Sunday, October 31, 2004

Use pesticides, get a free camcorder

Dissension has arisen within the Environmental Protection Agency over a proposed research project partially funded by the chemical industry, to study young children's exposure to pesticides. According to Washington Post reporter Julie Eilperin, sixty children in Florida will be investigated for how they absorb pesticides and other household chemicals. EPA officials have expressed concern over possible bias in this study and the exploitation of the children and their families. In an article published in the Oct. 31 San Francisco Chronicle, she writes :

... In exchange for participating for two years in the Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study, which involves infants and children up to age 3, the EPA will give each family using pesticides in their home $970, some children's clothing and a camcorder that parents can keep.

EPA officials in states such as Georgia and Colorado sent e-mail messages to each other last week suggesting the study lacked safeguards to ensure that low-income families would not be swayed into exposing their children to hazardous chemicals in exchange for money and high-tech gadgetry. Pesticide exposure has been linked to neurological problems, lung damage and birth defects.

Suzanne Wuerthele, the EPA's regional toxicologist in Denver, wrote to her colleagues on Wednesday that after reviewing the project's design, she feared poor families would not understand the dangers associated with pesticide exposure.

"It is important that EPA behaves ethically, consistently, and in a way that engenders public health. Unless these issues are resolved, it is likely that all three goals will be compromised, and the agency's reputation will suffer," she wrote in an e-mail obtained by the Washington Post. "EPA researchers will not tell participants that using pesticides always entails some risk, and not using pesticides will reduce that risk to zero."

Troy Pierce, a life scientist in the EPA's Atlanta-based pesticides section, wrote in a separate e-mail: "This does sound like it goes against everything we recommend at EPA concerning use of (pesticides) related to children. Paying families in Florida to have their homes routinely treated with pesticides is very sad when we at EPA know that (pesticide management) should always be used to protect children." ...


So while our President has refused to enforce hundreds of environmental regulations, the main agency in charge of protecting our environment is bribing poor families to expose their young children to pesticides in a study partially funded by the chemical industry. Another example of how far down the wrong road we have traveled in environmental policies over the last four years.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

100,000 civilians dead in Iraq

The British medical journal, The Lancet, published a study Friday which estimated that over the last year and a half, 100,000 civilians have been killed in the Iraq war. It says many of the victims were women and children who died as a result of air strikes, and that the risk of death in Iraq today is far higher than before the U.S. went into Iraq. As summarized by the New York Times, Oct. 29:

Although the authors acknowledge that data collection was difficult in what is effectively still a war zone, the data they managed to collect is extensive. Using what they described as the best sampling methods that could be applied under the circumstances, they found that Iraqis were 2.5 times more likely to die in the 17 months following the invasion than in the 14 months before it.

Before the invasion, the most common causes of death in Iraq were heart attacks, strokes and chronic diseases. Afterward, violent death was far ahead of all other causes.

"We were shocked at the magnitude but we're quite sure that the estimate of 100,000 is a conservative estimate," said Dr. Gilbert Burnham of the Johns Hopkins team. Dr. Burnham said the team excluded data about deaths in Falluja in making their estimate, because that city was the site of unusually intense violence.

In 15 of the 33 communities visited, residents reported violent deaths in their families since the conflict started. They attributed many of those deaths to attacks by American-led forces, mostly airstrikes, and most of those killed were women and children. The risk of violent death was 58 times higher than before the war, the researchers reported.

The team included researchers from the Johns Hopkins Center for International Emergency, Disaster and Refugee Studies and included doctors from Al Mustansiriya University Medical School in Baghdad.

There is bound to be skepticism about the estimate of 100,000 excess deaths, since that translates into an average of 166 deaths a day since the invasion. But some people were not surprised. "I am emotionally shocked but I have no trouble in believing that this many people have been killed," said Scott Lipscomb, an associate professor at Northwestern University, who works on the project.

That project, which collates only deaths reported in the news media, currently put the maximum civilian death toll at just under 17,000. "We've always maintained that the actual count must be much higher," Mr. Lipscomb said.


There have been many reports in the media about this study, but unfortunately it doesn't seem to rise to the level of public concern in America that it deserves. If this study is correct, then it is really astounding that so many civilians in Iraq could be killed in less than two years of occupation. No one questions that Saddam was a brutal dictator, but we cannot ignore our own role in suffering and death in Iraq. Certainly the rest of the world is paying attention.

NAACP Questions IRS Examination

The Internal Revenue Service is examining the non-profit status of the highly respected civil rights organization, the NAACP, because of a speech made by its chairman, Julian Bond, at the NAACP national convention last July, in which Bond criticized the policies of President George Bush. The Washington Post of Oct. 29 reports:

An IRS document dated Oct. 8 said that at the group's annual convention in Philadelphia in July, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People may have violated the restriction on political activity because it "distributed statements in opposition of George W. Bush for the presidency."

"Specifically in a speech made by Chairman Julian Bond, Mr. Bond condemned the administration policies of George W. Bush on education, the economy and the war in Iraq," said an IRS "information document request" sent with the letter.

The IRS asked for the cost of the convention, including a "listing of all expense" and the "names and addresses of each board member and indicate how each voted."

An NAACP press release protested this action, noting that it has criticized both Republican and Democrat presidents. Julian Bond commented:

The NAACP has always been non-partisan, but that doesn’t mean we’re non-critical. Only in an Orwellian world would honest disagreement be considered partisan, or honest differences called election interference.

Indeed. If organizations can no longer criticize the policies of the president without their non-profit status being endangered, then where does that leave us? Environmental groups cannot criticize Bush's Clear Skies initiative, educational associations cannot criticize the poor funding of the "No Child Left Behind" act, and civil rights groups cannot comment on Bush's policies toward minority groups? On the other hand are the conservative think tanks who freely behave as surrogates for the Republican party, yet no IRS investigation of their non-profit status is forthcoming.

This IRS action is an abuse of its power in order to suppress criticism of President Bush.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Bush website for domestic use only

The official Bush-Cheney website has blocked access to anyone living outside the U.S. or Canada. The Washington Post reports this follows an electronic attack that took down the campaign's Internet address for six hours last week. This seems like a serious case of overkill, according to the Washington Post:

It is not unusual for Web sites to block e-mail and browser traffic from individual Internet addresses and from certain countries notorious for churning out online fraud scams and junk e-mail, but security experts said the Bush-Cheney campaign's move is probably unprecedented.

"I've never heard of a site wholesale blocking access from the rest of the world," said Johannes Ullrich, chief technology officer for the SANS Internet Storm Center, which monitors hacker trends. "I guess they decided it just wasn't worth the trouble to leave it open to foreign visitors."

The action has launched a flurry of reports, mostly from the foreign press and computer publications, questioning the logic and repressive nature of this action.

Book banning in America

Pen American Center has issued a joint press release supporting a suit filed by Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian human rights activist awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, against the U.S. Treasury Department in federal court in New York. Her suit is against regulations of the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) which prohibit the publication of a book she wants to write about her life and her work for readers in the United States. Some excerpts:

Ms. Ebadi's predicament provides a perfect illustration of the harm the OFAC regulations cause. Ms. Ebadi has been imprisoned for her human rights work in Iran. She could not publish the book she wants to write in Iran, but the OFAC regulations also prevent anyone from publishing it in the United States. As long as the regulations stand, the book will not come into being.

The regulations were first challenged in a lawsuit filed on September 27, 2004, by the Association of American Publishers Professional and Scholarly Publishing division (AAP/PSP), the Association of American University Presses (AAUP), PEN American Center (PEN), and Arcade Publishing.

The publishing and authors' groups point to Ms. Ebadi as exactly the kind of author whose work should be published in the United States....

...The OFAC regulations specifically forbid the publication of works by authors in Iran, Cuba and Sudan unless the works in question have already been completed before any American is involved. Americans may not co-author books or articles with authors in the embargoed countries and may not enter into "transactions" involving any works that are not yet fully completed—even though authors, publishers an agents generally must work with one another well before a new work is fully created—and Americans may not provide "substantive or artistic alterations or enhancements" or promote or market either new or previously existing works from the affected countries, unless they obtain a specific license from OFAC. Violators are subject to prison sentences of up to 10 years or fines of up to $1,000,000 per violation.

Both Ms. Ebadi and the groups that initiated the challenge agree that Ms. Ebadi is only the most prominent example of a valuable voice that has been silenced. "There are untold numbers of less prominent authors whose stories have no chance of reaching us. The embargoes are cutting Americans off from scholars, dissidents, scientists and others in regions that are of enormous public concern," said Peter Givler, Executive Director of AAUP. He cited books on history, music and archaeology that university presses have been unable to publish, and even an article that had to be withdrawn from the scholarly journal Mathematical Geology. "Ms. Ebadi's inability to publish her memoirs provides another example of the chilling effect the regulations are having on publishing in America." ...

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

New Template.. and links

Well, I don't know who might be reading this, but I am still learning the basics of blogging. I changed the template almost by accident as I was trying to find a way to add links on the sidebar. I have a few links now, and will add some more. I also figured out how to embed a link within the text of the posts.

Cleveland Plain Dealer: no endorsement

The Cleveland Plain Dealer is another publication that could not come to an editorial consensus on endorsing a presidential candidate. In its editorial of Oct. 26, it states:

The decision not to endorse in this race was not easily taken. A majority of the editorial board favored Kerry, but after long and difficult deliberations, it was decided that the better path would be to sit this one out.

The editorial itself is far more critical of Bush than Kerry. In fact, according to, the editorial board was overruled by its publisher, Alex Machaskee:

Last week, the daily's editorial board overwhelmingly voted to endorse John Kerry. But Machaskee overruled them, ordering lackeys to prop up George W. Bush instead.
This isn't the first time Machaskee has pulled a power play; he also forced the editorial board to endorse Governor Bob Taft. That turned out well.
Machaskee's Bush decree apparently set off a minor mutiny in the newsroom, where ink-stained wretches scrambled to rat out their boss to other media.
In the face of the controversy, the paper postponed its Bush kiss-up, which was supposed to run last Sunday. Meanwhile, the editorial board -- normally a staunch advocate for transparency -- struggled to keep the paper's inner workings decidedly opaque. Neither Machaskee nor editorial page editor Brent Larkin returned Punch's calls. Editor Doug Clifton offered only a terse e-mail: "I have nothing to say that would be illuminating."

The paper endorsed George Bush in 2000.

No endorsement from The American Conservative

The editors of The American Conservative magazine could not come to a consensus on who to endorse for president. This is rather surprising, considering the Republican party is supposed to be the repository of conservativism in America. Instead the "special endorsement issue" features competing editorials for Bush, Kerry and even Nader from the editors. Endorsing Bush is Pat Buchanan, who while critical of Bush for getting us into Iraq, the fiscal deficit, and so on, will vote for him. "Why? Because, while Bush and Kerry are both wrong on Iraq, Sharon, NAFTA, the WTO, open borders, affirmative action, amnesty, free trade, foreign aid, and Big Government, Bush is right on taxes, judges, sovereignty, and values. Kerry is right on nothing."

On the other hand, Scott McConnell makes the case for Kerry: "Bush has behaved like a caricature of what a right-wing president is supposed to be, and his continuation in office will discredit any sort of conservatism for generations. The launching of an invasion against a country that posed no threat to the U.S., the doling out of war profits and concessions to politically favored corporations, the financing of the war by ballooning the deficit to be passed on to the nation’s children, the ceaseless drive to cut taxes for those outside the middle class and working poor: it is as if Bush sought to resurrect every false 1960s-era left-wing cliché about predatory imperialism and turn it into administration policy."

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

New Yorker endorses Kerry

For the first time in its history, The New Yorker has endorsed a presidential candidate, John Kerry, in the Nov. 1 issue. Toward the conclusion of its long and thoughtful editorial, it states:

The damage visited upon America, and upon America’s standing in the world, by the Bush Administration’s reckless mishandling of the public trust will not easily be undone. And for many voters the desire to see the damage arrested is reason enough to vote for John Kerry. But the challenger has more to offer than the fact that he is not George W. Bush. In every crucial area of concern to Americans (the economy, health care, the environment, Social Security, the judiciary, national security, foreign policy, the war in Iraq, the fight against terrorism), Kerry offers a clear, corrective alternative to Bush’s curious blend of smugness, radicalism, and demagoguery.

See for the entire editorial.

Monday, October 25, 2004

A Republican for Kerry

Republicans have the hothead senator from Georgia, Zell Miller. Now Democrats have Marlow Cook, a former Republican senator from Kentucky who has announced her support for Kerry. In an article written for the Louisville Courier-Journal, she wrote:

I am not enamored with John Kerry, but I am frightened to death of George Bush. I fear a secret government. I abhor a government that refuses to supply the Congress with requested information. I am against a government that refuses to tell the country with whom the leaders of our country sat down and determined our energy policy, and to prove how much they want to keep that secret, they took it all the way to the Supreme Court.

For the entire op-ed piece, see:

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Bad news for Bush

Writing in the New York Times, Bob Herbert noted that more bad news about Iraq and our economy is starting to hurt Bush's chance of wining the election. GOP strategists are concerned. One manner in which this concern is manifested:

At the same time, the Republican Party is doing what it can in key states to block as many Democratic votes as possible. Party officials have mounted a huge organized effort to challenge - some would say intimidate - voters in states like Ohio and Florida, in a bid to offset the effects of huge voter registration drives and a potentially heavy turnout of voters opposed to Mr. Bush and his policies.

Election officials in Ohio said they'd never seen such a large drive mounted to challenge voters on Election Day.

It reminds me of the South before the Voting Rights Act of 1965, using literacy tests and other means to disenfranchise black people. For the entire op-ed piece, see:

Update: The New York Times editorial of Oct. 26 comments on this effort in Ohio, which it believe is chiefly aimed at obstructing and disrupting new Democrats from voting:

In the name of fraud prevention, the Republicans plan to use 3,600 challengers in Ohio, a pivotal state where the race is dead even and there has been a big surge in first-time registrations for Democratic voters. There is no telling how many partisan challengers there will be nationwide next week because many states do not require them to be identified in advance. If challengers behave properly, they can help make elections better. But partisan challengers acting in bad faith can do considerable damage. Aggressive challengers have been known to bully poll workers, many of whom are elderly and have only limited knowledge of election law.

It is likely that some voters will be challenged next week not because they appear to be ineligible, but because partisan challengers think that they will vote for the other side. There is a long history of challengers' targeting minority precincts and minority voters. It is troubling that in Ohio this year, the Republicans appear to be focusing much of their effort on Cleveland, Dayton and other cities with large African-American and Latino populations.

One of the gravest dangers is that partisan teams will challenge many, if not all, voters in selected precincts, with the goal of slowing voting to a standstill. In Ohio, every challenge will require a deliberation over whether the person in question should be allowed to vote. In presidential elections, lines in urban polling places are often hours long under normal conditions. If the challengers can add 10 minutes per voter, waiting times may become so long that thousands of voters will simply give up.

See for the entire editorial.

Thursday, October 21, 2004

The Cheneys and gay rights

The presidential campaign we have witnessed this year is not only the most vicious, it is also the most bizarre. From the time he wrapped up the nomination, Kerry's opponents have sought to "define" him by attacking his character -- that he is a man without principles, a flip-flopper, the most liberal member of the senate, even a traitor, that he did not deserve the awards he received while in Vietnam, and so on.

It was with the three debates that Kerry was able to end his slide downwards and pull even, because here the two men were face to face and had to discuss the substantive issues that our country faces, as opposed to what either of them were doing during the Vietnam war, for example. Most Americans believe Kerry won all three debates.

Now that the debates are over it is back to the mudslinging. And one of the attacks against Kerry is that he mentioned that Dick Cheney's daughter, Mary Cheney, is gay in the context of answering a question, as to whether or not homosexuals are born that way or do they become gay by choice. He mentioned her and her family in a very complimentary way, but apparently Republicans saw an opportunity to attack Kerry on this matter. Dick Cheney announced he was an angry father; Lynne Cheney said she knows now that Kerry is not a good man.

But what are the ethics here? Dick Cheney had publicly mentioned his daughter's sexuality very recently in answering a similar question. That Mary Cheney is a lesbian is well known, and she has not been shy to express herself on the matter publicly, even serving in a well paid position as the Coors liason to the gay community. Cheney thanked John Edwards, when Edwards made essentially the same statement as Kerry in their debate. How does it suddenly become wrong for Kerry to mention it? Furthermore, what about Alan Keyes, Republican candidate for senator in Illinois, and Jerry Falwell, both of whom have denounced Cheney's daughter (in contrast to Kerry who complemented her) for being gay? Neither of the Cheneys protested those denunciations. The answer, it seems, is that it is okay for Cheney to mention his daughter being gay because he is the father; and it is not so bad for Falwell or Keyes because they are not running for president, or maybe because they are not liberal Democrats. It is difficult to fathom any clear sense of ethical principles in this attack on Kerry.

What is stranger, though, is that Bush and the Republicans have made the anti-Gay Marriage Constitutional Amendment into a campaign issue -- Tom DeLay even demanded a roll call vote on the matter even though he knew it would be defeated -- yet, here Cheney's daughter is a lesbian and Cheney has himself said he believes the matter should be left to the states. It smacks of rank hypocrisy for people who support restrictions on the rights of gay people to so passionately denounce Kerry simply because he mentioned Mary Cheney's sexual orientation in the debate.

The hypocrisy gets deeper. Andrew Sullivan commented on it four years ago in an article for The New Republic:

On gay matters, Cheney's congressional record is not just bad. It's shocking. Cheney was one of only 13 representatives to vote against the landmark 1988 bill that initiated federal funding for AIDS testing and counseling — putting him to the right of even Tom DeLay and Dick Armey, both of whom voted for it. He was one of only 29 House members to vote against the 1988 Hate Crimes Statistics Act, which merely allowed the federal government to collect data on violent crimes based on race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, and he voted for an amendment that added gratuitously anti-gay language to the bill. He supported measures to cut federal AIDS research and to allow health-insurance discrimination against people with HIV in the District of Columbia. As defense secretary, despite once describing the ban on gays in the military as an "old chestnut," Cheney solidly backed the old policy of harassment of gay soldiers and their ejection, however distinguished their records, from the Armed Forces.

... There is, however, a second possibility — that the Cheneys don't disapprove of their daughter's lesbianism at all but, for political reasons, must pretend to. After all, Jerry Falwell, one of Bush's key allies on the Christian right, has already described Cheney's daughter as "errant." The Republican platform expresses its opposition to special "rights" for homosexuals. Cheney comes from Wyoming, the state where Matthew Shepard was murdered, and had to represent his constituents in the 1980s. Perhaps he feels obliged not to break publicly with the homophobes who still dominate his party. One small piece of evidence to support this theory is the absence from both Dick Cheney's and Lynne Cheney's records of any known anti-gay slurs, despite their being surrounded by people who bait homosexuals on a regular basis. By all accounts, Cheney has treated his gay staffers decently and was deeply supportive of his Pentagon spokesman Pete Williams during his "outing" ordeal. There is no reason to doubt his affection for his gay daughter.
But, in some respects, this scenario is the more damning one. For, if Cheney personally respects gay people but supports policies that segregate and ostracize them for his own personal advancement, then he truly is contemptible. It's surely worse to oppose homosexual equality for opportunistic rather than for principled reasons...

In this article, Sullivan also asked:

If Dick Cheney loves and is proud of his openly lesbian daughter, why is he supporting a man who wants her to live under the threat of criminal sanction? It's no secret that Governor George W. Bush has publicly supported Texas's still-extant gays-only sodomy law, which makes private, consensual sex between gay adults a crime. Does Cheney agree with his running mate's position?

see for the entire article.

To be fair, this article was written in 2000, and Cheney does not support the anti-Gay Marriage amendment. On the other hand, he has stood by in virtual silence while his Republican colleagues in Congress and elsewhere have routinely trashed gay people while promoting this amendment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Why I will vote for Kerry

I have been away from this blog site for awhile. To tell the truth I doubt many people read this so I did not feel much incentive. But I see a response today. Thanks, Robert.

Why I will vote for Kerry: this is from my heart, or off the top of my head. In any case here are the major reasons:

* President Bush has transformed a record budget surplus into a record deficit, and there is no indication he will do anything serious to reduce it over the next four years. On the contrary it is likely to grow ever larger, exponentially perhaps. Why? Because he wants to make tax cuts permanent, while at the same time he has said he will pay whatever it takes to win the war in Iraq. Added to Iraq is Afghanistan and Homeland Security. The tax cuts have benefitted mostly the very wealthy. For the average American the refund might have amounted to a few hundred dollars. Unless we decide to withdraw and allow Iraq to collapse into anarchy, which is close to where it is now, this war is likely to take several years before the country is stable enough that we can pull out. And we will have to finance the war while reducing taxes for the wealthy. That makes no sense. The conservative economist Milton Friedman once said that a tax cut now is not a real tax cut unless it is accompanied by corresponding cuts in government spending. We are just passing on the fiscal burden to the future.

If this trend continues, it may be that our country will reach a breaking point where drastic cuts have to be made in most domestic programs in order to bring the deficit under control, perhaps even elimination of entire programs.

* Bush and Cheney have conducted a criminal policy against our environment, destroying our natural resources and endangering public health in order to benefit their wealthy cronies. Bush is, as Robert Kennedy said, the worst environmental president in the history of this country. And that is quite an accomplishment. Every major environmental organization has strongly criticized Bush's environmental record. Even Russell Train, one of the first EPA administrators, under Richard Nixon, has expressed his strong protests on this matter. Bush has refused to enforce hundreds of environmental regulations and has appointed to environmental regulatory agencies former CEOs and lobbyists for energy industries that exploit our resources. This is an obvious conflict of interest, appointing foxes to guard the henhouse.

It is unfortunate that the environment has not become a more serious issue in this campaign. It was not even mentioned in the three debates. But in fact our natural resources are like money in the bank. And when we use them up now that means they are not available in the future. Furthermore, environmental pollution is closely linked to public health problems. For example it is unsafe to eat fish from most freshwater sources because of the mercury contamination. Bush does nothing to stop this problem because he does not want to hurt the interests of the corporations that are plundering our land.

* When Bush ran for office, he claimed to be a "uniter not a divider". Many believed his promise, but now four years later our country has never been more divided. In Congress, Republicans have excluded Democrats from much of the normal conference hearings. In public discourse, particularly this campaign, we see highly divisive, hateful rhetoric; and while the left is not blameless by any means, it is really the Bush-Cheney-Rove team that have been the most guilty. I have never witnessed a more vicious presidential campaign in my lifetime.

* Unlike his father, Bush demonstrates a woeful ignorance, in fact a willful ignorance, of the complexity of foreign affairs. He has a new doctrine of preventive war, that is invade other countries that might be a threat in the future, even if they are not a direct threat to us now. In the case of Iraq, he sent our troops in there with wild misconceptions about how we would be welcomed and no plan for winning the peace. Now we are bogged down in a much less safe situation than our troops were in Vietnam, for example. And the Muslim extremists are acting far more forcefully in Iraq than they ever did under Saddam Hussein. The latest tragic news is the highly respected director of Care International in Iraq has been kidnapped. Will she be beheaded too? We will probably have to stay in Iraq for over a decade, or withdraw and see the country descend into anarchy and terrorism. This will be very costly for us.

Furthermore, his general attitude toward the United Nations and what Rumsfeld called "Old Europe" is also pretty self-defeating and only serves to isolate us further from the rest of the world. In fact, while Bush may win the election here, if the rest of the world could vote he would lose by a landslide.

I could go on, but those are the major reasons for my opposition to Bush. In all these aspects, Bush and Cheney have demonostrated an arrogant and myopic shortsighteness that will be mostly costly not to us but to our children and grandchildren.

What then are my reasons for supporting Kerry? First of all, he is not Bush. He could not possibly be as disastrous in office. But beyond that, I believe he will behave far more responsibly toward the environment and toward our gaping budget deficit. His health plan while very commendable, is not likely to pass without significant modification unless the Democrats somehow take over both the House and Senate. But it is more important what he won't do than what he will do on the domestic front. Futhermore, Kerry has a strong environmental record, and I believe there would be significant progress in this area under him, certainly major reversals from the present trend.

As to foreign policy, particularly Iraq, I would not wish that on anyone. I do not know how Kerry might handle the Iraq war differently, but I do believe he would seek to repair our damaged relations with other countries over this war. Unfortunately, we could well see a return of the draft, whether under Kerry or Bush.

I do not agree with Kerry on all issues, but I believe he is more genuinely motivated by public service than is Bush. At this point I am not entirely optimistic he will win, but I would be so happy to see a more thoughtful, intelligent, and yes, ethical president than the clown who currently occupies the Oval Office.

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