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October 22, 2004

Boo!
Posted by Teresa at 02:33 PM * 185 comments

According to the Boston Globe, Bush is planning to spend this weekend in Crawford—a bizarre thing for a candidate to do at this critical moment in the campaign.

Lis Riba speculates:
But what if he’s not really going to Crawford. What if this empty block of time on his schedule is just a cover story, for say something like his surprise Thanksgiving trip to Iraq? After all, that trip also left from Crawford rather than from Andrews. But bloggers don’t think Bush would actually go to Iraq this time around. Too much bad news over there that he doesn’t want to remind voters of. A likelier candidate may be a trip to Afghanistan, which just held elections and thus appears like a more traditional success story.
Not me. If someone wants to bet on Bush’s October Surprise, I’ve got a five-dollar bill right here that says Bush has been keeping Osama-yo-Mama on ice, and is going to make the pickup.

I wrote a longish post about this some while back, but never posted it for public consumption. What I observed was that Bush & Co. haven’t been acting worried about Osama bin Laden and his cronies for a long time now.

If the Bushies thought there was any likelihood of Al-Qaeda mounting another attack, they might or might not have done anything to stop them (more likely the latter), but they would have been mentioning Osama & Co. in public from time to time, just to keep themselves from looking like unprepared idiots if the attack came off.

But they haven’t been doing that. They haven’t gone after Osama bin Laden, and haven’t mentioned him much, either. I take it, then, that they’re not worried. That has to mean Osama bin Laden’s dead or in prison. But if he were dead, they’d have crowed over his death, claiming justice had been done. They haven’t. And these are guys who’ve never failed to take credit for anything, no matter who’s actually done it.

I conclude that they’ve been keeping him on ice somewhere. And why would they do that, except to bring him out in triumph, right before an election Bush otherwise seems likely to lose?

So. Any takers?

Addendum: In the discussion that followed, Graydon said, “The problem is hundreds of state officials who see nothing wrong with rigging the vote—ballots in the trash, shredded registrations, touch screens reported to check ‘Bush’ when you press ‘Kerry’, false ‘your voting place has moved’ phone calls, and the other stuff that hasn’t made it to any kind of national attention yet.”

Chad Orzel replied:
That’s exactly my point.
Spending time and energy fretting about “October Surprise” scenarios is useless. They haven’t really shown the competence needed to actually use any of the nefarious tricks that people here are proposing, and beyond that, they don’t need to. They’ve got plenty of old-fashioned tricks to use that don’t require supervillain powers.

And you know what? All of those tricks (with the possible exception of the electronic voting machines) can be countered by classical means. You put trained observers at the polling places to make sure that votes aren’t being discarded, you make your own phone calls telling people the correct place to vote, you give people rides to the polling places, and have lawyers standing by to stomp on underhanded attempts to stop people from casting their votes.

People have tried to rig elections before, and we know how to stop them. These are well-known tricks, and the counter-moves are also well known. And they can be countered, so long as Democrats aren’t spending time and energy fretting about some sort of cackling-supervillain “October Surprise” super-trick.

I’m sorry for the slightly sharp words, but this pre-emptive despair drives me nuts. We haven’t even voted yet, and people are already moaning about how hopeless everything is. Woe is us, for some shadowy They are going to pull Osama out of a hat, or burn the Reichstag, or fake all the vote counts and give the Presidency to Giblets. It’s a short step from there to “Why bother voting? I’m moving to Canada to hunker down in Alberta and wait for the Apocalypse.”

“They” are not supervillains. “They” do not have magic powers, not even collectively. What “They” do have is a large numer of people pulling perfectly ordinary political tricks, and that’s something that you can stop. Unless you make the mistake of buying into the myth of Republican hypercometence, and fool yourself into thinking it’s already over.
That’s true, and he’s right; so let’s not.
Comments on Boo!:
#1 ::: bryan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 02:56 PM:

the problem with the "they have osama" scenario for me would be that the only way I can see it working is if in fact the WTC was a conspiracy from the beginning and Osama an agent somewhat on the order of the Operation Northwoods, and of course if that was the case I doubt Osama would have agreed to show up later to his execution.

#2 ::: JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:08 PM:

Of course, there is always the possibility that the reason Bush & co haven't mentioned Owhoseyamama is because they have elected to take the ostrich approach to the whole debacle. If they never mention him again, maybe, just maybe people will begin to forget why he started sending troops to war in the first place.

#3 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:12 PM:

Bryan, when you're playing 500 Rummy, you don't know every card that's going to turn up. You know what you have in your hand, and you know approximately how you want things to turn out; so, with that in mind, you make use of whatever comes along.

#4 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:14 PM:

Well, that could be the October surprise. I don't
think the Army under Bush has been competent enough to find Osama, but it's always possible.

Or maybe he's just joining his boys in harassing the Crawford paper that endorsed Kerry last month:

http://www.iconoclast-texas.com/Columns/Editorial/editorial40.htm

#5 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:16 PM:

You have a much higher degree of faith in the basic competence of this administration that I do. Their core strengths are misinformation, disregarding expert advice, and offending and insulting all persons, foreign and domestic, who don't accept the party line without question.

I believe Osama is being ignored for the same reasons that Iraq got invaded and North Korea didn't: Too hard, and no money to be made.

#6 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:20 PM:

Teresa,
I don't think it's Osama--I did hear on a radio show a couple of days ago from one author (Richard Miniter) that he did think there was a 50-50 chance they would get Mosawi before the election....

How credible he is, I have no idea.

#7 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:25 PM:

I don't know what they can do. All I know is that for a long time now, there's something they should have been doing, and they haven't been doing it.

(That's not "should" as in "doing their jobs"; it's "should" as in "behaving in a way that's consistent with their other known behavior.")

#8 ::: Stefanie Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:25 PM:

For some reason I have this sinking feeling that the October Surprise is going to take place Nov 2, and will consist of framing the Dems for some giant irregularity in some state's voting--say, Ohio's--thereby preempting any Dem legitimacy and throwing the election back to the Supreme Court again.

Extra-tinny tinfoil here.

#9 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:28 PM:

The problem I have with them having Osama is that I can't see it happening without a leak, somewhere. Forgetting the leaky administration, why would Al Qaeda keep it secret?

Maybe if he was dead, then AQ might want to keep it secret for a while, but there's been enough time for their propaganda machine to bolster the faithful for the bad news.

If he's alive, then I might believe that the Bushies have a line on where Osama actually is, and are hoping to snatch him. That's the kind of faith over reality thinking that characterises this administration. In this case I think there's a 50-50 chance they'll blow it, and OSL will escape again.

So, okay, I'll put up $5 against yours, T. My nearly three quid says that they won't manage to pull Osama bin Laden out of the hat before November 2nd.

#10 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:32 PM:

Edit: OBL, but you knew that, right?

#11 ::: Zara Baxter ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:37 PM:

From a non-US viewpoint...

The trouble with catching Osama is that he is a Symbol of the War Against Terrorism (caps intended). Catching Osama implies to the many in the populace not following the details that the war on terrorism should therefore be over, and leads to such fiddling little questions as:

If you have Osama in custody, why is there still terrorism happening in Iraq?
(and Jakarta, and..)

If you have Osama in custody, do we really need a "war president" any more?

If you have Osama in custody, then do we finally have closure on 9/11?

Far, far safer to have Osama be, like Sauron, the bad guy you never see, and can always invoke.

Unless it looks like you're going to lose the election, of course, then all bets are off. Disclaimer: I've been too busy focusing on elections in my section of the world to keep up with the polls, but it doesn't look like a predicted Kerry landslide, more's the pity.

#12 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:41 PM:

Can I be an ostrich too? The thought of an October surprise is altogether too disquieting.
From a logical standpoint, there are 2 possible types of surprises -- a success or a scare.
Success possibilities -- producing Mr O. or someone of his ilk (strong), photo-op with newly elected Afghanistan prez (weak), getting a hostage released (unlikely, unless it's really the CIA that kidnapped that CARE director).
Scare possibilities -- staging a (fake) terrorist attack in the US, or staging a foiled fake terrorist attack.
I'm obviously overlooking possibilities here. Way too long since I read The Prince.

#13 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:41 PM:

I don't think that's extra tinfoilly at all, Stephanie. Things like that are already happening.

* Voters in Ohio are getting calls from the election department "reminding" them that their precinct is somewhere it isn't (many places will only count provisional votes that are filed in the proper precinct, so if you're legally eligible to vote, but cast your ballot at the wrong location, you're out of luck).
* I heard that some senior Florida voters have had helpful "election officials" offer to file their absentee ballots for them.
* There really are touchscreen voting machines in Arizona where people are complaining they chose Kerry and a checkmark appears for Bush! [Fortunately, voters are allowed to redo until they get it right, but it's taking multiple tries.]

It's ugly already; the GOP is already laying the groundwork that we won't know the results that evening -- it's going to be a long and bloody battle.

But those are challenges to ballots being cast; not an October Surprise which aims to change which candidate people actually vote for.

#14 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:44 PM:

I'll bet against you, Teresa, under the same circumstances that would make me vote for Dubya on November 2...those being that I awaken that morning to discover that my head has become a cabbage.

#15 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:48 PM:

Well, if Bush is really gonna be in Texas during prime campaign time, I'm almost ready to vote for a Black Ops terra attack somewhere in the vicinity of (but not too close to) wherever Kerry is at the time.

Tinfoil is the new black!

#16 ::: Greg Ioannou ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:50 PM:

From Asia Times, which has proven to be surprisingly reliable in the past, a surprising spin on Zarqawi: http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/FJ15Ak02.html

#17 ::: sennoma ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:51 PM:

Too hard, no money to be made, and too difficult to keep it quiet. It's a close thing, but those factors tip the balance for me, so if you're taking multiple bets, Teresa, I'm in too. Loser donates five bucks to charity of winner's choosing?

#18 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:52 PM:

Nel, Xopher, you're on.

And if there's no October Surprise? That's worth a lot more than $10 to me.

#19 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:56 PM:

The problem with them having Osama is that they haven't demonstrated that much patience in the past. They blew our undercover guy in Al Qaeda's identity, simply because they wanted to reassure us that the most recent threat level hike was genuine and not a political ploy. If they see potential political gain in something, they tend to go for it immediately if not sooner. It really seems to me that if they'd caught him, Bush would have insisted on trumpeting it to the world immediately, and screw the long-term benefit. This is not a man with good impulse control, and Rove can't override him when he wants his way (see Fallujah, attack on).

I think the not-mentioning-Osama phenomenon is better explained in terms of Bush's inability to admit mistakes, and concomitant unwillingness to be questioned about why we left Afghanistan to go into Iraq. Hence his infamous "I don't spend that much time thinking about him . . . I'm just not that concerned about him." Besides, having Osama "out there" somewhere helps create the psychological atmosphere of fear and dependence that Bush is counting on to get elected.

As for what the October Surprise will be, we've got the Sinclair smear job, which I've no doubt Rove is behind 100%. The voter suppression activities going on in all the battleground states are also classic Rove. The other possibilities are another terrorist attack; the threat of a terrorist attack in Democratic voting areas; and further Kerry smears (or some combination of the above). The only thing I'm sure of is that there are no depths to which Rove would not go; his ability to pull off something sufficiently horrific is what's in question.

#20 ::: Greg Ioannou ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:57 PM:

Oh, the reason I was poking around that site: I was trying to find an old report of theirs that Bin Laden has been in Pakistani custody for many months, waiting for just the best time to publicly "capture" him. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see that happen this week. Who knows? So much of this "War oon Terrorism" stuff seems scripted.

#21 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 03:57 PM:

Nothing so complicated, Sennoma. If I win, I promise to do something virtuous with it.

#22 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:00 PM:

I see that Zara Baxter and Lis Riba were posting my thoughts while I was so carefully composing them.

But Larry Brennan's idea is the really scary one.

#23 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:01 PM:

The problem with some of the alternative OS theories is that they don't account for the Crawford trip - which of course doesn't mean they're not correct, but does mean there would have to be yet another thing going on if one of them is in fact correct.

I don't have a strong feeling about what is going on (my analytical spider-sense has been overloaded recently and just buzzes faintly all the time), but I do have an alternative theory to offer. There has been a lot of speculation recently about Bush's medical condition, some of it even plausible. It occurs to me that the Crawford ranch might be a better place to perform secret medical examinations or procedures than the White House.

#24 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:22 PM:

No, I don't think I'll take that second bet. I think they have some kind of stunt planned; I'm thinking it'll just be another lame visit to the boys in Iraq with a plastic turkey, followed by a full-scale assault on Fallujah.

I'm kind of hoping that the real October surprise will be Colin Powell shaking off the influence of Cheney's mind-control and going public with the truth about the Bush White House.

#25 ::: Mark Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:23 PM:

Did I imagine a late report that the Crawford trip was cancelled, and Bush is now scheduled to be in Florida on Saturday?

Not only is my memory going, but all the news sounds like it's just made up anyway.

#26 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:24 PM:

Perhaps it's just Bush reverting to form? When the going gets tough, the tough go on vacation?

Or does Bush need to be out of the public eye for a while to come down off pills-n-booze?

My money says Terror Attack, New York City, eight a.m. Eastern time, November 2nd. Stay off the subway.

Sign that it's coming: Condition Red set at five p.m. Eastern Time on the 1st (just in time to hit the Six O'Clock News, not enough time for Kerry to react).

My plan is to Not Be In New York at that moment.

#27 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:32 PM:

I, on the other hand, live and work in Hoboken, and don't get off work until 6:00. So technically I won't be in New York, but...

#28 ::: Niall McAuley ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:33 PM:

Would any sane candidate take a weekend off this close to the big day?

Bush would. He did it in 2000. Same deal, weekends off right in the middle of the most frenzied period of the campaign.

See "Bush Travels--October 2000":

http://www2.gwu.edu/~action/bushcal10.html

#29 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:39 PM:

James, that's my bet too.

Does everybody like my shiny new hat? It is ever so pretty. I've gotta get me some matching tinfoil shoes.

I think Rove would have laid the ground for OBL if he had him. That he doesn't seem to be laying any ground is making me awfully twitchy. Sure, Sinclair, but that's pocket change for Rove.

I also think Bush has something going on medically. Skipping his physical, the funny mouth downturn and spittle in debate 3, lagging, lots of eye twitches, lots more difficulting speaking. Booze? Stroke? I dunno.

#30 ::: MaryR ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:45 PM:

My new favorite theory on OBL is from Matthew Yglesias's blog. Namely that the Pakistanis realized that Osama is so popular in Pakistan that the government would not survive his capture by the Americans, so they quietly captured and killed him, stashing the body where the Americans would never find it.

That actually kind of makes sense. And how long does anyone think the Bushies would be able to keep quiet about capturing Bin Laden?

#31 ::: Alexandre Muņiz ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:52 PM:

Let me wrap Occam's razor in tinfoil for a moment and see how it cuts. My guess is that OBL is buried under many many tons of rubble somewhere in Tora Bora, where it is impossible for anyone to ever definitively prove that he is dead. This would mean that all post-Afghanistan war video and audiotapes of OBL are fakes. That the CIA has called them genuine is understandable, since it has a strong reality-based contingent which wanted to emphasize the threat posed by Al-Qaeda, (as opposed to Saddam Hussein's Iraq.)

But it's not in the interests of anyone who might know the truth (if it is the truth) to tell this story. If Bush held a press conference and said, "OBL is probably dead, but we can't be sure," he'd be snickered out of the room. Neither would the CIA (and by extension the intelligence community) or Al-Qaeda get good PR out of it.

As for Crawford, I guess we'll see. I'm sure Bush is up to no good though.

#32 ::: Kip Manley ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 04:59 PM:

I can't find the breadcrumb trail, but there was a report in a Spanish-language newspaper that said bin Laden was holed up in the woolly west of China, and Bush & co. were deep in high-level top-secret negotiations as to what, exactly, Bush would give China as part of a second term if they go in and fetch him out before the election.

But the foreshadowing on this one—remember how Bush rolled over so abjectly for that spy plane back in early 2001?—is such that I'd have to kick it back as implausible.

#33 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 05:02 PM:
I also think Bush has something going on medically. Skipping his physical, the funny mouth downturn and spittle in debate 3, lagging, lots of eye twitches, lots more difficulty speaking. Booze? Stroke? I dunno.

I'd guess Parkinson's or something related, myself, but I'm only an amateur diagnostician.

#34 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 05:14 PM:

I think you all underestimate the perks that Bush gets having the war go on indefinitely with no clear end, no clear enemy, and no clear attacks on US soil.

Bush Senior managed to win the first gulf war and get troops home a year or so before the election. He lost to Clinton because with the war over, voters turned their focus to a sucky economy.

"W" is actually in a better situation. The war has stagnated to the point where there are no goals or deadlines that would flag the president as "failing". "More of the same" works in his favor. It keeps voters focused on the phantom menace called "terrorism" and glosses over the deficit, the budget, the unemployment, the economy.

Bush would actually probably benefit most from a "more of the same" situation between now and election day.

Putting Osama on display might actually take some voter's concerns off of terrorism and cause them to look at domesic issues. And Bush would not want that.

That, plus the incompetency with which we've managed so far, I find it hard to believe that we've captured/killed Osama and have managed to keep it secret this long. Possible, but unlikely.

Of course, if you want Bush out of office, it would probably be wise to prepare for any contingency.


#35 ::: JoshD ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 05:14 PM:

Dan:

George W. Bush with Parkinson's?

Surely the universe's sense of humor wouldn't be so poetic.

...

Okay, forget I said that last part.

#36 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 06:02 PM:

It occurs to me that the Crawford ranch might be a better place to perform secret medical examinations or procedures than the White House.

Secret medical examinations? Crawford isn't that close to Roswell, but then it's a lot nearer than Washington.

Tinfoil is the new black!

Yeah, just wait until the tinfoil helicopters come for you. You'll be sorry.

#37 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 06:04 PM:

Josh, my father has been diagnosed with Alzheimers and Parkinson's and it certainly seems like an appropriate thing. Now he won't be able to hurt people anymore and someone else will be controlling him.

As to W, here's a set of videos -- one from 1994 where he appears sharp, and one from the debates where he appears dotty:

http://www.adbuzz.com/bushbuzz.htm

I'd vote he's heading into dementia.

#38 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 06:30 PM:

My take?

Osama is part of the Bush clan's connections; they may have been a bit pissed at him for the scale of the attack (and at what they regarded as consequent unnecessary digression in Afghanistan), but 9/11 cleared all the domestic obstacles to their agenda for a vital two, two and a half years.

(They won't have known what was coming, but they knew something was coming, and figured they could use it.)

'The War' exists solely to further that -- primarily domestic -- agenda.

So I have no trouble believing that there's a one-remove agreement to not do that again, or to not do that again at an embarrassing time; Osama will have no trouble with the US getting into a position he's sure will destroy it, and otherwise he's got pretty much everything he wants.

So do the Thugs; the Theocrats have to wait for a couple more Supremes, and the Thieves are doing pretty well but not as well as they expect to. (They never do.)

The Crawford trip is, I think, easily explained -- Dubya can deal with decidedly finite amounts of stress, and he very probably isn't well at all. So they have to let him de-stress, or risk having him lose it in public.

If he does that, the ~50% of the electorate which really doesn't mind the mass disenfranchisment of Democrats in the interest of the current junta retaining power would start to mind, and they can't have that just yet.

#39 ::: Rachel Brown ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 06:42 PM:

I think the October Surprise will be a scary-sounding terror alert, probably targeted at heavily Democratic areas. And then they fix the vote, if necessary, which it may not be because half the country would vote for Bush even if Kerry spotted a disguised bin Laden in Ohio and personally dispatched or apprehended him.

For Bush, bin Laden makes no difference. If there's a terrorist attack, it proves that he needs to stay in office because there's a war on; if there isn't, it proves what a good job he's doing protecting us.

As for Crawford, I think he's so sure he'll win he doesn't need to bother campaigning any more.

#40 ::: JamesG ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 06:43 PM:

I ran across a link to Will Ferrell impersonating Bush. It's pretty funny, yet pretty close to target. Perhaps bush is going to Crawford to tape something very similiar.
http://whitehousewest.com/

#41 ::: Kevin Marks ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 06:54 PM:

There are 2 rather more likely scenarios re OBL:

He was killed in Afghanistan but buried in rubble, or died somewhere when his kidneys gave out and his body was hidden.

or

He was found and killed in Pakistan, but Musharraf coverd it up so a) he continues to get US aid and b) he isn't overthown by the fundamentalist wing there that woudl see him killing OBL as betrayal.

#42 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 07:05 PM:

Anthrax. Remember that? Just about right for an OS.

BTW, I agree with Graydon that Bush's big problem is stress. He can't be so isolated that he doesn't know how badly things are going. His advisers were supposed to handle the hard stuff, but it turns out that they were all (with the possible exception of Rumsfeld) almost as clueless as he is. For the first time in his life, there's nobody to step in and clean up his mess.

For another example of Presidential stress, look at before and after pictures of Jimmy Carter. Four years of the Presidency looked like twenty years on his face.

#43 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 07:24 PM:

I have it on good authority that if Kerry is elected our fair nation will be overrun by hungry, abandoned-orphan-raising, grandma-eating, moon-howling, sleigh-chasing wolves!

You can't get scarier than that, at least without imagining Dick Cheney naked.

#44 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 07:48 PM:

Stefan,

According to Atrios, when they showed that ad on Crossfire, the audience laughed.

He's now calling it the "puppies" ad . . .

#45 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 07:58 PM:

Yeah, I figure it will only play as intended to ranchers, and maybe grannies from Eastern Europe.

Me, I like wolves. I love seeing coyotes trotting around the grounds of the Intel plant across the street. (So does my dog, although I suspect for different reasons.)

#46 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 08:05 PM:

Re: what kind of October Surprise to expect in the next week.

Keep in mind, if there *is* a terrorist attack in the US, that could seriously backfire on Bush. Democrats have already started to hammer Bush about the fact that Condi Rice and other top officials have been giving speeches in swing states rather than doing their jobs.

So if we are attacked, there could be a serious "who's minding the store?" backfire on the administration.

#47 ::: cyclopatra ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 08:10 PM:

I don't think Bush has OBL. I watched him very carefully in the first debate when Kerry first mentioned that he still hadn't caught OBL. Bush made a tiny grimace, and that was it. I simply don't believe the man would have been able to avoid smirking if they had OBL on ice somewhere.

#48 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 09:05 PM:

Tinfoil-hat stuff is a fun diversion, and all, but I don't really buy any of it. Bush is slated to take the weekend off because 1) he really doesn't like the work, and 2) it's part of Rove's well-known strategy of trying to create an air of inevitability. It's the same reason Bush wasted a bunch of time in 2000 campaigning in California-- they think that if they project an air of confidence, people will vote for him out of a sort of bandwagon effect.

It's really important to remember the wonderfully apt description John DiIulio hung on the political arm of the Bush White House: "Mayberry Machiavellis." Particularly the first word.

Let's look closely at Karl Rove's record: in 2000 he used a gigantic war chest, a fired-up right-wing media machine, and a relatively complacent centrist media to run against one of the most ineptly run campaigns ever by an incumbent, and he lost the popular vote, squeaking into the White House because a bunch of elderly Jews in Palm Beach voted for Pat Buchanan by mistake.

Karl Rove is not Lex Luthor. He's not a James Bond supervillain. He's a hack political strategist with a fairly limited repetoire of dirty tricks who parlayed huge systemic advantages into a squeaker victory in the Electoral College.

The sooner Democrats and liberals manage to get a grip, and accept that Karl Rove is not, in fact, the nearly omnipotent spawn of Satan and Shub-Niggurath, the sooner they can begin to focus on the business of actually winning the election, and fixing the mess that Bush has made of the country.

It's conceivable that there might be some large-scale "October Surprise" coming down the pike, straight out of a bad tv miniseries. I very much doubt it, though. The most I expect is a fraudulent terror alert of some sort, and maybe not even that-- just the usual mix of slimy attack ads, voter intimidation, and media manipulation.

Focus on dealing with that stuff, and stop worrying about cartoon melodrama plots.

#49 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 09:35 PM:

lightning mentions Anthrax.

Now that could lead to the mass destruction of absentee/mail-in ballots from heavily democratic districts. (Think Metro Portland.)

And I'm looking forward to the tinfoil helicopters. I've got tomato sauce squirt guns all loaded and set to go - they won't know what hit 'em!

#50 ::: Robert L ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 09:54 PM:

And what ever happened to Mullah Omar?

#51 ::: Scott Parkerson ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 10:32 PM:

Shorter "Wolves" ad: Vote for Bush, or the DINGO WILL EAT YOUR BABY.

#52 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 10:36 PM:

Chad --

Rove isn't, of himself, the problem.

The problem is hundreds of state officials who see nothing wrong with rigging the vote -- ballots in the trash, shredded registrations, touch screens reported to check 'Bush' when you press 'Kerry', false 'your voting place has moved' phone calls, and the other stuff that hasn't made it to any kind of national attention yet.

This is all organized and funded and planned. The folks 'fired' for getting caught in one state are put to work in another state.

So, sure, Rove isn't a super villain. He doesn't need to be a super villain, because a very large, diffuse, and successfully secret -- at least to the extent of avoiding any kind of media outcry -- effort to keep Democratic votes from being counted is already well under way.

I'd submit that not counting the votes is equivalent to wanting to destroy the United States, in political terms -- no more 'we the people'.

It's not any one evil mastermind; the evil mastermind reputation is just a symptom of the existence of hundreds and thousands of people who hate and despise 'we the people' and want to get rid of it.

That's worth worrying about. They aren't all, or even mostly, idiots.

#53 ::: Fred Ramsey ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 10:48 PM:

My biggest OS fear has been a Dick Cheney 'heart attack' followed by his 'forced' replacement on the ticket by John McCain the next morning.

On the other hand, there's always the riveting cinema of the attempted assassination of a major administration figure, quickly shown to be 'al-Qaida' in origin.

Please pass the tinfoil. It's starting to leak into my head again.

#54 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 10:54 PM:

Fred Ramesey: On the other hand, there's always the riveting cinema of the attempted assassination of a major administration figure, quickly shown to be 'al-Qaida' in origin.

Well, that would be one way for them to get rid of Colin Powell before he writes his book.

#55 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2004, 11:24 PM:

> replacement on the ticket by John McCain the next morning.

John McCain's endorsement of Bush tells me that McCain is far more political and far less altruistic than his "maverick" image tells.

I'll bet the first taker the standard amount that McCain's either been promised something on the order of a cabinet position, OR he figures he can't tick off the republicans too much cause he wants to run for president in '08

winnings to be paid when he's named to the cabinet in 05 or when McCain enters the primaries in 08, whichever comes first.

Had he run instead of Bush in 04, I might have even voted for him, but I think he's shown he's about as "maverick" as a broken-down gelding who just wants his carrot.

Sometimes this whole two-party system really sucks in its polarization effects.

#56 ::: Gar Lipow ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 12:36 AM:

One argument about OBL theory: early and absentee voting has been going on for several days already in a number of states. In an election this close, if you have OBL why wait until after a bunch of votes have been cast to pull him out?

#57 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 12:50 AM:

Hm, post earlier didn't take. I'll take you up on the bet, Teresa.

I'm wavering between the 'ostrich' and 'we have always been at war with Middleastasia' theories, myself. But I don't believe this Administration is smart or capable enough to keep a bin Laden capture under wraps this well.

#58 ::: Alan Hamilton ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 01:35 AM:

I can't see McCain having anything to do with a Bush administration, VP, cabinent, or otherwise. He's just playing along because he doesn't want to run as an independent for president.

#59 ::: Maines ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 02:00 AM:

I've posited elsewhere that the October surprise will be an announcement that they're on the verge of catching Osama and it's a sure thing as long as no one dares mess with the team in charge, cf. Kissinger's "peace is at hand" announcement close to the 1972 election. (Will people fall for this? Why not? They've been falling for all the other crap this administration has been shoveling at them.)

#60 ::: Karen Funk Blocher ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 03:21 AM:

Nah. If they catch bin Laden, it works against the argument of "if you vote for Kerry, the terrorists will nuke your city." If Osama's in custody, he can't nuke your city.

Of course, some other terrorist could still do it. Hmm.

#61 ::: Jo Walton ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 07:51 AM:

It doesn't feel right to me either.

And even if they did it, it's theatre, it's a trick, but if they produce him they actually did catch him. It isn't anything like as evil as the manipulation of the votes. I don't even think it would sway all that many people, if they've bought it they've bought it already, would people who don't intend to vote for the pro-torture candidate change their minds because he caught one head of a hydra?

Why mess with the voters' heads when they can mess with the votes directly?

Counting the votes and abiding by the result whether you like it or not is what democracy is about.

#62 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 07:57 AM:

I think he's going in for secret surgery to get the rectangular growth between his shoulderblades removed.

#63 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 08:27 AM:

The problem is hundreds of state officials who see nothing wrong with rigging the vote -- ballots in the trash, shredded registrations, touch screens reported to check 'Bush' when you press 'Kerry', false 'your voting place has moved' phone calls, and the other stuff that hasn't made it to any kind of national attention yet.

That's exactly my point.
Spending time and energy fretting about "October Surprise" scenarios is useless. They haven't really shown the competence needed to actually use any of the nefarious tricks that people here are proposing, and beyond that, they don't need to. They've got plenty of old-fashioned tricks to use that don't require supervillain powers.

And you know what? All of those tricks (with the possible exception of the electronic voting machines) can be countered by classical means. You put trained observers at the polling places to make sure that votes aren't being discarded, you make your own phone calls telling people the correct place to vote, you give people rides to the polling places, and have lawyers standing by to stomp on underhanded attempts to stop people from casting their votes.

People have tried to rig elections before, and we know how to stop them. These are well-known tricks, and the counter-moves are also well known. And they can be countered, so long as Democrats aren't spending time and energy fretting about some sort of cackling-supervillain "October Surprise" super-trick.

I'm sorry for the slightly sharp words, but this pre-emptive despair drives me nuts. We haven't even voted yet, and people are already moaning about how hopeless everything is. Woe is us, for some shadowy They are going to pull Osama out of a hat, or burn the Reichstag, or fake all the vote counts and give the Presidency to Giblets. It's a short step from there to "Why bother voting? I'm moving to Canada to hunker down in Alberta and wait for the Apocalypse."

"They" are not supervillains. "They" do not have magic powers, not even collectively. What "They" do have is a large numer of people pulling perfectly ordinary political tricks, and that's something that you can stop. Unless you make the mistake of buying into the myth of Republican hypercometence, and fool yourself into thinking it's already over.

#64 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 09:43 AM:

Here's what worries me.

Quite a few people writing here whose judgement I respect have said in the past that the Bush crew don't expect to ever lose power, and will stop at nothing to keep it, because if they lose, they lose all.

It looks possible that Kerry could win the election. If the Democrats get out the new voters, the people not counted in polls of 'likely voters', he might even win by a clear margin.

If these points are correct, which from this side of the Atlantic I'm in no position to verify, then any 'October Surprise' is likely to be big.

One possibility is a diplomatic triumph, on the order of that 'China hands over OBL, praises War on Some Terrorism and promises to keep buying dollars' scenario Kip mentioned. That would actually be a good thing in its own right, even though it would help Bush.

Two other possibilities that come to mind are less cheerful. One is a stunning, bold military strike - a US-backed Israeli air raid on the Iranian nuclear reactor would fit the bill. This would create some problems, but who cares, when Empire creates reality?

Another, of course, is the one James D. Macdonald raises: a terrorist attack on the US. It would have to be real, not just a scare, and even if the plan is for it to be foiled at the last minute I don't see them as capable of pulling it off without getting blamed for it. If it does happen, God forbid, then it's endgame. I don't think we're in black helicopter time yet.

But I do suspect something big is coming down.

So my $10 for Teresa's choice of good cause is on Iranian nuclear physicists being SOL this week. It's a bet I truly hope to lose, and to lose by no October Surprise after all being the win.

#65 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 10:00 AM:

Here's another weird thing: Karl Rove was in Waco (attending my church, O the embarrassment) on Oct. 10. I find that somewhat strange (both the timing and the lack of a lightning bolt when he entered the building).

#66 ::: Lenny Cooper ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 11:42 AM:

if you have osama in custody, why is there still terrorism happening in iraq? :-)

Cheers,
Lenny

#67 ::: Marie Lu ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 12:00 PM:

Being a Texas native, I clearly remember when Bush took that nice long 1-month hiatus on his ranch....his day off doesn't surprise me, I have to say. My opinion is that Osama was never a top priority of the Bush administration, with the exception of the first week or two right after 9/11. They were after Saddam right from the get-go, and the 9/11 fiasco gave them just the excuse to do it. Of course, they made it look like they really wanted to target Afghanistan by throwing a few troops there and waving some flags, but now that Saddam is taken down, they will sit back for some time and lick their chops. Every once in a while, they'll get bored and raise the security level. :)

#68 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 12:27 PM:

Whew. Some insiders are stepping forward to tell the truth:

Wolf Packs for Truth

#69 ::: julia ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 12:35 PM:

I think we can separate the questions "Is there going to be an October surprise?" and "Why is Bush going on vacation with so few days to go before the election?"

There probably is going to be an October surprise of some sort, although if it's on the level of effectiveness of the puppies ad, I don't know how much good it'll do them. I have to agree that watching for it is probably taking our eyes off the ball, which currently rests in the court of the Republicans who are trying not to count (koffkoffotherlymelaninedkoffkoff) votes.

Bush is on vacation because he's not capable of the sustained effort of showing up for work and doing his job without running away, and he's had to do that for probably the only extended period of his residency the past few weeks.

#70 ::: Scorpio ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 12:37 PM:

Anyone who buys a "sudden" capture and then votes for Bush really *deserves* Bush -- it's unfortunate that the rest of us have had to suffer him as well.

Remember how a Saddam trial was started, and cut off cold the minute he was allowed to open his mouth?

If the US is taking charge of binLaden, he will be kept off camera until after the election -- take that to the bank. It is the only way Bush can maintain the illusions he cherishes and uses to lie.

Scorpio
Eccentricity

#71 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 01:40 PM:

Okay, Mythago. That makes four (you, Nel, Xopher, and Sennoma), which is the limit of my budget. Ken MacLeod has $10 that says they're going to raid the Iranian nuclear facility; no takers yet.

Alexandre, I wondered about the verification of those tapes. I'm willing to believe our guys know more than anyone else about detecting audio forgery, but that also has to mean that they know more than anyone else about committing it.

Graydon, you said:

Osama is part of the Bush clan's connections; they may have been a bit pissed at him for the scale of the attack (and at what they regarded as consequent unnecessary digression in Afghanistan), but 9/11 cleared all the domestic obstacles to their agenda for a vital two, two and a half years.

(They won't have known what was coming, but they knew something was coming, and figured they could use it.)Pass me the tinfoil; I've been thinking the same thing.

Have you seen that minute-by-minute analysis of the morning of 9/11, with accompanying videotape footage of Bush? Watching that was what finally pushed me over the line into conspiracy theory. (I'm honestly angry about it. Conspiracy theory is an intellectual lee shore.) Thing is, Bush isn't terribly surprised. He isn't curious, either. He mostly looks like a man who doesn't know his lines.

I remember that morning. As soon as I heard there'd been two planes, I knew it was an attack. I phoned Jim Macdonald to tell him, and he first words out of his mouth were, "Someone just lost their country."

I also remember being wary of the possibility of further attacks. If you don't know who just hit you, you don't know whether they're about to hit you again. But if Bush & Co. were plotting to pin the blame on Saddam mere hours later, they were no longer in diagnostic mode. so they can't have been terribly worried about the real culprit.

Like you, I think that Bush knew something was going to happen, but was blindsided by the magnitude of the attack.

I also agree that Rove isn't our biggest problem. We now have hundreds or thousands of officials and operatives out there who've shaken off any reluctance they might once have had about explicitly rigging the vote. They've done it, and they know other people who've done it. They'll have less hesitation in the future.

I know but cannot comprehend this mindset. This is happening down at the level where you don't get rich for doing it. A lot of the work of vote rigging is being done by little guys. What do they imagine will come of it? To

The fact that you're on their side is no guarantee that they're on your side,
add:
These guys are not your friends. If they don't believe in government by the consent of the governed, they sure as hell don't believe in government by the consent of you.
Also, possibly:
"If you let me do what I want, I'll tell you all the things you most want to hear" is the kind of promise that gets made in the back seat of a car -- and is worth about as much.

Chad, you're right. If I can figure out how to access Movable Type from the computer I'm on right now, can I repost that as an addendum?

Ken, ever since that fake mob attacked and stopped the ballot recount in Florida, and it came out that they were funded by the Republican national organization, which hadn't even gone to the trouble of covering its tracks, I've figured they don't think they're ever going to fall out of power. It's impossible to be sure of that in a democracy; therefore.

Scorpio, if Bush were an individual affliction as he's an individual choice, some voters might deserve him. The country doesn't deserve him.

#72 ::: Josh ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 01:49 PM:

Ken, ever since that fake mob attacked and stopped the ballot recount in Florida, and it came out that they were funded by the Republican national organization, which hadn't even gone to the trouble of covering its tracks, I've figured they don't think they're ever going to fall out of power.

You've said that before, and it's never made any sense to me. They gambled that if they won that election, they'd have at least four years before anyone would be in a position to investigate them for it, and by that time no one would care. There's no plan to hold power forever required to make their actions make sense.

#73 ::: Maines ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 02:04 PM:

People have tried to rig elections before, and we know how to stop them. These are well-known tricks, and the counter-moves are also well known. And they can be countered, so long as Democrats aren't spending time and energy fretting about some sort of cackling-supervillain "October Surprise" super-trick.

Chad, thanks for the reality check. Might as well spend our energy fixing what we can fix, i.e., making sure the votes get cast and counted as fairly as possible. I still think there is some kind of October surprise in the works, but your point that energy is best spent where it has a chance to have a direct effect is well taken.

#74 ::: ElizabethVomMarlowe ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 02:51 PM:

Teresa, my mom told me shortly after 9/11 that she thought Bush was involved--she said it was the smirk and body language when he got off the air force one plane. She said she'd seen the same thing with school boys who just got away with something. Took me a long time to agree with her, but now I do; it was Moore for me, too.

Here's another fun tinfoil idea. Anybody hear how DeLay used his influence to track democrat planes through the FAA? Now, why would he do that? Me, I think of Paul Wellstone and Mel Carnahan. Both dead in planes at extremely crucial election times. Wellstone's replacement lost. Carnahan won despite being dead. Still, makes me wonder. Both were big losses.

But here's another OS. This one is ours. My county--Jackson County Missouri--has registered 25,000 new voters since our primaries in August. Nearby Clay County has registered near 10,000. According to the paper, we're nearing our census amount of potential voters. Missouri is one of the swing states. Short Show-Me politics: urban votes Dem, rural votes Repub. Those new voters are all urban. Surprise!

#75 ::: Chad Orzel ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 02:55 PM:

Chad, you're right. If I can figure out how to access Movable Type from the computer I'm on right now, can I repost that as an addendum?

Sure, go right ahead.
I was tempted to extend one or the other of those comments with a lengthy Red Sox metaphor, but my inner Yankee fan just won't let me.

#76 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 03:02 PM:

I'll take:

Bush is tired/sick.

plus

Dead Iranian Scientists.

Alex

#77 ::: Ken MacLeod ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 03:39 PM:

Ken MacLeod has $10 that says they're going to raid the Iranian nuclear facility; no takers yet.

Not being a betting man I may be doing this all wrong, but I'm not looking for takers. I'm just saying, if that isn't the October Surprise, I'll donate ten bucks to whatever good cause TNH asks me to.

#78 ::: Greg Ioannou ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 03:55 PM:

I think Dead Iranian Scientists is a given. I can't see the US or Israel being willing to sit by while Iran develops a viable nuclear weapons capability. But I expect that will happen after the election, not before.

I don't think Bin Laden died at Tora Bora. The Arab media's "nya-nya-you-missed-us" coverage at the time was quite convincing, as were a couple of the later OBL videos. But there hasn't been one of those videos since places like Asia Times started reporting that OBL was in Pakistani custody, which is quite a while ago now.

On vote-fixing. It happens, on a small scale, all the time. In Canada, I've seem local returning officers be far more stringent in making sure votes for one candidate are marked properly than are votes for another.

I remember, back when I was a naive university student, scrutineering for the candidate I favoured at a local polling station. Two disreputable-looking men carried an unconscious foul-smelling old guy into the polling station. Trying to do my best for my candidate, I immediately challenged the old guy's right to vote while unconscious. The returning officer looked mildly surprised, and said, "you can challenge the vote if you want, but this is one of yours." Oh.

So, yeah. I'm sure the Republicans are fixing a whole pile of votes. I'm also sure the Democrats are fixing an approximately equal number of votes. That's not conspiracy. It is, alas, how the system works.

I'm really not into conspiracy theories. I don't think there's any great conspiracy happening now, either. But I do think those in power often choose when to make information public, and how best (from the point of view of their interests) to do it. I think there's a lot of that going on behind the scenes right now.

I'm getting the same sort of feeling now that I did just before Richard Nixon's re-election. The guy may manage to get re-elected (and I think Bush will manage to squeak through), but I can't see his house of cards standing for another four years. I think it is all going to come crashing down on his head somehow before his second term ends.

#79 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 03:56 PM:

Speaking of October surprises, I was reminded today that on October 19, 1998, Byron "Low-tax" Looper shot and killed his opponent for a seat in the Tennessee State Senate. His plan to win by default, as a write-in candidate (his opponent's widow) won in a landslide. Wikipedia has full details, if anyone is curious and thinks Google will take too long.

No I'm not suggesting Rove will try anything like this. Really.

#80 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 04:08 PM:

Further tinfoil hattitude: two black helicopters just went by, in a line that looked to be roughly Crawford-to-TSTC-airfield (the only one around here big enough to handle Air Force One). This forms a nice symmetry with the one I saw last night going roughly TSTC-to-Crawford. However, Bush wasn't on it: he was in Florida this morning.

#81 ::: Maines ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 04:38 PM:

Ah, TexAnne, but what if the one in Florida is a doppelganger? The same doppelganger they used for the later debates . . .

Once you get into the swing of it, this conspiracy theorizing just comes so easily.

#82 ::: Magenta ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 04:38 PM:

I have an odd hobby. Working in libraries, I like to read old magazine. Really old magazines. I was flipping through the 1951 Readers Digests, and found an article on vote rigging, and fixing elections, and corruptions. If anyone is interested, I can try to find it again. The more things change...

The problem is, as people have noted, the current crop of Republicans are behaving as if they know they will be able to stay in office no matter what. Hopefully, they are fooling themselves, but I am worried.

My personal worry scenario is that when all the dust has cleared, the Republicans will not let go their grip on the White House, and that shortly after he is sworn in for a 2nd term, Bush will die, and Cheney will officially be Prez. After all, there is still the 20 year curse, and it's not certain if Reagan broke it, or merely ducked it by surviving his assassimation attempt.

#83 ::: TexAnne ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 04:55 PM:

Ooh, Maines, I think you've got it! I didn't watch very long because I don't want cooties, but he did seem relatively lucid. So yeah, it couldn't have been the real Goob, right? (Thank goodness for the recent discussion of Welsh; I've been wondering how to pronounce "GWB.")

#84 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 05:12 PM:

"If you let me do what I want, I'll tell you all the things you most want to hear" is the kind of promise that gets made in the back seat of a car -- and is worth about as much.

At least in the back seat of a car, the screwing has a chance of being pleasant.

#85 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 05:40 PM:

Sigh, and I think of "really old magazines" as being 18th century. Old magazines are 19th century and early 20th century.

#86 ::: Greg Ioannou ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 05:55 PM:

No, magazines are an ephemeral medium. Old magazines are two or three issues ago. Really old magazines are last year and before.

#87 ::: Nancy Hanger ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 06:47 PM:

Teresa, you and I have had this conversation, so you know that I know to about a 90% certainty what the surprise is. But I have no money to put down on it. :)

As to Bush's health -- that doesn't take a rocket scientist. But it does take someone who has early-onset (middle-age) Alzheimer's running in the family to see the signs are clear. It runs in my family: I know those signs like the lines on my own hand. The most damning? Watch how he deteriorates or shows more clear signs (the mouth drop, the confusion) as the evening progresses or his day progresses. This type of Alzheimer's becomes more apparent when the patient starts to tire at all, usually the early evening. There are drugs that perk up the patient (Debate #3) but show signs of innapropriate reactions (inappropriate humor, inappropriate reaction to emotions, etc.) as well as a touch of mania (hyperactivity). Sound familiar, boys & girls? You have Debate #3 in a nutshell.

I've been watching this happen to Bush for the last few years and been telling people how clear the progression has been. Until recently, everyone told me I was imagining it. God forbid I was right about something, eh?

BTW, Teresa, the drug is Provigil. Friend to both thee and me for other reasons.

#88 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 07:03 PM:

Report that bin Laden is in China and that the Bush administration is negotiating for his capture:

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article7077.htm

No idea what the reliability factor is on this.

#89 ::: Bob Oldendorf ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 07:21 PM:

A couple posts above, Magenta referred to the '20-year' curse on the US Presidency.

I don't want to let that pass without noting that the man elected in 2000 was not allowed to fill out his term.

Al Gore shows that the curse still holds.

#90 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 07:59 PM:

Elizabeth, we need to do lunch. dragonet@kc.rr.com. I live in Hyde Park, work at home most days.

Seriously, I'm so sick and disturbed by all this (plus the evil, evil local political advertising, goodness they're mean), I may have to skip reading the paper and maybe blogs until it ends. Except for yours and Scorpio's that is.

#91 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 09:02 PM:

The Chinese are claiming low reliability on the link I posted above. But then, they would, wouldn't they. To quote Trudeau, an especially tricky people.

#92 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 09:19 PM:

I presume everyone has seen this discussion of the inaccuracies and distortions in the latest Bush/Cheney "Wolves" TV ad?

#93 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 09:23 PM:

Ken, I expect you can find something virtuous to do with it.

Nancy, we've talked, but what I have are conjectures, not knowledge. As I said earlier, all I know is that things that should have been happening have not happened.

Thomas, I don't want to be right about this. It would only encourage me to think I was right about some other things, and I don't want to believe those, either.

#94 ::: Fred Ramsey ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 09:47 PM:

In the midst of this group exercise in rational paranoia this really disturbing thought occurred to me. When Bush loses the election, he'll still be President for 3 more months. What can he do in that time to insure that his agenda continues? How will Rove, Cheney and the Boys arrange the transfer to make it as hard as possible for Kerry to reverse things?

Do multiple layers of tinfoil help?

#95 ::: Kate Nepveu ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 10:22 PM:

A less helpful, but really really funny, take on the Wolves ad.

#96 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 10:27 PM:

The PoorMan's parody is funny.
Have you seen the Democratic response ad (on democrats.org): Eagles (and Ostriches)?

#97 ::: Lis Riba ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 11:09 PM:

Susan has more evidence re:an surprise Iranian attack:

According to White House and Washington Beltway insiders, the Bush administration, worried that it could lose the presidential election to Senator John F. Kerry, has initiated plans to launch a military strike on Iran's top Islamic leadership, its nuclear reactor at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf, and key nuclear targets throughout the country, including the main underground research site at Natanz in central Iran and another in Isfahan. Targets of the planned U.S. attack reportedly include mosques in Tehran, Qom, and Isfahan known by the U.S. to headquarter Iran's top mullahs.

The Iran attack plan was reportedly drawn up after internal polling indicated that if the Bush administration launched a so- called anti-terrorist attack on Iran some two weeks before the election, Bush would be assured of a landslide win against Kerry. Reports of a pre-emptive strike on Iran come amid concerns by a number of political observers that the Bush administration would concoct an "October Surprise" to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

#98 ::: Dan Blum ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 11:30 PM:

I'm not sure how seriously to take that article. A quick Google-browse of Wayne Madsen (the guy who wrote the original article) gives me the impression he may be a LaRoucheite - which wouldn't necessarily mean that he's wrong, but it would make one wonder.

#99 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2004, 11:36 PM:

Coming in way too late to get a piece of the action (do we have to bet cash?) but I'd lay very strong odds against.

First, I observe that The Administration has been talking up the doom we can expect from al Qaeda. It's just been Cheney talking it up instead of Bush. He's the one constantly pressing how terrorists might poison our water, smuggle nuclear weapons into our cities, etc. Bush can't do it because he's got his "America is Safer" schtick going on instead. Fear and reassurance, classic bad cop/good cop.

Second, I don't place as much stock as you do in the competence of our government to keep something that big secret. The soldiers who captured him would have to know; various foreign officials would have to know; too many people outside the inner circle would have to know. And then when you revealed him, you'd have to have a plausible cover story for where he's been all this time and stage some sort of theatrics, and the people involved in that deception would know. Somebody would talk; it's the nature of secrets. Heck, even Bush might let it slip -- he's been known to gaffe occcasionally. And if word got out too soon that this was a set-up, it would destroy everything.

Third, why not reveal him if you've got him? They didn't waste any time with Saddam. The major reason behind Bush's popularity slip is because he's been believed to be slacking on the War on Terror and focusing on irrelevant wars. If he could have kept his popularity many months or a year ago by showing a success of this magnitude, why not take the fanfare? He'd have defused one of Kerry's biggest criticisms before the campaigning even surfaced. I just don't see the benefit in holding Osama bin Laden in the back for a rainy day, when bringing him to the front would have virtually guaranteed a sunny season.

And fourth, I just don't think it's in Bush's nature. Karl Rove, others, yes. There are sneaky conservatives who might think of something like this. (Just as there are sneaky liberals who would. When did Clinton crack down on Iraq? When he needed a distraction from Monicagate.) But the Commander in Chief? You said it yourself in your essay a couple days ago: Bush's defining trait is that he knows he's always right. And if you know you're always right, and you have proof that you're right because you grabbed Osama bin Laden, why would you hide that? Why would you abide a whole year of unwarranted criticism? You wouldn't. You'd trumpet it to the world. No, the only scenario in which this makes any sense would be one in which even Bush didn't know we had Osama -- and I don't think that's plausible. He hasn't created a hands-off culture, he's created a culture of people like him.

So I'm afraid I don't see it happening. The Iranian strike makes a scary sort of sense the more I think about it (though I think there would've been more lead-up if it were a real possibility) but Osama? You just don't keep Osama bin Laden in a closet somewhere. The cost of secrecy is too high, the difference in benefit too low, vs. bringing him to light as soon as you've got him.

#100 ::: Harry Connolly ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 12:09 AM:

Another wolf ad parody:

http://www.wolfpacksfortruth.org/

Link, I hope.

I don't see an attack on Iran. I think it would cost Bush the election and I think he knows it.

#101 ::: Virge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 12:47 AM:

Why should tinfoil become the new black?
Is your government telling you jack?
"We don't have to explain.
Only foes would complain.
We're the empire -- no need to look back."

When will tinfoil become the new black?
When your country's been under attack,
And you cannot forget
You're a terrorist threat
If you're caught with the dread Al-Manac.

US honor is catching some flack
From your leader's reality-lack
'Cause there's evidence there,
But he just doesn't care;
Could be tinfoil is now the new black.

There's a mystery box on his back
And continuous speech is a lack.
Could it be that his soul's
Under fundie control?
That's when tinfoil must be the new black.

#102 ::: Chad ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 12:57 AM:

I agree with Steve Eley...Bush has more to lose by revealing a capture of Osama this close to the election. If he were to play Osama as his trump card he would have done it earlier in the year. Doing it now would lead people to believe he was hiding it for some time. I'm afraid you may lose your 5 dollars. Also consider the deployment of troops in Iraq versus Afghanistan. We invaded both countries, both filled with militant factions, yet we put more focus on Iraq. Bush has business ties with the Bin Laden family resulting in millions of profit from shady business in foreign oil. That is why there are ten times more troops there. When you hear college students on the news spewing their ignorance saying the war on Iraq was about oil is ludicrous. The war on Iraq is a distraction from the profit Bush built earlier in his life on dealings with family members tied to Bin Laden...fair to say...tied to Al Q. With all this information as merely a suggestion of guilt, it still fills me with enough doubt to elect change. I believe it is a bad move to switch presidents in the middle of a war. I mean do we remember the nightmare of Vietnam. However with that still in mind, I am still in support of change. I cannot listen to four more years of the same arrogant boastings from the crooked business man at the helm of what he thinks is a bottomless pit of money funding some sort of World Police. I support Kerry despite his inability to identify with the American People. He exceeds at pointing out Bush's vast mistakes and misleadings and that is enough for me to cast my vote in the proper direction.

#103 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 01:03 AM:

Nancy, if you see my mouth drooping and my talk confused, you should just tell me to go to bed. I'm partially paralyzed on the left and when I get tired, stressed, or sicker than usual, I drag my left foot, drop things from my left hand, and have aphasia.

But in good post-stroke news, a month ago I unconsciously walked, turned, walked backward, turned, and walked again, while talking, without wobbling at all. I got out on the sidewalk and thought "What the heck was that!?" So I've been practicing and the doctor was very impressed when she saw me do it. She says my brain is still making new connections, even 17 years after the stroke.

#104 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 01:29 AM:

Could it be some amplification on this?

Alex

#105 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 01:41 AM:

Whatever happened to tracking down the anthrax attacks, and whosoever was/were responsible for them? After the investigation pointed at US Government facilities for source and knowledge of US processing techniques, the hourds seemed to fade out of existence and the Fed's attention evaporate, too.

Hmm. Sort of like "Where in the World is Osama bin Laden." The two had NOTHING to do overtly with one another, except that the Bush regime has dropped them as Real Threats on their -own-, preferring to use scare terrorist thug intimidation Protection Racket tactics instead, of saying all the Bad Things that will happen if not keeping Bush in Washington as titular leader in charge of the Danelaw with more and mor Danegeld charges to the peasants to pacify the "threats" the Protection Racketeers claim they are necessary to avert/mitigate.

Stinks like rotting gurry of ordure spun as red herring to me.

Bushies claimed that Middle Eastern Governments and Terrorists were reponsible for the anthrax. It always seemed to me like right wing US citizen extremist bigot crackpots, such as the ones who had sent fake anthrax threat letters to Planned Parenthood Clinics over the years, and not like the suicide bombings and such more characteristic of terrorists in southeast Asia and North Africa and the land bridge between them.

But Bush doesn't let things like logic and scientific method of observations and hypotheses and correlations get in the way of his Beliefs. He doesn't read anything that might disagre with his views, and depends upon OTHER people to look at Primary Evidence and information and to do literature searches, AND EDIT THEIR RESULTS and redact them to what he feels like digesting, before they are to present anything to him.

His cronies put Creationist inanity into the Grand Canyon center promoting a book that claims that flood in the Noah story created the Grand Canyon! Our tax dollars at work, promoting utter crackpot pseudoscience.

#106 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 01:49 AM:

http://www.slobodan-milosevic.org/news/kerry101804.htm

looks like slurs and slimebucket brigade work to me. Someone just got booted within the past year or so from Massachusetts as an ex-Yugoslavia mass murder and atrocity participant. I don;t remember the name of the person, but the INS had had no problem letting him into the USA and failing to do much of a background search on him, or -care- about it, and certainly the BUSH INS wasn't interested in digging up the information or doing background checking. It was other sources, including Massachusetts Democrats--and Kerry is a Massachusett Democrat, who if I recall correctly, raised the ruckus about the fellow and deported him to a hot seat back in Europe.

#107 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 08:24 AM:

As opposed to Bush's turning a blind eye to terrorists, provided they're anti-Castro terrorists, and allowing them into this country. That Cuban vote in Florida, y'know.

Here, here, and here.

#108 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 08:30 AM:

You know, though, if I were President of the US, and we'd caught Bin Laden, rather than saying "Who?" like Bush might well have, I'd say, "Great. Keep him on ice as long as you can while we try to roll up the rest of his organization from both ends."

#109 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 08:47 AM:

Well, yeah, but Jim, you'd be trying to put Al Quaeda out of business. If there's any reasonable evidence that this is what Bush is trying to do, I've yet to see it. (It's possible that he may think this is what he's trying to do, granted, but the effect of his policies is precisely the opposite.)

The lightbulb I might wish upon the American electorate involves noticing that a willingness to kill people to secure election only fails to apply to Americans -- instead of Iraqis or Iranians -- due to an angle of imagination.

That's a fragile restriction, unlikely to maintain itself in the face of a real fear of defeat, and once people start being killed to influence how they vote, well, whatever that is, it's no longer either the rule of law or a democracy.

#110 ::: CHip ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 10:42 AM:

TNH: We now have hundreds or thousands of officials and operatives out there who've shaken off any reluctance they might once have had about explicitly rigging the vote. They've done it, and they know other people who've done it. They'll have less hesitation in the future.
I know but cannot comprehend this mindset. This is happening down at the level where you don't get rich for doing it. A lot of the work of vote rigging is being done by little guys. What do they imagine will come of it?

For starters, most of them don't know your dictum about sides, or don't believe it, or \can't/ let themselves believe it applies to them. (Think of all those heartbreaking scenes where modern Tyrells get dumped -- how they're always saying it can't be happening to them.) And even if it did, they might ask themselves, if everyone on the other side gets screwed and 99% of the people on this side get screwed, which side do I want to be on? (cf Robinson's line about every cow thinking it won't be hurt if it's the first one to stampede.)

I was reading a National Geographic magazine about adventure last night because it had a local connection: Mount Washington has had more deaths since first being climbed by whites than anything else in North America, including Denali (although Denali has a slightly higher rate if you go by deaths per year). Using a specific story as an example, they said all the obvious things about young males pushing ahead (right past a sign advertising the worst weather in the world), not calculating that getting down would take at least as long as getting up, fatigue clouding judgment, and so on. But they also quoted the work of one Ledoux, whose thesis (with experimental backing) is that rationality is not even a veneer, but more like a veil -- a story we tell ourselves to make our gut choices fit our images of ourselves; and gut reactions of one sort or another are how we make most decisions.

There are too many people who cry "Save me!" when they hear "Boo!" -- and they'll do so even to the person who scared them. It's not solely that we're barely removed from apes who cowered in trees when the predators prowled, but that's an element that too many "politicians" know how to invoke. Under the wrong circumstances it doesn't even take a politician; Bradley, in a follow-on to Darkover Landfall, shows self-told rational high-tech-based castaways falling into a quasi-feudal system simply because a few people seem to have a slightly better idea what to do when it's hitting the fan. (Note "seem"; with enough marionettistes and ventriloquists even Shrub seems tough, and the reading-to-children-while-WTC-burns scene from Fahrenheit 9/11 gets dismissed as partisanship.) Against this, a strategy that sometimes seems like nothing more than shouting "Boo!" even louder may be the answer least unlikely to succeed.

Tom (re magazines): yes, and McCartney had a band before Wings.

Steve Eley (et al): Why wait? Because there are some strategies that work better if they're pulled at the last minute. I learned to be wary of last-minute sucker punches thanks to a high-school economics class; somebody played their last turn through a hole in the rules of a teaching game that let them blow a year's taxes on something with a high immediate payoff and bankrupting levels of later maintenance. (Come to think of it, that's an extreme form of what the current junta is also doing.) If ObL had been publically captured months ago, there'd be more time for people to wonder why terrorism is still so important and by the way what's happened to their jobs? Not that I would have taken Teresa's bet (weighing the difficulty of capturing ObL against the competence of this junta); I just don't agree with your reasoning.

#111 ::: Andy Perrin ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 10:56 AM:

Graydon: ...and once people start being killed to influence how they vote, well, whatever that is, it's no longer either the rule of law or a democracy.

I know we're all waiting for the seas to boil and the dead to walk and the coming of Ghozer, but I doubt even the Republicans could march a corpse into a polling place without drawing unwanted attention.
[/willful misunderstanding of your point]

#112 ::: John Farrell ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 01:29 PM:

On the other hand, maybe we're giving the Boston Globe too much credit?

#113 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 01:31 PM:

but I doubt even the Republicans could march a corpse into a polling place without drawing unwanted attention

Not outside of Louisiana, anyway.

#114 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 02:12 PM:

Just a week and a day to go, folks. Keep focused. Vote. Encourage your friends to vote. Give strangers rides to the polls. Do what it takes. Vote.

And make sure they count your vote.

#115 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 03:54 PM:

When we had Osama cornered in Tora Bora, Bush and Rumsfeld insisted on outsourcing the military response to the guys who had been Osama's companions-in-arms just a month before. Now Bush is denying that it ever happened.

Read all the details (follow the links) here, here, here, and here.

Kerry tries to make what is arguably the biggest screw-up in the war against al Qaida into a centerpiece of the last weeks of the campaign. And what's the Bush campaign's response? Lie about it. Say it never happened.

Let us compare and contrast this Bushite slam against the Democrats (it's Clinton's Fault!) with reality.

Remember this slam? "[Clinton] was offered Osama bin Laden’s head on a platter three times by Sudan and did nothing."

We remember that from the Bush Stacks Up Well email that was floating around cyberspace last February.

Now compare that 'Clinton Let Osama Get Away' smear with the truth about Bush and Osama.

#116 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 04:07 PM:

On Rovism (not just Rove) as the real problem:

Some good analysis/commentary here.

And, what James said about voting. The best thing we can do in the short term is get people to the polls; an overwhelming Kerry victory is the only thing that will stop the presidency from being decided by the Supremes again, as the linked material above makes clear.

#117 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 04:44 PM:

James - I already have.

North Carolina has a no-questions-asked absentee system in place. I voted on Saturday.

My roommate doesn't want to vote early because, he said, that means there will be some results out early, and if one side is winning over the other, it mght motivate more people to vote for their candidate if he's losing.

I was afraid my vote wouldn't be counted if I voted early, but then I got a pastcard urging me to vote early from the Democratic Party. So I voted.

#118 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 07:11 PM:

The article that Leslie mentioned has a link to a John Dean article on FindLaw that is very much worth reading: The Coming Post-Election Chaos: A Storm Warning of Things to Come If the Vote Is as Close as Expected.

I'm not expecting an attack on Iran, especially with Israel as a proxy, because it would be so obviously stupid, and because Bush is at heart a gutless coward. He attacked Saddam not because he thought Saddam was a threat, but because he thought Saddam was a pushover and he was looking for the upside. Not that I can rule anything out, the administration has not let stupidity be an impediment to action, but it doesn't seem likely.

What's happening now, and what is likely to continue, is a strong right-wing effort against "voter fraud," which is their term for when minorities and poor people are actually allowed to vote. They are challenging new voter registrations, and training election monitors to challenge and intimidate voters at the polls. They are trying to make the rules for voter eligibility as strict as possible. For example, there's an ongoing fight over whether a provisional ballot counts if the voter showed up at the wrong precinct. There is no way all these issues are going to be resolved by the election, so there will be suits. And as John Dean explains in his article, if Bush loses, for whatever reason, Rove will sue. My feeling is that even if Kerry wins by a substantial margin, Rove will sue, just to create uncertainty and tarnish Kerry's mandate as much as possible.


#119 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 07:12 PM:

The article that Leslie mentioned has a link to a John Dean article on FindLaw that is very much worth reading: The Coming Post-Election Chaos: A Storm Warning of Things to Come If the Vote Is as Close as Expected.

I'm not expecting an attack on Iran, especially with Israel as a proxy, because it would be so obviously stupid, and because Bush is at heart a gutless coward. He attacked Saddam not because he thought Saddam was a threat, but because he thought Saddam was a pushover and he was looking for the upside. Not that I can rule anything out, the administration has not let stupidity be an impediment to action, but it doesn't seem likely.

What's happening now, and what is likely to continue, is a strong right-wing effort against "voter fraud," which is their term for when minorities and poor people are actually allowed to vote. They are challenging new voter registrations, and training election monitors to challenge and intimidate voters at the polls. They are trying to make the rules for voter eligibility as strict as possible. For example, there's an ongoing fight over whether a provisional ballot counts if the voter showed up at the wrong precinct. There is no way all these issues are going to be resolved by the election, so there will be suits. And as John Dean explains in his article, if Bush loses, for whatever reason, Rove will sue. My feeling is that even if Kerry wins by a substantial margin, Rove will sue, just to create uncertainty and tarnish Kerry's mandate as much as possible.

#120 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 08:08 PM:

Alice: I'm in NC too, and we just got our voter registration cards in the mail the other day. (Don't worry, we made the cut-off.) I was wondering if you knew where one could find sample ballots, because my co-worker who had seen the ballots for NC said they weren't as clearly designed as they could have been. (This despite all the "Good design makes everything easier to understand" posters everywhere.)

#121 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 08:31 PM:

Which county? Google gives me some NC sample ballots. Here's the one for Lincoln County. Here's Union County. Here's Brunswick County.

And so on.

#122 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 09:08 PM:

You owe me five bucks.

Here's where to send the check:

Tim Kyger
5894 Bridgetown Court
Burke, VA 22015

#123 ::: Randolph Fritz ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 09:19 PM:

Fred, Tom, I think it is very clear that, win or lose, we have November (and December) surprises to fear.

"The lightbulb I might wish upon the American electorate involves noticing that a willingness to kill people to secure election only fails to apply to Americans -- instead of Iraqis or Iranians -- due to an angle of imagination."

I think they are imagining it now, Graydon, if indeed they were not imagining it all along as Teresa fears. The claim that Kerry is a traitor and any political allies of Kerry are supporting traitors is an easy rationale for silencing and jailing their political opposition. We are also, I think, likely to see the armed hard right undertake violence against Democrats and anyone they can identify as liberal. Minor violence has already occurred; I pray it stays minor.

Tinfoil? I need it to fend off the mind-control rays!

#124 ::: Nao ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 10:08 PM:

PiscusFiche, I've already voted in Durham, North Carolina (no fault absentee at the Board of Elections, hurrah!), and the ballot didn't seem so bad. It's been much the same since at least 1996 (when I moved here).

The one potential difficulty I can see is that the presidential choice is separate from the straight party line choice. That is, if you vote straight party, you still have to choose your president. But the presidential choice comes before the straight party option, and the poll workers were explaining that part as they handed out ballots.

And thank goodness we're still using paper ballots!

#125 ::: Thena ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 10:20 PM:

Re: Magenta
After all, there is still the 20 year curse, and it's not certain if Reagan broke it, or merely ducked it by surviving his assassimation attempt.

I'm convinced Reagan died in office and it took people 20 years to notice.

#126 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 10:28 PM:

PiscusFiche: I've been seeing them all over the place. The Citizen-Times published one today (in the Mountain section), and they gave my husband a sample ballot when he voted early.

I guess it would depend on which county you're in. Though the first place to look would be the Sunday paper, probably.

#127 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2004, 11:03 PM:

http://newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/10/23/113806.shtml

#128 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 01:23 AM:

Has Karl Rove starting bringing back poll taxes yet?

#129 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 07:21 AM:

Durham County, so if Nao is correct, it shouldn't be as bad as I had feared.

Alice: Alas, we don't get the Sunday paper. (This is usually not a problem, just as it is usually not a problem that we don't get TV--we find that the interweb usually works quite well instead in terms of entertainment and news, but occasionally I really regret that stance of ours.) I could probably get my hands on one though, so thanks for the suggestion. :) (BTW, if you are in the Triangle area, and see a little silver Honda with a Republicans for Voldemort sticker on zee back bumper, that's me.)

Thanks for the links, James MacDonald.

#130 ::: Sharon ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 09:47 AM:

Have we had the Staged Foiled Terror Attempt suggestion yet? It wouldn't require much preparation to create a "Thank goodness the Bush administration saved us from this" feeling.

#131 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 10:23 AM:

Sharon ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 09:47 AM:
Have we had the Staged Foiled Terror Attempt suggestion yet? It wouldn't require much preparation to create a "Thank goodness the Bush administration saved us from this" feeling

Lawrence, Massachusetts, has a nasty earned reputation for insurance fraud regard car accidents. A year or two ago a principal in committing insurance fraud lost her life when the staged accident for profit went awry and killed her, and investigation uncovered and arrested a ring of fraud perpetrators.

Relation to Bush--sometimes Staged Incidents for profit/advantage turn on the perpetrators....

I wonder if that URL that Yog pointed out, was it, that the Bush Misadministration of Iraq has resulting in more than 750,000 POUNDS of -stable-when-being-handled-and-dropped high explosives that before Bush's Iraqi Adventure had been under International Atomic Energy Agency seal and observation, disappeared--and for a year Bush's minions wouldn't allow any IAEA inspectors access to the area the materiel had been, and Bush's minions couldn't be bothered to themselves check on the material and secure or destroy it.

So instead, Unknown Looters, extremists, passersby, terroists, and who knows who else, had more than 750,000 pounds of explosives the likes of which less than a POUND blew up the Pan Am flight over Lockerbie.... and the Bush minions ignored the situation/spread a cloak of secrecy and coverup and ignorance to keep the information from getting out to anyone except those who walked off with all that lethal spoils of war unguarded lethal booty for the taking.

#132 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 10:44 AM:

Despite my massive paranoia and partisan views, I'm with Chad and Steve on this one. A close (or simply stolen) election is the biggest concern, and we need inspectors -- our version of all those UN guys in Iraq, except these would find plenty of malfeasance. [And Chad, the October Surprise *is* the Red Sox.]

Interesting comments about Bush's health. I try to avoid watching him, for fear of allergic reactions, so I've only seen a few still pictures. If they do manage to steal the election by old-fashioned means, the most reassuring thought *may* be the "Nixon didn't make it through his second term" idea mentioned quite a way up this thread. I keep thinking our era of J. Edgar Hoover redux just might lead to a new '60s-style "rebellion" or '70s-style investigations and embarrassing (for those in charge) revelations -- but the consciousness changing in particular would have to be a lot less lame and self-indulgent.

#133 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 11:14 AM:

Sharon wrote:
Have we had the Staged Foiled Terror Attempt suggestion yet? It wouldn't require much preparation to create a "Thank goodness the Bush administration saved us from this" feeling.

I really don't see that happening either. Again, too many people would have to be involved to make it look credible, and cops/soldiers/staffers/interns/caterers talk.

There has been the expected muttering in the news about terror plotting during the election, and I've been mulling over how an actual terrorist election-meddling might work. Let me throw this speculation past the professional speculators here, and you can tell me where my flaws are:

First, the terrorists aren't picking sides. The conservatives seem to believe the terrorists want Kerry to win because they think he'd be weaker, and to some extent vice versa, but that's naive. Neither guy would be weak in the face of a direct attack. What they want is to cause internal chaos within the U.S., to reduce the long-term American ability to interfere in the Middle East. If they favor a candidate it will only be for chaos purposes.

Second, they know that simply killing a lot of people is not going to help them much. It worked in Spain, largely because the Spanish didn't really see this as their fight. The American response in the past has been to *reduce* chaos, to unify in a response. I have no idea which way an attack would swing the election; we might rally behind Bush or we might realize his "America is safer now" is proven false and pick Kerry. I suspect the terrorists aren't sure either, but I believe they realize it wouldn't add to our internal chaos. It wouldn't weaken us.

So what would increase chaos? Blackmail. If I were an Al Qaeda leader (and I'm not), I'd consider a major public announcement something like the following: "We have planted nuclear explosive devices in three mid-sized U.S. population centers. We will not tell you where, but two are on the east coast and one is in the Midwest. Our outrage is not with the American people; it is with the Bush family, for fifteen years of interference in the Middle East and the corruption of Saudi Arabia. We expect the American people to depose this evil dynasty. If John Kerry is elected, we will reveal to you the locations of these devices. If George W. Bush is re-elected, we will explode them. Oh, and we want all troops out of Iraq." And so forth.

Now this could all be bogus, of course -- if it's possible to actually get those devices in, so much the better, but all that's important is that it sound credible. And you may or may not care about the Bush family; that's just a plausible excuse. What's important is that it look like you are blackmailing the U.S. to swing the election.

Because what would be the Bush response? They'd almost certainly postpone the election, rather than give in to terrorists. And they'd investigate, and either find out that it's bogus or it isn't, and meanwhile the scandals and accusations would fly. Anyone who supported Kerry would suddenly be labeled a terrorist supporter. Anyone who supported Bush would be called a potential killer. By the time the election happened, the partisan divide would be so deep it might erupt in violence. And if it doesn't happen, you'd almost certainly see calls for insurrection. The democratic process is irreparably tainted, and the nation is hurt very, very deeply.

I see that as a plausible scenario. Of course I think it's even more likely that the terrorists would find it much easier to do nothing; we've already got plenty of chaos, after all, and we seem to be doing a fine job of hurting America ourselves. But if they were to try anything, I think they'd go for deeper FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) tactics rather than simply blowing something up and making noise.

Any thoughts?

#134 ::: Laurel Amberdine ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 11:21 AM:

Alice: You might let your roomate know that early or absentee votes are not counted early. They're counted after the polls have closed.

(Working as an election judge this election. I think it's going to be a very long day.)

#135 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 12:14 PM:
On Good Morning America, President Bush pushes the idea of a pre-election or an election day terrorist attack: "I am worried about it and we should be worried about it. On the other hand, I don't want people to say, that he knows something I don't know and therefore, something is imminent."

Talking Points Memo

#136 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 12:30 PM:

Steve - Wow, now that's a scary tinfoil-hat idea. And the beauty part is that it's equally effective if perpetrated by black-ops or by real terror groups.

And, quite honestly, I'm not sure how I woud react in such a situation.

I will take issue with the assertion that Al Qaeda et al don't care who's in office - the Bush administration has been the best recruiting/fund-raising tool they could ever have hoped for, so why wouldn't they want to see four more years?

Of course, your scenario also points out that the Bush administration has been very busy at confiscating Granny's toenail scissors at JFK, but has largely ignored our ports.

#137 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 01:31 PM:

Larry Brennan:
Steve - Wow, now that's a scary tinfoil-hat idea. And the beauty part is that it's equally effective if perpetrated by black-ops or by real terror groups.

I should reiterate again that I don't consider this likely. I'm not running off right now to buy ammunition and Geiger counters. This only occurred to me as I was reflecting on the 9/11 Commission's conclusion that the biggest fault behind 9/11 was a "failure of imagination."

I think we're in danger of that failure again -- everyone's worried that the terrorists will hijack an airliner or explode something, just because that's what they've always done in the past. And I wondered, why should they? So I started imagining.


I will take issue with the assertion that Al Qaeda et al don't care who's in office - the Bush administration has been the best recruiting/fund-raising tool they could ever have hoped for, so why wouldn't they want to see four more years?

Because their goal isn't to recruit or raise funds. (Yes, I know that eventually becomes the goal of every large organization, but I'm going to conservatively assume Al Qaeda has kept focus.) Rhetoric aside, their goal isn't to topple Western civilization, or to oppose freedom, or to spread death and fear throughout the world. That's Evil Overlord thinking.

Their goal is to get the U.S. and other non-Muslim factions out of the Middle East. That's it. Bush has been very bad for them in that regard. Kerry may be easier on them, or not. Nobody really knows yet. But if their eyes are still on the prize, they can't favor Bush. They certainly can't be seen to be favoring Bush, or they'd lose all that recruiting impetus you're talking about.

#138 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 01:58 PM:

Steve --

if that was their goal, they'd be promoting the hell out of alternatives to oil as a power source/storage medium.

Apocalyptic wingnuts are apocalyptic wingnuts; it doesn't much matter what they want the apocalypse to accomplish.

#139 ::: Mary Kay ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 02:18 PM:

We will, in fact, have both partisan Democratic and non-partisan poll monitors attempting to foil right wing intimidation and disinformation. The Democrats will have a bunch of people in place in Ohio and other important states. Also a group sponsored by People for the Amerian Way will be doing non-partian poll monitoring. I'm one of them. I wish I could have volunteered for Florida or Ohio, but timing made that impossible so I'll be in Phoenix.

We had a conference call training session for general information and will have a training session the Monday night before the election for state specific training. As I understand it, we'll be posted outside the polls with signs and t-shirts informing people they have the right to vote and suggesting they ask us if they had problems or were turned away. We'll have legal information pamphlets to hand out. We'll have cameras to take pictures if we find questionable circumstances and cell phones preprogrammed to reach both our headquarters and the staff of lawyers on call.

They're still accepting volunteers, and, of course, they can always use money.

http://www.electionprotection2004.org/

MKK

#140 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 02:35 PM:

In Saturday's WashPost, a brief article mentioned that a federal judge has barred the TrueVoteMD (anti-electronic voting) people from watching the poll. They have to be 100 feet away from the door and can't go inside. "I don't think it is too much to ask for 100 feet of peace," Motz said in denying TrueVoteMD's request to let its members work at the polls. "You ought to have just a brief moment for pause."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A55827-2004Oct22.html

#141 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 03:22 PM:

Sorry; when I posted the URL above, (http://newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/10/23/113806.shtml), I hadn't eaten all day, so didn't think to give it a context. It's a short article about how we know where bin Laden is, but local politics keep us from going in to get him.

If anything was going to convince me an October Surprise was in order, that's all I need.

Piscus - "Triangle area?"

I'm in Asheville. I've seen lots of Kerry/Edwards stickers (which overwhelm the Bush/Cheney ones by a large margin here), and my father-in-law has a sticker which reads, "Enron/Halliburton 2004." My next-door neighbors also have 3 amusing bumper stickers, but I can only remember 2: "Vote Bush in 2004. Because you've waited long enough for the Apocalypse," and "Give me liberty or give me . . . SECURITY?"

The only bumper sticker I have is one for my place of employment, and that's on my back window. I figure I'll have my car long enough for people to wonder why I'd want anyone voting for a President whose 2 terms are up.

Believe it or not, I'm not usually that optimistic, on either count.

#142 ::: Leslie ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 03:48 PM:

Mary Kay,

Re right-wing disinformation: I was doing GOTV calling to Ohio on Saturday, and I spoke to one woman who had been leaning Kerry, but was concerned about his support for "human cloning."

Turned out she'd gotten a mailer alleging that, along with some other lies. The force of print is still such that voters can be credulous; this woman's refrain, every time I gave her Kerry's true position, was, "Oh--I guess I read this thing wrong." I was able to gently point out that she needed to consider the source, and that, sadly, sometimes people send out information that isn't exactly accurate.

We passed the word along to the Ohio folk (I'm in California), so I'm hoping some of the last-minute cash can cover the cost of a follow-up mailing from the Kerry campaign, and that this voter will be able to correct her neighbors if any of them bring the phony charges up. But of course this sort of thing will be going on in every battleground state.

#143 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 04:08 PM:

I'm in favor of human cloning. Good thing I'm not running for President, though.

#144 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 04:21 PM:

I'm only in favor of cloning the nose...

#145 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 04:29 PM:

> "Vote Bush in 2004. Because you've waited
> long enough for the Apocalypse,"

oh, man, now THAT is funny.
(in a sick and twisted way)

Actually, I think another 4 years of Bush would have one really good benefit: It would show social scientists and historians a modern-day equivalent of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire in 8 short years. And you just can't get education like that in school these days.

#146 ::: Greg London ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 05:14 PM:

Bush relatives for Kerry: "because blood is thinner than oil"

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&ncid=1963&e=4&u=/ap/20041025/ap_on_el_pr/bush_cousins

#147 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 05:57 PM:

Turned out she'd gotten a mailer alleging that, along with some other lies. The force of print is still such that voters can be credulous; this woman's refrain, every time I gave her Kerry's true position, was, "Oh--I guess I read this thing wrong." I was able to gently point out that she needed to consider the source, and that, sadly, sometimes people send out information that isn't exactly accurate.

The last time I hear about flyers going outfull of vicious hatemonger lies, it was the white supremacist Army of God type of hatemongers (might not have been that particular group, but the general category and position on the political and social axes are the same terriroty) leafletting Massachusetts localities such as Sharon, which have a higher proportion of Jews than most localities.

#148 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 06:36 PM:

Alice: The Research Triangle--aka Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh. :)

Those bumper stickers of your neighbours are quite amusing. I saw an interesting one the other though, which while not quite as funny, still reminded me that not all religious folk are batting for the other team. A car next to mine at a local Greek restaurant had the stickers, "Christians for Kerry" and "Rapture in 2004: Kerry-ed Away".

Our neighbourhood is about 80 percent Kerry signs.

#149 ::: Alice Keezer ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 07:09 PM:

So it's not just Asheville?

Hmm. And I was beginning to think that if they counted only Asheville, Kerry would win NC. You mean his chances are a little better than that?

Oh, and the third sticker: "Without dissent, it's not America."

#150 ::: Alex ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2004, 09:33 PM:

I'm only in favor of cloning the nose...

Larry, does that mean you're a sleeper candidate?

Alex

#151 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 12:33 AM:

Walt Hopmans of Santa Barbara struck another blow against Rovism with this letter to the editor in today's Los Angeles Times:

"By constant misuse of the word, President Bush and the right wing have conspired to warp 'liberal' from a positive word to a negative word. Look at some of the basic dictionary definitions of the word: 'Free from prejudice or bigotry. Tolerant. Favoring a representative form of government rather than aristocracies, monarchies, or dictatorships.' If Bush and his party are against these ideals, they must not not be in charge of this nation!"

Neal Gabler's longer editorial "Karl Rove: America's Mullah" [surely on the wb somewhere] that appears today is much deeper, and closer to some of our thread.

#152 ::: Stephen Sample ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 12:44 AM:
Hmm. And I was beginning to think that if they counted only Asheville, Kerry would win NC. You mean his chances are a little better than that?

A little, yes. In addition to all the usual Democratic strongholds like Asheville (11th district) and the Triangle (4th), the 5th district (Iredell, Alexander, Wilkes, Watauga, Ashe, Alleghany, Surry, Yadkin, Davie, Stokes, Rockingham and Forsyth counties) might actually go Democratic this year, which is pretty unusual.

And Bush is polling below 50% statewide, which suggests that he's vulnerable. Of course, he's still polling 8-10 points ahead of Kerry, but (a) the MOE is 4, (b) the polling was for "likely voters", which may not be judged accurately, (c) Bush was 13 points ahead of Gore here in 2000, and (d) any incumbent below 50% is in at least a bit of trouble.

I'm hoping we can keep Edwards' senate seat Democratic as well, which is a bit less of a long shot. Burr is currently up by something like 3 points, with an MOE of 4.

#153 ::: Epacris ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 04:20 AM:
"the perks that Bush gets having the war go on indefinitely with no clear end, no clear enemy, and no clear attacks on US soil"
Yup. That's one of my links between today and 'Nineteen Eighty-four'.

(Scott Parkerson - unfortunately that one worked for John W. Howard)

#154 ::: PiscusFiche ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 07:33 AM:

Alice: I wish I could find this article I had, showing the breakdown of North Carolina votes by major metropolitan area. Asheville had decent percentages for Kerry as well, but besides that, the Triangle was the only spot where Kerry was ahead. I live right next to Duke though, so the percentages are skewed in his favour in my particular neighbourhood. (Actually, it's kinda funny--if you drive along Hope Valley Road, you can see all these Kerry-Edwards signs--EXCEPT on the one giant mansion off of the golf course, which has a Bush-Cheney sign.)

#155 ::: mayakda ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 10:29 AM:

What's the thread's general mood re All Saints Day 2004? I'm reading a certain guarded optimism.

I'm rarely guarded in my moods though, so I'm taking off my tinfoil hat for a second and replacing it with my 360-degree view rose-tinted shatter-proof glass dome helmet. My bet is that Kerry will win the popular vote by a landslide and the electoral college vote by a comfortable margin.

I'm tempted to say that's just my gut feeling, but seriously, it's because I think Bush has managed to unite a lot of people against him.

#156 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 11:10 AM:

Robert A. Heinlein predicted that the USA would be taken over by a Theocracy. Bush as Scudder?

#157 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 11:50 AM:

I wouldn't recommend this to anyone, but I recently saw a car with its back window absolutely plastered with Demo/anti-Bush stickers, leaving just a few little slits for the light to come in. Though I tend to think of Prescott AZ as a right-wing bastion (all those cowboy hats and big trucks), there's a Democratic headquarters on a street filled with Bush/Cheney signs and the main road to my little street is just about an avenue of Democrat signs and bunting. I notice that on the NY Times map this state is pink (weakly Republican), but at least we have a Democratic governor again. The vote for Congress and gubernatorial positions is nearly as important as the presidency, if we want to see a two-party system again in our lifetimes.

#158 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 12:04 PM:

Faren - good point. One of the things that the media seems to be missing is that whole red states like North Carolina are teetering on the razor's edge when it comes to locally elected positions. But, the inevitable Republican hegemony makes a better storyline, and its the storyline that management prefers.

Me, I'm planning on making a fortune selling Victory Gin.

#159 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 12:22 PM:

Jeremiah Scudder's reign didn't strike me as all that original after I read _Elmer Gantry_.

#160 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 01:11 PM:

What's the thread's general mood re All Saints Day 2004? I'm reading a certain guarded optimism.

That's pretty much how I feel. Under a certain set of reasonable assumptions (the majority of polls are accurate; undecideds break 2:1 for the challenger [supposedly the norm]; Nader gets a smaller vote than last time), Kerry wins. See electoral-vote.com's predicted final results for a detailed breakdown.

Obviously, any of those assumptions could be wrong, but then again the polls could be underestimating Kerry's support.

#161 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 01:35 PM:

...I think Bush has managed to unite a lot of people against him.

Well, he said he was a uniter, didn't he?

#162 ::: Clark E Myers ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 02:16 PM:

I don't know that Mr. "Heinlein predicted that the USA would be taken over by a Theocracy."(emphasis added) any more than I know Mr. Heinlein seriously expected a social credit system combined with reincarnation though I have of course read both books in various forms. No doubt others here have more insight into Mr. Heinlein's thoughts than I do.

To the extent that I believe any prophesying was intended I'll go with the common title as a warning rather than an expectation. I am more impressed by the closing logic of logic of empire applied to a 21st century American empire regardless of the state of Venus.

On the other hand I do know that Mr. Heinlein, at least in later years, foresaw a fractured nation - Friday style - as a necessary (if not sufficient) condition for the survival of a free state anywhere.

If I have to trade my guns for medical care I'd rather do it at the doctor's office than the police station.

#163 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 02:52 PM:

I'm surprised no one here is talking about yesterday's October Surprise.

I've actually been pretty generous toward Bush in his handling of Iraq, on the "War is a series of disasters leading to victory" premise. I've found plenty of reasons not to vote for him on moral grounds, but only one (Abu Ghreib) was about Iraq.

But this? Leaving 400 tons of explosives sitting around for anyone to wander by and pick up, ignoring all warnings about it, and upon finding out that somebody did, treating it as no big deal? How do you defend that?

This is good news for Kerry. Very bad news for anybody in Iraq.

#164 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 03:28 PM:

Steve - Yep, it is good news for Kerry, and his people are flogging the story as best as they can.

I do have to laugh at the munitions being stolen from a place called al Qa Qaa. Makes me wonder if it's anywhere near al Do Doo. And if the news people are making an extra effort to accent the second Qaa when they say it. (I don't watch TV news and missed the radio news this AM.)

Imagining a Beavis and Butthead routine... He said al Qa Qaa! Heh heh!

#165 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 03:46 PM:

The Bush spin is that the explosives were gone when we got there.

This isn't true, of course -- their "proof" of that is from from when the 101st made a pit stop, without any attempt made to search, and didn't see any. That was a week after the 3rd Infantry Division was there and found thousands of boxes of explosives on site.

So, despite Bush denials, it looks like tons of high explosives got looted.

I thought that the latest idea for the war was to keep weapons away from terrorists? Failure to put enough boots on the ground (thank you, Donald Rumsfeld!) and failure to think the whole thing through (thank you, Bush and Cheney!) has given someone enough explosives to carry out 4,000 attacks the size of Tim McVeigh's Oklahoma City blast.

Mission accomplished, dude. Mission accomplished.

#166 ::: Steve Eley ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 04:37 PM:

Jim MacDonald wrote:
The Bush spin is that the explosives were gone when we got there.

Source? I've been following this story on Google News and I haven't seen any such spin. No denials that the explosives were there, no denials that they left them unguarded.

All the response I've seen has been on the lines of: "But...but...Look at all the explosives we did destroy! And all these other explosives we've marked to be destroyed later! We're busy, guys! We can't possibly put a squad on every nuclear materials depot formerly monitored by the IAEA before we told them to piss off! And really, what's a measly 400 tons, anyway?"

#167 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 05:07 PM:

Tim, are we collecting already? There's still plenty of time to defrost bin Laden. Not to mention flatten Fallujah or discover 20 tonnes of ex-al Qaqaa explosives in a container in a major US port, say.

#168 ::: Tim Walters ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 05:40 PM:

Tim, are we collecting already?

Nope, just adding a data point. Obviously, a lot can happen in a week, OS or no.

#169 ::: NelC ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2004, 08:12 PM:

Oops. Sorry, wrong Tim. I meant Tim Kyger, way upthread, who was claiming his $5 already. Jumping the smoking gun, I thought.

#170 ::: David Goldfarb ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 02:51 AM:

Jeremiah Scudder's reign...

Nehemiah, not Jeremiah.

#171 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 03:10 AM:

I just got reminded by something here, of the joke about the person with the house in Hell and the house in Texas....

"Send Bush back to Texas" was the part of the thought chain I'll admit to in phosphor.

#172 ::: Kathryn Cramer ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 02:12 PM:

Time for the October surprise is slipping away. Perhaps the frozen cadaver of bin Laden was looted along with other things.

#173 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 02:24 PM:

Well, there's always Drudge's claim that there's another threatening videotape (held back by those liberal meanies at ABC) which could provide justification for a pre-election terror level elevation.

If they go to Red, they might even be able to keep out-of-state poll monitors from traveling. (I don't think this is at all likely, just modeling more in the latest tinfoil fashions - Alcoa's latest, with a clean cut and very masculine lines.)

#174 ::: Lori ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2004, 06:34 PM:

I'd google more to find out if this has been reported anywhere or if it's an isolated incident, but I'm afraid they'll come after me next.

Unless it's a joke - but given that high school students have been threatened for exercising their right to free speech while trying to attend Bush appearances at schools, one can't be too careful.

#175 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 08:42 PM:

Stefan - Whew! You're right. I feel so much safer now that Homeland Security has wrestled that possible threat to our national productivity to the ground and beaten it silly.

#176 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 11:16 PM:

Bush wants the poor and indigent cared for in community healthcare facilities... I wonder how many poor and indigent people are in his neighborhood treated in any healthcare facility he patronizes???

============

ABC News at 6:30 PM showed videotape of US soldiers BREAKING INTO the bunkers at Al-Qaqaa, which site had been SEALED by the International Atomic Energy Agency, and showed cannister after cannister of high explosives in them.... all that material that the Chief Thief claims got squirreled away -before- the US troops arrived.... yeah, sure, taken out of bunkers that were sealed UNTIL the 10st Airborne broke into them, and LEFT THEM WIDE OPEN, and unpatrolled....

#177 ::: Paula Lieberman ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2004, 11:20 PM:

I forgot to add, ABC softpedalled it, WAY softpedalled it.... it was clear and unmistakeable that those bunkers had been sealed and locked and the contents of them INTACT and sealed when the the videotape started rolling....

#178 ::: Faren Miller ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 11:38 AM:

Has anyone noted upthread that Bush seems to be out campaigning this week, rather than tucked away smugly in Crawford? Maybe his aura of papal infallibility has some holes in it.

But that link to Dean's view of the post-election time provides a scarily plausible scenario, perhaps the worst case of a shaky nation (not counting the Civil War)since the election of 1800 -- see cover story in the latest Smithsonian mag.

#179 ::: Jonathan Vos Post ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 12:06 PM:

USA > Domestic Politics
from the October 29, 2004 edition

A month of mini 'October surprises'

A flurry of revelations, from Iraq's missing explosives to the flu vaccine shortage, have touched this year's presidential race.

By Linda Feldmann | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

"WASHINGTON – On the eve of a presidential contest, late-breaking events can have an outsize impact. While nothing has risen to the level of a blockbuster 'October surprise' - the term coined from the 1980 race, when Democrats feared Ronald Reagan and his friends were secretly arranging to delay the release of the US hostages in Iran until after the election - this has been an October of mini-surprises."

"Four days of charges and countercharges over the disappearance of 380 tons of explosives in Iraq have given Sen. John Kerry the kind of final-week run every challenger craves. Even if it's impossible to pinpoint whether Senator Kerry is winning votes over the issue, President Bush is on the defensive, knocked off-message...."

Then there's the new FBI inquiry about Halliburton, since this newspaper article...

Perhaps an infinite number of minisurprises, microsurprises, and nanosurprises as we asymptotically approach election day, a sort of Zeno's Paradox of Politics?


#180 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 01:08 PM:

JVP - Yeah, but in the context of the paradox Achilles never caught the tortoise.

Nice analogy. But I'm looking forward to seeing Kerry's footprints all over Bush's tush come Wednesday morning, so I'm keeping my happy helmet on for the next four days.

Must! Think! Happy! Thoughts!

#181 ::: Bill Higgins-- Beam Jockey ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 02:52 PM:

Four days of charges and countercharges over the disappearance of 380 tons of explosives in Iraq...

That's a rather unfortunate choice of phrase.

#182 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2004, 04:19 PM:

Osama yo Mama is appearing on Al Jazera right now (Friday October 29th 2004), lecturing one and all about the upcoming U.S. election.

Pay up. You've got my address.

#183 ::: Naa-Dei Nikoi ::: (view all by) ::: October 30, 2004, 03:14 AM:

Pay up? Osama bin Laden's showed up all right, but not on ice, not at the behest of the Bush camp and to all appearances healthy, tanned and rested. Terrorist appears on own initiative to mock presidential campaign(s) isn't the same as presidential campaign produces terrorist in order to gain political advantage. Have 10% of bet for mentioning Osama. :)

One thing's for sure, Osama will be laughing at the spin all the way to election day. Bleh.


#184 ::: Anthony VanWagner ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2004, 11:18 PM:

This is my 2nd favorite conspiracy blog.

#185 ::: mythago ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2004, 11:33 AM:

Assuming Osama doesn't appear by the end of today, I'm happy for my $5 to be donated to a worthy group that will help mop up the Bush-induced mess.

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