Politics: August 2004 Archives

Playing the Ad Game, Part 2

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Some thought the first version was a little bit unfair, so hopefully the new version will be better. slashdot.org

Useless Protesting

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I can't see how the peaceful protests in NYC do anything positive, except for make people who already agree with them feel good.

I suppose it might help, through preaching to the choir, convince a very small number of people to get out and vote, where they might normally not have done so. But beyond that, nothing. Everyone's heard it before, so you're not giving any new message. We all know that a lot of people hate Bush. Yawn. So what?

Now, if you start doing civil disobedience, or worse, become violent, then you can make a difference, but you don't know if it will help you or hurt you (more likely, it will hurt). If you can provoke The Man to crack your skull open and make it look like it was all his fault, then that's about the best you can hope for, but it seems unlikely that you'll be able to do that.

But I guess I can't say the protests are entirely useless, because the problem is that while they don't stand to gain anything significant from protesting, they stand to lose a lot if they don't. Without protestors, a lot of people might get the message that Bush is not as hated as they thought, and either vote for Bush or be discouraged from voting against him.

That's kinda sad, when protesting does more harm to a cause by not happening than it does good by happening. slashdot.org

Playing the Ad Game

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I decided to try my own hand at political advertising.

Update, courtesy Jhon: A Seattle Times columnist tries to warn protestors about people like me. slashdot.org


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If you're listening to a rock star in order to get your information on who to vote for, you're a bigger moron than they are. Why are we rock stars? Because we're morons. We sleep all day, we play music at night and very rarely do we sit around reading the Washington Journal.
So sayeth Alice Cooper.

The best part about this quote is that there is no "Washington Journal" for them to read anyway. slashdot.org

Partisan Roundup

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John Kerry was visiting just two towns away from me, but I didn't feel like getting out to demonstrate my support for Bush in front. Too bad I missed it though, because a middle aged Kerry supporter punched a teenaged Bush supporter in the face. Who needs the Olympics with that kind of entertainment? Although since I saw both on TV, I guess I made the right decision.

I put Bush and GOP bumper stickers on my car. Recently, some moron put a "your SUV sucks" (paraphrased) bumper sticker on there. I showed them! I also put some GOP candidate signs in my lawn, for three local candidates I like: Dino Rossi for governor, Mike Vaska for attonrey general, and Val Stevens for state senator (incumbent).

I also got a Bush yard sign in the mail this week, I'll put it up soon. I am going to have a Bush-watching party at my house for the neighborhood this Thursday night, and got some stickers and buttons and signs and cups. And, of course, I got some volunteer forms for people to sign up to do stuff for Bush, and absentee ballot requests as well (parties and candidates love absentee ballots).

Accompanying the paperwork was a DVD of the Kerry on Iraq documentary. You can just download it, you don't need to get the DVD. slashdot.org

I Have a Question for Kerry

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North Korea seems intent on not moving forward in the multilateral talks until after the November elections, saying Bush cannot be reasoned with. We know Bush's strategy: complete nuclear disarmament in a multilateral agreement, and no concessions until that is agreed to. We know what Clinton's strategy was: bilateral treaties to freeze nuclear weapons programs, not dismantle them.

What would Kerry do? So far he's said Bush is doing the wrong thing, but hasn't quite said what he would do. He's said drawing down the troops sends the wrong message, but he's also said that it sends the wrong message to be forceful with North Korea (e.g., calling them part of the Axis of Evil, refusing to deal bilaterally, etc.).

So, Senator Kerry, what would you do? I won't ask why Kim Jong Il apparently favors Kerry over Bush, because that is not only a cheap shot at Kerry, it also opens Bush up for cheap shots FROM Kerry. :-) But I do want to know what Kerry would do, specifically. I want to know how he plans on getting a permanent solution to the problem -- which neither Bush or Clinton have thus far succeeded in -- without sending any of the "wrong messages" he's been decrying.

And further, if his plan includes complete nuclear disarmament, will Kerry stand up right now and say so? It seems this is the sticking point, and that North Korea is delaying on the hopes that Kerry will be softer on it. These delays in an agreement are delaying our safety. Kerry can help make us all be safer right now by saying he will work to disarm North Korea of all its nuclear weapons programs. Will he do that? slashdot.org

Once More on 527s

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One thing that is really ticking me off is that John McCain wrote the McCain-Feingold bill, John Kerry voted for it, and George Bush signed it into law. And yet all three are complaining about 527s, with all three saying the groups are acting illegally. But they are not. All three know the law, all three were instrumental in putting the law on the books, and yet all three seem to not know that there is nothing whatsoever in the bill that makes the actions of these groups illegal.

Before the law was even passed -- I remember it at the time -- there was a great deal of talk about how this would open the gates for third party groups to take over once soft money was restricted from the campaigns themselves. For example -- and the lawyer's name might be familiar to some of you, as he's the one who recently resigned from the Bush campaign because he offered legal advice to a 527 -- the Washington Post published an article on April 1, 2001, the day before the Senate passed the McCain-Feingold bill, which included this excerpt (taken from the Senate's record, where it was entered in on April 2):

"The world under McCain-Feingold is a world where the loudest voices in the process are third-party groups." Republican election lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg said. "My fear is that the parties will just wither and essentially people will be motivated to get out to vote by the groups which champion the issues they care about."


"What we are doing is destroying the party system in America," said House Democratic Caucus Chairman Martin Frost (Tex.). "The political parties would be neutered, and third-party groups would run the show."

Now, I think, as many people did, that the concerns of parties withering away was overstated. But the concern of third parties being loud voices was not overstated, and was well-known, and they all knew that McCain-Feingold did nothing to prevent it. And now Bush, Kerry, and McCain are crying foul? Please, spare us your crocodile tears, all of you. slashdot.org

More on 527s and Coordination

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CaptTofu sent me this great link detailing some of the links between Kerry and 527s (news to me: Ickes, head of Media Fund, is also on the DNC board). Some of the links there are IMO rather silly, but there it is.

Now, to be clear: none of this is evidence of coordination, just as none of the links with Bush are such. What it shows is not that Kerry is doing anything illegal, but that -- as I said in the other journal entry -- Kerry is a hypocrite when he attacks Bush's links to SBVT. Kerry's links are as strong or stronger than the ones Bush has to SBVT, and much more significant, given the much greater amount of money involved. slashdot.org


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Last night on NewsHour someone from the NEA (the Arts one) discussed a report that shows literary book reading in the U.S. is down. But they define literary book reading as novels, short stories, plays, or poetry.

They did ask about people who read books of any kind, but didn't use that much in their analysis. They did not ask about people who read non-books, such as magazines and online. The even included Internet use in their analysis, astonishingly, as a non-reading activity.

Why is this interesting, you ask? Well, it isn't. And that's my point. I know people who read only romance novels, which is included in literary reading. I read political and historical books, which are not included. And somehow their romance novels is good whereas my reading is not? It's ridiculous.

Look, people are reading fewer novels because people care less about them. They are reading more online and reading more non-fiction because it is more accessible and more interesting. This trend is positive IMO, not negative. Most novels/plays/short stories/poetry are inane and a waste of time. slashdot.org


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John Kerry is blatantly lying when he says that there is any illegal tie between Bush and the Swift Boat Veterans group that has been attacking Kerry. There is no evidence whatsoever of any such ties. Kerry calls on Bush to condemn the ad. And Kerry says veterans don't have the right to "lie."

So we have three issues: lack of condemnation, ties to the 527 group, and the right to speak.

What Kerry doesn't want you to know is about 30 times more money has been spent by these independent "527" groups on ads for Kerry ($60M to $2M), and that Kerry has only recently (last week, just before calling on Bush to condemn the Swift Boat ad, but months after similar ads attacking Bush went on the air) condemned one of these ads against Bush.

But back in February, Kerry said "The issue here, as I have heard it raised, is was he present and active on duty in Alabama at the times he was supposed to be? I don't have the answer to that question." And back in April, his campaign put out a detailed press release questioning the President's service! Did they yet denounce their own press release? No. Kerry condemned the ad only when it suited him to do so.

As to ties to 527s, Kerry's are numerous as well. You want donors? Several of the wealthy donors of the pro-Kerry 527s have given money to Kerry's campaign and the DNC, including George Soros. You want political ties? How about Harold Ickes, who used to work for both Bill and Hillary Clinton, and now runs Media Fund? Or how about Ickes recently hiring Jim Jordan, who was running Kerry's Presidential campaign a year ago?

And Kerry says of the vets who attack Bush, "Those are veterans who earned the right to their opinion." But of those who attack Kerry? "They don't have a right to lie."

Kerry is so desperate he is willing to further magnify an ad that makes him look bad by attacking Bush for things he himself is guilty of. I can think of no other rational explanation but desperation: it seems he really thinks he stands more to gain from attacking Bush than he stands to lose from this ad being replayed on the news over and over and being exposed as a hypocrite. slashdot.org

Let's Spin!

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Welcome to the new and exciting game show where YOU the contestant get to decide how various events will play in the national media!

You all know the rules. I'll provide something that happens in the world, and you reply to the journal entry (not another comment), and spin it to favor one of the Presidential candidates or political parties. Then the other contestants guess who you're working for! (Also, it is highly recommended that you play "Let's Spin!" by The Swirling Eddies in the background while participating.)

Without further ado, our first category is Foreign Policy.

According to former U.S. State Department North Korea analyst Kenneth Quinones, North Korea "has decided that the 'new offer' proposed by the United States during the third round of talks was a deception trying to cause turmoil in North Korea, and judged that the Bush administration lacks sincerity in the talks. Accordingly, he said, North Korea was revealing a surprisingly level of anti-Americanism and has decided to wait for the results of the U.S. presidential election."

Let's Spin! slashdot.org

Another Example of Anti-Democracy

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Ted Rall is an idiot. I don't mean he's unintelligent, I mean he lacks judgment. He lacks the ability to discern. If something falls outside his preconceived notions, it is necessarily wrong, and if you disagree, you're stupid. And not just little-w wrong, but Wrong. Evil. Everything you do that he dislikes is just one step away from Hitler. It's the height of evilness to get rid of the Taliban, because Bush did it. And Pat Tillman wasn't a hero for sacrificing his life and millions of dollars for his country, he was a stupid Arab killer.

With this lunatic's track record, it should come as no surprise that he is essentially calling for New Yorkers to intentionally subvert the democratic process when the GOP comes to NYC in a couple of weeks. And indeed, it does not.

Now, you could easily defeat most of what he says with simple arguments. It's not hard. Like, the silly assumption that forms the basis of his piece, that a city that has elected a couple of Republican mayors in a row is hostile to Republicans. There, I just did it! I don't wish to dwell on his insane ramblings about stuff that can't be true and never happened. I just want to focus on the fact that he is encouraging and welcoming anti-democracy, which should make all his fellow Democrats embarassed.

I highly recommend that you do not read Ted Rall on any regular basis. If you agree with his political bent, you will only wind up more ignorant for having read him. If you disagree, you'll just get worked up over nothing. It's not worth it. He is a professional troll -- far better than any of you silly amateurs on Slashdot -- and I only mention it because it is a great example of what we were talking about in the previous journal entry.

One more note: on the radio today, someone said he looked up tedrall.com in whois and called him, and had a talk with him, at the end of which Rall threatened to call the cops. Ha! I have no idea if it is true, but what the caller said Ted said throughout rang true. slashdot.org

Examples of Anti-Democracy

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  • A big Bush-Cheney sign on the side of the highway near my house has spray paint covering it over.
  • Left-wing "hackers" try to shut down GOP web sites.
  • Trolls try to shout down discussions they disagree with.
  • Protestors are restricted to "Free Speech Zones."
  • Commission on Presidential Debates purposefully shuts out third party candidates.
  • Bill O'Reilly.

Anti-Democracy is something designed not to push your own view, but to prevent democracy from occurring, to prevent opposing views from being heard. What other examples are out there? slashdot.org

Please Do Not Monitor My Vote

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The State Department, for reasons I cannot fathom, asked the UN to help monitor the upcoming national elections.

First, let us note that there are pros and cons to this having to do with perception, and let us acknowledge they exist and not dwell upon them.

Second, let us recognize that most of the people pushing for this -- both voters and elected representatives -- believe Bush was not legally elected, and are therefore stupid. This does not, however, directly reflect on the issue.

Third, let us recall that the U.S. has never looked favorably on any foreign influences on our political process, including -- but not limited to -- funding, oversight, legislation, etc. Congress is the ultimate body deciding our law, and everything must pass through them, and anything any foreign body wants us to do must pass through it. The UN could not exercise any power whatsoever over our process without Congressional approval.

Fourth, let us ask whether this is a Constitutional imposition on the states. The federal government, as was made very clear in Bush v Gore, has no say in elections unless a state's actions in regard to that election are in violation of federal law. I see no legal reason the states should have to comply with any federally imposed monitoring, and if I were in control of a state, I would simply disallow it.

Some might say the federal government has the implied power to monitoring elections, since the Constitution gives it the power to punish abuses. But that would be like saying the government has the right to search your house for unreported income just because it has the Constitutional power to tax your income (and the implied power to penalize abuses). It may be the case then that in a state where abuses have been proven, that mandated monitoring may be part of a federally imposed remedy, but that also implies a case going to court, and finding against the particular state, and it would only apply to that state. slashdot.org

Please Do Not Vote

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I keep hearing people wanting others to go out and vote, with the implication (sometimes explicit) that it doesn't matter who you vote for, as long as you vote.


You should only vote if you know what you are voting for, and have an opinion about one side over the other. Otherwise, you are not contributing to society, you are harming it. Natalie Portman was on The Daily Show last night bemoaning the fact that so few young single women vote. Good! I am glad they don't vote, because they are ignorant and apathetic, and therefore are incapable of rendering a reasonable vote. The reason they don't vote is because they don't have a clue, and are therefore disinterested, which is how it should work.

Portman talked about how voting should be "sexier." I don't have any clue what she is talking about, and yet I feel strongly compelled to disagree. OK, not quite true, but it was fun to write that. What's she's saying is that she wants voting to be cool so people will want to do it even if they don't know what they are doing, and that is irresponsible. Voting should be harder. It should be LESS cool. You should have to register by carrier pigeon and vote by going to a Lion's Club. It should be done only by those people who take it seriously enough that they will seek it out and not be bothered by how "unsexy" it is.

The problem is not that people don't vote, it is that people don't care. I am all for getting people to care, getting them to learn. If they do that, they will want to vote, and you won't have to try to coerce them. And if they don't, then their vote is cast in ignorance and hurts, not helps. the process.

Of course, if you are a Democrat in an urban area, you'd probably prefer it if the ignorant people voted, because they would most likely vote for your guy. Same thing with a Republican in a rural area. But that doesn't make it respectable or useful to the democracy.

So while I realize that probably no one reading this journal is apathetic or ignorant, I will make the plea regardless: if you do not know or do not care, then stay home. Don't vote. You don't know what you're doing and no one cares what you think, unless it is to use you to get what they want. slashdot.org

Now I Remember

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I have mentioned many times how much it annoys me when Bush and his camp says Kerry voted against funding the war. It's true, but the statement implies that Kerry was against funding the war, which is false (of course, Kerry has recently fed into this himself a bit, by implying he voted against the funding because he was against the war itself, but that was covered already).

So this weekend Kerry made a similar unreasonable implication about Bush, but I couldn't remember what it was. Yesterday I recalled it.

Kerry has begun saying that Bush opposed the forming of the 9-11 Commission. While true, it implies that he was against government investigating what happened, which is false. What really happened is that, because of the sensitive nature of the intelligence involved, Bush wanted existing Congressional committees to handle the investigation.

It's the same thing: a guy supports the overall goals but supports doing them in a different way, and gets slammed as though he opposed the goals. You could very well argue that Bush's plan for the 9-11 investigation would have been inferior or more serving of his own interests; but that's not interesting, because the exact same thing can be said of Kerry and his favored method for funding the war.

I am suddenly reminded of Monday's The Daily Show (one of my top few favorite TV shows) where Jon Stewart makes a Texas congressman look foolish by showing that he didn't know what he was talking about when he called Kerry the most liberal Senator. It was a great moment for Stewart and TDS, but Stewart doesn't grill the people on the left like that. It's the one thing I dislike about TDS: he is far more deferential toward the people he agrees with more. Both sides lie out their behinds, and he lets his guests on the left get away with more of it.

But then I wonder how useful this all is. In the end, does anyone care if any of the spin is true or not? Both sides get exposed for their dishonesty and nothing seems to change, either in public support for them and what they say, or in their methods. slashdot.org

Keyes vs. Obama

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For the first time ever, we could have two black people -- one from each of the major parties -- fighting for the same Senate seat. Alan Keyes has been offered the Illinois nomination for the open Senate seat. slashdot.org

Electoral Polls

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I was gone much of last week, will be gone some of next week. It's that summer thang. I may post things as they occur to me, if they are interesting enough, but very little is interesting to me right now.

However, Electoral Vote Predictor 2004 is quite interesting to me. I was looking for this, and Murr provided it. It's by a Bush-hater apparently, but his methodology seems sound. He collects latest polls from across the country and takes the most recent major poll from each state and puts the results up, categorizing them as strongly for a candidate (>= 10%), weakly for a candidate (5-9%), or barely for a candidate (5%).

These numbers are the most important, not the big numbers at the top, which proclaim Kerry is ahead 328-210, because most of the barelys are well within the margin of error, and are essentially statistical ties. Throwing those out, you get Kerry 231 - 199, with 108 tossups. Of course, the weak ones are still subject to change too, which is why this is updated regularly. slashdot.org
<pudge/*> (pronounced "PudgeGlob") is thousands of posts over many years by Pudge.

"It is the common fate of the indolent to see their rights become a prey to the active. The condition upon which God hath given liberty to man is eternal vigilance; which condition if he break, servitude is at once the consequence of his crime and the punishment of his guilt."

About this Archive

This page is a archive of entries in the Politics category from August 2004.

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