Dada is the sun, Dada is the egg. Dada is the Police of the Police.


Big surprise

Every Republican's favorite Democrat, Joe Lieberman, has sold out his party once again. Via The Raw Story:

Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Ken Salazar (D-CO) expressed their support for President Bush’s Attorney General choice on the Senate floor mid-afternoon today.

Sen. Salazar’s support for Gonzales is not unexpected; he introduced and recommended the nominee to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Sen. Lieberman, however, went above and beyond Gonzales to offer support for the U.S. policy of deny rights to Guantanamo Bay detainees. He called the decision “progressive” and “remarkably just,” citing the fact the Bush Administration opted to provide the inmates with food, water, shelter, blankets and the ability to practice their religion.

Lieberman's defense of Gonzales' pro-torture stance?

“You’ve got to appreciate the context,” Lieberman said, “post-Sept. 11.”

Of course.

Inside the right-wing mind

Kim du Toit rants about

how Muslim literature is being disseminated in America, funded by Saudi Arabian money.

Here are some of the key principles being taught:

  • Reject Christianity as a valid faith ...
  • Insist that Islamic law be applied ...
  • See non-Muslims as the enemy ...
  • See America as hostile territory ...
  • Prepare for war against America ...
All the above, of course, is protected by the First Amendment.


But here’s a little tip for our home-grown jihadi wannabes: If you start actually acting according to the above, do not be surprised if the rest of America rises up and puts a little asterisk on the First Amendment.

The Constitution can be amended, and if you try to use its protections to undermine the society which holds it dear, don’t be surprised if you’re suddenly excluded from its umbrella.

Scary. A few random nutjobs start spouting off extremist rhetoric, and this guy's ready to cancel the First Amendment. I don't remember anybody suggesting anything similar after that Turner Diaries-reading little turd McVeigh blew up a federal building.

Something tells me he doesn't have similar designs on the Second Amendment, though.

More Social Security insanity

The Conservative Philosopher blog really is the gift that keeps on giving--giving, that is, perfect examples of right-wing "thought" and "arguments". This time the gift-giver is William F. Vallicella:
Thinking about this proposal [that is, Bush's Social Security "reform" proposal--D.H.], a fair-minded person should be able to see how reasonable it is. This impression of reasonableness ought to be reinforced by the poverty and inanity of the liberal counterarguments. Harry Reid (D-NV) could do little better than to label the proposal ‘Social Security roulette’ and then make a lame joke about Las Vegas being in his district. Paul Krugman this morning on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now show spoke of money being "diverted" (his word) into private accounts.

This language of diversion, much loved by some liberals, betrays the liberal-leftist presupposition that the money a person earns does not belong to that person, but to the government, and that special argument is needed to justify a person’s keeping of his own money. That is precisely backwards: The onus is on the government to justify its taking of our money; the onus is not on us to justify our keeping of it.
Now it's more or less true that the money one earns belongs to that person. But, assuming the legitimacy of the state--a questionable assumption, but one almost all conservatives share--the money that the government collects via taxes does belong to the government, and no longer to the individual.

If conservatives object to the Social Security program, they ought to lawfully try to abolish it, rather than doing so surreptitiously by hiding behind the rhetoric of "reform" and "privatization". Why not just be honest, right-wingers, and admit that you want Social Security gone?

Well, because, as I mentioned earlier, they know that wouldn't fly with the public. But their true motives are not in doubt. Grover Norquist, one of the most influential "minds" behind GOP policy and head of the think-tank Americans for Tax Reform, summed up the conservative view nicely:

"Social Security should be reformed not because the system is going broke but because it's a lousy program."

If only more wingers would be this up front. (Of course, Norquist is by and large unknown to the American public, so he can afford to be blunt.) The conservative philosophy in general is also nicely articulated by Grover:

“I don't want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.”

Again, I understand that this "starve-the-beast" philosophy is the mentality of many on the right. What I object to is the fact that they won't make an honest argument for this view. They pretend to simply want to "reform" government programs when they actually wish to destroy them. The fact that the vast majority of the public in what is supposed to be a democratic country supports these programs (at least with respect to Social Security) is irrelevant to them, except inasmuch as it requires them to use dishonest euphamisms to disguise their true intentions.

Right-wingers seem to see any government program that actually helps people as the result of a government drunk with power, robbing its citizens. Vallicella puts it this way:

I know that there are liberals who maintain that the government is us. But that is a proposition so manifestly false as to be beneath refutation.

It may actually be a false proposition, but it is not a necessary falsehood. It is the case that the government, as it stands presently, does not, for the most part, represent and execute the interests of the people. But it should. Indeed, this is the only kind of government that is legitimate.

So no, the government is not us. But that is in part due to right-wing office-holders and policy makers who at every turn attempt to thwart the government from carrying out the will of the people.

GOP: the party of kitten murder

... and, according to Sentenza, even worse.

(Via Atrios)


At the "Barking Moonbat Early Warning System" (for those not "in the know", "moonbat" is the right-wingers' favorite epithet for anyone left of Mussolini), some jackass named Vilmar has his feelings hurt because Dear Leader had to put up with a little heckling at his State of the Union address:

You Know What's Disgusting? The behavior of Democrats last night at the SOTU speech where they erupted into cries of “NO!” when the President mentioned overhauling the Ponzi scheme also known as Social Security. I understand that it was unprecedented.

Um, sorry, no. The Rude Pundit points out just how precedented it is.



Another reprehensible post from one of the Conservative Philosophers (sic). Jean-Pierre Schachter , in a bizarre rant about leftists "assimilating moral to causal responsibility", attributes the following beliefs to the left:
When the U.S. commits acts that putatively lead to terrorist consequences, the U.S. is morally responsible (because causal responsibility is identical to moral responsibility), but when terrorists commit murderous acts, they are not morally responsible (because they are in the grip of causal determination).
A prime example of this kind of argument is that the victims of 9/11 "deserved" their fate because of prior U.S. involvements of various kinds on the international scene, but it is far from the only one.

As is usually the case with these kinds of claims, no examples whatsoever are given of leftists who argue that terrorists are not morally responsible for their acts, or that 9/11 victims deserved what happened to them.

There are plenty of prominent leftists out there that you could quote, Jean-Pierre. Has Noam Chomsky ever said this? Has Michael Moore?

If you're going to attribute such views to "the Left", you damn well better be able to back your shit up, wanker.

Social Security

Libertarian Girl has a post about Social Security, and one of her readers comments:
I'd be happy if they just let me opt out of Social Security. I'd write off every cent that I've already paid if they'd just stop taking money away from me.

I suppose you'd like to "opt out" of income tax too. And why not sales tax while we're at it? And property tax?

Social Security is not some kind of forced savings account, which is how a lot of people seem to see it. It's a service that the government provides, and collects taxes in order to fund.

In that regard, it is the same as any other government program, like welfare, or public education, or the military.

If conservatives want to argue for the abolition of that program, that's fine; but they need to make an argument that goes beyond, "I want to have the choice to opt out!" Such an argument makes no more sense with regard to social security than it does with any other government spending. You don't get to "opt out" of any taxes.

The problem is, right-wingers know they can't argue against the program on its own merits, because it is actually an incredibly popular program, and one which the majority of U.S. citizens support.


Are humans part of nature?

In an earlier post, I took issue with Max Goss's claim that humans were not part of the natural world. He had said:

I have been reflecting a bit myself on man's responsibility to animals and the broader natural world. (This latter locution already tips my hand by suggesting that I consider animals to belong wholly to the natural world, whereas I consider humans to belong to it only in part.)


I don’t see any logical incompatibility between the claim that animals have rights and the claim that conservatism is true. But there might at least be a tension there, at least insofar as conservatism involves a commitment to what I call "minimal humanism," i.e. the belief that human beings are importantly distinguished from the rest of the natural world.

I responded:
I don't quite understand exactly what it means to say that animals are wholly natural, but humans are only partly so. What, exactly, is the distinction being made here? How is "natural" defined in such a way as to exclude (or even more bizarrely, partly exclude) human beings? What is it about humans that make them separate from nature? Of course, it's obvious enough that humans are a very different type of animal, in that they exhibit a number of unique characteristics -- language, abstract reasoning, etc. But on the standard view, this is simply a result of the human species having taken a different evolutionary path than other species have. It's not clear that there's a need to suppose a separate ontological category to account for the differences between humans and other animals.

In response to this, David from E.G. commented:

One way to read Max's claim is just as a denial of certain versions of physicalism, e.g. reductive versions. Such a denial is certainly not unusual among contemporary philosophers and remains a live option.

David is right that many philosophers do, in fact, reject reductive physicalism, which is (roughly) the claim that all existing entities either are themselves microphysical entities or that they are explainable in terms of their constituent microphysical entities (e.g., the way that (according to some) chemistry reduces to physics).

In fact, in my opinion physicalism is a hopeless cause. Every formulation I have ever seen of it is either incoherent or trivial. The main difficulties seem to be (a) offering a workable definition of the physical and (b) supporting the claim that "higher-level" phenomena (e.g., weather patterns) are somehow reducible to "lower-level" principles (physics).

(a) is a problem because no matter how one defines "physical", there are seemingly fatal problems. If it is defined in terms of current physics--that is, the physical is that which is described by physics--then physicalism is almost certainly wrong, since no one believes that physics is totally complete and totally correct. Otherwise, research in physics would cease immediately.

If "physical" is defined over a future, complete physics, then the physicalist claim becomes trivial, saying, in essence, "the only things that exist are those things which exist". By stipulating that a future physics would be complete, one begs the question in favor of physicalism. A future complete physics would by definition encompass everything.

There have been attempts to define the physical in terms of certain characteristics, but most are unworkable. For instance, Descartes defined it as that which is located in space. In light of special relativity, we might want to ammend that by saying that the physical is the spatio-temporal. However, this is unlikely to work as well, given (a) the possibility that not everything described or referenced by physics is spatio-temporal (e.g., the wavefunction) and (b) the possibility that space and time are actually emergent properties of more basic entities.

One exception is the definition of the physical given by, among others, Bertrand Russell and David Chalmers, who define it as those characteristics of nature which can be fully specified in terms of structure and dynamics. This definition won't work for the physicalist, though, as the qualitative character of experience--i.e., conscious/subjective experience--is clearly incapable of being captured in structural and dynamical terms.

So basically, physicalism is dead in the water, as Nietzsche saw over a century ago.

What's important, though, is that a rejection of physicalism not be seen as a rejection of what Chomsky calls "methodological naturalism", by which he means something akin to a scientific worldview, albeit one not based on the metaphor of the universe as a vast machine. The failure of physicalism in no way entails the success of any particular supernatural or religious metaphysics. Such theories might be true, but they will have to gain acceptance on their own merits, and not piggyback on the failure of physicalism.


More on sitemeter

The Defeatist, living up to his name, I guess, sees a downside to bloggers using sitemeter:

For a fledgling blogger like yours truly, the Sitemeter offers only feelings of rejection and isolation. This site, in its infancy at less than a week old, receives few visits. ... Most of those come from random visitors who click on another site a "Next Blog" button identical to that in the toolbar at the top of this site. People are randomly discovering this site, not seeking it out.

I understand the sentiment, but the opposite can happen too. In fact, I started this blog on a total lark, and probably wouldn't have continued posting on it if not for the fact that it was receiving more hits than I would have guessed, which encouraged me to keep posting. Don't get me wrong: I don't get a ton of hits (you can click on the sitemeter logo at the bottom of the page to find out how many). I don't get as many as Libertarian Girl, for instance. I get a bit more than Defeatist, but not by much. But I definitely get more than I ever expected, and I wouldn't know this if it weren't for sitemeter.

Today, though, I also added Stat Counter, after hearing that sitemeter could sometimes give flawed readings. Stat Counter is nice because it allows you to see easily where people are visiting from, and what OS they are using, which is kinda interesting. Even when you're not getting very many hits, it's encouraging to see that people from another continent are checking out what you have to say.

And like Lib Girl said, knowing where your traffic comes from and what kind of posts bring the most traffic can helpfully inform the decisions you make vis-a-vis yer blog.

Conservatives & animal rights

Over at In Hoc Signo Vinces, Max Goss comments on Anal/Conservative Philosopher Keith Burgess-Jackson's view that conservatism and a commitment to animal rights are not incompatible. A couple of points that Max makes, though, seem to be either wrong or unclear.

For instance, Max says:

I have been reflecting a bit myself on man's responsibility to animals and the broader natural world. (This latter locution already tips my hand by suggesting that I consider animals to belong wholly to the natural world, whereas I consider humans to belong to it only in part.)


I don’t see any logical incompatibility between the claim that animals have rights and the claim that conservatism is true. But there might at least be a tension there, at least insofar as conservatism involves a commitment to what I call "minimal humanism," i.e. the belief that human beings are importantly distinguished from the rest of the natural world.

I don't quite understand exactly what it means to say that animals are wholly natural, but humans are only partly so. What, exactly, is the distinction being made here? How is "natural" defined in such a way as to exclude (or even more bizarrely, partly exclude) human beings? What is it about humans that make them separate from nature? Of course, it's obvious enough that humans are a very different type of animal, in that they exhibit a number of unique characteristics -- language, abstract reasoning, etc. But on the standard view, this is simply a result of the human species having taken a different evolutionary path than other species have. It's not clear that there's a need to suppose a separate ontological category to account for the differences between humans and other animals.

Max goes on to question KBJ's "harm principle" with respect to animal rights:

The central claim of your argument for animal rights, as sketched here, is that “it’s wrong to harm others.” But surely you don’t believe this, else you’d wear a screen over your face and continually sweep the ground in front of you like a Jainist.

This follows only if KBJ were claiming that the harm principle were absolute, which I assume that he is not. A more charitable reading would suggest that the principle really means, "it's prima facie wrong to harm others". This principle, like all moral principles, is defeasible; the steps that would need to be taken to avoid harming ants and the like might themselves produce undesirable enough consequences (e.g., you become a Jainist) to override the prima facie obligation to do no harm.

This same failure to recognize the defeasibility of moral principles underlies another one of Max's objections:

I’m also not sure why you think that the reason killing people (and hence animals) is wrong is that it deprives them of a future. You claim support from our ordinary intuitions. However, while you’re no doubt right that most people would say it is in some sense bad or unfortunate to deprive someone of his future, I don’t think it is generally accepted that it is always wrong to do so. After all, this would be inconsistent with the widely accepted claim that it is morally acceptable to kill someone in self-defense.

Again, the common-sense idea here is that, all things being equal, it is wrong to deprive someone of their future. In certain situations however --like killing someone in self-defense-- this principle is overriden by, perhaps, your right to defend your own life. The point is that, in considering whether the act was moral or immoral, we are obligated to include the loss of the would-be killer's future in the moral calculation, even if it is heavily outweighed by the fact that he was attacking you. We come to the conclusion that your act was morally justified, but that doesn't mean that we reject the principle that it is prima facie a bad thing to deprive someone of their future.

Max does make a good point, though:

I guess my main beef with your post is that, while you give reasons to accord animals worth or even moral status, I don’t see any good reason, given what you said, to accord them rights. You seem to jump from the claim that animals have moral status to the claim that they have rights.

It doesn't follow from the fact that animals count morally that animals have rights. However, it doesn't follow from the moral value of humans that humans have rights either. It's all going to depend on what you think is the grounding of rights generally. For example, if you believe rights are solely a product of a social contract, you will likely resist the idea that animals have rights.

If, however, you accept the view that humans have rights in virtue of their being creatures with interests (e.g., in not suffering, in continuing to live), it's harder to see how you could deny the same rights to other animals who have the exact same interests.

In any event, one thing is clear: the way humans treat other animals is absolutely shameful, a disgrace to our entire species. Anyone unconvinced of the cruelty of the human being would do well to look at what goes on in a factory farm. Truly, truly sad.

Britney Spears Naked


Okay, not really. But The Calico Cat says that writing about Britney Spears is a good way to get more hits on your blog, because when people google "Britney Spears Naked Pics", will come up.

I'm not sure why I want the extra hits, exactly. I kind of want to see if Calico Cat is right.

The Calico Cat posts comes via Libertarian Girl, who has an interesting post about site meter, the website (software?) that can keep track of how many hits yer blog gets, where they come from, etc. Sitemeter lets you decide whether or not to open up the stats for your blog so that all can see them, or whether to keep them private, so only you, the blogger, can see them.

Lib Girl does not like when other bloggers choose the latter option. She finds the information useful, and I think she has a point:

If you're interested in increasing your blog's influence, then examining from where your blog and other blogs get their traffic will help you to better understand the process. Which is why it's annoying when other blogs don't have Sitemeters.

She is also refreshingly honest in admitting that she does, in fact, care about her stats:

I am not ashamed to say that I do care if people are reading my blog. If you don't care about having any sort of influence, why bother to have a blog at all? You could just write stuff and save it on your computer. It would be easier and you could save yourelf the expense of paying $90/year for Typepad.

(By the way, about yours truly Lib Girl writes: " I even appreciate the people who write about how stupid I am, like dadahead. I know that I've at least helped to provide them with some sort of entertainment."

But see, I said something nice about you just above! And if that's not enough, how about this: Libertarian Girl is a sweet and lovely person who has many provocative things to say and is not in the habit of dining on live puppies as are some other libertarian bloggers whose names will go unmentioned (*cough*instapundit*cough*).

When I write about how stupid you are, it is only for your own good! It hurts me more than it hurts you! You have to learn somehow.)

Anywho, the point is that I've decided to go ahead and open my sitemeter stats up to public scrutiny. Then we can see together how many of my hits will come from google searches for naked Britney pics.

If that works, maybe I will start titling every post this way: Anna Kournikova naked, Paris Hilton Sexy sex sex, and so on.

Then again, I don't necessarily want a bunch of perverts hanging out here either.


In case you were wondering...

...whether conservatism really is an insane ideology, see this interview with one of the Conservative Philosophers, Roger Scruton.

Scruton says that "liberals have this reputation for being nice and conservatives for being nasty." He is asked by the interviewer:

Isn't that a terrible PR problem? The liberals own the good intentions.

His response:

The fact is if you really want to think in terms of good intentions, Lenin and Hitler and Mao had thousands of them.


The interviewer asks:

Are you in favor of censorship?

Scruton replies:

Yes, I am in favor of censorship, but it has to be conducted by people like me. ... I'm in favor of encouraging every possible form of self-restraint and parental control. And I certainly don't think that pornography should be protected under the American Constitution. ... I'm in favor of severe measures.

Asked why he doesn't consider himself a libertarian, Scruton says:

because a libertarian is someone who thinks that the mere fact that someone desires something is enough to give him a right to pursue it, provided he isn't interfering with other people's rights. And I don't agree with that. I think that, about most things that matter, our desires are fundamentally in need of emendation.


Sex is an obvious example. I'm a believer in fidelity and marriage and all those things. My life hasn't been exemplary in that respect any more than anyone else's. But I certainly don't think the libertarian approach -- that whatever people want they should have -- is right. Drugs likewise.

His opinion on homosexuality?

I'm all in favor of the old-fashioned approach, that you don't talk about this, decency forbids, and you don't proselytize this as an alternative on a par with marriage and child-rearing and all the rest. Apart from that, I think it would be a total mistake to think that homosexual desire is the same kind of thing as heterosexual desire.

Sick stuff. If this is contemporary "philosophical" conservatism, we should pray that this ideological virus doesn't spread too far.

Men made of straw

Right-wing pin-up girl Libertarian Girl declares:
The official liberal view is that all humans are born with identical mental capabilities, and if some people achieve success while others don't, they blame it on inequality of education or discrimination

Well, that's a bunch of bullshit, I say! You just tell me which liberals espouse this view, and I will give them a stern talking-to!

Wait. Lib Girl didn't actually provide any examples.

And ... wait: no one in recent memory has made any such argument.

And yet, according to L.G., this is the official liberal view.

But how can that be, if nobody actually believes it?

Lib Girl might want to begin thinking these posts through a bit.

Two important posts from Atrios

This one demonstrates a highly disturbing tendency towards fascist beliefs in American youth. For example,

When asked whether people should be allowed to express unpopular views, 97 percent of teachers and 99 percent of school principals said yes. Only 83 percent of students did.

This is a real problem. The ideology of authoritarianism--which is what conservatism, at heart, is all about--has somehow gotten a foothold in the minds of young people.

Then there is this post, where Atrios points out that, according to Judith Miller, a strong supporter of the administration, BushCo both continues to back Chalabi and has the ability to appoint him to the new "Iraqi" government.


Conservative Philosopher says: Do your job!

Anal/Conservative Philosopher Keith Burgess-Jackson says that much havoc is wreaked by people not doing their job:

Many problems would be solved and much controversy averted if people would simply do their jobs. If you’re a teacher, teach. Don’t indoctrinate. If you’re a judge, apply the law. Don’t make it up to suit your inclinations. If you’re a scientist, stay within the confines of your discipline. Don’t expound on matters outside your ken. If you’re a journalist, report the news. Don’t interject your opinions about the events you cover.

Of course, being a conservative, KBJ thinks that liberals are more likely to offend in this regard:
liberals (I used to be one) have a more difficult time doing their job than conservatives do. Liberal judges are not content merely to interpret and apply the law. They want to shape it. Ronald Dworkin argues that constitutional law is nothing more (or less) than moral theorizing. Judges are philosopher kings!

KBJ states Dworkin's view as if it is self-evidently scandalous, echoing Ann Coulter's favorite phrase: judges as "philosopher-kings". Of course, having a degree in law, Burgess-Jackson should know that in saying that in linking moral principles with law, Dworkin is hardly departing from traditional philosophy of law (though Dworkin does of course depart in other ways). Whether Dworkin's view is closer to positivism or natural law is a matter of some debate, but simply viewing the legal as a subset of the moral, as natural law theory does, is not only not a radical departure from tradition, it is the philosophical underpining of the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

This is not a "liberal" view. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas is himself a natural lawyer. As were Locke and Jefferson. So on a very mainstream intepretation of jurisprudence, judges who look to moral principles in order to make decisions regarding constitutional law are doing precisely what their job requires of them.

He goes on:

Liberal reporters could not resist the temptation to try to influence the recent presidential election. Day after day, news stories in The New York Times and other newspapers were biased against President Bush and in favor of John Kerry.

I agree that media bias is a problem; however, the claim that the media were by and large biased in Kerry's favor is preposterous. Since 9-11-01, the media has played lapdog to the Bush adminstration, never questioning the legitimacy or the coherence of its "war on terror" and mindlessly parroting administration rhetoric about bring "freedom" to the Middle East. During the campaign, the media focused relentlessly on terrorism, which should have been a minor issue in the campaign, which played to Bush's strengths.

The attention given by the mainstream media to the Swift Boat Veterans nonsense should alone suffice to demonstrate the absence of any pro-Kerry bias.

A/CP continues:

What do all of these cases have in common? The answer is: a captive audience. Students are in class to be taught ... Reporters have readers who expect to be given the news ... Scientists such as Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Dawkins have avid followers who enjoy their popularizations of science. They abuse their readers (violate their trust) by interjecting political and moral bias into their discussions.

I fail to see how any of these are instances of "captive audiences". You might be able to make the case for students, but even that is a stretch; no one forces students to go to university (I assume KBJ is talking about higher education here). But in what sense are readers of the New York Times a captive audience? It's not like they don't have conservative alternatives to that supposedly liberal paper. They can turn on Fox News, or buy the New York Post instead.

And readers of Gould and Dawkins? That makes even less sense.

Moreover, the underlying premise behind KBJ's complaint is a flawed one. He assumes that there exist fairly rigid categories of "jobs" for which there are fairly rigid lists of responsibilities. Such categories and lists might exist only in official policies of universities, for instance, but these rarely prohibit the expression of political opinions, so I assume that's not what he has in mind. Other than these official guidelines, jobs are what people make of them. It is written nowhere that a professor's job is to provide information without bias.

If there is a specific reason why someone in a specific job ought not to act in a certain way, then that argument needs to be made. Simply declaring that the person is "not doing their job" won't do it.

Andrew Sullivan is a fucking asshole

Sully the pooh writes:
I think the anti-war left's failure to believe in democracy is a greater failing than the pro-war right's failure to grapple with some of the serious failings of the endeavor. But I hope today that everyone, whatever their view of the war or occupation, can rejoice in the defeat of evil and terror. It's truly inspiring.
We "believe" in democracy, asshat; what we don't believe in is the fairy tale that the Bush administration has any intention of bringing democracy to Iraq.

Democracy means self-determination. If the Iraqis had their way, the US military would be gone. Does anyone believe that Bush will allow that to happen? That if the "new" Iraqi government told the US to leave, that they would?

On top of this, we have absolutely no reason to believe in the fairness and legitimacy of this election, anymore than we had reason to believe that Saddam's elections --you know, the ones he won 100% of the vote in-- were fair and legitimate. There is no independent oversight of this election, and unless you take BushCo rhetoric at face value, which I strongly suggest that you not do, the importance of this election, and the liklihood of its leading to democracy, are questionable at best.

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