Osama the pundit

The funniest thing about Eric Alterman’s Altercation weblog (motto: “Yesterday’s opinions TODAY!”) is that only one of his frequent e-mailers is called “Stupid.” And it’s not this guy:

Name: Glen
Hometown: Boston
You know, once you get past all of bin Laden�s self-serving rhetoric, he does have a pretty interesting view of the United States and it�s citizens. http://www.observer.co.uk/worldview/story/0,11581,845725,00.html While I despise the guy and hope that he dies a slow and incredibly painful death (and I hope Allah will have nothing to do with him afterwards) I do think it is a tragedy that he has been able to grasp many of the problems our country faces better than the current administration�s can. Then again – we didn�t elect the current administration, so I guess it should be no surprise at all that they�re self-serving and out of touch with reality…

I hadn’t actually read this (possibly forged) letter from bin Laden until prodded by Glen. But I have now. Here’s some of those interesting views.

(b) It is saddening to tell you that you are the worst civilization witnessed by the history of mankind:

OK. Sounds like a winning campaign strategy. “Destroy America! Re-elect Gore!”

(i) You are the nation who, rather than ruling by the Shariah of Allah in its Constitution and Laws, choose to invent your own laws as you will and desire. You separate religion from your policies, contradicting the pure nature which affirms Absolute Authority to the Lord and your Creator. You flee from the embarrassing question posed to you: How is it possible for Allah the Almighty to create His creation, grant them power over all the creatures and land, grant them all the amenities of life, and then deny them that which they are most in need of: knowledge of the laws which govern their lives?

Good idea. Maybe we would be better off as a theocracy. I can only assume Glen was a staunch Gary Bauer supporter in 2000.

(ii) You are the nation that permits Usury, which has been forbidden by all the religions. Yet you build your economy and investments on Usury. As a result of this, in all its different forms and guises, the Jews have taken control of your economy, through which they have then taken control of your media, and now control all aspects of your life making you their servants and achieving their aims at your expense; precisely what Benjamin Franklin warned you against.

Actually, Ben Franklin never made the anti-semitic speech that’s being referred to. But maybe he did and the right-wing Jew-run media is covering it up.

(iii) You are a nation that permits the production, trading and usage of intoxicants. You also permit drugs, and only forbid the trade of them, even though your nation is the largest consumer of them.

Woody, is that you?

(iv) You are a nation that permits acts of immorality, and you consider them to be pillars of personal freedom. You have continued to sink down this abyss from level to level until incest has spread amongst you, in the face of which neither your sense of honour nor your laws object.

Who can forget your President Clinton’s immoral acts committed in the official Oval office? After that you did not even bring him to account, other than that he ‘made a mistake’, after which everything passed with no punishment. Is there a worse kind of event for which your name will go down in history and remembered by nations?

According to Glen, the birth of George W is probably worse.

(v) You are a nation that permits gambling in its all forms. The companies practice this as well, resulting in the investments becoming active and the criminals becoming rich.

Sigh … no comment.

(vi) You are a nation that exploits women like consumer products or advertising tools calling upon customers to purchase them. You use women to serve passengers, visitors, and strangers to increase your profit margins. You then rant that you support the liberation of women.

We don’t ENSLAVE them. We don’t FORCE them to do any of this. It’s their CHOICE. Giselle Bundchen could be working on Wall St if she wanted, but she chooses not to.

(vii) You are a nation that practices the trade of sex in all its forms, directly and indirectly. Giant corporations and establishments are established on this, under the name of art, entertainment, tourism and freedom, and other deceptive names you attribute to it.

Yes, and? And is this something unique to America? Shouldn’t Osama (and Glen) be strapping dynamite to themselves in say, Amsterdam, if this is what gets their panties in a twist?

(viii) And because of all this, you have been described in history as a nation that spreads diseases that were unknown to man in the past. Go ahead and boast to the nations of man, that you brought them AIDS as a Satanic American Invention.

We also brought them crack. Don’t forget the crack!

(xi) You have destroyed nature with your industrial waste and gases more than any other nation in history. Despite this, you refuse to sign the Kyoto agreement so that you can secure the profit of your greedy companies and*industries.

We’ve also fed more people than any nation in history. If you want us to commit genocide by reverting to uneconomic food production in the interest of Gaia, please, don’t bother.

(x) Your law is the law of the rich and wealthy people, who hold sway in their political parties, and fund their election campaigns with their gifts. Behind them stand the Jews, who control your policies, media and economy.


(xi) That which you are singled out for in the history of mankind, is that you have used your force to destroy mankind more than any other nation in history; not to defend principles and values, but to hasten to secure your interests and profits. You who dropped a nuclear bomb on Japan, even though Japan was ready to negotiate an end to the war.

Really? Huh. Our Jewish historians must be covering up that tidbit.

a)The freedom and democracy that you call to is for yourselves and for white race only; as for the rest of the world, you impose upon them your monstrous, destructive policies and Governments, which you call the ‘American friends’. Yet you prevent them from establishing democracies. When the Islamic party in Algeria wanted to practice democracy and they won the election, you unleashed your agents in the Algerian army onto them, and to attack them with tanks and guns, to imprison them and torture them – a new lesson from the ‘American book of democracy’!!!

So why are there no Japanese suicide bombers?

Well, overall, I see what Glen is getting at. Any positions open for a columnist?


Hey, what happened to …?

Several people have asked what happened to a story I posted on this weblog a few weeks ago. Have I engaged in Stalinist tactics, erasing whatever I didn’t like in the past? No – Blogger just isn’t posting any archives past the middle of September. I’m not sure if this failure is the free web-publishing service’s or it’s the fault of my NU server’s pathetic 4 Meg limit. Tell me if you know a way to get to old posts.



That was the sound of me hitting the mattress at 3:30 yesterday. I’d just handed in a paper that wrapped up the second class in two days, leaving me two hardcore econ and statistics classes left for the quarter. I thought I could coast through the day on 2 hours of sleep, but … well … damn.

This is America’s fault, somehow.


Four more years! Yes, really!

There’s no reason why a 21-year old journalism student should know more about history than the staff of The American Prospect … but life is funny sometimes. The NYT poll I mentioned yesterday includes this finding:

If George W. Bush is renominated as the Republican Party’s nominee for president in 2004, do you think you will probably vote for George W. Bush, or vote for the Democratic candidate, or don’t you know yet?
Bush – 32%
Dem. candidate – 18
Don’t know yet – 47
DK/NA – 2


But the most important statistic — the one that every Dem presidential contender should heed — is President Bush’s re-elect rating, which is buried in a “Complete Results” pop-up window. If Bush were renominated as the Republican candidate in 2004, according to this poll, only 32 percent of respondents would definitely vote for him again. 32 percent?


Time/CNN poll, Nov. 1994:
In your view, does President (Bill) Clinton deserve to be re-elected as President or not?
Yes, deserves – 35%
No, does not – 52
Not sure – 13

CBS Poll, Nov. 1994:
If (President) Bill Clinton runs for re-election in 1996, do you think you will probably vote for Bill Clinton, or for the Republican candidate, or for a serious third-party candidate, or don’t you know yet?
Bill Clinton – 13%
Republican candidate – 21
Third-party candidate – 7
Don’t know yet – 56
Don’t know/no answer – 3

ABC,CBS,NBC News,New York Times,Cable News Network poll, Nov. 1990:
If George Bush runs for re-election in 1992, do you think you will probably vote for George Bush, probably vote for the Democratic candidate, don’t know yet.
Probably vote for George Bush – 33%
Probably vote for the Democratic candidate – 31
Don’t know yet – 35

Penn & Schoen, Dec. 1982:
Thinking about the 1984 Presidential election, do you definitely plan to support President (Ronald) Reagan, would you consider voting for someone else, or do you definitely plan to vote against him?
Definitely support him – 20%
Consider voting for someone else – 35
Definitely plan to vote against him – 33
Don’t know – 12

Gallup, Dec. 1982:
If President Reagan were the Republican candidate and Walter Mondale were the Democratic candidate, which would you like to see win (the 1984 Presidential election)?
Reagan – 36%
Mondale – 52
Undecided – 12

Make of this what you will. My interpretation? 32 percent is a fine re-elect number, especially considering only 18 percent of voters would support a Democrat. That 18 percent is the lowest show of support for a generic opposition candidate in at least two decades.


(Political) cat fight!

OK … given, I did just call Al Gore “reptilian.” But check out this quote from erstwhile Gore press secretary Chris Lehane:

As long as Justice Scalia — Judge Grinch — does not have the Supreme Court rule that the Gores’ book cannot be a stocking stuffer for the holidays, I am sure it will do well. Also, Bush should like the Gore picture book — with all the photos, it is right up his alley, while the Woodward book seems to be a little long and dense for his type of a read.

This isn’t some shitbird from Buzzflash, mind you – this is a former Gore staffer, on the record! What a smarmy jerk! If Gore doesn’t purge that kind of sniping from his next campaign, he can hang it up and save himself the trouble of being defeated.

UPDATE: Greetings, Slate readers! If you got here from Kausfiles, welcome to DW-i. This blog is only one branch of the site – if you want to meet the twisted mind behind it all, click on the “DW-i” logo at the top right. Or click here.


Who’s afraid of Al Gore? EVERYBODY!

Drudge put it up high, but both the Washington Post and The New York Times buried a poll that shows Al Gore with septic approval ratings.

The Times spins the data late in the piece:

Just 19 percent said they held a favorable view of the former vice president, compared with 43 percent who had an unfavorable view. The unfavorable rating is among his worst since The New York Times/CBS News Poll began asking the question about him in 1987. Men are more likely than woman to dislike Mr. Gore.

The unfavorable perception of Mr. Gore crossed party lines: about one-third of Democrats viewed him favorably, compared with about one-fifth who viewed him unfavorably. Of potentially more concern to Mr. Gore, just 17 percent of independent voters said they had a favorable opinion of him, compared with 36 percent who described their view as unfavorable.

At this point in 1970, Gallup had Hubert Humphrey in a dead heat with Richard Nixon (41-39, with 11 percent for George Wallace). More astoundingly, Gallup showed Humphrey with a 53-19 positive approval rating. In December 1978, Gallup showed Americans approving of former Pres. Gerald Ford by 56-22. The difference between then and now? Americans were having second thoughts about the man they’d elected president and taking another look at the guy they rejected.

Not now. Americans are on their hands and knees thanking God they didn’t elect this reptilian political hack. (poll data from Lexis-Nexis)


The drugs are working

It’s no great mystery that I take Zoloft to counteract my natural acute depression. During the bulk of the school year, it keeps me on an even keel – but during the tail end of each quarter, once my responsibilities have shrunk to a set of papers and finals, it perks me up until I’m intolerably friendly. Today, after weeks of brooding and sitting alone in my room, I couldn’t help but introduce myself to people in every class and at the dinner table – not in a salesmanlike way of course, but in a more natural, hey-hey state of mind. I got so friendly, matter of fact, that I applied for this.

Um. Maybe I should take some ‘ludes to balance this out.


I hate you all (part XII)

Last year I wrote a snarky little op-ed about how “campus democracy” (students making decisions about the school’s policies, on equal footing w/ trustees) would never work. As exhibit #1, may I present: the mailroom. Mail hours started 70 minutes ago, and end in 110 minutes. The mailroom employee is nowhere in sight.

I wouldn’t trust a fellow student to unwrap a candy bar, much less run a damn university.


Democracy happens when I win

The word I use for sentiments like those expressed in this Buzzflash commentarie is “cute.” The people who think like this are so fringe, and so meaningless, that someone like me can sit back and laugh at their sulfuric wordplay.

Never, never did we think that the American people would fail to respond to what is so obvious to those of us who understand the sham being perpetrated by the Bush administration on this country.

Ok. Clearly written under the cover of a tinfoil hat, this piece is. Right away the government is implicated in a shadowy penumbra of an eclipse of a conspiracy. And the evidence is … ?

Never, never did we think that the voters of Florida and other areas of the country, stripped of their voting rights through devious manipulations of voter rolls and intimidation tactics in election 2000, would capitulate to the same tactics in the 2002 mid term elections.

Wow. Voting rights were trampled on! So I guess we’re going to hear the evidence for this …

Election day 2002 can best be described as a failure of democracy. Less than forty percent of eligible voters actually participated.

n. pl. de�moc�ra�cies
1.Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.
2.A political or social unit that has such a government.
3.The common people, considered as the primary source of political power.
4.Majority rule.
5.The principles of social equality and respect for the individual within a community.

By this logic, failing to spend all of your money would be a failure of capitalism.

Shame on those Americans who did not take the time to cast a vote, especially those who were manipulated out of their right to vote in 2000.

They didn’t? Evidence? Ah, forget it.

Where was your outrage?

The same place they keep their outrage against World Capitalism: In your dreams.

Shame on apathetic Americans who do not take the time to understand the issues involved and their impact on the life of every citizen. There will be consequences and they could be monumental.

Those Americans who did not vote, if properly educated, would have voted to hang the Bush administration by the neck until dead. Right-o.

Republicans are claiming a historic victory and mandate for the Bush administration. However, examination of the facts indicates it was much closer than one would think. There were 75,723,756 votes cast nationally. A swing of 94,000 votes would have resulted in Democrats capturing control of the House and retaining a majority in the Senate. Do the math. This is less than two-tenths of one percent of the total vote. That is how close America came to making a negative statement about Bush and the Republican agenda.

And a switch of the results in just a few battles of the Civil War would have been a victory for the South and a confirmation of the morality of slavery.

Only twenty-two percent of voting age citizens actually voted. Consider this staggering fact: 105 million citizens of voting age did not vote. That is hardly a resounding endorsement of any political philosophy.

Qui tacet consentit. Look it up.

Just remember that this type of analysis was used by Republicans to claim that Clinton was not legitimately elected in 1992. Now, however, they claim it as a right wing mandate.

Yes, and like the far left, Republicans made it the entire basis of their political philosophy for the rest of history … oh, wait. No, they moved on. My bad.

What has happened to the Democratic Party? It has been rendered voiceless and incompetent by masterful campaign strategies of the right wing.

I must have dreamt the TV ads and newspaper articles I saw endorsing Democrats. But I am a right-winger, so I must be out of touch with reality.

The solution is not to become more centrist or “Republican Lite” as some have suggested. The solution is to get back to the fundamental principles that have guided the Democratic Party for decades, to be the party of the people and to promote strongly policies that will alleviate suffering and improve the lives of average citizens. This is not accomplished by going along with the right wing just to get along.

There is always a gap between rhetoric and the policy perception that trickles down to voters, but I would suggest that the emails asking me to “vote for working familes” snuggled nicely with those principles. And there’s some more blah writing, followed by this:

Check out the fact that party identification leans to Democratic or Independent overwhelmingly 61% to 38% here

Democrats = Independents = liberals = people who type out “pResident” on Salon‘s Table Talk. Has someone alerted political scientists?

To paraphrase James Carville on election night,

Ah, now we’re getting into some hardcore intellectual discourse.

the American people have no idea what they have just done to this country. Of course they don’t, because most citizens are out of touch with the realities of political discourse, with the impact of policy decisions, and with the extreme manipulation and corruption of the system by the moneyed elite. Apparently they don’t care or they lack the capacity to process complex ideological theories and their impact on our every day lives.

Just chew on that one for a while.

“It also gives us a very special, secret pleasure to see how unaware the people around us are of what is really happening to them.” — Adolf Hitler

The rest of the quote is:”They gaze fascinated at one or two familiar superficialities, such as possessions and income and rank and other out-worn conceptions. As long as these superficialities are kept intact, they are quite satisfied. But in the meantime, they have entered into a new relation; a powerful social force has caught them up.� It’s from Hermann Rauschning’s “Hitler Speaks.” I’ll leave it up to the reader to determine whether you can use this to describe the 2002 Republican campaign.

These are indeed dangerous times. Bush campaigned for his party by beating war drums and positioning himself and his plan for America’s security as the best way to insure the safety of American citizens. The citizens bought it and gave tacit approval.

Are these the idiots who didn’t vote, or the idiots who voted for Republicans, or the idiots who made the Democratic party into an issue-free blur? I’m confused.

They apparently are not nearly as concerned with honesty, integrity, or their own economic welfare as one would have imagined.

This reminds me of a comment I heard after the Wellstone rally – “How could ANYONE be against raising the minimum wage?” People who maintain that sort of ignorance of economics are never going to breach the mainstream in this country, and I’m glad.

They apparently are willing to overlook the destruction of their civil liberties and a secretive administration with links to large-scale corporate corruption. It boggles the mind.

Only if you harbor a strange contempt for the average American.

Yes, it is sad. Perhaps it has never, never been as sad as it is currently. Take heart. We have seen dark times before and survived. We will do so again. It will be a difficult period, but we will have another opportunity for change in two years. That is the beauty of America.

Well, yes. Then why was this screed written? If I knew about a vast conspiracy to rig elections and end democracy, I’d look for evidence. I’d refrain from linking to articles that rant about “the New World Order tyrants,” or claim that “fascist elements in the highest levels of corporate and government offices are determined to overthrow the Constitution and our precious democracy.”

But I suppose that explains why this is a bottom-feeding screed on a shrill, useless website, and not a piece published where those non-voting idiots might actually see it.