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27 comments8 Feb 2004 @ 21:01 by Bruce Kodish @126.96.36.199 : Meet the Press Interview
You don't thing the President had very good answers.
I think he answered them very well.
And I am by no means a Bush partisan who will necessarily vote for him.
Re Bush's National Guard Duty, people can search through the records and try to substantiate the charges of desertion, which the President says are groundless.
So far, I have heard innuendos and unsubstantiated accusations only.
I have seen nothing convincing me of anything other than the politics of election year, as Bush pointed out.
Regarding the"Good conspiracy stuff" as you call it.
I don't see very much of it as very good or ethical.
"Conspiracy theory," deservedly in my opinion, has a very bad connotation for many people. So much of it seems to depend on hints, innuendo, and rumors of rumors, and the uncritical inference-making of gullible people.
It is not useful to spread such stuff, in my opinion, even about those who one might despise.
Re Skull & Bones: I have not seen or heard anything in the way of evidence that makes me give even a thimble-full of credence to the Skull & Bones conspiracy theory and which the President quite rightly (to me) appeared to joke about and dismiss.
I do agree with you that Russert did a fine job.
8 Feb 2004 @ 21:27 by ming : Mainstream
Well, part of the point is that large numbers of otherwise quite sensible people are conditioned into giving just such answers there. Oh, it is probably just rumors, he's doing a good job, and it is really hard to be president, and any criticism is just politics. And nobody can prove anything anyway.
In my opinion that is a depressing sign of how mass population control is working very well. And in my opinion the reality is much, much worse than such little interviews and charming hints and secret societies suggest.
If you go by TV and newspaper columns, nothing is terribly out of the ordinary, other than that different political sides are just bickering a bit about each other as normal. Where I would rather be concerned about whether human civilization and our natural ecosystems will at all survive a madman like George Bush. And I would wonder whether sufficient numbers of people will wake up in time to realize they've gradually been imprisoning themselves into a smaller and smaller cell, just by buying into a widely broadcast, and very 'reasonable' picture of a world that doesn't actually exist.
8 Feb 2004 @ 21:45 by bkodish : Providing Evidence for Assertions
You can dismiss me by saying that I'm conditioned. But I see that as a cop-out on your part.
Did Bush desert? What does that mean? Where is the evidence.
Can no one become President or have any political power if he doesn't go to Yale and belong to Skull & Bones? Is that what you're saying? Gee, I didn't know that Ronald Reagan went to Yale.
Yeah, I guess I just must be one of those mind-slaves plugged into "The Matrix."
9 Feb 2004 @ 01:32 by lugon @188.8.131.52 : war and ecology
An [insert accusations here] that does good things about people and the ecosystem. *That* I wouldn't mind seeing. But, excuse me, I don't see the US of A leading the way to sustainability. Maybe there's evidence of that?
I don't think US of A collective fear is as justified as Bush says. He has information. The information may be wrong, and well, there are strong hints that it was wrong. If the information were completely or at least much more open, then we might help with checking it. Of course, we don't see that happening any time soon.
So let's go back to basics: in the US of A live 250 million people. In the world, some 7,000 million people. What can the US of A change within itself? It should be something sensible, seen as valuable, let's-go-for-it sort of thing.
Maybe they should design a questionaire to ask the others "what would you like the US of A to do?". It doesn't force them to do anything, of course. It's difficult (I'm guessing here) to be a powerful country ... hang on, *no-one* is "a country"!
We need some collective, cooperative, creative, practical, constructive thinking here.
9 Feb 2004 @ 07:46 by ming : Bush deserting
There are many sites with lots of research and documents on that. Here are a couple: [link], [link].
One typical counter-attack on this kind of thing would be to still say: "You can't prove it!", "There must be some other good explanation", "Let's give him the benefit of the doubt". Well, the documents show it pretty clearly, if rather circumstantially. They don't show the whole story. They don't show what must have gone on behind the scenes to straighten things out. And Bush has refrained from allowing his actual military record to be released. Which is probably the smartest thing he can do.
9 Feb 2004 @ 14:35 by Bruce Kodish @184.108.40.206 : Obfuscation
I love the phrase you use Ming:
" Well, the documents show it pretty clearly, if rather circumstantially. "
It allows you to make a definite claim without definite evidence. Phooey!
I followed these links and indeed they go to more links and links of links of rumors of rumors of claims of claims, etc.
The pieces of documents definitely are circumstantial and can be interpreted in multiple ways.
You certainly seem invested in interpreting them to make Bush look like a 'deserter'.
10 Feb 2004 @ 00:03 by ming : Interpretation
Well, yes, I do. That best matches both my observations and my biases about the man and his actions.
And, unfortunately, circumstantial evidence is often all we have, and we must interpret a relative truth based on what we can observe. I don't believe in the idea that one can't form an idea about what is going on if one is missing conclusive evidence. Most evidence, including scientific evidence, is circumstantial. We guess at what is going on by examining the effects of what happened. Like, nobody's actually seen any sub-atomic particles with their own eyes.
10 Feb 2004 @ 06:45 by jmarc : Quote
"... circumstantial evidence is often all we have, and we must interpret a relative truth based on what we can observe.I don't believe in the idea that one can't form an idea about what is going on if one is missing conclusive evidence."
That must be the criterea used by Bush, Clinton, and the Bipartisan intelligence committees in congress when they voted for and suggested the removal of Saddam because of probable wmd's.
Great minds think alike, and yet come to so very different conclusions.
10 Feb 2004 @ 08:29 by ming : Circumstantial evidence
Well, yes, so one needs to be carefully when making conclusive conclusions. Stating very forcefully that one knows something absolutely for sure, when one is merely guessing it based on peripheral information, is not a good idea. A particularly bad idea when one is wrong, and one uses it as a basis for killing thousands of people.
10 Feb 2004 @ 10:56 by Bruce Kodish @220.127.116.11 : Conclusive Conclusions
Sounds like how somebody defines what 'is' is.
Seriously, I basically agree with you Ming.
Question seems one of degrees.
Having worked in a semi-judicial role on a professional ethics committee, I have seen how difficult it can be to make conclusive conclusions about behavior such as the alleged 'desertion' of George W. Bush. The documents on the sites you linked to clearly don't lead to conclusive conclusions, in my opinion, about that alleged behavior.
Again matters of degree re the American intervention in Iraq. It is not yet clear to me that Bush's claims were entirely wrong as you seem to have conclusively concluded. There is evidence that Al Queda and the Iraqi government had made contacts (although this does not necessarily mean that any cooperative efforts were made). There were discrepencies between weapons that were known to have existed and Iraqi reports of what they had destroyed (in other words,Iraq had not come clean with the evidence that U.N. had asked for). There is still the possibility that some materials were transferred to Syria for safe-keeping.
Given that and much else and Saddam's well-known history of attacking his neighbors and enemies (like Israel) and his brutality toward his own people--it is not at all clear to me that taking out his regime was a particularly bad idea.
The U.S. intervention was indeed particularly noteworthy for the pains taken to avoid collateral civilian casualties. Whatever pockets of resistence that exist, it seems to me that the Iraqi people are tremendously better off now without the mass graves, political prisons, torture chambers, secret police, etc. of Saddam's rule.
You seem to have concluded otherwise.
10 Feb 2004 @ 11:39 by craiglang : What we are voting for...
It appears to me that what we are selecting in a presidential election is an administration. We are choosing between two different power structures - for example, between a democratic machine (call it progressive, center-left, liberal, or some other label), or a republican machine (call it right-wing, conservative, neo-con, etc.). It seens to me that this is here where the power actually resides, and the real political agenda is manifest.
When it comes down to it, is the actual presidential candidate really that important? Or is that person really a figurehead for the actual power structure behind the candidate? This is the tbing to ask.
So, regardless of the details of whether Kerry and Bush were in fact, fraternity brothers, which I think they probably were - what is important is who is behind each. Do we want four more years of neo-cons? Or do we want a more progressive group in power, who will be better stewards of the environment, and better understand the ramifications of the neo-cons' war-without-end.
Now, more than ever, I think that this is a truly fundamental choice, and will have everything to say about the Americal people.
10 Feb 2004 @ 21:30 by ming : Who's in charge
Well, I don't necessarily think that the president is who calls the shots or defines what the policies are and what is going to happen. He's a figurehead. But what he stands forward as, and what he seems like, and what he represents, IS important. It is important because the general population puts a lot of importance in it. The image of the U.S. president, and the package he appears to represent, is a very important factor in shaping the collective mind of not just the U.S. population, but of the whole human population. But, again, not really because he has that much power directly, or because he single-handedly designed the whole thing. Only because people think it is important, and therefore they shape their minds accordingly.
What democrats and republicans usually do is not all that different. It doesn't in itself make a helluva lot of difference whether the president is a senile actor or whether he's a highly intelligent and educated person who's on top of all the issues. What matters more is what effect his image has on people's minds.
There's sort of a signal being broadcast. The signal is possibly designed more by a bunch of policy and speech writers than by Bush. But there's certainly a signal being broadcast at a trillion watts. Some people seem to receive it as that there's some sincere people, with a sincere leader, who're taking action to set things right, and they're doing alright. Let's say that half of the U.S. population seem to receive that signal. But a lot of the other half seem to receive the signal that a bunch of corrupt people have managed to take over the country and turned it into an oppressive police state, and they're pouring it down the drain. And a lot of people in the rest of the world seem to receive an even more dramatic and depressing picture. The worlds biggest army is in the hands of self-serving lunatics who're trying to suck the rest of the world dry for all its resources, without having to pay for it, and they might possibly directly cause the collapse of global stability on various levels.
Now, what is really the truth matters less than what reality people buy into based on the signal they receive, I'd say. The power is in the hands of all of us, but we might be lead to give it away if we receive commercials that inspire us to do so.
Things that don't really matter end up mattering a whole lot, because we think they matter. I don't really personally care if Bush forgot to show up for his national guard duty because he was a cokehead, or if he was jerking off in a coffin with John Kerry, and it doesn't really make much difference to me personally that he can't pronounce the word 'nuclear'. But little things like that can make a big difference in how a lot of people feel about the world.
11 Feb 2004 @ 02:19 by lugon @18.104.22.168 : what next
I just fast-read Getting Things Done, sorry. :)
11 Feb 2004 @ 18:04 by AdeleVan @22.214.171.124 : window-dressing
Whatever the shaky amalgam of speculative posturing and lofty rationalizations, as I read above, about it not being a particularly bad idea to take out Saddams regime, there can be no doubt that we invaded Iraq on false pretenses, there is now no question that there never was any "evidence" of imminent threatthe evidences, it turns out, were actually pointing to the contrary. And that IMHO is particularly bad! Wittingly or unwittingly, this remains to be investigated, G.W. Bush deceived the American people AND Congress AND our allies AND the UN (while obstructing the weapons inspectors progress as the threat of the imminent invasion forced them out of Iraq.)
Claim Vs. Facts
11 Feb 2004 @ 23:18 by Ashanti @126.96.36.199 : Not looking good indeed
Thanks for a very insightful piece, Ming. And people used to wonder how the German people allowed Hitler to reign - I see the same thing happening in modern day USA today. As a point of interest - Bush does not overtly shape the worldview of the whole planetary population - we rarely see coverage of him over here in South Africa on TV, and the few articles on him in the media are mostly critical. We get a lot of coverage on the war in Iraq, from the Iraqi point of view. We are blissfully spared most of the USA propaganda. We get quite a few seriously rude political cartoons mocking Bush. But not much else. He is not uppermost on people's minds here. Our attention is on more internalised issues.
However, what he represents obviously covertly shapes the future of millions of Africans, with the WTO, World Bank, et al, ensuring the continued poverty-trap for Africans, and actively suppressing any attempts to escape this trap by becoming self-empowered.
I agree that people's apathy, and failure to wake up is depressing. And I agree that our planet cannot survive the sustained implementation of policies from a madman like Bush. I have for a long time seen no hope for this planet, not because of the madmen like Bush, Blair and Howard, but because of the apathy and indifference, and ease of deception of the general population. Somehow, humans have not developed the abilities required to ensure that lunatics do not control the planet. There is a massive system failure in humans - not in all, but in sufficient numbers as to neutralise any efforts by the awake minority.
I am in touch with an awake minority - but in the end, always, majorities determine the course of events. And it's the majority that is duped, tranced, and voluntarily so.
Beam me up, Scotty, it's time to leave this planet and go and play somewhere else that is more fun. ;-)
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