another one for the scrapbook: Thomas F. Schaller, The Gadflyer: Believe
Excellent. Thank god someone finally did this — in this case, a group of scientists & engineers (Scientists and Engineers for Change and Environment 2004). The story at “CNSNews.com” describes this as “Florida Billboards Blame Bush for Hurricanes [10/26/2004]. I would call it “Florida billboards point out the connection”, but whatever they call it, it’s about damn time.
A widely-discussed and reported new study shows that Bush supporters are pretty clueless about the Bush administration policies and, well, facts. [Univ. of Maryland, Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), The Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters, Oct. 21, 2004.] This has got the conservative intelligentsia tying themselves in knots to try to explain how, exactly, Americans could so misunderstand the Bush administration. I’ve got a tip for them: It could be because the Bush administration regularly lies, obfuscates, and denies problems and responsibility for those problems. And the major media until recently seems to have thought “journalism” meant “reporting the Bush administration’s gloss on a story as news.”
CompTIA got responses from Bush & Kerry on technology. It was probably too much to hope that the actual candidates could talk intelligently about open source and patent reform, as David Cobb (G) did a couple of weeks ago. But at least we got some reasonable opinions from their staffers. <g> Questions noted below include Internet content, copyright, privacy, and unlicensed spectrum.
Wow. The Republican party apparatchiks are really, at last, out-and-out, up-front, hostile to voters.
“The organized left’s efforts to, quote unquote, register voters – I call them ringers – have created these problems,” said James P. Trakas, a Republican co-chairman in Cuyahoga County.
— Big G.O.P. Bid to Challenge Voters at Polls in Key State, by Michael Moss, NYT, Oct. 23, 2004
once again, i’m reduced to saying wtf ???
William Safire, “The Lowest Blow“, NYT, Oct. 18, 2004, is really pissing me off.
The Lowest Blow
The memoir about the Kerry-Edwards campaign that will be the best seller will reveal the debate rehearsal aimed at focusing national attention on the fact that Vice President Cheney has a daughter who is a lesbian.
Uhh, no, it won’t. This is bullshit, a fake issue.
okay, wtf? no questions on the environment? or the patriot act? what kind of domestic debate is this?
Things I wish Kerry would say to Bush:
- Mr. Bush has no shame and distorts comments and the record shamelessly. [Cite to any one or two of a thousand particular examples — the healthcare plans, the budget deficit, the $87 billion, the “global test” ….]
- On the $87 billion appropriation, what Mr. Bush fails to mention is that he threatened to veto it before he signed it.
- Mr. Bush opposes a woman’s right to choose.
- Mr. Bush misled this country into war. [my version: you lie, you lie, you lie … ad infinitum, ad nauseum]
- Mr. Bush lied to Congress about the weapons of mass destruction, misleading the members of Congress, who trusted him and wanted to support the president and his intelligence. His administration cooked the intelligence.
Favorite Bush moments from the 10/8 Bush-Kerry “townhall” debate:
I hear there’s rumors on the Internets.
and his sorrow and confusion that Saddam didn’t have WMDs. This line has been trotted out before [Colin Powell on the lack of WMDs: “I’m disappointed”] and is quite revealing — the Bush administration is sorry that Saddam didn’t have weapons. Often they add some folksy, being-real clause, like “frankly,” or “nobody could have been sorrier” etc. Hello! It’s a good thing Saddam didn’t have weapons. Right? Or am I missing something? Of course what they should be sorry about is that they didn’t know it in advance of the invasion, but that would require admitting that they were sorry about something they did, not just sorry about lousy Saddam’s failure to develop weapons of mass destruction.
understanding what happened
paperwight’s fair shot explains the bush “dred scott” reference
Overall, I thought the debate was a draw, simply because Bush had set the bar for himself so very low after the first debate. Viewed completely objectively, without the first debate, and without knowing these two characters, I think that Kerry “won” — but the debate is necessarily viewed in the context of the extremely low standard Bush now had to meet — not look like a deer in the headlights again.
My original impression of Bush, though, was bolstered: he is just an incredibly hollow man. He draws most of his image of himself from the fact that he is the president:
Of course, I listened to our generals. That’s what a president does. A president tests the strategy and relies upon good military people to execute that strategy.
A presidential candidate has an IP policy. Whoo-hoo!
David Cobb, Green Party presidential candidate, doesn’t like genetic patents, thinks the patent system needs reform, is proud his website is on open source software, and thinks we should codify caselaw striking down shrinkwrap licenses. (Take that, BNetd case!)
(A recent Dan Gillmor column shows that by contrast neither Kerry nor Bush have any sense of the public interest in intellectual property law. [10/4])
“[The media] would still roll over for Bush in tonight’s debate, if only he had told his lies crisply and with folksy assurance.”
to be honest, i felt kinda bad for cheney tonight. he’s a crotchety, curmudgeonly, grumpy old man, and he makes no bones about it. i hate his politics, i despise (or do i admire it?) the way he can lie outright to someone’s face, but i guess i sorta dig the crotchety old white man vibe. it has an odd reverse psychology effect on me, tapping into my images of the gruff grizzled granddaddies of Newbery Award-winning books, who at first seem scary & villainous to the orphaned or troubled youth, but in the end are discovered to be misunderstood old coots who really do love us. we discover that we love them, too, thus learning a valuable lesson about judging people negatively on their gruff demeanor and surly appearance …
reality? no. merely childhood-novel programming.
cheney is, in reality, a scary villainous guy who has run this government into the ground and sacrificed his personal convictions and family loyalty on the altar of political expediency.
Apparently, the New York Times can’t predict the future:
It is unclear whether the contest has merely reverted to a steady state in which neither candidate can establish a clear lead, whether Mr. Bush can regain the advantage with a strong performance in the second and third debates or whether Thursday marked a turning point at which Mr. Kerry firmly seized the initiative.
— NYT, 2004-Oct-04, Richard W. Stevenson & Janet Elder, “Poll Results Show Race for President Is Again a Dead Heat.”
So it is unclear whether Bush will pull ahead, Kerry will pull ahead, or the next weeks will continue to show the two candidates tied. Insightful.
Janet & Richard aren’t to be blamed, though. This kind of “duh!” reporting is the norm when the poll is the story. If you want actual insight into the issues of the campaign you must look elsewhere.
thank god. thank god that kerry was so good last night. and bush just gave us one. why did his handlers let him go on so poorly-prepared? is he really that bad?
annotations: my favorite moments in the bush-kerry sept 30 debate
- bush going on about iraq being a place where people had their hands cut off … which leads you inevitably to think about them now having their heads cut off
- bush saying he puts his daughters on a leash [Bush: “I’m trying to put a leash on them.”]. unbelievable. there was no decent response kerry could have made to that but he did his best, i guess. [Kerry: “Well, you know, I’ve learned not to do that.”] this demonstrates to me that bush just really doesn’t even care about the public disgrace that is abu ghraib. [blogs report that andrew sullivan picked this one up too.]
- bush says our enemies attacked us; kerry points out that saddam hussein didn’t attack us, osama did, and osama is still roaming free; bush says, “i know osama bin laden attacked us, of course i know that.” could he have sounded any more fifth grade?
- kerry’s several attacks on bush’s grasp of reality:
This president just — I don’t know if he sees what’s really happened on there. But it’s getting worse by the day. More soldiers killed in June than before. More in July than June. More in August than July. More in September than in August. And now we see beheadings. And we got weapons of mass destruction crossing the border every single day, and they’re blowing people up. And we don’t have enough troops there.
It’s one thing to be certain, but you can be certain and be wrong. It’s another to be certain and be right, or to be certain and be moving in the right direction, or be certain about a principle and then learn new facts and take those new facts and put them to use in order to change and get your policy right. What I worry about with the president is that he’s not acknowledging what’s on the ground, he’s not acknowledging the realities of North Korea, he’s not acknowledging the truth of the science of stem cell research or of global warming and other issues. And certainty sometimes can get you in trouble.
- Bush’s really lame response to Kerry’s critique of domestic security issues: A sort of confused smirk, and then, “Well, let’s not talk about how he’s going to pay for all that.” Again he sounded … juvenile.
- In a fourth dimensional, slow-motion favorite, Bush’s insistence on Poland as an important member of the “Coalition of the Willing” [We had Poland; you’re disrespecting Poland; you forgot Poland.], soundly mocked by Jon Stewart @ The Daily Show, has been coming apart ever since. Consider this: On [date], Pres. Kwasniewski of Poland said on March 18, 2004, that
They deceived us about the weapons of mass destruction, that’s true. We were taken for a ride.
Who deceived them? Iraq? No… The United Nations? No… Maybe the UN inspectors? No… Hmm, who could it be?
And today, the AP reports that Polish officials hope to withdraw Polish troops by the end of 2005. An anonymous (of course) White House official apparently didn’t get the memo, though, saying that “Their position remains the same — that their troops would be there as long as it takes.”
selected webliography: debate coverage
- brad delong on lies bush told
- allah is in the house wraps up right-wing blogger commentary
- and in the most self-deluded category: one commentator on a blog (god, i hope i can find it again) said he really truly believed that bush was deliberately underperforming so that kerry would get over-confident, and he (bush) could stick it to kerry in the next debate. wow. completely & utterly self-deluded. wow. i want to comment further but am rendered speechless.
I said it before: repudiating the Bush administration policies on terror and treatment of prisoners and civilians is my most compelling reason for voting for Kerry. The Bush administration is morally bankrupt and to condone in any way these policies is a national shame. The Bush administration, frankly, should have resigned en masse after Abu Ghraib. They have not done so, and it is thus our responsibility to fire them.
The Web’s metamorphosis into a haven for armchair strategists seems all the more natural when you consider the fetishization of political operatives that has increasingly become the obsession of all media covering modern elections. It’s well established that there are not nearly as many stories about policy today as there are about campaigns and the personalities who people them. John Kerry’s capacity to run a presidential campaign is deemed at least as important as his capacity to, you know, run the country. The success of the DA Pennebaker film “The War Room,” and “K Street,” and especially “The West Wing,” a TV show created by a political junkie as a gift to the rest of us afflicted with the bug, just underlines the point. One of the hottest video games in recent months has been “The Political Machine,” which is no doubt the first game ever to feature as its primary villain the vexing mathematics of the Electoral College. And finally, for proof that we are ever more concerned about the horse race rather than the issues of the presidential race, look no further than the talking heads on cable news, constantly plumbing the depths of a sole overarching political-strategy story line, “What should Candidate X do next?”
Salon.com Technology | How the Internet turned everyone into James Carville by Farhad Manjoo — (emphasis added)
Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin, who got in trouble for derogatory comments about Islam, argued that it must have been God who selected Bush, since a plurality of voters hadn’t. “Why is this man in the White House? The majority of America did not vote for him. He’s in the White House because God put him there for a time such as this.”
Earlier, Boykin had said regarding a Muslim warlord:
I knew my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol.
— common dreams, 10/16/2003
I guess no one clued him in that the Abrahamic religions actually all worship the same “god”.
Update, 2004-10-26: “[A]ppropriate action” was taken against Boykin, based on the recommendations of the Pentagon Inspector General (Aug. 2004 report), but it was apparently not significant: “If it was something significant, it would be something we would talk about. So that should give you an indication.”
i’m an anarchist, and i’m voting, and more than that, i’m voting for kerry.* here’s why:
war on iraq:
Will Kerry solve the iraq situation? Will he make it better? Folks might suggest that Kerry will not, or can not. Other folks might reasonably point out that the Democrats are not really better on iraq: What about Clinton who let ~500,000 children die in iraq of malnutrition (and the occasional bombing)? It’s very simple: I have no idea whether Kerry will solve our problems in iraq or whether they’re solvable or how. (I do know that the Bush Administration won’t solve the problems.) So I’m not voting for Kerry because, prospectively, he’ll “fix” iraq. I’m voting for Kerry because i believe he won’t keep us on this path, pushing us into other wars based on an unrealistic view of the world. I do not believe that Kerry would have gotten us into iraq. A Bush administration is very likely to continue to lead us into ill-advised military adventures.
Really there is nothing that one can say here. Kerry is merely a Democrat and is thus beholden to certain interests. But he is unquestionably better than Bush on environmental issues. Kerry has one of the better records in the senate on the environment, and Bush is like the tasmanian devil — well, just as destructive; not so cute.
There is no question that the Bush administration will continue to appoint extremely conservative judges to the bench, judges who do not respect civil liberties. The Bush administration will also retain Ashcroft as a primary violator of civil liberties.
civil liberties in specific: reproductive rights
Kerry will get rid of the Mexico City policy. Kerry will get rid of the gag rules. Kerry will respect the right of a woman to choose an abortion or a pregnancy — not the right of his administration or a judge to choose for her.
civil liberties in specific: sexual autonomy
Kerry will respect my right to make my own choices about my family life — and Bush won’t. Kerry will endeavor not to discriminate against my family choices legally and financially.
self-respect & shame
Most significantly, I am ashamed of the u.s. government for its unilateral invasion of iraq & its treatment of civilians and prisoners (in abu ghraib and elsewhere). To any extent that I have power over this government–and it’s a very limited extent–I am morally obligated to use that power to try to change the government. Even if voting is largely a symbolic act (or as SS wrote on a list a while back, a religious act), it is nevertheless incumbent on us all to to repudiate those atrocities—that includes the formal act of voting, symbolic or no.
To stand by after those atrocities and evil actions, and to not make the formal statement–as well as all the activist, formal statements I can–against those behaviors would be reprehensible. If voting is power, then I must exercise it, even if it is only a tiny bit of power. If voting is merely symbolism, then it is nevertheless important to be on the record, symbolically, as opposing this administration.
The world is watching. The world wants to know which America is the real America: the one which offers a vision of a better world, a more liberal and free world, a safer and more just world… or the one in this picture, a world brought to you by George Bush and his administration and for which no-one of any consequence has been held accountable.
* Okay, not necessarily. The fact is that I live in california & will vote in california. And even if I were able to move in time for the election i’m moving to Massachussetts. In neither of these states will a vote for Kerry make any difference. And so unless I think there’s any chance that Kerry might lose the electoral votes in California or Mass., then i’m voting green.
update: actually i ended up voting for kerry on the theory that the overall vote total — while irrelevant to who “wins” the election — demonstrates the strength of the voices against Bush and Abu Ghraib.
Wow, this woman is quite a piece of work. I was interested to see the Democratic National Convention column she wrote that made USA Today cancel on her (USA Today’s edited version). Without thinking about it very much to begin with, I assumed there would be some of her over-the-top hateful characterizations, but I guess I also expected some actual political analysis. Nope. Her points: Democrats hate cops except for right now; Democratic women are ugly and I am pretty; Democratic leaders are nuts as are those who protest against them. That’s about as intellectual as it gets.
Alas, this reminds me of when I get hate mail regarding the feminist sf website. It’s always surprising to see how full of hot air the senders are, and how little substance they have. No logic, no actual substantive points, and often a significant lack of education.
Ann Coulter represents the first two pretty clearly. As for the third, I’ll take writing style as a demonstration of education and intelligence. Her writing style seems like some kind of attempt to be Hunter S. Thompson — the wacky journalist who takes pride in being wacky. Calculated? I can only suppose.
And, here goes — I just couldn’t resist. This woman goes on and on about ‘pretty girls’ — clearly identifying herself as one.
Here at the Spawn of Satan convention in Boston, conservatives are deploying a series of covert signals to identify one another, much like gay men do. My allies are the ones wearing crosses or American flags. The people sporting shirts emblazened with the “F-word” are my opponents. Also, as always, the pretty girls and cops are on my side, most of them barely able to conceal their eye-rolling.
and a little later:
As for the pretty girls, I can only guess that it’s because liberal boys never try to make a move on you without the UN Security Council’s approval. Plus, it’s no fun riding around in those dinky little hybrid cars. My pretty-girl allies stick out like a sore thumb amongst the corn-fed, no make-up, natural fiber, no-bra needing, sandal-wearing, hirsute, somewhat fragrant hippie chick pie wagons they call “women” at the Democratic National Convention.
Since she brought it up, I think I’m just going to be crass here and take her up on the challenge. Now, my own standards of beauty are, no doubt, not hers. But by the way she talks, she seems to have adopted a pretty mainstream standard of “beauty”. So it must be sad to her to not really meet that standard: her face is really long and not very “feminine”. Her blondeness looks like the cheap out-of-a-bottle variety. Luckily for her, I guess, most folks are actually pretty forgiving, and will accept what they think of as a good show (bleaching hair, making up) even if there’s not actually, say, classical beauty underneath. So is it this defensiveness on her part that drives her to these inane and irrelevant attacks? It’s almost a classic defensive posture: attack someone else on the grounds you feel vulnerable on, to steer the attacks away from yourself. Looks pathological to me.
(Plus her website is really slow to load. Get a new server, Ann!)