far off is Edwards at 76% and Clinton at 75%. Next is Obama at 74%, Kucinich at 73% and Gravel at 70%. The percentages are deceptive of course, because it's an overall picture, and gets a bit clearer as you explore the individual points of difference. None of the Republican candidates went above 59% (McCain).

Richardson doesn't seem to be doing all that well, but he's ahead of the pack trailing the big three of the Iowa caucus- he polled in 4th place behind Clinton there. He's definitely got the qualifications for the job, but I'm not sure about the ability to capture the public imagination... the charisma and energy just isn't there like it is for the big three.

In any case, the quiz is an interesting little exercise to go through: at the end, it even links to statements made by the candidates so you can see their position about the areas you're concerned about. I ticked all the boxes, basically, so got to express an opinion about every category and it was interesting to see where my personal politics diverge from theirs even when there are broad areas of agreement. As I've always said, nobody can be pigeonholed into right or left, unless they're an ideologue, and that's always a bad thing.

December 2011

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