This is pretty much your standard Web log. I write about politics, life, interests, and thoughts. Be forewarned: the lizard at the Greens was left unattended.

Thursday, July 31, 2003

I got a temp job


I got a temp job on Monday. The work involves setting up interviews
with potential candidates and managers that want ot intevriew them.
The candidates are for IT positions to be filled a t a large Investment Bank.
Since it is a temp job it's only going to last about two weeks.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

What did the president know and when did he know it?


It seems that the Bush Administration can't agree on what lie they told.
On the one hand they say that their information about Iraq seeking
yellowcake from Niger was accurate, but it should not have been included
in the sate of the union address. In a sense their first claim is true.
If Condoleezza Rice says that by accurate, she means that it's true that
the British said they learned about the Iraq-Niger connection, then I
guess you can say that's accurate. Accurate, anyhow, in the same way
that it would be accurate to state that if Bill Gates walked into a bar,
the average net worth of the people in the bar would be a billion
dollars. It is not accurate, however, to state that there in fact is
verifiable evidence that Iraq actually tried to acquire uranium from
Niger.

Here is what the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee had to say,
in the report entitled: The Decision to go to War in Iraq [PDF]:

"Uranium and Niger [pp 69]

"The September Dossier reported that there was 'intelligence that Iraq
has sought the supply of significant quantities of uranium from Africa'.
This claim was repeated by President Bush in his State of the Union
address in January 2003: 'The British government has learned that Saddam
Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.'

"The documents relating to the alleged agreement for the sale of uranium
between 1999 and 2001 were passed to the IAEA for investigation. The
Agency concluded rapidly that the documents were in fact not authentic
and that these specific allegations were unfounded. Subsequent reports
suggested that the documents had been crude forgeries, one bearing the
name of a Niger Minister who had been out of office for some years.

"Norman Dombey, Professor of Theoretical Physics at Sussex University,
argued in September 2002 that the prominence given the uranium story was
misleading:

" Without enrichment facilities this material is useless for
nuclear weapons, although it could conceivably be used in conventional
weapons in the same way that depleted uranium is used by the UK and US.
It is also very possible that this African story is an intelligence
sting.


"Similarly, in early June the Sunday Times claimed the documents had
been forged by British Intelligence in an attempt to discredit Iraq.

"The CIA reportedly indicated doubts about the accuracy of the documents
in February 2003, although these were not apparently communicated to the
White House or to the British Government. The issue has been taken up by
Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman in a letter to President Bush of 2
June 2003.

"When asked on 4 June by Mr. Cook whether he would be willing to correct
the record and acknowledge he had misled the House on this issue, Mr.
Blair declined, saying:

" There was intelligence to that effect. I shall not go into the
details of the particular intelligence, but at the time it was judged by
the Joint Intelligence Committee to be correct. Until we investigate
properly, we are simply not in a position to say whether that is so.
"

How has the Bush administration defended their claims: "White House
officials released new information to buttress Mr. Bush's claim,
attacked the credibility of his Democratic critics and accused the news
media of a 'feeding frenzy.'" Wow, that's a novel approach. Then again
it's worked so well in the past, that it might just work this time.
Let's face it, when the Democrats' preferred way of confronting the Bush
administration is to agree (just not as strongly), or to meet in
private-maybe-it will be a miracle if they don't kowtow to him this time
around. The same thing goes for the press. They have bent-over backwards
to the Bush Administration, and there's no reason to believe that they
won't this time. Imagine, if asking Our Dear Leader Mr. Bush a few
questions about the content of words that came out of his mouth is being
called a "feeding frenzy," then how do they even begin to take a really
serious adversarial position to the White House. If the press can't call
Bush on his lies on simple things like economic, or environmental
policy, then how will they tackle a potential crisis like misleading a
nation into war at the expense of national security? How will the media
even begin deconstructing the fallacies and half-truths that this
administration has been propagating for so long? I can tell you that the
press won't ever, in any way refer to this president as a "Great
Fibber."

In a way, in fact, the press is underreporting this story. To even
allege that the president of a supposedly democratic country, even
misled, or told a half-truth to jump-start a war that people in his
administration had been pinning at for 12 years would be the most
serious and ground-shifting story that could come out of Washington
since Watergate. But that's not likely to happen with a press corps
that's played dead for two years.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

The "Liberal" Media.


Today's Washington press corps has completely lost any shred of
credibility that they had. It's like Jon Stewart said, they sat this one
out. More than that they will do anything to bend over backwards to
prove that they're not the "liberal" media. This includes going to the
extent of appeasing Republicans, and putting Democrats through what's
tantamount to an inquisition. They will ask Republicans, especially ones
close to the administration, or Congressional Republicans, softball
questions, while with Democrats it's "Exactly how many people are in the
military." "On the 19th of April you said that the Earth is 23,000 miles
in diameter, when in fact it's 24,900.3." "As commander-in-chief that's
something you should know." And they then paint the Democrat as an
exaggerator for not answering instantaneously with the exact answer. I
mean I don't remember candidate Bush answering any questions posed to
him by the press correctly, and yet no one asks him any pointed
questions. Only now is the press even starting to become even slightly
skeptical about the Iraq WMD issues, and then only hesitantly.

Jon Stewart's Comments from his Interview on NOW


This is an excerpt of his interview with Bill Moyers. This excerpt
mainly concerns Stewart's comments on the state of the media.
Jon Stewart, host of the Daily Show is known for his "fake news" show as he calls it.



Bill Moyers: Which have been the best years for you? The Clinton years
or the Bush years?

Jon Stewart: Both were vexing but in somewhat different ways. I feel
like the Clinton years were--and by the way, when you say great years, I
feel awful about that because it does-

Bill Moyers: Best years. The funniest years.

Jon Stewart: Funniest years is different. Because you do feel a little
bit like, I don't know if you--if you play Craps. Have you ever been to
Vegas with William Bennett. But if you roll Craps there's--you can bet
with the line or against the line. If you bet with the line you're sort
of betting with the table for everybody to do well. Or you can bet
against the line. If a guy craps out, then you do well.

That's what it's like to be a comedian. You basically stand and stare at
the world and hope it craps out cause that's a good year for you. So
that--that's not a pleasant feeling. But the Clinton years were vexing
in this idea that, here's someone who stands for--values and interests
that I think that I would hold dear. And yet, throws it all away on
appetites he can't control. And that's upsetting.

These years are upsetting because I feel like we're being gas lit as a
country in that what we see going on is just being described as the
opposite but relentlessly by-- you know the administration. So it's a
different-- it's a different problem.

Bill Moyers: I do not know whether you are practicing a old form of
parody and satire-.

Jon Stewart: Uh-huh (affirm).

Bill Moyers: -Or a new form of journalism. (Laughter)

Jon Stewart: Well then that either speaks to the sad state of comedy or
the sad state of news. I can't figure out which one. I think, honestly,
we're practicing a new form of desperation. (Laughter) Where we just are
so inundated with mixed messages from the media and from politicians
that we're just trying to sort it out for ourselves. The show's a
selfish pursuit.

Bill Moyers: What do you see that we journalists don't see?

Jon Stewart: I think we see exactly what you do see. But for some reason
don't analyze it in that manner or put it on the air in that manner. I
can't tell you how many times we'll run into a journalist and he'll go,
"boy that's--I wish we could be saying that. That's exactly the way we
see it and that's exactly the way we'd like to be saying that." And I
always think, well, why don't you?

...

Bill Moyers: And what is the media doing to help us sort it out?

Jon Stewart: Oh, they're not. Yeah, no. That's--yeah, they've sat this
one out. Yeah, they're not--they're not getting involved. It's very
tiring. And they have weather reports to give. Nah, the media is not
interested in-[serness?]. The media is--look politicians have figured
out the media. Let's face facts. When television first appeared it
proved itself to be a vital insight into the process. Nixon--you
mentioned the Nixon Kennedy debates. It was--at that point; politicians
didn't know how to handle the media. So Nixon could say, "I look fine. I
don't need make-up. These lights won't make me sweat. I'm sure I'll come
off as calm and collected and eloquent." And then, as he was sweating
and looked you know maniacal, he ended up losing. Well, at this
point--so at that point television was ahead of the game--politicians
have caught up. They understand that 24-hour news networks don't have
time for journalism. They only have time for reporting. They only have
time to be handed things and go, "this is what I've just been handed by
the administration." And they read it. So now that the administration
knows that, and they're very disciplined, they can manipulate what goes
on the air and what sets the agenda. And that's what they do.

...

Bill Moyers: The war is over.

Jon Stewart: It's over baby. We're back to the business of scandal
mongering.

Bill Moyers: The Washington Post says that since the first of the year-

Jon Stewart: Uh-huh (affirm).

Bill Moyers: -the Laci Petersen case has been featured 79 times.

Jon Stewart: Uh-huh (affirm).

Bill Moyers: On Greta van Susteren's evening program on Fox News. 40
times on MSNBC's, "The Abram's Report" 34 times on CNN's Larry King
Live. And 20 times on Hardball.

Jon Stewart: And I hope they get to the bottom of it. I hope they find
out.

Bill Moyers: Is this why you're able to say, without any challenge that
we're being gas lighted? That we keep hearing one thing while something
else is being done?

Jon Stewart: No, there's no question. There is in your mind. Look, you
know they always talk about the news wants to be objective. Leaving Fox
News out of it because that's--that's sort of a different animal. And,
by the way, a very entertaining animal. I enjoy watching Fox News and I
think every country should have their own Al-Jazeera.

Bill Moyers: They soon will.

Jon Stewart: They soon will. But the other news networks--you know they
have this idea that they're being objective. But news has never been
objective. It's always--what does every newscast start with? Our top
stories tonight. That's a list. That's an object--that's a
subjective--some editor made a decision; here's our top stories. #1.
There's a fire in the Bronx. #2. They arrested Martha Stewart.
Whatever--however you place those stories, is a subjective ranking as
much as AFI's 100 best films in the world is. So why not take advantage
of that and actually analyze what you do think is important and make
that--I will guarantee you, in the newsrooms across the country, they
don't believe the Laci Petersen story is the most important story that
they have to deal with. I guarantee it!

Bill Moyers: Why is it that president bush has to go to south Africa to
be asked a critical question about nuclear weapons of mass destruction?

Jon Stewart: Because in the United States he doesn't see anybody in the
press. He's in a small room, with a treadmill, that he runs on. And a
little brush to clear diorama. He is not exposed in any way. You know
what's great? Watch a Bush press conference, and then turn on Tony Blair
and Parliament. Where he literally has to sit in front of his most
vociferous critic. And that critic will say, "Sir, on the 13th, the
dossier of the French, would not the nuclear. You were hiding things.
How do you answer, sir?" "The distinguished gentleman is wrong. I can
prove it in this way."

Contrast that with the press conference that Bush had on the eve of war.
"Uh, okay, the next question is--Jim. Is there a Jim here? Yeah. You got
the next one." "That is not the agreed upon question. We're gonna move
on. Ralph, you got something?" it's an incredibly, managed, theatrical
farce. And it's incredible to be that people are playing along with it.
And they say that they're playing along with it because they're afraid
of losing access. You don't have any access! There's nothing to lose!

Bill Moyers: People say, "Jon Stewart speaks for the middle man. He
speaks for guys between the left and the right." and yet, I sometimes
think you're letting the American people off too easily. They watch all
of this cable stuff.

Jon Stewart: No. But this is-

Bill Moyers: And they vote for these politicians.

Jon Stewart: No. They vote less than 50 percent of the country. The
country is, look, the general dialogue is being swayed by--the people
who are ideologically driven. The five percent on each side that are so
ideological driven that they--will dictate the terms of the discussion.
The other 90 percent of the country have lawns to mow, and kids to pick
up from schools, and money to make, and--things to do. Their lives are,
they have entrusted--we live in a representative democracy. And so, we
elect representatives to go do our bidding, so that we can--get the
leaves out of the gutter, and----do the things around the house
that--need to be done. What the representatives have done over 200 years
is set up a periphery, I think they call it the beltway--that is
a--obtuse enough that we can't penetrate it anymore, unless we spend all
of our time. This is the way that it's been set up purposefully by both
sides. And--the financial industry, as well. They don't want average
people to easily penetrate the workings. Because then we call them on
it.

The Devil and the Middle East.


The problem with the Middle East has been a dependence on petroleum
combined with a lack of true democracy. When you have governments that
are doubly unaccountable, first because they're not elected, and second
because no one pays taxes, then you have a system that is thoroughly
corrupted and has to make deals with extremists in order to legitimize
their governance. In fact a lack of capitalism has made the Middle East
worse off for its people, and less capitalism isn't the answer. Oil
dependency is an evil and insidious business for both parties. We are
the world's largest consumer of petroleum, we're in fact petroleum
junkies, and because we're junkies we've had to make deals with some
pretty nasty people in order to get our fix. That's one of the reasons
for 9/11. It's also evil because the region of the world selling us the
most petroleum has been left behind the rest of the world. They are some
of the most backward parts of the world, especially when it comes to
education--their bodies might not be starving, but their minds are.
Africa is the poorest continent in the world, yet I've never heard of an
African suicide bomber. Obviously there's a lot of killing going on in
Africa, but none of it is directed at Westerners.

The Middle East has made a deal with the Devil because of petroleum.
They're dependent on it for their economy. This has led to
underinvestment in another parts of their economy, such as technology,
manufacturing, etc. The Middle East has never gone through an industrial
revolution, and yet they are worse of for it. Saudi Arabian sheiks can
by the most expensive cars, yet they can't manufacture them in their
home countries. This is why you have an entire generation of Middle
Easterners who are dissatisfied with their own countries and blame it on
us. Their governments relied on petroleum as a panacea and it's made
them fall behind the rest of the world instead. On top of this Middle
Eastern governments have had to make deals with the most extremist parts
of their religion. In order to legitimize their rule, they've had to,
instead of contributing to modernize their education systems, they've
had to contribute to the most backwards and ignorant parts of their
religion. In order for Imams to bless their rule, theses sheiks have had
to spread their intolerance and ignorance around the world, with all
that dirty oil-money that we've provided them. The whole damn system is
corrupt and less capitalism will make it even more corrupt, and
eventually more dangerous for the rest of the world.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

On the Al Gore 2000 Campaign


The Bush campaign tried to paint Al Gore as a divider. They tried to
paint him as part of the team that was responsible for not getting
anything done in 7 Years. The Bush campaign tried to discredit anything
Gore said as just another costume--as Gore trying to reinvent himself.
The press, through what's tantamount to misquotes and overly analyzing
every word he said, if not outright slander, painted an image of gore as
someone who was constantly trying to reinterpret himself also.

In any case the past is the past. We can't make Al Gore be president.
All we can do is analyze what went wrong, who cheated, and how do we
prevent it from happening again. There are, obviously, questions to be
asked about Al Gore's campaign. Ralph Nadir was wrong on a lot of things
but he was right to say that the 2000 presidential election was Gore's
to win. Some people hate those questions, but they have to be asked

Friday, July 11, 2003

Bob Somerby's reply to my reply


I also thought that Gore did well in Debate 1. Obviously, so did the
public, based on the overnight polls. But then the press began to spin
it. And yes--when the press corps acts as a group (it almost never
does), the press corps very much DOES affect what the public thinks and
feels.

I didn't say that the SNL skit was a parody of the press corps
conventional wisdom. I said it perfectly reflected that conventional
wisdom (Gore is boring; Gore is overbearing; Gore is weirdly inhuman). I
don't know exactly how Gore's aides discussed that skit with him. But it
would have been very foolish to take no notice of the way the press was
spinning the first debate. The SNL skit was a perfect reflection of that
press spin campaign. (SNL stayed away from the "liar" theme, but you can
be sure Gore's aides also told him that he absolutely couldn't afford to
say anything that wasn't a thousand perfect, dot-every-i accurate. They
would have been committing malpractice if they hadn't discussed this.)

You're asking me to compare the Gore reaction to current Bush reaction.
No comparison! In October 2000, Gore had a unified press corps spinning
his every move, working as an extremely well scripted group. Bush has
had a very compliant press corps, and even now, with the mainstream
press corps starting to complain about uranium from Niger, the
conservative press corps is supporting him whole-heartedly. I don't know
how the current situation will unfold, but their situations are
completely different.

I think you are totally wrong about the "GORE LIAR" canards. It is my
impression that the campaign considered addressing this matter directly
around the spring of 2000, then decided not to. There is no way to tell
what would have happened if they had directly challenged the press. But
it is VERY dangerous to do something like that, and the Bush campaign
would have jumped for joy if Gore had spent his time saying, "No, what I
REALLY said about Love Story was..." Why is that dangerous? Because the
press corps ALWAYS gets the last word. If Gore had ever raised Love
Story (or invented the Internet; or earth tones) as a topic, it would
have generated thousands and thousands of subsequent stories. Those
stories would have completely drowned out other things he wanted to talk
about--and the press corps would have been writing (and spinning) those
stories. They would NOT have been flattering. Gore would get to make one
statement; the press corps would get to re-spin the facts for weeks on
end. Political professionals understand that that is a VERY bad deal.
You don't understand that, so you blame the Gore aides.

You say that "Howard Dean wouldn't allow lies and mis-quotes to
circulate unabated while they do their damage." That is complete
nonsense. There are all kinds of damaging spins circulating, right now,
about his Meet the Press session--the notion that he "wouldn't say where
he stood on the prescription drug bill," for example. That claim is
completely bogus. He isn't correcting it because he's a political
professional and understands that it would be a very foolish thing to
do.

Finally, let the truth sink in: As of the fall of 2000, Clinton was
HATED by swing voters (especially swing voters in the swing states,
which is who the two campaigns were wooing). Both parties understood
this. That's why the GOP was constantly trying to link Gore to Clinton,
and that's why Gore's antagonists in the press were trying to do the
same thing. Gore and Bush had polling operations, so they both knew this
(although it wasn't any big secret). You don't have a polling operation,
so you don't know this. I think it's unfortunate that Michigan swing
voters felt that way, but that IS how those voters felt. Trust me: Just
as you and I don't know how to run the space shuttle program, you also
don't know how to run a presidential campaign. Dems did NOT lose the
White House because Gore's aides were incompetent or were looking for a
job with Bush. Largely, they lost the campaign because of an
unprecedented press corps campaign, and there is no reason to believe
that any other approach would have produced a better result.

My reply to Bob Somerby


If someone, as an example, has a Bachelor's degree in Political Science
and some years of experience in the politics and procedures of running a
campaign, and they know that their candidate is hated by the press (to
the extent of being booed by the very press corps that was covering him
during the Bradley-Gore debates), then how is it in anyway intuitive to
take pointers from an SNL sketch, the writers of which get their impression
of Gore from a biased media.

I happen to think that Al Gore was very good during that first debate
and that the SNL skit was in no way depicting the "pure, one thousand
percent conventional wisdom." The media that SNL took their cue from
planted that "conventional wisdom". It wasn't widely held by anyone
outside the Washington press corps that actually watched the debate.

When you say, "Gore was being brutally spun by the press corps in the
wake of Debate 1, and the SNL skit perfectly showed the way his
performance was being spun," you're missing something. Thinking that the
SNL sketch was somehow representing a parody of the press's spin, is
unfounded.

If that skit was a mere parody of the press's spinning of the debate,
and not a parody incorporating the "conventional wisdom" about Gore,
then why did his aides sit "him down yesterday and [show] him a parody
of last week's presidential debate on 'Saturday Night Live,'" and not
simply see it as a just another example of the press's vilification
of Al Gore as an "overbearing know-it-all."

The SNL sketch of the Debate 1 wasn't that bad. Aside from depicting
Gore as saying "lock-box" a million times, it was not something that an
aide should have taken as a reasoned criticism of the debate, which had
to be incorporated into the second debate. Obviously Gore's aides felt
that there was something wrong with the way Al Gore debated Bush in
Debate 1, if they told him to tone it down for the second debate. They
were somehow persuaded by the "conventional wisdom." That very same
media--which had exhaustively investigated Gore's statement about a girl
having to stand in her classroom--somehow hooked his aides in.

When a candidate is disparaged by a group (in this case the press), the
first rule isn't to acquiesce to those supposed criticisms. The first
thing his aides needed to do was acknowledge that if SNL thinks Al Gore
was a "overbearing know-it-all," he must be doing something right; it
was in no way something that had to be altered.

As a counterexample: do you think that the Bush Administration is going
to in anyway concede that they were wrong about WMD in Iraq, of course
not. Even if we had a recording of Bush saying that he was lying
outright, they would not concede an inch. That is why they are said to
be "on message." All I'm saying is had the Gore campaign been a little
more "on message" the press would not have found Al Gore to be such an
easy and pliable target for outright slander.

If the Gore campaign had pushed back real hard against the "Great
Fibber" mantra the press was spinning, then Bush would not have seemed
as the "honest" candidate.

Which is why your statement that "if the press decides to act in unison
against some other candidate this time (like Dean) it is very unlikely
that such a candidate will fight it off as well as the Gore campaign
did," misrepresents the facts. Gore's campaign didn't try very hard to
fend off the spin. The press's statements were such glaring
falsehoods--they were so childish--that a daily correction by the Gore
campaign would have been enough to take them out of circulation.

Your statement glosses over the fact that a candidate like Howard Dean
wouldn't allow lies and mis-quotes to circulate unabated while they do
their damage. Al Gore wanted to run a "clean" campaign, where the
tactics of combative contradiction--not only denying the accusations,
but also questioning the motives of your accusers--were mellowed down.
He wanted to show that he was a nice guy during the campaign, and
because of that the press walked all over him.

As to your point about offending "swing" voters by embracing Bill
Clinton--probably the best loved president among Democrats--then you're
not seeing correctly. Even during the Lewinsky scandal Clinton's
approval ratings remain above 60%. The only people who were offended by
Bill Clinton were zealot conservatives that saw his presidency as
illegitimate. The real failure of the Gore campaign in 2000 was in
letting people think that there wasn't a difference between him and
Bush. The Gore campaign could have done more, they were not perfect, and
weren't entirely blameless either.
That's what was "fucking unbelievable."

Bob Somerby's reply.


Sorry, but it really isn't "fucking unbelievable," although it led to a
poor performance in Debate 2. Gore was being brutally spun by the press
corps in the wake of Debate 1, and the SNL skit perfectly showed the way
his performance was being spun. The skit was pure, one thousand percent
conventional wisdom, and it would have been stupid not to pay attention
to what was being said about the Debate 1 performance.

Ever since Campaign 2000, many Dems have thrashed about, blaming Gore or
his aides for the loss of the White House. But the fact is, the 2000
campaign was distinguished, not by a poor political performance, but by
an unprecedented journalistic performance. From March 1999 thru November
2000, the press corps staged a 20-month assault on the Gore
campaign--the kind of "Clinton payback" that Roger Simon described in
that interview with Howard Kurtz. There is no precedent for how to deal
with this sort of thing, because there has never been a journalistic
performance like it (except perhaps for the press corps' spinning of
Goldwater in 1964). This press corps campaign was a direct extension of
the Clinton impeachment, and it clearly produced the Gore defeat. But it
wasn't created by Gore or his staff, and it's pure speculation to
suggest that some other approach than the ones they tried would have
produced a better result.

As soon as the campaign was over, the press corps began pretending that
they were puzzled by how Gore could have "lost an election that was his
to win." They pretended they didn't know what caused his defeat, and
Dems who echo their talking-points now (there are many) have been
suckered by their endless spinning once again.

The press corps is extremely powerful if they decide to act as a group.
They almost never do that, but in the wake of the Clinton impeachment,
both the mainstream and the conservative press were determined to see
that his successor was defeated. This was the whole idea of "Clinton
payback." The nonsense began in March 1999 with "invented the Internet"
(an offshoot of Gore's first interview as a candidate), and it continued
right thru that first Bush-Gore debate. Gore won the debate on all five
overnight polls--average margin, ten points--but then the press began to
spin his performance. (He sighed; he lied; he wore too much make-up.)
Sorry, but it is not "fucking unbelievable" that his staff tried to deal
with it in some way or other, and if the press decides to act in unison
against some other candidate this time (like Dean) it is very unlikely
that such a candidate will fight it off as well as the Gore campaign
did.

Something WAS "fucking unbelievable" in Campaign 2000, but it wasn't
Gore or his campaign. Last summer, I repeatedly said that "Democrats
need to understand how their party lost the White House." The press
corps doesn't want you to know this, but Dems lose the White House
because of unprecedented press corps misbehavior, not because the Gore
campaign made stupid choices.

You're trying to blame this on bizarre conduct by Gore's aides.
Actually, Gore had very good aides (as did Bush), and they ran an
amazingly disciplined campaign against a press corps which was
constantly baiting them, praying for an exploitable blunder. The truth
is, they were never given one. If Gore had actually run a bad campaign,
he would have lost by something like the 20 points by which he trailed
in March 1999.

Please don't tell me that Gore should have linked himself to Clinton
more. Swing voters HATED Clinton. Both parties understood that perfectly
well. The RNC was trying very hard, in fall 2000, to link Gore with
Clinton in voters' minds. That's why Cheney said what he did at the
convention: "We will never see one without thinking of the other." If
Gore had linked himself more to Clinton down the stretch, a cheer would
have gone up at RNC headquarters that you would have heard wherever you
live.

Email to Bob Somerby, maintainer of thedailyhowler.com.


I know a friend of Al Gore's started the daily howler, but do you really
have to reference the 2000 campaign in every single edition, every
day. Can't we moveOn? Why not latch on to one of the current Democratic
presidential candidates, and expose how the press disparages them. You
should only reference the Al Gore campaign only when there's a story
that directly relates to it. Otherwise don't try to make everything
about 2000. The knit picking of Al Gore in 2000 was only a symptom of
the press's problem with offending anyone that might grant them an
interview at the Whitehouse. Can't we expose those symptoms and their
underlying causes rather than relating everything to campaign 2000? How
about relating everything to campaign 2004 instead?

It's not as if the Gore campaign was entirely blameless. I distinctly
remember watching an episode of Saturday Night Live, where they were
mocking one of Gore's debates, where he was excitedly answering the
questions, and opposing Bush's answer. Then after that episode, during
the next debate, Al Gore was like, "I agree with the Governor; I don't
disagree; I have something similar in mind," etc, etc. Almost as if
someone on his campaign staff was taking a cue from SNL. That was just
fucking unbelievable. A presidential candidate was taking campaign
lessons from the most hackneyed and played and milked "satire", "ironic"
"comedy" show on TV--they're really grilling Bush on that show aren't
they, ouch?!? And how Gore distanced himself from Bill Clinton, which
was a mistake.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

Something I wrote down a couple of days ago.


The problem with the characterization by the Washington press Corp about
Al Gore as the "Great Fibber" was the extent to which their bias, hatred
some might say, of Al Gore stood out. It's like Paul Krugman said in his
speech to the New School on April 22: "the [Bush Administration] scams are
transparent, they're almost childish. It's hard to believe that anybody
would dare to do such a thing." The mis-quotes and fabrications about Al
Gore during the 2000 presidential campaign were so obvious and easily
contradicted, that it's remarkable how the press got away
with them. If it had been the case that Gore had lied about the content of
legislation he pushed through congress, or the underlying reasons for
going into Kosovo, thorough scrutiny would be understandable. But you
don't have to be a Gore acolyte to see how patently false and
misrepresentative the press's reporting was in 2000. In other words, a
simple internet search of the reporting-a few minutes investigating the
content of a speech, or the exact quotes from an interview-and anyone
could have seen how entirely dishonest the press's reporting was.

Monday, July 07, 2003


The Gore-'ing' of Howard Dean


In the article "Short-Fused Populist, Breathing Fire at
Bush"
in yesterday's Washington Post, reporter Evelyn Nieves
has already started the Dean-bashing. The press has already
decided that they don't like Howard Dean, so they're going to do to
him the same thing that they did to Al Gore.

She starts off by writing: "Ropy veins popped out of his neck, blood
rushed to his cheeks, and his eyes, normally blue-gray, flashed black,
all dilated pupils." Like she was really close enough to see his pupils.
She continues, "President Bush is all wrong, he [Howard Dean] says:
wrong on the economy, wrong on the environment, wrong on health care and
affirmative action and peace and justice for all." Wonder why she added
the "peace and justice for all" bit. This thing is starting to read like
some Maureen Dowd Column on Bill Clinton.

She also tries desperately to make Howard Dean out as some Blue Blood
ascot-wearing millionaire. "Howard Brush Dean III, 54, a Park
Avenue-bred medical doctor, is the Democrats' angry Everyman, heading to
Washington to make things right." What is she supposed to mean by "Park
Avenue-bred," and "Democrats' angry Everyman." Like Bush was born the
son of a toothless sharecropper or is somehow an obvious populist-the
very wealthy are people too.

She also comments on his lack of prospects as a candidate: "Dean's
passionate, bare-fisted pounding at the Washington power structure is
obviously working, at least for now." What is she implying, "at least
for now" like in a couple of months he'll be out of the campaign or
something. She even manages to disparage Dean's height, calling him "the
shortish (about 5-foot-8) contender." If anything dean is of average
height. The funniest part of the article is when she comments on Dean's
diplomatic skills, saying "...a few more choice words on his part, and
critics will be questioning whether Dean has the diplomatic skills
needed to be the leader of the free world." Excuse me; I wasn't aware
George W. got an 800 on the Verbal part of his SATs. I guess she
misunderestimated George W's verbal skills. I'm sure those critics will
nail Dean to the wall for his undiplomatic abilities. Why, he might even
think that the UN is somehow, dare I say it, a rubber stamp.

When she comments on Dean's Meet the Press interview, "he fumbled on
some basic questions, such as the size of the military..." she neglects to
mention that Howard Dean said "As someone who's running in the
Democratic Party primary, I know that it's somewhere in the neighborhood
of one to two million people, but I don't know the exact number, and I
don't think I need to know that to run in the Democratic Party primary."
I didn't realize that the exact number of troops on active duty was
somehow a "basic question." Isn't that number classified anyway? In any
case Dean did correctly estimate the number as being "in the
neighborhood of one to two million" troops.

Then she starts questioning his background as the governor of a small
state. She refers to Vermont as "a one-area-code state." But Montana is
a "one area code state." Yet if its Republican governor had been running
for president, would she have summarized it as such? She describes Dean
as "confident enough to tell voters that if he could balance the budget,
provide almost universal health care and protect open space in Vermont
(pop. 609,000), he could do it for the whole country." As if he can't do
it for the whole country because Vermont (pop. 609,000) isn't Texas
(pop. 21,325,018), which Bush left in a total mess anyway. The press
would have known this had they asked him in 2000 like they were supposed
to.

Then she begins to reveal Dean's upper-class roots. "Dean comes from
money-his father, grandfather and great-grandfather were investment
bankers; he summered in Sag Harbor, part of the Long Island playground
that includes the Hamptons, and went to Yale." I guess she's just a
hard-working muckraker, exposing the elite's abuse of the workingman.
Wait a second, wasn't Bush's father an oil tycoon who later became
president, and his grandfather a real Blue Blood who was senator from
Connecticut. Wait a second, didn't Bush go to Yale. I guess Bush isn't
the son of a toothless sharecropper after all. Notice how she says "he
summered in Sag Harbor, part of the Long Island playground that includes
the Hamptons." Let's face it, this must have been like 30 years ago or
something, back then "the Hamptons" was just farmland, with some beach
in front of it. In any case had he summered in Long Beach, California,
she would have written that it was a part of the country that included
Beverly Hills. About Vermont politics she writes, "entering politics
there was relatively easy." Bush must've had it real tough in Texas,
where your father has to be an oil tycoon so that you can be governor.

She even deftly exposes Dean's Vermont record as a fiscal conservative,
showing, again, her muckraking prowess. As governor "Dean was no
fire-breather. He insisted on balancing the budget above all else. He
went from being against the death penalty to supporting it in limited
cases. He refused to fund social programs without making sure the state
could pay its bills first." Wouldn't you know it, Dean "refused to fund
social programs without making sure the state could pay its bills
first." Thank God we have a Real Man in the Whitehouse, where the rich
will get their tax cut, even if we have to run record high deficits. She
thinks she's so smart for writing this. Like Vermont is a bed of Liberal
activism anyway. It's probably the most Libertarian state in the
country. It's sole representative, and one of its senators are
Independent. What was she thinking? That's not fair of me.

I should say that towards the end of the article she does redeem herself
somewhat, describing his wife, and his first entry into local politics.
It was creating a scenic bike-path that's close to his house. She also
goes onto describe his appearance in front of the California Teachers
Association. She writes: " 'I taught eighth-grade social studies for
three months,' [Dean] said, 'so I can personally say that I am the only
person running for the presidency of the United States that knows what
it's like to stand up without being able to go to the bathroom for five
hours.'

"Bingo.

"After 15 minutes, Dean told the audience he was going to
wrap it up. 'Awwww' pulsed through the ballroom."



Friday, July 04, 2003

Updates


Updated the links, and a few other things.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Howard Dean for Democratic Presidential nominee


Some people say that Howard Dean's campaign is McGovernesque. You have
people on the right hoping that Howard dean is nominated because they
think that Bush* will be able to trounce him through and through, you have
DLC Democrats who don't want Dean, because they also think that he's
"too Liberal." This idea baffles me. For one Dean isn't as Liberal as
some people paint him. The difference between him and Kerry is that Dean
stands by his opinions. He was against the war, even before it started,
while Kerry was for the war, sort of. You're either for it, or against
it. Do Americans really want a president who's going to say "I agree
with President Bush, just not as strongly." Who in other words is going
to say "me too" whenever the current Whitehouse does/says something. Or
do they want a candidate who's going to say: "I completely disagree with
what Bush and his administration have been doing."

And Dean isn't some peacenik either. I wasn't against the overthrow of
Saddam, but I most certainly was against the Bush Admin went in there
guns ablaizin', managing to alienate the rest of the World. Those are
the people we really need. Sure Moldova was a member of the "coalition
of the willing," but that doesn't mean anything. Moldova is a very poor
country-as poor, probably, as some central African countries. Yeah,
they're going to send in a crack team of peacekeepers. Guess what, we
need French & German Peacekeepers in Iraq.

All dean said was that going into Iraq like Bush was doing was going to
make us less secure. So far it hasn't maid us more secure. Example: No
of Americans killed by Iraqis prior to March of 2003: Zero. Number of
Americans killed by Iraqis since March of 2003: almost two hundred.

In any case Dean is very underestimated by both people on the left, and
the right. Like this quote from today's Times: "I think most Democrats
would prefer not to have Howard Dean as the nominee," Mr. Gephardt's
campaign manager, Steve Murphy, said. "I'll leave it at that." From
this article.

Of course the Washington press isn't going to be of any help. Like with
all Democrats, they'll manage to find some meager, small indescrepency
in his background, and turn it into some major reason for why he won't
be fit to be President.

They did the same thing to Al Gore, and they'll do it to whomever is the
Democratic Nominee. With gore, it was that he's a fibber, if not a
pathological liar. Which of coarse wasn't the case at all. Take for
example when Gore said he invented the Internet, guess what: he never
actually said those words. He said "During my service in the United
States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet." Which
meant something akin to being responsible for the continued funding of
the Department of Defense project which led to the Internet. But of
coarse the press managed to completely mis-quote him, and in fact make
up something that never happened. The lies about that are documented here.

They did this on countless occasions throughout the 2000 campaign. They
never did the same to Bush of course, they never even looked into his
record in Texas. Only certain reporters for the NY Times and the
Washington Post actually investigated Bush's background see this one).
I believe this is one of the reasons many Americans voted for Bush
thinking that he was a harmless moderate, just the same as Gore, but not
quite so dishonest. The opposite turned out to be true, and now we're
all paying for it, except the rich of course.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Still looking (for a job).


Today I left for Manhattan again. I went to interview for another
messenger position. This one was at 317 42nd st. I fill out all the
paperwork. The receptionist makes sure to tell everyone who's filling
out an application that the pay for that job is $5.50 an hour. I don't
care what the pay is because I need the job. When I finally get
interviewed I'm asked what my messaging experience, I of coarse say I
don't have any--because that's the truth. The gentleman tells me that
they only want experienced messengers.

However, he tells me that since I have data entry experience that I
should apply for that instead. So they have me take one of those
software examinations that they do in temp agencies. Data entry pays
more, of course. So maybe that'll pan-out. (Fingers crossed.)

After this interview I headed down to Charles st & West st, to apply for
yet another courier position. For some reason couriers make very little
money--the pay is almost minimum wage--but at this point I'll take any
job I can get. Hopefully I should be getting some interviews next week.
Tomorrow I'll head out yet again. This time to apply, for a bank job in
the Bronx.