What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.


By Elton Beard

There are two kinds of people in the world, those who divide people into two kinds and those who don't. I don't.


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ARCHIVE ARCHIVE ARCHIVE

Sunday, September 29, 2002
3:00 PM PDT

TV Public Service Announcement

Stacey

This is Stacey.
This is the dimebag that Stacey bought.
This is the dealer who sold the dimebag that Stacey bought.
This is the supplier that smuggled the pot to the dealer who sold the dimebag that Stacey bought.
This is Carla, who was hit by a stray bullet from Stacey's supplier and paralyzed for life.
And this is John Ashcroft, the Attorney General who supports the criminalization of marijuana despite the fact that it is used routinely by millions of people without harm, and who tries to pretend that any violence resulting from this state of affairs is Stacey's responsibility.

The first five frames in this sequence are from the Office of National Drug Control Policy original video (MPEG, about 1.2MB) and transcript.

Wednesday, September 25, 2002
11:15 PM PDT
Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson is a dirty debater, a slick sophist who can juggle multiple smears, distortions and innuendo at once. One of his more common debating techniques is to simply fabricate assertions, which he then uses to falsely accuse his target of lying (similar to the method used in Michael Kelly's attack on Al Gore today).

Take for example today's discussion between Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala on CNN Crossfire. The subject was Tuesday's "Washington Journal" program on C-SPAN, during which Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) mentioned that the U.S. sold biological weapons technology to Saddam Hussein during the Reagan/Bush 1980s. Carlson went on the attack:

CARLSON: Actually, you missed the key to the story, Paul. Filner accused the United States government of giving biological weapons to Saddam Hussein, which is a slander on the United States. I don't care what jail the guy's been in, that's an outrage that he would say that on television.

Gave biological weapons to Saddam Hussein? That's a lie.

BEGALA: Bob Filner is an American hero.

CARLSON: I don't care what he is. That's a lie. He ought to be ashamed of saying that.

Now, Tucker Carlson must have been aware of this story when he made his accusation:
West Nile Virus, E. coli, anthrax and botulism were among the potentially fatal biological cultures that a U.S. company sent under U.S. Commerce Department licenses after 1985, when Ronald Reagan was president, according to the Senate testimony.

The Commerce Department under the first Bush administration also authorized eight shipments of cultures that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention later classified as having "biological warfare significance."

So, observe the technique in action: Rep. Filner says that Saddam Hussein had obtained biological and chemical weapons technology from the U.S. during the Reagan/Bush era, a factually correct statement. In response, Tucker Carlson falsely asserts that Filner "accused the United States government of giving biological weapons to Saddam Hussein". Building on his lie, Carlson then proceeds to indict the congressman for perpetrating not only a "lie" but "a slander on the United States". Isn't that a neat trick? Falsely accuse your opponent of lying, then slander him with an accusation of slander based on your own lie.

This is standard operating procedure for Tucker Carlson. He's done it many times before and tomorrow, live on CNN, he'll probably do it again. That's entertainment, if you're into that sort of thing; honest debate, it's not.

4:30 PM PDT
Oy that liberal media! Some recent comments from Mr. Bush include friendly mentions of Democratic Senators, such as:
Sept. 5: "I am not going to accept a bill where the Senate micromanages, where the Senate shows they're more interested in special interest in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people."

Sept. 7: "Senators need to understand I will not accept a homeland security bill that puts special interests in Washington ahead of the security of the American people."

Sept. 23: "The House responded, but the Senate is more interested in special interests in Washington and not interested in the security of the American people."

These remarks and others similar were noticed by Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, who today responded:
"That is outrageous, outrageous. The president ought to apologize to Sen. Inouye and every veteran who has fought in every war who is a Democrat in the Senate. He ought to apologize to the American people. That is wrong. We ought not politicize this war. We ought not politicize the rhetoric about war and life and death".
So what does Lou Dobbs of CNN/Moneyline make his Quick Vote poll question of the day? Try this:
Should Sen. Daschle apologize to President Bush for suggesting he's trying to gain political advantage from the possibility of war with Iraq?
Mr. Dobbs seemed surprised to report, at the end of his show, that his audience overwhelmingly disagreed with his proposition.

[Addendum: Per the transcript, the poll results at the end of the show were running 64% against the proposition that Daschle should apologize to Bush, with 36% in favor, but a day later the results mysteriously show 51% in favor to 49% against.]

2:00 PM PDT
It's impossible to parody Michael Kelly when he is obviously just joshing us. However, the opportunity to utilize another's ad hominems without breaking site policy is irresistible, so let's call this a tribute to his tongue-in-cheek article:

Kelly's article was one no decent journalist could have delivered. It was dishonest, cheap, low. It was hollow. It was bereft of policy, of solutions, of constructive ideas, very nearly of facts -- bereft of anything other than taunts and jibes and embarrassingly obvious lies. It was breathtakingly hypocritical, a naked political assault delivered in tones of moral condescension from a man pretending to be superior to mere journalists. It was wretched. It was vile. It was contemptible. But I understate.


Indeed.

Tuesday, September 24, 2002
10:30 PM PDT
Maybe we can just feed the poor, to the cows. From an Ananova story:

Average European dairy cow earns more than half world's population

The average European dairy cow has a bigger average income than half the world's population, according to a report.

Cafod shows that cash support to the EU dairy industry is now running at 11 billion a year - about 1.40 per cow per day.

Actually, despite a not-so-nice farm subsidy policy, the Europeans seem to be rather nice to their own poor. Which is nice. But that we in the nice countries can afford a daily maintenance cost for cows that is larger than the average daily income for members of humanity's less-important half is, well, interesting.

Monday, September 23, 2002
10:00 PM PDT
Al Gore displays some serious clue. Today he accused the Bush administration of:

  • Following a policy that harms the war against terrorism.
  • Turning other countries against us.
  • Allowing the vast majority of those responsible for 9/11 get away with it so far.
  • Pushing for a quick vote on the Iraq resolution as part of a political game plan.
  • Having no coherent plan for a post-war Iraq.
  • Squandering the largest budget surpluses in history.
  • Pandering to a far right base.
  • Attacking fundamental constitutional rights.
  • Proposing a preemptive war doctrine that would replace the rule of law with a reign of fear.
That's pretty strong stuff, from the man who won more votes than George W. Bush in the 2000 election. He's making sense and saying what a lot of people are thinking. Will the media take note? Will the Democrats rally round? This could get interesting. Stay tuned...

[Link to the speech, given at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco, via Atrios.]

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Busy, busy, busy.

What bokononists whisper whenever they think of how complicated and unpredictable the machinery of life really is.


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