October 16, 2004

The New York Times Attacks George Bush

I do not understand why they say that George W. Bush has turned the government over to the radical right. On economic policy, I know the radical right. Some of the radical right are my friends. And the people making George W. Bush's economic policy aren't from the radical right--they are from the Gamma Quadrant. And security policy is being made from the orbit of Pluto. Only, alas, social policy and justice have been turned over to the radical right:

The New York Times > Opinion > John Kerry for President: There is no denying that this race is mainly about Mr. Bush's disastrous tenure. Nearly four years ago, after the Supreme Court awarded him the presidency, Mr. Bush came into office amid popular expectation that he would acknowledge his lack of a mandate by sticking close to the center. Instead, he turned the government over to the radical right.

Mr. Bush installed John Ashcroft, a favorite of the far right with a history of insensitivity to civil liberties, as attorney general. He sent the Senate one ideological, activist judicial nominee after another. He moved quickly to implement a far-reaching anti-choice agenda including censorship of government Web sites and a clampdown on embryonic stem cell research. He threw the government's weight against efforts by the University of Michigan to give minority students an edge in admission, as it did for students from rural areas or the offspring of alumni.

When the nation fell into recession, the president remained fixated not on generating jobs but rather on fighting the right wing's war against taxing the wealthy. As a result, money that could have been used to strengthen Social Security evaporated, as did the chance to provide adequate funding for programs the president himself had backed. No Child Left Behind, his signature domestic program, imposed higher standards on local school systems without providing enough money to meet them.

If Mr. Bush had wanted to make a mark on an issue on which Republicans and Democrats have long made common cause, he could have picked the environment. Christie Whitman, the former New Jersey governor chosen to run the Environmental Protection Agency, came from that bipartisan tradition. Yet she left after three years of futile struggle against the ideologues and industry lobbyists Mr. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had installed in every other important environmental post. The result has been a systematic weakening of regulatory safeguards across the entire spectrum of environmental issues, from clean air to wilderness protection.

The president who lost the popular vote got a real mandate on Sept. 11, 2001. With the grieving country united behind him, Mr. Bush had an unparalleled opportunity to ask for almost any shared sacrifice. The only limit was his imagination. He asked for another tax cut and the war against Iraq. The president's refusal to drop his tax-cutting agenda when the nation was gearing up for war is perhaps the most shocking example of his inability to change his priorities in the face of drastically altered circumstances. Mr. Bush did not just starve the government of the money it needed for his own education initiative or the Medicare drug bill. He also made tax cuts a higher priority than doing what was needed for America's security; 90 percent of the cargo unloaded every day in the nation's ports still goes uninspected.

Along with the invasion of Afghanistan, which had near unanimous international and domestic support, Mr. Bush and his attorney general put in place a strategy for a domestic antiterror war that had all the hallmarks of the administration's normal method of doing business: a Nixonian obsession with secrecy, disrespect for civil liberties and inept management. American citizens were detained for long periods without access to lawyers or family members. Immigrants were rounded up and forced to languish in what the Justice Department's own inspector general found were often "unduly harsh" conditions. Men captured in the Afghan war were held incommunicado with no right to challenge their confinement. The Justice Department became a cheerleader for skirting decades-old international laws and treaties forbidding the brutal treatment of prisoners taken during wartime.

Mr. Ashcroft appeared on TV time and again to announce sensational arrests of people who turned out to be either innocent, harmless braggarts or extremely low-level sympathizers of Osama bin Laden who, while perhaps wishing to do something terrible, lacked the means. The Justice Department cannot claim one major successful terrorism prosecution, and has squandered much of the trust and patience the American people freely gave in 2001. Other nations, perceiving that the vast bulk of the prisoners held for so long at Guantánamo Bay came from the same line of ineffectual incompetents or unlucky innocents, and seeing the awful photographs from the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad, were shocked that the nation that was supposed to be setting the world standard for human rights could behave that way.

Like the tax cuts, Mr. Bush's obsession with Saddam Hussein seemed closer to zealotry than mere policy. He sold the war to the American people, and to Congress, as an antiterrorist campaign even though Iraq had no known working relationship with Al Qaeda. His most frightening allegation was that Saddam Hussein was close to getting nuclear weapons. It was based on two pieces of evidence. One was a story about attempts to purchase critical materials from Niger, and it was the product of rumor and forgery. The other evidence, the purchase of aluminum tubes that the administration said were meant for a nuclear centrifuge, was concocted by one low-level analyst and had been thoroughly debunked by administration investigators and international vetting. Top members of the administration knew this, but the selling went on anyway. None of the president's chief advisers have ever been held accountable for their misrepresentations to the American people or for their mismanagement of the war that followed.

The international outrage over the American invasion is now joined by a sense of disdain for the incompetence of the effort. Moderate Arab leaders who have attempted to introduce a modicum of democracy are tainted by their connection to an administration that is now radioactive in the Muslim world. Heads of rogue states, including Iran and North Korea, have been taught decisively that the best protection against a pre-emptive American strike is to acquire nuclear weapons themselves.

We have specific fears about what would happen in a second Bush term, particularly regarding the Supreme Court. The record so far gives us plenty of cause for worry. Thanks to Mr. Bush, Jay Bybee, the author of an infamous Justice Department memo justifying the use of torture as an interrogation technique, is now a federal appeals court judge. Another Bush selection, J. Leon Holmes, a federal judge in Arkansas, has written that wives must be subordinate to their husbands and compared abortion rights activists to Nazis.

Mr. Bush remains enamored of tax cuts but he has never stopped Republican lawmakers from passing massive spending, even for projects he dislikes, like increased farm aid.

If he wins re-election, domestic and foreign financial markets will know the fiscal recklessness will continue. Along with record trade imbalances, that increases the chances of a financial crisis, like an uncontrolled decline of the dollar, and higher long-term interest rates.

The Bush White House has always given us the worst aspects of the American right without any of the advantages. We get the radical goals but not the efficient management. The Department of Education's handling of the No Child Left Behind Act has been heavily politicized and inept. The Department of Homeland Security is famous for its useless alerts and its inability to distribute antiterrorism aid according to actual threats. Without providing enough troops to properly secure Iraq, the administration has managed to so strain the resources of our armed forces that the nation is unprepared to respond to a crisis anywhere else in the world.... We look back on the past four years with hearts nearly breaking, both for the lives unnecessarily lost and for the opportunities so casually wasted. Time and again, history invited George W. Bush to play a heroic role, and time and again he chose the wrong course...

I've said this before and I'll say it again: I cannot understand how anyone who is an American patriot can be planning to be voting for George W. Bush this election.

Posted by DeLong at October 16, 2004 07:21 PM | TrackBack
Comments

If you check in with IEM (http://128.255.244.60/graphs/graph_Pres04_WTA.cfm) or Tradesports someone wants to vote for him. I keep wondering what they know that I don't.

But the draft issue is going to be the October surprise for Rove. Too many mom's out there know in their hearts that they don't want to be "the first on e on the block to have their boy come home in a box" (TY Country Joe Mcdonald)

Posted by: ptmartin at October 16, 2004 07:43 PM

"I cannot understand how anyone who is an American patriot can be planning to be voting for George W. Bush this election."

If you were from the South, you would. It's sheer redneck meanness.

Posted by: Tom Marney at October 16, 2004 07:49 PM

Sadly, Tom Marney, I believe you're right, but I don't think it's strictly regional.

Posted by: Ted at October 16, 2004 07:54 PM

You have to admit a gross failure and too many are unwilling to do so.

Posted by: pfknc at October 16, 2004 08:36 PM

I cannot understand how anyone who is an American patriot can be planning to be voting for George W. Bush this election

True patriots won't vote for Duhbya, Brad, just people who play patriots on TV will vote for him.

Sadly, many people do not choose their own identities, so they let others choose one for them. When your choice for identity is a mean-spirited patriot (or is it hateriot?), then you vote for BushCo.

D

Posted by: Dano at October 16, 2004 08:44 PM

"If you check in with IEM (http://128.255.244.60/graphs/graph_Pres04_WTA.cfm) or Tradesports someone wants to vote for him. I keep wondering what they know that I don't."

What makes you think they know something?

You may know something they don't. Or, they may be willfully ignoring the obvious.

The price of Enron stock in 2001, pre-crash, didn't mean that the buyers knew everything about Enron. As we now know, they didn't know everything. They'd been mislead.

Oh, sure, when the news broke, the stock plummeted. But the facts had been there long before the news got out. The market had no freaking clue.

The wisdom of crowds is indistinguishable from the ignorance of crowds or the delusion of crowds. Which one it actually was can only be determined after the fact.

Posted by: Jon H at October 16, 2004 09:05 PM

(1) "the people making George W. Bush's economic policy aren't from the radical right--they are from the Gamma Quadrant."

Shows how little I know of economics. I would've sworn they were from Ferenginar. The pre-New Deal Ferenginar.

(2) "'I cannot understand how anyone who is an American patriot can be planning to be voting for George W. Bush this election.'

"If you were from the South, you would."

The South is the cradle of treason. Ain't no patriots there 'cept the blacks and the race traitors.

(3) Why the long-winded quote for the NYT, except to show how badly they write? Why not the crisp, clear prose of the Albuquerque Tribune (viewable at :
http://www.youreaccountable.com/New-Mexico/New-Mexico.html#Albuquerque_Tribune),
which endorsed Bush in 2000, but heeded his advice this time around: "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice.... won't get fooled again."


Posted by: Paul Rosenberg at October 16, 2004 10:03 PM

(1) "the people making George W. Bush's economic policy aren't from the radical right--they are from the Gamma Quadrant."

Shows how little I know of economics. I would've sworn they were from Ferenginar. The pre-New Deal Ferenginar.

(2) "'I cannot understand how anyone who is an American patriot can be planning to be voting for George W. Bush this election.'

"If you were from the South, you would."

The South is the cradle of treason. Ain't no patriots there 'cept the blacks and the race traitors.

(3) Why the long-winded quote for the NYT, except to show how badly they write? Why not the crisp, clear prose of the Albuquerque Tribune (viewable at :
http://www.youreaccountable.com/New-Mexico/New-Mexico.html#Albuquerque_Tribune),
which endorsed Bush in 2000, but heeded his advice this time around: "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice.... won't get fooled again."


Posted by: Paul Rosenberg at October 16, 2004 10:04 PM

I think the word you are looking for is patrioteers.My 1949 Webster's defines this as "An ostentatiously and volubly patriotic person who makes a career of patriotism for his own benefit". This neatly describes most of Bush-Cheney 04, Fox and the rest of the scoundrels wrapping themselves in the flag.

Posted by: Steve at October 16, 2004 10:20 PM

I think the word you are looking for is patrioteers.My 1949 Webster's defines this as "An ostentatiously and volubly patriotic person who makes a career of patriotism for his own benefit". This neatly describes most of Bush-Cheney 04, Fox and the rest of the scoundrels wrapping themselves in the flag.

Posted by: Steve at October 16, 2004 10:20 PM

"I cannot understand how anyone who is an American patriot can be planning to be voting for George W. Bush this election".

I think the word you are looking for is patrioteer. My wife's 1949 Webster's defines this as "An ostentatiously and volubly patriotic person who makes a career of patriotism for his own benefit". This neatly describes most of Bush-Cheney 04, Fox and the rest of the scoundrels wrapping themselves in the flag.

Posted by: Steve at October 16, 2004 10:31 PM

If Ferengi economics means that the masses will be coerced into rubbing the ears of highly-placed GOP apparatchiks, I'm moving to Canada.

I think that plenty of genuinely patriotic will be voting for Bush, often because their parents voted for Reagan and Ford, and their grandparents voted for Dewey and Eisenhower (though, of course, Eisenhower's and Reagan's sons won't be voting for Bush). For most people, political affiliation determines policy preferences, not vice versa.

Is there a vision of radical-right economics besides libertarianism? Perhaps some kind of pseudo-mercantilist/corporatist "national greatness" economics, oriented toward strengthening the state, rather than the satisfying the wants of the people? Well, the Bush administration isn't strengthening the state, either, but I'm not sure that radical-right economics = libertarian economics. Perhaps it is: I'm not really sure.

Posted by: Julian Elson at October 16, 2004 10:32 PM

If Ferengi economics means that the masses will be coerced into rubbing the ears of highly-placed GOP apparatchiks, I'm moving to Canada.

I think that plenty of genuinely patriotic will be voting for Bush, often because their parents voted for Reagan and Ford, and their grandparents voted for Dewey and Eisenhower (though, of course, Eisenhower's and Reagan's sons won't be voting for Bush). For most people, political affiliation determines policy preferences, not vice versa.

Is there a vision of radical-right economics besides libertarianism? Perhaps some kind of pseudo-mercantilist/corporatist "national greatness" economics, oriented toward strengthening the state, rather than the satisfying the wants of the people? Well, the Bush administration isn't strengthening the state, either, but I'm not sure that radical-right economics = libertarian economics. Perhaps it is: I'm not really sure.

Posted by: Julian Elson at October 16, 2004 10:34 PM

I had an insight into how people can hold insane political views recently. In my own state primary I was torn between two nice, decent Democrats, either of of which is almost guaranteed to win in Novermber. I've voted for both in separate elections and offices many times. I almost voted against one candidate just because I hated her tv commercials. At that moment I realized what it means to be an uninformed voter. I know the difference between Bush and Kerry, but not everyone does.

Does it embarrass anyone that the more education a person has, the more likely they are to be liberal?

(In the end I did a little research, found a small policy difference, and based my vote on that. That guy lost.)

Posted by: c. at October 16, 2004 10:38 PM

Not quite true, c. The most educated and least educated people tend to be liberals, while those with a medium amount of education tend to be conservative. The most liberal groups are graduate-school graduates and high-school dropouts, whereas the most conservative are those with partial college educations.

Posted by: Julian Elson at October 16, 2004 10:44 PM

Sorry for the multiple posts.

Posted by: Steve at October 16, 2004 10:49 PM

Proof that nothing is more dangerous than a little education.

Posted by: Adam at October 16, 2004 10:58 PM

"You have to admit a gross failure and too many are unwilling to do so."

I agree. It's not like they've been pro-Bush since 2001; most have been Republican their whole lives. Forget admitting error; they can't even get past their own denial to look at the evidence. To do so would trigger a catastrophic identity crisis. (Kinda like many Viet Nam veterans. Many still firmly believe the war was important because they NEED to. They sacrificed too much to believe it was worthless; facing the truth would make them go mad.)

"Proof that nothing is more dangerous than a little education."

Not really. Most right-wing lunatics I know are people who had the OPPORTUNITY to educate themselves, and CHOSE not to. High-school dropouts often come from poor and/or dysfunctional families too messed up to focus on education, and the highly educated are those who took whatever opportunities they had to better themselves.

"Medium amount of education" is not what makes right-wingers; it's the other way around. Right-wingers stop educating themselves once they think they have it all figured out -- which doesn't take long, given their abundance of hubris.

These are only trends, of course. One doesn't need to look far to find exceptions.

Posted by: Dragonchild at October 17, 2004 02:47 AM

And the people making George W. Bush's economic policy aren't from the radical right--they are from the Gamma Quadrant. And security policy is being made from the orbit of Pluto.


Brad, I'm afraid that your acadamic specialization has given you a distorted view of where Bushian security policy is truly being made. A very reliable source who works at CERN told me that it is being made in a completely different dimension than our own. This dimension can only be understood by a handful of quantum string theorists who report that current Bushian national security policy is being made by a handful of silly string theorists who live in that dimension.

Posted by: Barry Freed at October 17, 2004 03:12 AM

Is there a vision of radical-right economics besides libertarianism? Perhaps some kind of pseudo-mercantilist/corporatist "national greatness" economics, oriented toward strengthening the state, rather than the satisfying the wants of the people?
Umm, yes. That's a remarkably accurate description of fascist economic theory.

Posted by: derrida derider at October 17, 2004 04:26 AM

I think many people here are missing the point entirely by relating ideology to ones level of education or patriotism. I am a working class guy who returned to college after 20 years in blue collar jobs and I met plenty of conservatives there. Conservatives have been able to reshape the debate by a rather crass manipulation of traditional "American" values. Bush is able to project himself as a strong,resolute and pious man, as he lies about what he has said and done. Bush is perceived by many as a "man of faith",and therefore even his obvious lies are viewed in that context. I find it very sad that with all the well educated people that comment on this site, no one seems to know how to wage a grass roots political struggle. I don't think Kerry has any chance at winning, but next weekend I will be going door to door trying to convince undecided voters to suport him - and you can bet I won't question their patriotism or intelligence. I will talk about values.

Posted by: Bozo at October 17, 2004 05:57 AM

Bozo

Quite an interesting comment. Would you elaborate your use of values? Several friends are making just this argument, but I wish to understand better what is meant by American values.

Posted by: anne at October 17, 2004 06:55 AM

Having grown up in the northeast, educated Ivy, and having lived for a long time in western Europe, I now live right smack dab in the middle of the "patriotic" Bush-supporting "heartland." Contrary to popular belief, this isn't a region of uniform idiocy. In fact it's irritating to realize that what others call (I can't stand this phrase) "life style" in the Plains States is precisely what most northeasterners I know are bemoaning the loss of in their territory.

So if we're going to understand the attraction of Bush, we're going to have to make a real effort to understand the extent to which people here can see but dismiss his costly imperialism because they need to embrace what they believe to be his social conservatism. They believe social conservatism is what's keeping this part of the country "the real America: hard-working and stable and sensible."

There are two aspects of the Bush presidency which have really thrown my neighbors -- the two big things which could make some of them (secretly!) vote for Kerry. They are: The Patriot Act which is coupled with what is believed to be corporate disdain for privacy, and The Deficit which chills their souls but which they try to believe is the result of 9/11. Where Bush and the radical Right are in danger is that more and more of their followers are willing to concede that the Bush administration has set in motion an imperious, prodigal central government possibly worse (in their view) than any the Democrats ever foisted on them.

We smarties look at all this and are horrified by the extent to which people cling to wrong-headed, truth-ducking beliefs about this administration: about Abu Ghraib and Iraq, about lying, about secrecy and strong-arming. But get down to serious discussion with any one of my neighbors about this and one finds that they believe, not unreasonably, precisely the opposite: that we in the center and on the left are the wrong-headed truth-duckers who cling to outmoded liberalism. They can come up with myriad examples (truthful or exaggerated) of when Democratic presidents have strong-armed them, lied to them. And they are no less clever in discerning (and scorning) our knee-jerk beliefs than we are theirs.

I think that if we want to understand and get past the "divided America" thing, we're going to have to unfasten our eyes from the top levels of federal government and turn our attention to politics at just above dog-catcher level. That's where the Right, seeking to manipulate and control, has worked from and has almost succeeded, in thirty years or so, in turning this country from a uniformly centrist-liberal democracy to a uniformly defensive, far-right-conservative hell-hole. The damage will have to be undone starting from the same point. I see public education as the starting point: the core issue we're going to have to deal with, county by county, state by state.

Posted by: PW at October 17, 2004 08:44 AM

As a native southerner, I was struck by the thought the othr day that if Bush wins this election, the South will have succeeded in destroying the nation twice in less than 200 years, for essentially the same reasons: greed and racism. That is especially galling, for the region of the country that, more than any other, protests its religious piety. I know this is an oversimplification, and that contemporary Republicanism, built first on racism and then sun belt corporate greed, has had help from other parts of the country. But we exported it. We lead the nation in espousing its ideas. George W. Bush is its creature. I pray for a Kerry victory. This is not all the South is, but it is dominant right now.
Charles

Posted by: charles at October 17, 2004 09:12 AM

Concerning Bush and security, there also seems to be a strain of "We need a trigger-happy maniac to scare the bastards" strain out there.

Posted by: Jonathan Goldberg at October 17, 2004 09:14 AM

Part of the problem is that the bill hasn't come due yet for most of the Bush administration's failures. Yes, many of us are pretty well convinced that Iraq and Afghanistan are pretty well screwed, that the "war on terror" has been a miserable failure, that the Bush administration is seriously damaging our economy, environment, energy policy, foreign policy, etc.

But the real, full and measurable effects of those policy decisions will not be felt for years. Until the bill comes due, it is still possible for people to fool themselves into thinking that we need to be "resolute," that we "shouldn't change presidents in a time of war," that we can't afford to elect a "flip-flopper," that we need to "stay the course," and all of those other comforting fictions we use on ourselves to avoid looking at reality.

We can scream as loud as we want about the icebergs ahead, but until we actually start running into them and until they start ripping holes in the ship of state, there will always be people willing to ignore the warning signs.

So it seems to me that the questions we need to address are: which of the warnings signs that we are seeing are the most likely to be recognized by voters, and how do we effectively highlight those warning signs plainly and simply? Once we've done that, we can let the voters reach their own conclusions. But getting past that initial hurdle is the real bitch.

Posted by: PaulB at October 17, 2004 09:20 AM

Mostly in response to Bozo,

1. Kerry is more than likely to win. For sound reasoning behind that and smart ways to read the polls, do visit Ruy Teixeira's blog (just Google "Donkey Rising") and Guy Molyneux's American Prospect article.

2. He's also going to win because people like you and my daughter are going door to door. And others, like me and my friends are calling voters in swing states on weekends in well organized ways.

3. And because Rock the Vote, ACT and others have registered millions of new voters and they are not being counted in the polls.

4. And because the energized base has raised enough money so that the Kerry campaign will be able to compete on TV in every battleground state that they still have a shot at winning.

So, go door to door with confidence; your're likely to be a happy man on November 3.

Posted by: David Irons at October 17, 2004 09:47 AM

'I cannot understand how anyone who is an American patriot can be planning to be voting for George W. Bush this election.'" If you were from the South, you would." The South is the cradle of treason. Ain't no patriots there 'cept the blacks and the race traitors.

Very well said Paul, and if Kerry wins Florida, then Florida should no longer to be grouped with the South.

Posted by: Daytona Vaughn at October 17, 2004 09:56 AM

Left out of all this lofty patriotic jib-jab is General Colin Powell, an American a patriot as we are likely to see these long, dark days, and so the why and the where of him. How a patriotic African-American, whose night-vision radar has turned inwardly like tonto to serve the kemosabi elite, but also outwardly, to serve, and oh the humanity, Sudan and sub-continent African AIDS, two lost causes if there ever were ones, how a macho he-mano like Brother Colin can serve this confederacy of whip-cracking southern cracker Baptist spew found in the Bush-Cheney executive.

I keep trying to see into his eyes on TV, but of course, they rarely let Colin out of his cage, and when they do, he always avoids looking at US,
witnesses all, to the destruction of a man, and with him, the destruction of our republic. Damn, wish I had a clever riposte to finish this off!

Posted by: Tante Aime at October 17, 2004 10:05 AM

http://slate.msn.com/id/2108319/
[[
Now, as if it were planned for the finale all along, Kerry has adopted Ali's query to Foreman in the seventh round: "George, is that all you've got?"
]]

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/16/politics/campaign/16kerry.html
[[
At his stop in Milwaukee, Mr. Kerry voiced his newest challenge to the president, borrowing from Muhammad Ali's famous taunt to George Foreman to say, "Mr. President, is that all you've got?"
]]

I just think this is a great little campaign quip.

Posted by: Fred Eason at October 17, 2004 10:25 AM

Left out of all this lofty patriotic jib-jab
about Homeland Security, which soared with
ease through the Congress before it adjurned,
is the burning issue of our food security,
and specifically (Vanity Fair, November, '04)
the looming catastrophy in our nation's meat
supply, the only area of our commerce to be
strictly protected by libel laws, thanks to
a compliant Republican Congress, and ConAgra.

So I'll tread carefully, not wanting to get
sued for speaking the truth, but we are one
cheeseburger away from an epidemic of food
contaminated mad-cow spongiform dementia
that will make the current emphasis on our
nation's obese and alzheimer population look
like the opening act of Wagner's Ring of
the Nibelungs.

Briefly, the 2002 Greeley, Colorado e-coli
0157:H7 outbreak represented *two years*
of continuous beef contamination with feces,
hair, urine, vomit. Worse, it represents
the *continued* agriculture practice of
feeding cattle with grains deliberately
laced with chicken and pork offals, with
chicken *manure*, and cannibalistically,
with cattle renderings themselves, their
very own blood, brains, hooves and bones!

Which brings us to today, and the outbreak
of BSE in Washington State, which resulted
not in increased testing, oh no, but rather
Bush' Cheeseburger Law, preventing Americans
from sueing agribusiness, and his Supreme
Court verdict that beef contaminated with
salmonella may continue to be sold *legally*!

It's as if Bush stood before the cameras,
and told every American that Homeland Security
was our problem, that due-diligence was our
problem, and then made Homeland Security into
some ad agency promoting Islamic terrorism.

BSE is *still* happening in America. We import
our beef from Canada, where the outbreak was
traced, and from Brazil, where there is no
testing for BSE. Worse, Bush's USDA has *cut
back* testing, and cattle with staggers or
drooling (called ironically, "downers") are
simply slaughtered offline without testing,
and then either sold to anonymous middlemen,
or reintroduced in the food chain as pig feed!

When asked what three mistakes he had made and
what he would do to change them, did Bush say
national food safety and security? Not at all.
When Lord Kerry was asked what most important
issue stood before Americans, did he state the
primacy of food safety and security? Not at all.

Bush and Kerry both represent the establishment.
Big agribusiness, big arms business. Business
as usual. And when that business includes feeding
Americans ground up "downers", business is GOOD!

Posted by: Tante Ratatoskr at October 17, 2004 10:32 AM

Well, better late than never. The purported paper of record last week on Sun had a catty piece on Kerry's supposed hitching his wagon to rich (women) a snooty, pointless "portrait" . Could they have spent the ink on pointing out some of Bushco's misadventures over the past 45 months? where was the Times when the sainted Judith Miller was channeling Chalabi or other wise cheerleading for Bush?? Or the myriad catty articles about Kerry and nothing about the now appearing to come apart man with his (and Jesus') finger on the button? and his cabal of loons and dirty trick operators?

45 months of no see 'em then the pontificating. Some paper of record.

Posted by: tmcotter at October 17, 2004 10:56 AM

Well, better late than never. The purported paper of record last week on Sun had a catty piece on Kerry's supposed hitching his wagon to rich (women) a snooty, pointless "portrait" . Could they have spent the ink on pointing out some of Bushco's misadventures over the past 45 months? where was the Times when the sainted Judith Miller was channeling Chalabi or other wise cheerleading for Bush?? Or the myriad catty articles about Kerry and nothing about the now appearing to come apart man with his (and Jesus') finger on the button? and his cabal of loons and dirty trick operators?

45 months of no see 'em then the pontificating. Some paper of record.

Posted by: tmcotter at October 17, 2004 10:58 AM

The New York Times has many different voices with considerable latitude in reporting and more of course in commentary. The paper is a treasure, even when I do not agree with this tack or that in a series of articles.

Posted by: anne at October 17, 2004 11:26 AM

The Gamma Quadrant and Orbit of Pluto are bad places? How do you know that?

That's too bad. I was hoping to visit them very soon. Now leaving the reality-based community.

Posted by: wood turtle at October 17, 2004 12:14 PM

The article in the Magazine about the two restaurants in New Martinsville, West Virginia, reveals an answer to the question, why people vote for Bush. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/magazine/17WESTVIR.html?oref=login
Some go to Baristas, founded by a native son, featuring good food, locally bought where possible, and cooked on site. Some go to Bob Evans, a chain which offers the usual chain food, frozen, poorly cooked, and entirely predictable. Apparently people who go to one, do not go to the other.

The author talks to people who go to both, and finds an utter unwillingness on the part of the two to consider the other. The contrasts in the types of people who go each are illustrative of Bush supporters and Kerry supporters.

One fellow says, "People say 'Why do you only go to Myrtle Beach for vacation every year? Don't you want to see somewhere else?' We never know what to say -- we tried it, we know we like it, why risk spoining our vacation somewhere new we might not like?"

When our children were young, we went to the same place for vacation for years, because they liked the place, and we knew they would, and they expected it. Now that they are grown, they like variety, just like we do. And they prefer individuality and cultural difference to the mass marketing inspired by corporations.

Posted by: masaccio at October 17, 2004 12:38 PM

Hey.

Don't they even get an "Aiiiiiiiiii" ?

I mean, how shrill do you need to get?

Dogs are howling in Texas, this thing is so shrill.

Posted by: perusio2003 at October 17, 2004 12:54 PM

What makes you think we will be voting for George Bush? I, like many others I'm sure, will be voting against John Kerry.
Why? Because in foreign policy Kerry's instincts are all wrong. If Kerry's past is prologue, he'll sew confusion and dismay among our allies and glee among our enemies. His indecisiveness will so badly demoralize our forces in Iraq that a disastrous pull-out will be unavoidable. (He's already signaling that he'll blame Bush for his retreat). In turn, that pull-out will inflame Islamic terrorism around the world.
The Bush Administration may be guilty of serial bungling in Iraq, but at least we know where George W. Bush stands, and we know that in the end he'll muddle through.

Posted by: Ian Maitland at October 17, 2004 12:57 PM

Hey.

Don't they even get an "Aiiiiiiiiii" ?

I mean, how shrill do you need to get?

Dogs are howling in Texas, this thing is so shrill.

Posted by: perusio2003 at October 17, 2004 12:59 PM

anne: Suggest you read http://mondediplo.com/2004/10/02usa.

Posted by: jm at October 17, 2004 02:06 PM

Ian writes: The Bush Administration may be guilty of serial bungling in Iraq, but at least we know where George W. Bush stands, and we know that in the end he'll muddle through.

I do not share your confidence that Bush will muddle through, which is why I will not vote for him again.

Posted by: Steven Rogers at October 17, 2004 02:29 PM

Ian, get a grip! The Bush Administration, USAID and the World Bank are totally out of touch with reality in Iraq and Afghanistan. Their greedy swine drool has so infected all of US our entire national debt is devoted to global colonialism, yet even someone like you can read between the lines of their blatant corporate centrism and deliberate loan repayment debt-ministering.

Here. Read the World Bank and then tell me that Bush Co is thinking about the Afghan people, now only one failed opium crop from starvation.

================================================

AFGHANISTAN MUST BREAK OUT OF VICIOUS CYCLE OF INSECURITY, INFORMAL ECONOMY, AND DRUGS

[In other words, the Afghan people must give over to Karzai's centrist government serving the trans-national oil corporations and debt banks.]

KABUL, September 23, 2004-In the weeks leading up to the first presidential election in Afghanistan, a new World Bank report finds that the country's future prospects depend on whether the political leadership can free it from a
vicious cycle in which a largely informal economy, the opium trade, and violence reinforce each other. This has hindered state-building
activities, and undermined development efforts.

[Development efforts, that is, to indoctrinate and WalMart-ify the Afghan people, leave them in perpetual loan repayment debt as 'happy' workers]

The first economic report on Afghanistan by the World Bank in a quarter century stresses that these various elements must be addressed in order for the country to escape the poverty and violence it has endured for three decades.
The report is designed to contribute to a greater understanding of the core challenges
that lie ahead for Afghanistan and key priorities for national reconstruction.

[There's the "R" word again.]

"In any country, development is multifaceted, but for Afghanistan now, addressing the key problems of insecurity, state building,
reconstruction, and drugs in a timely, coordinated manner is absolutely pivotal to
determining which path the country will follow in coming years," said William Byrd, Senior Economic Advisor and principal author of the report, who has spent the last three years working on Afghanistan issues.

[From the comfort of his Georgetown apartment.]

"Various parts of Afghanistan have been captured by regional powerbrokers who oppose reform. Their operations are fueled by the opium trade and bolstered by their ability to rule illegitimately by force, relatively unchecked,
outside Kabul."

[Substitute "captured" for "traditionally held" and "powerbrokers" for "village headmen"]

He described the economy as recovering: "but 80 to 90 percent of it, including the opium trade, is informal-meaning entrepreneurs cannot become
sizable registered businesses, and the government cannot collect revenue. In turn, a
weak government with insufficient funds and technical expertise cannot provide
the economy with the support it needs to grow, nor can it provide the people with the security from violence and the social services they need to thrive."

[Social services!? Like restoring their wells so they don't flock to Kabul, and converting their schools into missionary Western indoctrinaires?]

He maintained that sustained and well-coordinated international support for the
Afghan government in all of these areas is critical to the future of the country.

[Another die-hard Soviet centrist.]

The report, Afghanistan: State Building, Sustaining Growth, and Reducing Poverty, praises the development and state-building efforts of the Government of Afghanistan, but says that despite some improvements, these are not
receiving enough direct support from the massive amount of donor aid which is still largely provided outside the government's budget. In addition, government leadership is undermined by what the report calls a "second civil service" of
consultants, advisors, and employees of international aid agencies and NGOs.
The report argues that both of these factors are a hindrance to state building, which is fundamental in Afghanistan if the good work being done now is to be sustainable in the long run.

[Yeah, gotta get the g'damn NGO's out of there so the trans-nationals can build the pipeline.]

The report also points to the continuing power of warlords and unchecked violence as undermining efforts to develop a strong central government, and it cites insufficient international security assistance outside Kabul.

["Warlord" should read "headmen", and "strong central government" should read "Karzai.gov", nexus of trans-national resource exploitation.]

The opium economy is described as the lynchpin of the vicious cycle-with adverse effects on security, political normalization, regional
relations, and state building. The report says that opium production and trade has become
Afghanistan's leading economic activity, supporting powerful warlords and a drug industry which has a strong interest in preventing the emergence of an effective, accountable state.

[Yeah, all that opium money flowing to Iran and Pakistan for agricultural food stuffs and arms to fight off the American-backed Karzai.gov.]

Given the importance of the opium economy (which is estimated to be roughly one third of total economic activity in Afghanistan) and the dependence of many poor people on opium for their livelihood, the report argues that
getting out of this trap will require sustained, coordinated and well-sequenced actions on
a number of fronts. There is a case for giving initial priority to interdiction-law enforcement measures against drug traffickers and drug
processors and their sponsors-with development of alternative livelihoods for farmers. This would be followed by eradication of the poppy fields of those who continue to produce opium even when viable alternatives are available.
The report emphasizes that phasing out drugs will be a long-term effort requiring sustained political commitment and international support, and will be possible only if there is sustained rapid growth of the non-drug economy.

[What the f&*k is this ass-wipe talking about?! Alternate lifestyles of the rich and famous? The Afghan people have NOTHING. Their only alternate livelihood is to starve ... oh, and to starve!]

Afghanistan has a robust informal economy which the report says has been a coping mechanism for Afghans' survival during conflict. However such an economy, while flexible, is born out of insecurity, lack of public services and
short time horizons. This causes entrepreneurs typically to maintain small, unregistered businesses without any longer-term investment which could expand the economy and provide more jobs. In addition, it does not allow for
much revenue mobilization by the government, or for sustained growth of exports which requires quality certification, strong linkages with markets, and export financing.

[Yeah, financing. In other words, the Afghan people are bartering with their Islam neighbors instead of sending their revenues to Kabul, where they can be tapped by Karzai.gov, and employed to permanently debt-finance security.]

Harnessing the dynamism of the informal economy in legal activities by providing small loans known as "micro-credit," stimulating smallholder
agriculture activities-agriculture comprises half of the Afghan economy-and helping to develop cooperation among informal actors are examples of important areas of support, the report suggests. Over time a better business
environment, improved security, enhanced state capacity, and expanding linkages between the
formal and informal sectors will help shift incentives toward progressively formalizing parts of the economy. Government and donor support aimed at improving the business climate and regional trade and building private sector
capacity will be very important, according to the report.

[Urk...urk....]

Critically, Afghanistan's economic and political advancement will be unsustainable without addressing the social needs of the country's
population, including women. The report stresses the need in development programs to focus
particularly on women. It says that while efforts are being made to promote economic growth, the poor and vulnerable need to be helped in their efforts to build assets and livelihoods, and cost-effective social "safety nets" are needed to protect those among them who are unable to fully benefit from economic growth.

[Sorry. I really think, oops ... urk ...urk!]

For more information on the World Bank's activities in Afghanistan and Iraq, visit:
http://www.worldbank.org/theft_of_world_estate

Posted by: Tante Ratatoskr at October 17, 2004 03:20 PM

Kerry is guilty in his way, as was Nixon in his, for the failure of the Paris peace accords, the interminably long epilogue to Viet Nam, and the Holocaust of the Cambodian people that followed.
In effect, Lord Kerry equaled Lord Chamberlain.

The main difference was that Kerry was speaking the truth as he saw it, while Nixon was speaking the truth as he forlornly believed it should be, for which all US foreign policy hence thereafter has been equally guilty, as are we all, Haoli's.

Kerry is just more of the same old Soviet shit. Red Army/Blue Army, it's all centrist socialism, of the people, by the people and *to* the people.

Posted by: Lash Marks at October 17, 2004 03:41 PM

Please someone! What did Lash Marks say? I read his note and all the words are english but they don't make sense.

Posted by: dilbert dogbert at October 17, 2004 05:43 PM

Spare us dd. After 4 years, a reasonable person would think that Bush could point to his record as a reason for garnering your vote. But alas it's even too shameful for him, so it's time to blast the non-incumbent's record. That'd be Lord Kerry's record. Yes, and we all weep.
For mercy.

Posted by: calmo at October 17, 2004 07:26 PM

Lash Marks is in libertarian weird-space. Kerry does not cannot and could never be equivalent to the GOP sending Kissinger to sabotage the 1968 talks in much the same way Bush I went to Paris in 1980 to chat with Tehran about hostages.
By the time Kerry testified, Mobil knew how poor the p/l rating was on Vietnamese oil both on and offshore, although cheap labor nations are still in conflict over it. Hanoi holds an oil and gas leasing fair every year, though, and if prices stay up where they are, it could look up for the land of Uncle Ho.

Posted by: bigfoot at October 17, 2004 09:24 PM

Lash Marks is in libertarian weird-space. Kerry does not cannot and could never be equivalent to the GOP sending Kissinger to sabotage the 1968 talks in much the same way Bush I went to Paris in 1980 to chat with Tehran about hostages.
By the time Kerry testified, Mobil knew how poor the p/l rating was on Vietnamese oil both on and offshore, although cheap labor nations are still in conflict over it. Hanoi holds an oil and gas leasing fair every year, though, and if prices stay up where they are, it could look up for the land of Uncle Ho.

Posted by: bigfoot at October 17, 2004 09:28 PM

I think many people who are voting for Bush are patriotic, but they don't understand fully what a disaster his policies will be for our country in the long run. The Republicans have successfully exploited attacks on Kerry's Vietnam antiwar activities to make it seem as if he is unpatriotic. Added to this are the myriad personal attacks on Kerry and Edwards. This is the most vicious political campaign I have ever witnessed.

Posted by: Stephen Denney at October 18, 2004 12:45 AM

Gamma Quadrant? Geek alert!

Besides, Bush2's economic policies are Faith based, not Reality based.

Posted by: Aaron at October 18, 2004 08:14 AM

Barry Freed:

Congratulations for not "double-posting". There is a 1st for everything!

Posted by: Dave S. at October 18, 2004 09:56 AM

PaulB wrote, "Part of the problem is that the bill hasn't come due yet for most of the Bush administration's failures."

Part of it is waiting for Asian central banks to stop buying hundreds of billions of $ of Treasury debt per annum. Who knows when that will stop.

Posted by: liberal at October 18, 2004 12:21 PM