Wednesday, October 20, 2004

You’ve got to get your mind around that concept

Embarrassing death of the day, Guardian headline: “Farmer, 73, Killed by Rutting Stag.”

I believe the official story is that Burma’s semi-moderate semi-reformer PM, Khin Nyunt, has arranged to be deposed by the military in order to spend more time with his family. No, sorry, he has retired “for health reasons.” This is an intramural thing (the Indy explains that in military-junta terms, General Nyunt being made prime minister in the first place was considered a demotion), so not a big deal, I think.

In Ohio, Dick “Mr. Sensitive” Cheney again accuses Kerry of having gone “over the top” by mentioning Mary Cheney’s lesbianism. That metaphor comes from World War I trench warfare. In the very same speech, Dick the Dick demonstrates his greater modernity by going nuclear on Kerry’s ass, saying that under Kerry terrorists would attack American cities with chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, or possibly all three at once, ‘cause Kerry will suck just that bad. “That’s the ultimate threat. For us to have a strategy that’s capable of defeating that threat, you’ve got to get your mind around that concept.” As for instance:

AP headline: “Mormon Church Voices View on Gay Marriage.” I won’t leave you in suspense: they’re against it.

A Guardian article on the US elections notes that while there are some PC limits established by the left--attacking gays and women is now off-limits, for example--the right has created still more taboos: the military can’t be criticized, so Abu Ghraib is never mentioned; anything done in the name of 9/11, including the Patriot Act, is also sacrosanct; concern for international opinion is verboten.

A WaPo article about the use of lies in campaign ads quotes a consultant saying something I’ve said before, that there are simply no penalties for distortion and just plain making shit up. I can’t tell how much of it is that Americans consider it such an integral part of the political process that they literally don’t mind being lied to, and how much is that Bush (and yes, Kerry does it too, more so lately, but he’s not in the same league) has made the calculation that he can lie to the politically ignorant (which is what the undecided voters mostly are at this stage) without pissing off those among his base who know that Kerry didn’t say that terrorism is just a nuisance, and understand why he voted against the $87 billion. You would think that the fact that Bush threatened to veto that very same money if the tax cut for the rich was repealed would make it impossible for him to say that Kerry was abandoning the troops. Another possibility is that news & commentary consumption is so bifurcated now that Bush’s base will simply never see their fearless leader corrected on Fox. The distortions and lies should be treated as a great insult, both to the intelligence of the electors, and to the dignity of the electoral process. You can stop laughing at the word “dignity” now. Really, stop.

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