The 2004 election is over

From the Telegraph:

A spokesman for Mr Berlusconi said the prime minister had been
telephoned recently by Col Gaddafi of Libya, who said: “I will do
whatever the Americans want, because I saw what happened in Iraq, and
I was afraid.”

This is the quote that will re-elect George W. Bush president.
Because after 9/11, what Americans want is a president that will make
tyrants and terrorists very, very afraid. Bush, for all his other
failings, has delivered on that. As Edwin Edwards (four-term governor
of Lousiana) might put it, Bush couldn’t lose the election now unless
he got caught in bed with a dead girl or a live boy.

28 thoughts on “The 2004 election is over

  1. If only people could spend enough close to the election so that people will remember.

    This is the first major test of McCain-Feingold. How this will affect the election remains very unclear.

  2. Just how often do state heads publicly comment on their true feelings or intentions?
    If I were a Muslim leader with a hen to pick with the USA-the-Great-Satan, I’d be more likely to play fearful and co-operative, thus downplaying the Western countries’ suspicions, than to really confess helplessness.

  3. This is the same Berlusconi who explained a few months ago that he supports Mussolini who wasn’t, after all, all that bad, because he didn’t send Jews to their death but rather to a “picnic in the north”?

    I’m not entirely certain his credibility is all that high with me. Your position may vary, or course. (7000 Jewish dissidents were killed from/in Italy during Mussolini’s rule. Data from the Haaretz newspaper, approximately a month ago. Referenced by Newday and several others at this link, in case you don’t happen to read Hebrew.)

  4. We’re trading liberty for security, and that won’t end well.

    Out of curiosity, which liberties, exactly, have you traded in?

  5. Maybe the American public will realize that a man who can strike fear into a dictator’s eyes is not a man to be giving more power to.

    Hilter got a lot of dictators to agree with him as well. We all know how that turned out.

  6. > Hilter got a lot of dictators to agree with him as well.

    Two is “a lot”? Note that he bribed both of them, and one later reneged on the deal.


  7. >>We’re trading liberty for security, and that won’t end well.

    >Out of curiosity, which liberties, exactly, have you traded in?

    I have traded liberty to demonstrate against government. Demonstrators are labeled as terrorists, especially if they are against FTAA.

    I have traded liberty to vote. Actually, we can vote, but now the
    computer systems select the president.

    I have traded liberty to freely speak over the phone and have private records, owning to PATRIOT I (that stands for Providing Appropriate Tools to
    Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism). You will be “intercepted and obstructed” as soon as someone suspects that you are a terrorist.

    I have traded liberty to remeber what government said yesterday. White house web site prevents search engines from searching its site (see
    it’s robots.txt)

    And yes, I feel quite nice knowing that dictators like Saddam and Quadaffi will not be throwing nukular (sic) and chemical bombs all around Manhattan any more. No sir, I had enough of that. I only have to worry about few fundamentalists whose houses we bombed, whose family we killed, and whose country we occupied.

  8. well theres no good candidates running against bush although i think he is a morally corrupt asshole hes better than anyone else out there right now

    but i mean

    what the hell the commander in chief is one who went AWOL

    thats bullshit

  9. > Two is “a lot”? Note that he bribed both of them, and one later reneged on the deal.

    How many has Bush got to give in? It’s not a great example, but the point is that scare tactics aren’t necessarily a good thing.

  10. Laza, taking your points in order:

    “I have traded liberty to demonstrate against government. Demonstrators are labeled as terrorists, especially if they are against FTAA.”

    False. The right of the people peaceably to assemble is intact, even if those people are kooks. ANSWER continues to demonstrate against the war and globalisation, PETA continues to demonstrate against meat, and Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk, and G. Gordon Liddy continue to publish and broadcast their inane babblings. On the other hand, if you want to break windows and smash cars in your “protest,” then you will indeed be arrested. Do us a favor, and make sure your friends understand this.

    “I have traded liberty to vote. Actually, we can vote, but now the computer systems select the president.”

    False. What computer systems are you talking about, precisely? Give examples that are actually being used, in the US, today.

    “I have traded liberty to freely speak over the phone and have private records, owning to PATRIOT I (that stands for Providing Appropriate Tools to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism). You will be “intercepted and obstructed” as soon as someone suspects that you are a terrorist.”

    False. The government has *always* had this power. It has long been used against organized crime, and is now being used against terrorism.

    “I have traded liberty to remeber what government said yesterday. White house web site prevents search engines from searching its site (see it’s robots.txt).

    I’ll give you 1/2 point for this one. The Bush Administration lies, edits, and censors it’s own information outlets, more so than any other administration in my lifetime.

    But recall that holding politicians accountable is job of *the press*. Are they doing it?

  11. Honoring robots.txt is a convention for polite search engines. It is easy to ignore it and spider the site anyway.

    Eh. Such a horrible supression of speech. I am so worried – not.

  12. Joel,

    There is not much incentive for politicians to fight against terrorism.
    There is a LOT of incentive to spy on political opponents and dissidents.
    => Abusable mechanisms for voting, surveillance, enforcement, WILL be abused.

    RE: Demonstartions
    The reports that came from Seattle, NYC, Miami and LA say that police gassed people confined in small spaces. They were told to disperse while being surrounded by police! The worst example of this is probably the demonstration during the Oscar award in Hollywood, when police waited for the majority of the demonstrators to go away, then started beating and arresting the remaining unlucky fellows. Why???

    RE: Voting Machines
    I think that Bush is rightfully in office, although the computer systems of ChoicePoint/Database Technologies purged 57,700 names from the voter rolls. The difference throughout the U.S. was statistically negligible. It took one year of ranting and lawsuits for Diebold (owned by Republican simpatizers) to be looked into. In light of ChoicePoint being plentifully rewarded instead of being punished, corporations are incentivized to cheat for the ruling party (dynasty).

    RE: Surveillance

    >> The government has *always* had this power.

    Joel, this comment bothers me the most, and I have heard it from my respectable friends. Yes, the government had the power to tap phone lines without a warrant (remember Nixon?) but it has *always* been illegal. Why would you let the government get away with it? Under the influence of “creeping normalcy” we just go along with eroding our civil liberties. And the warrants are given without scrutiny as long as ‘terrorism’ is mentioned somewhere on the form (tell me if you need evidence on this point).

    There is not much incentive for people in government to fight against terrorism.
    There is a LOT of incentive to spy on political opponents and dissidents.
    => Abusable mechanisms for voting, surveillance, enforcement, WILL be abused.

    Joel, why do you have a fake e-mail address and no full name? Afraid of spammers/corporations/governemnt will bother/spy/abuse you? Why are we all so afraid of something? Shoot me an e-mail if you want to take this off-line.

  13. Eric,

    > Eh. Such a horrible supression of speech. I am so worried – not.

    This is the “creeping normalcy” I am talking about. Today, we are not worried that we cannot verify what government said. Tomorrow we will not be worried if they ban checking facts. The day after tomorrow we will not worry if they ban speaking against government.

    Eric, how far will you not worry?

    –Laza

  14. American Citizens being held as enemy combatants, without trial, without access to lawyers. Sure, it’s only the american citizens who are arabic, moslem, and “may have known a guy” — for now. At least two, so far. At least one was taken on US soil (not in a combat zone). The courts might overturn, but who can say? Our Chief Justice has said on record in the past that he believes liberties take a back seat during wartime.

    That is the classic definition of trading liberty for security. Liberty carries with it risk — a risk that the government, while jumping through the hoops to ensure that our liberties are protected, will miss one of the bad guys. You cannot have *efficient* liberty — not unless everyone were omniprescient, which we’re not.

  15. The election isn’t over till it’s over. Assuming a reasonably accurate count (and I don’t trust Diebold machines), I assume the major factors will be the economy, how the war is going in Iraq, any further terrorist attacks on the US and how people interpret them, and the economy.

  16. Hello again, my second post prehap…

    Anyway, I understand that there is a ripple effect on us, american, once after we see that Saddam being caught down in the dirty hole. But it won’t affect me a bit in this such case. It won’t affect me a bit when president come to my home in any case except respect. Of course i respect everybody with equality regardless of skin type.

    Sorry for the off-topic a bit on above, I still go for Clark or Dean. I will have to admit a bit that Dean has gut to say such thing on public. Next year will be the most interesting thing to come.

    Forgive my grammar, english is not my first language after all. :(

  17. It’s not “creeping normalcy”. It’s the administration’s site, to do with as they like. Terms like “normal” in this context is wrong anyway, since the web is a new thing. And, like I said, you can ignore the ‘robots.txt’ convention and get the content of the whole site anyway, as follows:

    wget -m -k http://www.whitehouse.gov/

    Be sure to have a lot of disk space available if you try this. :)

  18. thanks for the wget tip! I’ve been wanting a tool like that since I first used the Web…

    apt-get install wget

    did the trick to install it for me.

    —————————–
    When peaceful means are exhausted, all means must be considered.

  19. > > Two is “a lot”? Note that he bribed both of them, and one later reneged on the deal.

    > How many has Bush got to give in?

    That’s a different question. I was responding to a “Hitler got dictators to agree with him” comment. Unless you think that Tony Blair and the other members of the coalition of the willing are dictators, Bush hasn’t gotten any dictators to agree with him.

    He has, however, caused some problems for actual dictators. We can argue about whether he’s caused enough trouble, or troubled the right dictators, but ….

    >It’s not a great example, but the point is that scare tactics aren’t necessarily a good thing.

    Tactics are almost never good/bad. They’re either effective or not, and that’s context dependent. The results are what is good/bad.

    Feel free to argue that scaring Libya into some compliance with nuke-proliferation restrictions is a bad result.

  20. “Because after 9/11, what Americans want is a president that will make tyrants and terrorists very, very afraid. Bush, for all his other failings, has delivered on that”

    Making tyrants afraid and making terrorists afraid are two very different things. I haven’t seen any evidence (e.g. changes in behaviour) that the latter has been achieved.

  21. Eric, how can I wget the contents of whitehouse.org from a month ago? Can I do
    wget -time 30_days_ago …
    Or should every U.S. citizen make a personal archive of all government sites?

    I would appreciate if you could explain why you think the government obstructing access to information is “normal” or justified?

    Correction: web is not “a new thing”, it is 12 years old. Also, this obstruction was not accidental – the site imposed the restricitions in October 2003 after mounting criticism that the White House modified the page regarding Bush’s speech aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln (“combat operations in Iraq have ended”)!!!

    Would you also justify government rewriting older web pages?

  22. OK, One final time:

    should every U.S. citizen make a personal archive of all
    government sites?

    No. Life is short and most people have better things to do. But any
    sufficiently motivated person, news organization and public interest
    group could, at a small cost of bandwidth and disk space. I suspect
    that your complaint comes from the fact that old versions of the site
    is not available in Google Cache. The universiality of Google Cache
    is not a constitutional right. .

    I would appreciate if you could explain why you think the government
    obstructing access to information is “normal” or justified?

    The government obstructs access to information all the time. Just ask
    the CIA.

    More to the point, the WH website is a political vehicle for the
    incumbent administration. It is not a constitutionally or
    legistlatively mandated information conduit. Look to the Library of
    Congress for that. Like I said, it’s their site, to do with as they
    like.

    Of course, if substantial alterations occur on the site, that
    misrepresent the past, they can be called on it in the political
    arena, and will be. But there is no legal issue involved.

    Correction: web is not “a new thing”, it is 12 years old.

    Huh, and how old are you? Is that a substantial fraction (>0.5) of
    your age? In the realm of law and government 12 years is a short
    time. You are presuming precedents that don’t exist.

    Also, this obstruction was not accidental – the site imposed the
    restricitions in October 2003 after mounting criticism that the White
    House modified
    the page
    regarding Bush’s speech aboard the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln
    (“combat operations in Iraq have ended”)!!!

    Well, the article you linked to says nothing about the WH website. It
    dicusses a variety of speeches and other public announcements from the
    adminstration. And the art of political redefintion – spin -
    is something that all politicians do all the time.

    I saw that speech live, and the President’s meaning was clear to me.
    Full-blown conventional warfighting was over, the occupation work had
    begun. The outcome was a major victory for the coalition millitary.
    Based on the historical precedents of war, the casualties where almost
    absurdly low.

    The hysterically outraged screeching by enemies of the administration
    about the variance in the phrase “[major] combat operations” is just
    insubstantial whining from pathetic anti-war losers. It is based on
    an unstated strawman – that there would be no more casualties after
    the speech. This is absurd, and no-one in the adminstraction said
    anything like that. And, in the end, the correct outcome occurred: it
    didn’t fly in the political arena, despite the efforts of the
    partisan hacks and moonbats.

    Would you also justify government rewriting older web pages?

    So, after a web page is put up, it is perfect, eternal and
    unchangeable? Maybe that’s true of God’s site,
    but any others are subject to revisions. Besides, the text of the
    speech was not altered, right? (I am not sure about the
    specific alteration beef you have, because the link you gave does not
    reference it. Maybe you were thinking about some posting on DU?) That
    would be rather noticable, since it was also broadcast on TV. Maybe
    the page headline the speech was presented under. Which is a trivial
    editorial alteration.

    After all, the WAPO article contains it’s own editorialization – the
    “revises views” title. As far as I am concerned, nothing was
    “revised” (i.e. changed) – things were spelled out in more detail for
    the slow ones who didn’t get it in the first place, or chose to
    deliberately misrepresent it for political purposes.

  23. Oh, and as an alternative to Google Cache, try this page on the Wayback Machine of http://www.archive.org.

    It looks like they have complete archives of the WH website going back to 1997! (And the early page design looks it too.)

    See? Someone’s done it already. I am so not worried.

  24. I just can’t understand how can someone whose sole aim is to fight for open source movement support an administration which is totally “closed” in all aspects. Yes we need someone who can take the fight into terrorist’s territory. Bu what this regime has done is to kill a dead snake like Sadaam and a real poisonous snake is till roaming scott free in Pakistan. This administration is the worst in the history of United States. They didn’t even bother about more than five hundred very precious American soldier’s lives. They went on fighting an useless war to satisfy this president’s childhood fantasies. I would have accepted if America had lost some lives in getting that bloody terrorist Osama but it is ridiculus to lose so many lives to kick out a local thug. I apologize for saying this but I feel that you will be better off campaigning for Bush-Cheney 2004 rather than Open source movement. I had great respect for you but your support for the current administration made me feel why the hell you are reading this guy’s articles. Well someone’s political preferences should not matter in the greater picture of open source movement but I somehow feel that you are unfit to be an “open source evangelist”. Anyhow, thanks for your contributions to open source movement.

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