Archive for the Politics, Religion, and Society Category

On Civil Discourse: Part IV – Building Your Case, Mathematically

Posted in Politics, Religion, and Society with tags , , , , on March 17, 2011 by Justin S. Smith

Many people have no idea how to construct a good argument. I say this because I have argued with them and they lack logical skill. They aren’t stupid people, they just have trouble with the math of logic. Yes, I said math. When I was in high school (such a brief time ago(cough)) I took a logic class. Like most of my classes, I exerted the necessary energy to pass and little more, but I do recall the mathematical plotting of arguments which I enjoyed. As an electronics technician, it means even more to me now. That’s right, electronics and logical arguments are tied together with my friend, Boolean Algebra. To keep it simple, I will just talk about AND and OR equations and for this brief illustration talk about two supporting proofs only. Also, for logic, it should be noted that in building an argument, each statement/clause has only two values: True (1) or False (0) (yay binary!)

Wait, come back. I promise I’ll make this simple. AND is multiplication so if your argument is built with AND both supports must be TRUE for your hypothesis to be TRUE. So, where X and Y are supporting facts and Z is the hypothesis:

X * Y = Z. Replacing X and Y for TRUE or FALSE (0 or 1) we can see how the math bears out.

1 * 1 = 1

1 * 0 = 0

0 * 1 = 0

OR arguments are addition. I know you think the very word AND implies addition, but logically and mathematically it doesn’t work that way. So using the same variables:

X + Y = Z

1 + 1 = 1 (I know you want a 2 there, but it’s TRUE or FALSE, logic does not allow for SUPER TRUE)

1 + 0 = 1

0 + 1 = 1

The point here is that for OR arguments, every support stands on its own so that only one need be true to support the argument. OR arguments are much stronger than AND arguments because of this. If you build a nice string of OR supports, you might lose multiple points and still win the debate. A long string of ANDs gets weaker with each point because all are needed to support the case. 

There are other connections between supports other than OR and AND, but these are the most commonly used. Be careful with ANDs; they require great support for each clause and can become cumbersome. Frequently they have the appearance of being convoluted as support is pulled in from various sources to prove a point and they can be easily broken unless the tied points are common known facts.

You can also string ANDs and ORs together:

Politician X said A but did B and said C but did D and said E but did F therefore Politician X is a liar.

Now to say X lied you only need to prove one contrasting set of facts, so though you grammatically use and, logically some of them are ORs. Using the same variables:

A AND B OR C AND D OR E AND F = L (for liar) Mathematically:

(A * B) + (C * D) + (E * F) = L

Especially when you are presenting in writing, diagramming your argument mathematically can help to show you weaknesses. It is impractical to stop a verbal conversation to do so, but try working out the math of your arguments after a discussion to help with improvement.  You can also diagram your opponents argument to help you see their weaknesses. Chances are, you will jump into the same hot button issue more than once, so if you can evaluate in between those times, you can get a different view of the arguments that will likely help you the next time around.

Now don’t you wish you would have listened in school when your teacher told you that math was a part of everything? I know this went into some abstract places for some of you; when I start talking Boolean algebra with my wife, her eyes glaze over like Krispy Kreme donuts and I have to start talking about fabrics and color schemes to bring her back. Really, it’s not that hard, and if you enjoy debate, it’s worth pursuing. Note: if you start digging in to Boolean, you will find that the symbols I used were not the common symbols used in this form of logic. I did this to simplify and if you decide to dig in, you will see I really did simplify. Even the basics can be powerful though if you learn how to use them.

Jacquard, earth-tones, pink, metallic, hmmm… Let’s paint the living room. Ok you’re back. I will get back to the civility next time when I discuss presenting your argument. Can someone get me a donut? I’m suddenly hungry.

On Civil Discourse: Part III – Clarifying and Rebuttal

Posted in Politics, Religion, and Society with tags , , , , on March 8, 2011 by Justin S. Smith

After you’ve listened to your opponent, you need to make sure that you understand what they have said before you shoot into your rebuttal and on to your argument. As pointed out in comments of the last post, this is just as important, possibly more so, online as in verbal conversations. Failure to understand the position leads to poor rebuttal, and building your case without rebuttal can easily become a exercise in finding whose voice is loudest.

If your opponent has built a good case, a good test for your understanding is attempting to rephrase it in your own words, possibly  in the form of a question.

“Ok so you’re saying because of varying shadow angles on photographs, you think the moon landing was faked?”

Now if your opponent’s argument is not well built or possibly just the off-handed comment that is the initiator of a conversation:

“Obama is a foreign-born, Muslim, Communist, Liberal, Nazi extremist (who kills puppies)”

You may need to do some questioning to draw out their support. Simple questions are best for this: Why? What did he do that was “Nazi” like? How do you know he was foreign-born? Have you seen him eat a puppy? But chances are, the more blatantly insane and unsupported the claim is, the more likely this will result in a shouting match to see who is the loudest and therefore the winner. Here’s a friendly tip: ask your questions; if any of them are not answered, ask again with different phrasing. If you don’t hear the support for the argument after two attempts, disengage. It is not worth your time or energy to pursue this argument. Some rabbit holes are best left unexplored; they don’t all lead to Wonderland.

A note for online: considering the frequently slow speed of online conversations, this is an even more important time saver. Arguments are frequently longer and more thorough (especially if you’re in a good discussion group) and jumping the gun and replying to an assumption instead of clarifying can lose you days online versus the minutes you may lose in a verbal conversation. Think about this before proceeding.

Once you are clear on what your opponent has meant, it’s time to rebut. Rebuttal seems to be a lost art. Like grammar, spelling, and handwriting we have neglected this ever important part of good discussion. As indicated above, this is not the presentation of your argument and, regardless of the sound of it, it is not the replacement of a mannequin’s posterior. It is the meeting head-on and attempted defeating of your opponent’s argument. This is where you start knocking down their supports.

“You say that the multiple light angles needed to produce such shadows looks like a TV studio, but look at all the lights on the lunar module. They could have easily produced such shadows.”

Don’t try to build your own building first; knock his down. This helps avoid the piling of statistics, the weighing of mountains of evidence. In short, this can prevent added length by reducing your opponents ability to repeat himself. Think of the subject as a tract of land; I build a barn and call it a farm; you put a hydro-electric generator on the stream and call it a power plant. Who’s right? One claim needs to be knocked down, otherwise you could have two people making claims that are not exclusive claiming that they are.

A few of notes before I close:

First, don’t expect that everyone you talk to has read “Uncle Justin’s Pontification on Civil Discourse.” Actually, assume they haven’t; Uncle Justin doesn’t have a very large reading base. Anyway, you may need to prompt your opponent for a rebuttal to your argument.

“I understand your case, but you haven’t responded to the evidence I have given to my contrary conclusion” (please don’t talk like this; it’s just an example.)

Second, you might need to rebut your opponents case before you can push a rebuttal from them. I must make a confession: one of the things I looked at for this series was some of the more uncivil back-and-forth comments on this blog. When a respondent did not rebut, I called the him on it but I should have also rebutted his argument. Instead what transpired was his continuing to prop up his claim and me saying he was not rebutting mine. It degraded rather quickly and was quite contrary to the civility in discourse that I aspire to and I would thank you to not bring it up again.

Lastly, assault the argument, not the speaker. Even sideways or back handed comments like “well you just don’t understand” are not beating the argument; they are just pompous, arrogant bloviating; a  slightly nicer way of saying “you’re stupid.” For the record, throwing a “bless your heart” in doesn’t help (my southern friends know what I’m talking about.) My favorite slice that I’ve received in a theological debate was “you’ve just been sold a bad bill of goods.” So I got the added bonus of not only being called stupid, but being told that those whom I had listened to and trusted were the clergy equivalent of used-car salesmen (no actual assault on the arguments was ever made in this discussion and, surprise, it went south fast.) Never good, don’t do it.

Remember, the head-on confrontation that is a rebuttal is paramount in moving conversation forward. You may go back and forth a bit on views of a particular support; that’s ok. It will still be productive, or more so than skipping this step would be anyway. If you have trouble confronting, remember that you are going after the argument not the person. This confrontation is necessary for civil discourse. Without a rebuttal, you can easily draw parallel lines of reasoning; never meeting, never crossing. I encourage you: cross those swords; be perpendicular.

On Civil Discourse: Part II- Listening

Posted in Politics, Religion, and Society with tags , , , on March 2, 2011 by Justin S. Smith

In case you missed it, Part I is here.- J.S.S.

So you’ve decided to get in the ring. The most important thing after this decision is listening to your opponent. Too many discussions go astray because one or both parties don’t take the time to hear the opposition. I have been guilty of this myself and will likely be again in the future. Without listening your arguments will be weaker and you will tend to build on one point or repeat yourself ad nauseam instead of listening and answering the arguments and rebuttals of your opponent. In online and email discussions lack of listening is a lack of reading, skimming across a message and responding to what you think they are saying. What is meant as a time saver becomes a huge time waster.

The first pitfall to avoid is in interrupting to rebut anything you might disagree with. Until they are done, you are basing your rebuttal on an assumption of where they are going, not the reality of their actual argument. I am reminded of the child that was instructed to give a sentence starting with the word “I”:

“I is” the child started and the teacher promptly interrupted, “I am, always say ‘I am’” said the teacher. “Ok” said the child “I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.”

Your opponent may not be going where you understanding predicts, let him speak. You may learn something or you might hear something so bafflingly crazy that your argument proves much easier or absolutely unnecessary. You will never know if you don’t let them finish.

Having given much thought on the matter of interruptions, I have found only two times when I see it as being permitted. The first is when your opponents rebuttal completely mischaracterizes your argument or makes it clear that they didn’t understand what you were trying to say. This interruption is ultimately for saving time by correcting a disconnect that will lead to parallel arguments. If this is necessary, you should assume that the misunderstanding is the fault of your own communication skills and not the lack of intelligence of your opponent. This humble approach should help keep emotions in check. You should also try to be quick and concise in your correction (you are, after all, on their turn,) and then turn the discussion back to them.

The second cause for interruption is if you really don’t understand what they are talking about. Perhaps they reference something foreign to you or use a word you don’t know and can’t glean the meaning of from context. This happens frequently when talking to Dennis Miller. Again, I think it is important to take responsibility for this; tell them you want to follow and understand what they are saying but they lost you when they said “x” then let them explain and continue.

The second big temptation as a listener is spending time building your own argument. Your opponent may start talking and you’re thinking about what you could have added to prop up your argument. You hear where they start and it sounds familiar so you start putting together all of the “fool proof” arguments you know against what you think they are saying but miss the nuance of what they say. You end up arguing from assumptions because you weren’t listening. You may even look like an idiot. Online this happens when you do all of your research for your next point before your opponent responds. You build your case and regardless of what they say, you run with it. Your argument will be better built to oppose their argument if you actually hear what they say. Also it helps eliminate the need for interruption exception one when it’s your turn to deliver.

The most important thing to remember is you decided to get into this conversation by either initiating or engaging the initiator. Listen. Give them time to speak and pay attention to what they’re saying. You likely will never convince anyone that they are wrong about their personal dogma, but if you hear where they are coming from you may be able to get them to think harder about their support. You may even be surprised to find out that the view you oppose might be well thought out. If you don’t listen you’ll never know.

I don’t put the full responsibility of listening on the listener. There are things that can be done on the part of the speaker to help them maintain attention. I will cover this in the next part.

On Civil Discourse: Part I- Broaching the Subject

Posted in Politics, Religion, and Society with tags , , on February 28, 2011 by Justin S. Smith

I disagree with many people on most things and all people on some things and so it is with a certain frequency that I find myself in a conversation concerning an opposing opinion. The free flow of verbal conversation not allowing for the formal rules of a proper debate, there should still be some matters of consideration in order to maintain civility. The first of these is on the initiation of the conversation or broaching the subject.

There is a large group of people who feel that they are entitled to share their opinion without having to back it up, respond to queries, or listen to opposing views. If this is you, keep your opinion to yourself. You do no good with your expression and refusal to go further. If you refuse to back it up or answer questions, you show weakness in your view. If you refuse to hear opposition, you give an air of superiority that your opinion is worth being heard but opposing views are not. If you think that you “win” by being the only person allowed to speak, you should know that you only win in your own mind. Stating your opinion is like stepping in a ring, you can’t punch your opponent and jump back out. This is especially important to remember when you know your opinion is disagreed with before you state it.

As opposition, if the subject is broached, you are entitled to respond if you choose. Most people know this. What most people don’t recognize is their right to not respond. You have the right, after someone has stated his/her viewpoint, to plainly state that you disagree but do not wish to engage. I do see it is good to state that you disagree even if you do not wish to engage because to not say so is to give tacit approval to the preceding statement. Depending on how strongly you disagree or the implications that could be drawn from your tacit approval, this may be unnecessary.  The importance for the second party is recognizing the choice point of engagement. If you don’t want to don’t. If you do, you should realize that you are subject to the same rules as the initial speaker; prepare to back yourself up, respond to questions and entertain counterpoints. Again, imagine the subject broached is a ring, you don’t have to step in, but the moment you do you are open to everything permissible in the ring and will have to weather the blows of your opponent.

We can learn a lot by having in depth discussions with people of varying viewpoints, but not everyone is cut out for doing so while keeping their emotions in check. Also, there are times and places when such discourse may be inappropriate. If you don’t have the time or endurance or the venue is wrong, don’t engage.  If you choose to engage, whether by initiating or responding, be prepared to engage fully. No one likes sucker-punch conversationalists. Get in there and duke it out. If your opinion is worth stating, it’s worth defending. If it’s not worth defending, you should probably keep it to yourself.

Anti-Choice Fringe

Posted in Politics, Religion, and Society with tags , , , , , on February 10, 2011 by Justin S. Smith

So according to a recent call to action from Planned Parenthood, I am part of “the anti-choice fringe.” I’ll own that, I am unequivocally, in all cases, without exception, opposed to abortion. Always, I think it is wrong. Always, without any lingering doubt or reservation. I hope that was clear enough. I have no problem with Planned Parenthood calling me part of the fringe (though most polls show this is still very much a split issue.) I do take issue with the continued use of the political rhetoric “anti-choice.” But this really gets to the core of the argument that continues to rage on nearly 40 years after Roe v. Wade.

What Planned Parenthood tells me by calling me “anti-choice” is that they have made no effort to understand where I am coming from. I understand that to them, and those that agree with them, it is a matter of choice and freedom. These are two things I am in favor of. However, those of us that call ourselves “pro-life” do so because we view the issue as a matter of protecting the life of an unborn child over protecting the choice of the mother. We view abortion as ending a life. A methodically planned, premeditated murder. I know that’s harsh rhetoric, so let me prop it up a little.

Most pro-life people believe that life begins at conception. Most have a religious conviction that children are a blessing from God, that we are formed by the hand of God in our mother’s womb, that we (humans) are the image bearers of God and therefore should be protected above all other life. We believe that a human life is sacred and we believe that that life is sacred from its origination as a fertilized egg forward. Yes our opponents are confused by are claiming of belief in the sanctity of life while also believing in the death penalty, but the same scripture that defends and teaches us that our lives our sacred also teach that the penalty of taking another life is death (Exodus 21:12) and that includes taking the life of an unborn child (Exodus 21:22-25.) Saying that we are “anti-choice” because we oppose abortion is like saying that we our “anti-freedom of religion” because we oppose human sacrifice. We are in favor of choice and freedom but not where those rights impose on the rights of another, born or unborn, especially a right that is enumerated in the Declaration of Independence as “inalienable”: life. More importantly, something that God takes so seriously; human life is his image.

But not everyone believes in God or in the scripture that we on the “anti-choice fringe” use as our guidance. But without such there still remains some legal issues. Legally should nonviable human babies be treated as less than human? For consistency, no they should not. The Endangered Species Act levies equal penalties for killing the adult of the species as it does for damaging the egg of a protected bird.  Protection for the bald eagle (though no longer endangered) does the same. Further, if a murderer takes the life of a pregnant woman, he can be held culpable for 2 counts of murder not 1. Our laws already recognize that taking the life or possibility thereof from a baby, fetus etc., whether that individual is on its own able to survive or not, is equal to taking the life of an adult of the same species. Religious beliefs aside, we are terribly confused.

To my pro-choice readers, please note that I willingly call you by your own term: pro-choice. I don’t call you “pro-abortion”; I know many of you though pro-choice are anti-abortion. I don’t call you “anti-life” because that is just as ridiculous as calling me “anti-choice”; it’s simply not true. However, if you continue to call me and those that believe like me “anti-choice” I will call you intolerant hypocrites; the ones who cry “intolerance” the loudest when someone states an unpopular belief like abortion is wrong or that their religious system is the only right way but hold just as firmly to their own belief to the point of putting false labels on their opponents. That is hypocrisy without question. I am pro-choice. I am pro-freedom. I am however opposed to the choice of killing an unborn child and against the freedom to do so.

I have seen things the other way; I understand the opposing viewpoint; I vehemently disagree with it, because I believe that the unborn child is still a life and to terminate that life is murder. I am not in favor of the bombing of abortion clinics or the assassination of doctors that perform abortion. I am not in favor of vigilante justice to right the wrong, so do not take anything I have said as a call in that direction. I only want an attempt to understand where I (we) are coming from. We are for the protection of life. We are pro-life, and though rhetoric may attempt to claim us to be a small minority, we are not. 

Censorship, Chinese Food, & Pants

Posted in Politics, Religion, and Society, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 21, 2011 by Justin S. Smith

“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.” Mark Twain

I was done with discussion of censorship for a while and looking for other quotes for a different post when I came across this one by Twain. He is talking about censorship where adults are concerned, but it raises questions concerning those who cannot “chew.”

When a child is born, they start life on a liquid diet, they slowly start eating mush, then soft food and eventually regular food, first broken up into small pieces moving towards table independence. Even after they learn to feed themselves, there are utensils to learn and cutting. Parents may be cutting meat up for children for a long time. Hopefully a child can be taught to cut for themselves without cutting themselves, and this is another process. This is part of why the Asians are so much more efficient than westerners; all of their food is already cut to appropriate sizes; if you want a day off from cutting food for your children, get Chinese food, but don’t be fooled, this great equalizer of the table comes from Communist thought. At least we chopstick users can still have a sense of elitism.

Like food, thoughts must be “cut up” for easy digestion for the young ones. We don’t start our children reading Tolstoy. We start by reading to them what they can handle. However, with words and thought, we can give them much more than they can digest reading above their comprehension and let them pull out of it what they can. They won’t choke unless you choke them, which brings me to the necessary part of this method: patience. Some children will just listen to the rhythmic pattern of the words and be content with spoken song, as it were, but with age, they will get to the questioning.

“What does that word mean?”

“Why is he doing that?

These are the little brains starting to see that there is more than what they thought in the story. This is the child saying they want something they can chew on a little more. This is a great thing, if you are patient. This is also your last warning about parental censorship, if you have not been careful with what you are presenting, you could be answering some difficult questions. Be prepared. See, I am not opposed to parental censorship; most rational people recognize that there is such a thing as age appropriateness, like with food. You start with editing what you give them, mostly things unpalatable for adults (like children’s entertainment) moving to a semi-digested form of mush, then small pieces. Chinese food = family entertainment that is Pixar is carryout from the Great Wall. In the books Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland or Huckleberry Finn or the The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, there is some really great stuff that they won’t get like they may not appreciate the stir-fried shitake mushroom in all of its glory, they may ask “what is that?” and this is how they learn. 

That’s why we homeschool. If my child grows teeth before yours, I will give them something to chew; I won’t wait until the experts say they are old enough. If they get their teeth slower, they will eat mush longer. Every child develops differently. We can teach school like we “teach” eating, the public schools, on the other hand, take their cues from clothing manufacturers.

Let me explain.

I don’t know if anyone else has this issue, but kids clothing sizes seem like one of the worst thought out things I’ve seen. If I go buy myself pants, I find the waist and leg measurements for me and that’s pretty much it. There is some play in measurement between manufacturers, so I try them on, but pretty much I get the right numbers and they fit. Kid’s clothing is sized based on age. Someone decided that a 3 year-old is a certain shape and that’s the shape they make clothes for. Strangely, children, being little people, like big people don’t all fit into the same mold. So if a child is of average height but not weight, his pants fall off. You could always go down a size, but then you have high-water pants.

I have worked on solutions to this but duct tape leads to accidents and my wife says the staple gun is out of the question. So we look for belts. Do you know how hard it can be to find a good belt for a 6 year-old? I do, the options are few and usually ineffectual. Now, if kid’s pants were sized like men’s there would be no problem. (Note: I am not discussing women’s sizes as they are a complete mystery to me)

The point is one size does not fit all. It usually doesn’t even fit most, but that is how kid’s clothes and public education works, or doesn’t work. I’m not saying that all of you supporters of public schools are wrong. I hope your kids are getting an education outside of school from you though so that when important topics are censored, shied away from or mishandled, you are there to fill in the blanks and correct the flaws. In my opinion, the time needed for correcting would justify homeschooling, but not everyone is cut out for it.

I’m not an expert on early child development or education. I know this was a bit rambling and I’m making some weird connections. Look, I’m not telling you how to raise your kids, but if you are trusting the government to do it, check up on them daily, they have a bad record of mishandling things and making stupid reactionary decisions. To sum up: Pixar = Chinese Food, Osh Kosh B’gosh = Public Education, and nobody knows your children better or cares about their education and wellbeing more than you.

Like many things I have started, this was almost not published for its ramble and possible lack of clarity, if you find it is missing a couple of connections, sorry. It is what it is.-JSS

Obama is a Foreign-Born, Muslim, Communist, Liberal, Nazi Extremist (who kills puppies)

Posted in Politics, Religion, and Society with tags , , , , , on January 17, 2011 by Justin S. Smith

I have almost written this a number of times, but for some reason or other I always selected something else to write first. Once again this has been brought to the forefront of my mind and so it seemed like a demon that was ready to be exorcised. Let me start with what brought this back up.

On January 6th, the US House of Representatives read the Constitution during session for the first time ever. A positive step in my opinion marred by some questionable editing that I previously addressed and by one outburst from the gallery. When this section was read concerning qualifications of the President:

“No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President”

Teresa Birther yelled from the gallery “except Obama! Except Obama! Help us Jesus!” showing again the level of intelligence we have attained in political debate.

My problem with her outburst is threefold:

1. Legal– Congress, like a courtroom, has certain rules that must be adhered to. If the rules of order are broken, if a member of the audience decides they need to yell something out, there are consequences. In court, such disruptions may result in a contempt charge; in Congress, a charge of disruption of Congress can be, and in this case was, levied.

2. Religious– If your going to break the law and disrupt Congress, could you leave Jesus out of it? As a Christian, I believe that I am supposed to uphold the laws of man provided they do not forbid any good work required of me by God or require anything of me forbidden by God. Screaming an unfounded opinion propagated by false emails does not qualify as a good work required by God, so it is best if Jesus name not be invoked. Also, if we could leave him out of thank you speeches at the Grammys and Oscars, that would be great; I’m sure he would prefer to avoid “credit” for much of this.

3. The Implication– This is really the crux of what I want to discuss. The implication is that, as so many emails have told us, President Obama was not born in the United States and is therefore not qualified to be President. And the evidence is….? I can find a ton of opinion pieces on this, I can also find the copy of his birth certificate released by his campaign during the election. The only “evidence,” whether you accept it or not, indicates that he was born in Hawaii. I am discounting the “Welcome to Kenya” sign as a Photoshopped fake. Further, I realize that qualifications are checked by people with a lot more ability and resources than or I or you, so the weight I put on such emails or accusations when I see them is equal to what I might give the alert of the sky falling. He was cleared by the intelligence community at a time when the heads of the respective agencies (CIA, NSA, FBI) all answered to former President Bush. Do you think he would have given Obama a free pass and swept his African birth under the rug only to be uncovered by the email forwarding elite? To quote our new Speaker of the House “The state of Hawaii has said that President Obama was born there. That’s good enough for me.”

But this is all just one part of the larger problem. As my friend, Mr. Griffin, pointed out, President Obama has become the embodiment of all that which is evil to the point that if all of what has been said about him were true, none of it could be. He has been compared to Hitler, pointed at as the Antichrist, accused of Communism, Socialism, attempting to destroy our country, etc. The extremes of which he has been accused of rapidly become contradictory, leaving only to believe that those making the accusations are raving lunatics. Perhaps, if we want to say something solidly against President Obama, we should start by discussing his policy and what he has and hasn’t accomplished. Perhaps we could assume that he is in fact a natural born American (barring real evidence to the contrary) stop trying to prove that he is a Muslim since a close study would indicate he is a far worse Muslim than Christian (their rules are stricter) and just discuss why we do or don’t want him to be reelected in the next two years. All the rest is just noise, and isn’t that what all the noise is supposedly about?