Thursday, October 28, 2004

This Says it All...

Take a look at this little movie clip of a mature, moral leader, showing what he thinks of us. It pretty much says it all.

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Thjatsi said...

I'm not happy with the recent direction of your blog. In your interview at you maintain that people who are shy about being monitored, "... didn't sign a release. How will they protect their precious space? We need to find ways of ensuring that shy people can live in this coming transparent society without becoming second-class citizens." I think the first thing we way we can do to protect the rights of people who tend to be rather shy (and people in general) is to not make their mistakes in judgement a spectacle. However, this is exactly what you've done to George Bush, by posting a link to his lapse of judgement as governor, and the, "one-fingered victory salute". I agree that George Bush is the president, and should be held to higher standards than the average American. However, I don't see how an error on Bush's part constitutes his, "showing what he thinks of us". If someone was monitoring me with a camera for half the time that they've been following George Bush, they would have seen far worse than the finger. I don't see the point in linking to another's persons mistakes, especially when they took place before we was president.

I have a similar opinion of your link to the halloween costume website. If you want me to vote against bush, I don't see the point in directing disparaging jokes at one of Bush's daughters for engaging in an activity normal for people her age.

Furthermore, your snide remark about the bulge in George Bush's jacket in the previous post was equally polemic. As another poster pointed out, the bulge is obviously body armor. I think directing offhand comments about the presidents bulge when he's not being allowed to mention it for security reasons, is equivalent to kicking him when he's down.

After reading the first group of posts of your blog, I became very close to voting for Kerry instead of Michael the Madman Badnarik. However, based on your recent writing, I can only assume that you've been caught up in the emotional turmoil that has enveloped the rest of the country.

This is a shame, because I don't think your recent posts are worthy of the man who had the intellectual integrity to devote an entire chapter of the Transparent Society to the chance that he might be wrong. I look forward to November 3rd, when I can get the America, and the David Brin that I know back.

David Brin said...
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David Brin said...

This posting is unbelievable. I can tell that you are sincere, but the rationalizations amaze me.

1) That is not Bush's daughter in the Halloween costume ad. His daughters are adults! You miss entirely the point of the constume, which is that ALL of the new electronic voting machines have been designed and built by companies with blatant connections to the Republican party. Why would that be, unless it was part of an intentional plot?

The satirical costume makes the point that we will probably see electronic cheating on a massive scale.

The "body armor" excuse for the bulge is hysterical! Body armor shows up in dozens of other places but NEVER in the middle of the back. I have this on the authority of friends in law enforcement. The center of the back is where you want to hide things, so long as there's good posture. The pictures show him slumping, against the advice of his handlers.

As for the president deserving the privacy of a shy person... this violates every principle of modern society. When a public figure seeks attention and power, that means a willingness to accept greater attention and accountability. This principle appears in the law of libel and in other laws all the way up.

Other presidents agreed to this bargain and faced news conferences TEN TIMES as often as this one has. He avows that he never reads newspapers or watches the news. The stewartd of our destiny is PROUD that he only gets news and advice from a narrow set of dogmatic advisors.

There is no defense for that kind of person having power over our lives.
In any event, the kind of immaturity displayed in the clip is perfectly OK for reasonable to consider as a portrayal of character. Like his sneering mockery of a woman about to be executed "pleeeeze don't keeell meee!" And then he guffawed. This doesn't tell you as much as Clinton's gaffes did?

The fact that he was stupid enough to do it to a live camera is indictment enough of his presidential timber.

You miss my point about transparency. The mighty must be held accountable. That comes first.

Thjatsi said...

I should start with an apology. In my annoyance over a few of the remarks in your blog, I became too emotional to construct the arguments that I would have liked to. I'd like to give this another attempt, if it's alright.

1) The Halloween Costume Site: I agree that it's important to make a point regarding the new electronic voting machines. I also agree that the voting machine costume was a clever way to do so. However, the Ralph Nader and Jenna Bush costumes featured on the same page struck me as rather mean-spirited. If anyone else had linked to that webpage, I would have shrugged, and not given it any more thought. However, what I primarily value about your writing is your evenhanded nature and spirit of reasonableness. I consider the two constumes I mentioned before to be at odds with these qualities. I'm assuming from your response that you were only endorsing the voting machine costume. However, this wasn't quite clear to me at the time of my first post, and was the cause of my confusion.

2) The One-Fingered Victory Salute: I can't argue with your assertions that the president doesn't deserve the same privacy as the average person, or that holding elites accountable trumps privacy. My concern here is that a side effect of transparency is that every minor mistake in judgement can be blown out of proportion. As a recent example of this, I would offer Howard Dean's war cry. This small mistake was played over and over again by Dean's opponents. I worry that canidates for important offices are going to become more and more reserved as transparency increases. You mention that Bush has only faced a tenth as many news conferences as any recent president, and propose that this is due to arrogance. However, I'd like to offer the alternative hypothesis that this might be due to the fact that any mistake the president makes is not only dragged into the light, but waved around vigorously for the remainder of his duration as a public servant. Linking to George Bush's mistake didn't seem very fair to me, because I consider it to be a minor flaw in judgement. Bush seemed to be having an argument with someone when he didn't know the camera was running, and acted in a childish manner. I don't consider this to be any more damning than Kerry's remark that, "I voted for it before I voted against it". Both cases are momentary lapses in judgement, and not necessarily indicative of character. I do consider your example of Bush's callousness regarding the execution to be a major flaw in the president's judgement, and if you had linked to a video file of that I wouldn't have had a problem. My reason for finding a difference between these two events is that in one Bush was making light of a harmless gesture, while in the other he found another human's death to be a source of humor.

3) The Bulge: My knowledge of body armor is nearly non-existant. Since you have knowledgable sources and I do not, I'm going to have to accept your proposition that the bulge was not body armor. This means that I'm switching to the suit puckering hypothesis, as I consider it to be more plausible than someone feeding information to the president. My reasons for this are as follows. First, I didn't see anything in either of the president's ears, and I have a difficult time seeing how any meaningful information could be given to the president without an ear piece. Second, Kerry generally outperformed Bush in the debates. Third, I watched Senator Kerry pat the president on the back at the end of the fourth debate during the handshake. And, this was the debate where I thought Bush did the best job. If Kerry had felt anything I think he would have mentioned it. Therefore, I don't see how anyone could have been giving the president information. I think that insinuations that the president was wearing a wire when the only evidence is that picture are slightly inappropriate. Again, I wouldn't have cared if anyone else had done this, but I think very highly of you and your writing. Consequently, I was a little bit surprised and annoyed to see it on your blog.

Considering the quality of my previous post, it's probably not fair of me to complain of what I think is a minor departure from evenhandedness. On the whole, I do value your blog, and am glad that you finally started one.

Lindy said...

I need to tell you how this looks to most of us. It looks as though a coup has taken place in our government, and we are no longer governed by our elected representatives, but rather by an oligarchy that controls both houses of Congress, the Judiciary and the “free press”. We’re wondering what has happened to the oaths that were sworn to “protect and defend the constitution of the United States. I also have to tell you that we didn’t sign up for this. I’m neither a pacifist nor a war monger. I believe that we have a clear duty to defend our country, but I feel that the war in Iraq is an unlawful aggression against a people that did us no harm and whose leader was effectively contained by the sanctions imposed against him.

Looking at the evidence that we've been permitted to see, it becomes clear that Karl Rove did indeed blow Ms. Plame's cover. His statement that he never actually identified Ms. Plame by name is one of the most absurd things I have ever heard. How many wives did Ambassador Wilson have? People are sent to jail every day on less evidence. To leak the identity of a covert operative in a time of war (or any other time) is an act of treason. How did Rove come by this classified information? Do you think it might have come from the president's Dick Cheney, who was in and out of the CIA so much during that time? Do you think Dick Cheney was working to "fix the intelligence around the policy, as it states in the leaked Downing Street Documents?" If this turns out to be a conspiracy (it's looking more that way every day), does that make you complicit if you fail to act?

Rove, Libby et al. are actually a side-issue and an attempted distraction (or just one piece of the puzzle). The REAL concern that is being felt by more and more Americans is that the President and his gang…I mean advisors, lied us into this unjust aggression. They didn't go to war with MY consent. I was NOT convinced by all the rush. And the consent they managed to sell Congress and the people who ACTUALLY foot the bill was based on lies of such magnitude that they look like treason to me. It's time to appoint the best and most ethical special prosecutor we can find (not one of their pets) who would report to the Justice Department who, in turn, would report to the people of this country and the world. If it IS treason, let the justice department freeze and seize the assets of the perpetrators as reparation for this monstrous crime against the world.

This administration has managed to bring this country to its knees economically, so that his “base” could take their slice off the top, while the rest of us are in debt for many years to come. Our children and grandchildren will be paying for this crime.