Harry Reid's PREbuttal
The fact is, he’s counting on all of us who have the honor of serving here in Washington. On behalf of all congressional Democrats, we won't let him down."
The Blog Where Pursuing Liberty Is Everything And Where Truth And Logic Prevail
Talk about insulting. This woman is as hateful as her California colleague Babs Boxer. If Ted Kennedy didn't inhabit the mantle of Most Hate-Filled Democrat, Ms. Pelosi would be a leading candidate. That she's the House Minority Leader ought to be a permanent embarassment to sensible Democrats like Evan Bayh & Joe Lieberman. Compared to Ms. Pelosi, Dick Gebhardt looks like a steady, likeable statesman.
In comments on Sunday, Pelosi described the Iraq vote as an "accomplishment," but said it would've gone better but for Bush's blunders. "It would've been more successful if the political situation had been nurtured better, if Iraqi security could've been better organized & trained," she complained.
The Democratic Party's leadership must've been hypnotized & told to take a cheapshot at President Bush & never say anything positive about him without taking a shot at him in the same sentence. Dennis Miller put it well when he said that when Democrats talk about supporting the troops or complimenting President Bush, the first part of the sentence was a "preamble to the word but."
The fact that this new mayor wants plans to erect a monument to honor President Bush ought to drive liberals like Babs Boxer, Teddy Kennedy & John Kerry downright nuts. If I knew how to contact him, I'd tell him his statement that "He's the symbol of freedom" made my day.
Fadel's predecessor, Ali al-Haidari, was gunned down Jan. 4 when militants opened fire on his armor-covered BMW as it traveled with a three-car convoy. Fadel said he received numerous threats on his life as the council chairman & expects to get many more in his new post. "My life is cheap," Fadel said. "Everything is cheap for my country."
As Iraq prepared for a volatile election that is being watched across the world, Fadel heaped praise on the U.S. Fadel acknowledged that many in his country appear ungrateful for America's foreign assistance. He said most Iraqis are still in "shock" over the changes, & need time to adjust. Any public monument to Bush is likely to further incense terrorist forces, who have attacked American troops & their supporters for months. Fadel said he’s undaunted.
"We have a lot of work & we’re especially grateful to the soldiers of the U.S.A. for freeing our country of tyranny," Fadel said. As for his own protection, the new mayor will be traveling in a new $150,000 SUV complete with bulletproof windows & flat-resistant tires.
This quote is getting tons of coverage. Fred Barnes quoted it while appearing on a special edition of Special Report yesterday. Laura Ingraham read it several times during this morning's show. She also played Christopher Matthews worrying that this purple mark was an identifier to terrorists & that these voters were now marked for death.
"I put the paper in the box & with it, there were tears that I couldn't hold. I was trembling with joy & I felt like I wanted to hug the box but the supervisor smiled at me & said, 'Brother would you please move ahead, the people are waiting for their turn.'"
Another Iraqi blogger, Alaa ("The Mesopotamian") wrote: "Iraq will be OK with so many brave people, it'll certainly [be] OK. I can say no more just now, I’m just filled with pride & moved beyond words."
"Baghdad Rose", an Iraqi woman blogger who identifies herself as a 27-year-old civil engineer with a daughter aged 3, posted a picture of her blue-tipped finger in a V-for-victory sign on her Web site. "I did it. I voted. Yes, yes, I did it. I have the courage to vote," she wrote in triumph.
Talk about unbridled joy & relief. It's amazing that more politicians didn't recognize the power of voting. President Bush recognized it & now is vindicated after yesterday's vote. Tony Blair is too.
Indeed the high turnout among Iraqi women was a surprise, the same as last year in Afghanistan when some women, facing death threats from Taliban remnants, said the Muslim prayer for the dead, just in case, before they went to vote.
No wonder President Bush could hardly contain his smile yesterday when he said: "Today the people of Iraq have spoken to the world, & the world is hearing the voice of freedom from the center of the Middle East." The fact that Iraq's election triumph came as a surprise to so many Americans shows how badly they’ve been served by most press & TV coverage, which told mostly of deaths & trouble & ignored the first glimmerings of new hope.
Iraqis, after all, lived through decades when Saddam Hussein fed people to Doberman Pinschers & plastic shredders & murdered hundreds of thousands who were buried in mass graves. Iraq's blue badge of courage also poses a challenge to America's Democratic Party, do Democrats really want to become the party of Ted Kennedy, John Kerry & Howard Dean, who paint Iraq as a disaster? After Iraqis showed their yearning for freedom, do Democrats really want Dean as their new national chairman? Are they proud of lionizing "Fahrenheit 9/11" film-maker Michael Moore for painting Iraq's terror thugs as heroes & "Minutemen"?
All last year, John Kerry, Howard Dean & vast parts of the Democratic Party blistered President Bush about his taking us to war. Now people can see that these Democrats are foreign policy vision-impaired. Please, please, please name Dean as DNC Chairman. Please put Teddy & John Kerry on every Sunday morning talk show.
All the Iraqis dancing with their flags yesterday were a reason for Americans to be proud of the war that toppled Saddam Hussein & opened the door to freedom, suddenly Bush's second inaugural speech just 10 days before sounded prophetic. "All who live in tyranny & hopelessness can know the U.S. won’t ignore your oppression or excuse your oppressors," Bush said then. "When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you."
Deborah Orin is The Post's Washington bureau chief.
As a conservative, I take satisfaction in having conservatives win at the polls. When that's done, though, I prefer it when the country unites around a single foreign policy. Anything less than unanimity is unacceptable. After all, foreign policy is set solely by the president. Certainly Congress has oversight responsibilities but they don't get to set policy.
It’s time to put aside partisan differences & fight to protect the lives of our men & women on the scene of battle & to let the citizens of Iraq know that we’re eager to work with them in a partnership of free nations. The future of Iraq is in the hands of the majority of voters in Sunday's election. They’ll be the ones to write their own constitution & determine how they will live together in peace & freedom.
If we truly support our troops, then it's important that we do everything we can to not bring aid & comfort to the terrorists they're fighting. It's also vitally important that Iraqis know that we won't cut & run like we did at the end of the Vietnam War. Our word needs to mean something or else ALL Americans lose bigtime.
Rwanda suffered through a genocidal violence that led to a million deaths in a three-month holocaust. Now, 10 years later, Rwandans have devised a unity constitution that attempts to assure that no one group can ever again dominate the government. In contrast to our "winner take all" system, the Rwandan ruling party can hold the presidency & only 50 percent of the Cabinet & Legislature. The other 50 percent goes through the minority parties. Thirty percent of all Cabinet & legislative members must be female. The actual percentage of women in Parliament is 49 percent. The courts are independent & appointed by consensus.
Somehow the Kurds, Sunni & Shiite regions must learn, in the words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., "to live together as brothers & sisters or...perish together as fools."
None of this is an endorsement of the faults of intelligence or the failure to plan adequately for post-invasion defense development & reconstruction of Iraq. We’re there. "We broke it, so we own it," as Colin Powell warned. But it does nothing for American or Iraqi security to play a blame game. There’s no ethical way to wash our hands of Iraq. This isn’t Vietnam.
There are real security interests in this region.
As I write, it's 20 degrees Fahrenheit in Atlanta. We couldn’t survive a six-month disruption of energy without serious social & economic consequences. We all use heat & light, but the Arab world needs technology, agriculture, medicine & management to maintain the current standards of living. They’ll need even more to meet the needs & challenges of a rapidly increasing population of children & youth with no plan for their education & employment.
It’s a breeding ground for terrorism, whether we’re there or not. There’s no way to reverse the global flow of information & technology. We can only share its use constructively or others will use it to spread terrorist threats. The challenge is to keep Saudi Arabia stable & to convince Iran that it doesn’t need atomic weapons to gain respect & to protect its security.
Dr. Rice deserves bipartisan support. We’ve just lost an election being negative. There are many areas where Democratic vision can really help the nation, especially in the areas of budget deficit, Social Security, the environment & health care. We can also engage in an intelligent debate on moral & religious concerns. But foreign policy must be bipartisan. The enemy is violence & chaos in regions critical to global survival. If Iraq disintegrates into chaos & civil war, we’ll all lose.
While I've disagreed with a number of things Mr. Young has said in the past, he's right on the money when he says that Democrats lost this last election being negative & for not having a vision that not only addresses 'Democrat issues' but that also address national security & foreign policy issues. Clearly, they didn't offer anything of a serious nature on the foreign policy front this last election.
Dr. Rice has an opportunity to develop a less arrogant, cooperative vision for the planet. Whether we like her or agree with her is irrelevant. She’s the most powerful woman on the planet. It’s important that we strengthen her position at the State Department & in the world.
Forcing her to defend the testosterone-laden mistakes of the past administration only lessens her opportunities for leading us through the present minefields of our time. Let us support her in this new & challenging role that she’s been called to perform & salute her achievements & contributions.
I have read a number of articles in Iraqi newspapers reporting on senator Kennedy’s speech at Johns Hopkins University. (They call him a senior senator). They are quoting him using words like “war of liberations, armed resistance, war of independence” to describe the terrorist acts in Iraq. Also asking for our complete withdrawal from Iraq by 2006 & describing what we did in Iraq as a calamity.
I think that AlZarqawy could not have rallied his troops with a better speech. What is he doing giving speeches like this so close to the elections in Iraq? Iraqis will brave threats to their lives to vote in hope that we will stay with them till they are ready. Now a U.S. senator tells them we must pull out quickly & leave the Iraqis with no help. When we fought for our independence during the revolutionary war we needed help from other nations & they did not cut & run after we declared our independence & our democratic republic. Does Kennedy not look at our past history? Will he stop at nothing for his own agenda & political gain? What shame what a defile to this great nation of ours. Then this is democracy & we must fight for his freedoms & rights like we do for ours. I wonder if he would do the same for us.
Getting "a handful of Senate Democrats" on board for this legislation would be huge. It'd also help these Democratic senators get re-elected. Last week, Tony Snow interviewed Sander Levin & he had the whole Democratic demagogue going. He wasn't persuasive, especially when he said it (private accounts) were too complicated for workers to deal with. I thought he sounded like an idiot when he said that because everyday Americans deal with 401 (k)'s with relative ease. There's nothing complicated about it.
The other thing I like in this article is the default option of a 'life cycle account' if you choose to invest your money in private accounts. Having a professional investor monitor your account & empowering him to move money around to maximize a person's account growth while minimizing risk as much as possible.
At what cost
Yet to be decided were several big questions, including how large the private accounts should be, how much guaranteed benefits would be cut & how to pay as much as $2 trillion needed in the first 10 years to affect the transition to a new system. In devising a structure for the private accounts, the administration is modeling its proposal after the Thrift Savings Plan, a tax-deferred retirement investment plan similar to a 401(k). The idea is to minimize risk for people at the outset by offering as few as three to five diversified investment funds. Bush said in December that his plan would ensure that people couldn’t invest "in a frivolous fashion."
Under the Thrift Savings Plan, federal workers have five investment options, including government & corporate bond funds, a stock fund that tracks the S&P 500, an international fund & other stock funds. Under the nascent Bush plan, the default investment would be a "life cycle" account. It’d begin with investments that have greater potential for both risk & reward & shift to safer bonds as a worker ages, officials inside & outside the administration said.
Again, this sounds like a level-headed plan, which explains why so many Democrats oppose it. Limiting people's options to 3-5 solid options isn't a severe restriction. Rather, it's just a way to ensure solid growth in these funds.
The government would be responsible for keeping track of how much money is in each worker's account & give the lump sums to a financial services company to invest, a mechanism aimed at keeping administrative fees low, they said. That’d mean only a limited profit potential for Wall Street. More money might be available for industry if a second tier of investments were permitted.
Room for change
Under this model, once a worker's account reached a certain level, he or she could choose from a broader range of investment options. Any number of mutual funds could be approved for investment at this stage. This second tier of investment was recommended by Bush's 2001 Social Security commission after the initial accounts top $5,000, & this idea is part of several bills pending on Capitol Hill. But no decisions have been made about whether to allow a second tier, one administration official said.
"I look forward to talking to the country about the need to address big reforms like Social Security," Bush told about 200 House & Senate Republicans at the Greenbrier Resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. He repeated his pledge to oppose any increase in Social Security taxes to shore up the system. He also repeated his warnings about the financial problems facing Social Security as the baby boomer generation ages, & stressed the need to act now.
Bush continued to steer clear of detailing crucial aspects of the plan, such as how Social Security would make up for tax money diverted from the retirement system. Critics of his proposal say that without a payroll tax increase, benefits would have to be cut or the government's debt would increase significantly. Some Congressional Republicans have been skittish about tinkering with the retirement system in the run up to next year's elections. But several who heard Bush on Friday said they were eager to take on the issue.
Shift in strategy
Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania said Bush mentioned the federal thrift savings plan as part of a coming shift in his strategy for promoting the Social Security changes, moving to dispel the image of complexity surrounding the changes. "Right now, we’re sort of dealing with, Is there a problem?" Santorum said. "Then the next thing the president would look at is, What is a personal account & what does it mean to you?"
Rep. Sander Levin, D-MI, responded to reports about the Bush speech with a statement accusing him of using "smoke & mirrors" to explain his plan because, he said, the federal thrift savings plan is an addition to government employees' Social Security, not a substitute for part of it.
This shouldn't be shocking. That only Rep. Levin has demagogued the issue thus far is, by itself, a victory of sorts for the plan's passage.
The New York Times, Los Angeles Times & Washington Post contributed to this report.
"At a time in the world when courage mattered most, Kolbe didn't hesitate." Now that's an unforgettable line. Courage always matters, of course, but heroes are recognized because their character shines brightest at a time when it makes the most difference. It sounds like Maximilllian Kolbe was a man of great courage & even greater integrity. Thank God that men like him existed when it mattered most.
Last November, the vehicle Thomas was assigned to, a Stryker APC, was undergoing repairs. Another Stryker was headed for Mosul, which had been overrun by terrorists. But the crew was one man short. Would Thomas be willing to take his place? While he was under no obligation to go, Thomas was known for volunteering. He offered to serve as a rear rifleman to provide cover for the other men. On November 11, the Stryker rumbled into Mosul. Thomas jumped out, & soon after was ushered into eternity, cut down by a sniper’s bullet. What motivates young men to make such a sacrifice, not only for their country & their comrades, but on behalf of strangers longing for freedom?
The Bible says "Greater love hath no man than he lay down his life for his friend." How true. Thankfully, there's men like Thomas Doerflinger around when courage matters most. Hopefully the emerging Iraqi armed forces will exhibit this same type of courage when their countrymen need it most.
An answer comes from another Thomas. In the Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas put his discussion of just war in his chapter on charity & the love of God. Centuries later, John Calvin echoed his thoughts, calling the soldier an “agent of God’s love” & soldiering justly a “God-like act.” Far from viewing war as a “necessary evil,” Calvin said that “restraining evil out of love for neighbor” imitates God’s restraining evil out of love for humanity.
Not surprisingly, John Calvin gets it. Hating war & the high price of war doesn't make it an evil thing. Viewed in the right light, wars have always brought out not just the worst human traits but also the best in human traits. Thankfully, we have the examples of Thomas Doerflinger & Maximillian Kolbe to guide us.
Thomas Doerflinger’s death reminds us that the cost of restraining evil is heartbreakingly high. On the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, we should pray for those who bear the cost of protecting our country, & who are willing to liberate another persecuted people.
Like Maximilian Kolbe, at a time when courage mattered most, Thomas Doerflinger didn’t hesitate.
Praying for heroes like Thomas Doerflinger's family isn't a huge sacrifice for those of us privileged enough to live here in the U.S. Let's always work at being men & women of the same honor & integrity that Mr. Doerflinger was. Let's also remember to pray that there will always be an Iraqi Thomas Doerflinger available when courage matters most.
Ask Tom Daschle or John Kerry if the vote meant nothing. That Teddy Kennedy thinks that Democrats of his persuasion "speak for the majority of Americans" shows that Kennedy is either clueless or he's just lying to the reporters covering him.
"Iraq is George Bush's Vietnam," he added, elaborating in another speech yesterday that "the war in Iraq has become a war on the American occupation." This, on the eve of an election in which millions of Iraqis will risk their lives to create a new self-governing country (see above). He also called for a precipitous American pullout that coincides with the wishes of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, among others who are assassinating Iraqi democrats.
Meanwhile, back in the Senate, 12 Democrats & "independent" James Jeffords voted this week against Condoleezza Rice's nomination to become Secretary of State, & eight voted in committee against Alberto Gonzales to be Attorney General. Two of them, California's Barbara Boxer & Minnesota's Mark Dayton, didn't merely say they disagreed with Ms. Rice on Iraq but also called her a liar.
"I don't like to impugn anyone's integrity," Mr. Dayton said, "but I really don't like being lied to repeatedly, flagrantly, intentionally." He's apparently referring to the prewar claims of WMD stockpiles in Iraq that John Kerry, Bill & Hillary Clinton & everyone else in Washington once thought existed because Saddam Hussein had booted out U.N. inspectors & failed to obey 17 U.N. resolutions. It seems clear that, even so soon after the election, the Kennedy-Dayton Democrats are determined to be the antiwar, or maybe just the anti, party.
Mr. Dayton is speaking in Minnesota liberal code here. As a resident of Minnesota, let me interpret what he's really saying: "I don't like impugning anyone's integrity but I'm fighting for my political life & I've got to rally my lunatic base if I'm to have any chance at getting re-elected."
It's also obvious that not all Senate Democrats think this is the best way to behave, either for the country's sake or for their own prospects in 2006. Joe Lieberman seems to be one of the doubters, giving a passionate speech this week urging his colleagues to confirm Ms. Rice. We suspect others have similar qualms, but as a Democrat it's hard to speak up against the Kennedy-Dayton-Moveon.org desire to stand athwart history yelling "stop!"
As the new Senate leader, Mr. Reid is going to have to decide whose side he's on. From his days as minority whip, he knows that the Daschle strategy of fighting everything cost Democrats two seats in 2002 & four more last year. More broadly, Democrats have now lost three national elections in a row, the last two in part because of perceptions that they were weak on national security. Maybe it's time to try something else.
"Maybe it's time to try something else"??? But you haven't given Republicans a fillibuster proof yet. Don't abandon us yet. We've still got another goal to accomplish. Reactionary liberals cost their party 2 Senate seats in 2002, 4 Senate seats in 2004. Does that mean they'll cost their party 6 seats in 2006? We can only hope.
Democrats could even try to work with the White House to solve some problems, & get some credit for doing so. Certainly that strategy might help some individual Senators running for re-election to keep their seats. The Kennedy Democrats are betting that Iraq will become such a quagmire that they can safely run against the war & prosper in 2006 on a voter backlash. But even if they're right about Iraq, it's just as possible that voters won't want to reward Democrats who sound like they're cheerleading for America to fail.
You mean that Democrats might benefit from being seen as something other than blind obstructionists? What a concept. Let's hope they don't learn that until it's 2007.
Tom Daschle lost his majority & then his own career taking Ted Kennedy's advice. Democrats who want their party to succeed had better hope Harry Reid doesn't make the same mistake.
Ballots were given to people that didn't list an address? Ballots were given to people who "didn't provide a name"? HELLO! Shouldn't a ton of red flags have gone up at that point? If this an indication of the quality of Milwaukee's election officials, then they'd better totally revamp their office. Let's hope it isn't an indicator but it ain't looking good for the home team.
And among many other problems, 141 gave addresses later found to not be in the city. One of the cards provided to the newspaper shows a voter clearly listing "Wauwatosa" as her city of residence. Nevertheless, she received a ballot & voted in Milwaukee. It's possible she filled out the card wrong, listing a Wauwatosa address where her Milwaukee address should have been. The woman, whose phone is disconnected, couldn't be reached Thursday night.
She can't be reached? Shocking, I tell you, just shocking. Her phone's disconnected? I wonder why.
The new information shocked critics of the state's election laws & of how Milwaukee ran its election. Democrat John Kerry topped President Bush in Wisconsin by 11,384 votes, one of the narrowest margins in the nation. "The system is obviously failing in a major way," said state Rep. Jeff Stone (R-Greendale), who with nine other Republican lawmakers has also asked state auditors to review the Milwaukee election. "If the card isn't complete, they shouldn't be handed a ballot."
Mr. Stone is right on the money. It's only common sense, a surefire sign of a Republican. Lord knows common sense isn't in overabundance in the Democratic Party.
In addition to the cards that couldn't be processed, city officials have had nearly 2,800 verification cards, out of 73,079 sent out, returned as undeliverable. State law requires those be submitted to the district attorney's office. That number is higher than the 1,200 invalid addresses found by the Journal Sentinel, because the newspaper's review didn't cover apartment buildings, due to problems in how the addresses appear in data bases.
Here's another shocking statistic: Almost 4 percent of the voter cards sent out "returned as undeliverable." Let's hope they catch the people who perpetrated this fraud. They deserve to lose their right to vote & be thrown into prison for a decade at minimum. People that work to tilt an election are positively evil & deserve to pay dearly for this act of evil. Voting is one of the most precious of our rights as Americans.
Furthermore, Milwaukee officials must radically reform the voter registration process or else they need to be shown the door.
Lisa Artison, executive director of the city's Election Commission, said "layer upon layer" of human error likely is to blame for the problems, which came as election workers faced a crush of voters, tens of thousands of whom registered at the polls. "Obviously, our goal is to serve the voters as effectively as possible," Artison said. "With an election of this magnitude, there are going to be mistakes, & we're working to correct them." Mayor Tom Barrett reiterated his confidence in Artison & pledged that the process will be improved.
Ms. Artison, we appreciate your working to correct your mistakes but wouldn't it be better if you didn't make the mistakes in the first place? Mr. Barrett, what do you base your confidence in Ms. Artison? Or are you just trying to not pile on?
"We will look at all options to see what we can do," said Barrett, who was elected in April. "Obviously, it's a system I inherited." Barrett said the problems didn't shake his belief that voters shouldn't face a requirement to show a photo identification card at the polls before getting a ballot. He said the requirement would be a burden on some voters, particularly the elderly.
It's a burden to show a photo identification that you are who you are? Mr. Barrett better get things figured out. How else will we ever have elections of integrity?
Stone & Sen. Joe Leibham (R-Sheboygan) soon are expected to introduce a photo ID bill, something Gov. Jim Doyle opposes & likely would veto.
I don't know much about Gov. Doyle but if he'd veto common sense legislation like that, then Wisconsin had better vote him out in 2006 & do it resoundingly. Let's hope that Wisconsin's Republicans force this sensitive issue.
Such a requirement may not have prevented the problems surrounding Milwaukee's registration cards, all of which, if current law was followed, should've come from people who provided identification. Nevertheless, the 1,305 cards that couldn't be processed suggest a major breakdown in the system, which is meant to capture names & addresses of everyone who votes.
For instance, 236 cards had missing or incomplete dates of birth, so the person can't be identified fully. In nearly two dozen cases, the cards were deemed illegible. On 155 of the cards, the voter got a ballot even though the card didn't list a voter number, a key step in reconciling poll-site logs to the number of votes cast.
That 236 voter cards either didn't have a date of birth on it or had an incomplete date of birth is beyond troubling. It's time that tighter controls are established, not just in Wisconsin but nation-wide. Washington state might benefit from tighter controls, too. The bottom line, though, is having honest people in the positions of accountability.
Indeed, the release of the actual number of cards that couldn't be processed in many ways deepened concerns about the gap between ballots and voters. In Milwaukee, 277,535 ballots were cast in the Nov. 2 election. The city's own election records show only 269,212 people as having voted, however. That gap of about 8,300 appeared to represent the number of same-day registration cards that couldn't be processed. The number originally had been put at more than 10,000, based on estimates the city sent to the state. If only about 1,300 cards couldn't be processed, that still leaves a gap of about 7,000.
When will these people learn that making it easy for people to vote is equivalent to making it easy to commit voter fraud? The "Count every vote" mantra must end & end soon. If that mantra isn't defeated soundly & soon, then elections won't mean anything. That'd be a great tragedy.
In reality, though, the gap is larger. The newspaper has found hundreds of cases where the same person is listed as voting twice, something officials attribute to a computer "glitch" when their information was entered into the city's computer system. Asked what could account for the remaining gap, Artison said there are many possibilities. Among them: Clerks who, after the election, scanned voter log books from the city's 312 wards may have missed some bar codes that are used to track each voter.
"There's a huge window for human error," said Artison. "They might miss a page. They might miss several pages. And there's a margin for human error at the polling places."
Milwaukee Ald. Mike D'Amato said, despite the recent criticism, he thought the city election was conducted well.
He noted the 1,200 votes from invalid addresses found by the newspaper represented about 0.4% of the total votes cast. D'Amato said the investigation by McCann & Biskupic was prompted by partisan complaints. "The problems are a function of the openness of our system & exist statewide," he said. "Yet they continue to attack Milwaukee."
Alderman D'Amato thinks that this investigation is only about "partisan complaints"? Might it be because McCann & Biskupic think this might be a grave matter because it's about the attempted theft of our most precious civil right? Might they be trying to improve a hopelessly flawed system?
In response to the newspaper's request to see the cards, the city provided what it termed a random sample of 50 of them,& has agreed to provide copies of the rest. Of the 50, 20 had no address listed for the voter who received a ballot. It's possible the person provided ID but did not completely fill out the card. However, the lack of address makes it difficult to verify if the voter was eligible.
I know that it was just a random sampling of voter registration cards but 20 out of 50 cards having errors isn't just significant, it's alarming.
Nine of the cards showed addresses outside the city. It's possible a person's identification card shows a "Milwaukee" address, even if the address is in the suburbs. The address would then have been rejected when entered into the computers, which kick out those outside the "address range" for the city. It's unclear whether these people voted in other communities in addition to Milwaukee.
Milwaukee election officials should look into that. It's yet another example of just how flawed their election system is. It's embarassing to think this system is this flawed.
Journal Sentinel reporters Tom Kertscher & Gina Barton contributed to this report.
Isn't it great knowing that the 'Loyal Opposition' is focused on fixing Social Security for another generation? This news just makes me feel good all over.
Under a plan recommended to Bush, the private accounts would resemble many company-sponsored retirement plans, with just a handful of investment options. By default, workers would be enrolled in a "life cycle" account, in which investments become more conservative as investors age, if they don’t choose one of the other options, according to two officials speaking on condition of anonymity.
A number of investment firms have this type of account & it's a solid idea. Typically, younger workers are more willing to take more risks with their money than people nearing retirement age. That doesn't mean they're willing to accept any risk but it's a good rule of thumb. As you near retirement age, however, people will accept a smaller return on their money for a more reliable, fixed-rate yield.
On Friday, Senate Democrats were to hold a session aimed at showcasing the problems with Bush's overall plan to let workers divert a portion of their Social Security taxes into individual accounts that could be invested in the stock market. Among those testifying before the panel were a pair of workers from the Social Security Administration complaining that the employees are being used for political purposes to sell the Bush plan to the public.
"The president is certainly going to use his megaphone to convince people this is a crisis, & he's dead wrong on that," said Sen. Byron Dorgan, (D-ND), chairman of the Democratic Policy Committee, which works to promote party policies on the Senate floor & is sponsoring Friday's session. "We have to make the case that he's wrong." Also Friday, Bush was scheduled to speak to congressional Republicans at a retreat outside of Washington on Social Security & other issues. Bush met last week with his Social Security advisers working to write a legislative plan. They briefed him on issues they’d resolved among themselves as well as options in areas where there was no consensus.
It's true that President Bush initially characterized Social Security reform as a crisis but he's backed off that terminology a long time ago. He's recently called it a problem. Nonetheless, Democrats are bracing for a fight with their best demagogic lines already showing.
Yet to be decided are several big questions, including how large the private accounts should be, how much guaranteed benefits would be cut & how to pay as much as $2 trillion needed in the first 10 years to effect the transition to a new system.
In devising a structure for the private accounts, the Bush administration is modeling its proposal after the Thrift Savings Plan, a tax-deferred retirement investment plan similar to a 401(k). The idea is to minimize risk for people at the outset by offering as few as three to five diversified investment funds. Bush said in December that his plan would make sure people couldn’t invest "in a frivolous fashion." Under the Thrift Savings Plan, federal workers have five investment options, including government & corporate bond funds, a stock fund that tracks the S&P 500, an international fund & other stock funds.
The Thrift Savings Plan, or TSP, was adopted over a decade ago & has produced solid rates of return since its inception. The choices are limited, initially starting with only 2 options. Now it affords workers 5 options, all of which are producing solid rates of return.
Under the emerging Bush plan for Social Security, the default investment would be a "life cycle" account. It’d start with investments that have greater potential for both risk & reward & shift to safer bonds as a worker ages, officials in & outside the administration said. The government would be responsible for keeping track of how much money is in each worker's account & give the lump sums to a financial services company to invest, a mechanism aimed at keeping administrative fees low, they said.
Democrats were planning on using the corporate profits through administration fees argument. According to this information, that'll easily get swatted aside. Kudlow & Cramer have run several segments on Social Security reform & this is an argument that one of their experts made favoring a TSP-like system.
That’d mean only a limited profit potential for Wall Street. More money might be available for industry if a second tier of investments were permitted. Under this model, once a worker's account reached a certain level, he or she could choose from a broader range of investment options. Any number of mutual funds could be approved for investment at this stage.
This second tier of investment was recommended by Bush's 2001 Social Security commission after the initial accounts top $5,000, & this idea is part of several bills pending on Capitol Hill. But no decisions have been made about whether to allow a second tier, one administration official said.