All Americans should serve in armed forces

My roommate wrote this guest column for our campus newspaper (The Daily Northwestern). I thought it was a pretty good framing of the issue (minus Mad Dog 20/20 references).


All Americans should serve in armed forces (Adam Hart guest column)

By Adam Hart
November 15, 2004

Maybe the best time to write your dilettante Daily column doesn't come right after you've finished your first bottle of Mad Dog 20/20 blue raspberry. I do, however, think that I need to demonstrate to people, especially you fantastic and wonderful Northwestern students, that there are reasons why people make the decisions that they do. There are reasons why people feel accountable to the way that they brandish the power (euphemistically, responsibility). There are also reasons that people don't feel accountable.

My favorite question in light of the recent election was Bush's foreign policy argument: "Would you volunteer to fight in Iraq?" No, I would not volunteer -- I would not even consider volunteering. But I do have another question to ask. Why do these soberingly naïve 18-year-olds end up risking their lives while we comfortably sit in our homes and reassure ourselves that America is doing the "right thing?"

The answer really is quite obvious. It happens because people decide for them. Yet this is somewhat of a violation of the precepts upon which we base our supposedly democratic government. These naïve 18-year-olds should be deciding for themselves, or at least someone who shares their common best interest.

So let's take a look at who actually make these decisions. Sure, we were all frustrated and angry when we watched "Fahrenheit 9/11." We watched Michael Moore embarrass our Congressmen when he encouraged them to enlist their own children in the U.S. military. Moore's goal was to compel us to see the outlandishness of the decision by the Bush administration (and the Republican Congress) to commit to the military operation in Iraq. But I think it is more instructive to take a look at Moore's actions at face value rather than how they support his viewpoint. What if Senators were committing their sons and daughters to a chance of engaging in potentially mortal combat? What if people were, in fact, making a decision for their own kin?

It sounds like a fairly simple solution, yet it violates the process by which Americans would implement such a policy. The elite decide when we risk our troops, and the elite decide how we decide. Yet, as we saw in Moore's film, the elite have nothing to risk themselves.

As I see it, the only way to introduce a sense of real integrity into these "elite" policymakers is to introduce a sense of accountability as well. Why not make Moore's proposition a fact? Why not force Mr. Senator to decide whether or not to send his own son into Baghdad or Fallujah or Afghanistan? Why not make every American who basks in the privilege of American culture also submit himself in the rather ugly decision to protect our interests, or perhaps our moral imposition, on a global scale?

Military service should not be delegated by socio-economic, "inherited" elitism, but rather be an essential element of American participation.

Now I am by no means conveying that mandatory national service would be a trivial moment for Americans. I'm not saying that our young people pressed into America's military endeavors shouldn't feel a sense of absolute hopelessness and dread when they are faced with a potentially fatal foreign tour -- I would feel the same. But this burden should be distributed equally among everyone who enjoys the perks of living in this country.

The people who decide to make the grave sacrifices should also be in the company of your fellow 18- and 19-year olds who bear the grave sacrifices.

Adam Hart is a McCormick senior.

Counter-Advocacy - Arlen Specter

If you live in a Republican judiciary committe's district, dont call in support of Arlen Specter. Don't pretend to be a Republican, and don't say that it could make you vote Democratic next time. That would be too mean and would disappoint pro-lifers like this....

Orrin Hatch (Utah), phone 202-224-5251, fax 202-224-6331

Charles Grassley (Iowa), phone 202-224-3744, fax 202-224-6020

Jon Kyl (Az.), phone 202-224-4521, fax 202-224-2207

Mike DeWine (Ohio), phone 202-224-2315, fax 202-224-6519

Jeff Sessions (Al.), phone 202-224-4124, fax 202-224-3149

Lindsey Graham (SC), 202-224-5972, fax 202-224-3808

Larry Craig (Id.), phone 202-224-2752, fax 202-228-1067

Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), phone 202-224-3521, fax 202-224-0103

John Cornyn (Tx.), phone 202-224-2934, fax 202-228-2856

250 million : 1 - HA!

As much as I wanted to conclude that evidence of systematic fraud existed I am pained to report that by my analysis the exit poll evidence is best.

I looked  at that professor's paper analysis of the exit poll data. I believe that he is correct when he says that it is possible that democrats accepted exit pollsters invitations more often than Republicans. Not only is it a possible, I believe the evidence indicates that is the truth. I looked at all the exit poll data I coud find...before the infamous CNN "re-weighting."

I labeled battleground states all the states where the election was decide by 5 or fewer points. I then labeled states in wwhich the election was decided by 6 or more points non-battleground states...

Battleground states


I found the shift in the result from exit poll to actual result for each state. These numbers were then averaged.

The average over the whole sample was 4.16 toward Bush. In the battleground states, the shift averaged 4.18. In non-battleground states the average was actually 4.13. Meaning that battleground states did not experience any more evidence of voter fraud than non-battleground states.

Anecdotally, the most systematic fraud occured in New York, because here exit polls differed from the actual results by 12 points. I seriously dont think the GOP has a massive voter fraud setup in New York to make the crushing they received here look closer.

If you know of any polls i dont have, please send them to many. I am going to do a systematic analysis of evoting vs. non-evoting anomalies. I hope to find something here.

Please look at my excel file. I have uploaded it. Any comments or criticisms on my methodology are encouraged.

Playing the gay card in college, my activist project.

   I am about to start an activist project of my own. My idea is to work with a niche population that I'm very familiar with. I'm a senior at Northwestern, and college campuses are a distinctly different political environment than the country in general, as most of you know. First, college kids all have some form of broadband and are constantly connected to the internet. Everyone is logged onto AOL instant messenger pretty much all day everyday. Furthermore, a popular idle activity is perusing other people's profiles. Second, most college students are socially liberal, but some are still economically conservative. For the most part, people are pretty offended by homophobia. I want to create a weekly newsletter featuring a few conservative "gaffes" that are particularly disparaging to homosexuality, the poor, HIV/AIDS victims, etc. The members of the newsletter would then put these on their profiles. The primary goal would be for people to read these comments and gain a greater awareness of the bigotted attitudes of many conservatives. Thereby, we could put an ugly face on conservatism in general and make torn college students understand what they're voting for when they vote Republican.

The places I'm looking for feedback are:

  1. Do you like the idea? think it will catch on at all?

  2. What's a good name? I haven't thought of a good one yet?

  3. Where would you go to look for such comments? I have some ideas but any help would be appreciated.

I really enjoy this community, you guys have done a great job at bringing me completely into the "democratic fold."

.......sorry for using "gay card" in the subject. It was mainly to catch people's attenntion, although is a little descriptive.

Ashcroft's replacement and the new Republican coalition

Bush is appointing Alberto Gonzalez to Ashcroft's post.

While the last election was close, the next one could be a smashing defeat for us, if Karl Rove's cards play as he hopes they will.

The new Republican coalition seems to consist of 3 distinct and divergent groups.

  1. CEO's, businessmen, you know, the type of people he cut taxes for.

  2. The Religious Right - we know them. The one chink in the armor is that many that generally sympathize with what they are saying aren't nearly as dedicated to the radical parts of the adgenda

  3. Hispanics - this could potentially be the clincher for the GOP. Obivously future demographic shifts will make this group the most important group "up for grabs." We lost a lot of ground here  in the last election. If Bush and the repubiclans keep exposing Hispanics in their party more than we are, we could lose our lead completely.

If the republicans win the Hispanic vote 60-40 in 2008...and that group has grown much faster relative to the rest of the population, losing the pop vote 51-48 may seem pretty good.

I hope we look closer at this alliance and realize  exactly how divergent the interests of these groups are....

There's more...

Ashcroft gone

The New York Times is saying that Ashcroft has resigned. The commerce secretary, don evans, is also resigning.

I feel like we're jumping out of the frying pan and into Karl Rove's fire, as he picks a electorally sensitive choice to continue the personal liberty crack-down at the justice department.

Supreme Court fights - locally

If/when Renqhuist retires, it is going to be a rough time for democrats. We obviously will iflibuster, but this can easily start looking really bad. We need people on the ground in the 2006 Senate states talking the party line.

Strict judicial constructionism is very conservative. Once you get past its "just interpret the constitution" sound bite, it is a really scary beast. Yesterday i heard a rep from "Concernced Women Voters" say that calling the constitution a "living document" makes it sound like fungus. Get ready though, because this living document argument is the reason why strict constructionism is bad. Specter countered this by saying that desgregation was made possible by making the constitution a "living document."

Going along with the trend of discussion, we need to make "strict constructionism" a dirty word. We need to stress the dangers of putting such a conservative on the court. We need to start talking about Segregation again. Brown v Board is the anathema of strict constructionism. Let's scare up the country to protect segregation. We can quote some law papers talking about how segregation is failing, how its usefulness is over. Bring personable scholars touring around middle america, explaining how real the threat is.

The other side responds to this by making overert appeals to patriotism. They spin any argument against the value systems of past as an argument against the men on our money. We need to fight it at the local level. We need to defend obstructionism as the only way to defend Brown v Board, and in doing so punish the blue state Repub senators.

P.S. - yes of course strict constructionism would invalidate roe v wade too. but i think we should make more targeted local responses on abortion. Make the blue states deep blue, but focus on Brown in the redder states. We dont want to mobilize the NRLC any more than they are doing themselves.

global test....

President Bush is now letting Allawi authorize the attack in Falluja. THere have also been statements from US commanders before the invasion saying that they are waiting fro Allawi's orders. I know this is generally a smart move in order to quell Iraqi opposition ot the attack, but can't we make an issue out of this? The president just dogged kerry for supposedly giving the international community to much influence on our foreign policy, but now he is letting foreign leaders authorize attacks? If spun right, we can argue bush is giving the Iraqis control over our troops, which would strike a bad chord in America.

A Unified Message for the Democratic Party

Let's hit them with economic issues. Play the redistributive game and force the GOP stand up for the CEO's in their party. We need to simplify the message, and make the differences as stark as possible. The move to play the fiscal conservative role is a bad decision. As long as Bush is running up the debt, he will be unable to argue that we are any worse than he is. Here's the primary thrust of my idea.

  1. Raise the minimum wage - dont go for a living wage, but bump it up $1.50 or $2. Enough to be a big change, but not enough so it looks leftist...yet. This is wildly popular, and Bush/GOP will be pressured by their business ties to stop it at all costs.

  2. Cut taxes on middle class, while rolling back Bush tax cuts for the rich. Targeted tax cuts are too complicated to sell to America. Out line the tax brackets, and make the savings evident.
up to $50,000 0%
50-75,000 10%
75-100,000 - 20%
100-200,000 - 30%
200-300,000 - 40%
300-500,000 - 50%
500,000 and up - 60%

clear enough for anyone to understand how they stand to gain. Bush will clearly be against it.

  1. Lower the payroll tax rate, but remove the regressive cap. This is one of the truly regressive parts of our tax system. People see this being taken out of every paycheck, and would love to get some back.

  2. Wealthy Heir Tax Act(estate tax)- make the minimum pretty high, and exclude family farms. Make it clear that the heir's are taxed after they receive a large gift from a will, not the dead man being taxed after he dies. This minor change may expose the fraud of calling it a "death tax".

The goal is to hurt the CEO part of Bush's coalition. Thereby pressuring him to take unpopular stands.

Make this part of a Contract with America in the House. Play it exactly like the 1994 Newt Gingrich contract with America. But before careful to avoid  a criticism like we used when talking about school lunches. Make it airtight. Anything controversial with Middle Americans is out.We should aim to redefine ourselves to the electorate and retake the house. In addition I think their are some more things we could add, to shore up our reputation on some other issues. They are in the extend entry if you care to read on.

There's more...

Coopting Abortion: Pro-Roe-Pro-Life

What if the democratic party made a big propsosal to find the common ground in the abortion debate? Show Catholics in particular and moral voters in general, that pro-choice liberals are pro-choice and not (with a few minor exceptions) pro-abortion. Give middle america a way to vote its pocketbook without feeling guilty about its values. This a about presenting a pragmatic alternative for pro-lifers, solidifing Roe's status as "settled law", and hopefully placating Catholic leadership so that the death penalty can become their political crusade.

The sound bite would be:
"Let's come together to reduce abortions to lower levels than they were illegal before Roe."

The hard policy would actually be heavily progressive. It would seek to change the parameters of the choice. Make less women feel forced into abortions. Make adoption a gentler and  accepted practice. Reduce societal stigma to unmarried women that become pregnant.

  1. More aggressive workplace discrimination laws involving maternity. Lower the judicial scrutiny level. Women choosing to go through with pregnancy would become a suspect class...i'm not a legal scholar, but put the burden of proof on the employer to prove no discrimination happened, rather than the pregnant women must prove discrimiination happened. Make expulsion threats at private schools for pregnancy illegal.

  2. Extensive national adoption support system. Crisis counselors that are adept at dealing with angry parents. Possibly intervention programs where teens that are pregant can  receive schooling outside their school to avoid extensive stigma during pregnancy.

  3. Education about abortion in drug/sex ed. Let people know what they are doing. The other benefit is that if everyone learns about abortion in school it will demobilize the educational faction of the pro-life movement. With no one to educate/ no feeling of blowing peoples minds with "the truth", activism will lose its appeal.

As long as National Right to Life and a chunk of single-issue voters are hell-bent at overturning Roe v Wade, the ruling will never be safe. The legal ground for the decision is not clear to America, so the SC can not be trusted to hold it up indefinitely against powerful forces in the public. Co-opting this issue with such a compromise would preserve women's right to choose and  eliminate back-alley abortions for good.

Politically it would accomplish a few goals.

  1. Voting democratic would be alot more moral for alot of people.

  2. Possibly bring death penalty back into the fray... the numbers are changing in favor of our side. Catholic leadership could jump on with Democrats (who share most of their values)

  3. Suck the life from the pro-life "zealouts."

The lower levels than before Roe is the critical point. Regardless of if thats actually true.

Many pro-lifers feel sidelined by the GOP, and the failure to annoint a pro-life judge will rub them raw.


p.s. this is my first diary. so come on, gimme some  feedback. Negative feedback is worse than neglect.



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