« Giving Thanks: An Open Thread and Haiku Invitational | Main | Juan Cole Threatened with Libel Suit by MEMRI »

November 24, 2004

Comments

excellent post.


much as i dislike most of the policies of the bush administration, in this case they have my full support. i wish the canadian government had taken as strong a stance against this fraud.

one of the international election observers who witnessed polling abuses in the ukraine was a Liberal MPP (member of provincial parliment) from my home province, ontario. He said (and i'm paraphrasing) that this election was the most illegitimate he'd ever seen, and the opposition candidate had definitely won.

the ukranian community has been conducting 'round the clock protests here in canada since the dubious results came out, and are planning mass rallies this weekend.

they ask that all people, regardless of ethnicity, come out and support them in the name of democracy.

i think it's a call we should all heed.

Again, the US commenting about democracy and election fraud is a little like Tom Delay extolling the virtues of ethics and honesty. But since Sebastian has opted to limit this discussion by barring the inconvenient and unpleasant.

US elections, aside, where was this appointed administration's outrage over the recent election in Russia? Of course, Bush put his stamp of approval on that election in exchange for Putin's endorsement.

And who could forget Venezuela, where the US actively sought the overthrow of a democratically-elected Government?

Sorry, we lost any claim to the high road about 4 years ago.

I am not so certain as to where America's interests lie in this situation, or where the Bush administration thinks America's interests lie. Would Yushchenko be able to govern, or would Russia take such steps as to make his election too costly to be acceptable? Would the fore-mentioned steps damage the Russian/American relationship?
No, in 1956, we probably should not have invaded Hungary.
Chechnya, Georgia, Ukraine, Putin reminding the world that Russia remains a nuclear power....I have suspicions that there are things here we do not know.

This also goes to Iraq, and other places, and the real meaning of legitimacy. The revolutionary Jefferson, all legitimacy rests ultimately in a democracy or republic not with the law, but with the people. If a political minority of substantial size does not accept rule by the majority, and is willing to undertake effective resistance, then the government is not legitimate. Democracy does not really consist in rule of the majority, but in the minority acceptance of such rule. The problem in the Ukraine will likely not be satisfactorily resolved with the legal installation of either candidate. The project in Iraq is to create a government that the Kurds and Sunnis can live under.

Yeah, but at this point, Jadegold, I'll take what I can get. They are saying and doing exactly the right things w/regard to the Ukraine, and I have no particular problem with giving them points for that.

They are saying and doing exactly the right things w/regard to the Ukraine, and I have no particular problem with giving them points for that.

True, but it's notable that they say and do the right things only when it suits them: they have no principled support for democracy, as Jadegold observed, but only for election results that they like. Were it Yanukovych that suited the Bush administration, there would be no cries of "electoral fraud" from Bush & Co - nor any protest from Sebastian, who has recently and consistently defended the Nixon-Reagan policy of supporting terrorists against democratically-elected government.


Matter of principle, proper stance, free and fair elections, protect fledgling democracies, gabba gabba hey hey hey... oh and by a strange coincidence...

There's pretty clearly something deeper and bigger going on behind the scenes here. This is a very public and serious dis on Pooty-poot, coming with a very public and serious dis of him by the EU. When people talk about "diplomatic maneuvering" this is what they're talking about, and it takes a lot more than a rigged election for the US SecState to publicly insult a major power's made man...

Not to mention that EU, having seen this movie before, have legitimate military reasons to be concerned about old Soviet bloc states becoming Russian puppets. This is a substantially bigger deal than who gets to be President of Ukraine. It's a nontrivial uh-oh moment of geostrategic muscle-flexing and side-choosing. And don't forget that EU have to make much tougher decisions about trading with those states than we do.

Notwithstanding our CinC's belief that Putin is good man, it appears somebody has decided a) that we cannot afford not to side publicly with the EU against Russia and b) that we cannot afford an actual civil war in the Ukraine, no matter how confident Putin is that he can keep it short and decisive.

The administration went against the wishes of Putin and made the right call. It improves our standing for the upcoming Iraqi election, especially in the wake of the Afghan election and a successfully executed U.S. election.

prophylactic comment against being accused of hating america: Let's not kid ourselves folks, the leaders of the EU states don't particularly care about Ukrainian democracy either.

"It improves our standing for the upcoming Iraqi election"

Considering that Allawi has entered his own slate, separate from the Sistani/Dawa/SCIRI/etc slate. I am not at all sure what is going in with the Iraqi elections. I trust the Bush administration to follow the law, respect the will of the people, and allow Iraq to have a fair and honest election that will grant legitimacy to the writers of the constitution. Honesty and integrity, openness and fairness are just George Bush's nature;he could not act otherwise. TGWW.

One odd thing is that in all these discussions about Ukrainian election fraud, I've not yet seen even a vague explanation as to how it is so certainly known that decisively significant fraud actually occurred.

Maybe I've just seen the wrong articles. "Citing extensive documentation of organized fraud" is as specific as today's NY Times got. I just don't think I've got enough info yet to either applaud or condemn the Bush admin.'s claim.

washburn,
As far as I know, the only thing suggesting fraud is the variance between the results and the exit polling. Which, while more extreme than that in our election, is still an irony that warms my heart. I'm sure further investigation will show a great deal more, but, in the meantime, I will enjoy the hollow bitter laugh of the damned every time I watch someone in this administration explain why the result in Ukraine is questionable.
I have to agree with radish that there's more going on here if Bush is willing to go against Putin publicly. All I can think of is that he's trying to curry some favor with the EU. This may a much bigger issue in Europe than it is here. That would allow him to make overtures to all the countries he dissed without having to look like he caved in front of americans.
I don't agree with Jadegold, however. I don't give people credit for any greatness of spirit when I've only ever seen them act in their own interest. This may be a case of "enlightened self-interest" that has the side effect of benefitting others, but self-interest it remains.

For more details on why people think the election was stolen, take a look at the OSCE reports. Multiple reports, but you probably want that "Preliminary report on the second round" .pdf file over on the right.

A bit dry, but it gives the flavor. Note the 96% voter turnout in Donetsk province, Yanukovic's home region.


Doug M.

About the mechanism of fraud:
On NPR yesterday they were reporting that registered voters got vouchers, and that the supporters of the Moscow-backed candidate were bussed around from presinct to presinct re-using their vouchers. Or something like that.

And ditto on the reforming of the Soviet bloc. Maybe our new Sec of State recognized a pattern.

The administration went against the wishes of Putin and made the right call. It improves our standing for the upcoming Iraqi election, especially in the wake of the Afghan election and a successfully executed U.S. election.

To think the fact I had the enchiladas at the O Club yesterday will cause my stock portfolio to rise to record levels.

Back to reality, though. Jesurgislac has it right--had Yanukovych been Bush's choice, there'd be no claims of fraud. And given the fact this appointed administration didn't mind the outright farce that was the Russian election--the events in the Ukraine are small potatoes.

I didn't say you couldn't compare the election fraud to America. I said that you would reveal your inability to make useful moral distinctions if you did. The useful moral distinction in this case is between vague, widely investigated, never proven cases of minor fraud (many charges e.g. butterfly ballots or machine choice were totally under the control of Democratic election officials), and allegations of huge, blatant, and not investigated fraud.

Jadegold, your inability to make such distinctions is noted, again.

And please tell me what evidence you have that any particular candidate is "Bush's choice". You are just playing by "heads-I-win tails-you-lose" rules of analysis.

And please tell me what evidence you have that any particular candidate is "Bush's choice".

Given that we know the Bush administration never supports democracy for the sake of democracy, and will never support someone simply because they have been democratically-elected, we may assume that when the Bush administration speaks out in favor of one candidate, that candidate is "Bush's choice".

Given that we know you're agin democracy if the "wrong candidate" wins (as witness, your very recent and very aggressive defense of the Reagan-Nixon tactics against democracy in Nicaragua and in Chile) we may presume that you're against Yanukovych's re-election not because it was fraudulent, but because he's not the candidate that the Bush administration favors.

Having literally spent years trying to normalize Chess game scores, and going nuts trying to decide if the player in Barcelona in 1982 was GM Gennady Timoshchenko or GM Georgiy Timochenko, I politely request the well-informed readers of ObsWi determine the final accurate Westernized spellings of these names.

G-man,

Sorry if this seems like haggling, and I don't have a link ready to substantiate my point, but my understanding is that our exit polls were fine. The final, complete ones, that is. Early exit polls were certainly wrong, but those can be discounted for being early.

Just to be clear - the argument being made is that this Administration stood up to Putin by refusing to recognize the new Ukranian government? Which means that Ukraine will be more dependent on Russia than previously. And this is bad for the owner of a client state why?

Given that we know the Bush administration never supports democracy for the sake of democracy, and will never support someone simply because they have been democratically-elected, we may assume that when the Bush administration speaks out in favor of one candidate, that candidate is "Bush's choice".

That argument is begging the question. If you must make this all about Bush, you might as well throw in some conspiracy theory about why he supporting one candidate over the other, since the current facts go against the more typical accusations about Bush's foreign policy.

Given that we know you're agin democracy if the "wrong candidate" wins (as witness, your very recent and very aggressive defense of the Reagan-Nixon tactics against democracy in Nicaragua and in Chile) we may presume that you're against Yanukovych's re-election not because it was fraudulent, but because he's not the candidate that the Bush administration favors.

Once again your given, isn't any such thing. My position is that the Reagan tactics of supporting authoritarian regimes were MORE APPROPRIATE THAN DOING SO NOW WOULD BE because of the context of the Cold War and Communist expansion backed by one of the most evil, murderous, and militarily powerful regimes in the history of the world. In other words my defence of Reagan during the Cold War is not a defence of supporting dictators now. I don't support the Suadi Arabian regime, I realize that acting against them openly is more likely to actually make this a war against all Islam than anything short of nuking Mecca. The closest I would come to supporting an authoritarian regime would be in Pakistan, where the thought of Taliban-like elements gaining control of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal leave me cold. In any case, Musharraf is no Pinochet and if you don't think the fundamentalist Islamists in Pakistan are a serious threat, you aren't paying attention.


Eric, also without a link, the final exit polls looked fine because they were re-weighted to match the actual voting results that were coming in. Reweighting is fine, you always have to weight exit polls based on the demographic differences between the sample you have and the total voting population. I.e., as a simple example, if wealth was the only predictor of voting choice, and if 20% of your respondents are below the poverty line and 30% of the state is below the poverty line, then you would need to count each of your "poverty line" respondents about 1.5x. And in real life, the pollsters guesses pre-election about which factors will predict voting choice, and therefore which respondents will be typical enough of the state to be good predictors, are always off by a little. But the initial assumptions of the pollsters about how to weight their samples were SO far off -- and so much further off in the key states (OH, FL, PA) than in most other states -- as to raise suspicions.

So it doesn't help that the final numbers looked fine. They were adjusted to the presumed "reality" of how the vote was coming out. Since exit polling is usually pretty exact, however, they shouldn't have had to make that big an adjustment. Either the pollsters messed up, or the votes weren't honest.

The pollsters could well have messed up. For instance, they may have been more wrong in Ohio than in most states simply because they underestimated the effectiveness of the GOP's GOTV effort, an effort that was especially intense in Ohio.

But you have to come up with a story like that for each odd discrepancy that has turned up, and the discrepancies keep running in the same direction. So there's some ground for suspicion.

Sebastian: If you must make this all about Bush

I'm sorry, Sebastian, I misread your post that started this thread. I thought you began it "Bush's policy team took the proper stance on the Ukraine election" - if that's a misreading, and you actually intended to make a neutral post on the Ukraine election without any reference to the Bush administration, I do apologize for misunderstanding you.

you might as well throw in some conspiracy theory about why he supporting one candidate over the other, since the current facts go against the more typical accusations about Bush's foreign policy.

I'm sorry, the only "current facts" are that "Colin Powell said Wednesday the United States cannot accept the results of elections in Ukraine" - and has claimed as a reason why the US can't, because they're marred by fraud. Now that's absurd: the Bush administration has no track record whatsoever of caring how reliable elections are, either inside or outside the US, providing the results are what they want them. I'm not in the business of providing conspiracy theories: I'm just pointing out that we know from what you've already said, and recently, and what the Bush administration has done, that democracy is not a basic principle that you or they feel a need to support.

Once again your given, isn't any such thing.

You want to go back and retract your support for overthrowing democracies by force and violence? *reads next sentence* No, you don't.

Sebastian, democracy is a principle you support or you don't. You can't say that you're okay with attacking democracy when a dictatorship is on your side, but in principle you're in favor of it, and hope to be believed. If you're in favor of democracy, you're in favor of it no matter who wins the election. I've seen no sign that this is your position, and indeed you've written a great deal that indicates that for you, it's not.

Sebastian, democracy is a principle you support or you don't.... If you're in favor of democracy, you're in favor of it no matter who wins the election.

Amen.

Either you think there is only one principle in foreign policy, or you have to weigh them against each other. Personally I think if a democratically elected government wanted to nuke New York city, I would rather not support it no matter how much I like democracy in theory.

But feel free to disagree.

Personally I think if a democratically elected government wanted to nuke New York city, I would rather not support it no matter how much I like democracy in theory.

And you're asserting - on what evidence? - that the democratically-elected governments of Chile and Nicaragua wanted to nuke New York City? Do tell, with citations: it's such an outrageous claim that I assume you're basing it on some substratum of fact, rather than just making it up off the top of your head. So. Cite.

But feel free to disagree.

Well, I admit, that this is such a wild claim on the face of it that I will disagree with you. It's like claiming that the reason the US attacked Iraq is because Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11: it's a wild claim that would provide a clear justification* for the attack if it were true - but for which there is not the slightest smidgeon of evidence.

I think, unless you can provide evidence for this claim, that you'll have to find some other excuse for your fairly consistent attacks on democracy when the "wrong side" wins: which, as I pointed out upthread, undermines any claim you might try to make that you're in favor of democracy as a basic principle.

*Not necessarily one I would agree with: but certainly a clear justification that would deserve to be argued on its own terms.

Personally I think if a democratically elected government wanted to nuke New York city, I would rather not support it no matter how much I like democracy in theory.

I would also support a condemnation, nay, an actual ouster of a democratically-elected regime whose intent was to boil babies alive and turn them into luscious paté for export. [Mmmm... real baby back ribs, too!] Hooray for reductio ad absurdem; now can we please stick to the point?

Personally I think if a democratically elected government wanted to nuke New York city, I would rather not support it no matter how much I like democracy in theory.

Was it painful when you removed your self-dignity to write this?

If you really feel this way, will you now and forever renounce the canard that we fight wars to bring democracy to the oppressed? That we seek to bring self-determination and freedom to others?

Or will you continue to use 'democracy'--with a wink and a nod-- as the polite excuse for imperialism and crony capitalism?

Personally I think if a democratically elected government wanted to nuke New York city, I would rather not support it no matter how much I like democracy in theory.

God forbid, but if you soon (8±5 yrs) find yourself in a position to legitimately say "Hey! Such-and-so democratically-elected government poses an imminent nuclear threat to NY city!" please keep in mind that some of us predicted that outcome based on the sociopolitical trajectory of the US between 9/12/01 and 11/2/04. Please also note that if you were a resident of Baghdad or Tehran, your concern about a democratically-elected government posing an imminent nuclear threat to your cities could backed by a very well-reasoned and watertight argument. You can after all count the number of democracies that have nuked major metropolitan areas on the fingers of one fifth of one hand, and while past performance is no guarantee of future results, the whole "bunker-buster" business does send a bit of a message...

That said, I believe Belle Waring's By the Power of Stipulation post says what needs to be said about that line of reasoning.

prophylactic: I didn't bring up nukes, you did. I am not taking a position on the morality of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, merely pointing out that people in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

"Hooray for reductio ad absurdem; now can we please stick to the point?"

You'll have to tell me what the point is. I thought I was being admonished for believing that democracy promotion is an important but not the sole factor to be looked at in formulating foreign policy. I claimed that it was A big factor, but not the only factor. Others, with much huffing and complaining about the degeneracy of my morality, disagreed. Did I misinterpret?

Sebastian: See radish's link to Belle Waring's By the Power of Stipulation post above. Or, for my slightly more gruesome descriptor of same, my post at 5:11am.

You'll have to tell me what the point is.

You cannot claim that successful free elections in the Ukraine are important to you as a matter of democratic principle, because you have made clear in the past that you only support democracy when the right side wins - which means, effectively, that you do not support democracy at all. You cannot claim that you support democracy unless you are willing to support whoever wins a free election, so long as they continue to hold free elections. That's what democracy means.

The same goes for Bush & Co: they've made clear by their statements and their foreign policy that they're not into supporting democracy as a point of principle.

Therefore, their and your interest in the success of opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko cannot be because you wish there to be free elections in the Ukraine: you've made it amply clear you don't give a damn about the principles of democracy. There must, therefore, be some other reason why you are posting on it, and certainly some other reason why the Bush administration have taken the trouble to speak out against the conduct of the elections.

It would be interesting to discuss what that other reason might be, but we seem to have got sidetracked into discussing your stance against democracy, not for the first time.

You cannot claim that successful free elections in the Ukraine are important to you as a matter of democratic principle, because you have made clear in the past that you only support democracy when the right side wins - which means, effectively, that you do not support democracy at all. You cannot claim that you support democracy unless you are willing to support whoever wins a free election, so long as they continue to hold free elections. That's what democracy means.

You would be correct about your statement if and only if you had said "You cannot claim that successful free elections in the Ukraine are the most important possible thing to you as a matter of democratic principle, because you have made clear in the past that you only support democracy when the right side wins - which means, effectively, that you do not support democracy at all."

But since you don't say that, you end up wholly misrepresenting my position and therefore go totally wrong in your analysis. In my opinin, promoting democracy is a very important facet of good foreign policy. It is not the most important possible foreign policy consideration. It is just one of the very important considerations. And that resolves the contradiction that you seem unable to grasp.

Sebastian,

"Either you think there is only one principle in foreign policy, or you have to weigh them against each other."

"In my opinin, promoting democracy is a very important facet of good foreign policy. It is not the most important possible foreign policy consideration. It is just one of the very important considerations."

The problem with your framing the issue this way, in this and other threads, is that you are saying that you are on the side of promoting democracy when the democrats are people you support, and not on the side of democracy when the democrats are people you do not support. What no shortage of people have pointed out is that the impression is left that you support the people you want to support, and then use promotion of democracy as a cover for supporting them.

Look, I don't support Chirac, but democracy in France doesn't scare me. If I were an Israeli, I would be leary of democracy projects in the Palestinian territories because a huge majority of Palestinians hold views like "Israel has no right to exist" or support suicide bombers.

I support democracies as a strong default value. But some democratic governments, and more often authoritarian governments with pseudo-democratic trappings, have policies which are so dangerous as to trump that strong default value.

As it applies to the Ukraine, I see no reason to upset the default value for supporting democracy. Specifically I do not think the fact that Putin strongly supports the leader who is accused of cheating is an important enough reason to support undemocratic elements. In general I believe that the War on Terrorism is sufficiently different from the Cold War as to not require that we support a large number of authoritarian regimes just because they are not on the other side of the conflict. You may think that I should have held the same belief about the Cold War. But in the area of democracy promotion, I have repeatedly drawn distinctions between the Cold War and the current war.

If you want, you can argue that I am making bad distinctions. But you aren't. You are pretending that I am making no distinctions.

No, Sebastian. I am arguing that someone who doesn't support democracy as a principle unless a government he supports is elected, does not support democracy as a principle at all.

You're arguing that you have a right to decide that "some democratic governments have policies which are so dangerous as to trump that strong default value". If you assert that as an independent principle by which anyone has a right to judge democratic governments, then you assert as a principle that any country has a right to oppose (by assassination, as in Chile, or by terrorism, as in Nicaragua) the government of the US: the US currently has extremely dangerous policies, and you're claiming that when a government has extremely dangerous policies, its people ought not to be allowed to decide for themselves whether or not to support that government. Other countries may do so for them, and may do so by assassination of the head of state, or by terrorism.

That is the principle you espouse. It is one I unalterably oppose.

You're arguing that you have a right to decide that "some democratic governments have policies which are so dangerous as to trump that strong default value".

Which FINALLY brings us back to what I said before: "Personally I think if a democratically elected government wanted to nuke New York city, I would rather not support it no matter how much I like democracy in theory."

We don't even have to go that far. Personally I think if a democratically elected Iran wanted to support Al Qaeda, it would be less important to support democracy than to make sure that Al Qaeda does not flourish. Fortunately we don't have to choose between a democratically elected supporter of terrorism and an authoritarian supporter of terrorism in that case. But in the case of Pakistan, we do face that issue. Most forms of democracy in Pakistan would almost certainly lead to Taliban-like elements controlling nuclear bombs. Are you ok with that?

I would also like to note that the current government of the Ukraine was specifically trying to curry favor with the US by offering to send troops to Iraq, while the opposition government--whose position on the elections Bush is supporting--has specifically stated that the Ukraine should not get involved in Iraq.

Sebastian, your argument is that terrorism against a democratic government is justified if you consider that democratic government to be dangerous.

You're arguing, then, that al-Qaeda's attack on the US on 9/11 was justified: they considered the US government to be dangerous, and you're saying that terrorist attacks against civilians in a democracy are justifiable if you think that the government of the democracy is dangerous.

That's exactly why I will unalterably oppose any such argument. You are arguing for terrorism and assassination against democracy. I oppose that. I always have: I always will.

"Sebastian, your argument is that terrorism against a democratic government is justified if you consider that democratic government to be dangerous.

You're arguing, then, that al-Qaeda's attack on the US on 9/11 was justified: they considered the US government to be dangerous, and you're saying that terrorist attacks against civilians in a democracy are justifiable if you think that the government of the democracy is dangerous."

Nope that isn't what I'm saying or what I'm arguing. BTW, it is almost certain that Al-Qaeda believed their attacks were justified. The fact that we are a democracy has nothing to do with anything. They felt justified because we are a threat to their culture--and we are.

You seem to be arguing that the existance of a democracy in a government should put them off limits from attacks of any kind. We can employ tools from trade sanctions all the way up to physical warmaking against governments which act against us.

Once again. Are you ok with Taliban elements gaining control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons via democracy? It is a rather simple question.

When out of other forms of argument, cast yourself as the hero and your opponent as the villain.

This is getting tedious. Perhaps asking Sebastian where he stands (instead of telling him) might be a good idea at this point. Oh, and try actually reading his responses this time.

Sebastian: Nope that isn't what I'm saying or what I'm arguing.

Indeed, it is. You're arguing that terrorist attacks against a democracy are justified if the attacker believes the government to be dangerous.

Sebastian: You seem to be arguing that the existance of a democracy in a government should put them off limits from attacks of any kind.

Nope, that's not what I'm arguing. What I am arguing is that if you assert that a people have no right to choose their own government democratically if they choose a government you don't like, you have no right to claim that you are pro-democracy: self-evidently, in your own language, you're not. We appear to be in general agreement on this.

That you are arguing that terrorist attacks on civilians are justified if you don't like the government they elected is just, well, horrible and horrifying. That it puts you in the camp where al-Qaeda live should horrify you.

Slartibartfast: This is getting tedious.

I agree, and it appears that Sebastian and I are on general agreement in the main point I was originally making: Sebastian doesn't support democracy.

Slartibartfast: Perhaps asking Sebastian where he stands (instead of telling him) might be a good idea at this point.

I've asked him: he's told me.

It would be nice if he would return to topic by explaining why, as someone generally anti-democracy on principle, he cares about free elections in the Ukraine.

Sebastian doesn't support democracy.

I can't come up with any polite response to this.

"What I am arguing is that if you assert that a people have no right to choose their own government democratically if they choose a government you don't like, you have no right to claim that you are pro-democracy"

Argue that all you like, but it doesn't fit the actual evidence of my beliefs as held by me, or as stated by me if you think the two are different.

I don't like the government that the people in France have chosen. But I'm pro-democracy in France. By your understanding of my beliefs, that doesn't make sense. Perhaps your understanding of my beliefs could use some refinement.

I can't come up with any polite response to this.

Which, among other things, is why I bowed out of this thread a while ago.

Sebastian: Argue that all you like, but it doesn't fit the actual evidence of my beliefs as held by me, or as stated by me if you think the two are different.

Well, I'm afraid it does. Unless you'd care to take back your passionate defense of Nixon's and Reagan's support of assassination and terrorism against democracy.

I doubt it, though, and I'm tired.

Please read my posts on the distinctions between the Cold War and the War on Terrorism. They are all over the place above.

Also please explain how your theory about my beliefs can allow for supporting democracy in France despite the fact that I strongly dislike their government.

Also please address the Taliban in Pakistan, or admit that under your definition you also do not support democracy.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Blog powered by Typepad