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Tuesday, January 06, 2004  

People are saying: Politics

  • MoveOn ads stir controversy
  • Craig Lyndall at Filtering Craig is among many bloggers considering the MoveOn.org ad controversy.

    At moveon.org there is a contest running 30 second ads created by people around the internet which should let people know the truth about George Bush in 30 seconds. So there are two that compare George W. Bush to Adolf Hitler. This is protected speech and you have the right to say it all you want, but seriously that kind of thinking is flawed.

    Rampaging across Europe in an effort to cleanse populations and take over countries is just a little bit different than taking directed shots (justified or not) at two countries in the Middle East. Putting people in concentration camps and eventually to death because of their religion and/or ethnicity is a little different than taking terrorists and other suspected terrorists and putting them in a military prison.

    Exaggerating is certainly a good way to get your point across I guess, but you must be careful who you use as a comparison. People are not going to just buy the fact that Bush is like Hitler. Bush is not very popular, but the level of hate and fear that people reserve for a monster like Hitler is much different. If you exaggerate your point too much the meaning is lost just as easily as if you don't press your point well enough.

    I don't really care that this outrages Republicans. This, in my opinion, is not a partisan thing. I expect that Jewish groups will be outraged and I think this should be offensive to lots of people regardless of party affiliation. If you think about it, they are using the horrible things that Hitler did to these groups of people and exploiting those actions for an anti-Bush political agenda. This should be unacceptable to all people.

    Craig's interpretration of the more extreme characterizations of Shrub is accurate in my opinion. I loathe the man. But, Bush the younger is mainly inept. He might aspire to the evil machinations of a Hitler, but he lacks the character for it. In fact, he lacks character, period. Shrub is playing with the present the Supreme Court of the United States gave him -- the Presidency. Our goal should be to send him back to playing with something less dangerous.

  • Blog politics impacts political reportage
  • Is it possible this early in the presidential race to count any of the contenders out? Intrepid blogger and film makerBrian Flemming thinks not.

    The idiot test

    Know how to tell if a political pundit (or candidate) is an idiot?

    They give it away when they trot out the tired old meme that Howard Dean is "unelectable."

    In April 1992, Democratic candidate Bill Clinton trailed the previous President Bush in national opinion polls by 20 points. Seven months later, he won the Presidency.

    Today, with 10 months to go until the election, by how many points would candidate Howard Dean have to trail President Bush in national opinion polls to be considered "unelectable"?

    According to some observers, the answer: 5 points.

    CNN: Dean Leads Democrats, Trails Bush by Only 5 Points [Blog for America].

    (Mark Kleiman, who most certainly is not an idiot, nonetheless has an interesting definition of "suicide" here. Apparently rising to within 5 points of Bush and raising $15M in a quarter is political "suicide.")

    I began my blog experience reading Mark Kleiman's weblog fairly often because the liberal bloggers I was famliar with suggested it. But, over time, I've lost interest. It seems to me that Mark goes out of his way not to offend Right Wing bloggers too often. I understand why. If a liberal or moderate says what he really thinks in the Right dominated blogosphere at a blog people actually read, he will eventually be targeted for abuse. But, I consider shilly-shallying to please people and avoid attacks a form of cowardice. There are capable bloggers I can read who aren't afraid to call'em as they see'em.

  • Truth Out revisits 9/11
  • Composer and bloggerRichard Einhorn of Tristero brought my attention to an excellent analysis of 'spin' at Truth Out.

    Two words: 'Bush Knew.'

    It is, frankly, amazing that this has fallen down the memory hole. Recall two headlines from that period. The first, from the UK Guardian on May 19, 2002, was titled 'Bush Knew of Terrorist Plot to Hijack US Planes.' The first three paragraphs of this story read:

     "George Bush received specific warnings in the weeks before 11 September that an attack inside the United States was being planned by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda network, US government sources said yesterday. In a top-secret intelligence memo headlined 'Bin Laden determined to strike in the US', the President was told on 6 August that the Saudi-born terrorist hoped to 'bring the fight to America' in retaliation for missile strikes on al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan in 1998. Bush and his aides, who are facing withering criticism for failing to act on a series of warnings, have previously said intelligence experts had not advised them domestic targets were considered at risk. However, they have admitted they were specifically told that hijacks were being planned."

    Another story on the topic came from the New York Times on May 15, 2002, and was titled 'Bush Was Warned bin Laden Wanted to Hijack Planes.'


    Unlike the Guardian piece, the Times chose to lead the article with the Bush administration's cover story, one the administration has stuck with to this day:


     "The White House said tonight that President Bush had been warned by American intelligence agencies in early August that Osama bin Laden was seeking to hijack aircraft but that the warnings did not contemplate the possibility that the hijackers would turn the planes into guided missiles for a terrorist attack. 'It is widely known that we had information that bin Laden wanted to attack the United States or United States interests abroad,' Ari Fleischer, the president's press secretary, said this evening. "The president was also provided information about bin Laden wanting to engage in hijacking in the traditional pre-9/11 sense, not for the use of suicide bombing, not for the use of an airplane as a missile." (Emphasis mine.)

    Yes, we were warned, said the Bush administration, but who could have conceived of terrorists using airplanes for suicide bombings?

    A lot of people, actually.

    The article captures the reason why rewriting history is problemmatic. If we don't recall that this is the same administration that ignored intelligence that might have prevented 9/11, we risk giving them the power to repeat the same kind of mistake.

    Richard is a fine point man in regard to the Bushies. Read his blog whenever you can.

    2:39 PM