51% of the people, all of the time

People joke that the Bush Administration has been using Lincoln’s quip as their game plan, but the joke isn’t very funny any more.

It’s starting to look as if the Bush strategists are planning to win re-election by targeting two groups only: the fanatics of the Republican core constituency, and the people who aren’t really paying attention.

A majority of Americans still believe that Saddam had MWD, actively supported al Qaeda, and was probably involved in 9/11. No evidence for any of this has surfaced.

The attacks on Kerry’s supposed “anti-defense” votes don’t hold water either — Rumsfeld and Cheney held similiar views at various times in the past. As Republicans say about everything else but defense, “You can’t solve a problem by throwing money at it”, and some weapons systems just aren’t needed. (The one person people really should be looking at in this regard is Rumsfeld, who sent an undermanned and underequipped army to Iraq).

The flap about Kerry’s service records is even worse. The best you can say about Bush’s military performance is that he served stateside and got permission to leave the service early with an honorable discharge. (This is the absolute minimum standard of acceptable military service). The worst you can say about Kerry is that he was a decorated combat veteran who got permission to leave the service early with an honorable discharge.

Kerry comes out far ahead by all non-pacifist standards, and people have asked why the Bush people are even raising the issue. The answer is that they are targetting people who aren’t really paying attention — airhead centrist whim voters who vote on the basis of buzz.

“Well, there were questions about Bush’s military service, and there were questions about Kerry’s service too, so basically it’s a wash”. That sounds shrewd and maybe even wise, right? Nobody’s going to fool this guy! He doesn’t even have to read the articles to figure out what’s going on!

I blame the drug culture. During the Sixties a lot of people came to believe that they could get the real truth by intuiting vibes and reading auras, and that nit-picky left-brain attention to fact and detail is useless, if not harmful. Some of those people are still around today, and they seem to have had kids.

The present Bush campaign can only succeed if it gets active collaboration from the media. The most routine professional, fact-based coverage of the Bush campaign would blow it completely out of the water. But for whatever reason, even some non-partisan journalists have accepted a definition of “neutrality” which (like the worst forms of affirmative action that the Republicans rail against) requires equality of outcome. If, on a particular issue, the Bush people lie and the Kerry people tell the truth, the media will not tell us about it. (What they actually do is really worse than simply fake neutrality, of course — most what we see about the election in the media is paid advertising for which ultimately do not take any responsibility at all.)

The possibility that Bush might be reelected to an irresponsible lame-duck term without the support of any well-informed voters at all is terrifyng. To me that sounds like a carte blanche to run wild and trash the place worse than he has already.

As always, I end up making a plea to people who never come to my site: the libertarians and the semi-mythical rational conservatives and moderate Republicans. None of them really have any reason to support Bush (key words: Patriot Act, little government, fiscal responsibility, and “sliming John McCain”). But it’s possible that many of them will do so anyway, saying “At least he’s not a Democrat!” Even the ones who don’t vote for Bush will probably just slink down to the polling place and take advantage of the secret ballot.

I’m really hoping that a few of the big names will stand up in the last few weeks of the campaign and announce publicly that they’re voting for Kerry. If they don’t, the consequences could be appalling.

(No, I don’t think that the Democrats will be able to pull it off on their own.)

Campaigns, blogs, marketing and reality

Watch this at C-SPAN.

If the link doesn’t work for you, go to C-SPAN.org and search down the “LATEST VIDEO” list for “TechnologyPolitics Summit on Politics & the Internet (04/26/2004)”.

The first presentation concerns progressive talk radio, but more interesting is a terrific talk by David Weinberger (a Dean Campaign Internet advisor). This starts about 57 minutes into the clip and runs for about 45 minutes.

What Americans Know II

My earlier post was obliterated by Blogger after being up for a few days. The post started with the news that most Americans STILL think Iraq was behind 9/11. Among other things I said it’s crucial for us to listen to Limbaugh in order to understand what Republicans are thinking and what so many Americans think is reality. Today a Washington Post story covers this territory.

Some people get their information from the TV networks or the paper. Stein starts with the Drudge Report Web site, where he scans the headlines and clicks on one that says, “Rallying Cry For Dems: Vote Bush Out of Rove’s Office.” “This is the kind of stuff that pisses me off,” he says. “They don’t give Bush the respect he deserves. Not only because he’s president, but because he’s a helluva good man.”

Next he goes to a Web site called WorldNetDaily.com. He clicks on an article that says, “Poll: Bush’s Approval Sinking,” but dismisses it as untrustworthy when he sees the poll was done by CBS. “Of course I have a suspicion of CBS,” he says. “Dan Rather, Peter Jennings, Tom Brokaw — they don’t have any credibility with me.”

Next he goes through a site called FreeRepublic.com, which calls itself “the premier conservative news forum,” and then moves on to a site called sftt.org. “Soldiers for the Truth,” he says, scrolling through another list of articles and watching a video of what the site says is a U.S. Apache helicopter targeting and obliterating three Iraqis. “Another guy moving right there,” one voice on the video says, all business. “Good. Fire. Hit him,” another voice says.

“It’s amazing, the military, the men and women who are serving us,” Stein says. “You think about the sacrifices, the idea of spending Christmas in Afghanistan, in Iraq, in West Africa, in these hellholes. In the civilian world, they get some injury, carpal tunnel syndrome, and they want to go sue their employers, and these guys . . . I’m so proud of them. I’m so glad they’re on our side.”

Next he goes to Military.com, where there’s a photograph of an American soldier holding a wild-haired Saddam Hussein on the ground moments after his capture. “Look at the contrast,” Stein says. “There’s the American soldier coming to liberate the country, and there’s the tyrant who ran the rape rooms and the children’s prisons. That inspires me.”

Next he goes to AmericanRhetoric.com, where he has listened to an “awesome” speech by Bush, an “amazing” speech by Reagan, and a “great” speech by Martin Luther King Jr. from a time before “things got so distorted,” and then he goes to townhall.com, which calls itself a “conservative news and information” site, where he begins hopscotching from Pat Buchanan to Robert D. Novak to Ann Coulter.

This is how Stein gets his information, along with watching Fox News and skimming the local paper, to which he once canceled his subscription because he was so offended by an opinion column about Bush that began, “The Boy Emperor picked up the morning paper and, stunned, dropped his Juicy Juice box with the little straw attached.” He recognizes that the information he seeks out reinforces his beliefs rather than challenges them, but “I feel I’m more informed than most people,” he says. “Most people don’t read all of this.”

There’s so much more in this article. Read it. Start listening to Limbaugh. Start in small, 5-minute doses. Don’t break your radio. Work up to a full half hour. It is CRUCIAL to understand what Americans are being told. You will not BELIEVE what they’re telling people! But this is the core of Republican thought. What you hear here is repeated in various forms and dilutions on the mainstream news. It sets the agenda. People BELIEVE that cutting taxes or the rich increases government revenue! People BELIEVE that Christians are persecuted in America. People BELIEVE that “the government” is some separate entity that takes money from regular working people and just keeps it for “themselves.” They are told that Republicans are “people like us” and Democrats drive “limousines” and “drink wine and eat French cheeses” and that they hate Christians. Over and over they are told these things.

And they are told, over and over again, not to listen to mainstream media, not to trust anything “Liberals” say, not to trust their facts, not to believe anything they hear except from the far right. And it works.

Republicans understand how people get their information, and they take advantage of it. They spread little (untrue) stories about ridiculous lawsuits on music radio stations, they send out (untrue) chain e-mail stories about Kerry insulting people, they call talk shows with (untrue) stories about Kerry pushing his way to the front of lines in drug stores saying, “Do you know who I am?” They plant (untrue) stories about people (meaning Jews) persecuting Christians. Fox News reports Iraq stories under the banner “War on Terrorism” as if Iraq had anything to do with Terrorism…

Jinxed

Looks like I’m saving the data from the hard drive. It just came up again, and I’m copying everything to a new drive, hoping it lasts long enough.

Meanwhile something has screwed up the Seeing the Forest site, starting with the deletion of part of the What America Knows post, and leaving everything after that in bold. I’m leaving it alone in case Blogger fixes it…

Hard Drive Help

I’ve got a 30gb Quantum Fireball in my Mac G4 that suddenly won’t spin up. The Drive Setup doesn’t see it. Does anyone have any suggestions? Am I going to have to spend a huge amount to get the data recovered? Thanks in advance for any help.

Update – It does spin up, but the Mac won’t see it. So maybe it’s some kind of failure in the circuitry of the drive.

What Americans Know

You probably have seen this poll reported on other blogs. I don’t tend to post things I have also seen elsewhere, but this one really, really needs repeating.

“A new poll shows that 57 percent of Americans continue to believe that Saddam Hussein gave ‘substantial support’ to al-Qaida terrorists before the war with Iraq, despite a lack of evidence of that relationship.

In addition, 45 percent of Americans have the impression that ‘clear evidence’ was found that Iraq worked closely with Osama bin Laden’s network, and a majority believe that before the war Iraq either had weapons of mass destruction (38 percent) or a major program for developing them (22 percent).

[. . .] among those who say most experts agree that Iraq had banned weapons, 72 percent plan to vote for Bush.”

To understand Bush’s support, you have to unde

Well, I don’t know where the rest of this post went. It was up for a few days, and then this happened to it. Thanks, Blogger.

m4s0n501

An e-mail I received:

TEXAS TRUTH TOO GOOD NOT TO PASS ON

While suturing a cut on the hand of a 75-year old Texas rancher (whose hand was caught in a gate while working cattle), the doctor and the old man struck up a conversation about George W. Bush being in the White House. The old Texan said, “Well, ya know, Bush is a ‘post turtle’.” Not being familiar with the term, the doctor asked him what a ‘post turtle’ was. The old rancher said, “When you’re driving down a country road an you come across a fence post with a turtle balanced on top, that’s a post turtle.” The old man saw a puzzled look on the doctor’s face, so he continued to explain, “You know he didn’t get there by himself, he doesn’t belong there, he doesn’t know what to do while he’s up there, and you just want to help the dumb bastard get down!”

Bush the Post Turtle.

Bush had his chance to win it. Get him out of there before he screws up again.

Diana Moon, has pointed out that Bush and his surrogates are 100% sure to blame the Democrats for his Iraq disaster. (Tinker Bell died because we didn’t believe hard enough). The title above is my first try at what I think we should be saying.

For 32 years now Democrats have been running away from the McGovern Curse, which the DLC has interpreted to mean “No Democrat ever can oppose any war anywhere”. That has to change. Democrats have to suck up their guts and go on the attack.

It’ll be a rough sell. Bush’s rabid core constituency is 30% of the electorate, Bush’s team has close to a billion dollars to blow, the media are shallow, spineless, and venal, and many “centrists” are just airheads. It will be like the Alamo or Thermopylae — the few and the proud, defending human civilization against the ravening Republican horde. (Take that, Samuel Huntington! Take that, Victor Davis Hansen!)

As I’ve been saying for a couple of years, this election will be decided by the rational conservatives and the intelligent centrists (if there are any). If they stick with Bush, we are doomed. There are plenty of signs that they’re starting to shift, but I’m not counting on it. George W. Bush may be allowed to run the world off a cliff just because certain people couldn’t force themselves to vote for the party of unions, affirmative action, and (gasp!) gay marriage. (The horror! The horror!)

A Hero

I don’t know anything about this guy, except that after 9/11 he gave up a $3.6 million NFL football contract and enlisted in the army. He was “an exceptional student with a 3.84 grade point average through college and graduated summa cum laude with a degree in marketing” who died yesterday in Afghanistan. This was just announced and there isn’t much news yet about what happened.

I don’t know if he was a rabid right-winger, or a Democrat, and it doesn’t matter. (I guess it does matter because if he was a Democrat the Republicans are going to start smearing him now.)

Osama Bin Laden Captured!!

Not really. There’s a spam email going around saying so, though. If you clink on the link in the email, you get a nice computer parasite. (Story here).

Investigators are hot on Osama’s trail, though. My sources tell me is that the latest tip is that Osama has apparently figured out that if you want to disappear from view, the Texas Air National Guard is the best place to go.