Friday, December 03, 2004

Election Prediction Winners!

Now that most of the states have been certified, we can now see who won the Predictions Contest.

The scoring is simple. I looked for an exact hit on the Popular Vote percentages claimed by President Bush and Senator Kerry, and counted the Electoral Vote results for a tie-breaker, if needed.

In the end, President George W. Bush claimed 50.9% of the Popular Vote and 286 Electoral Votes, while Senator John Kerry claimed 48.0% of the Popular Vote and 252 Electoral Votes.

Nobody got the exact 50.9-48.0 pick, so my next step was to measure aggregate accuracy, then the EV pick, then the date and time of submission, and here I’m listing the winners, in order of their accuracy, for the voters who were within 0.5% of the actual results. It’s amazing how many people were in that x-ring!

SPECIAL MENTION: Tim McDonald was not able to get within 0.5% of the aggregate accuracy, but he was the only voter to accurately predict President Bush would claim 50.9% of the PV (Tim called it 50.9-46.5 Bush, with a 317-221 EV split). That earns an Honorable Mention.

0.5 range, places 22 and 23
23rd [] Bush 50.8, Kerry 48.6 [B291-247] David M. McClory, 10.30.04, 11:29 PM
22nd [] Bush 50.7, Kerry 48.3 [B276-249] William Winfield, 10.29.04, 1:51 PM

0.4 range, places 18 through 21
21st [] Bush 50.5, Kerry 48 [B304-238] T Brewer, 10.14.04, 3:53 PM
20th [] Bush 50.5, Kerry 48 [B302-236] Michael Fabiano, 10.14.04, 10:55 PM
19th [] Bush 50.5, Kerry 48 [B300-238] Pete Gardiner, 10.31.04, 10:30 PM
18th [] Bush 50.7, Kerry 48.2 [B300-238] George Tobin, 10.27.04, 3:34 PM

0.3 range, places 1 through 17
17th [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [EV unk] Jerryx, 10.31.04, 2:33 PM
16th [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B312-226] Rich F, 10.15.04, 1:13 PM

15th [] Bush 50.8, Kerry 47.8 [B307-231] Ben Maller, 10.31.04, 12:18 AM
14th [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B306-232] Excelsior, 10.27.04, 11:19 PM
13th [] Bush 50.8, Kerry 48.2 [B301-237] Doc Steve, 10.23.04, 9:39 PM

12th [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B301-237] mike the analyst, 10.21.04, 11:27 AM
11th [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B301-237] Dominick S., 10.12.04, 2:10 PM

10th [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B298-240] Rachel DiCarlo, 10.29.04, 11:30 AM

9th [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B297-241] Michael Call, 10.15.04, 6:20 PM
8th [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B296-242] VACons, 10.26.04, 8:02 AM
7th [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B296-242] Paul, 10.24.04, 10:19 AM

6th [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B296-242] SGG, 10.12.04, 3:00 PM

5th [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B295-243] Van Pham, 10.12.04, 2:08 PM
4th [] Bush 51.2, Kerry 48 [B279-259] Charles Fulner, 10.12.04 3:31 PM
3rd [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B292-246] Larry, 10.15.04, 3:31 PM
2nd [] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B291-247] JB, 10.12.04, 3:05 PM

and our 1st Place CHAMPION is…

[] Bush 51, Kerry 48 [B290-248] RoBear, 10.12.04, 3:18 PM


I will start looking up to see the homepages of the top 5 winners and will link to them here at Stolen Thunder, and will (if possible), write up profiles of the top 5 and their homepages for here and on Polipundit.

Also worth noting, are the people who got the EV pick exactly right:

Anthony Roberts posted at 8:46 PM on October 30, picking 286-252 for the EV mark. The 51-48.5 PV prediction was only 0.6 aggregate points off!

soccer4ever posted at 12:38 PM on October 25, also picking 286-252 for the EV mark. The 51-47 PV prediction was 1.7 aggregate points off.

Duncan Currie posted at 11:30 AM on October 29, also picking 286-252 for the EV mark. The 52-47 PV prediction was 1.9 aggregate points off.

Finally, Carl Richardson posted at 1:50 AM on October 31, also picking 286-252 for the EV mark. The 50.1-49.3 PV prediction was 2.3 aggregate points off.

Congratulations to our prediction sharpshooters!

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Asymmetrical Warfare

In classical history, whenever a power found itself stronger than its neighbors, wars of conquest usually resulted. Besides the obvious advantage of setting your frontiers as far from the capital as possible, the tributes and levies from victories made life better for all the citizens of the empire. Generally, an empire would stop its expansion only upon one of three situations;

1. The decision by the empire that it had expanded as far as it could with the available forces at hand, to be extended or retracted as later conditions would determine. Examples of this would be the Roman and British empires;

2. The empire collapses from within, through corruption, insurrection, or the like. This may be seen in the fall of the Roman empire, or more recently in the collapse of Soviet Union;

3. An adversary successfully repels the invader, or else an opposing power makes aggression an undesirable risk. This may be illustrated by the uneasy border between France and Germany, and the Great Wall of China.

The rise of democratic republics in the last centuries of the second millennium changed all that. From men like Washington and Wellington, came the notion of armies which existed not for conquest principally, but to defeat foreign threats. Also at that time, alliances became firmer and more enduring, like the U.S.-U.K. alliance to eradicate international piracy in the 19th Century. This continued through the 20th Century, as two "World" wars were fought between opposing coalitions for a variety of reasons, including the survival of the regime. And it was in that environment that the United States rose to dominance in every major measure. By the end of the 20th Century, the USA was understood to be unmatched in military power, economic weight, and social influence. Not surprisingly, a number of nations began to fear American power, in terms of their own future.

Although the Soviet Union was no more, the Communist Party remained a force in the modern world. Also, Fascists left over from the German, Italian, and Japanese regimes of a half century ago had left their mark on a new generation. In addition to these, a new surge of religious violence by Islamic terrorists began to undermine stability in a number of Middle Eastern and Asian countries. As the 21st Century began, President-elect George W. Bush knew he had to plan to meet these threats.

The attacks on 9/11 irrevocably changed the world. Simply put, it is impossible to proceed under the old conditions. A loose confederacy of communists, fascists, and anti-American activists tried to stop the preparation for war, but in the end the Congress granted the needed authority and a U.S.-led coalition of nations invaded Afghanistan, then Iraq, putting pressure along the way on nearby regimes known to support or promote terrorist groups. Now, a year and a half after the fall of Baghdad, the United States is moving to its next stage in the operation.

Liberals often demand that the U.S. scale back operations, pointing to more than thirteen hundred U.S. military casualties, and many thousands of civilian losses. However, they do not understand the scope of the conflict, nor recognize that the civilian losses would have happened in other nations, had the U.S. not invaded Iraq. The distinction is that if the invasion had not happened, Saddam's terrorist-supporting regime would still exist, and with it, a dozen or so terrorist groups would still be based there, in all likelihood including Al Qaeda. As it is, while the loss of life is horrible, many terrorist leaders have been captured or killed, and the remaining organizations are disorganized and weakened. They can and will continue their 'Jihad' against the West, especially America, but the simple fact is, we are winning.

So, what next, assuming Iraq is stabilized in the next year or so? It's vital here, to understand the nature of the conflict.

It's no coincidence, that Anti-American sentiment is rising in many places. In the first place, Leftist groups are trying to work public mood against the American forces, just as the Communists did so well during the Vietnam War. This will be ongoing, but will not enjoy nearly the level of support and supply that happened when the Kremlin was around to sponsor them. Also, mainland European nations have agonized over the fact that where the United States was once a junior partner in their estimation, America now is self-sustaining in virtually every arena. While cooperation is necessary for everyone to profit as much as possible, the fact is that there are many proud nations forced to deal with the fact that they need the US' help, while America is truly and fully independent. This why so many French and German diplomats insist to anyone who will listen, that the U.S. is morally obligated to work with them; it is no longer conceivable to argue that the United States has a functional need of any nation's alliance.

This sounds arrogant, which is certainly the way that Europe and Africa and Asia have played it, but it's also important to understand the advantages to the American way of things. It is to everyone's benefit to eradicate international state-sponsored terrorism, and only the United States is ready and willing to take up that challenge. It is to everyone's benefit for new technologies to be developed to meet the future's energy needs, and only the United States has major corporations ready and willing to take up that challenge. It is to everyone's benefit for democratic republics to be the way of government in every major nation, and the United States is able and intent on pressing that advancement. Every nation in the world has people trying to match the U.S. success in commerce and technology; we allow more immigrants, by far, than any nation on the face of the earth. We send more charity food and materials to other nations, by far, than any other country. We allow every race and creed and culture to come here and become full citizens, something no other nation fully does. We are the only major nation on the face of the earth, which affirms that the government has no authority, except that the people grant it (the Communist governments claim to be the 'People's' republics, but do not allow grass-root political campaigns, or political debate, and brutally suppress dissent). We are the good guys, and the only nation both able and willing to do on a global scale, what we have been asked over and over to do on a national scale.

But for all the nobility of our ideals, we still face the limits I noted in the classical case. At some point the United States will either discover the limits to our powers and have to stop there, in which case some Middle East or Asian version of NATO will become vital to advancing our common goals (an enhanced SEATO, perhaps). Otherwise, we may fail because of indecision or weak willed command, or face some as-yet unforeseen enemy's rise to power.

This means that the next four years are critical. Fortunately, we seem to have a leader who understands that matter.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The National Security Strategy of the United States of America

One of the most ridiculous charges levelled against President Bush by the Left, has been the "rush to war' claim. Anyone with even a cursory grasp of events, knows that President Bush resisted the pressure to attack Afghanistan immediately, then when he decided to act, did so in the case of both Afghanistan and Iraq with direct communication to the rogue regimes, with direct communication to the United Nations, and with the specific authority granted by Congress.

It might be worthwhile, for all of that, to consider a little-known document, actually made public back on September 17, 2002. It's called "The National Security Strategy of the United States of America". It's well worth reading. Shoot, it ought to be mandatory text for modern Civics!

I have taken the liberty of pulling out selected portions of that document for this article. Just a quick review may explain a lot of what's been going on, and what we can expect for the immediate future.

"Terrorists are organized to penetrate open societies and to turn the power of modern technologies against us"

Right there on page one, President Bush explains why pre-emption is necessary. We don't have the luxury of waiting to see what these enemies will do, because technology makes their weapons available at hand. Once we know a group's existence and intent, it is immediately necessary to hit them at their home, or they will strike us in ours.

"The United States and coutries cooperating with us must not allow the terrorists to develop new home bases"

That, right there, is a valid and important reason for invading Iraq. Only the most naive or foolish would believe that once we destroyed the Taliban and drove Al Qaeda from their Afghan bases, they would not run to the next best friend they had: Iraq. Yes, the links between Al Qaeda and Saddam's regime are not so strong as Dan Rather would accept, but it is incontrovertable, that when President Bush wrote these words in 2002, Saddam's regime was home, supplier, trainer, or supporter to a dozen terrorist organizations. Let's not forget that after we brought down his regime, American forces caught terrorist leaders Carlos the Jackal, Abu Abbas, and Abu Nidal, each in their day the most evil man known to the world. And we found them all living and hiding in Iraq.

From page 4:

"The United States of America is fighting a war against terrorists of global reach. the enemy is not a single political regime or person or religion or ideology. The enemy is terrorism - premeditated, politically motivated violence against innocents."

The Taliban clearly fit that description. So did Al Qaeda. So did Saddam's regime. So do the men working under Al-Zarqawi and Sadr. These are NOT 'Minutemen', or 'Freedom Fighters', or people driven to that resort. They are thuggish animals, who chose their work and fate.

"While the United States will constantly strive to enlist the support of the international community, we will not hesitate to act alone, if necessary, to exercise our right of selfdefense by acting preemptively against such terrorists, to prevent them from doing harm against our people and our country"

We did strive, it was necessary, we are succeeding.

There's more, but the simple fact is, President Bush told the world exactly what he was going to do, why, and what to expect. And it's well worth reading to see the goals ahead.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Nobody's Leaving...

Among the various responses by Democrats, Leftist, and 'Seriously Unbalanced & Biased People Against Reality' (SUBPAR) have included varying degrees of an intense desire to escape the Truth. Some promise to flee the country, while others have claimed they intend for the 'Blue' States to secede. Sorry folks, that's not going to happen, and not just because Liberals have abad habit of not following through on their promises ("Last call for the flight to Paris. Mr. Baldwin? Ms. Streisand?"). The simple fact is, it's not feasible nor legal.

The United States faced a secession crisis, as most people know, in the Civil War from 1861 to 1865. Eleven states announced their secession from the United States of America, on the argument that the states are bound to the nation only by their choice. Another device used for leverage is the United States' treaty annexing Texas, which appeared to grant Texas the right to secede. A right granted to one state must apply to all, was the reasoning.

That reasoning, however, was built on a false premise. Because of the strategic value Texas represented in American expansion to the Pacific Ocean, as well as military value locking off Mexico from the U.S., the treaty came in two parts, which did different things.

There was a U.S. Congressional Resolution making Texas a State, and granting it the right to split into as many as five states, created in 1845. That resolution, however, said nothing about the State having a right to leave the USA. That's because of a treaty from a year before, where Texas essentially dissolved its sovereignty to become part of the United States. In other words, the Republic of Texas became a territory of the United States, then a State. That means that the State of Texas, while it had (and still has) special privileges because of the treaty which made it a State, never had a right to become sovereign on its own again. Any such thought or claim is a mistake at best.

Now, you may wonder why this history lesson is relevant to the rants from Sore Loser Left. I mean, even if it were somehow legal for the 'Blue' States to quit the country and become 'New France West' or the like, surely they understand how the dissolution of the union would impact them, economically as well as politically. I guess most Liberals don't realize that in such a secession, the NYSE would simply close up shop in NYC, and reform as something like the Omaha Stock Exchange, but then perhaps it is necessary to recall how poorly the Left does in Economics; anyone who can read Marx without laughing out loud at his blunders, is quite capable of believing in Utopia. To this day, there are those who would insist Lenin and Castro were right, even if those who believe them and follow their advice always seem to end up insolvent.

It's also worth looking at the question of just how 'blue' those blue states are, anyway. In California, for example, of its 55 counties, Bush won in 36, Kerry in only 19. So, if Cali wants to secede, less than half the counties are going, and a look at the map basically shows the new 'People's Republic of California' would pretty much claim only the coast, which gives them the beaches, the celebrities, and the barrios; the parts of California which are low-crime and prosperous would stay with the rest of the country. The same thing happens in New York, where Bush took 40 of its 62 counties. The rest of Kerry's territory is the same, or worse. And frankly, if these 'blue' states were to take a vote on seceding, it doesn't look like the votes would be there for the move.

It only goes to prove, even the blue states don't agree, all in all, with the claims made by their leadership. So long as they continue to wallow in denial, reasonable voters will find only the Republicans responsive to their issues and priorities.