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October 29, 2004

Last days
Posted by Teresa at 07:00 PM * 111 comments

1. Be of good cheer. If that means not watching the news, don’t watch it.

2. Polls. Don’t trust them. Spread the word. They tell us it’s closer than it is because it exhausts us.

3. Draft. If anyone asks, say yes, of course they will. They’re not conscripting troops now because they calculated that it would damage Bush’s chances in this election. That’s why 40% of our troops in Iraq are National Guard and Army Reserve—units that were never meant to be thrown into combat in elective overseas wars. That can’t go on. The GAO itself says they can’t raise enough troops that way. Spread the word about the draft, too.
(Footnote: Patrick notes that dodging to Canada won’t work this time. They’ve closed that bolthole. Vote or die.)
4. Tell people about the teams of attack lawyers, and Kerry’s post-election plans. Raise their spirits.

5. Bush & Co. are really good at making people feel crushed. If you feel crushed, it isn’t because the world is an awful place; it’s because you’re picking up Radio Bush. It’s temporary.

6. Be of good cheer.

Comments on Last days:
#1 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 07:12 PM:

Thank you. I'm switching my 'home' page to Making Light for the duration. It's too depressing even reading the headlines......

Doing my best to be of good cheer...

#2 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 07:24 PM:

Actually, Tegan Goddard (

pointed out the following:

Bush was claimed by the polls to be AHEAD by 7 points at the end of October 2000.

John Zogby on The Daily Show last night thought Kerry will win because the undecideds will wind up not voting for Bush.

I have mixed feelings about bin Laden showing up just now. On the one hand, his being alive and well demonstrates a major failure of the Bush administration. On the other hand, he was much harder on Bush than on Kerry in his talk.

#3 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 07:27 PM:

You are so right about avoiding the news if it makes you angry. This afternoon, I found myself cursing at the radio (NPR) as I was driving over to the local pan-Asian megamart for my monthly dose of frozen dumplings.

I changed over to the jazz station and suddenly the world was a better place.

Must! Think! Happy! Thoughts!

#4 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 07:34 PM:

bin Laden referenced _My Pet Goat_ in his rant.

This will tick off Bush no end. He hates it when people lord it over him with all the books they've read.

* * *

I'm looking forward to video footage of the concession speech, in which a ballroom of terrified Republicans watch Karl Rove shed his human form and curse out Bush for failing him before disappearing in a cloud of black smoke and gnats.

#5 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 07:43 PM:

An LJ community, la_la_la_2004, has sprung up for fanfic as pre-election stress relief.

It came to my attention because of "Francis Crawford of Lymond, (Zombie) Master of Culter" (link). I thought some people here might be amused by it.

(PS: I am very sorry that spammers suck. Is there anything we can do?)

#6 ::: shadowsong ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 07:44 PM:

uh, did something change since i was last paying attention? as far as i know, the draft would be disastrous for the military - they need skilled, trained soldiers, not unwilling conscripts who have no idea what's going on. since they don't have enough skilled soldiers as it is, taking some of them out of the field to train draftees who will take way too long to learn the specialized skills that are currently needed seems counterproductive at best.

#7 ::: Larry Brennan sees a deluge of pr0n spam ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 07:45 PM:

Oy! Did the MT filter get turned off?

#8 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 07:51 PM:

They must be referencing domains the filter doesn't (yet) know to refuse. Jebus, don't these people have anything better to do?

#9 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 07:53 PM:

Even polls have reasons to be of good cheer. Both MyDD and Donkey Rising tend to have poll stuff that I find very bracing. I think it was MyDD that had the post about CBS having squelched a poll that showed Kerry up by on the order of 4-9 points in Florida because the claim was that it wasn't plausible that Kerry could be leading by that much. Ho. We will overcome, baby.

I think I'm gonna make me a compilation disc of cheerful, danceable, inspirational tunes for the Election. I'll start with Londonbeat's "Build it With Love," and Bruce Hornsby's fine, fine version of "Gonna Be Some Changes Made." Probably some Jackson Browne. Any other suggestions?

#10 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 07:58 PM:

Karl Rove as afrit?

Nope. That's way too subtle for this crowd. He'll peel off his mask to reveal a lizard face, and some small child in the crowd will exclaim, "He's a V!"

Must! Do! Wonderful! Things!

#11 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 11:33 PM:

Me, I handled the pizza and softdrink concession at the PS# halloween dance.

Now all the mommies can relieve their stress by talking heatedly about who the hell buys their ten or eleven year old thigh high patent leather boots and drops them off at a party and leaves.

#12 ::: PZ Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 11:35 PM:

I've got happy plans in mind. Election day I'm going to be hittin' the town, helping to drive voters to the polls.

Election night, I'm either going to be dancing in the streets, or making my travel plans. I've got a stash of dead rats stockpiled in the lab freezer. Either way, I've got a purpose.

#13 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 11:52 PM:

My respite from obsessing over campaign news:

Our testing group at work had a "get to know us" open house today. We each ran Halloween games, like "Guess whose face is on this pumpkin" and a ring toss matching products and features.

I did pumpkin bowling. Pick one of four pumpkins, roll it at a set of plastic Hallowe'en goblets, get candy and plastic bugs.

What I like most: I managed to give away the bowling set, and the three bales of hay used as a bumper, right after we shut down. All I had to bring home was a bowl of candy, and I recall hat there's an accepted way of getting rid of such around this time of year.

#14 ::: Claude Muncey ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 12:22 AM:

I'm still at work with some of the team, trying to fix something that should have worked before now. We just came back from dinner, and maybe things are working better. Sort of what I am hoping for Tuesday night.

Back in the deep dark mists of primordial time (say mid 80's) I worked a couple of years in a political campaign organization, doing demographic, electoral, and polling analysis. To put it technically, I think the polls are completely whacked out this year -- most of the polling organizations somehow still expect that people will go back to voting like they did in 1988, or 1992 or 1996. The actual voting patterns were very different than expected in 2000 and this year is like nothing I've seen since 1976. I can spin you scenarios that have everyone but Nader winning and make rational arguments for each. I really don't think we know enough at this point -- we are moving into that part of the campaign where events move faster than the pollsters can capture. Ignore the polls, for as of this evening they have become meaningless.

Well, things look good around here so far. We have a couple of more runs before catching some sleep before starting fresh tomorrow. Starting fresh in the morning is something I am looking forward to next Wednesday, as well.

#15 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 12:24 AM:

I like William Gibsons analysis of the OBL tape, and what it means for the lection:

(Friday, 29th entry)

#16 ::: Jim ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 12:28 AM:

I had some fun with Dave Leip's Electoral College Calculator.

I started with Prof. Pollkatz's state-by-state projection of 287-251 Kerry over Bush. Pollkatz gives percentages for each state that are averaged over several polls, and includes the correlation between polls in different states.

I then asked "What if all polls are off by 1% in Bush's favor?" and the elction goes to Kerry 291 to 247.

If all polls are off by 2% in Bush's favor? Kerry by 327 to 211!

Now, do I believe that the polls are biased pro-bush by about 2%? Yes - they were at least that bad last time!

Are they be off by more than 2%? I think so, given
* The enormous crowds Kerry has been pulling in, given
* The heavily Democratic edge in new-voter registrations
* The strong incentives for African-American and young voters to turn out (and both are disproportionatly Kerry supporters) and
* The general energy level of the Pro-Kerry and Anti-Bush camps.

I am optimistic - I think Kerry will have 300+ electoral votes, and that his victory will servive the frivolous legal challenges that are Rove's MO, and the attempts of 5/9ths of the Supremes to repeat their performance of 2000.

Yes, let us be of good cheer!

#17 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 12:44 AM:

Look at it this way:

All that's required for Kerry to win is for the Bush regime to turn out to be every bit as competent at rigging elections as they are at everything else.

#18 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 03:39 AM:

Ross may have it right, if this example from Ohio is accurate.

#19 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 04:09 AM:

It's also not too late to do stuff. MoveOn is organizing people to go to swing states for last-minute canvassing. It turns out California is surrounded by swing states. I'm not up to all that driving so I'm just doing phone help, and having a "phone party" election day to help get out the vote.

And after Inauguration ther will still be plenty to do -- I anyway will still be in the opposition -- because Kerry's still just a right-wing Democrat, and he'll need goading to do the right thing ever.

#20 ::: Gessi ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 05:14 AM:

Thank you.

#21 ::: Charlie Stross ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 05:55 AM:

Apropos bin Laden's re-appearance, just colour me glad I'm not a gambling man -- my money was on acute renal failure and an unmarked grave near Tora Bora.

By the way, what day is your election? I know it's some time real soon now -- in the next week -- but I'm vague on the specifics. Everybody who talks about it always seems to assume everyone knows when the election is due.

#22 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 06:44 AM:

Charlie, it's Tuesday, November 2. Here in Pennsylvania, voting runs from 7am-8pm EST. My polling place is across the street. I plan to go first thing in the morning.

If there is a big line even then (usually, there's about 5-10 people in line when I get there), and particularly if there are a lot of young people in line (I live in a mostly Republican suburb), the election will look very good for Kerry at that point. Younger people are generally voting for Kerry.

Like Charlie, I did think that bin Laden died in Tora Bora. There hadn't been a definitively dated video of him since late 2001. The audio tapes released since then could have been made by one of his many brothers. But it looks like it was him all along.

#23 ::: Leslie Turek ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 07:49 AM:

7. Get Out the Vote! Drive to a swing state and canvass. Go to your local Kerry headquarters and make calls. Or make calls at home using lists from or Or volunteer or donate at Do something.

#24 ::: Chris S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 09:51 AM:

About polls:

We recently had a federal election here in Canada. Afterwards, when the result was not what the polls had predicted*, people began to phone and write in, to say they'd deliberately lied when polled. One person said he lied because he wanted the Conservatives to think they were going to win, and then lose. Twisted civic humour at its best. Interestingly enough, the news story was THAT the polls were off, not WHY.

*the polls predicted a Conservative government, by a small minority. Instead, the Liberal party won - a minority government, true, but but a much larger minority.

#25 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 11:28 AM:

We recently had a federal election here in Canada. Afterwards, when the result was not what the polls had predicted*, people began to phone and write in, to say they'd deliberately lied when polled.

Mike Royko was ahead of his time, it seems...

(He wrote a great column back in '84 (IIRC) urging people to lie to an exit pollster, on the grounds that it would be hliarious to see the faces of the news anchors when the real results came in, and a useful correction to media arrogance. He probably would've enjoyed Election Day 2000, but not so much the eventual result.)

#26 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 11:28 AM:

Charles Stross:

as The Onion comments:

Republicans Urge Minorities To Get Out And Vote On Nov. 3

"MIAMI, FL—With the knowledge that the minority vote will be crucial in the upcoming presidential election, Republican Party officials are urging blacks, Hispanics, and other minorities to make their presence felt at the polls on Wednesday, Nov. 3."

#27 ::: Sarah ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 11:58 AM:

I'm curious - what is Patrick referring to when he says that dodging to Canada won't work this time? Is there a specific law which allows for, say, extradition? Or is it just that customs will tighten the border so people simply can't get across easily?

#28 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 12:08 PM:

Politics in Science Fiction
by John Frost
Internet Review Of Science Fiction
Vol I, No. 10 (November, 2004)
[free registration required]

"As I write this, the campaign season here in the United States is drawing to a close. For most of the month this issue is live, it will all be over, and thank goodness for that. No matter what the outcome, I think the nation will be relieved to be free from the onslaught of increasingly shrill noise from all candidates, presidential and otherwise...."

And also from the current Onion:

Study: 100 Percent Of Americans Lead Secret Lives

"BERKELEY, CA—A study released Monday by the University of California-Berkeley shows that 100 percent of Americans fail to disclose the full truth about what they think and do in private."

#29 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 12:10 PM:

Sarah, I wondered about that myself, what with a very unguarded border between the US and Canada for the most part. Also, the fact that the language is pretty much the same.

Now it is fairly hard, as I understand, for a US citizen to get a good-paying, documented job in Canada, but that's a separate issue.

Plenty of good news on the Kerry front today, including a note that most major Florida papers are endorsing Kerry and numbers from early voting in Florida show a Kerry lead.

#30 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 12:14 PM:

Draft: yeah, I think it's possible. The "stop-loss" order is currently forcing people in the military to stay beyond their original enlistment.

That can only go on so long before morale goes in the toilet. With no end in sight in Iraq, that means stop-loss could extend peoples' enlistments by two, three, four years. At some point, volunteers will plummet because kids will be afraid of signing up for a two year enlistment and having to stay on for four years or more.

Bush currently has no exit strategy in Iraq, which is a polite way of saying we're in a bloody quagmire with no end in sight.

As support for the war drops, and as volunteer enlistees dwindle, the only solution to maintain a hundred thousand plus troop commitment in Iraq will be a draft.

#31 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 12:16 PM:

For an added dose of good cheer, I recommend Hunter S. Thompson's
recent piece in Rolling Stone

#32 ::: Keith ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 12:19 PM:

And another thing...

I visited with my sister in-law last weekend, home from Iraq on R&R. She says every soldier she's talked to, (especially the ones under her command) are voting for Kerry.

#33 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 12:37 PM:

The reason that running to Canada won't work is that several laws and agreements have been enacted in the meantime to make it more difficult. Among other things: the border is less permeable. You're not going to be able to pile a bunch of boys (and girls, this time) in a car and say "we're going to spend a week in Banff," and then just never come back.

They've also changed the draft age -- it's through 35 now, not 25 -- something that hit me because my son is 25, meaning that come April, I'll have two of them eligible for the draft if it is made live.

#34 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 03:53 PM:

Lucy, I undrstand that, but the border is still very permeable. It's way easier for an American to pass as a Canadian in Canada, than it is, say, for Mexicans to pass as Americans in America. Yet there are still loads of illegal aliens from Mexico in America.

Be sure to read today's New York Times editorial: "GOP to Poor: Don't Vote," about Senator Christopher Bond (R-Missouri, of course) and his fight to not allow voting registration in publica housing...

#35 ::: anon ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 04:23 PM:

Don't dodge the draft, take over the draft. You can determine who stays and goes, try to save as many as you can.

No name for obvious reasons.

#36 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 04:30 PM:

I'm betting that Kerry will win, not just because of Ross Smith's strong argument, but because of the number of people who would normally vote for a Republican or not vote who are voting for Kerry instead.

Ok, I don't have actual numbers, just news articles that seem to have an extraordinary number of cross-overs, and more of them towards Kerry than Bush.

My impression of the OBL speech is that the underlying message is, "Don't pay attention to those other two guys. Look at MEEEEE!"

#37 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 04:47 PM:

-Rove- is sophisticated... and millions of people have been taken in by his sleazy slimy scuzzy tactics.

#38 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 04:56 PM:

Laurie --

It's almost impossible for an American to pass as a Canadian.

From what I've been told, that was true during Vietnam, too.

The difference between now and then is that it's nearly free for the Canadian government to agree to 'close the loophole'; there is effectively no sympathy in Canadian public opinion for Bush's wars, or an American experience of negative consequences from them, the current minority government is under considerable pressure from the our fruitbat neocon politicians to 'improve relations with the US', and various ministers keep acting as though the present US government is being actively threatening in bilateral talks, so it doesn't look to Canadian public opinion as though the government really has all that much choice. (And absolutely no one has any expectation of fair dealing from this American gov't; there's getting to be a significant degree of grudge about that.)

Plus, the people who had a large emotional involvement in the Canadian conscription issue in the Second World War are now mostly dead, rather than involved in a 'sovereignity for Quebec' movement that the Canadian government of the time was trying very hard to decomplexify, rather than doing something that would give it moral standing.

Nothing like the same situation, and very hard to predict where eventual political sympathies would go.

#39 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 06:04 PM:

Graydon, you're talking government to government.

I'm talking person to person.

#40 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 07:25 PM:

Laurie --

The Canadian snipers who got Bronze Stars from the US for their service in Afghanistan have left the Canadian Forces. They were unable to cope with the degree of hostility they were meeting from their fellow special forces types over 'co-operating too closely with the Americans'. (this was minor newspaper news a couple-three weeks back in the free daily commuter broadsheets in Toronto.)

There really isn't a whole lot of generic individual level sympathy, outside of pre-existing relationships. That's one of the reasons there's minimal political cost to the Martin government over closing those loopholes.

Right now, there's a plausible claim of 'we didn't vote for him'; take that away and there will be a rapid swing in opinion and (I think) a hardening of positions.

Arar got a lot of air time up here; so did the requirement for the inquiry to, in effect, not say anything bad about the US. It's been widely taken as an admission of guilt -- that the US will torture Canadians as a matter of policy and sees nothing wrong with this.

There's been a substantial opinion swing in consequence.

#41 ::: Ross Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 09:02 PM:

Graydon, I'm not clear on why you think that would make it harder for American draft dodgers to hide out in Canada. From what you've been saying, it sounds as though Canadians are likely to be more sympathetic to draft dodgers now than they were in the 1960s, not less.

#42 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 09:06 PM:

What Ross said.

When I was at Torcon, I met up with a cousin who was a draft-dodger in the late '60s. It was a fascinating discussion. I as much as told him that if the 2004 election wound up badly, I'd be tempted to join him! He didn't discourage that idea.

#43 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 09:06 PM:

Well, I have worked, phoned, signed petitions, sent money, written emails, and I'm going to vote first thing on Tuesday morning.

Then, I think, I'm going to spend Tuesday night (after my fencing class) watching Mr. Smith Goes to Washington. Sitting and watching the returns come in just feels like picking away at the gigantic National Scab. I hope you won't think the worse of me for it. My brain is in overload.

#44 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 09:10 PM:

I don't know what effect the OBL video is going to have, but for what it's worth, at least I banged out my best talking point.

#45 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 09:23 PM:

The osama-bin-laden tape fits perfectly with Bush's strategy: a war with no specific goals to win or lose and nothing to easily guage whether we're making progress, spinning our wheels, or losing ground.

The OBL tape pushes terrorism to the forefront and will nudge some people to vote based on fear, and fear means refusing to acknowledge any past mistakes, which plays perfectly into W's hands.

If I was trying to get Bush re-elected, and I happen to have OBL on ice in a prison cell somewhere, I wouldn't parade him out and say "look who we just captured", I'd force him to make a fake video of vague threats to the US and air them a week or so before Nov 2.

If this was planned, it would be stunningly brilliant and pure evil in one fell swoop.

#46 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 09:24 PM:

By the way, personally, I think Kerry will win.

#47 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 09:25 PM:

Madeline, I'm going to find some nice fantasy movie like LoTR to watch That is, if I can't find the concentration to move my newest novel idea down the road. That takes first priority, I have an outline to work from and everything. Either way, I'm gonna vote, then go lalalalalalalala until it's all over.

#48 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 09:29 PM:

Why Osama wants Bush elected:

Bush's face is on al Qaeda recruiting posters all over the world with the words "I want YOU to join the international jihad!"

#49 ::: Lenora Rose ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 09:38 PM:

Just to counter what Graydon says: If Bush wins, I'm perfectly willing to see friends from North Dakota and Minnesota (Or further away, but that's where I know the most people) stop by. And stay a while.

#50 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 10:12 PM:

On the draft (and if you're age 18 to 35 (45 if you're a medical professional), or if you have kids age 14 and up, you need to be thinking about this:

We can't sustain the current force levels, in Iraq and elsewhere, for any kind of long term. We're already seeing the effects of this (and remember that Army Chief of Staff General Shinseki warned against "a 12-division strategy with a 10-division army" before he got booted by Bush and Rumsfeld.)

Training commands, reserves, and National Guard are being stripped to be sent to Iraq. We're drawing down strength in other areas to send troops to Iraq. Now note Army has extended Iraq tours for 6,500 soldiers and DeGette raises draft fears, re-enlistment "ultimatums".

"She [Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Colorado] called for a congressional probe into reports that Army commanders told Iraq veterans at Fort Carson and elsewhere to re-enlist or face possible transfers to Iraq-bound units.

Now it's true that a conscript might not be as motivated as a volunteer, but when what you want is boots on the ground, an 18-year-old conscript fills those boots as well or better than a fifty-year-old reservist.

Indefinite war, with undefined victory conditions, against an amorphous foe, is what Bush is offering. That's a guarantee that the draft will return. Those of us who remember the draft don't think it's a good idea. But -- Bush and Cheney both avoided the draft, so they don't know that.

Vote on Tuesday, guys and gals. Vote so that you'll only go into the Army if you want to.

#51 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 10:26 PM:

Quoth Paula: Madeline, I'm going to find some nice fantasy movie like LoTR to watch

I think I'll probably pop in a few Farscape DVD's, possibly have a little too much bourbon and make it an early night. I'll also be de-stressing after a telephone job interview, so I guess my wastrelness will be doubly justified.


From the happy helmet:

Must! Iron! Stimpy's! Shorts!

#52 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 10:30 PM:

This morning I walked a precinct in San Jose. It was great to head down to the union hall and see the parking lot full because of all the volunteers. There are more precinct and GOTV activities tomorrow. Yeah, I know that California is not exactly in play, but the popular vote matters, and there are some important local races and state-wide propositions. And it really feels good to get out and talk with people. One gentleman told me he is registered Republican, but he is so disappointed in Bush, he is voting a Democratic straight ticket.

For all the people in other areas, if you would like to do some last minute volunteering, the John Kerry web site has a form where you can look up events within 25 miles of a given zip code. There is plenty of phone banking going on, and what looks like some good election night parties. Have fun!

#53 ::: M@ ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 12:46 AM:

I'm not sure what Canada's extradition laws were like during the Vietnam war, but right now, they force Canadian officials to extradite charged foreigners at the request of the other country's officials unless the person will be persecuted by his country back home.

Note that I said persecuted, not prosecuted. Examples of persecution are maltreatment of political or ethnic minorities. One exception is that Canada does not typically extradite people without getting guarantees that the other country will not put the person to death, since our country does not support the death penalty in any way (not that we don't sometimes feel like it would be a good idea...)

Anyhow, it seems likely that draft dodgers, if detected, would be sent back to the US.

I worked with one draft dodger from last time, and he said he came to Canada and lived for a couple of years on a commune, and then worked for a very liberal literary press.

My point is, it probably wasn't that easy to get a legitimate job then, and it won't be now. But there are people who will run to Canada and I'm sure many of them will get by.

I don't think many Canadians would even consider turning them in. Unless, of course, it would bring back hockey.

#54 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 12:47 AM:

Paula, Larry--thanks. I've been feeling like, if I turn my brain off and go Lalalalala, Kerry will lose and it will all be My Fault. I suppose I'm overreacting.

I also have to go over -all- my votes before Tuesday. Here in San Francisco we've got a really important School Board election (yeah, I know it's not the fate of the western world, but it is the fate of my school-age-children's education) and a bewildering array of local and statewide propositions. I need a crib sheet to keep track of them all.

#55 ::: Julia Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 01:18 AM:

Oh, and the last time I looked, resident aliens aren't allowed to vote but *are* subject to the draft.

The last time I mentioned this in public, a bunch of right-wingers informed me how stupid I was to think that there would ever be a draft in this country again.

#56 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 02:48 AM:

Madeleine - You do know that you can mark up your sample ballot and take it with you to your polling station.

Hmmm, a hot school board election in the city. I wonder if Starchild is running? He/she/it seems to run for everything.

In my neck of the woods (Peninsula), there's some noise about the Hospital Board, a body I was blissfully unaware of until I started seeing lawn signs for various candidates. Voting is hard work.

The latest from the Happy Helmet:
Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

#57 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 06:10 AM:

I'm watching ROTK just now - nothing like reminders about being attacked by the forces of darkness to get you moving!

I keep running into letters from soldiers, particularly National Guard troops, begging people to vote for Kerry. One Guardsman worked with people at my office last year, and he sent a very impassioned letter about the general hopelessness of the situation. I think Kerry's reminding people about our currently having a "backdoor draft" is important.

#58 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 06:59 AM:

Apart from Canada recently having a federal election, Australia had one on October 9th (same day as the Afghan presidential one). Right up to the day, most of the polls had the two sides very close together, but with an undecided group much larger than usual.

Because attending the polling booth & depositing a ballot (marked bits of paper, put in a cardboard box) is compulsory, many who in other countries might stay undecided & stay away, turn up and finally mark a ballot (rather than just put in a blank one). Whether it was the undecided people, or others who misled the askers-of-questions, when the votes were tallied, there was a very big win for the (incumbent) forces of conservatism (Liberal Party), with Labor percentages going down.

So who does know whether the polling is a reasonable guide?

Nevertheless, I am trying to turn away from my natural pessimism to think positive thoughts for the world, in the hope that this, and the thoughts of many others, may create some kind of morphic field -- and my best hopes for Teresa's sore head (ditto).

#59 ::: Vicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 08:07 AM:

A coworker of mine, who I talk to on the train to work, is a first-generation immigrant from Russia. The other morning she was asking me what, legally, it would take for the US to reinstate the draft. So I was explaining that a bill can get through Congress quickly, if/when the party in control wants it to, and the existing Selective Service registration. In the course of the conversation, she said something that resonated with me: "I have a brother."

They probably won't draft her--the GOP base probably wouldn't go for drafting women--but she's thinking what millions of women, and older men, were thinking during the Vietnam War: even if she's safe, someone she loves would likely be swept up and sent off to die in a pointless war.

#60 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 09:20 AM:

One more point about OBL--every account of that video says that he looks calm and happy. It might just be acting, but a happy OBL was *not* the purpose of a whole bunch of security running around and two wars.

#61 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 10:11 AM:

Indefinite war, with undefined victory conditions, against an amorphous foe, is what Bush is offering.

It's actually an interesting recipe of psychological ramifications.

indefinite war:

War keeps the voters focused on the war and causes them to glaze over any problems that may be occuring domestically. When the psychology is "the enemy is at the gate", you don't get too worked up that unemployment is getting worse, the economy sucks, and other such trivialities. If you're in office and smart about it, you blame all the domestic problems on the enemy. "Things would be better if it hadn't been for THEM".

amorphous foe:

As long as the enemy is unseen, undefined, unknown, it cannot be killed, and fear can make it bigger than it is. This is a standard approach for horror movies because it taps into the psychological fears of its viewers to conjur their worst fear, rather than trying to get the makeup department to do it for you.

undefined victory conditions:

We rolled into Baghdad in April of 2003. On May 1, 2003, Bush lands on an aircraft carrier (apparently making up some of his missing National Guard meetings), and declares "Mission Accomplished". With the occupation, the definition of success no longer hinged on the location of the "front lines".

The occupation has transformed the war into a daily report of an American soldier killed here, two marines killed there. As long as voters accept the deaths of two or three servicemen a day in exchange for no visible improvement in Iraq, Bush is on easy street. As long as Bush is held to no specific measure of whether things are getting better in Iraq, he can declare "mission accomplished: major combat operations are over", and who's to argue with him? He can sweep the one thousand americans killed in Iraq under the nice heading of "It's hard work".

#62 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 10:42 AM:

60 men and women in America's military died in Iraq
during the month of October 2004. You can see their
names, faces, and how they died here:

When you start reading the descriptions of how they
were killed, you get a better sense of the war in
Iraq. Improvised mines, sniper fire, enemy action,
small arms fire.

This is the new Vietnam

#63 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 11:55 AM:

Teresa, if you did not see yesterday's NYTimes Op-Ed page, you missed a piece called "Nader's Remainders," which posits a new way to attract voters: buy their remaindered books to give away at rallies! Has Tor Marketing caught on to this?

Larry--I know I can bring a marked ballot...but I have to go over the wretched thing and remember why I'm voting which way on all the wretched props. I'm a recent Californian, and about this time of year I start wondering if someone would like to propose a ballot initiative to do away with ballot initiatives...

#64 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 12:27 PM:


I used to agonize over California ballot propositions. Then it came to me that if I couldn't figure out why I should vote yes, I could always vote no, and it wouldn't be the end of the world -- we can keep muddling through with the status quo. I usually vote yes on most propositions, but the deceptive or confusing (or confused) propositions deserve to be slapped down.

I would keep the initiative process, but the law should be changed to do away with paid signature gatherers. Initiatives were meant to be a counter to big money, not just another tool it can use.

#65 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 12:44 PM:

Madeline - My default proposition vote is the opposite of Tom's, vote No unless you understand what the thing is supposed to do and what it's impact is. And even if I agree with the intent, I still often vote no, because I beleive that too much of the state budget is pre-allocated by initiatives and that the state needs to reserve its borrowing capacity for real needs.

The only one I agonized over this year was the stem cell thing, until I realized that the only reason I supported it was that it was a poke in the eye to the Bushies and the fundies.

I refuse to sign any ballot petitions. I think the only one I would sign would be for a proposition to repeal the proposition process.

#66 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 12:46 PM:

Oops, sorry I misspelled your name Madeleine. (Odds are I'd misspell your last name too.)

#67 ::: Madeleine Robins ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 02:36 PM:

Larry--no apology needed. Everyone misspells my name, including my kids. It's Madeleine like the church and Proust's tea-cake, not Madeline like the little girl in the Old House in Paris that was Covered with Vines. And yes, anyone who gets my first name right inevitably misspells the last. At least I didn't take my husband's last name, which is not only difficult to spell, but apparently difficult to pronounce...

Larry and TomB--Having moved to California from NY two years ago, I still find the initiative thing a little bizarre. The pre-allocation of money is part of it, but also, it makes me wonder what the state lawmakers are doing while all the initiative-makers are setting up laws? (Rhetorical question.) Not that NY State's system is any more sensible, it's just the one I know.

#68 ::: Stuart ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 04:51 PM:


My wife is also named Madeleine. Her mother misspelled it Madeliene on her birth certificate. She stuck with the misspelling through the years until I married her and convinced her to correct it. Since my last name is Dimond I felt it was unfair for her to have more than one spelling hazard name.

#69 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 05:06 PM:

Madeleine Robins:

Our state legislators are still getting used to being full-time, after a century of part-time fun. Then they got subject to term limits. Then they were neck-and-neck with being as unpopular as the governor. Now they have to suffer with being outmaneuvered by the popular Gubernator. I almost feel sorry for them, except, of course, for the one convicted of racketeering and money laundering who bankrupted a friend of mine who allegedly defamed the criminal in a private email. EFF, bless their collective heart, considered defending my friend, but decided that it was not the precedent they wanted. The courts figured that calling the crook a crook was okay, saying that he sexually molested his daughter was okay (that was public record in a divorce trial), but saying that the molestation was part of Satanic ritual might be defamation. Go figure.

#70 ::: Bill Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 05:38 PM:

I'm tired of the obsession with Clark County (Ohio), by both local organizations, national parties, and the press....

So far this weekend:
- 4 phonebank calls for local/state level candidates
- 2 phonebank calls about Ohio's Issue 1
- 3 phonebank calls for Kerry, 2 phonebank calls for Bush
- 2 in-person visits by GOTV teams
- 1 request for comment by a local reporter while I walked thru the parking lot at the grocery store
- 2 requests for comment by foreign reporters outside the local library. ( Neither was from the Guardian, though. )

#71 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 06:27 PM:


More music for you:

The Jackson Browne should clearly be "Lives in the Balance".
Bruce Cockburn, "If I Had a Rocket Launcher".
OysterBand or Billy Bragg, "Early Days of a Better Nation".
Roy Bailey, "Stand Up for Judas".

I could go on, but everyone else here has ignored the possibilities....

#72 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 08:25 PM:

Tom, you know you really shouldn't do things like that with me in the room.

(Well, no, it's not a feel-good disc, but you suggested "Rocket Launcher.")

Side A, for the Executive:
Detox Mansion
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
Splendid Isolation
Even a Dog Can Shake Hands

Side B, for the Supporting Cast:
The Envoy (goin' out to Colin Powell)
Excitable Boy (for Dick Cheney)
Long Arm of the Law (for John Ashcroft)
Roland (for Contractors Everywhere)
Jungle Work (for John O'Neill)

#73 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 08:29 PM:

And now I am reminded of Dave Schow's observation in the endnotes to Silver Scream: "Do you know how many ex-DJs are in this book?"

#74 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 08:29 PM:

Ulrika/Tom: Schoolhouse Rock, "Sufferin' till Suffrage".

#75 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 08:55 PM:

I think Leonard Cohen's "Democracy" belongs on this playlist somewhere.

Spirit of the West's "Be Right", too.

#76 ::: Brooks Moses ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2004, 09:11 PM:

For whatever it's worth, I couldn't get online this evening until I'd cleared out a couple of messages on my voicemail (this is the usual thing; the dial tone "flashes" when there are new messages, and the modem doesn't like it) from the Republican Party. This is also as usual -- we've received quite a number of phone messages from the Republican party, or otherwise urging us to vote Republican. (Can they really think that urging me to vote my conscience or for family values will cause me to vote the way they'd like?)

The ones tonight were both were emphasizing that they desperately needed my vote. I certainly do hope that they're right.

#77 ::: JM Kagan ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 12:16 AM:

Ulrika, Tom, Mike---
My election run-up mix includes "The Country's in the Very Best of Hands" from L'il Abner (surprising how many of those songs are bright and fresh just now) and "Hey! John Ashcroft [Come and kiss my New York ass!]" from American Ambulance's All Over the Map. Both very danceable, and if you dance free-form like I do, "Hey! John Ashcroft" can get really rude.
Aside to Mike: Oh yeah, lots of Warren Zevon goin' down here too. We loved your playlist and your dedications. What, you haven't got one for Condi or Laura?
Now I feel the need to put L'il Abner on again so I can dance to "Jubilation T. Cornpone"---this one's goin' out to YOU, Dubya!
Hang tough and dance tough,

#78 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 12:22 AM:

Oh, one more song to add to the playlist:

Wes Carroll's Jesus Loves You. Here's the direct MP3 link.

Uses a non-worksafe word a few times ("asshole"), so mind your environment before playing it over the speakers.

#79 ::: Avery ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 02:18 AM:

There's no need to worry about a Kerry victory. Because the Redskins lost. And as everyone knows, the Washington Redskins have proved to be a time-tested election predictor for 70 years. In the previous 15 elections, if the Washington Redskins have lost their last home game before the election, the incumbent party has lost the White House. When they have won, the incumbent has stayed in power. But if you're still nervous, (because of random correlation and all) you can always visualize winning.

#80 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 03:39 AM:

Janet -- well, I had "The French Inhaler" picked out for Condi, the opening lines in particular. By the time I was ready to post I wasn't in quite that nasty a mood, I guess.

I suspect on Tuesday I will be up all night listenin' to Mohammed's radio rather than CNN, though.

Just checked the TCM schedule, and -- I am not joking -- they're showing "Dark Victory" at 8pm Eastern. Followed by the Garbo "Camille," the one with Fritz Leiber, Jr. in a small role.

#81 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 04:08 AM:

Hmmm. My Election Day soundtrack has a lot of R.E.M. including Cuyahoga, Drive, Ignoreland and Welcome to the Occupation. Plus quite a bit of They Might Be Giants (esp. their cover of New York City), which I attribute to my inner unreconstructed nerd.

#82 ::: Bruce ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 04:14 AM:

Another few songs for the mix:

"Kick in the Ass", Moxy Fruvous
"Here Today, Gone Tomorrow", The Ramones
"Mississippi Half-Step Uptown Toodeloo", Grateful Dead
and of course, "The End" (The Beatles :-) . . .

That's my message for Election Day:
"The love you take is equal to the love you make"

Have fun dancing! (Yes, me too)

#83 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 08:59 AM:

On sports as a predictor: Salon notes that:

Consider this: Every time the Boston Red Sox win the World Series in a presidential election year, Woodrow Wilson gets elected president. You can look it up.

#84 ::: Laura Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 10:37 AM:

Song: "I Want You Gone," by Laura Love.

#85 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 10:37 AM:

Prophecy? Saint Robert Zimmerman sayeth:

"The loser now will be later to win, for the times, they are a changin'..."

On Tuesday, either George W. Bush or John Kerry will go down to defeat.
But in the long run, some observers are already suggesting, to the losing party may go the spoils.

By Drake Bennett, Globe Staff | October 31, 2004

#86 ::: Lucy Kemnitzer ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 01:43 PM:

James -- is it really 45 if you're a medical professional? That's bad news -- my kid's a premed.

#87 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 04:20 PM:

Ah, thanks Tom, for kicking the music thread into gear. I'm looking to do stuff that's more upbeat, anthemic, and/or danceable than not, but the suggestions have prompted me to think of some more.

From Bruce Cockburn, the fine instrumental "Actions Speak Louder," in honor of taking tomorrow off to do some GOTV work, both phone calls to Ohio and probably some on the ground work. I mailed my absentee ballot Saturday, so the Tuesday is mine. Also "The Gift," because in terms of being of good cheer in times of tribulation it sets the right note. (For the lyrics, check here)

From Jackson Browne, I'm with you on on the choice of album, but I think I prefer "Til I Go Down" for its action-oriented attitude, and "Soldier of Plenty," for putting Dick Cheney and his Halliburton cronies on notice.

Must investigate "Early Days of a Better Nation," since I didn't even know it was a song...

Zevon, yes, there must be some Zevon. I'm tempted by "Mr. Bad Example," in honor of the Preznit, but will cogitate further.

Of Moxy Fruvous tunes, I think I'll actually go for "King of Spain," in honor of our glorious Homeland Security folks managing to harass the crown prince, and his fiance, the major Spanish television anchor, and thus put additional sand in the gears of our relations with a putative ally in the war on terror(ism).

#88 ::: Ulrika ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 04:28 PM:

Oh, almost forgot. Must dig up a copy of "The Hell of It" from Phantom of the Paradise. And always good for washing bad guys out of one's hair: "Nothin' on Me," by Shawn Colvin.

#89 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 04:54 PM:

And, of course, "One Day More" from Les Miserables:

One more day before the storm!
At the barricades of Freedom!
When our ranks begin to form,
Will you take your place with me?

One more day till revolution,
We will nip it in the bud!
I will join these little schoolboys,
They will wet themselves with blood!

Various Students:
One day to a new beginning
Raise the flag of freedom high!
Every man will be a king
Every man will be a king
There's a new world for the winning
There's a new world to be won
Do you hear the people sing?

One more day to revolution
We will nip it in the bud
We'll be ready for these schoolboys
Tomorrow is the judgement day

Tomorrow we'll discover
What our God in Heaven has in store!
One more dawn
One more day
One day more!

[The curtain falls.]

#90 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 04:58 PM:

Alex: yeah, I find my self humming far too many Les Miz songs these days.

#91 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 06:01 PM:

I've bought the supplies and assembled the props for my usual Election Day Cookies deal.

Each lunchroom on the nCUBE campas will get:

A big basket of fancy jumbo cookies decorated with Stars n' Stripes party napkins.

A paper plate with a heap of vanilla wafers.

The baskets will have a sign reading:


The paper plates:


Non-citizens will be invited to have a fancy cookie, if they promise to fervently pray that this is all over quickly.

#92 ::: Lenny Bailes ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 06:12 PM:

I got your upbeat and danceable.
Plenty of anthematic, too, where that came from.

But, you know me. (I did find this Dan Bern link that wasn't around last time I looked.)

#93 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 07:49 PM:

Yep - be of good cheer:

Only four more hours of political advertising!! Yea! I'm so tired of hitting the mute button...

Laurie, from the
swing state of Pennsylvania

#94 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 08:27 PM:

My father, the distinguished magazine and book editor (including for Science Fiction by famous authors) has been a die-hard conservative Republican all his long life, as was his father, who owned a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. My father happily voted for Nixon, Reagan, and Bush the Elder. I rarely agreed with him on matter of politics.

But here's what he had published in the Letters to the Editor column, The Standard-Times [Rhode Island], 28 October 2004:

"Three Strikes:

Iraq invasion: a WMD lie

Post invasion plan: a Vietnam quicksand

Homeland economy: a job-and-money hemorrhage

Three strikes, Bush... You're out!"

Samuel H. Post

#95 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 08:28 PM:

"Be of good cheer"

And all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.

Sooner or later. Hopefully sooner, starting tomorrow night.


#96 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 08:58 PM:

JVP - I'm always happy to hear of Republicans coming to their senses. His terse analysis is spot on.

For the intrepid, here are a few heartening photos:

Good Doggie!
Mailboxes for Kerry
Flags (read the comments on this one)
Veterans for Kerry
Crossing the bridge

#97 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 09:08 PM:

Okay, I have to share this.

It's "Goodle"--good news.

After I'm done playing Xander for the polling place MoveOn thing (i.e., getting donuts) tomorrow, I'm going to drink Guinness and reread A Civil Campaign. I refuse to read the news until 10 pm tomorrow night.

#98 ::: Tayefeth ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 10:39 PM:

My election day soundtrack is going to be running around like a maniac packing for DisneyWorld. Then I'm going to disappear into fantasyland for a week and hope that sanity (and the not-Bush party) will have prevailed when I return.

#99 ::: Andrew Willett ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 11:06 PM:

Tayefeth, can you confirm something before you leave? In order to get away from election shennanigans, your plan is to go to Florida?

#100 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 11:14 PM:

Andrew - Tayefeth is going to DisneyWorld, which exists in its own universe. The portal connecting it to our universe just happens to be in Florida.

I understand they've renovated It's a Small World.

Tayefeth - Ride Space Mountain a lot, and spin those teacups! (If that's your thing). Have fun.

#101 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 11:17 PM:

If we're referring to "Schoolhouse Rock," "Preamble" has to be in the mix somewhere. (Did you know it was written and performed by Lynn Ahrens? She went on to do the lyrics for Once on This Island and Ragtime, among other things.)

#102 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 11:50 PM:

Sunday's appearance by Kerry in Manchester, New Hampshire brought the largest crowd in state history for any rally. 13,000.

Bush's last two appearances brought out 7,000 combined.

#103 ::: Christopher Davis ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 11:56 PM:

Larry: my roommate in college freshman year worked for Disney Imagineering, and one day had to do time & motion studies on the Disneyland Small World ride.

All day.

Eight hours of listening to That Song.

I think OSHA should have had something to say about that.

#104 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 02:14 AM:

"A blessing for the Tsar? Well of course there is a blessing for the Tsar: May God bless and keep G/e/o/r/g/e B/u/s/h the Tsar far away from us!

-- from Fiddler on the Roof, based on the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer

#105 ::: John M. Ford ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 03:02 AM:

-- from Fiddler on the Roof, based on the stories of Isaac Bashevis Singer

The stories of "Sholom Aleichem" (Sholem Asch).

Goys 'r' Us: because schmendrick is a state of mind.

#106 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 07:02 AM:

Woke up, showered, getting dressed. I'm off to vote in about ten minutes. Wheee!

#107 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 08:28 AM:

Early results from New Hampshire:

Hart's Location
Bush: 16
Kerry: 14
Nader: 1

Dixville Notch
Bush: 19
Kerry: 7
Nader: 0

Why this is important: Both of those are usually Republican sweeps.

#108 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 09:18 AM:

Over at Crooked Timber

it's pointed out that these early NH results show an 8% shift toward Kerry (over Gore in 2000).

That is slender evidence to extrapolate from, but it's a good sign.

#109 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 01:25 PM:

I've waited quite a bit to comment on this. I have hemmed and hawed, since it's undoubtedly a waste of my time, but...I was always taught to speak up and note that the Emperor has no clothes on, when the Emperor *doesn't* have any clothes on. This is one of those occasions.

Teresa posts ---

3. Draft. If anyone asks, say yes, of course they will. They’re not conscripting troops now because they calculated that it would damage Bush’s chances in this election. That’s why 40% of our troops in Iraq are National Guard and Army Reserve—units that were never meant to be thrown into combat in elective overseas wars. That can’t go on. The GAO itself says they can’t raise enough troops that way. Spread the word about the draft, too.

(Footnote: Patrick notes that dodging to Canada won’t work this time. They’ve closed that bolthole. Vote or die.)

OK, let's actually *think* about this, instead of just spreading things we *beleive* because they conform to one's worldview.

A Democrat, Charles Rangel, introduced a bill to reintroduce the draft -- in a cynical move, it must be added, to introduce the whole issue of draft into the discourse. Mr. MCDERMOTT D-, Mr. CONYERS D-, Mr. LEWIS Democrat of Georgia, Mr. STARK D-CA, and Mr. ABERCROMBIE D-HI were the onlyu consponsors -- Democrats all. This was H.R. 163. It was voted down in the House of Representatives by 404 to 2 -- those two voting for it both being Democrats (Pete Stark of California and John Murtha of Pennsylvania).

IN OTHER WORDS, THE ENTIRE GOP DELEGATION OF THE HOUSE VOTED *NO* -- as well as almost every single Democrat, too.

Now how do you propose to actually get a draft *passed* in the House? Please explain it to me in small, simple words. I only worked in the House for six years, and in the Senate for 2; and I only worked as a professional lobbyist for 7; I might not know as much about these people, their procedures, and their ways as you so obviously do.

And you'd need the Senate to also vote yes, too, on an identical bill, in order to be able to get it to the President to sign (whoever that President might be). Let's see....a Senate with just barely a Republican majority; with 48 Democrats and one Independent (actually a Democrat, Jeffords)...and where you need 60 votes to invoke cloture. Even if the GOP picks up a bunch of Senate seats (not likely!), there's NO WAY that cloture can be achieved. So...there's *no* way that draft legislation comes out of the Senate.

And in any case, you'd have to have a President who wants to sign such a draft bill. And Bush doesn't want to. Neither does Kerry.

And in a Kerry Administration, the Secretary of Defense wouldn't likely want a draft.

The current SecDef, Rumsfeld, *hates* the draft -- and he wants to cut the military manpower count even more than it is at present. He still does. This is viewed by some people (such as Teresa and Patrick, given past posts) as a Big Mistake; and it probably is. But the point here is that the very Secretary of Defense in a 2nd Bush Administration also doesn't want a draft, for reasons of his own having to do with transformation of the Army bureaucracy (whether for good or ill; you decide).

The Joint Chiefs don't want the draft either.

"They’re not conscripting troops now because they calculated that it would damage Bush’s chances in this election." They're also not conscripting troops now because they'd have to pass a LAW to be able to do so. No executive order will suffice.

You're right about the political calculation involved -- which would be the same for whoever was in office; the American polity won't put up with a draft (and it shouldn't; it's slavery).

But the point about needing more troops remains; and it is a True Point (IMHO anyway). What to do? The back will break at some point.

So what'll happen in a Bush 2nd Administration, is that troops will be taken from Germany, Japan, and probably also Korea (big mistake) and sent to Iraq and the middle east theaters. Also, perhaps the Bush Administration will ask for legislation and money to...wait for it...*hire more troops.* The *ONLY* reason we have the number of troops we have today is that there is a legislative lid on the total number that the Department of Defense is allowed to recruit. Change that number, and fund it (appropriate the monies), and you can recruit more troops. No draft; but you've now got more troops; problem solved.

But requesting that sort of legislative relief during 2004 was politically impossible.

Rangel et alia were guilty of being incredibly cynical about this; but that's politics. Teresa, you obviously seriously *and sincerely* believe this tripe -- and you really ought not to. It doesn't stand up to any real serious analysis.

#110 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 07:41 PM:

John M. Ford: Sholem Asch is not the same author as Sholem Aleichem. I forget Sholem Aleichem's real name, but I know Asch is a different man.

She chews her pencil. She's human! [/charliebrown]

#111 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 07:46 PM:

The *ONLY* reason we have the number of troops we have today is that there is a legislative lid on the total number that the Department of Defense is allowed to recruit. Change that number, and fund it (appropriate the monies), and you can recruit more troops.

Tim, I've got a bridge to sell you -- if your collection isn't full already.

What was happening before Iraq is as meaningless now as events on the wrong side of a discontinuity always are. The Army is widely reported not to be making even what you say are artificially-constrained targets -- and, as T pointed out, has resorted to blackmail to get people to re-up. Do you really think removing a cap will mean anything now that there's a significant chance that people signing up will get not just abuse, rotten food, and rights violations, but also their very own coffin?

As for your vaunted knowledge of congressional procedure (which I think most of the people on this list are also familiar with) -- all you're describing are the mechanics, not how the representatives decide which button to push. I've seen reports from several sides talking about the rigorous discipline exerted by Tom DeLay (sp?) et al; the draft vote at that time was an obvious poison pill that the Republicans weren't going to take any more than they would even schedule a vote on raising the debt ceiling (which they're going to have to do right after the election). The Senate is a problem only as long as the Democrats are willing to filibuster; I refer you to Mr. Smith Goes to Washington if you can't picture the results of that action.

As for Rumsfeld and his wet dreams of a techno army -- what's he going to do when the situation continues pickling? More important, what will the patrons of the Republican party do to materialize the chances of unmitigated capitalism that they were promised? See also a recent Technology Review for how largely useless the current version of the Z9M9Z was during the big-shooting phase of the war; they don't talk much about how utterly irrelevant it is now.

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