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Voters Complain About Misleading Calls

Mon Nov 1, 6:03 PM ET

By KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN, Associated Press Writer

LANSING, Mich. – Some Michigan voters have received phone calls falsely claiming that Sen. John Kerry (news – web sites) would make gay marriage legal. In New Jersey, some voters have heard a man claiming to be former Army Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf backing the Democrat.

Republicans and Democrats were furious Monday about the blatantly false, 11th-hour political calls to voters and demanded an end to the messages.

Schwarzkopf has endorsed Bush, but in a recording of a phone call played for The Associated Press, a man identifying himself as the Persian Gulf War (news – web sites) general says, “In 2000, I voted for George W. Bush, but this year I’m voting for John Kerry. … John Kerry has a real plan to make our military stronger and to go after terrorists wherever they hide. We need a vote for change, vote for John Kerry.”

A voice says the message was paid for by the Democratic National Committee (news – web sites).

In a statement from the Bush campaign, Schwarzkopf said the DNC was making fraudulent phone calls claiming that he had endorsed Kerry, and “nothing could be further from the truth, and I demand that they stop immediately.

The DNC had no immediate reaction.

In Michigan, in a recording of a call played for the AP, a young woman says: “When you vote this Tuesday remember to legalize gay marriage by supporting John Kerry. We need John Kerry in order to make gay marriage legal for our city. Gay marriage is a right we all want. It’s a basic Democrat principle. It’s time to move forward and be progressive. Without John Kerry, George Bush (news – web sites) will stop gay marriage. That’s why we need Kerry. So Tuesday, stand up for gay marriage by supporting John Kerry.”

Both Kerry and his running mate, Sen. John Edwards (news – web sites) of North Carolina, oppose gay marriage and say marriage should be limited to a man and a woman. Kerry has said he supports civil unions.

The calls began Sunday afternoon, according to Rodell Mollineau, spokesman for Kerry’s Michigan campaign. The campaign said voters in Detroit, Grand Rapids, Flint and Pontiac received calls.

“We’re shocked and pretty much appalled that Republicans would sink to this in the last 48 hours of the campaign,” Mollineau said.

Michigan Republican Party executive director Greg McNeilly said recorded phone calls have been made by former Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler and by President Bush (news – web sites) to Michigan voters, but he didn’t know anything about the calls described by the Kerry campaign.

GOP officials, meanwhile, have been getting reports of phone calls being made by a person who says he’s representing the Bush campaign, and then unlooses a string of swear words. Another phone call is said to tell voters they’ve been drafted for military service because Bush needs them for the war in Iraq (news – web sites).

“There are so many reports of phone calls going on right now that appear to be untoward,” McNeilly said.

Associated Press Writer Donna De La Cruz in Trenton, N.J., contributed to this report.

Yahoo! News – Voters Complain About Misleading Calls

Okay, i hate all these attempts to suppress the vote, but only one of them attempts to play on bigotry. Call me gay, but i am personally most offended by the “support Kerry to support gay marriage” call.

And another thing. Folks who compare different levels of rumors and try to say X is just as bad as Y. That pisses me off. It’s simply not correct, for instance, to suggest that “Bush will institute a draft” is the same thing as “Kerry supports gay marriage.” The equivalence is wrong in one important, objective way — it compares a political position to the likelihood of an event.

And it’s wrong in a couple of other equally important but somewhat more subjective ways:

(1) Actual likelihood of event occurring. In other words, even if we consider both statements to be about the candidates’ likelihood of doing something (Kerry will legalize gay marriage, or Bush will institute a draft), I think there is no chance in hell that Kerry will legalize gay marriage. (Alas.) But I think it possible that the Bush administration will push for a draft at some point.

Kerry is not going to have any significant lobby for legalizing gay marriage, and it’s not even clear what that would mean. He certainly could not pass a law or a constitutional amendment requiring states to perform same-sex marriages. It is doubtful he could get DOMA repealed or even revised. So what, exactly, could Kerry do on this front even if he were so inclined? Maybe get some federal recognition of same-sex unions or partnerships — but not “marriage”, which DOMA defines as between a man and a woman, and DOMA is going nowhere.

On the draft argument, by contrast, the mathematics of the situation in Iraq suggest that a draft would be helpful to the military effort. The Bush administration hasn’t exactly wanted to do the war “right”, so it’s quite likely they wouldn’t do a draft. On the other hand, it might turn out that they want a success, and would institute a draft. They’ve already been figuring out how to draft medical personnel in the advent of a national emergency, for instance. So, a draft is perhaps not likely, but certainly not inconceivable.

In this analysis, neither Bush’s nor Kerry’s statements of their intents count — we write those off as mere political BS. But if you want to tip the balance a little further, I think that Ohio state rep. Tim Ryan said it well: why on earth should we trust the Bush administration which has repeatedly lied to us about their intentions and about the state of affairs in the “war on terror”?

(2) Moral equivalency. Once again I protest the suggestion that it is morally equivalent to play on people’s fears of a draft, and to play on their hatred, fear, disgust of queers. I simply cannot take seriously people who think that these are on the same level. Only in the most abstract sense are these equivalent: both are policy questions with significant impacts on people’s lives. In that sense the draft is the more serious charge — a draft would force people into the military where they might die or be maimed or forced to kill. Playing on the fear of the draft plays on the fear of death — love of self and love of life. A big deal, no question.

But playing on the fear of same-sex marriage plays on hatred and disgust for other people. It’s negative in the deepest sense. It attempts to make issues where there are none (because same-sex marriage is simply not going to happen nationally) and it attempts to do so on the backs of — well, me, and my same-sex partner. I take that kinda personal. You find me a whole crowd of someones who are personally the subjects of the draft threat. And then maybe I’ll consider whether these are moral equivalents.

conformity & the cult of personality

Thanks (again) to Shrillblog, which has condensed all wisdom everywhere in the world into one blog, for pointing me to yet another lovely blogger [chad orzel in uncertain principles] who has beautifully articulated a certain unease about the cult of personality and republicans. He writes about the cult of personality that allows bush supporters to suspend their critical thinking faculties.

I like the digs / insights about the current Republican fandom. But I also just like the piece because it captures one of those ways in which people self-deceive …

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conservative intellectuals also have their own separate realities

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.”

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ip & tech law cites

  • Supreme Court denies cert. in Verizon [10/12] Justices won’t weigh Net music lawsuit tactics | CNET News.com
  • Robertson v. Thomson Corp. [10/6] Cite from slashdot. — apparently this case is Canada’s Tasini, regarding the copyright rights of freelance writers (right?)
  • Novell honors the ancient compact between men and elves in the fight against Mordor: Novell Statement on Patents & Open Source Software. [10/12] See press release. Cite from slashdot. The Statement, in relevant part:
    • We believe that customers want and need freedom of choice in making decisions about technology solutions. …
    • In reality, open source software poses no greater risk of patent infringement than does closed source software. [emphasis in original]
    • Consistent with this belief, Novell will use its patent portfolio to protect itself against claims made against the Linux kernel or open source programs included in Novell’s offerings, as dictated by the actions of others.
    • In the event of a patent claim against a Novell open source product, Novell would respond using the same measures generally used to defend proprietary software products accused of patent infringement. Among other things, Novell would seek to address the claim by identifying prior art that could invalidate the patent; demonstrating that the product does not infringe the patent; redesigning the product to avoid infringement; or pursuing a license with the patent owner.
    • As appropriate, Novell is prepared to use our patents, which are highly relevant in today’s marketplace, to defend against those who might assert patents against open source products marketed, sold or supported by Novell. Some software vendors will attempt to counter the competitive threat of Linux by making arguments about the risk of violating patents. Vendors that assert patents against customers and competitors such as Novell do so at their own peril and with the certainty of provoking a response. We urge customers to remind vendors that all are best served by using innovation and competition to drive purchasing decisions, rather than the threat of litigation.
    • Novell has previously used its ownership of UNIX copyrights and patents to protect customers against similar threats to open source software made by others.
  • RIAA files cert. request in Grokster [10/8] (pdf at EFF).

    my bet? cert. denied. why? *

eta: I lost that bet ….

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David Cobb (G) on privacy & freedom

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])

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privacy spam

“warrenjones” [hi, warren!] sent me this fascinating anti-spy-cam spam:

Return-Path: warrenjones @jpopmail.com
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by mailer.mis.ccu.edu.tw (8.13.1/8.12.11) with SMTP id i8MHGT5G016090;
Thu, 23 Sep 2004 01:16:32 +0800 (CST)
(envelope-from warrenjones@jpopmail.com)
Message-Id: <200409221716.i8MHGT5G016090@mailer.mis.ccu.edu.tw
To: list @mailer.mis.ccu.edu.tw
From: “warrenjones” warrenjones @jpopmail.com
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</warrenjones></list></warrenjones>

‘true name’ bill signed

Sigh. Now i know why i was feeling kinda blue today: On Wed, 9/22, Schwarzenegger signed SB1506, the so-called ‘true-name’ bill, which requires anyone putting copyrighted content on a p2p system to include their name and contact information. [Sacramento: Governor signs Internet piracy bill: E-mail address required to share movies, music online by Mark Martin & Lynda Gledhill — sfgate 9/22]. Certainly it wasn’t a surprise — this bill has been steamrollering through since early this year. But it doesn’t make my day any better.

Highlights: this line from the article:

Last week [Gov. Schwarzenegger] signed an executive order prohibiting state employees from using software designed for file sharing.

Ummm … like TCP/IP? AppleShare? The web? Might make it hard to do business …

And in related news: Donna Wentworth pointed to another recent state-law copyright case [U.S. v. Jean Martignon, 03cr1287 (SDNY 2004)]: The court struck down an anti-bootleg law because it didn’t recognize copyright terms. (Attn, Gov. Schwarzenegger: Is that the drumbeat of p-r-e-e-m-p-t-i-o-n sounding in the distance … ?)

The bill, SB1506/AB (pdf as chaptered), reads:

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Computer Industry Lied to Entertainment Industry !!!

chortle. ButtUgly: Main_blogentry_210904_1:

We lied to you

(Inspired by Cory Doctorow’s DRM speech.)

Dear Content Producers and Owners:

We lied to you. In the golden 80s and 90s we told you micropayments and content protection would work; that you would be able to charge minuscule amounts of money whenever someone listened to your music or watched your movie. We told you untruths which we well knew would never work – after all, we would’ve never used them ourselves. Instead, we wrote things like Kazaa and Gnutella, and all other evil P2P applications to get the stuff free.

We told you these things so that you would finance the things we really wanted to build, not the things that you wanted to be built. We knew all along that DRM schemes do not work, and we knew that whatever we create can be broken by us. We don’t care anymore, because your money made us bigger than you.

Look at us: every year, we churn out more computer games than your entire industry is worth. You know how we do it? We like our customers. We don’t treat them like potential criminals, and try to make our products do less. We invent new things like online role-playing -games, where the money does not come from duplication of bits (which cannot be stopped, regardless of your DRM scheme) but from providing experiences that the people want.

We saw that you were old and weak. So we took advantage of it: told you things that you wanted to hear so we could kick you in the head in twenty years. Some of us told you that the future is going to be interactive – what did you do? You started to think how to make interactive movies (CD-I, anyone?), which is not what it really means, while we wrote games and tried to understand the new mediums, not how to bolt it on onto old things.

We lied to you. And we apologize for that, but it was for the greater good. So we’re not the least bit sorry.

Signed: The Computer Industry

(linked from boingboing)