Monday, August 27, 2012

Forum - Do You Consider America's Political Climate Dysfunctional? What Changes Would You Make?

Every week on Monday morning , the Council and invited guests weigh in at the Watcher's Forum, short takes on a major issue of the day. This week's question: Do You Consider America's Political Climate Dysfunctional? What Changes Would You Make?

The Noisy Room: The problem we have before us has been eloquently articulated by Claire Wolfe,who said, "America is at that awkward stage. It's too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards."

There really isn't any safeguard built into the Constitution that defends against a gradual "incrementalist" approach to infiltrating and taking over the country through the insidious device of coupling the "psych sciences" with government control of education, resulting in an indoctrination conduit directly from the socialist infiltrators into the minds of succeeding generations of American youth.

The right answer -- the short answer -- would be to "shoot the bastards."

Unfortunately, since we pride ourselves on "due process" (see:corrupted government), and fairness in all things (see: bribery of corrupt officials), and strict compliance with Constitutional constraints (see: extra-constitutional agencies), we have effectively disarmed ourselves in this fight.There's no law against sneaking your guys into positions of power and authority from which they can then "interpret" the law-- and the Constitution -- according to their anti-American biases and their desire to impose a new-and-improved system of government where the Republic used to be.

And so a simple solution, like vetting the candidates, is rendered completely ineffective by a "verticalized" Press, functioning no longer as the Fourth Estate, but as a Fifth Column.

Instituting government-run safeguards against government corruption, to be implemented and enforced by an already corrupt government is pretty much doomed to failure.

However . . .If we could at least get the vote counting out of the hands of a cadre of politically loyal henchmen who are all of a political stripe, that would be a start.

And if we could restore integrity to the voting process, and impose unconfrontable penalties on anyone caught trying to compromise that integrity, we might have a prayer.

And, finally, if we could wrest the education system away from centralized Federal control -- where it should never have been in the first place -- we might have a shot at raising new generations of Americans who can actually think with real data, and who can grasp what we are supposed to be about, and we might, in the end, salvage the nation.

The Independent Sentinel:Yes, it's dysfunctional, get rid of Obama. He's in charge. The buck stops with him.We need to hope for change.

GrEaT sAtAn"S gIrLfRiEnD: Not really. It works after all, votes are voted, ballots balloted and political opponents don"t have each other killed. Consider the violence in Weimar Republic"s pre 3rd Reich era for example.

Dysfunctional? Au contraire mon frer -the discourse and discussion may range from subtle to over the top at the speed of light, yet a free uncensored press along with unbridled access to information ensures the American system is highly functional.

Joshuapundit: It's not the politics that have become dysfunctional so much as the process. And the modern enshrinement of dissent for dissent's sake, something which may relate to the popularity of the Dr Spock theories of allowing tantrums and misbehavior as 'self expression' by which many Boomers (and of course now, their children) were raised.

Political campaigns have always contained a fair amount of partisan rancor. What's different today is that the war continues after the elections are over, because the process ensures that they're never over. A turning point in this process was the 2000 election of George W. Bush. It was the first time, certainly in the modern era, that a newly elected president was not allowed a 'honeymoon' period by the political opposition once the dust had cleared. It is no coincidence that it was the first election where the internet was in widespread use and the 24-hour news cycle became common.

Change the process, and you significantly change the politics. Here are a few suggestions:

1) Severely limit the presidential and midterm campaign season, and allow no campaigning or advertising prior to a set legal deadline. For example in the case of a presidential race, starting the legal campaign season in February and ending it in early November would eliminate voter fatigue and allow office seekers who hold office and are supposedly engaged in the people's business to spend more time doing what they're supposedly getting paid for.

2) Take the money out of politics not by trying to control input but by limiting its usefulness. Establish a strict statutory maximum that can be spent in a campaign for president, a senate or a house seat. Obviously, the state offices will differ since it costs more to run in say, New York than in Idaho.

There would be no sense in a politician amassing a war chest of hundreds of millions of dollars if a maximum of only $250,000 could be spent on a given campaign legally. Any Super PACS or outside organizations spending money on behalf of a given candidate would be required to report their spending totals and would have the money they spend count towards the statutory total a given candidate is allowed to spend.

Another possible reform would be to disallow all political contributions to individual candidates and only allow contributions to a political party, except in the case of write in candidates, who would be allowed to raise up to the statutory amount.

Again, not only would this allow office holders to spend their time governing rather than fundraising for the next rung up the ladder, but it would likely open up politics to a much wider group of people now outside the political ruling class.

3) Severe limits on television and internet advertising. A statutory limit on campaign spending would assist in this. Frankly, when you combine words, pictures, music and the modern 15 second soundbite, it does a great deal to promulgate the political culture we have today. A 10 day moratorium on all campaign ads in the week prior to the election would also be helpful.

4) A Constitutional amendment that would make voting laws throughout America uniform. It would require a photo ID, eliminate innovations like 'same day' registration, allow registration only by licensed registrars affiliated with no party, provide more stringent controls of absentee ballots, call for a mandatory purging of the voter rolls to eliminate deceased voters and felons whose voting rights have been revoked, significantly change certain parts of the outdated Voting Rights Act, and provide harsh statutory penalties for anyone violating the law and committing, aiding or abetting voter fraud.

5) An entirely new format for presidential debates leaning more towards Lincoln-Douglas style, with a timekeeper but no moderator.

These changes would greatly change the process, and thus the politics.

David Gerstman, AKA Soccer Dad: I remember a joke I once heard. "If con is the opposite of pro, does that mean that Congress is the opposite of Progress?"

There's some truth in that. The founding fathers of the United States set up a system of checks and balances. These checks weren't just on the three branches of the federal government but between the federal government and those of the states. The tensions from these competing institutions was supposed to curtail the the growth of government. So yes, Congress was meant to oppose progress. Dysfunction is a sign that our system is working correctly.

The founding fathers were extremely insightful of human nature. They knew that a ruler with no restraints would aggrandize power and prosperity for himself. (The same would apply not just for individuals but for institutions too.) The system they put in place has been robust keeping the idea of democracy alive for nearly 250 years.

Gradually, our government has lost sight of this. The federal and state governments have grown. Good policy ideas have been institutionalized into rights so that they cannot easily be modified to adjust to changing circumstances. Inertia has set in.

The emergence of the Tea Party demonstrates that there are a growing number of citizens who are aware that the dysfunction built into the system no longer serves as a brake on unlimited government.

One of the reasons that our country has lost its way, is that the free and independent press that was supposed to keep the citizenry informed, instead became an adjunct of government, conditioning the electorate to believe that government rather than individuals was the strength of this nation.

The current election will be a referendum on the proposition as to whether we need more dysfunction - the government understanding the importance of its limited nature - and progress, the continued unsustainable and unchecked growth of government.

Ask Marion: America’s present political climate is absolutely dysfunctional. I don’t think there can be any question when tea party darling and the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate, SarahPalin, is talking 3rd party! And it has become this dysfunctional because for far too long the majority and many considered ‘the right’ were not paying attention and definitely were not engaged in the political process. All the while the Progressive left consistently worked to install their programs and politicians along with their ideals in a quiet unnoticed manner by the average American. And politicians from both sides of the aisle pretty much had carte blanche for the same reason.

Meanwhile, the population of the United States developed into two opposing factions that have grown further and further apart and even more so because of the lack of communication and debate between them; there are few moderates left on either side. Then came the financial crash of 2008 causing many to vote for any kind of change as well as the emergence of the tea party as part of an overall awakening by middle America, causing both a new awareness as well as an even bigger divide between the two factions. As the awareness of the problems in government and within both parties has surfaced many people have become mistrusting of everyone and have lost trust even in their own judgment to choose the right candidate as well as losing their ability to wholeheartedly trust that things can or will change.

America, a center-right country, elected the most radical President in US history in large percentage on political correctness and guilt, who has surrounded himself and filled the government with like-minded radicals that have pushed through laws, appointments, and policies, many through Executive Orders that scare most people who are paying attention while the economic climate continues to deteriorate. But when they turn on the television they hear commercials filled with distortions, smears and down-right lies produced by Super-Pacs rather than the campaigns themselves, allowing the candidates to disavow themselves from the messages, and they see a President spending their money, as well as campaign money, on an endless campaign tour instead of governing. The 2012 campaign has also been the dirtiest campaign in my recollection. It is time people held those responsible, the chronic offenders likeDebbie Wasserman Schultz, by voting them out and by refusing to watch the media outlets who promote it, as well as the candidates themselves.

It is time for the American people to clean house in Washington. Get rid of the dead wood and career politicians not affecting positive change. Get rid of the radicals who haven’t worked out. And get rid of the disastrous ‘so-called’ campaign reform McCain-Feingold Act. Flashback: Candidate Barack H. Obama said, “If I can’t fix the economy in 3-years, I should not be reelected”. He was right then and the American people need to hold him to it! We have a clear choice in November and those who can see that Obama needs to go, as stated in last week’s Newsweek cover article, need to get behind Romney-Ryan, make sure they have a Republican House and Senate and then hold their feet to the fire once they are elected. We must get involved in the process and demand fair elections and recounts, as many as it takes, until they get it right and the results are honest and true. We also need to re-educate ourselves as to what is actually written in the Constitution and about our history and then clean house and demand change in the education process of our children so that we never end up where we find ourselves today again. We as Americans cannot go back to sleep! Dysfunction comes from inaction!

After watching the Sean Hannity Special on the new movie, “The Hope and the Change” by the group Citizens United, a group of Independent and Democrat voters who voted for President Obama in 2008 that are now disillusioned and speaking out and will not be voting for the Obama-Biden ticket in 2012, and seeing the results of the Scott Walker recall attempt, I feel there is hope. This movie will be shown at the Republican National Convention, released in selected theaters in battle ground states in September and will then be aired on television and should have an effect on everyone who sees it before voting on November 6, 2012.

The Right Planet : Describing the current political climate as dysfunctional is implying at some time prior it was functioning normally. Politics is all about gaining power. Naturally, it brings out the worst in some people. The sins of the people are manifest in the body politic. If we have a dysfunctional society, naturally we will have a dysfunctional political climate. This is nothing new, of course. If one reads accounts of past political campaigns from a hundred years ago, one will see they were just as vicious, if not more so, than the sort of vitriol we see today in American politics. One current dysfunctional feature of our political climate, in my opinion, is the collusion of the liberal mains-stream media with the Democrats. Hardly what I would call a free press--more like a propaganda arm of the White House.

Bookworm Room: I've struggled with answering this one because I don't know how to. Sard is correct the dysfunctional is a relative term. Right now, despite the way in which the media is skewing the political debate, there are still two sides, they are talking to the public, and there will be an election. If one side sweeps the board, as happened in 2008, that side gets to play with American politics, and the American people can see if they like the results. If they don't, they can bring about a stalemate, as they did in 2010 and, perhaps, hand the board entirely to another team, which is what we hope for 2012. The system is only dysfunctional if corruption completely brings it to its knees. We already had a taste of it in 2008, when it's entirely possible that felon votes gave Al Franken a Congressional seat -- and the necessary number of votes for ObamaCare. If this happens on a large scale, we're not only dysfunctional, we're badly broken.

Well, there you have it.

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Anonymous said...

The proliferation of special-interest PAC committees since the 1970s has been particularly & especially baneful & woeful in its effects. Once, when I was working in Europe as a VERY young newspaper-intern for school credit, I acted as their unofficial American expert, explaining to them, eg, the intricacies of the Electoral College, the American-Indian occupation of Alcatraz Island during the Nixon years, & c. I had noted the American media's obsession, circa 1968, with a colourful character named Bebe Rebozo, a Presbyterian Cuban friend of, & contributor to, Richard Nixon. The media were willing to expend bizarre amounts of their resources to investigating him. What did he want ?, they asked. Why was he contributing so much money to Nixon ?, they asked. What was he to receive as the quid pro quo ? & why was he Presbyterian ? ( The press thought all Cubans were 1 of 2 RCs, viz, Roman Catholic or pro-Russian Communist : the notion of a Protestant Cuban flabbergasted them ! ) & what sort of mother would name her kid ' Rebozo ' ?

To cut a long story short ( too late ), they found nothing illegal : Rebozo simply agreed with Nixon's policies. But the fascination with this character had crossed the Pond & ' little ' Michelle ( not to be confused with the tall 1 ) interrupted my quick sandwich lunch to ask several questions about the US & her politics, including ' Who is this Rebozo the American newspapers refer to ? ' I laughed so hard that I nearly choked on my sandwich, but I then responded with the info which I have already detailed, supra.
There were serious consequences to this obsession : the 1974 electoral so-called ' reforms ' , which limited individual contributions to fed campaigns, lest some contributor be a Svengali, or eminence grise, operating the levers of government in the background. This paved the way for the explosion of the tainted, base PACs to whom the candidates were forced to turn for the extravagant telly-era funds required.
As mentioned, Rebozo had been no Svengali, &, truth to tell, he had been a Fidus Achates, a good adviser & friend. ( Apparently, Nixon had been swimming in Rebozo's swimming pool when 1st informed of the Watergate break-in & grumbled, ' What the h--- were they doing in there ? ) The media maelstrom, though, had created the Frankenstein monster of the PAC culture ; the Congress had effected the creation of the precisely the reverse of what they should have effected. In lieu of limiting individual contributions, they should have banned all non-individual contributions & insisted that all contributions & contributors be named. If they wished the ultimate transparency, they could have limited the number of contributors, eg, 25 contributors for a presidential race ; 25 contributors for each House riding race ; 25 contributors to each Senate race ; &c. Each contributor would be limited to contributing to 1 Prez race candidate, only ; 1 Senate race candidate, only ; & 1 House riding race, only. This would allow the press to investigate, vet, &, yes, criticise each of the candidates & their contributors thoroughly, for, you see, the press were right to ask questions a propos of, & re Rebozo.
Apologies for the length of this letter. ( Had I the time, I should abridge it. )


Anonymous said...

I do disagree about the money in politics. The money that people give to a politician is their constitutionally protected political right. A better solution is to allow anyone (any person) to give as much as they want without limit. But it must be after tax money and not bundled, i.e. given by the individual directly to the politician they support. And all donations must be made fully public within 24 hours. That would shine the light on the money in politics and eliminate the unions and illegal donations.

Anonymous said...

In re-reading your commentary, Mr Pundit, I was struck & saddened ( but, alas, not startled ) by the appearance of another of your frankly condescending attacks on the Baby Boomers. You have no chance whatsoever of wooing any voters to the GOP if you should persist in tacking to that course for your Autumn / Fall rhetoric, a la 1992.

At New Year's Day, 2006, I wondered aloud if the appearance of the 1st sexagenarian ( ie, age 60 + ) Baby Boomer person would result in a swift shift to the Left & the Dems. For most people born after not just 1945, but even 1932, the name Republican evokes the memory of a generation of evil people, eg, the war criminal Lyndon Johnson, the war criminal MacNamara, the war criminal Nixon, the war criminal Kissinger, George Wallace, the repugnant J Edgar Hoover & whatever his ' buddy ' was named, & al. There is no point complaining that the war criminal Johnson was at the time a ' Democrat ' , for the big-government Southern Democrats subsequently simply jumped to the Republican ship & hijacked her. ( I recall that you despise the politically incorrect term Dixiecrat, but some of them were still employing the term SELF-referentially as late as the 1970s. ) I'm sorry to disillusion you, but all of these people were from a different generation to the modern old people.

In 2006, both houses were controlled by the GOP & both passed immigration bills ; however, the foolish GOP House leadership decided that they were not content to merely have a vote on the Senate bill. No, they created an on-the-road, public spectacle of themselves for months with orchestrated symposia with inflammatory rhetoric about the dangers inherent in the Senate REPUBLICAN bill. They were practically begging the Spanish to vote against them ! & they were attacking their own party members & throwing away the 2006 mid-terms. Since the House were opposed to the Senate bill, they always had the option of a quick, swift debate & vote for rejection : a week's work !

In 2010, many of us exhausted ourselves getting good, independent, up-start, Tea-Drinking Republicans elected to the House ( the margin was only 200 to 300 in my riding ) . The new GOP House leadership subsequently agreed a WEEK's worth of cuts to the fed budget : even Charles Krauthammer, normally sensible, applauded this !?

The current generation of independent Baby Boomers & slightly older people idolise great people such as, eg, Jack Kennedy, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin ( a lot of Js ) , Bob Dylan, Donovan ( a lot of Ds ), John Kerry, ( he still bears shrapnel in his body ; don't get me wrong : I voted for the Libertarian candidates in 2004, but I admire his courage & his willingness to side with the American people upon his return to the US, ) Sylvie Vartan, Rev Martin Luther King, Jr, Neil Armstrong, Mohammed Ali, Joan Baez, Brigitte Bardot, France Gall, Petula Clark, Francoise Hardy, Edie Sedgwick, Sheila, Cathy McGowan, Lou Reed, Buzz Aldrin, & al.

Compare & contrast those 2 lists : do you see the problem ? You have to start luring people away from non-voting & independent & Dem positions. But you keep insulting people & their beliefs with some of your comments & attempts at historical revisionism. I love the American people, & I stand at their side.

The questions are simple : do you want Nixon re-elected ? do you wish to reverse the current etatisme ? Yes ? Then you have to change tack, for this is 2012 - not 1982 ...

Apologies, quite sincerely, if I have been rough with you, but too much is at stake. Thank you.


Rob said...

Hello DD,
Always a pleasure to have you on board.

I disagree, of course, with your comments on Nixon and Kissinger but I see little point in going over the matter with you. Suffice it to say that to my way of thinking, Nixon was an accomplished president who was victimized by what was then a monolithic media, and he and Henry Kissinger were the possibly the most effective foreign policy team we ever had in the White House.

We possibly have some disagreements on Vietnam as well, but we might agree on the inadvisability of undeclared wars and the slipshod way in which that particular undeclared war was fought. I am one person who thinks, however, that Nixon and Kissinger got us out of that morass with an effective and honorable settlement, something that was thought to be impossible at the time.

It ended up as it did because a radical post-Watergate congress made up of Democrats repudiated our pledged word to Theiu and Cambodia's Lon Nol as part of the final settlement with the communists and refused to allow President Ford to send them military aid when they were attacked by North Vietnam and the Khmer Rouge.

The results were the hideous death of over a million Asians, boatloads of desperate refugees and the condemnation of millions of others to communist slavery and the gulag. It was a shameful episode in U.S. history.

I also disagree with your assessment of Senator Kerry. Aside from lying to Congress during the Winter Soldiers testimony, he also arguably committed treason in spirit if not according to the letter of the law ( that pesky undeclared war thing again) by meeting with North Vietnamese diplomats and cadres in Paris in order to plot 'political strategy' to undermine America's war effort.

It is emblematic of the items I mentioned and the effect they've had on our politics that such a man would be a sitting U.S. Senator.


Anonymous said...

[Before I forget : your Monday, December 14, 2009 column ' How Nixon Saved Israel ', qv, has in its comments section an argument betwixt us re this ! ] Obviously, though amicably, we shall never agree about some historical matters. Just 1 or 2 points :

1) It was in the partisan 1972 Spring Primaries' sifting process, PRE-Watergate, that the American people finally winnowed out the hawks from the true doves in the congressional primaries in BOTH parties, thereby bringing the war to a guaranteed end by Jan 1973. ( The perfectly idiotic McGovern campaigned almost purely on domestic issues, eg, calls for additional domestic spending & thereby permitted Nixon to highlight that issue : there was a Nixon commercial of a construction worker sitting on a girder reflecting on the sums of additional moneys McGovern wished to spend. The Congressional voting record books -- do they still print them in book form ? -- were a great way to meet members of the opposite sex in that era & undertake useful research simultaneously : you could separate the true doves from those fakes which would notify the party whips that they would vote to release a bill from committee, but then they would vote against it on the floor in order to create the false impression for voters that they were against the war. ) Once the new members were seated, there were only the ? Satanic Six ? or ? Satanic Seven ? in the Senate which would obey Nixon's orders : it was over for the hawks. I credit the American people, not Nixon, for the war's end.

2) It was Red China's stooges, the Khmer Rouge, which murdered 2 million people. Vietnam had just lost 2 million people in her war for independence & could not intervene till late 1978 & early 1979. Red China / Mainland China / Peking subsequently invaded Vietnam in early 1979. I was pro Lon Nol.

[ Before it slips my mind, I have just uncovered an exchange between us re these matters, viz, ' How Nixon Saved Israel ' : Monday, December 14, 2009 : Comments Section, qv. Lon Nal & Joan Baez are discussed by me there. Additionally, I have uncovered some fascinating exchanges betwixt you & someone named ' nazar ', from circa 2006 & 2007 discussing these matters ; you might say that I'm much closer to nazar's positions on these issues. ]

Paenultimately, of all the figures cited in the 1st list, supra, Nixon & Kissinger are the 2 which I ( & probably most Americans ) hate the least, which is admittedly a left-handed compliment, but it also demonstrates the startling gap which existed between the vast majority of the America public & the political class of that era.

Finally, my original point was that you were creating the eerie impression that you are heading off into some sort of, & kind of, ( correct English ? ) Patrick Buchanan style culture war gambit. You need to gather as many disparate groups together into an anti-Owebwma coalition. A successful bloc or alliance for November will necessarily embrace & encompass a marriage of convenience amongst strange bed-fellows. Fortunately, what might be termed the so-called hippies ( naturally independent or libertarian or apolitical ) greatly out-number the truly socialistic student activist types of the 1960s & 1970s. There is a lot of potential there. ( I can't pretend to represent the hippies, not having been one myself ; just was not the tie-dye type nor drugs type myself, ( some old people then did call me one occasionally, & not necessarily as a compliment ! -- purely mod & rocker, Les Parisiennes here, ) but they are convertible to libertarian-style GOP candidates. Wasn't Dr Timothy Leary an upper-case L Libertarian ? Wasn't Jimi Hendrix publicly very anti-Communist ? Well, there you are, Republicans, some rich mining veins for you to explore & exploit. )Thank you.

Ciao ! -dragon/dinosaur

Rob said...

Ah, so you were a tres chic Johnny Halliday type! ; ) allors! Quelle Zazou!I can just picture it...

I don't want to be argumentative with such a nice fella, but you're mistaken in a couple of places IMO.

First, it wasn't the 'American people' who ended the Vietnam war.

I forget unfortunately whom it was (Virgil? Pliny? Thucydides?) who said that wars start when you wish but do not end when you will. That was the situation we were in when Nixon took over in 1969.

LBJ had totally mismanaged the war and missed a golden opportunity to end it after the Tet Offensive, which brought NVA and VC forces up against American firepower for the first time and devastated their forces. General Giap,the NVA commander has said publicly a number of times that their losses in men and material were so great that had th4e American forces pressed the issue after Tet they would have had nothing to stop them with and the war would have been over.

When Nixon took over, he had two major problems to deal with vis a vis Vietnam - Russia, whose client state North Vietnam was and China, who have a history of going to war whenever there's military action on their borders, as they did in Korea.

While pursuing the diplomatic track (which went nowhere) Nixon and Kissinger laid the grounds for detente with the Soviets and for opening up relations with China. As this came to fruition, they thus split the communist powers apart and neutralized North Vietnam's sponsors.It was brilliant.

They were then free to fight the war the way it should have been fought from Day One - mining the harbors, bombing NV's infrastructure, and interdicting the NVA's and the Viet Cong's supply routes in Laos and Cambodia ( look at a map sometime to see how important this was). That's when they sued for peace.

I might also add that the vaunted 'anti-war' movement you give such high marks to essentially ended in 1972.All it took was Nixon ending the draft and these supposedly high minded, principled people melted away.

The settlement Nixon and Kissinger worked out provided a peace with honor, and Lon Nol and Thieu signed off on it because they were promised U.S. military aid if the commies attacked them again.

The commies did attack, and the post-Watergate Democrats who came in with the 1974 midterms refused to fund any military aid, repudiated our pledged word and left the people of Vietnam to the mercies of the NVA, Viet Cong and Khmer Rouge.

I would dispute that the Khmer Rouge were 'Chinese stooges' although they received some arms from them.They were an indigenous commie movement the Chinese merely gave some encouragement to as part of worldwide 'revolution' and as part of control on their borders. They actually got far more aid from the Soviets.

Best Regards as Always,

Anonymous said...

Dec 2013 up-date : meant to include Sir Mick Jagger amongst the idols of the Baby Boomers, of course ! ( he was a business student at the London School Of Economics before going professional ! He probably realised that he wasn't going to pick up a lot of girls there. Wasn't Rod Stewart a grave-digger before turning pro ? He probably realised that he wasn't going to pick up ANY girls in that profession ... well, not live ones, anyway ! )

I stand by my other comments, as well. Kerry, it should be noted, several months after our original exchange here, would later be promoted to Sec Of State & would be a terrible one, though that is the fault of a truly terrible, dreadful President, of whom he can only act as a reflexion. ( I voted for the Libertarian candidate in 2004, as noted, supra. )