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Sunday, August 31, 2008

Why McCain chose Sarah Palin?

Vote for John McCain or else!

G.I. Jane?
Will Guido Fawkes use this for his Friday Caption Competition?
That looks like you've been supplied with that pic from Theo Spark!
Do any of you have a serious point here? If so, explain it. Then I will show how ignorant you all r. (Tongue in cheek, so don't trip and break a leg running out to buy a gun to shoot me with.)

An ignorant stupid American
... and for this 'debate' I will use a "consistent on-line identity"; to wit: "An ignorant stupid American", in line with Peter Black's rules (not that Peter recommended this 'handle'). And before anyone thinks I have it in for Peter, you are flat our wrong. I think Peter Black is one of the best, if not THE best, politician in Wales. I wish he was running for the Welsh Lib Dem leadership position, but he has ruled himself out.

But here is an opportunity for u all to debate with an ignorant stupid American. Let's see your arguments measure up against an American moron - a rain check if you will.

But be advised, this ignorant stupid American has no truck with misogynistic comments - so be careful about that.

"Additional": I've visited the Knox College, the site of one of the great Lincoln-Douglas Debates of 1858. Got the personal tour. Not bad for an ignorant stupid American.
Instead of ridiculous cheap shots like this. I rather see more constructive criticism. She does have some appeal to the majority of middle America (who vote) as opposed to Biden who is seen as a relic from the age of corruption in congress. Yes Obama is popular here with Spanish-Americans (I have never heard one describe themselves as Hispanic or Latin, yes Mexican) problem with that is they cannot vote (either because they are residents or illegal).
If we didnt have the occasional cheap shot then where would be the fun? I do not want to get into who Sarah Palin does and does not appeal to. I am sure that will be settled in November. However, my understanding was that the Hispanic vote was one which Obama had problems attracting. Furthermore to characterise them all as either non-resident or illegal is breathtakingly sweeping. Remember that 28.1 million Americans speak Spanish and those are official census figures.
I remember walking up South Upper Wacker Drive in Chicago and there was a group of Hispanic demonstrators with banners that read "Amigos for Bush". I gathered President Bush (Junior) was in town to give a speech. It was such a fantastic sight, they were chanting in Spanish. President Bush is a fluent Spanish speaker. President Bush’s brother (Jeb Bush) is married to a Hispanic lady and one of his sons is being tipped as a future Hispanic President.

I picked a Chicago law school in part because of its diversity. I sat next to Hispanic law students four nights a week (some day classes too), so I really do understand just how vital the Hispanic community is to the USA. The Hispanic community is a VERY hard working and family loving community. In my spare time I am learning Spanish, which according to some assessments will be more widely spoken than English in just a few decades.

Morgan Hen (Morgan the old) is quite right in his observations of Biden - I have heard Biden speak, he is gaff prone, in one speech (not one I heard directly) Biden actually plagarized someone else's speech (Neil Kinnock's speech). A no-no; on information and belief this cost Biden his then run for the US Presidential nomination. Biden is old-DC-town politic - establishment politic - that Obama picked him as his 'VEEP' demonstrates several things about how Obama sees his chances of winning against McCain.

An ignorant stupid American
mcCain's selection of palin as his vice p shows there will be no change from the vote stealer bush and his deeply reactinary policies.

Policies that have resulted in the greatest divide between rich and poor in america since before the wall street crash. Policies that have seen an illegal war in iraq and resulted in a presidency that is a puppet of american big business - in particular the oil industry!

Forget the phoney rhetoric about palin representing something 'new' or 'progressive' even about republicans - palin is as right wing as they come! Pro guns, pro iraq war, anti- gay, anti abortion, pro huge tax cuts for the super rich and pro the oil industry and its degradation of alaska' environment!

Her selection is clear proof of obama's claim that that there will be no change between bush and a mcCain presidency, should this latest mouthpiece of corporate america manage to steal the election as his predessor undeniably did on no less than two occassions

As for the malicious attacks on joseph biden i challenge these accuser's to present any evidence to support the claims of 'corruption'? So far as im aware biden is a deeply respected, hard working and well liked political figure in america - his travelling to work by public transport each day a resulting in him earning a 'man of the people' tag.

But we ned to be aware that the lavishly funded and shady organisation 'republicans abroad' are currently engaged in a smear opearion on the obama ticket - thus all of us who hope this year's US election will be a fair and honest one need to be vigilant in dealing with obvious smears of this kind!

Those familiar with Facebook may have come across the political compass; while all of my facebook friends are Left wing Libertarians (I'm quite close to Ghandi); and are in the bottom Left Box.

All of the American Candidates for the Whitehouse were in the Top Right box (Right wing Authoritarian)with the exception of Ralph Neder (Ind), Dennis Kucinich (D) & Mike Gravel (D)


Unfortunately, Palin (Sarah rather than Michael) doesn't appear on this graph. Although I would agree with Leigh's analysis of Palin that she's right wing, anti-gay, anti-abortion, pro-gun, pro-war, pro-death penalty, anti-UN and is about as environmentally friendly as Agent Orange.

G. Lewis
Bridgend Lib Dems
I honestly haven’t heard that Biden is mixed up with corruption; I believe Biden is a nice man, has overcome many obstacles and has many achievements to his credit. But it is also well known that he ripped off Neil Kinnock’s speech which he passed off as his own. Should he be forgiven for that? Many would agree that this is something that can be overlooked. Biden has had real tragedy in his life, and to his credit he didn’t hit the bottle and bottle out, but soldiered on and built a strong family unit – something that Americans can look up to and admire, and I believe most do. Americans see that as a good omen.

But it is true that Biden is up to his armpits with lobbyists. Nothing per se bad about that, but it kind of conflicts with Obama’s professed anti-lobbyist philosophy. It’s well known that one of Biden’s sons trades off his father’s deep connections in DC. But again, such facts don’t make Biden corrupt, but do raise the question about why Obama picked Biden given Obama’s much publicized distaste for ‘old time politics”.

As to the accusation that Palin is anti-gay, Palin has campaigned for benefits for gay couples in her own administration, but she is against gay marriage.

I agree that Palin is against abortion but then so are many Americans who will decide who is the next US President/VP on 4th November.

As far as smears go, Obama’s people were very quick to go negative on Palin. According to the Obama camp, Palin was a woman from small town America with no valuable achievements to her credit. Never mind she was a hard working mom, who made Governor of the largest state in the union, who was a commercial fish operator, a husband who also worked in a non-management job in the Alaskan oil industry etc.

Yes, Palin is pro-gun rights – but so is the US Constitution! I guess very few of you understand the culture behind being ‘pro-gun’. It came about because of historic reasons. It’s not per se about owning a gun to kill someone; but rather owning a gun for hunting and/or protecting one’s family, and/or the people from an overbearing state. It’s a spin-off of who America was built.

In Palin’s case it is probably more about hunting – she grew up in Alaska which is teaming with wildlife. If you know any Alaskans you would know how very concerned they are about Alaskan wildlife. Alaska is HUGE and many Alaskans shoot to put meat on the table and like hunters in other parts of the USA they want their wildlife to be protected. Brits who go to supermarkets to buy their meat will find that strange – to go out and kill one’s lunch. But that is a way of life for many who grew up in Alaska and other states where hunting is a way of life. But hunters are invariably very pro-animal and pro-environment protection for obvious reasons.

As to being anti-UN – I didn’t know Palin was anti-UN, but many politicians are leaning towards setting up a new league of nations, one that is not so hamstrung as the UN appears to be. So nothing really new there and many Americans are sick to the back teeth with what they perceive as corruption at the heart of the UN. Many Americans are aware that the UN often calls on America to provide logistics and heavy lift capacity in relief programs which Americans are happy to pay for out of their taxes, but their patience is wearing thin when they hear about UN corruption and what many Americans perceive as constant drip-drip attempts at criticizing the USA while ignoring gross human rights violations by member states. It gets to a point where many Americans say, “screw it” leave the UN. So yes, there are many Americans who feel driven to think that way.

To his credit Obama corrected his campaign staff’s trigger response to Palin … “He (Obama) told her she would be a terrific candidate and that he looked forward to seeing her on the campaign trail. He also wished her good luck, but not too much luck." (ABC news.)

I think Americans want to see a fair fight and will look with disdain at too much negative campaigning. But they will expect anything that raises legitimate questions to be raised. It’s all part and parcel for electing the next leader of the United States of America.
OK, perhaps Palin isn't as anti-gay as people may thing, although she doesn't believe in marriages.

Vast majority of American's don't like the UN, so chances are that she's anti-UN.

What's Palin's views on the Death Penalty? Ditto what's her view on the War in Iraq? How Green is she?

G. Lewis
Bridgend Lib Dems
There was a recent CNBC re-broadcast of an interview with Pallin recorded some time before Palin got the VEEP nod. Palin said (relying on memory so paraphrasing here, I hope I'm not misquoting her) something like: she didn't want America to fight wars over oil when American has its own oil waiting to be drilled. Also, that drilling for oil in the USA means high quality good paying jobs for Americans instead of spending hundreds of billions of dollars buying oil from overseas suppliers and thus exporting jobs out of the USA.
Presumably that is a reference to the controversy about drilling for oil in the Alaskan tundra. Not a particularly green stance.
The UK drilled for oil off-shore, in it's fishing grounds, a major UK food source no less, and the USA did not seek to criticize the UK on exploiting its own oil reserves.

New horizontal drilling technology means far fewer vertical drills - if I recall what Palin said in that CNBC interview, Two million acres of oil land, but will mean only 2,000 acres taken up with a drilling compound because they can drill out horizontally to the underground oil. My comment: 2*10 to the three over 2*10 to the six = 0.001:1 ratio or 0.1% of land coverage. The impact on wild-life in Alaska would be very low.

Europe buys oil from Russia which extracts oil from various parts including its tundra areas - yet the EU buys that oil. But if it comes from US tundra, oh brother - that is so wrong. Yet Canada - which lies next to Alaska, extracts oil, drills for minerals in its tundra - even from sands (oil sand) which makes for the dirtiest kind of extraction - but the USA should not drill pump and drill its own oil. What strange unfathomable UK/EU logic. Isn't it strange that the EU is now so stuck on Russia supplying it with oil and methane gas?

Alaska has huge methane gas reserves - so it's OK for the UK to extract methane as it has done for some years now from its fishing grounds, but it is so wrong that America drill off shore.

PS I noticed someone refer to Palin as being green. Would anyone use that term so quickly against the Welsh First Minister? Palin is the elected leader with an 80% approval rating in charge of a state much larger than Wales; she is the first female governor of Alaska and now the first Republican VP prospective nominee. On information and belief Palin is the first female Mayor of her town, she’s a mom to several children. Her background is very modest, her husband a union member, a non-management worker, part Inuit. So now the belittling of this woman’s achievements has started. I hope Palin breaks what some have described as the ultimate glass ceiling, the White House. I hope she runs in 2012 against Hillary Clinton, what a contest that will be. Two great women, two fine role models, two great achievers; God Bless them both and God Bless America.
I was not seeking to judge America, just refer to what I thought was a current controversy over there in which I believe those on the side of extracting oil have been branded as anti-green. I may have misunderstood.
You are doing an excellent job here Peter - so please do keep on posing such questions as it helps to clarify and clear up confusions about things British-American. As someone else wrote, debate and ideas contribute to the great market place of ideas, and someone else (I think it was the British PM Winston Churchill) who said something like "It is far better to jaw jaw than war war". I would add that it is far better to get misunderstandings and misinterpretations ‘sorted’ (in London cockney) than carry on thinking wrong stuff based on misconceived interpretations. Two great nations, two great peoples, brother nations, UK/USA.
PS Canada is the number one supplier of oil to the USA. Alaska and Canada are next to each other; to get to Alaska by land from the closest US state to Alaska (which I believe is Washington State) requires a long journey through the west side of Canada. Why? Because Alaska borders the east side of Canada, not the USA. Interestingly, Alaska is the closest US state to Russian's oil rich tundra areas - in fact Russia has moose just like Alaska and Russian drills and extracts oil from areas that include areas where Moose roam. So again, why pick especially on Alaska when Canada (and Russia) drills and extracts oil from their tundra areas and the EU says very little about that. Again: Canada is the #1 supplier of oil to the USA, why straight jacket Alaska, which despite its size is smaller than Canada. Also, Canada is the #1 supplier of wood to America, if you visit America you will notice that many American households are made from wood, much of it imported from logging operations in Canada - not much said about that. Similarly, Canada mines minerals and ore on a vast scale in its colder regions - there's actually a TV program on the truckers who supply the Canadian mining operations in Canada's artic regions of the Northwestern Territories. See, e.g.,
Good bit of political debate going on here, excellent keep it up.

I'm under the impression that the majority of UK citizens haven't heard of Palin (except the Michael variety of Monty Python fame) and I'm sure there's a majority who aren't aware who the running mate for Obama is either.

I'm probably going out on a limb here, but I really don't think the majority of US voters want a Coloured (or should that be Colored) President. I really believe America isn't ready for this, ditto I don't think America is ready for a woman President either.

I'm making a prediction here that McCain will be the next US President, and if people consider his age, and the fact that he's had a hard life being a PoW there is a chance that he could die in office. This would mean the Vice President will be in charge, namely Palin. So I think it is important that we do know what Palin is like, and her stances are on things like the environment, war in Iraq, economic policy, etc.

I was over in the United States in March this year, San Francisco for 10 days, then a few days in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, friends of ours came to see us in Boston on our last day and we went out for a meal, they were surprises how our previous Prime Minister, Tony Blair was sucking up to George W Bush. They really didn’t have much time for either of them.

Regarding “an ignorant stupid American” comments about the UK purchasing oil and gas for Russia, yes we do, and yes it isn’t very green. Following the sabre rattling that’s gone on following the Russian invasion of parts of Georgia, the Russians have threatened to turn the taps off, so yes it’s having an effect on the UK economy.

Peter has been a great campaigner on the subject of Fuel Poverty (defined as having 10% of more of your household income spent on fuel to cook, heat and light ones home). We are seeing more and more people falling into Fuel Poverty, our percentage rises in the cost of gas and electricity have been double digit percentage rises over the past couple of years. All but one of our energy suppliers are owned by foreign companies. Strangely enough our Welsh Assembly Government isn’t in much of a rush to publish Fuel Poverty figures by Unitary Authority Ward.

Regarding “an ignorant stupid American” comments about hunting and fishing, we Welsh engage in a cull of our old people every winter, due to the aforementioned fuel poverty, and old people not being able to heat their homes, more old people die in the Winter months compared to the Summer Months; the figures are quite substantial and something of a national disgrace.

G. Lewis
Bridgend Lib Dems
Peter. Sorry I should have clarified my remarks. I was talking about Spanish-Americans in Dodge City who make up about 70% of the population (though the last census apprently says 30%) They tend to favor Obama, but cannot vote.Nobody more than I sympathise with the migrants here they work hard.
G, I don't agree with your remarks on whether America is not ready for a woman or "Colored" president. I believe that Colin Powell would have won in 96 if he had agreed to run.
Morgan - only time will tell on that one; we will find out in November. I'm sticking to my prediction.

G. Lewis> so there’s at least one Brit who realizes that Europe (UK included) buys whapping loads of oil and gas from Russia which is not exactly known to operate green oil/gas extraction methods.

Also, the UK (and Norway) extracts oil from a major fishing area (North Sea), and the UK is exploring for oil at other places off its shores. I don’t hear Americans complain about that either. The UK has every right to look for oil and gas around the UK.

Canada is tapping its natural resources far more than Alaska – and Canada borders Alaska – much of the mineral and oil/gas exploration/drilling is taking place in its remote areas. Moose don’t stop wandering at the Alaskan/Canada border – they walk across in either direction. Yet while Canada is free to tap even less-than-green tar oil/gas America is heavily criticized for talking about doing the same. Alaska is huge, but Canada is HUGE.

It seems very few Europeans know that Canada has vast oil/gas reserves and is tapping them, including its oil tar deposits and runs ‘no end’ of minex drilling operations in its vast arctic regions. Polar bears don’t recognize the Alaska-Canadian border either, polar bears roam around in the Canada’s arctic polar region too, which cover more ground than Alaska’s polar region. But wow, Alaska MUST NOT exploit its methane reserves – even though the EU imports vast amounts of methane and oil from Russia, which runs oil/gas/minex operations in its arctic region.

UK households have been running on methane (natural gas) along with some of its power stations – running on methane from its fishing grounds – but Brits don’t have a problem with that, but America shouldn’t do that because it is ‘wrong’.

Obama has now said he agrees with Palin that Alaska should be allowed (finally) to build a pipeline to make its huge methane deposits available to the rest of America perhaps by routing a pipeline into Canada and thence onto America – perhaps via Canada to Washington State, but I’m not sure. The thing though is, methane often comes with oil, i.e., the methane natural gas often has to be separated from the oil. I wonder if Obama realizes that. In the UK’s North Sea operations oil/methane separation used to be an issue – methane drawn up by the North Sea rigs was burnt off until kit was installed to process the gas and send it to the UK mainland. It’s a dangerous business for sure – I did a PhD in Chemistry in Scotland and read about the earlier the Alpha-Piper methane gas explosion which was massive and caused massive loss of lives – more specifically, I read that many of the lost souls were from Scotland.

Brits are probably unaware that oil from Canada comes to America through a pipeline network from … wait for it … from Canada into America. So it kind of makes sense for Alaska to work with the Canadians.

Again, if anyone cares to check, America’s number one supplier of oil is in fact Canada. Saudia Arabia is second, Mexico third; I think (but need to check) that Venezuela is fourth and Iraq fifth. So, the argument that the only reason America went to war in Iraq solely because of oil needs raises questions as to truthfulness since Iraq is not the #1 (that’s Canada) or #2 or #3 supplier of oil to the USA, Canada is America’s #1 supplier of oil and has been for quiet some time. I would not be surprised if I read that the EU was sourcing about as much oil from Iraq as the USA.

Now let’s not forget that the picture that Peter put up showing Palin holding a gun is not a misrepresentation of Palin. Even while a kid Palin used to go out hunting – helped her father bring meat home for her family. That’s what its like in some parts of Alaska, away from the larger towns. Folks living in the smaller Alaskan communities hunt and they bring home what they kill. Brits like to buy their meat in neat packages in neat supermarkets. But what’s the difference – one is a package of meat from an animal often kept in restricted conditions in contrast to meat obtained from animals living in nature.
OK G We will see. I personally believe that if McCain wins, it will be probably more to do with him, than his color or gender.

Leigh of Swansea, you really need to take a reality check, and cut back on the Michael Moore movies. Whatever happened in 2000 is history. Its fact that Gore should have won by a large majority considering that the economy was so good. In fact,for Al Gore it should have been a "cake walk" to the White house.Gore advantage over Bush was just over 1% (Yes he did have the majority of the popular vote, but not of the seats on the electoral college)He only carried 20 states, whilst Bush carried 30. just do the math.
I agree with Morgan Hen; Gore should have won hands down, but he didn't. He didn't even win his home state, had he done so, FL (Florida) wouldn't have mattered. That is, if Gore had even won his home state FL would have been rendered moot and Gore-Lieberman would have been the P and VP instead of Bush and Cheney. .

PS A gambling man might expect a wee bump for the McCain-Palin ticket especially in view of Lieberman’s great speech - what a strange thing to happen, Joe Lieberman (JL) was Al Gore's VEEP (VP) running mate against Bush and Cheney back in hmmmm ... must have been 2000, and there was JL giving a speech at the Republican/GOP convention in St. Paul in Minnesota (MN); locals in MN pronounce their state name something like "Minnesoda" with a play on the 'o' Minnesooda.
I agree with Morgan Hen; Gore should have won hands down, but he didn't. He didn't even win his home state, had he done so, FL (Florida) wouldn't have mattered. That is, if Gore had even won his home state FL would have been rendered moot and Gore-Lieberman would have been the P and VP instead of Bush and Cheney. .

PS A gambling man might expect a wee bump for the McCain-Palin ticket especially in view of Lieberman’s great speech - what a strange thing to happen, Joe Lieberman (JL) was Al Gore's VEEP (VP) running mate against Bush and Cheney back in hmmmm ... must have been 2000, and there was JL giving a speech at the Republican/GOP convention in St. Paul in Minnesota (MN); locals in MN pronounce their state name something like "Minnesoda" with a play on the 'o' Minnesooda.
if anyone needs to take a 'reality check' it is our 'republican' supporting contributors here.

Though one of them claims to be american they seem unaware that US presidential elections are determined by an electoral college, where the delegates from each state decide who wins the presidency! How many states a candidate wins or doesnt win are immaterial! What matters are electoral college votes!

Gore won florida! That has been established beyond a doubt in recounts that have taken place of the state's votes (that is without going into the matter of thousands of gore voters being wrongly removed from the register's by george's brother jeb in the period before the election) this is not an incidental matter - if the republican appointed nominees on the supreme court had not stopped the florida recount gore would have won and george bush would have gone back to making sure texas is the most polluted state in the US.

But guess what the same thing happened to Kerry in 2004 - except this time vote rigging occured in ohio as well as jeb bush's florida.
So there you have it - two US elections won by the republicans in 2000 and 2004 and two effectively stolen!
apologies peter for not signing that last post bout apparent vote rigging by the republicans in the us elections of 2000 and 2004 - was no intention to conceal my identity.

Typing fast, so excuse typos ...

At least in the USA the people get a chance at voting for their national leader. Contrast that with mother Parliament in London and you see an upper house that is largely unelected by the people of the UK, a PM that is not elected directly by the people. EU laws imposed on Brits without Brits having a vote on them.

The British PM is always the leader of the majority party (contrast that with the US system of elections), the Lords (verses elected Senators in the US) who are not elected by the British people. It's no wonder that the wishes of the people in the UK are so often ignored by the House of Lords (upper house Parliament, London). When was the last time you voted for a member of the House of Lords? When was the last time a British person voted directly for their PM? Last year? In the last decade? In the last 50 years?

So if it wasn't FL that was robbed it must have been OH where the votes were rigged in favour of Bush. At least in the upcoming November election no one can argue that the election was fixed to get Bush re-elected.

The truth is, had Gore won in his home state he would have been president and Lieberman vice president. Instead, Gore lost and Lieberman gave a great speech last night at the GOP convention in St. Paul, MN.

Think about that, last night Gore's running mate asked Democrats to vote for McCain. Wow.

The Democrats now control both the upper and lower houses (Senate and the House of Representatives), so they are not doing so badly.

It seems to me that American voters don't like having Congress and the Presidency controlled by one party. It does happen, but there tends to be one party in control of Congress and another party in control of the White House - kind of suits the 'checks and balances" theme reflected by the founding fathers and so neatly defined in the United States Constitution. Has the UK got a written constitution? On information and belief it sort of has one via a form of the Lisbon Treaty even though voters in Ireland rejected it, and even though Brits (if they were allowed to vote on it) would likely reject it. British voters can't vote for their PM, were blocked from voting on the Lisbon Treaty, don't get a set national election time (you have to wait for Gordon Brown to decide the date albeit within a five year period - is it 5 years - someone please correct me); can't vote for the members who sit in the House of Lords the members of whom can sit their for life without having to face the British electorate - when was the last time a British voter voted for the head members in the House of Lords? Can anyone tell me?

Bit like Alaska shouldn't drill for its own natural gas while the UK extracts natural gas and oil from its fishing grounds, while its OK for Canada to drill in its polar region, while its OK for the EU to buy gas and oil from Russia which drills in its arctic polar region ... it's "Oh, so wrong" that Bush got elected twice and there must be something wrong if McCain wins, and somehow stupid Bush managed to outfox the Democrats by swinging the votes in Ohio last time round ... but hardly a peep recognizing that in the UK the British voters don't vote for the members in the House of Lords, don't directly vote for their President (PM), have to wait for the PM of the day to pick an election date, etc.
Well, well, well, the ISA (ignorant stupid American) has spotted some major flaws in our electoral systems (we had noticed).

To recap, ISA noticed that we have an unelected Upper House (House of Lords); until recently, being able to sit in the Upper House was handed down like some family relic, which goes to the eldest son, the transformation has been far too slow for my liking!

We had noticed that we don’t elect our Prime Minister, or in the case of Tony Blair Mr President! ISA will probably not be aware of the mechanism for electing the leader of each of the political parties differs, the Trade Unions still have a big say on who becomes leader of the Labour Party, I understand that it’s the Tory MPs who elect the leader of the Conservative Party, not its grass roots members. Lib Dems, its one member one vote and the elections are Single Transferable Vote not First Past The Post.

Our constitution isn’t worth the paper is ISN’T written on!

Our parliamentary terms aren’t set, the PM can go to the country when s/he sees fit, within a Five year term.

The monarchy can turn around and say, that she doesn’t want the Leader of the Political Party in power to be Prime Minister and ask for another MP to come forward. (Not many people know that, not just ignorant stupid American’s).

Our Local Authorities Elections are fundamentally flawed; the party or parties that can make up the most Councillors get to control the Council. Each County (the Council represents the County) is divided up into Wards, the boundaries are based on things like railway (Railroad) lines, rivers & streams, Roman roads etc. Wards may have a number of councillors in them, some just have one Councillor to represent them, and others have four or five councillors representing them. Councillors are elected on the First Past the Post system, this is perfectly fine when there are just two parties contesting the seats in a given ward, but when you have a menagerie of parties running for just one or two seats, more people vote against the winning Councillors than for them.

Attempts were made back in June 2002 with the publishing of the Sunderland Commission on Local Authority elections in Wales, which proposed amongst other things the introduction of Single Transferable Votes (STV); however our own Welsh Assembly Government chose to ignore these recommendations.

We now have the situation with Bridgend CBC (County Borough Council), where Labour has control of the Council with just 42% of the votes cast. In Neath Port Talbot CBC, Labour has 58% of the seats with just 49% of the votes cast.

Often these Councils have their meetings during the hours of 9 to 5 (more likely to be 10 to 4), which precludes a large majority of working people, and that is why the demographics of Councillors is made up of older people usually male.

To use American terminology – “It Sucks!”

G. Lewis
Bridgend Lib Dems
'ignorant american' completely contradicts themself when stating that in the US people get the chance to elect their national leader! As the whole point about the disgraceful events in florida in 2000 and then again florida and ohio in 2004 was that many thousands of people DID NOT get the chance to vote for their national leader, and that if they had the democrats would have won both of those elections!

While leiberman is no longer a democrat - literally as well as politically - as he went off in a huff like a spoilt child when he wasnt selected by his local party. While it is certainly worth noting that republican heroe ike eisenhower's grand daughter was in denver last week supporting obama!

It's only a contradiction if there were truly voting irregularities. In the 2004 election that returned Bush to the Whitehouse the votes were not as close as in 2000.

I've lived in the USA some ten years now, and voted in the last Presidential election, I have yet to meet anyone who was unable to vote. All you do is go to the voting station allocated to you in your local area.

But the constant moan is that there were voters who couldn't vote in the Presidential Elections, yet at the same voting booths you also picked the two Senators you wanted for your state and who you want to represent you in the local area.

People are forgetting something quite critical - in the last election cycle the Democrats did better than the Republicans in terms of seats in the Senate and House of Representatives. More Democrats won seats in both houses than Republicans - using the same voting stations.

When I voted no one I saw was wearing a flashing message telling the world how they were going to vote - so stopping people voting just doesn't make sense as both Republican and Democratic voters would be blocked. So I don't understand how this was done on the ground? My state had a change in its Senators, a Democrat won over the incumbent Republican Senator - so again, how would this have happened if the Republicans were somehow blocking Democrats from voting - it doesn't make sense on the ground.

Of course there are Brits who have never entered a voting station in the USA and caste a vote, but who know better! And are willing to believe what they read without first engaging brain. Again, how can anyone know how a voter is going to vote until he/she actually casts their votes at a voting station? The truth is no one knows – because no one sees you actually caste your vote. No one was looking over my shoulder, I could tell a pollster outside the voting station that I voted this way, and tell another that I voted a different way, neither would know, that’s how votes are done here, no one looks over your shoulder, so exit polls are frequently off, people say they are going to vote Obama because they don’t’ want to be perceived as racist, but intend to vote for McCain. I actually know a die-hard Republican vote for Obama in the primary to, in his words, “Make sure Hillary isn’t going to win the nomination for the Democrats” – crazy stuff or what! But it happens here, because folks can vote what way they like.

This story belongs with the conspiracy theories that clearly state a US cruise missile was what was flown into the Pentagon on 9/11 and Bush carried out a controlled demolition of the WTC buildings. Quite stupid - particularly when one looks at the practical problems for Bush doing such a thing. But hey, if you want to believe without engaging one's brain, your choice.

I notice you didn't explain to me why you can't vote for the Lordships who sit in your Upper House (House of Lords), likewise, no explanation as to why you can't vote directly for your national leader - impossibility in the UK. But hey, America has a trash democratic system even though the people decide who sits in the Senate verses the non-elected members of the House of Lords who are appointed, not elected.

Hey, call me a stupid ignorant American but the hypocrisy here is stunning.
G. Lewis> Sorry, I missed your excellent post, very logical and well thought out. You make so many good points. Glad to see that someone engages brain before mouthing off ludicrous comments on how voters were stopped voting in the last US national election never mind more Democrats won (re: Congress- Senate and House of Representatives).

While some Brits believe the nonsense about alleged voter fraud the fact that the Democrats actually did very well went 'by and by' or should that be "bye and bye".


/An Ignorant Stupid American/

or as you prefer, ISA!

PS UK (Wales)/USA - great friends even when we disagree!
"....very logical and well thought out. You make so many good points."

Perhaps that's why the Llynfi Labour party keep giving me dirty looks when I see them!

G. Lewis
Bridgend Lib Dems
Leigh, I was probably a little harsh in suggesting you get a “reality check”, as regards accusations of “corruption” against Joe Biden, I am sure that you will find them the same way that you did about Bobby Kennedy’s accusation viz 2004 election. The only problem with that is there is no solid evidence that the Republican party deliberately conspired to “steal” the election (unlike Watergate). I do not support the Republicans any way shape or form. I hear what you say, but conspiracy theories are usually associated with the loony right. RJK jr should remember that mayor Daley of Chicago (the present one’s father) had the dead vote for JFK.
Likewise here, I don't believe that Joe Biden is corrupt absent hard evidence. I believe he is a good man who has overcome great tragedies in his life. He did steal phrases from a speech from a Welsh politician (Neil Kinnock) and acknowledged doing so, but that's about it hard evidence wise.

I think it's a fair comment that Joe Biden has a propensity to make mistakes, which while Senator have limited impact, and probably the same if he were elected 'VEEP'.

For example, Biden suggested splitting Iraq up into Sunni, Kurd and Shia areas; the Shia dominate south parts of Iran. If Biden was in a position to actually implement this it would have been a gift to Iran - Iran is Shia and borders southern Iran.

But I'm inclined to agree that it was a mistake by Bush to go into Iraq as this action potentially played into the hands of Iran, but if Iraq does manage to maintain a democratic government and doesn’t lapse into an internal civil war that splits the country, then history might judge Bush’s actions less harshly than some might hope. Let’s not forget that both sides of Congress (i.e., Democrat and Republican) voted to fund the war – I know Hillary Clinton did, and Biden ‘the same’. Though Biden later said his vote for the Iraq war resolution was a mistake, which again raises the issue of Biden’s propensity for making mistakes and his ultimate suitability as a prospective ‘VEEP’ (VP).
... the problem is is that Joe Biden would also be a 'heart beat away from the Presidency' ... whereupon his propensity for mistakes would be a different matter. Biden has foreign policy experience, but under crisis conditions/real time would, so the Republican argument goes, make blunders with disastrous repercussions.

‘At first blush’ it does seem ‘pretty Polly obvious’ that Obama’s decision to pick Biden suited the elite in Washington, DC – Biden is without doubt a consummate Washington DC ‘insider’, and on that basis ‘brings a lot to the table’, but again, Biden would, if Obama becomes President, be just a heart beat away from the Presidency.

At the end of the day though, Americans generally don’t vote for the VEEP, so Obama’s Biden pick will probably not affect the final vote on November 4, 2008. Palin though seems to be breaking the mould, it might well be the first time or the first time in a long time that the American electorate will pay a lot more attention to Palin’s prospective VEEP status, it seems, for now at least, that ‘all eyes r on Palin’ for ‘good or bad’!

Wales(UK)/USA – friends even when we disagree and think we are not friends.
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