July 28, 2004
Beating the Dead Horse
Posted by Bill
Want to know why I've become a strident partisan? Pictured above is Michael Moore, sitting with Jimmy Carter in the President's Box at the Democratic National Convention. Let's revisit some quotes from this man that is embraced so warmly by the mainstream players of the Democratic Party:
"There is no terrorist threat in this country. This is a lie. This is the biggest lie we've been told." -- Michael Moore, October 2003
If someone did this [9/11] to get back at Bush, then they did so by killing thousands of people who DID NOT VOTE for him! Boston, New York, DC, and the planes' destination of California - these were places that voted AGAINST Bush! -- Michael Moore, September 12, 2001
"The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not "insurgents" or "terrorists" or "The Enemy." They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow -- and they will win."
"(Americans) are possibly the dumbest people on the planet ... in thrall to conniving, thieving, smug pricks. We Americans suffer from an enforced ignorance. We don’t know about anything that’s happening outside our country. Our stupidity is embarrassing.”
"(T)he dumbest Brit here is smarter than the smartest American". -- Michael Moore At London’s Roundhouse Theater
"Should such an ignorant people (Americans) lead the world?" -- Michael Moore in an open letter to the people of Germany
"You know in my town the small businesses that everyone wanted to protect? They were the people that supported all the right-wing groups. They were the Republicans in the town, they were in the Kiwanas, the Chamber of Commerce - people that kept the town all white. The small hardware salesman, the small clothing store salespersons, Jesse the Barber who signed his name three different times on three different petitions to recall me from the school board. Fuck all these small businesses - fuck 'em all! Bring in the chains. The small businesspeople are the rednecks that run the town and suppress the people. Fuck 'em all. That's how I feel."
"White people scare the crap out of me. … I have never been attacked by a black person, never been evicted by a black person, never had my security deposit ripped off by a black landlord, never had a black landlord … never been pulled over by a black cop, never been sold a lemon by a black car salesman, never seen a black car salesman, never had a black person deny me a bank loan, never had a black person bury my movie, and I've never heard a black person say, 'We're going to eliminate ten thousand jobs here - have a nice day!'"
"It was when Moore went into a rant about how the passengers on the planes on 11 September were scaredy-cats because they were mostly white. If the passengers had included black men, he claimed, those killers, with their puny bodies and unimpressive small knives, would have been crushed by the dudes, who as we all know take no disrespect from anybody." -- From an article by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown describing a Michael Moore show in London
"The motivation for war is simple. The U.S. government started the war with Iraq in order to make it easy for U.S. corporations to do business in other countries. They intend to use cheap labor in those countries, which will make Americans rich."
"I think (Bin Laden is under the protective watch of) the United States, I think our government knows where he is and I don't think we're going to be capturing him or killing him any time soon." -- Michael Moore in an interview with Bob Costas
(Most quotes via Right Wing News, which features additional Mooreisms)
Read them, Dems; read those quotes, and then tell me how and why you can vote for a party that so obviously embraces such Anti-American hatred. The Democratic Party isn't merely holding Moore at arm's length and employing him as a useful tool in an ideological extremist proxy war, they are embracing him with mainstream endorsements of a work that contains ridiculously damaging lies that affect America's national security. Not distortions, not "different" points-of-view ... lies. Vicious, destructive lies.
They are embracing a racist.
They are embracing a man that exhorts the rest of the world to believe that Americans are inherently stupid.
They are embracing a man that says "Fuck ... small businesses."
They are embracing a man that cheerleads the Iraqi resistance.
The lack of outrage over this affiliation is disturbing. One-half of the two-party system that gravitates towards the mainstream is not functioning properly.
I don't even want to blog about this; but I feel like I have to keep flogging this target. If you plan on voting for Kerry, please write or comment. Tell me how and why you can support this party as they embrace a man like Michael Moore. Doesn't it make you angry? Don't those quotes make you angry?
UPDATE: Jay Nordlinger has similar thoughts about Moore, with a few additions about other unsavory Dem affiliations ...
Meantime, Al Sharpton is a marquee Democrat, and the nominee — Kerry — has called him the "moral compass" of the party. Why not ask Steven Pagones — the assistant DA whom Sharpton accused of raping and mutilating Tawana Brawley (who was attacked by no one) — to speak at the Republican convention?
Why not bother to inform the public that the Democratic nominee considers Sharpton the moral compass of their party?
ANOTHER UPDATE: Dean and I are on the exact same page today ...
Posted by Bill at July 28, 2004 10:41 AM | TrackBack (21)
Two things: he needs to take that MSU ballcap off. Eastern Michigan may be Democrat territory, but central and western Michigan are decidedly Republican. Also, who is the unfortunate woman in pink between Mikey and Jimmah?
Posted by: dillene at July 28, 2004 11:05 AM
The horse ain't dead until the Dems distance themselves from Moore. As that won't be happening until . . . uh, probably won't ever happen, actually . . . I suggest that you just keep beatin' the crap out of it.
Posted by: ccwbass at July 28, 2004 11:07 AM
Keep flogging it Bill, we need someone to keep at it. Not that many Kerry supporters are going to care about Moore and the Democratic embrace - they're all Anybody But Bush people, which appears to be Kerry's platform.
Posted by: Larry at July 28, 2004 11:50 AM
It's really, really too bad we're so soft on treason anymore. "Axis Mikey" has a nice ring to it, and I can't see how what he's doing is any different than when Axis Sally was doing...
Posted by: willow at July 28, 2004 01:04 PM
I'm sure you'll question the validity of this source, but here's what Atrios says on the matter:
But, anyway, since drudge is excited that Michael Moore sat in a "presidential box," I'll report that story as far as I know it. The skyboxes are only accessable through a fairly well-guarded separate escalator. The corridor outside the skybox was more mobbed and more chaotic than just about anywhere else in the convention - unsurprisingly everyone's trying to scam their way into there, and it was a bit full. From what I understand, Moore's gang was wondering around trying to find a skybox they were supposed to go to and someone in the Carter box pulled them in. So, this was not a case of "Jimmy Carter invites Moore to his box." I don't think Carter knew he was there until he arrived about an hour or more after he gave his speech.
As for the Moore quotes -if you're really trying to understand and not just blindly attacking Moore- I invite you to read Ann Coulter's latest foaming rant and tell me how anyone can take what she says seriously. Then think about why a lot of "mainstream" conservatives actually do take her seriously: because mixed in with all the hyperbolic, childish, insensate rantings of her deluded psychotic mind, there are always a few points that seem to resonate with the right-wing point of view. The same is true of Moore and his movies. Between all the innuendos, the leading questions, the smugness, and even the spin, there are always a few basic points and solid facts that make a whole lot of sense to liberals. If you've ever actually watched Michael Moore with an open mind (which I sincerely doubt- I have never been able to do so with Coulter), you might see that most of these comments don't really come off as immutable proclamations... they're actually much more like what you might say in the heat of an argument with your girlfriend (or what she might say to you): maybe some validity to the criticism, but clearly also exaggerated and not what you really believe when in a more rational state of mind.
So, let's take the example about Americans being stupid. Obviously, saying that "the dumbest Brit here is smarter than the smartest American" is a ridiculous statement in any objective or empirical sense. But on the other hand, can you honestly say, as an obviously intelligent person, that the thought has never entered your mind that Americans seem pretty dumb sometimes? Like the fact that we consistently rank at the bottom of the list of industrialized nations in math and science, or that so few people have any interest at all in learning a foreign language? Or for that matter, in acquiring any substantive knowledge at all of the outside world?
My guess is this comes from the complacency that goes along with general prosperity and top-dog status, and that it's certainly nothing genetic or inherently true of Americans in any other way, but that makes it no less real right now. Moore's statements, however objectionable to you, seem to me like nothing more than an extension of this basic impression of Americans as a whole. I could be wrong, but maybe it will help you to look at him from a slightly different perspective.
Posted by: Walter Sobchak at July 28, 2004 01:45 PM
Nice, civil response, Walter. But a couple of points:
Asserting that the war in Afghanistan was undertaken in pursuit of an oil pipeline is not a mere exaggeration. Asserting that "we created the Taliban" because the US distributed millions of dollars in food aid to Afghanistan via the UN is not mere emotional license.
At best, it's paranoid mental illness combined with stupidity. At worst, it's malicious dishonesty employed to fulfill a narrative. And to make a buck.
Done? Great. Now to Anne Coulter. I don't like Anne Coulter. I think that she's a nasty, one-trick pony that boils every context down to fit a creepily aggressive worldview. But I have never heard her make assertions that were damaging to national security and troop morale (a la a $100 million documentary filled with lies) in a time of war.
I have read racist comments by Coulter though (specifically only the one post 9-11 column), which is why ...
If Anne Coulter shows up in a Press Box next to George HW. Bush, or publishes a book that prints outright lies about National Security issues, I will raise holy hell about it.
In the dems case, the Michael Moore embrace is part of a disturbing trend of promulgating and manipulating the worst conspiracy theories (see also: Howard Dean's comments about Osama being held for political timing during the Dem primaries, also the Senate Intelligence Committee parroting "Bush lied," when they had access to the same intelligence that led them to vote for war) in order to gain naked political advantage.
Disingenuous comments, emotional manipulation and partisan jockeying are all a part of politics, but the Dems have crossed a big red line on a vital national security issue that has pushed me from somewhat of a centrist, to a strict partisan Republican in this election cycle.
The embrace of Moore is unforgiveable. And I could care less whether Carter's invite was spontaneous, issued by an associate, etc. Why? Because ex-president's should actively disassociate themselves from a modern day Leni Reifenstahl that happens to support their agenda, and you know what else?
Carter parrots many of the same paranoid talking points in many of his speeches. And he is the Dem mainstream.
There should be a much higher threshold before a sitting President is called a warmonger and a liar.
There are many good, rational lines of attack against the admin's policy in Iraq. A few very good anti-war arguments. I'm a big supporter of invasion, but I acknowledge that it's a gamble, and that a purely rational case can be made against it ...
... but I will not tolerate paranoid, destructive and borderline treasonous assertions that manipulate facts to malign the motivations for war. Especially from many of the same people that made similar assertions against Iraq when a democrat happened to be the Commander-in-Chief.
It's the height of cynical irresponsibility.
Posted by: Bill from INDC Journal at July 28, 2004 02:30 PM
Hear, hear, Bill!
Posted by: Farmer Joe at July 28, 2004 03:56 PM
Ok, Bill. I read the first dozen of the fifty-nine points. Will that do?
An awful lot of those deciets are very barely deceits. Start with number one: is it really so truly a deceit to show a Gore party with signs that say "Florida victory?" Yes, the Florida victory hadn't happened yet. But there was a Florida party, Gore really was there, it really was election day. I'll grant that #2 is sketchy.
And so on. Some are facile half-truths. Some are partisan truths.
But look at mainstream Republicans. Look at Senator Rick Santorum on homosexuality, look at Grover Norquist on taxes, look at Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell's first televised responses to 9/11. Each of these guys gets frequent, public access.
Both parties have a fringe. Is the existence of Michael Moore really going to stop you from looking at the rest of the party?
As for "the war was based on lies": perhaps that is strong language. Perhaps it isn't. But a lot of people were pretty upset with war arguments that kept changing, with announcements (from Powell, from Blair's "dodgy dossier") that were demonstrated to have holes almost as soon as they were released, with a memo about uranium that was shown to be a fake after an easy web search.
Perhaps you can forgive Carter--a man who has spent his post-presidency time working as hard as he could for peace from a perspective of deep religious faith--for being angry when the president tramples hard into a new country, proudly sounding themes of "shock and awe."
Posted by: Dan at July 28, 2004 04:24 PM
Yes, moore's movie is filled with largely "facile half-truths," but perhaps you should read the whole thing and cull out the stunning lies that relate to the motivations for war. These are LIES. End of story.
"memo about uranium that was shown to be a fake after an easy web search."
You aren't going to get me to defend the professionalism of AMerica's intelligence agencies regarding Iraq intelligence ... I fail to see how President Bush is responsible for this. Yes, they wanted to move against Iraq (with great reason, IMO), but three independent panels (US and UK) have determined that the intelligence was not manipulated to make a case for war.
The intelligence may have bee wrong, but it wasn't made up, and it was the consensus opinion of most major intelligence services in the world. the disagreement resided in what to do about it.
And thus, the anti-war crowd and much of the dem party picks the goalposts up and moves them without comment ...
Suddenly the war that a majority voted for changes into a war based on lies - THE SAME LIES THAT THEY HAD ACCESS TO ALONG WITH THE PRESIDENT.
Moving on ...
Rick Santorum made a stunningly idiotic (and potentially bigoted) metaphorical point about homosexuality. I do not endorse it, but its utterance does not weaken the defense of this nation. it's also important to note that Trent lott made an idiotic comment that (rightly) took away his prominence. I've seen no such responsibility from the Dem leadership regarding much worse racist comments. ("you all look alike to me..."
Pat Roberston and Jerry Falwell are an anathema to me ... but again, I'd rather have one of those two religious nutbags in my foxhole in a time of war than Al Sharpton. It's also worth mentioning that the religious right associates have
a. a low profile
Every party does have extremists and distasteful associations; it's inevitable in a two-party system. But the difference here is the Dem mainstream is casually embracing them ... and what "other" Democrats do you want me to look at?
Howard Dean? (promulgator of insane conspiracy theories during the primaries)
John Kerry? (No backbone, shameful metamorphisis from prowar candiadte to antiwar candidate after dean's antiwar surge, nevermind his harmful post-vietnam rhetoric about systematic war crimes)
Carter? (his constant counsel against human rights abuses makes a stark contrast with his willingness to coddle the world's worst dictators - the man simply does not believe in the use of force as an agent for positive change - ever)
Al Gore? (Digital Brownshirts? Cynically - or insanely - taking a complete reversal on his 90's anti-Iraq/WMD rhetoric)
The funny thing is, for as much as the right wing hates them, the Dems with the MOST responsible rhetoric on Iraq have been the Clintons. They've earned my respect in this regard.
Unfortunately, Dem boosters support all dems equally, and fail to notice the vast, contradictory gulf between Bill Clinton's pragmatic criticism (and support) on Iraq, and Carter and Gore's flaming insanity.
Because it's convenient to the narrative to gloss over these points.
And for the record, I don't think taht George Bush made mention of "shock and awe;" that was the Pentagon. And pride has not been an emotion that I've assigned to Bush's decision to go to war.
Once you get over your set emotional narrative, your good v evil passion play, you might actually find that a lot of very serious, intelligent, committed people, Democrat and Republican, thought long and hard about a war with Iraq. For over a decade. And many decided that it was a necessary evil, for a variety of reasons.
Rational individuals may disagree on the relative risk of invasion, and many more can disagree on the timing or methodology, but maligning the motivation is just irrational emotional discourse.
Posted by: Bill from INDC Journal at July 28, 2004 04:56 PM
Well, I don't have time to read the whole report right now, since I'm at work, but I will read it tonight with as open a mind as I can (I am only human, after all), and get back to you, if you're interested. I would like to acknowledge one point right now, however, something that occurred to me while browsing the first part of the report...
Referring to Moore's questioning of why people took 9/11 as such a big deal, the author writes:
even if Moore's argument in London is conceded to be legitimate, it contradicts Fahrenheit 9/11's presentation of Moore as intensely concerned about the September 11 attacks.
I do think this is a very valid point, because I think the concern portrayed in the movie is probably not "sincere" or internalized in the same way yours seems to be. I'll do the best I can to explain this mindset, but it's very difficult to get the point across with written words. First, I'll say that I'm somewhere between what I believe to be Moore's perspective and yours. I'm still not quite sure that al-Qaeda (or Islamic extremism in general)represents as much of a threat as has been portrayed, but I do think it needs to be dealt with severely, while absolutely minimizing the "collateral damage" about which some people seem to have such a cavalier attitude. So, I can kind of understand both extremes of the rational segment of the spectrum (excluding bigots who would just as soon see Muslims in camps, along with peaceniks who would not support any war no matter what the threat level). I think most people fall somewhere along this line, even some of those who have been featured in your "moonbat safari" and whatnot.
Here's what I believe to be the heart of the Moore worldview: that the United States is so overwhelmingly powerful militarily, so hegemonic in its foreign policy, so arrogant in its diplomacy, and so inconsistent in applying moral standards of human rights, that as bad as al-Qaeda may be, its actions are understandable, even inevitable. What you have to understand to really "get" this worldview is that Moore, and those who agree with him unconditionally, have always in the forefront of their minds the sheer numbers of lives that have been destroyed by U.S. interventions, police actions, undeclared wars, and even "peacekeeping" operations.
I know you've probably heard this argument before from liberals, and this is why I say it's difficult to explain in writing, but the perception of those actions really isn't adequate to describe the mindset at a basic level. It's like a combination of empathy, compassion, guilt, idealism, and, most of all, a fundamental mistrust of any attempt to paint a particular group as a "threat", almost to the point of automatically rejecting out of hand any assertions even approaching that ideological territory, and regarding those who make said assertions as bigots despite any protestations to the contrary. I assure you, in most cases it does not come from calculation, cynicism, America-hatred, or disingenuousness. If anything, the central failing of this worldview seems to be a real inability to view anyone who falls into the "victim" category in their minds as a threat; again, not out of a desire to see harm brought upon any particular individual or group of individuals (even those who fall into the "victimizer" category) through inaction, but rather as the result of a moral equation whose quantitative components are almost entirely eclipsed by its emotive components. One dead Iraqi is one too many, because he would not be dead had we not attacked Iraq. In this reality tunnel (Robert Anton Wilson's term), the fact that the dead Iraqi may have suffered worse under Saddam is insignificant next to the stark fact that we caused his death.
I don't know any other way to put it, but you can't possibly grasp Moore's position without understanding that his whole belief system is built on that moral inflection point. Inaction that allows suffering to happen is preferable to action that causes suffering to happen. You might be interested to note that Moore opposed the Kosovo intervention almost as vehemently as he has the Iraq war, saying things like "Now, it is time for all of us to stop Clinton and his disgusting, hypocritical fellow democrats who support him in this war.". So you see, the Moore view at least has some consistency to it.
I have to admit, the reason I understand this mentality so well is because I have at times fallen into the trap myself, not willingly and usually without even being aware of it until later. I try to avoid it, but there are times when I look at the deaths we've caused and have a very difficult time reconciling that with the idea of the U.S. as a "moral beacon". I think about what we did to the Native Americans, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Dresden, Vietnam, etc, and wonder by what right we can make moral proclamations to other countries and impose our will in the name of freedom and democracy. It's a constant battle in my head, and what usually allows me to make peace is the knowledge that people make mistakes and that in most of those cases mentioned, many people believed -whether rightly or wrongly- that we were fighting for survival, a belief that often leads to what might seem like irrational behavior under other circumstances. I think where I would part ways with Moore is his apparent absolute certitude in the Rightness of his beliefs, even in the face of evidence to the contrary (such as with Kosovo, in my opinion). I find this attitude unrealistic, patronizing, and even immature, but not malevolent. Since even though I am not at all a Mooreite, I do fall on the left side of the political spectrum, I tend to see much more malevolence in Bush's policies. I may be right or wrong about that, but at least it does help me to have some inkling of how you could see Moore that way. That said, it's still very difficult for me to imagine how Moore could be seen as objectively malicious, even if every one of the "59 deceits" really are deceits. Intellectual dishonesty in the pursuit of what one believes to be justice or even enlightened self-interest does not imply perniciousness. Obviously, you can and will disagree with Michael Moore as vociferously and often as you like, but I think the view of him as equivalent to Leni Riefenstahl completely misses the point. He's not a propagandist sweeping genocide under the rug; he's a filmmaker trying to expose what he genuinely believes are lies and manipulations by the government of his country, often employing hyperbole and innuendo to do so, and becoming a de facto propagandist along the way. Just as the comparisons of Bush to Hitler are inappropriate and based on an apparent total lack of historic perspective (not to mention utter insensitivity to those with personal connections to the victims of the Nazi genocide), so I would view the equating of Moore to Riefenstahl. And here's thing: I imagine if you really think about it at a calm moment, you would probably agree with me on that point; if so, in that brief instant, try to imagine Michael Moore viewing the world as I described above, and maybe you'll see why he makes the statements he does, and has no detectable qualms about employing blatant demagoguery and assembling a collection of discrete facts which, when presented in the right order and more importantly, to the right audience, create the appearance of a lie where none may exist.
In summary, I am not attempting to "justify" any deceit that Moore may have consciously employed. I am simply saying that I think you blind yourself -in much the same way that many liberal Bush-haters (myself included) have done conversely- by always viewing Moore's (and other liberls') motivations as nefarious. From reading a number of right-leaning weblogs, I have gradually started to come around to the idea that it does no good to always view your opponents as calculating, single-minded automatons whose only goal is establishing the absolute supremacy of some narrowly-defined ideological agenda to which they subscribe. It's hard for me not to view Bush and his crowd in that way, and apparently equally as difficult for you and many others on the right not to view Moore and those like him in a similar light. But what does that get you? Mostly, as far as I can tell, accusations of paranoia, blind partisanship... and suspicion of membership in a conspiracy whose only goal is establishing the absolute supremacy of some narrowly-defined ideological agenda to which its participants subscribe. That's the definition of a catch-22, and is probably the main cause of most of the rhetorical viciousness that now seems to dominate American politics. Moore is not a saint, but neither is he a devil.
Anyway, I hope this made sense... I went on a lot longer than I meant to. I'll be back later after I read the "59 Deceits".
Posted by: Walter Sobchak at July 28, 2004 05:37 PM
Fitting, really. The Nazis like to have their head propagandists sit with them during state functions.
Not that I'm calling the Democrats Nazis. Far from it. Communism and Nazism are diametrically opposed, after all.
Posted by: Xoxotl at July 28, 2004 07:05 PM
This is a common idiocy that I find immensely irritating. I am a native American who learned four foreign languages and lived in countries where I had to use one or more of them daily. But I still think this accusation is crap: the main reason most people learn foreign languages is because their own is not sufficient for their needs. More succintly: the number of languages a person knows is (usually) inversely proportional to the number of people who speak his native language. Fer instance: why is English the lingua franca of Scandinavia? Because who other than Norwegians would want to learn Norwegian.
Posted by: Oscar at July 28, 2004 08:15 PM
Second note to Walter - Thanks for trying to explain the Moore mindset. I still think it is wildly insane, but I honor the attempt you have made to clarify it. The simplist nit I would pick is this: you give a long litany of things our country has done wrong, as part of your rationale. Please give me an example of a country which has NOT done these things. France? Germany? Russia? no.
Lichtenstein, maybe, but only because it has probably always lacked to power to do any of those things.
Posted by: Oscar at July 28, 2004 08:26 PM
Bill, thanks for your comments. I'll have more notes later on your response: thank you for your thoughts and consideration. While I agree we're on other sides of the aisle, I enjoy conversations with those who are willing to give due consideration to both sides.
Oscar, to clarify Walter's point slightly (although, I hope, without putting words in his mouth), to Moore and his followers, America is currently in a unique position of power. As such, we are in a unique position of responsibility. Our actions are observed by the world, and the actions we take are internationally exported with the labels "the world's greatest democracy."
While this may strengthen some, it is a warning of caution to others. The great and powerful always find ways of falling. I suspect this will sound insane to you.
But for some, the great weight of being a dominant power that attempts to make moral statements is a crushing one. Unlike France, we are in a position to change the world at the sweep of our executives' hand. Our past mistakes (or even good decisions with bad consequences) echo loudly: we didn't stop Saddam for using chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war, yet we now hold them against him. We stepped back and didn't proffer help to the anti-Saddam uprisings after the Gulf War. We helped train the mujahadeen that would one day connect with bin Laden. And so on.
What negative consequences will the next act hold? What angry widow will raise her orphan to be the next hijacker or terrorist?
The bind is, an Iraqi dying at our hands really and truly is worse for America than an Iraqi dying at Saddam's hands. Sure, a collectively free and open democracy in Iraq might be a net gain--but is changing strongmen enough? What if democracy doesn't take? It can be a slow process, and we've had a few failures in the past. Can we be sure we don't merely breed America's next enemy?
Germany, France, Russia--all have committed sins against others and their own peoples in their pasts, and are smaller and humbler for it. Some hope that we don't follow the same trajectories.
Posted by: Dan at July 28, 2004 11:32 PM
Bill you point out that the Clintons have the most responsible rhetoric on this subject. There's a simple reason for that, in that they know damn well that Kerry isn't going to win.
Come on man, do you honestly think that if Kerry had a chance in hell, Hillary wouldn't have hitched her wagon to him?
These are the Clintons we're talking about. I don't care if you think they are wonderful or horrible, they are very very clever, and ridiculously ambitious.
Quick, what's the state which Hillary Clinton is a senator of? And which state does she come from? That should tell you everything right there.
She's banking on a run against Cheney, which is why she's playing it relatively cool. Against Cheney, I'd say that she'd win. She's more "interesting" and popular then he is. It's that simple.
Posted by: ballantrae at July 29, 2004 12:47 PM
Last I checked, Ann Coulter wasn't invited to speak for the RNC.... that is all I have to say about it.
Posted by: Greg at July 29, 2004 01:01 PM
I'm naive enough to believe that Bill Clinton is influenced by his knowledge of the office and Iraq ... and that both are motivated by a desire to set Hillary up as a centrist.
In any case, if you think that Dick Cheney is going to run for Presdent, you are smoking large amounts of crack cocaine. NEVER happen.
Posted by: Bill from INDC Journal at July 29, 2004 01:02 PM
Bill, I agree with you on Cheney, but I'm wondering what your reasons are, as a conservative. I'll be frank and admit that my beliefs with regard to a Cheney candidacy are probably influenced by my fervent hope that he'll never get a chance to be president.
As for the "59 Deceits"... well, I'm only through number 26, so I'll just go through a couple of quick impressions of what I've read:
1) For at least a few of the "deceits" so far, to interpret them as willfully or meaningfully duplicitous seems to me, to say the least, just a bit on the paranoid side. For example, interpreting Moore's inclusion of footage of Al Gore's "Florida Victory" celebration as a "deceit" seems like it would require an assumption of almost childlike naivete and lack of political sophistication on the part of viewers of the film. Anyone watching the movie knows that Gore lost, so he obviously couldn't have been celebrating victory. I took that particular scene as simply setting the mood of "we were so close to winning", and I think that's probably how most people would have seen it. Also, the statement that Fox called Florida for Bush first seems to be true even based on what Kopel says... it was not the first to retract the call for Gore, but it was the first to make the call for Bush, which is exactly what Moore said (the other networks retracted their call for Gore, but did not make a new call until after Fox had done so). Certainly, he could have provided the additional information that Fox called it for Gore early on, but I'm not sure that would really change the premise. If, as in Moore's view, Fox was intentionally trying to manipulate the public, it would have been just as easy, possibly even more effective, to call first for Gore and then for Bush.
2) I completely agree with Kopel's objection to the "cheap shots", especially the book-reading in the elementary school. I'm really not sure what Moore or anyone else who has expressed concern about this would have expected Bush to do... jump up in a panic and run out of a classroom full of kids?
Posted by: Walter Sobchak at July 29, 2004 03:12 PM
Walter - not too much time to respond in depth, but here -
1. Don't let the little half-truths distract yuou from the larger abuses in Moore's work - that all military action after 9-11 was undertaken for business interest and that iraq was a peaceful paradise before the ruthless invasion.
Individually, the little slights aren't horrible, but collectively they help create one warped masterwork.
2. Cheney will not run because he could not win. My opinion of Cheney? I do not think that he is motivated by ties halliburton, and he is far too socially conservative for my tastes, but he's a generally competent, serious man.
Not really my stripe of Republican ... but aside from that, it's pretty obvious that he would never be elected as President. If Bush wasn't so damn loyal, he'd be dropped for re-election.
Posted by: Bill from INDC Journal at July 29, 2004 03:20 PM
" I am a native American who learned four foreign languages and lived in countries where I had to use one or more of them daily. But I still think this accusation is crap: the main reason most people learn foreign languages is because their own is not sufficient for their needs." - Oscar
Well... three, in my case: I don't consider T'salagi a forien language for me. My spanish and portugese has atrophied considerably since I no longer spend a great deal of time in areas where they're the main spoken language. Likewise, I grew up speaking both Czech and English, but I haven't been around spoken czech since I was a teen, except for one trip to Czechoslovakia in the 80's. [Ditto for T'salagi, although I still read it more fluently than I speak it]
How much *need* you have for a second, third or fourth language has a lot to do with it. Europeans who travel a lot encounter a great deal of need for multiple languages. Americans who travel a lot can cover the same distance within the United States and never encounter a pressing need for a second language.
Lack of additional languages is a null point on the intellectual argument unless one also considers the surrounding factor.
Posted by: Ironbear at July 29, 2004 04:05 PM
I think another valid question is: how many languages does Michael Moore speak?
Posted by: Bill from INDC Journal at July 29, 2004 04:50 PM
Ok, Walter. Here's what I would expect the Leader of the Free World to do, were he told that a tremendous disaster was happening on his watch while he's talking to a roomfull of small children rather than wait for seven minutes while nothing happens.
"I'm sorry to have to leave your class, kids. I'm really enjoying reading with you, and I'd very much like to come back and read with you again. But as you know, sometimes I need to take care of other things, and right now I have an important issue to take care of."
I'm glad Bush had a calming effect on a classroom of small children. The rest of the country wondered where their president was. (The idea that Bush excusing himself calmly would bring a mood of "panic" to the country suggests that Kopel has a bizarre perspective.)
Hitehens' response to point 33, that roads are built "at infinite labor" and that elections will be held "at hellish risk" isn't reassuring to me.
"U.S. military patrols are frequently coming under attack. Highway construction workers - foreigners and Afghans - have had their throats slit merely for tampering with Taliban flags placed along roadsides." - http://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/world/9274179.htm?1c
Hell, just go to news.google.com and search for Afghanistan. Moore's right. Afghanistan is a mess.
#34? In which it is shown that Bush may have been cooperative, but Justice (Ashcroft's office, no?) and Defense (Rumsfeld) weren't. Yes, six months later the commission got what it needed. But Moore is not decieving when he says that the administration didn't give the materials the commission wanted in a timely fashion. Kean's later quote--"unprecedented cooperation"--came long after the report was filed, and may have been an interoffice olive branch.
But all this is nitpicking.
Bill, if you read Moore as trying to respond to previous coverage, he makes more sense. He sees a standard story:
The President acted decisvely on Sept 11th! And he responds: no, he read for seven minutes.
The President went to Afghanistan to stop Al Qaeda. That may be so, but if terrorism is so grave a threat, why wait two months? If Afghanistan is a festering sore, why not use enough force to get it completely right? There's no contradiction (#32) in claiming that something should not be done, but if it is done, do it right.
Walter is exactly right: Moore is not presenting a thoughtful exploration. Moore is taking an hour and a half of movie screen time to present a side different from what most Americans get to see.
Posted by: Dan at July 29, 2004 04:57 PM
I still think that people would have to be incredibly naive to believe that Iraq was a peaceful paradise before the invasion, and even for someone who completely tunes out geopolitics, Michael Moore is probably not their only source of information on Iraq. Actually, until I read criticism of the movie after having seen it, the thought had never even occurred to me that Moore's intention was to claim Iraq had been some kind of utopia. My guess would be that he was just trying to show images of Iraq that no one sees in the media, i.e. regular people who aren't running around shouting "Allahu Akbar!" and blowing themselves up. In the context of this movie, that seems legitimate to me... it was not, after all, a comprehensive documentary on Iraq. In fact, let's take the converse situation: Bill O'Reilly making a documentary on Saddam Hussein. I somehow doubt that he would focus on anything other than Saddam's brutality, and rightly so, even though some might say that he was distorting the truth by ignoring what all the people whose daily lives were probably not all that different from those of people in many other countries. Even in a dictatorship, there's always some civil society, and I really think Moore was probably just trying to show a contrast with the dehumanizing imagery of Arabs that we usually get from the mainstream media.
As for the "big picture" view of the movie, I know what you're saying, and I will address that once I read the rest of the "59 Deceits". I can say just off the top of my head that I can probably agree with the Afghanistan pipeline element being a rather unlikely sole motivation, but I can see why someone might wonder... after all, we continue to prop up the Saudis despite their atrocious human rights record, potential threat to our eternal ally Israel, and even possible support for and promulgation of Islamic extremism. Can you conceive of any reason to do so other than oil? Neither can I. So, for someone who sees everything Bush does as nefarious, it might seem perfectly logical to believe that, for example, he might have ignored the Taliban's offers to turn over bin Laden because the pipeline was seen as a top priority all along. I don't know, maybe that is paranoia, but I still don't think it has anything to do with hatred of America.
Posted by: Walter Sobchak at July 29, 2004 05:17 PM
On the Moore/languages question, turn it around and apply your own logical standard: does the number of languages Moore speaks have any impact on my big-picture point about Americans? Plus, that was only one element of the argument, and I disagree with Ironbear that it's a "null point on the intellectual argument". The reason Americans do not learn foreign languages is less important to this argument than the opportunity cost of failing to do so. Learning a foreign language has demonstrable positive effects on neurological development (PDF), so even if Americans don't learn foreign languages because they have no need, the negative impact (or loss of positive impact) is the same. Additionally, in such a prosperous country, it seems to me that people would have more time for intellectual pursuits, but instead we spend our time watching Britney Spears concerts and sitcoms. I think that's the essence of Moore's criticism, although again, I can agree that he sometimes (okay, often) goes too far with his hyperbole.
Posted by: Walter Sobchak at July 29, 2004 05:36 PM
Dan, you are dreaming, re: "Moore is taking an hour and a half of movie screen time to present a side different from what most Americans get to see," unless by "diffrent side" you mean, "a lie."
The classroom angle is ridiculous nitpicking, I won't even address its stupidity.
Afghanistan is a mess? Oh really? Try here and here. No matter how much you want Afghanistan to be a mess because bush's admin is in charge, the country is doing vastly bettter than it did under the Taliban. Your snippet about patrols coming under attack, etc., is absolutely ridiculous; I would expect no less. Why don't you use google to research what was going on in Afghanistan before sept. 11.
re: "Have tanks roll through your country and kill many innocent civilians to depose the leader" isn't.
11,000 Iraqi civilians AND combatants have died in Iraq in one year of war. In the previous year, 33,000 died from the effect of misspent oil-for-food money, with one of the worst infant mortality rates in the world. No direct estimate is available on how many individuals were tortured and killed in a given year under Saddam's rule, but it's estimated that at least 300,000 Kurds and Shia were directly slaughtered through genocide, while upwards of 2 million Iraqis died from genocide and war under saddam's rule.
The argument that America came in and created some balance of pain by recklessly destroying innocent Iraqi lives is a ridiculous and misleading non sequitur that is ruthlessly abused by antiwar advocates. It annoys me more than just about every other argument against the war put together.
As for oversimplifying the situation, most advocates of war are well aware that innocent people die. What's really remarkable about the invasion of Iraq was how few innocent people died. Study war. Study it. These numbers are nothing short of amazing.
And unless you can provide me an alternate vision for removing Saddam Hussein, history will judge the war as achieving a stunningly moral end by objective standards.
Ashcroft was somewhat uncooperative, sure. Not sure how this alone makes Moore's movie.
I have no knowledge of or proof that the Pentagon stonewalled the commission in any way.
And finally, you make a wonderfully illustrative statement that proves that no amount of rational analysis or discourse will sway you from preconceived judgment that fulfills teh "Bush is bad/incompetent" worldview:
"That may be so, but if terrorism is so grave a threat, why wait two months? If Afghanistan is a festering sore, why not use enough force to get it completely right?"
You make critical arguments in completely opposite directions. One at a time:
"why wait two months?"
Read "Bush At War. The CIA and US military had boots on the ground much sooner than two months. The reaction was literally as fast as humanly possible.
"why not use enough force to get it completely right?"
Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Obviously, the Pentagon thought that they had enough force to "get it right." Bush didn't draw up the battle plan; Tommy Franks did. And like any good commander-in-chief, Bush wrote him a blank check to "get it right." Really. Iraq was not on the table, Bush was completely focused on Afghanistan.
You can play armchair general, analyze the situation objectively and assign blame; just make sure that you assign the blame in the right quarter, and that you have all the information available to make a well-informed attack.
These broad-based attacks from 30,000 feet are like high school debating points.
Posted by: Bill from INDC Journal at July 29, 2004 05:36 PM
"Can you conceive of any reason to do so other than oil"
Yes! Because the current coercion applied to teh current Saudi regime is literally our best and only hope to get something done in the Kingdom. One of the most annoying arguments I hear is "but so many of the hijackers are Saudis, why are we attacking Iraq?" What annoys me about this?
1. The assumption that their nationality concretely implicates the sovereign Saudi nation
2. The people taht employ this argument employ it to be contrary; they wouldn't advocate invasion of saudi Arabia anyway
3. Invasion of Saudi Arabi is not an option for many reasons
The fact is, as much as individuals believe that Saudi Arabia has some sort of influence over us, in reality, the reverse is true. The Saudis are more dependent on the US, and you'd be crazy to think that diplomatic and economic channels aren't being used to put teh screws to the kingdom.
Al Qaeda's recent attacks on Saudi soil are of great assistance a well; public support of AQ in the Kingdom has dropped from a post 9-11 approval ratuing in teh 90th percentile, to the the teens at present.
These strategies take time (that's why they call them strategies); a second Bush term will give the admin the leverage to really drive the agenda home.
Aside from all of this, there are a lot of regimes that we prop up despite human rights records. As much of an idealist as I am, even I recognize that realpolitik will always play a role in US foreign policy. We make incremental efforts to change the world where we can, and where the opportunity to advance freedom and democracy intersect with US self-interest.
I can think of no better recent example than Iraq.
As far as the language thing goes, I was just mentioning it for fun, seeing as Moore likes to bring it up. I doubt that he knows another language.
And languages are good for other things; I learned Spanish (now atrophied) in order to pick up latinas.
Posted by: Bill from INDC Journal at July 29, 2004 05:47 PM
Well, I just wrote a whole long post that I lost because I tried to open another link, and it opened in the comment window. I'm too irritated to sit here and re-write the whole thing right now, so I'll just sum it up by saying that I mostly agree with you on Saudi Arabia, and find the argument about "15 of the 19" equally annoying. I was not advocating an invasion of S.A. (just to be clear), and you're right about the al-Qaeda attacks there. That's all for now, maybe I'll be back later once I cool off... I always enjoy a good debate with a civil and intelligent opponent ("Xoxotl" above not included in that assessment).
Posted by: Walter Sobchak at July 29, 2004 08:54 PM
I think another valid question is: how many languages does Michael Moore speak?
Good point. He loves to tell the Germans how stupid "we" Americans are because "we" don't speak a foreign language. I'd be happy to debate publicly in either German or Spanish. My French is a bit rusty these days, but I'll bet it's better than his.
Posted by: Xrlq at July 30, 2004 02:51 PM
I managed to survive the Republican party embracing a buffoon like Rush Limbaugh -- I see Michael Moore as pretty similar, just the rabid left instead of the rabid right. And while 'W' may not have embraced Rush, Reagan and Bush le père and the Republican party of the '80s used Rush as shamelessly as any Dems are using Moore now. Rush was just as vile as Moore, he just supported the internal terrorist ilk of the KKK with his prejudiced rants instead of terrorists from outside the US. Do I give either Limbaugh or Moore credence? No. Does it mean that I ignore everything else about the Democratic party and vote for someone whom I respect ONLY for the office he holds? No.
Posted by: cj at July 30, 2004 07:57 PM
I must also address this comment:
"So, let's take the example about Americans being stupid. Obviously, saying that "the dumbest Brit here is smarter than the smartest American" is a ridiculous statement in any objective or empirical sense. But on the other hand, can you honestly say, as an obviously intelligent person, that the thought has never entered your mind that Americans seem pretty dumb sometimes? Like the fact that we consistently rank at the bottom of the list of industrialized nations in math and science, or that so few people have any interest at all in learning a foreign language? Or for that matter, in acquiring any substantive knowledge at all of the outside world?"
(Posted by: Walter Sobchak at July 28, 2004 01:45 PM)
There is at least one flaw in those comparative tests. People forget that in America, we educate everyone (except those who choose to drop out after the age of 16). Many countries don't even attempt to educate everyone, and most that do winnow out those who are not as academically inclined by switching them to vocational programs, which are not included in these tests. This means that 100% of American students are compared to the top 20-30% of students in other countries. When you compare our top 20-30% to students in other countries, guess how we fare? Top notch, number one, overall. We consistently come out ahead overall and even in most specific academic subjects. Why else would all of those students in other countries want to come to America to go to college -- even our loawest ranking colleges?
You can't compare every apple off your tree to your neighbor's select oranges.
Posted by: cj at July 30, 2004 08:57 PM
Ok cj, nice, well-reasoned comments, but where to begin?
From a top-level standpoint, the reason that someone like me supports Bush is for one big reason, followed by a secondary reason:
1. None of the domestic policy in the world makes damn bit of difference if we can't head of the seemingly inevitable intersection of nuclear technology and terror. None of it. And while George Bush's efforts are far from perfect, his team has begun a strategic plan to deal with this threat that employs a variety of factors, including war and big stick diplomacy. While you may be well-versed on domestic issues, many people that focus on this area find things like the war in Iraq incredibly abstract concepts, and thus don't buy into their utility or necessity. I've studied foreign policy until my eyes have melted, and I am absolutely convinced that the most aggressive approach possible has the greatest chance of winning. John Kerry has elucidated no strategic plan beyond "strengthening alliances," and embracing the law enforcement and Russian nuke non-proliferation components in the war on terror. This is not enough - sweeping sociological changes are necessary to eliminate the conditions for lawlessness, fundamentalism and terror. Also, aggressive military posture is required to send a message, and reap benefits in this pursuit. these are terribly abstract concpets, so many people just don't buy into them. But I rationally feel that this action will be necessary to guarantee the survival of the US as we know it ... one or two crippling attacks will pave the way for an Eastern dominace from China and India, within our lifetime.
2. The secondary item that i support Bush on is this fundamental belief in unchecked capitalism as the engine of positive social development. This is a much, much more debatable position (when various world-class economists can be at each other's throats on opposite sides of the issue, you know it's vague). But those fat cats you talk about, that John kerry wants to tax? Those are people that make over $200,000 a year, which may seem like an exorbidant amount of money to you, but it's also the demo of the majority of S-corp small business owners in the US, which are the largest engine of the US economy.
When they make more money, they tend to spend less of it on consumer goods (a common liberal economic tax cut criticism), but they also tend to put it to work as investment capital. This large pool of liquid capital drives economic growth, which creates jobs, which ...
I have a fundamental belief that giving the economic horse it's head (as much as possible) is the long-term way to make life better for everyone. For evidence, look at how the average standard of living has risen for all Americans in a generation. Our poor people are less poor than they were 25 years ago, because the entire society has leapt forward, and consumer goods has cheapened as efficiency increases. Fundamentally, I believe in this strategy.
Admittedly, I don't prioritize education much; i think it's almost a moot point in the face of the existential foreign policy threats we face this century. if a Dem came along with a defense policy i could live with, I'd ceratinly bump that issue up in prioritization, but ...
A large part of my apathy about the issue is the fact that I grew up in the Florida public school system (which by most accounts is below average), and I'm doing just fine, as are most of my friends. And my family is lower middle class, at best.
I don't think Bush and Cheney have crippled Powell in foreign relations (this is largely an unfair rap), though Don rumsfeld has been "most unhelpful." (as he would put it)
Bush is NOT conservative, I agree with you on this criticism. But to be truly conservative, he would dip into much of the funding that you desire anyway, let's be honest ...
Finally, regarding moore. Rush Limbaugh (who I can't stand) is not as bad as Moore, and does not embvrace the KKK (this is hyperbole). Also, as much as I don't like Rush, I don't believ he would do or has done anything that is destructive to the interests of the US. (your disagreements on domestic policy notwithstanding) My point is, he's not a traitor. he doesn't hate this country. Moore does.
And by the rhetoric of many mainstream Dem players (carter, Mcauliffe, etc.) many of them tread very close to this precipice.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 31, 2004 03:00 PM
While poor people may be better off right now, this generation of students is predicted to be the first in a long time to find themselves in a lower standard of living than their parents once they are out of school. That goes for the college educated folks, as well. I am already seeing students who are working multiple jobs in high school to contribute to their family rent and food budgets. Even the middle classe kids are all working. This is the area that I grew up in -- this is new. Hardly anyone worked more than 15 hours a week when I was in school and those who did usually did it for spending money. These kids have to work. This change in student working tells me that this "affluence" you speak of is past -- or passing -- at least for many in our younger generations. And the failure to adequately educate them because we have no funds for the needed supplies of books, paper and other simple needs (to say nothing of technology, which is necessary in today's world, but much more expensive to fund) will leave them stuggling professionally as a result. (And in some cases, no funds to hire teachers.)
Ultimately, if we cannot educate our citizens, nothing else will matter because someone more educated will build a better bomb and destroy us. It may not happen soon, but if we fail to educate our children, eventually we will have generations of embeciles. Rome fell to people they thought were barbarians, but they fell, none-the-less.
And while you were educated well, your teachers and administrations weren't hindered from doing their jobs by No Child Left Behind. Education is in a much worse place to day than it was in 2001. I shudder to think about four more years of Bush's education plan and what it will do to limit a generation of Americans.
Posted by: cj at July 31, 2004 03:46 PM
1. I don't agree with your dire predictions, but who knows
2. It's not a matter of staying a step ahead in the game of tech innovation with destructive technology. The goods are already here.
Concerns about books, glue and computers in the clasroom don't amount to much compared to WMD programs funded by states that sponsor terrorism.
One, maybe two catastrophic attacks on American soil will cripple our economy permanently, and then you'll see how well the educational system fares ...
Posted by: Bill from INDC at July 31, 2004 04:37 PM
Thank you for your thoughtful responses to cj--a friend I sent here because I was much impressed with your arguments and who I very much wanted to see go toe-to-toe with you.
I'm an ardent Bush supporter, but I have to take cj's side on education. I'm terribly concerned about what's happening in our schools. I also think it's a far easier problem to solve during a time of heightened national security than you make out.
If we destroy our education system in favor of national security, we might as well throw in the towel now. Our youth are our future.
Look at the Palestinians--they've thrown everything they have toward fighting the Israelis. What do they have now? Next to nothing. They have practically destroyed their own culture in favor of fighting "to the death." One has to wonder what's become of their children--are they being educated in any meaningful way, or are they just being trained to fight and hate?
I'm not saying we bow down to the Islamic extremists. But we have to have a solid foundation at home in order to survive in the long run.
BTW, in your first reply, you implied that cj was not up on international front. Not so. My friend is far more enlightened than most who focus their energies on domestic issues.
Again, thanks for your consideration. However, I think you might want to soften that hard line you have on national defense. After all, we want to have something worth defending in the long run, and the war on terror isn't something that will end any time soon.
Posted by: Lornkanaga at August 1, 2004 08:41 AM
2. As I mentioned, I don't think that the predictions are as dire as you or CJ propose - I don't think we are destroying "our educational system in favor of national security."
The results are a direct refutation of the We Need More Spending chorus. Even a quick glance shows that the results are all over the map: Some states show improvements despite lower spending increases while others spend more yet make no dent in their scores. Surely it's telling that, even after jacking up its education spending by 46%, the top-spending District of Columbia improved its scores by no more than Florida, which is at the bottom of the spending chart but has been at the forefront of reforms allowing choice and demanding accountability.
Patrons of the status quo will complain that the Rockefeller numbers pre-date the fiscal crises of the past two years that forced some states to cut education spending. There are two answers to that. First is that we still should have seen some improvement in test scores from the previous spending increases. Second, as Rockefeller notes, these cuts were largely a blip: "over the longer term the rising trend in education spending is likely to continue," the study says -- putting it mildly.
I just don't accept the idea that our educational system is crumbling in such a way as to threaten our nation's survival, or that throwing more money at the problem is necessarily the way to fix it.
Also, wasn't directly saying that CJ was ignorant on foreign policy, rather that most folks that are well-versed in individual domestic issues aren't ... and vice versa - I'll be the first to admit that I'm not in any way an expert of education, for example.
The larger point is, I'm not convinced that Bush is destroying education, and I don't think that policy and funding differences stack up to an existential threat to our nation's survival.
Nuclear detonations are more sudden and harmful than dwindling test scores, and America as a whole continues to have the intellectual resources to lead the world in innovation ... doesn't keep me up at night.
Posted by: Bill from INDC at August 1, 2004 12:55 PM
I'd even settle for WISER spending. And perhaps a head of public education who doesn't badmouth teachers every opportunity he gets. One fourth of the NEA is Republican and more than that voted for Bush. But after Paige's relentless (starting with his first speech in office as Education Secretary for the Bush administration) he has railed on bad teaching and public schools. It would be different if the reforms he suggests would help, but for the most part, they merely look good on paper to people who say, "Yes, let's test for accountablity" without designing a meaningful way to do so, among other things.
And even my fellow teacher/Reservist who just returned from a year in Bosnia said that as a teacher, he can't in good conscience vote for Bush -- that he's been truly disappointed in his education policies. This is a guy who loves the military -- lives, breaths, eats and sleeps it. But he teaches because he believes that education is important -- even though it's a personal sacrifice for him, as he loves the military and could make more money there.
I believe that public education is the backbone of a democratic republic and without it, we handicap our future. No, intellectual atrophy isn't doesn't have the same immediate impact as a bomb, but whether a country destroys itself a little at a time over a number of years or someone else destroys it all at once, in the long run, destruction is destruction.
I'm not saying that we don't need defense -- God knows we do and 9/11 certainly brought that home to us. But we can't afford to lose sight of everything else. Our future depends on our children. Our children's furture depnds on education. What's more, the military officers and enlisted of tomorrow, along with the scientists and engineers who produce the latest weapons, are being educated today. If we fail them now, in the long run, we've already failed our military.
Posted by: cj at August 2, 2004 04:40 AM
Hey, Walter! Next time you want to slam all Americans...
""So, let's take the example about Americans being stupid. Obviously, saying that "the dumbest Brit here is smarter than the smartest American" is a ridiculous statement in any objective or empirical sense. But on the other hand, can you honestly say, as an obviously intelligent person, that the thought has never entered your mind that Americans seem pretty dumb sometimes? Like the fact that we consistently rank at the bottom of the list of industrialized nations in math and science, or that so few people have any interest at all in learning a foreign language? Or for that matter, in acquiring any substantive knowledge at all of the outside world?""
You might want to keep this is mind. Some of us learned mutliple languages before we even left the US to live abroad for the military. I speak German, Spanish (3 versions, Mexico City, Castillan, and Tex-Mex), American and British English, and I read and write Latin. I'm currently studying Itallian. My 6 year-old speaks German, American, and Spanish, and my 3 year-old is learning Spanish. We've lived in several countries, and visited several more. Can you, in all your "dumb American" statements, say anything near the same?
Ranking on tests doesn't mean much in the real world, buddy. Unless you expect to get paid by what you scored on the SAT/ACT, instead of what you can do with that knowledge in realtime. Most people realize the US leads the industrialized world because we WORK with science and math, not that we circled the correct bubble on a standardized answer sheet.
Posted by: Rhianna at August 4, 2004 12:16 PM
The usual from the other side; "they're not completely and totally lies, about what about Coulter?"; when the issue is how did someone like Michael Moore get into Carter's box of seats, and why is Sharpton (a race-hustling con artist) considered the moral compass of the Democratic Party by its Presidential nominee?
Coulter, Fallwell, Robertson and each and every right winger who is a bit of a wingnut shan't have a speaking role at the upcoming GOP convention - heck, people like Coulter can't even get writing gigs as respectable, mainstream conservative outlets like National Review...none of them will be called the moral compass of the Republican Party.
You can't get past it, Democrats; as long as the likes of Moore and Sharpton are welcomed into prominent roles on your side, you'll be morally bankrupt.
Posted by: Mark Noonan at August 4, 2004 01:01 PM
Being neither an espert on foreign policy nor on education, I have to agree with Bill on one point he made. You can throw all the money and technology and new books and superb teachers into education you want, but, if there is no responsibility to educate the child in the child's home, it is all wasted. While it may be the government's job to provide a child an education, it's up to the parents (or guardians) to ensure that child takes full advantage of that education.
Last year here in Florida there was a big hullaballoo about the FCAT test scores. Many kids didnt pass these tests and parents began complaining that these test were too difficult and demanding that the standards be lowered. To me, this doesnt seem like the education system failed.
I too am a product of Florida's public school system, and while I may not be the sharpest pencil in the box, I received a more than adequate education.
Posted by: Val Prieto at August 4, 2004 01:32 PM
The other issue with education that nobody's mentioned yet is that Bush passed Ted Kennedy's education bill untouched. A Massachusetts Democrat already is specifying education spending, so if that's your issue there's no reason to vote for Kerry.
Posted by: Ian S. at August 4, 2004 02:02 PM
Hey Walter & Dan? I don't like people dying either. But sometimes wars have to be fought and people inveitably die.
Walter: rattling off all the stuff we did - I suppose you've forgotten the Batan Death March ???. Perhaps we should have let Hitler do his thing? People died in WWII - a lot of them. The A-bombs in Japan were quite an unfortunate necessity ... where would we be now had we decided not to drop them?
It's like the other night when Sean Hannity was interviewing Janine Garafolo(sp) ... she totally blew off Saddam's mass graves.
Do you people know what one of the Abu Grahib prisoners said in response to this following question? (paraphrasing) "What will you sue the US government for"? His answer ???? "A ticket to America".
Stop beating yourself AND us up. While you are busy whining about our (some real and some perceived) misdeeds ... there are TROVES of people around this globe who continue to fall over themselves to emegrate here.
While I believe it IS important to be introspective, you do need some balance. A lot more than the Democrats (or the liberal end of that party anyway) are willing to take part in.
Pssst => You can understand Al Qaeda's little deed on 9/11? ... Well I don't. F**K THEM.
I know! If you want to apologize to them and whoever else for our prosperity, and way of life, and whatever else we've done over the past 200+ years? You go have a little sit-down with them and let them know how much you feel their pain, OK? You do it. See how freaking far it gets you.
There are some people in this world who don't give a damn what you think, nor for your *feelings* - they just want to kill your ass! And my 4-year-old son too! Sorry. They'll be coming first in that department.
Dan: with respect to your comment about uranium? You may want to read this: http://www.factcheck.org/article.aspx?docID=222
Oh yee who know so much. You are president. 9/11 happens. Suddenly the entire world changes - including anyone who engages in terrorist or irrational activity as such has their suspicions positively confirmed that America is quite vulnerable. Your govenmental system is screwed up from decades of hamstring tactics against our intel and law enforcement communities, etc. You have WORLD intel that Saddam has WMD's. NOT ONLY THAT - But the Russian President tells you that his intel sources are saying that Saddam in fact is planning an attack on the US (go Google the CNN report that no one seems to talk about).
What are you going to do? You are charged with this cournty's security.
Me? Sorry. The guy's toast.
Posted by: notthisgirl at August 4, 2004 03:29 PM
If the Saudi's ever stop pressing hard against their internal radicals, we have a simple solution that I think has been explained to them in excruciating detail.
By 'hard', I mean as judged by the US. Not by the UN, NATO or anyone else. You can almost measure it by the number of arrests + the number of explosions. Almost.
Saudi oil has a high sulfur content. It wouldn't take much pushing to completely eliminate its use in the US. Can you see democrats arguing _against_ something that would 'save the environment'? It wouldn't take too, too much more to pressure the American oil companies not to use it. Yes _eventually_, once all the other oil runs out, the world would want to use up that oil... But it doesn't have to be right now. Yes, it would hurt some - but we don't get the majority of our oil from Saudi Arabia currently... but the price would drop like a rock regardless.
Posted by: Al at August 4, 2004 07:30 PM
Whoever said Moore is the lefty equivalent of Limbaugh is way off base. Moore is the lefty equivalent to those who claimed Bill and/or Hillary Clinton murdered Vince Foster.
I wonder how many Republican leaders showed up to lectures detailing the "Foster Murder Coverup"? Were they invited to the Dole convention?
Walter, your delving into Moore's worldview is interesting, but the word for this worldview is insane.
Frankly, I don't think Moore's insane. I think he's smarter than hell. Everyone else works for a living and he takes their money and becomes a hero to half the population. But noone knowledgeable is stupid enough to believe what he says. He's speaking to the idiot college students who have been primed to believe anything as long as "corporations" are the bogeymen.
Seriously, we invaded Afghanistan to build an oil pipeline? We did invade, so where's the pipeline? Karzai wants a pipeline built but can't find an oil company to build it. You'd think if we invaded to build one we'd get on with it before the French, or perhaps we invaded for their benefit?
Moore's an entertainer, and a bad one at that. Sadly, half the Democratic party hasn't realized it yet.
Posted by: mj at August 4, 2004 10:08 PM
"While poor people may be better off right now, this generation of students is predicted to be the first in a long time to find themselves in a lower standard of living than their parents once they are out of school."
I had to highlight this, since this is exactly what they were predicting in the mid-90s, right before the tech boom.
In other words, this is one of those things that is entirely unpredictable. Just so you know.
Posted by: B. Durbin at August 4, 2004 10:08 PM
I'm voting for Kerry because I don't trust Bush Jr. to be either competent, honest or credible. This is, and, for me, always has been, a completely separate issue from Moore and Coulter (and no, the deranged lies of one extreme do not justify or excuse those of the other).
While it's perfectly appropriate to discuss both parties' wingnuts, the most important factor is the mindset of the guy in charge - and Bush shows the mindset of a cowardly spoiled overgrown frat-boy whose muddled speech reflects an uncaring mind.
Posted by: Raging Bee at August 5, 2004 09:27 AM
Do all the Mooreons quote from the same LLL phrasebook? Grow up, Raging Bee. What the fuck does a caring mind matter? Go back to bed, the adults are talking.
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