Thursday, September 02, 2004

A calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom

Immediately after the Moscow theater siege in October 2002, the authorities claimed 127 people had died. This suspiciously low figure became more suspicious when they never changed it, although obviously some must have died of their injuries in the subsequent days, and many were listed as “missing.” So it’s a bit worrying that they’re claiming there are only 354 hostages in that school in Beslan, North Ossetia, when locals are saying it’s a lot more.
(Update: the shits stormed the school. They said they wouldn't, I always knew they would. As I write, still pretty confused.)

The convention was a race from competence and from content. It’s not just that we heard few details about Bush’s agenda, if any, for a second term; the details of the last 3½ years were also discarded as irrelevant. What mattered, they told us over and over, was Bush’s determination and vision (or vision thing, as his father used to phrase it). He “sees world terrorism for the evil that it is,” as Giuliani put it; he knew we were at war; he knew Saddam was a threat, etc etc. No one defended the way he actually conducted the “war on terror” or the war in Iraq, just his convictions. Likewise, no one talked about his policies in the future, except in the vaguest of terms. Thus, all the talk about a “hopeful America” and optimism. Hope for what? Doesn’t matter.

(Later:) ok, there were a few semi-specifics in Bush’s speech, but nothing we’ll ever hear about again. Rural health centers will go in the filing cabinet next to the mission to Mars.

Repeatedly heard during the Convention: that Saddam Hussein was a “weapon of mass destruction.” Only the most facile mind would take that pathetic rhetorical trick as an answer to the charge that Bush lied about WMDs.

By the way, the use of the presidential seal on that platform--is he supposed to be using a national symbol at a partisan event? That was one of many violations of the rules of political decency, usually to portray the D’s as un-American in the sense of being somehow not authentic Americans. Another was Cheney’s claim that Kerry was “unfit” for office. Not that his policies or qualifications are inferior to Bush’s, but that he is an illegitimate candidate.

(Later: Kerry has responded to the word unfit with what passes for outrage for him [I'm reminded of the parody John Major diary Private Eye used to run during his premiership, in which Major frequently described himself as "not inconsiderably incandescent with rage."])

Wed. night’s brilliant Daily Show mock-RNC film, "George W. Bush: Words Speak Louder Than Actions," is available here. And there’s a Lewis Black video blog, and other web-only Daily Show material (some played audio only, probably not intentionally).

The Bush speech:

He actually cites the 10 million registered voters in Afghanistan, which should be an embarrassing mockery, as if it were a triumph. Yay for ballot stuffing! Huzzah and kudos for electoral fraud! Why don’t we make Katherine Harris ambassador to Afghanistan?

The terrorists are afraid because “freedom is on the march.” Freedom does not march. It may walk, hop, skip, traipse, mosey, even flounce, but it does not march.

Also, funny to be talking about bringing freedom to Afghanistan and Iraq, when the NYPD were illegally holding hundreds of demonstrators without charge, possibly in naked human pyramids.

“Here buildings fell, here a nation rose.” Yick.

“a calling from beyond the stars to stand for freedom” Is he getting messages from outer space on his fillings again?

“we will extend the frontiers of freedom”. Hear that Canada? We’re coming after you, like you always knew we would. Yeah, there’s nothing like using the language of imperialist expansionism to convey your attachment to freedom.

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