Saturday, September 18, 2004

The polls really are inaccurate 

I have had little patience for the constant discounting by lefty bloggers of polls showing Bush establishing a big lead over Kerry.

One reason for my tendency to write off the bloggers as self-deluded is that I have been hearing too much about how the samples of voters include more self-identified Republicans than Democrats. This argument is meaningless, because party-affiliation is not formally checked in these polls--people just say, "I'm a Republican" or "I'm a Democrat," and they say this because it reflects their decision to support a particular candidate. So a random sample that includes a majority of Rethugs just means that a lot of people at the moment self-identify as Repugs because they support Bush/Pilate, master of necessary blood-sacrifice.

The second reason for my impatience with the blogger poll criticism is that it seems fundamentally uninteresting. Over at Donkey Rising, Ruy Texeira and his followers analyze the polls in the most minute detail, always trying to show that the numbers actually indicate that things are going OK for Kerry. I don't discount Texeira's informative analyses, but the whole enterprise often strikes me as a way of denying the sickening horror of this campaign--the constant calls of Republicans to vote Republican as a way of honoring the dead, the implicit rebuke of anyone who would try to imagine a world with less death, the whole hermetic complex of 9/11-heroism sealed and preserved only by death and more death, the fact that an infantile fantasy image becomes even MORE impervious to analysis when the viewer knows with unconscious feelings of titillation and guilt that it covers a corpse...

And, most painful, the impotence of Kerry's replies. That's the kicker for me. I'd rather talk strategy than poll numbers, and Kerry's strategy has been suicidal. It's as if he's wanted to be the next victim of the RNC cult of ritualized human sacrifice. Sorry. I'm sick of observing the taboo (observed with an annoying combination of pathos and self-righteousness over at Kos and Atrios) against criticizing Kerry.

Now, he HAS been doing much better recently. But the fact that he has only NOW begun to mention, um, say, the issue of CREDIBILITY, is mind-boggling. This has always been known to be the linch-pin of the Democratic victory. I understand the impulse he indulged over the summer to let Bush self-destruct (Fallujah, Richard Clarke, etc.). But he STILL could have been sharpening the attacks for use when necessary, and getting the fucking inevitable and inescapable BUSH IS A LIAR message out there, if only through surrogates.

And the fact that he is only NOW talking about Iraq is equally mind-boggling. The fact that he could, on the stump, have come repeatedly to the Iraq question and said nothing more than, "I know what to do in Iraq; I defended this country as a young man and will defend it again"--the fact that he could have said this and NOTHING MORE is absolutely mind-boggling, indeed soul-destroying. Just thinking about it is killing me. I saw the man say this in person. It ruined about three weeks of my life. And this was essentially all he said at the DNC! The idea that the story of his Vietnam service could SUBSTITUTE for ADDRESSING THE IRAQ QUESTION IN ANY WAY--what kind of idea is that? It's demented. Vietnam-talk is fine, but not when you are cowering like a weakling behind it. THAT's why the Swift-Boat poison was so toxic--not because people really BELIEVED it, because it took Kerry even further away from the issue at hand--Iraq--and underscored his inability to assert himself regarding that issue.

Sorry. Just getting this off my chest. If I posted this on Atrios, I would be called a troll, or worse. Perhaps I am.

In any case, none of this is to the point. I started this post merely to note that in fact, while I dislike the "Kerry's actually doing great" theme, the polls ARE innacurate. The ones showing Bush taking a big lead are almost certainly wrong. They may even help Kerry by creating a feeling of unearned ease among the death-cultists.

Two things to note: it is very likely that in likely-voter surveys, Democratic turnout is being underestimated, as it was, grossly, in 2000. Gore was losing in the polls two days before the election. The unpredicted Democratic turnout should be larger this time. Second, and more importantly, today's Times/CBS poll showing Bush with a big lead really IS (despite what I said above) reflective of an over-sampling of Republicans. As Atrios points out, the kicker is the question about who the interviewee voted for in 2000. Among those polled by the Times, it was 36% Bush, 28% Gore--even though in the ACTUAL population, which is suppposedly being represented in the sample, Gore got more votes. That error alone accounts for the difference between Kerry and Bush in today's poll. And it is likely symptomatic of the inability of the Times (and Gallup) to find large numbers of Democrats who voted in 2000 and who will, in larger numbers, vote in 2004. These "marginal" Democrats (many minorities, many low-income) are the key, and they will be there, despite the inability of pollsters to acknowledge their existence.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Browsers Crashing 

I've received several reports that people using Internet Explorer on Mac are having their browsers crashed when they try to load AmCop. I believe the problem is related to my stats program (the code which enables me to track the site's traffic--which traffic, by the way, has been on a steady increase, despite the Chien's best wishes) and am trying to solve the problem.

In the meantime, if you're experiencing this problem, I urge you to visit Mozilla and download a free browser. You can get Firefox (the latest model) or the older Mozilla 1.7 (what I use) or some other crazy beta thing they're offering. It's all good. Mozilla's software is rock-solid (and, as I mentioned, free)--I don't believe anyone using Mozilla has had the crashing problem.

"Pre-9/11 mindset"...means not actively plotting 9/11? 

Rat writes:

I thought about Cheney's "pre-9/11 mindset" comment today. Clearly, this is yet another example of Republican projection. Here's how it works:

1) President "I voted against the 9/11 Commission before I voted for it" Bush has a flip-flop problem. Solution: Kerry's a flip-flopper.

2) Bush was a pussy during 'Nam. Solution: Kerry, a decorated war hero, is, in fact, a sis boy.

3) The War President doesn't have a plan for the war? Solution: Kerry's unacceptable because he doesn't have a war plan.

All good stuff. But Kerry will return us to a "pre-9/11 mindset"? The "pre-9/11 mindset" is epitomized by the Bush Administration itself, a place where terrorism just isn't a top priority -- a Cold War mentality. (A minor contrast: Clinton held daily terrorism briefings, which implies, at the very least, concern).

Thus, it's insane for Cheney to assert that Kerry represents the potential for the "pre-9/11 mindset." The Iraq War and the Administration's funding priorities demonstrate that Bush hasn't escaped the very "pre-9/11 mindset" it professes to worry about. Minimal funding for homeland security, and a real war to make sure we can't pay for what we need. In short, the best way to avoid the "pre-9/11 mindset" is to vote against the guys that invented the concept in the first place. (Then again, you could also vote for Kerry because he's a good man.)

From Salon:
But part of the problem is still Kerry himself. Even with prepared remarks running through a teleprompter in front of him, Kerry frequently strayed Thursday with what are becoming trademark tangents -- elaborations and explanations and qualifications that must strike him as important or interesting but which invariably distract from his central points.

Yes, the problem is Kerry himself. Kerry's ability to speak in actual sentences about the complicated problems we face is a definite problem. See, Kerry "strays" on "tangents," and worst of all "elaborates" with "explanations." Clearly, this is just another example of the "nuance" we have learned to expect from the "patrician" "Senator from Massachusetts" who fails to "clear brush" on a "Crawford ranch."

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Times responds; very impressive 

About a week ago a friend of AmCop wrote to the Times' public editor asking to know if John Kerry -- as Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich, and others have said he has -- really ever said, "Who among us does not love Nascar?"

To the credit of Arthur Bovino, in the office of the Times' public editor, he asked around and responded thusly:
Dear [ ],

I raised your concern with the editorial editor who informed me that Ms. Dowd got the quote from someone who had been at a Kerry rally and confirmed it with a reporter who had been there. The quote later appeared in The Times in a political points column. The reporter was not quoting Ms. Dowd but working from her own notes.

I hope this is helpful.

Arthur Bovino
Office of the Public Editor
The New York Times

One can't be fully convinced that the Nascar quote is not at least a little bit fancified, but at least it's impressive that Mr. Bovino took the time to respond. Now maybe one can begin to enjoy Dowd's columns again, which have been getting good lately.

"The Ad That Beats Bush" 

The Village Voice proposes Kerry's big gun:

The ad starts with Bush and his September 14, 2001, bullhorn. This time, though, it's a Kerry commercial that reminds swing-state Americans of Bush's blood vow—precisely three years ago—that "the people who knocked down these buildings" would "hear all of us soon." The cowboy soundbites that we would "smoke 'em out" track across the screen with any network's footage of the "wanted dead or alive" culprits: Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and Mullah Omar.


Bush Lied, Received Special Treatment, Failed to Perform Military Duty: Proof 

So, the documents were fake but the information entirely accurate. Col. Killian's secretary Marion Carr Knox on 60 Minutes tonight reveals the following [headlines mine]:

Bush Not Fit to Lead: In Nat'l Guard, Disobeyed Direct Order

“Did or did not Lt. Bush take a physical as ordered by Col. Killian,” Rather asks Knox.

“The last time, no he didn’t,” says Knox, adding that Bush was advised to take the physical. “It was a big no-no to not follow orders. And I can’t remember anyone refusing to. Now for instance, with the physical, every officer knew that before his birthday he was supposed to have that flying physical. Once in a while they might be late, but there would be a good excuse for it and let the commander know and try to set up a date for a make-up. If they did not take that physical, they were off flying status until they did.”

Spoiled Child of Privilege Believes He Doesn't Have to Follow the Rules, Just like Ken Lay and Enron and Halliburton in Iraq and All the Other Bush Cronies Believe They Don't Have to Follow the Same Rules that Every Other God-Fearing, Hard-Working American Follows

Did Knox ever hear Killian talk about this, or did he write memos about Bush not taking the physical?

“He was upset about it. That was one of the reasons why he wrote a memo directing him to go take the physical,” says Knox. “I’m going to say this, but it seems to me that Bush felt that he was above reproach.”

Bush Lied About How He Got Into the Guard, Just Like He Lied About His Performance on 9-11, the Iraq-911 Connection, WMD's, the situation in Afghanistan, the Situation in Iraq, the Budget Deficit, Environmental Policy, the Medicare Prescription Drug Bill, and Everything Else.

But did Lt. Bush get into the National Guard on the basis preferential treatment?

“I'm going to say that he did,” says Knox. “I feel that he did, because there were a lot other boys in there in the same way."

Bush a Spoiled Child of Privilege, Not a Man of the People; Bush Resented by Fellow Guardsmen for His Arrogance, Misconduct, Betrayal; Bush Has Always Put Politics, Personal Gain Above the Good of the Military, the Country

So what kind of officer was Lt. Bush?

“Bush seemed to be having a good time. He didn't seem to be having any problem with the other pilots,” says Knox. “But, his time there, it seemed that the other fellows were, I’m going to say this, sort of resentful of him because of his attitude … that he really didn’t have to go by the rules.”

Knox says the fact that the president was repeatedly missing drills was not lost on his fellow pilots.

“They missed him. It was sort of gossip around there, and they'd [the other officers would] snicker and so forth about what he was getting away with,” says Knox. “I guess there was even a resentment."

In 1972, Knox says that, for Lt. Bush, working in a senate campaign became more important than flying for the Guard.

"Well I think it is plain and simple. Bush didn't think that he had to go by the rules that others did,” says Knox.

"He had this campaign to take care of, and that's what he was going to do -- and that's what he did do.”

Bush's Superiors Covered Up His Failures and Poor Military Conduct Just Like His Daddy's Friends and Business Partners (Including the Saudi Royal Family) Have Always Covered Up for His Failures in the Military, in Business, and in Politics, Because Bush Has Always Failed in and Lied About Every Enterprise He Has Ever Undertaken

Knox says that Killian started what she calls a "cover-your-back" file -- a personal file where he stored the memos about the problems with Mr. Bush's performance and his failure to take a physical and the pressure Killian felt from upstairs.

She addressed one memo, and a reference to retired Gen. Staudt pushing for a positive officer training report on Lt. Bush.

"’Staudt is pushing to sugar coat it’ Does that sound like Col. Killian? Is that the way it felt,” Rather asked Knox.

“That's absolutely the way he felt about that," says Knox.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Crisis of Leadership: Bush Lies to Public; Serial Exaggerations Indicate Out-of-Control President, Untrustworthy Commander-in-Chief  

Bush, inventing imaginary conversations, demonstrations propensity to lie and say anything to win votes; exposes desperation, failure of honest leadership.

Dan Froomkin of the WaPo has the latest in disturbing pattern of falsifications:
Allen also calls attention to this utterly fantastical tale Bush told yesterday, while arguing that his audience would have to pay more taxes to fund Kerry's plans.

"So I said to him the other day, well, how are you going to pay for them?" Bush said at the Ottawa County Fairgrounds in Holland, Mich. "And he said, 'That's easy -- just tax the rich.' "

Elizabeth Edwards: Not only not human shit, but a virtuous human being who is sensitive to the precarious beauty of life's brief satisfactions 

In her brief interview with the New York Times Magazine last week, Elizabeth Edwards responded to the stupid and patronizing questions of her whore interlocutor with poise and humbling seriousness. The following brief exchange is worth remembering, apart from one's concerns with this nightmarish campaign.

Interviewer: What is the secret to happiness?

Edwards: Thinking it's possible.

Gropinator sets Calif. on a slippery slope toward the outright banning of the Republican Party 

Or, on the other hand, this may just be an example of the governor legally codifying (for his fellow Repugs) the old adage "Don't Fuck Where You Eat."

Schwarzenegger outlaws sex with corpses

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Having sex with corpses is now officially illegal in California after Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill barring necrophilia, a spokeswoman says.

Want to make a quick $2,126? 

Check out The World's Shortest Blog: "The Microblog Dedicated to One Simple Question."

The question: "How many times have you been arrested, Mr. President?"

The blog is accepting donations toward a bounty to be paid to the first person to ask George W. Bush this question in a public forum.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

USA Snapshots: A Visual Stethoscope on the Hearbeat of America 

By Stand up and Holla! and Blicero

This week's episode: The News from Santa Nella, Ca.

Maybe the Teamsters' support is a bit softer than we'd hoped?

David Denby, Republican 

Sorry for the recent lack of posts--I've been on vacation in California for the past week and am now returned.

One highlight, so to speak, of my vacation was a trip to L.A.'s NuArt Cinema to view Vincent Gallo's new feature, "The Brown Bunny." Now, this is what New Yorker critic David Denby has to say:
"This loner [Gallo's "character" Bud Clay] is enshrouded in the mystery of his suffering and self-denial."
He is not. We don't care about either his suffering or his "self-denial," partly because he is so boring but mainly because he ("Bud Clay") is not a character by any stretch of the imagination.
"The movie was shot on sixteen-millimetre film, which, when blown up to thirty-five millimetres, yields a slightly soft-focus look, a punk-lyrical aesthetic of beauty struggling to emerge from the chrysalis of ugliness....the bluesy visions, half monotonous, half mesmerizing, of an insomniac driving beyond need, or reason, into the sunset. The movie, in its surly way, casts a spell.
If by "half monotonous, half mesmerizing," you mean "wholly monotonous," then yes. If the "spell" is of the same sort cast by the Sand Man, then yes, it does.
"For the record, the blow job is too distanced and oddly framed to be pornographic..."
a) It is not: it is pornographic. It's a dude getting blown in a motel room.
"...and, placed at the end of the movie as it is, it actually makes dramatic sense."
b) It does not: unless by "dramatic sense" Denby means "me horny."
"'The Brown Bunny' is one of those movies that work retrospectively: the final scene pulls the film together"
It does not. Unless, of course, by "pulls the film together" Denby means "gets me off."
"In brief, 'The Brown Bunny,' however antagonistic and borderline tedious, is an art work of sorts, and Gallo himself, though an egomaniac of staggering solemnity—a priest of art longing for a cult—is not a fake. An obsessed filmmaker like this is faintly reminiscent, at least in temperament, of such figures as Rimbaud and van Gogh and the hero-martyrs of sixties underground filmmaking."
I'll spare you the wretching and gagging noises. Suffice it to say that while I have no inkling of David Denby's political persuasion (Gallo--get this--is a Republican! How crazy is this guy? Whoa!), the fact that he appears to actually think these things--particularly his claim about the last scene pulling the film together, and then the comparing Gallo ("at least in temperament," whatever the fuck that means) with Rimbaud (!?) and van Gogh (!?!?)--indicates that either

a) He's insane

b) He's really stupid

c) He's capable being suckered by the worst kind of asshole poseur

d) He's foisting some kind of joke on his readers out of deliberate disrespect.

To me, that combination of qualities makes him at least an honorary Republican.



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