....LMB: "To Arms"....

September 30, 2004

I think Steve Gilliard is sadly right with this post.

He argues that how Bush and Kerry actually do in tonight's debate is utterly irrelevant to the election's outcome. What matters is perception of the debate. Therefore he is urging his readers to help shape that perception:

You're going to call C-Span Friday morning, write your local newspaper and participate in online polls and say the following things:

"George Bush was completely inarticulate. I still don't understand what he meant about Iraq"

"I am so disappointed in Bush. We're seeing carbombs explode every day in Iraq and he won't admit failure"

"Bush thinks this is about him. Meanwhile American soldiers are dying in Iraq every day"

"Why won't Bush admit he blew the hunt for Osama Bin Laden"


"John Kerry convinced me he can do something about Iraq"

I think Kerry is better on Iraq than Bush"

"I'm going to vote for Kerry, I no longer trust the president"

"Bush lost my confidence last night. He just falls short against Kerry"

"I can't believe that Bush embarassed himself like that. It's amazing he's president".

As long as you hit the high points, Kerry was good, Bush was bad, and you can no longer vote for him, then you're doing your job. See, the idea is to create the feeling of defection and loss among Republicans. Not the truth, not the reality of your opinion, but a groundswell of movement away from Bush. And if you're in a swing state, all the better...

We're not trying to be right, we're trying to win.

He's right. Conservative strategists have proven that they have absolutely zero regard for the truth, unless by an amazing coincidence it happens to also be the most effective way of destroying their opponents. The press has also shown that they will slant the story according to what they think public opinion is. If they think that people favor Bush, they'll get tough on Kerry and talk skeptically about a Kerry win. If they think people favor Kerry, they'll talk frequently about the president's troubles and his uphill fight. And if you want to be a soldier in this political war, you'll probably want to help shape that perception of public opinion.

This election has about as much to do with democracy as a gang war. It's trash talk and drive-by shootings and mobilizing your loyal troops. A far cry from "democracy as the marketplace of ideas." Still, who do you want in charge of this nation, the Crips or Crips-Lite?

Are there any countries out there that don't suck?

Posted by Jake at 10:25 AM | TrackBack (0)

Parts of Scandinavia are looking good. Canada is slightly better off than the US.

Posted by: Buddy at September 30, 2004 01:51 PM

The sad part is that since we're cognizant of what we're doing, you get that same evil rush that Rove probably lives for--who knew that so much evil was born when men like him quit getting it up and had to find other thrills?

Posted by: Amanda at October 1, 2004 07:18 AM

I like Steve's reasoning. Are there countries out there that don't suck? Of course there are... and major ones too...

Spain: A country who's government under Aznar, tacitly supported Bush, while the population was slightly over 94% violently against it! The new socialist government stayed true to its election promise and withdrew Spanish troops after taking office (how novel is that...?).

France: They had their own agenda, but were principled into the bargain. Chirac is a shit of the first order, but having lived in France and witnessed standing ovations for Moore's 'Bowling...' and more than 75% against Bush.

Germany: Still the strongest economy in Europe (despite poor performances in the last few years) and a driving force for European unity (which is going to result in global dominance within 20 years). It's government tried to fence-sit initially, but its population was over 80% against Bush.

Europe is becoming less and less beholden to US economic might, as European economic might ascends. The dollar is in the toilet, while the Euro is getting stronger.

Posted by: charlie at October 1, 2004 01:29 PM
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Media News

November 16, 2004

Tales of Media Woe

Senate May Ram Copyright Bill- one of the most depressing stories of the day that didn't involve death or bombs. It's the music and movie industries' wet dream. It criminalizes peer-to-peer software makers, allows the government to file civil lawsuits on behalf of these media industries, and eliminates fair use. Fair use is the idea that I can use a snippet of a copyrighted work for educational, political, or satirical purposes, without getting permission from the copyright-holder first.

And most tellingly, the bill legalizes technology that would automatically skip over "obejctionable content" (i.e. sex and violence) in a DVD, but bans devices that would automatically skip over commericals. This is a blatant, blatant, blatant gift to the movie industry. Fuck the movie industry, fuck the music industry, fuck the Senate.

Music industry aims to send in radio cops- the recording industry says that you're not allowed to record songs off the radio, be it real radio or internet radio. And now they're working on preventing you from recording songs off internet radio through a mixture of law and technological repression (although I imagine their techno-fixes will get hacked pretty quickly).

The shocking truth about the FCC: Censorship by the tyranny of the few- blogger Jeff Jarvis discovers that the recent $1.2 million FCC fine against a sex scene in Fox's "Married By America" TV show was not levied because hundreds of people wrote the FCC and complained. It was not because 159 people wrote in and complained (which is the FCC's current rationale). No, thanks to Jarvis' FOIA request, we find that only 23 people (of the show's several million viewers) wrote in and complained. On top of that, he finds that 21 of those letters were just copy-and-paste email jobs that some people attached their names to. Jarvis then spins this a bit by saying that "only 3" people actually wrote letters to the FCC, which is misleading but technically true. So somewhere between 3 and 23 angry people can determine what you can't see on television. Good to know.

Reuters Union Considers Striking Over Layoffs- will a strike by such a major newswire service impact the rest of the world's media?

Pentagon Starts Work On War Internet- the US military is talking about the creation of a global, wireless, satellite-aided computer network for use in battle. I think I saw a movie about this once...

Conservative host returns to the air after week suspension for using racial slur- Houston radio talk show host (and somtime Rush Limbaugh substitute) Mark Belling referred to Mexican-Americans as "wetbacks" on his show. He was suspended for a couple of weeks, and then submitted a written apology for the racial slur to a local newspaper. But he seems to be using the slur and its surrounding controversy to boost his conservative cred with his listeners.

Stay Tuned for Nudes- Cleveland TV news anchor Sharon Reed aired a story about artist Spencer Tunick, who uses large numbers of naked volunteers in his installations and photographs. The news report will be unique in that it will not blur or black-out the usual naughty bits. The story will air late at night, when it's allegedly okay with the FCC if you broadcast "indecent" material. The author of this article doesn't seem to notice that Reed first claims that this report is a publicity stunt, but then claims it's a protest against FCC repression. I'd like to think it's the latter, but I'm not that much of a sucker.

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Mission: Mongolia

Jake's first attempt at homemade Mongolican barbecue:


What went right: correctly guessing several key seasonings- lemon, ginger, soy, garlic, chili.

What went wrong: still missing some ingredients, and possibly had one wrong, rice vinegar. Way too much lemon and chili.

Result: not entirely edible.

Plan for future: try to get people at Great Khan's restaurant to tell me what's in the damn sauce.

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