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August 27, 2004
Trouble Everywhere

Today's 10:00 meeting cancelled at the last minute, leaving me with a few minutes to spare.

Shell Oil is in trouble in Nigeria.

In a unanimous resolution, the Nigerian Senate directed the Shell Corporation to compensate the Ijaw aborigines of Bayelsa State with $1.5 billion for the severe health hazards, economic hardship and avoidable deaths as a direct or indirect consequence of multiple oil spillages caused by its facilities.

Something I learned in my pre-primary meeting with FairVoteColorado is repeated here. When it comes to voting reform, it's not just a matter of state or federal regulations. A surprising amount of voting procedure is determined on the county level, creating a nightmare of complexity for state officials across the country.

A boat full of asylum-seekers...children thrown overboard. It's becoming a full-blown scandal in Australia.

Are we fighting the "war on terror" with pork?

I agree with an awful lot of this article. Far too much time is spent on "voter blocs" and "swing states" and not enough on the issues. I don't know if that's because the news media is terrified of accusations of bias if they attempt to actually discuss issues, or if they don't actually understand them themselves, or what, but they're doing the voting public a disservice.

Or maybe they're afraid of confusing us? I know I found parts of this confusing . I mean, did Bush actually say that the "insurgents" in Iraq are actually former members of the Iraqi army?

(I scoff at the idea that questions about Bush's missing National Guard records make him a "victim" of 527s. It's not like anyone's telling outright lies, the way those Boat Veterans are doing to Kerry. There is no similarity and I do resent it that the media keeps blandly accepting the Bush re-election campaign's position that there is.

This kind of smear is just pathetic, as are those who habitually indulge in it.

I also condemn this cheap and shoddy stunt that tries to capitalize on people's support for the Olympics. I doubt the US Olympic Committee will win the legal battle, but it's the same kind of garbage the Bush Administration always spreads around. Maybe it's not quite illegal, there may be room for doubt or debate, but it's close enough to crime to really smell up the neighborhood.

If the Bush Administration wants to run on "facts" I don't know why they don't just do so. Things are up all over. The number of people living in poverty, the number of people lacking healthcare, the national deficit, bankruptcies, unemployment, prison populations, they're all up.

Anyhow. Read Josh Marshall on the difference between "hard-hitting" or even just "negative" ads and those that smear.

Moving on, I'm glad editors are battling AstroTurf. I totally approve, in fact. You want your opinions printed in the local paper? Write your own letter.

Unless criticism of Bush or Reagan sends you into a wall-climbing fit, you might find this interesting. Is Bush like a rock? Only dumber? Does intelligence matter in a USofA presidential candidate? Is Kerry playing into Bush's hands by focusing on the Swift Boat ads instead of hammering away at Bush's legion of domestic and foreign policy failures?

The Bush Administration - Hitler/Nazi Regime comparisons are back. I'm not sure those are honest. There are probably a lot of philosophically opposed regimes in history that nevertheless bear some resemblances to each other. The fact that Bush uses rhetoric similar to Hitler's and some of the same tactics does not, in fact, make him a budding Hitler.

Obviously I haven't read the reports produced by the two groups investigating the prisoner abuse scandal, but I've been reading the reports about the reports and wondering if a chain of command failure was really identified. It wouldn't surprise me if it was (I'm no Rumsfeld fan) but just exactly what does the report say?

The odd thing is that, at the moment, I don't really care.

I think that's a pretty good sign that this blog should go on hiatus for a while.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:00 AM


But I don't think that we -at least not I- say the Bush is a budding Hitler. No serious person would claim, for example, that Mr. Bush is trying to achive world domination by a master race and the annihilation of others. But I think it is fair to point out the uncanny similarities in tactics, rethorics and intellectual capacity. Hitler lied to the the German people and was successful for a long time. Bush (and Blair) have lied to their people and been successful. For the German people, their belief in the Big Lie ended in catastrophy. Where will the American and British belief in the Big Lie lead them?

Posted by: Bengt O. at August 27, 2004 12:25 PM

And, pointing out that Bush's rhetorical and political strategies resemble Hitler's does not mean that the person making the comparison thinks he's a budding Hitler, either. Actually, the best new comparison I've seen recently was to Napleon III, "Prince President" and dismantler of the Third Republic. Still not perfect, but interesting.

Posted by: Jonathan Dresner at August 27, 2004 12:43 PM

I had heard somewhere else (forget where???)about the "pork" problem with the current funding. And my first thought then as now is to wonder if it really might be an attempt to thwart the reckless war Bush started in Iraq by cutting off it's funding (by a congress too chicken to openly oppose the machinations of Bush).

Or am I giving congress too much credit?

Posted by: AAA at August 27, 2004 09:55 PM

Go if you need to, recharge, we'll still be here when you get back!!

Posted by: Elayne Riggs at August 28, 2004 11:38 AM

The problem, Bengt with making comparisons to someone like Hitler is that it clouds the issue with emotion. I think Jonathan's comparison to Napoleon is an interesting one, though.

(AAA, I think you're giving Congress too much credit, yes. :) The Defense budget has always been full of pork, like most budgets. I assume that this is either not an unusual percentage or that Congressmen, facing drastic cutbacks in other budgets, are turning to the Defense budget to ram through pet projects for their own voters.

Posted by: Anne at August 29, 2004 10:17 AM

Thanks for the kind words, Elayne.

Posted by: Anne at August 29, 2004 10:18 AM