Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Odds and Ends
The 2004 U.S. presidential election (November 2).
The first of the three 90-minute debates between President Bush and the Democratic contender John Kerry is scheduled to be held on Thursday, September 30 at the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida.
Moderator: Jim Lehrer, PBS
Issues: Foreign policy and homeland security
Trivia: Teams representing Bush and Kerry negotiated details of the debates, including the heighth of the podium. Bush's negotiators insisted that the podiums remained apart at a certain distance and that the debaters not move about, away from the podium. Reportedly, this was to prevent viewers from seeing the taller Kerry towering over Bush!
The second debate will be held on October 8th at the University of St. Louis, Missouri
Moderator: Charles Gibson, ABC
Town Hall meeting format, no specific topic.
The Bush Team objected to inclusion of "undecided" voters, so there would be between 100-150
likely voters who are either "soft" Bush supporters or "soft" Kerry supporters.
The third debate is scheduled for October 13th at the University of Arizona, Tempe, Arizona
Moderator: Bob Schieffer, CBS
Issue: The economy
A debate between Vice President Cheney and Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards will be held on October 5th at the Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio.
Moderator: Gwen Ifill, PBS
Paul Krugman had a very timely article in The NY Times, Sept.28, 2004 (Swagger Vs. Substance) about the media's failure for in-depth analysis of the Gore/Bush debates in 2000.
For those who are interested, here is the link. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/09/28/opinion/28krugman.html
"War hath no fury like a non-combatant"
----Charles Edward Montague
Sunday, September 26, 2004
Thoughts about people, places and events
The seasons. The signs of fall are everywhere. Although the daytime temperature still climbs above 80 degrees F (27 C), there is a feeling that soon such days would be behind us. The mornings are taking longer to show lightness and the darkness arriving earlier and earlier in the evening. Looking out of the window I can see that the leaves of the gingko trees along the street are beginning to turn; tinges of yellow becoming visible in the midst of the green. Time soon to forget about the air conditioner and think of relighting the pilot of the gas furnace to prepare for the onset of cold weather.
"When it is autumn do we get spring weather,
Or gather may of harsh northwindish time?"
----Ezra Pound, "Silet"
And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.
"There never was a good war, or a bad peace"
Friday, September 24, 2004
Thoughts about people, places and events
It is to be seen whether this means the end of the bitter dispute between the various parties involved. Terry Schiavo is in a "persistent vegetative state". For her, it began in 1990! One thing the Schiavo case highlights is the need for execution of a living will by all who wish to avoid being hooked up to tubes when living ceases to be meaningful.
Well, the Bush administration failed to persuade Tony Blair to come to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor before the presidential election. The award was voted in the summer of 2003 during the heighth of Operation Iraqi Freedom. The political undertone and the timing of it is fully understood by Mr. Blair, and he prudently declined despite a lot of pressure from Washington. So, Iyad Allawi came instead for a mutual backslapping session. Allawi was described in a recent BBC report as being "equally mistrusted by everyone in Iraq's multifarious" population" . Reported to be on CIA's payroll during Saddam's regime, Allawi catapulted to power when Ahmed Chalabi, one time favorite of the Bush Administration, fell from grace. And so it goes.
The numbers don't add up. Every day there are reports about "insurgents and terrorists" killed by coalition forces in Iraq. The "coalition" is a misnomer; it consists primarily of American and British soldiers. The Bush administration officials keep saying that the resistance is from a scattered few. Yet, hundreds of them are being killed every week and they keep coming! Something is very much out of whack. Either a large number of innocent civilians, including women and children, are being killed and reported as "insurgents and terrorists" or the number of those who are actual fighters is much larger. Strange that the high number of dead civilians receives little or no attention by mainstream media.
About six more weeks before the presidential election, John Kerry's campaign seems to have lost momentum. Although the methodology of some polls makes the results somewhat suspect, when most of them are reporting growing support for Bush one cannot entirely disregard them. Even more and more women (soccer moms) feel that Bush is the better person to keep them safe. It is baffling. With all the issues out there--- the economy; high unemployment; the unprecedented deficit; the targeted tax cuts for the top 1%; anti-environmental policies; the very real threat of the loss of women's right to choose; and the lies resorted to for involving the nation in an unjust war---the president is ahead because of the threat of terrorism! 9/11 was so masterfully exploited by Bush that it could serve as a model for future strategists. The color coded warnings kept coming, veiled hints were given about imminent attacks and a fearful populace became clay. Remember the advice to buy duct tape to keep poison gas out ? Many people did just that. Another plus for Bush is his so called "religiosity". John Kerry cannot match the pious, evangelical allusions to god that Bush is so adept at. And projecting a macho image, landing on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln in a flight suit. Then you see him in the movie "Fahrenheit 9/11', sitting in the Florida classroom looking befuddled, beady eyes darting around.
Dan Rather in troubled waters. Hard to understand how an organization like CBS and Dan Rather failed to do due diligence on the fraudulent memo about Bush's National Guard service. They deserve the criticism. The harm, however, is not limited to CBS but all who question what
George Bush did during the Vietnam war. The NY Times report (Portrait of George Bush in 72: Unanchored in turbulent times) published on Sept.20, 2004, made it clear that there are significant, unexplained gaps in Bush's service records.
Saw a cartoon in a recent issue of the New Yorker that had a placard reading "Fush Buck". Good for a laugh.
"War is not good for children and other little things"