Back to previous post: Keymasters of the Universe, a novel

Go to Making Light's front page.

Forward to next post: Mr. McCain’s State of the Union

Subscribe (via RSS) to this post's comment thread. (What does this mean? Here's a quick introduction.)

October 21, 2008

What kind of “Election Day unrest” are we talking about?
Posted by Teresa at 09:12 PM * 354 comments

I’ve been wondering whether stuff like this would happen.

From an article, Police prepare for unrest, published today in The Hill, which is the leading newspaper of Congress and Capitol Hill:

POLICE PREPARE FOR UNREST
by Alexander Bolton

Police departments in cities across the country are beefing up their ranks for Election Day, preparing for possible civil unrest and riots after the historic presidential contest.

Public safety officials said in interviews with The Hill that the election, which will end with either the nation’s first black president or its first female vice president, demanded a stronger police presence.

Bolton is confecting one of those disingenuous “balanced presentations” that falsify the real story. No one would riot over the election of a female Vice President, if that was all there was to it.
Some worry that if Barack Obama loses and there is suspicion of foul play in the election, —
There’ll be more than “suspicion of foul play” going on if McCain’s declared the winner.

Semi-digression: Have you been following FiveThirtyEight: Electoral Projections Done Right? You should. Honest. It’s a blog about election polling statistics, and far more interesting than that description makes it sound.

It’s written by Nate Silver, who started out as a Sabermetrician (as in the Bill James Baseball Abstracts) and Managing Partner of Baseball Prospectus. If you aren’t familiar with the sub-universe of baseball statistics, the takeaway is that Nate Silver has wizard-level statistical chops. For instance, FiveThirtyEight.com runs 10,000 election-simulation computer models every day, “in order to provide a continually up-to-date assessment of probability for electoral outcomes.”

For some time now, the analyses at FiveThirtyEight.com have been showing Obama with a double-digit lead on McCain. Of the 10,000 election-simulation models FiveThirtyEight.com ran today, 93.4% showed Obama winning, as opposed to 6.6% for McCain.

Furthermore, indications are that the tide of support for Obama is still coming in, and that McCain’s tide, low though it is, is still going out. A couple of pertinent news stories today: (1.) The very respectable Pew Research Poll has reported Growing Doubts About McCain’s Judgment, Age and Campaign Conduct; Obama’s Lead Widens: 52%-38%. From Taegan Goddard’s concise version:

Pew Research: McCain Collapses in Latest National Poll

A new Pew Research poll shows Sen. Barack Obama holds his widest national margin yet over Sen. John McCain, 53% to 39%, among likely voters.

Key findings: “Obama’s gains notwithstanding, a widespread loss of confidence in McCain appears to be the most significant factor in the race at this point. Many more voters express doubts about McCain’s judgment than about Obama’s: 41% see McCain as ‘having poor judgment,’ while just 29% say that this trait describes Obama. Fewer voters also view McCain as inspiring than did so in mid-September (37% now, 43% then). By contrast, 71% of voters continue to think of Obama as inspiring.”

“In addition, Sarah Palin appears to be a continuing—if not an increasing—drag on the GOP ticket. Currently, 49% of voters express an unfavorable opinion of Palin, while 44% have a favorable view.”

(2.) The New York Times reports that the McCain campaign appears to be giving up on Maine, New Hampshire, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Colorado. In all five states, McCain’s people are stretching out the ad buys they’ve already made. Basically, the advertising time in those states that they’d originally bought for use during the upcoming week is being spread out over the next two weeks, which are the final weeks of the campaign.

(Aside: Does this mean we get to relax? IT DOES NOT. We still have to turn out every last legitimate vote we can. The larger the margin, the harder it will be for malfeasants to magically transform everything we know about voter intentions in this race into an inexplicable victory for McCain.)

Going back now to that story in The Hill:

Some worry that if Barack Obama loses and there is suspicion of foul play in the election, violence could ensue in cities with large black populations. Others based the need for enhanced patrols on past riots in urban areas (following professional sports events) and also on Internet rumors.
This is setting up a fraudulent racist narrative: that any unrest on Election Day will consist of inner-city blacks rioting because the black candidate didn’t win. Some of the things that narrative fails to take into account:

—The most notable recent instance of rioting while an election was in progress did not involve a local urban black population. It was in Florida in 2000, and the rioters were known Republican campaign operatives brought into the state on the national Republican Party’s nickel.

—The most recent instances of campaign-related violence or threats of violence were last week’s break-in and trashing of the Boston and Seattle offices of ACORN, and phoned-in death threats made to ACORN volunteers elsewhere. These happened in the wake of McCain, Palin, and the McCain organization making false and inflammatory statements about ACORN voter registration drives. The actual perpetrators of the break-ins and death threats are not yet know, but you’d have to be a drooling idiot to think they were Democrats.

—If Obama supporters take to the streets following declaration of a McCain victory, they’re not all going to be urban blacks, and they won’t just be protesting that the black candidate lost. What they’re going to be protesting is blatant election fraud.

—You cannot assume that all instances of protest are going to be illegal.

—You cannot assume that everyone who appears to be upset is a rioter or protester. They might well be campaign workers who are pursuing legitimate tasks and acting within their rights.

—If you assume that blacks who are out on the street during a time of unrest should not be allowed to continue going about their business, you’re going to keep a lot of citizens from voting for Obama.

—Trying to start Election Day riots, in the hope that riot suppression measures will disproportionately affect potential Obama voters, is probably one of the more effective tactics available to McCain’s campaign operatives. It’s clear at this point that normal methods of persuasion don’t work, if what you’re trying to do is persuade people that voting for McCain is a good idea.

Democratic strategists and advocates for black voters say they understand officers wanting to keep the peace, but caution that excessive police presence could intimidate voters.
“Democratic strategists and advocates for black voters” is a mealymouthed way to suggest that this is only an issue for Democratic ward heelers and black community leaders; i.e., it’s just a partisan brangle. It’s not. It’s an issue for all the citizens of the republic.
Sen. Obama (Ill.), the Democratic nominee for president, has seen his lead over rival Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) grow in recent weeks, prompting speculation that there could be a violent backlash if he loses unexpectedly.
“Loses unexpectedly” is a euphemism for “loses under circumstances that make it impossible to believe the election was honest.”
Cities that have suffered unrest before, such as Detroit, Chicago, Oakland and Philadelphia, will have extra police deployed.
Is that code for “cities with large black populations”?
In Oakland, the police will deploy extra units trained in riot control, as well as extra traffic police, and even put SWAT teams on standby.

“Are we anticipating it will be a riot situation? No. But will we be prepared if it goes awry? Yes,” said Jeff Thomason, spokesman for the Oakland Police Department.

“I think it is a big deal — you got an African-American running and [a] woman running,” he added, in reference to Obama and GOP vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin. “Whoever wins it, it will be a national event. We will have more officers on the street in anticipation that things may go south.”

As I said at the start, no one would riot just because a female Vice President got elected. If the ticket that has a female candidate for Vice President is declared to have won, and there are riots, it will be because the rioters believe the election was stolen. Again.
The Oakland police last faced big riots in 2003 when the Raiders lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the Super Bowl. Officials are bracing themselves in case residents of Oakland take Obama’s loss badly.
I find it offensive that Alexander Bolton is equating potential voter protests with fans being upset over a lost football game. I likewise find it offensive that he dismisses that potential reaction “taking the loss badly.” We’re talking about people protesting the abrogation of their most basic political rights.
Political observers such as Hilary Shelton and James Carville fear that record voter turnout could overload polling places on Election Day and could raise tension levels.

Shelton, the director of the NAACP’s Washington bureau, said inadequate voting facilities is a bigger problem in poor communities with large numbers of minorities.

“What are local election officials doing to prepare for what people think will be record turnout at the polls?” said Shelton, who added that during the 2004 election in Ohio voters in predominantly black communities had to wait in line six to eight hours to vote.

“On Election Day, if this continues, you may have some tempers flare; we should be prepared to deal with that but do it without intimidation,” said Shelton, who added that police have to be able to maintain order at polling stations without scaring voters, especially immigrants from “police states.”

Shelton’s right. The important point is that police need to be prepared to suppress disorder without suppressing voters. If they haven’t made plans already, they need to start figuring out now how they’re going to tell the difference.

Addenda:

Jim Henley predicted this a month ago:

Here’s what I think is the ultimate potential ratfuck if the GOP thinks they need it: The weekend before the election, Homeland Security or some pliable Republican governor in a swing state, someone official or semi-official, announces that, with the polls indicating a possible Obama defeat, law enforcement has been directed to prepare for possible riots in major cities on election night. The slightly subtler version of the same maneuver is to leak word that such an alert is under consideration - possibly even that authority was denied because of “political correctness.” Such a maneuver could help swing anxious white voters against Obama at the last minute.
Suddenly, I see why the Obama campaign is exhorting every voter in states that allow early voting to get out there and do it now. When Obama says “things could happen on that day,” his examples are things like your car breaking down. Which is a good argument for voting early. But you know, things really could happen on that day.

More:

Larry Brennan points out an article from the Wall Street Journal opinion section which downplays the accuracy of polling. I can’t believe it’s in good faith. All polls are inaccurate. The trick is to know how inaccurate they are, and in what ways.

The last time I saw something like this was during the run-up to the 2000 election, when the accuracy of exit polls was suddenly being dismissed in exactly the same way that the accuracy of polling is now being dismissed by the WSJ.

Princeton, West Virginia: McCain Supporters Heckle Early Voters, Call Them ‘Cheaters’.

Journalists covering a McCain rally in Virginia get harassed by whipped-up McCain supporters.

Operatives hired by the Republican Party have been suppressing Latino voter registrations in Nevada.

The GOP is trying other vote suppression tactics in Nevada as well.

A new campaign pamphlet sent out to voters in Pennsylvania presents Palin as a centrist, and the figurehead of the ticket.

RFK Jr. and Greg Palast have a major new article in Rolling Stone: Block the Vote: Will the GOP’s campaign to deter new voters and discard Democratic ballots determine the next president? To accompany it, they’ve also put out a comic book: Steal Back Your Vote.

McCain’s smear robocalls, which he’s deployed in multiple states, are so disreputable and inflammatory that Republican candidates and officials, including senators and other notable lifelong Republicans, are calling for a stop to them. McCain blew them off.

Comments on What kind of "Election Day unrest" are we talking about?:
#1 ::: janetl ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:42 AM:

Can't say I'm surprised, especially after what happened at the RNC convention. We don't have to worry about intimidation at the polls in Oregon, thankfully, because we've got our splendid vote by mail system.

#2 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:47 AM:

So much hatred has been stirred up that it's hard to know where it will burst out. Violence on election day seems near-certain, but it's going to be in unexpected places. I think you hominids need to be more concerned with the weeks after the election, though.

#3 ::: Paula Helm Murray ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:00 AM:

As those who have read my opinions before on this, this scares the f@ck out of me.

I've had a running paranoic thought that the Bushies would implement a made-up terrorist attack or something of the sort that would cause him to declare martial law and postpone/overthrow the election with martial law. And that elections would occur when they deemed it 'appropriate.'

I'm tempted to just ignore news/blogs/etc. until after election day. But I'm a news junkie and I'll just have to take my Xanax and deal.

#4 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:05 AM:

The Wall Street Journal has written another article attempting to downplay the accuracy of polling.

I'm trying to avoid the tinfoil hat this time around, but if this election gets stolen, our republic is pretty much over.

#5 ::: Dena Shunra ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:09 AM:

I need a keyboard shortcut for "I'm scared".

#6 ::: meredith ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:18 AM:

The sad thing is, I find myself *expecting* the election to be stolen. That is, if the polls don't turn out to have been utterly munged by the Bradley Effect. :/

#7 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:19 AM:

janetl @1- my county in Washington is also voting by mail; my husband will be dropping our ballots in the Tumwater City Hall box tomorrow.

And yes, if feels safer than going to the polling place used to, although my 22 year-old-son, who went with us every time from when he was an infant, feels a bit cheated.


#8 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:26 AM:

It's really frightening to watch the Republican party right now. Every time they've been presented with the choice between getting caught and punished or sinking further into perfidy, they've chosen perfidy. The stakes keep getting higher and higher: at this point, it's the Republican party utterly destroyed, or the United States as a single-party totalitarian dictatorship. I think I know which option they're angling for.

#9 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:29 AM:

Damn. I hope to God you're just being paranoid. If you're not, whoever is planning any of the three or four obvious lines that lead there[1] is either unaware that they're playing with sweating dynamite, or doesn't care.

I'm pretty sure you are just being paranoid here, for a number of reasons. The big cities mentioned in your quoted part are all controlled by Democrats, who aren't likely to knowingly help put Republicans into office. Gaming the counting rules in one state, or even some kind of serious fraud in one big state, can help you win a very close election. But McCain has to win in several states where he's now losing. Overt fraud in Pennsylvania and Virgina and Ohio and Florida still don't win the election if Missouri goes for Obama.

If someone is crazy enough to try this, they have a real chance of wrecking the country--something W, for all his efforts, hasn't really come too close to managing yet. Anyone doing so has to understand the cost of failure--if the fraud fails cleanly (say, Missouri goes for Obama despite obviously fraudulent victories in a bunch of states), they get to go to prison. If it fails messily, they probably don't make it there.

[1] Brazen election fraud (returns massively contradicting all polling data), some kind of executive action to shut down or "annul" the election, provocateurs starting/creating riots to suppress voter turnout selectively.

#10 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:47 AM:

If Republicans are going to try to start riots to suppress the vote, ground zero is Philadelphia. Reports are that McCain's going to go heavily into Pennsylvania, in a last-ditch effort to flip a Kerry state (and desperately hope that everything else goes his way). It's all he's got left as an even vaguely viable strategy, and even that is pretty much hopeless; PA's trending further and further toward Obama and shows no sign of stopping. And, of course, even if by some miracle or catastrophe McCain gets PA he could still lose, because of the opportunity cost of the PA push to the efforts in other states.

But the thing about Pennsylvania is that the Democratic vote there is heavily concentrated around Philadelphia. In 2004, practically the whole state was red or purple except for that one corner, and Kerry took the state. So the only way Republicans can possibly take Pennsylvania is massive suppression of the Democratic vote in and around Philadelphia.

But... I don't think it's going to work. And I do have to say that reading this blog makes me think that (even after 2006) Democrats have forgotten even how to feel like they're winning something. We've been reduced to dreading the Monster at the End of This Book.

#11 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:06 AM:

Matt @ #10, at the risk of being obvious, "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they aren't out to get you."

There's an element of the Republican party which really can't bear the thought of a Democrat in the White House. Whether that element could manifest itself in violence is the question. I hope not.

#12 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:15 AM:

albatross @ 9

A lot of the crazies in the Republican Party and the Bush Administration have shown a really poor ability to foresee problems with their grand plans, even when said problems are pointed out to them. And people who have a lot riding on a gamble are frequently unable to accept the possibility of losing.

This isn't to say that I believe that there will be a concerted and conspiratorial attempt to steal the election on a national basis, but I can't say I disbelieve, either. I'm still having trouble believing in 2003, let alone the years since.

#13 ::: Larry Brennan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:52 AM:

Oh, and the Secretary of State of Ohio has received death threats, but the media is more interested in various attacks against her website.

I guess that's what happens when you stand up to Republican attempts to suppress voting.

#14 ::: Luthe ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:05 AM:

Quite honestly, I think any rioting/post-election violence will come from the frothing extremists who seem to be showing up more and more at McCain/Palin rallies. They're the one openly and actively calling for violence, which even the most radical Obama supporters haven't done.

I think in the end it comes down to the fact that while Democrats consider McCain to be loathsome and will fight disenfranchisement and voter fraud tooth and nail, we don't actively see him as an enemy to be (physically) destroyed. The other side, however, has no such compunctions.

#15 ::: Madeline F ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:41 AM:

Oakland?! If we were rioting, it would be in an attempt to wake up our good-for-nothing do-nothing part-timer mayor. And we're pretty chill about that, so.

I mean, come on. What, we're the Bay Area's also-ran... Except this year? Usually San Francisco and Berkeley suck up all the protestors... But not this November? What the HELL.

(Oh, and speaking of California: Prop 8, where the majority rewrites the constitution to ban marriage for the gay minority, is currently passing. Please, if you have a few hours, or a few bucks, volunteer! Or donate. Phone banking is not that scary at all, and acting is more satisfying than fearing.)

#16 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:52 AM:

& if you take those calling for (or those planning to put in place) massive police presence on voting day at their word, it doesn't make any sense.

why would people be rioting over a "lost" election on voting day before the results can be tallied?

if you really need police to quell riots, it'd be the day after elections, or at earliest around midnight the night of.

paula,

I'm tempted to just ignore news/blogs/etc. until after election day.

i'm thinking the same, after all, i've sent in my absentee ballot. sometimes believing the worst of your opponent can lead to positive steps, like how much the obama campaign is putting into voter registration & ground-level volunteering, to make sure voters, especially first-time voters are motivated, informed, & have everything they need against all the possible disenfranchisement tactics.

but with stories like this, i don't see what i'm supposed to do, or what anyone who wants fair elections is supposed to do. it just makes me feel all-too-familiarly hopeless (matt mcirvin, i think your observation is uncomfortably apt).

#17 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:06 AM:

Matt #10: we* know how to feel like we're winning something. And we know when. It's when we've actually won something.

"...because of what, Bonnie?"

"Tempting fate."

The better our odds get, the less chance the Republicans have of winning an honest or even a fixed election, the more necessary it is to consider that they might try something else, something much worse than Diebold hacking. There may be a monster at the end of the book right up to the moment when we turn that last page, and we do not rule out that possibility.

"...because of what, Bonnie?"

"Tempting fate."

We haven't won till we've won. When the election is conclusively called for Obama and the casualty count (if any--see, I can be hopeful) stops rising, then we've won. Till then, the chickens stay uncounted, the champagne or equivalent stays in the bottle and the day of jubilee is on hold.

"...because of what, Bonnie?"

"Tempting fate."

*Okay, I'm a Brit, but if I weren't I'd be voting Obama. He's not perfect, but America and the world we share with it needs to be protected from what the Republican party has willingly turned itself into.

#18 ::: Rich McAllister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:11 AM:

When you're reading FiveThirtyEight also check into Princeton Election Consortium where Sam Wang occasionally complains that because he's an actual statistician he can get the same results as Nate without having to run the simulations. I have enough math left to agree with Sam, but I have enough doubt in my remnant math abilities to be comforted that Nate's simulations agree.

Oh, and TNH mentions "an article from the Wall Street Journal opinion section ...I can’t believe it’s in good faith." I've read the WSJ, including the opinion section, almost every day for the past 25 years (it is, in a sense, my home town newspaper.) I can assure Teresa that things on the WSJ opinion section should not be presumed to be in good faith; I cannot count the times where "facts" proclaimed there were contradicted by news stories in the same edition.

#19 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:12 AM:

It has been observed to me that there are actually two narratives out there right now:

1) If Obama loses, black people will run amok (see above).

2) If Obama wins, black people will run amok (see also: the various "Obama isn't good for whites" opinions videotaped outside McCain rallies in the past couple of weeks).


My comment: Well if black people running amok is inevitable, then why don't white people just lie back and enjoy it?

Maybe we'll be calling for "that marvelous ape" after it's all over.

#20 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:17 AM:

Two weeks to the election?

Oh, fcuk!

There isn't going to be anything but politics on the intertubes.

I think I'll pull the ADSL connection on my router, and settle down to write escapist pulp seaplane adventure, with a leavening of CGI furry p0rn.

Or maybe I shall concentrate on the CGI furry porn?

But, for those preparing for the collapse of the Republic, there's a useful knot shown at the bottom of this page.

An there's always Wikipedia to tell you more than you'd ever want to know.


(The worrying thought is that people will think that I might not be joking...)

#21 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:25 AM:

According to The Guardian, there's a Ballot debacle predicted for November 4.

Those who care to read the article, and are in a position to do something constructive, might care to try heading such trouble off at the pass?

The rest of us will all be very grateful.

#22 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:25 AM:

I just read that Wall Street Journal piece. I'd like to point out that in it, Mr Barone writes: "If Mr. Obama gets the votes of any perceptible number of undecideds (or if any perceptible number of them don't vote) he'll win a popular vote majority, something only one Democratic nominee, Jimmy Carter, has done in the last 40 years."

As I recall, and as a quick web serach using Google has confirmed (just in case this Brit's memory was faulty), Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000. So Mr. Barone is either deliberately lying to distort the picture or has an astonishingly bad memory as well as an inability to look up facts.

Anyone like to guess which?

#23 ::: Rich McAllister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:36 AM:

Ah, I found the quote that was buzzing around in my head @18: "The Wall Street Journal editors lie without consequence." (Vince Foster, who killed himself a few days later; that was the consequence.)

#24 ::: Doug ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 05:40 AM:

I'm thinking that if Ukrainians, what with the legacy of communism and all that, can upend obvious fraud (as they did in 2004), then certainly Americans, with 200-plus years of republican experience, can do the same. And this year I'm not exactly seeing evidence that the McCain people and other Republicans are competent enough to pull off the kind of stunt that it would take to push back the Democratic tide. TNH's words about the time to relax are exactly right, but let's take the frisson of apocalyptica and put it into constructive action.

#25 ::: Neil Willcox ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 06:11 AM:

It’s a blog about election polling statistics, and far more interesting than that description makes it sound.

I have to say, I find it exactly as interesting s it sounds, but then I like statistics.

#18 ...Sam Wang occasionally complains that because he's an actual statistician he can get the same results as Nate without having to run the simulations.

Hooray! Another election stats site!

Also why do maths when you can get your computer to do 10,000 times more work for you?

(In all seriousness, there's something to be said for both methodologies; that they're generally in agreement is good)

#26 ::: Daniel Klein ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 06:44 AM:

dena @#5: Try Quickphrase! There's a free trial version with space for up to 20 phrases which you can conveniently trigger with combinations of ctrl/shift/alt+other keys. So Ctrl+Shift+S could paste "I'm scared", while Alt-Shift-1 might paste "I don't want to live in a police state". Furthermore, it has the option to auto-expand abbreviations, so you can just type omgtatammbpr and Quickphrase would auto-expand that for you into "Oh my god, they are taking away my most basic political rights!"

Nothing like convenience in the face of a looming political dystopia!

#27 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 07:17 AM:

meredith @ 6:
... if the polls don't turn out to have been utterly munged by the Bradley Effect. :/

In skimming through the Princeton Election Consortium web site (thanks to Rich McAllister for pointing it out!), I found the following post:

The disappearing Bradley effect

It's a short summary of a recent paper which looks at the gaps between polling data and election results. Basically, US Senate and state governor elections since 1995 have shown no sign of a "Bradley Effect" (aka "Wilder Effect").

#28 ::: Andy Brazil ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 07:25 AM:

So the game plan is riots at selected polling stations initiated by paid rethuglians to stop voting, plus hacking the voting machines. Plus deliberate delaying tactics to slow down voting.

Covered by a "the polls were wrong" meme in the media. Resistence is blamed on "the blacks rioting cos their guy didn't win", and martial law is declared in democrat cities.

Any thoughts on what happens next? Do people just take it, or are we looking at civil war?

#29 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 07:30 AM:

janetl @1: We don't have to worry about intimidation at the polls in Oregon, thankfully, because we've got our splendid vote by mail system.

Then again, the more time ballots spend in the mail or in some office or storage room somewhere, the more time there is for doing various fishy things with them, and the more excuses are possible if something should look suspicious.

dcd @22: By "popular vote majority", he might have meant 50 percent plus x- if I remember correctly, Gore just got the biggest share of the popular vote (I think somewhere between 48.1 and 49.9).

#30 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 07:47 AM:

I find it offensive that Alexander Bolton is equating potential voter protests with fans being upset over a lost football game. I likewise find it offensive that he dismisses that potential reaction “taking the loss badly.” We’re talking about people protesting the abrogation of their most basic political rights.

One of the central themes of the media worldview is that everything is normal. No matter what happens--torture, economic crisis, indifference to disaster--the media see life going on as usual. Everything looks normal, doesn't it? Things happen, and then other things happen, and they're all pretty much just things. Nothing to get excited about, folks! It's just more news, like that tax cut we told you about last spring; in a couple of weeks you'll forget all about it, and so will we.

To the media, people who have opinions and care about what's going on around them just look nuts. I suspect that, to a lot of media types, people who care about the outcome of elections really are indistinguishable from the kind of people who are way too into their local football team.

#31 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 07:52 AM:

Also, this story might be relevant:

The Wisconsin Republican Party has issued a call for volunteer poll watchers for Election Day, and the criteria is a little specific, seeking especially folks made of sterner stuff.
Jonathan Waclawski, the party's election day operations, wrote in a Sept. 8 e-mail that he needed contact information for people "who would potentially be willing to volunteer ... at inner city (more intimidating) polling places. Particularly, I am interested in names of Milwaukee area veterans, policemen, security personnel, firefighters etc. ... If you have any connections with such organizations, please pass that information on."

Apparently the Wisconsin Republican party expects to see polling stations set up in seedy bars, abandoned warehouses, and opium dens.

#32 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 08:06 AM:

I live in Philadelphia. Thanks for cheering me up.

Other than that, I don't think the Bradley effect is going to be a big player. Obama hasn't just been getting white people saying they'll vote for him in polls, he's been getting a lot of enthusiastic support.

#33 ::: John Chu ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 08:15 AM:

I want to second Teresa's aside.

It's clear that the nonsense about ACORN is intended to:
1. Depress voter turn out
2. Lay the groundwork for bogus legal challenges.
(I find it ironic, BTW, that this is coming from Republicans. They complain of "judicial activism" in the case of legitimate legal challenges.)

They are attempting to depress voter turn out because shenanigans with voting machines only work when the election is close. The conventional wisdom large voter turnout has favored Democrats. People with a vested interest in McCain are doing whatever they think they need to do to make the election close. Maybe we'll have a replay of NH a few years ago where Republicans made robocalls telling people their voting place has changed.

So, yeah, we can't take the results for granted. Literally anything can happen. We need to make sure that the margin of victory is so large and so convincing that the shenanigans look obviously like the attempts at voter fraud that they are. [I find it depressing that I'm assuming there will be shenanigans.]

BTW, one thing I like about the Princeton Election Consortium is that they have an electoral map where state sizes are proportional with the number of electors they have. The physical area maps are misleading because we have a bunch of physically large stages with few electoral votes. {But, yeah, the FAQ is not particularly generous about doing simulations.]


#34 ::: irenedelse ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 08:32 AM:

Meanwhile, a certain "anti-American" group endorsed McCain:
Al-Qaeda supporters back John McCain for president

(Well, kinda. They certainly would welcome the event, for sure.)

Via Greg Laden.

#35 ::: sburnap ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 08:34 AM:

Deb #22: The WSJ means that Obama looks to win over 50% of the popular vote. Gore got 48.4% to Bush's 47.9%. (Third parties getting the rest.) You can win the popular vote without getting a popular vote majority. Clinton did this twice.

Jimmy Carter got 50.1% of the vote when he ran against Ford.

#36 ::: Trevin Matlock ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 08:38 AM:

dcb @ 22

There is a difference between winning the popular vote and winning the popular vote MAJORITY. I believe the article is correct that no Democrat has won more than 50% of the vote since Carter.

#37 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 08:39 AM:

No one thinks that "The Hill" is *the* big newspaper of Capitol Hill except the editors and publishers of "The Hill." "Roll Call" is, has, and will always be The One.

Amateur.

#38 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 08:50 AM:

Republicans make a lot of the fact that no Democrat has won with a popular-vote majority since Carter. That's mostly because Clinton's elections, which were much more solid electoral wins than George W. Bush's, both involved a substantial popular vote for H. Ross Perot.

The lore is that Perot's spoiler effect threw it to Clinton, though in fact there is no evidence that this is the case and some evidence that it didn't. Some Republicans spent the 1990s insisting that this circumstance made Clinton in some sense illegitimate, which is pretty funny in hindsight.

(I'd thought that no Republican had since GHWB, but actually George W. Bush got 50.73% in 2004, officially at least. Personally I suspect he actually did get a popular majority, but these sub-1% distinctions make it pretty hard to claim overwhelming mandates.)

#39 ::: dcb ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 08:55 AM:

Raphael @ 29
Okay, thanks for the clarification.

I still find that the tone of his article is very negative re. Obama, with careful use of phrasing - the quote I gave before could imply that it would be extremely unusual for a Democrat to get a majority of the popular vote, therefore if the official results show he didn't that is what should be expected - whatever the polls say. Just further on, there's "Harry Truman was trailing Thomas E. Dewey by 5% in the last Gallup poll in 1948, conducted between Oct. 15 and 25 -- the same margin by which Mr. Obama seems to be leading now." note the "seems to be" for Obama rather than "the same margin by which the polls show Mr Obama to be leading now." Very interesting phrasing. Then there's all the stuff about the inaccuracies of exit polls - without any evidence to prove that it was the exit polls rather than the official results that were wrong.

I totally agree with Teresa's note about how important it is for as many people as possible to get out and vote for Obama so that the vote will be so overwhelmingly in his favour that it will be more difficult for foul play to go unquestioned.

#40 ::: Nangleator ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 08:58 AM:

#3, "...the Bushies would implement a made-up terrorist attack..."
#10, "If Republicans are going to try to start riots to suppress the vote, ground zero is Philadelphia."
#3, "...declare martial law and postpone/overthrow the election..."

I don't like where this leads me. I really don't like the term "ground zero."

Obama isn't going near Philly soon, is he?

#41 ::: Jackmormon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:00 AM:

I'm looking forward to a massive celebratory street party in my majority-black neighborhood. Impromptu brass bands, dancing in the streets, singing in joy until the wee hours. Perhaps the police are getting squeamish about that possibility also?

#42 ::: Scott ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:03 AM:

One problem I have with this article is the asumption that Obama is going to win, and that any other result could only be possible due to fraud.

Yeah, right now it looks really good for Obama, and if things don't change pretty drastically, I can't see how he can lose. But we've got a couple weeks to the election and we do not know what is going to happen in those 2 weeks. While I certianly don't expect a Perot like meltdown, the future hasn't happened yet.

Also, considering how badly the students at UMD tore up collge park when they won March Madness a few years back, being prepared for CELEBRATORY rioting isn't necesarally a bad idea.

All I can hope that everything is calm, that the election is decicive enough to leave no doubt, andthat whoever wins will do a good job for us all.

#43 ::: Jim ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:06 AM:

Hate to stir up this particular cesspool, but by questioning the integrity of the Right, you raise equal questions about the integrity of the Left. If the Republicans can commit massive election fraud, so can the Democrats.

Why, then, should we believe in an Obama *victory*? You're saying the process can't be trusted . . .

#44 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:11 AM:

Wesley @31: I wouldn't be quite so quick to dismiss "intimidating polling places," although I think that massive police presence isn't the way to cope with them.

I lived for eleven years in an upper-middle-class enclave within a medium-sized city. For the first several years, my polling place was at a nearby church. Plenty of parking, well-lit, nicely maintained building, bake sale in the lobby.

Then, there was a redistricting, and all of a sudden my polling place was in the community room of a public housing facility. Still plenty of parking, once you went in the torn-up courtyard, but very poorly lit, and it was kind of a maze through the building to get to where the voting machines were set up, and definitely no bake sale.

Maybe I'm just a wimp, but I found that polling place kind of intimidating.

#45 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:12 AM:

dcb @ #22: As I recall, and as a quick web serach using Google has confirmed (just in case this Brit's memory was faulty), Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000. So Mr. Barone is either deliberately lying to distort the picture or has an astonishingly bad memory as well as an inability to look up facts.

Remeber Nader? Gore won the most votes, but he only got 48.9% of all votes. It's really true that Democratic presidental candidates have had trouble breaking 50%; Clinton did in neither '92 or '96 due to Perot. Of course, Clinton (twice) and Gore both got more votes than the Republican candidate.

#46 ::: Matt McIrvin ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:16 AM:

Linkmeister at #11: Yes, but the scenario really under consideration here isn't just that Republicans will use violence. We know they will; on the agitated-punk level, they already have.

It's that police departments in major cities across America, some of them Democratic-controlled, are in on preparations to rig a massively Democratic-favored election for the Republicans, against a candidate who in several cases has been endorsed by the mayor, involving electoral boards which in some cases are under a Democratic state secretary of state. I don't believe that Democratic officials all the way down to the local level are involved in a plot to make their party lose. That's further through the looking glass than I'm currently willing to go.

The reason that article is stressing rioting black Democrats over the obviously greater danger of rioting white Republicans is, I think, just that it's written by people thinking within an old conventional-wisdom frame according to which rioting blacks are your main source of major civil unrest. (Shaped by things like the Watts and South Central riots, but ignoring things like Chicago in the 1960s or 1990s domestic terrorism.)

#47 ::: Alex Cohen ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:22 AM:

Oh, sorry, people already said that. Comes of not reading to the bottom.

So... without disagreeing with any of the concerns here, I've seen quite the converse: the sowing of the myth among the right that the election will be stolen by the left, and that Obama's victory will be illegitimate. I expect four (eight?) years of constant sniping from the right wing that Obama stole the election.

The nastier version of this is to acknowledge that he won the most votes, but that he "only" did so with the support of blacks, as if they don't really count as real voters. (And of course Bill Clinton wouldn't have won without black voters either.)

#48 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:37 AM:

Alex Cohen @ 47... the sowing of the myth among the right that the election will be stolen by the left, and that Obama's victory will be illegitimate

Heck, Bill Clinton was never accused by them of stealing the election and still they never accepted the legitimacy of his Presidency.

#49 ::: David J. Williams ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:50 AM:

Keep in mind, too, that in the event of a disputed election, the right has already got its brownshirts ready to take to the streets. They're not just whipping up their supporters into a hate-frenzy to get their votes.

GOP protestors at early voting site in North Carolina

And no prizes for guessing which side's protestors the law will come down on . . .

#50 ::: Mary Dell ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:51 AM:

I think we need more analysis of the historic nature of this election. Just think, whichever side wins, someone from a non-contiguous state will be sitting in the oval office!* Depending on which side wins, there is bound to be unrest among Hawaiian- or Alaskan-Americans.

*soon enough, in the McCain-Palin case

#51 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 10:31 AM:

Matt #46:

Yeah, one aspect of this election that I think is leading to the increasing spiral of shrill nastiness on the right is that there's a black guy about to become president. For some fraction of the voters, this is incredibly disturbing, perhaps more disturbing that most of us found the revelations about torture or the Federal response to Katrina.

Reading some of the comments on more right-wingy sites, that really strikes me. There are a fair number of guys who are at the point of saying anything, maybe of doing anything, to try to head that off. It's like their model of the country and the world breaks if he gets elected, or maybe their model suggests that they have irretrievably lost if he gets elected. Their tone right now is despair mixed with desperation.

#52 ::: Doug Faunt ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 10:37 AM:

janetl @1

According to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters, the most likely way to invalidate your own vote here is to mail it in, since those are most likely to fail to be signed, a necessity for that vote to count.

#53 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 10:39 AM:

The Bradley effect, as seen from California:
We don't want the mayor of SF, LA or San Diego to become our governor.

#54 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:01 AM:

Related to the list:

The most recent arrest for voter registration fraud was a Republican, CEO of a firm hired by the California state GOP.

TPM reports that in Nevada, the GOP is suing to prevent incomplete new voter registrations from being corrected.

#55 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:10 AM:

Here in Raleigh, at first the early voting locations were from Thursday-Sunday, and only the entire week the week before November 4. Some of the locations had restricted hours as well since they were on private property (malls) and had to follow their operating hours.

My wife and I went Friday to vote at one, and the line was ENORMOUS. The station opened at 10:00 am, we were there five minutes early, and the line stretched a good 100 yards, in a cold drizzly rain. We returned Saturday morning, same thing.

On Monday I noticed that, due to the enormous turnout, the voting stations would be open all week instead of Thursday-Sunday, so we went to vote then. The line was short and we were finished in about 15 minutes; any campaigners or protestors were kept at least 100' from the polling station, and there was a Raleigh police presence to make sure they didn't harass would be voters. Inside the station, the voters weren't challenged or anything of the sort; we gave our address, they verified that's where we were, we got our ballots and voted. There was one couple who thought they could vote at this location even though they lived in a different county, but that was confusion on their part, not anything controversial.

It was probably the easiest voting experience I've ever had; over 5% of NC's registered voters have taken advantage of the early voting program.

#57 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:19 AM:

Jim @43, Hate to stir up this particular cesspool, but by questioning the integrity of the Right, you raise equal questions about the integrity of the Left.

As an acquaintance of mine once put it in a debate about a completely different matter, "sure, that would be symmetrical, but you can't derive truths about the universe from your personal sense of aesthetics." You can ask the same questions about both sides, but that doesn't mean that the answers are the same. There've been all kinds of reports about Republican officials trying to prevent people from voting- none I know of about the Dems (in this century, at least). The owners of Diebold are known for their large contributions to Republicans, not to Democrats, And while we're at it, it's Republicans who sometimes like to attack Democrats for supposedly being too naive, wide-eyed, and good-natured for this world, not the other way around.

If the Republicans can commit massive election fraud, so can the Democrats.

Yeah, and I can rob frail old ladies whom I meet late at night in lonely dark alleys. That doesn't mean I'd actually do it. But we know a thing or two about what the people running the Republican Party these days are willing to do.

Why, then, should we believe in an Obama *victory*? You're saying the process can't be trusted . . .

No, people here are saying that the people in charge of the Republican Party, and the people from that party who are involved in organising elections, can't be trusted.

#58 ::: Jim ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:40 AM:

Raphael #57:

Dude, I was born in Cook County. For all I know, I'm still registered to vote there. Along with my dead parents. As Democrats.

Democrats can be just as sleazy as Republicans.

#59 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:45 AM:

The Republic fell in 2000, when the votes were -- very publicly -- not counted, and those responsible were allowed to survive.

The question now is whether or not you're going to get it back.

Keep in mind that to a very substantial degree, it does not matter what the actual vote totals are; it matters what vote totals are announced on television.

Everybody can do something about that by getting as involved in the count as they can -- scrutinizing, whatever you can do at the county level -- and then publicizing -- talk to people about it! -- what the local count was. If everyone knows how their county went, the TV announcement of a false total won't hold up.

#60 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:56 AM:

Tim (37): Well, excuse me for believing Wikipedia.

#61 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:56 AM:

As annoyed as I am by all the same things Teresa is annoyed by with the article(s) in question -- I am also annoyed as hell by Teresa's assumption throughout this post, which appears to be:

"If McCain wins, it had to be via Foul Play"

What, Dewey should have won, but Truman's people committed fraud somehow? Upsets happen. This country leans more center-right than I personally would like, so I do not accept an Obama win as "inevitable" (instead, I keep spreading the word).

The assumption that McCain could never win except by illegal means is part of the poisoning of our political discourse that we are supposed to against here, right?

#62 ::: j austin ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:01 PM:

We're going to vote today. I'm interested to see if we'll have to wait in line, since we've never had to before (we've never voted early and in the afternoon before, either.) We've been gently warned to bring our registration cards, just to make sure everything goes smoothly.

#63 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:03 PM:

Jim (58): As organizations, they aren't comparable. Sorry. Your national party organization is up to its ears in slime, and it jumped in and swam hard to get there.

Everybody does not do it. What the Republicans are doing isn't business as usual.

#64 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:07 PM:

Jim @ 43 -
Hate to stir up this particular cesspool, but by questioning the integrity of the Right, you raise equal questions about the integrity of the Left.

No, actually, I don't, because I haven't caught them doing it recently - not even in Chicago, where it is a time-honored tradition.

I haven't found the owner of Diebold claiming he was going to deliver the elections to the Democratic party. I haven't found the Lt. Governor of Montana - a Democrat himself - complaining that Democratic operatives have tried to challenge over 6000 voter registrations - including those of bona fide war heroes, and deployed Reservists and National Guard troops - solely on the basis of an out-of-state address database. I haven't witnessed incident after incident of Democratic tampering with voter rolls, "prank" calls claiming that voting locations have been moved, voter intimidation (fliers claiming that you cannot vote if you have ever been convicted of any crime, claiming that you cannot vote if you are unemployed, or are in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings, or if any member of your family is currently in jail) aimed at white working-class neighborhoods, etc.

What I have seen is all of the above, only change "Democrat(ic)" to "Republican", and "white" to "black". The Republican party is playing dirty pool.

If the Republicans can commit massive election fraud, so can the Democrats.

Sure. And it's possible that they will, given the chance/perceived necessity/opportunity. "The price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance" and all that.

But, right now the Republicans are the ones doing it. Right now they are trying to steal an election (apparently, at least).

When adjudicating who to go after (assuming all else is equal) a police officer does not chase the felon on parole (who might commit a crime at some point in the future) instead of the guy mugging some dude right now - he whacks the mugger on the head with his billy club, and hauls him off to the hoosegow.

There is a point, in your statement. In undermining the sanctity of the vote - and in such a widespread and egregious fashion - the Republicans have seriously accelerated a problem that was started - in part - with the various shenanigans of the Chicago machine, etc. in that they have further soured the body politic.

Dirty tricks are increasingly assumed to be "how the game is played" instead of an aberration. "But he did it too" is seen as a valid excuse.

Fuck that. Interfering in the vote - by the Left or the Right - should be a capital offense (one of only two, IMHO). Disenfranchisement is, in my mind, something that should be reserved only for truly heinous individuals. Felons should - at the worst - have their vote returned to them immediately upon release - and I would prefer that they be allowed to vote even while in prison.

The ballot box is the single most powerful weapon we have in preventing tyranny - but also in preventing uprising. Poisoning the people's belief in it - in the idea that governments should be overturned by word and by vote, not by (gun)fire and sword - is a very, very dangerous thing, and eternal damnation upon all - left or right - who would seek to do so.

#65 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:08 PM:

Mark (61), polling was low-res and rudimentary when Truman defeated Dewey. It's been getting more sophisticated ever since. Go read up on it.

#66 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:10 PM:

This country leans more center-right than I personally would like, so I do not accept an Obama win as "inevitable"

But Obama's the center-right candidate.

#67 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:11 PM:

I see that the assertion that Democrats are just as slimy as Republicans has finally been made in this thread. It took longer than I expected, I must say. And, as I do every time this comes up, I beg to differ, with a large dose of ire thrown in.

#68 ::: Mark, but not THAT Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:29 PM:

Jim @ 43:

Moral equivalency is the last refuge of the morally bankrupt.

I'll bet you a Guinness you cannot come up with one single reputable source (i.e., not widely recognized as an organ of a right wing political organization) documenting allegations of Democratic voter suppression or actual vote (not registration but vote) fraud in the current century.

#69 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:32 PM:

What worries me is that the Republican Party is desperate to hold on to power. It will do anything to hold on, and anything covers a broad territory for a party that is bankrupt of ideas, and led by a coalition of thugs and chancers.

#70 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:34 PM:

Mark but not that Mark @ 68... I'll bet you a Guinness

"Help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi; you're my only hope."

#71 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:36 PM:

I don't think anyone is arguing that it's impossible that McCain will win this. Granted, no one ever has won after being this far behind in the polls this late. However, if Obama is unmasked Scooby-Doo style as a gay Arab terrorist born simultaneously both in Indonesia and Kenya, I expect McCain to win handily.

I believe there is an assumption that it's staggeringly unlikely that without a tectonic shift in the polls McCain will win without cheating. I think that Teresa's original post presumes familiarity with the state of the polls and the implications thereof.

Finally, something else for the list: as part of a settlement, the Michigan GOP admits that using foreclosures for caging was an illegal plan.

#72 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:43 PM:

Wouldn't it actually be cheaper to put new balloting machines into many of those districts where there are long lines than it would be to hire the extra police they're hiring in case there's a problem because of long lines?

Kinda like using preventative medicine to keep hospital costs down, I guess.

#73 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:47 PM:

Mark but not that Mark @ 68... They do like to resort to that tactic, don't they? Do they have a weakness? Well, all they have to do is accuse their opponents of that very weakness. That certainly worked well in 2004 when it came time to compare the military records of Dubya and Kerry.

#74 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:53 PM:

Serge @ 70: Just what we need, another smart Alec.

and @ 73: It's classic Karl Rove, which is just Atwater with a twist of blossom on the turd. McCain used to be better than that, but he's been brainwashed in the eight years since his capture by the Viet Cheney.

#75 ::: cgeye ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 12:53 PM:

Well, stuff *did* happen on election day, 2006.

Denver's polls slowed to a standstill because the idiot consultants designed access to the voter registration database to have a single point of failure -- the server (yes, one SERVER) taking in all the queries from hundreds of laptops about registration status.

I was there, handing out water at 7 in the evening to lines that would have snaked out the door except that the doors closed at 7, since that was the official poll close time. People didn't protest; they waited, young and old, kids in strollers, men in suits, to get the opportunity to vote. It was in a library, and nobody even tore up a book.

That was in an off-year election.

What will happen this year, should something simple happen like a power outage at the election data center? I'm so close to taking the day off, just to volunteer to keep people of any persuasion voting, that all I have to do is ask. Just wondering if the same shenanigans that happened at the DNC (po-po in riot gear, streets arbitrarily blocked, mayor/staff clueless) will happen election day, just for shits and giggles and nonsense like the fearmongering of these dishonest martial-law loving extremists.

#76 ::: Jim ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:04 PM:

Teresa #63:

I am not a member of either party. Please do not assume that I am a Republican because I criticize Democrats . . .

If McCain wins, I think the more likely causes would be racism and fear, not fraud.

#77 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:10 PM:

Jim @76 --

Why would you assume that the pattern of Republican fraud had suddenly stopped now?

The view from outside the States, and outside the American media bubble, is that your nation is utterly corrupt; the outstanding question is whether or not it is irredeemably utterly corrupt.

#78 ::: Nangleator ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:18 PM:

Jim @76, "If McCain wins, I think the more likely causes would be racism and fear..."
How come people aren't afraid and prejudiced while being polled, then?

#79 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:30 PM:

I voted today. It took me almost exactly an hour; the line stretched down the sidewalk about half a block, and everyone was calm, civil and cheerful. No protestors or political signs visible in the area. My county has one early voting location open now (8 am-5 pm Mon-Fri) and next week will open a second, larger location with longer hours. Because of recently enacted Georgia law, I had to show a photo ID, but I didn't have to show my voter registration card (good thing, too, 'cause I left it at home). There appeared to be some problems with both the computers processing the paperwork (they were running slowly and occasionally got hung up) and with the electronic voting machines and/or cards (a few cards got spat out as "cancelled"), but all were apparently resolved quickly.

#80 ::: Megan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:35 PM:

I don't want to be contrarian for the sake of being contrarian, and I do agree that the memo was code for "will the blacks riot again". I would hate for a police presence to make anyone feel intimidated to vote. But, I am also concerned about the ostensible reasons cited in the memo. I can see the possibility of huge, huge crowds at polling places, with tempers running high.

On Tuesday, going home at 9pm, my friend and I encountered an unusual traffic jam, which turned out to be caused by the end of voter registration here in Sacramento. The Secretary of State had tables set up for the length of a block to take registrations, all with lines, and police directing cars around the area. This coming after the Secretary of State reports getting twenty thousand new voter registration forms a day? Presumably they're aware of the problem, but I don't see how they can add enough capacity now to keep crowds from forming at polling places.

I love the idea of orderly, joyous, civic waiting to vote*, and like Jackmormon, I'm hoping to find spontaneous street parties. I'm not confused that those are riots. But since I'm a worrier, I worry also about crowds turning to mobs and can see an appropriate role for police.


*My sister hopes that going along to vote for Sen. Obama will be one of her son's earliest memories.

#81 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:36 PM:
Suddenly, I see why the Obama campaign is exhorting every voter in states that allow early voting to get out there and do it now. When Obama says “things could happen on that day,” his examples are things like your car breaking down. Which is a good argument for voting early. But you know, things really could happen on that day.

People always talk about how smart Karl Rove is, and I don't deny that he has a certain cunning, but his ability to win elections is predicated less on intelligence and more on the fact that he's willing to be more evil than his opponent is ready for.

The Obama campaign? They're smart.

#82 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:37 PM:

Reporters not only harassed, but one actually assaulted at a Palin rally.

(The reporter in question is actually an old college acquaintance of mine, but I didn't know it was him until after I saw it reported.)

Let's work to get out the vote.

#83 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:39 PM:

I live in the city of Philadelphia. There were reports of a "don't vote if you might have legal problems or parking tickets" flyer in parts of town early in the month, but that got pretty quickly noticed (and played up big in both local and national news). It's likely the grapevine is largely inoculated against that kind of thing now, especially since the flyer was posted and exposed so early.

Any attempt to massively suppress voting in Philadelphia on election day would have to be pretty obvious if it happened. The city is overwhelmingly Democratic (and has been for decades), and the mayor's endorsed Obama. We have electronic voting machines, but they're not Diebold's. (I still would like to get them replaced with something more trustworthy, but I don't know of any R leanings on the part of the manufacturers or voting-machine administrators here.)

The big local vote controversy mentinoned in the papers seems over whether the local Democratic party leaders will get the "street money" from the Obama campaign that they've gotten in previous elections for getting out the vote (but reportedly didn't get from Obama in the Dem primary this year).

The Philly suburbs have traditionally been more in play-- they've been slowly shifting from Republican dominance to Democratic dominance in many areas. It'll be interesting to see what happens there this year.

Unlike many other states, Pennsylvania does not have early voting, and it limits absentee ballot eligibility. (That is, you can't vote absentee unless you attest you'll be out of town or otherwise unable to reach your polling place.) That may be one reason for a late focus on PA; unlike other battleground states that have already started voting, here it pretty much all comes down to Election Day. I'm expecting to see long lines at most polling places. I plan to show up at mine just before it opens at 7am, and wonder how many people I'll find already lined up.

#84 ::: Chaos ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 01:39 PM:

Nangleator @78, "How come people aren't afraid and prejudiced while being polled, then?"

That would be the Bradley effect - people are (allegedly, anyway) less likely to announce their prejudices in a poll than in an actual election. I very much doubt it could make up the differences between McCain and Obama at this stage, though.

#86 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:00 PM:

FiveThirtyEight.com has posted a large number of essays about the Bradley effect. Their conclusion is that the Bradley Effect is probably not significant.

There is also probably a reverse Bradley effect, in which people won't admit publicly to voting for Obama, but will vote for him secretly.

#87 ::: rm ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:01 PM:

I don't think they can pull it off this time. However, it's bad enough that the stolen election of 2000 is a forbidden topic in national media, with all of its consequences. They will try to do it again, but few are buying the shit-flavored ice cream this year.

However, if they somehow managed to make it a close election like the last two, whaddayawannabet that they would pursue the following argument:

Early voter ballots must not be counted, because they are all a type of election fraud. They are cheaters who probably voted many times. Throw them out and just count the Real Votes of Real Voters who made it through the Police Vote Security Assurance Cordon around the polling station on November 4th.

Close italics, and crumple tinfoil, and return to denial/sanity.

#88 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:06 PM:

Mark @ 74... Just what we need, another smart Alec.

ME: I've never been so insulted.
ABI: The evening is still young.

#89 ::: guthrie ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:12 PM:

Graydon #77- hideously cynical UK citizen though I am, even I would not say that the USA is utterly corrupt; merely that some important bits are, enough to get an arm lock on sufficient bits of the gvt etc to get their policies enacted. Would you like to elaborate on how the USA is utterly corrupt, or (speaking to everyone else) would that be too exasperating for all concerned?

#90 ::: Tim Kyger ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:23 PM:

Jim (63) ---

Most of the follks here (IHMO; YMMV), are deep in a monoculture of thought, and views like yours -- that perhaps there really *isn't* some vast consipiracy -- isn't one that is taken seriously. It violates The Narrative. And Story, as we are told, is much more important than Plot -- or facts that might also be on another side of the Story in addition to those that *are* on the side of the Story. One set is accepted; the others are dismissed. Despite both being true.

Jim, I would also note that most, if not all, of the folks commenting here don't seem (as far as I can see) to have had any real actual experience in politics as it is actually practiced in D.C., or elsewhere. I've been working as a political professional (i.e., paid to get actual *results*) for about 20 years now, so I think I'm entiled to some sort of opinion here. Even if it's wrong (which it may very well be.)

Teresa -- you go to Wikipedia (!!!) for *facts*?! Sheesh.

My wife (the *active*, walking-precints Democrat of 20 years), having looked at all of what is being said here, is appaled at the sheer Sillyness of the discussions, and wonders why I bother to pay any attention to any of this. So do I. But it's somehow sickly fascinating. It's like watching a train wreck to see the incredible amounts of posturing needed by everyone to fit Story to outside facts -- somewhat like the blog-political equalvalent of the movie "Saw."

I'm posting this at 2:22. I give it until 2:25 for disemvowellment. I haven't been personal or anything, I think, but this message *will* be eviscerated. So much for opposing viewpoints and their "tolerance." Can't rattle the Narrative/Story ya know...

#91 ::: Sub-Odeon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:23 PM:

Wht's dstrbng t m s tht w s grwng tndncy n bth th Rght nd th Lft t s ll lctrl rslts s "stln" f n sd r th thr ds nt gt ts wy.

W hd th cntstd 2000 Prsdntl rc.

Thr ws th cntstd 2004 W Stt gvrnr's rc.

tc.

Prt f lvng n rprsnttv Dmcrcy s bng grwn p ngh t lv wth th lsss.

Whn vtrs (nd pndts, nd pltcns) r s mmtr s t ptch ft nd cry, "Stln lctn!" vry tm thy dn't gt thr wy, tht tlls m t's th ppl wh r 'brkn' s mch s th prcss.

lctrl pltcs gs n cycls. Mst mrcns, wh lv lng ngh, wll s mny sch cycls. Whch mns, ftn, thr prfrrd "knd" f pltcn, r pltcl pltfrm, wll wn r ls svrl tms bfr ll s sd nd dn.

ctng lk dmcrcy s lst, lctns r ll frds, nggng n rtng, jst bcs yr pck ddn't gt th wn ths tm rnd, sms nt jst stpd, bt dstrctv t th hlth f r lctrl prcss.

s bm th prbbl wnnr? Ys, nd hs bn fr mnths.

f bm lss n Nvmbr, s t tmtc prf f shnngns? N. Pr-lctn pllng cn nvr tll th whl stry bcs t nvr nclds ll ptntl mrcn vtrs; jst tny crss sctn f sch.

Bt try tllng tht t th hrd-cr bmsts wh hv lvtd th mn t Svr stts. Fr thm, th lctn f bm s crtnty, nd n bm lss wll b 100% prf tht ths vl N-Cns swpd th lctn gn.

h, nd hll frm th Jhn Sclz blg.

#92 ::: Wakboth ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:25 PM:

What I don't get about the supposed Bradley effect is this: why would anyone deterred by Obama's skin color pretend to support him in the polls, then vote for McCain?

There are a million and one reasons for them to rationalize their dislike of Obama - he's too liberal, too inexperienced, too much of an elitist, too connected to Ayers / Wright / whomever, his tax plan sucks - without having to own up to any kind of racism.

#93 ::: Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:29 PM:

The Bradley Effect has been pronounced dead* and as such is no longer eligible to vote.

*Or at least dying.

#94 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:35 PM:

70 billion dollars of that 700 billion bailout is going for salary support in the affected institutions. (These being the people significantly responsible for the crisis.)

Unprovoked aggressive war as a tool of domestic politics, with a million dead and counting.

Arbitrary detention. Torture. Removal of a requirement for probable cause at the border. Warrantless wiretapping of the entire internal communications infrastructure, for purposes very likely to include maintenance of domestic political control.

Widespread, systematic, obvious voting fraud ignored by all official or semi-offical organs of the state.

Legislative processes that institutionalize bribery.

A justice department deliberately and comprehensively packed by a particular faction.

A vast, for-profit prison system, and the highest rate of incarceration in the world.

Economic policies intended to create, maintain, and advance an aristocratic class at the expense of all else.

Yeah, it's utterly corrupt.

Which is different from saying all the people are corrupt; they're not. But the institutions? Not much left there to build on, even with the greatest of good will.

#95 ::: Sub-Odeon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:38 PM:

S wht's yr "sltn" Grydn?

#96 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:45 PM:

sub-odeon,

Oh, and hello from the John Scalzi blog.

hello. i've read a few posts of yours at scalzi's. i'm almost certain you are "bus riding traveler"/"public radio vet"/"community radio vet."

i don't think you were ever permanently banned from here, so don't you think it would be more polite to go by the name(s) we knew you by?

#97 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:47 PM:

I'm not Graydon, so I don't know if there's an answer to that question coming, but I would like to point out that having a solution is not a prerequisite for pointing out a problem.

#98 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:48 PM:

That question referring to #95, not #96. Sorry, miriam.

#99 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:48 PM:

Sub-Odeon, it's my old-WA political geek opinion that sane human beings should look on the 2004 Governor's race as evidence that this state's voting system is not corrupt; if it were, there would have been a box of cheat somewhere which would have been dripped into the first count to get the numbers above the recount threshold.

After four decades of paying close attention to these things, my take is that no political machine worthy of its name would have been so incredibly self-destructive as to have allowed any of many clearly insane initiatives and office holders to have won.

#100 ::: Ian Randal Strock ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:51 PM:

There'll be more than "suspicion of foul play" going on if McCain's declared the winner.

You're making their point with this one line. Are you saying there is absolutely no conceivable way John McCain can legitimately win the election? Even the number you quote from the massive poll massaging gives McCain a better than 6% chance of winning.

I'm not saying he will win or should win or won't win, but every argument relying on the "how could it possibly be any other way?" mentality is merely setting up the speaker for disappointment.

#101 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:53 PM:

Miriam Beetle @96, that's why his blatherations were pinging all sorts of alarm bells when I read that thread last night. Should have known; the places and ways in which his statements contradict my knowledge of reality on the ground match up at all the registration points.

#102 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 02:57 PM:

Sub-Odeon -

Solution?

Who says there is one? (I'm not an American; I am certainly not responsible to provide one.)

I don't see one that doesn't involve a very substantial pile of skulls, one way or the other. The idea that government must be inefficient and must be corrupt has become an article of faith, not subject to reasoned address, so pointing out various counter-examples to these assertions doesn't work very well.

What would it take to kill the myth of rugged individualism? The idea that how much money you have is a measure of how much god loves you? The the purpose of society is to protect and concentrate private fortunes? That skin colour is a measure of worth?

My expectation is that the US is going to have the same sort of experience as Spain -- several centuries of authoritarian economic flatline before the imperial hangover eventually fades enough to permit recovery.

#103 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:06 PM:

Tim Kyger -
I'm posting this at 2:22. I give it until 2:25 for disemvowellment. I haven't been personal or anything, I think, but this message *will* be eviscerated. So much for opposing viewpoints and their "tolerance." Can't rattle the Narrative/Story ya know...

Huh.

It is now 1458, and not only haven't you been disemvowelled, you haven't even been responded to until now - yet there has been plenty of activity on the thread.

Guess you were wrong.

Should you perhaps consider what else you might be wrong about?

#104 ::: Evan Goer ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:09 PM:

Teresa -- you go to Wikipedia (!!!) for *facts*?! Sheesh.

Wow, ripping on a Nielsen Hayden for being too credulous about Wikipedia... that's something you don't see every day. You must be new here.

#105 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:21 PM:

Ian @ 100

A 90-percent chance of Obama winning is a lot closer to a sure win than McCain's sub-10-percent chance. There's even a respectable chance of an actual landslide vote.

If McCain wins, I'm going to be one of the people out in the streets. With a pitchfork. Because there are far too many people who are saying they won't vote (or haven't voted) for him, for him to win honestly.

#106 ::: FungiFromYuggoth ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:28 PM:

Tim Kyger, if you get disemvowelled, it's going to be for being a one-post troll bingo card. Warning: this point of view may interfere with your martyr Narrative.

Perhaps you would get taken more seriously if you backed up your scorn and derision with competing facts instead of appeals to authority? I don't know you or your wife, but there are a lot of incompetent people working in politics these days. Just saying.

For starters, you can explain how the New Hampshire phone-jamming scam had nothing to do with the RNC. Bonus points for working "a few bad apples" into your essay.

#107 ::: Richard Klin ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:30 PM:

I have this feeling--a feeling, based on no empirical evidence--that the same dark forces that subverted the elections of 2000 and 2004 don't want to do it this time. I don't think they like McCain and are probably very happy to exit the stage (for now), dump their mess on Obama, and move to the shadows. For now.

#108 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:31 PM:

Tim #90:

I've seen a number of people commenting that they didn't think this was likely, and I was one, so I'm not sure we're quite a monoculture. Any way I can see for this to be done looks unworkable to me.

But there's this problem: In the last seven and a half years, I've had several times where I've watched the folks currently in power in the Executive branch and the Republican party do crazy, unthinkable, nutty stuff--stuff I'd have never expected to see.

I'm thinking of the Padilla case, the monumental mishandling of the initial years of the Iraq war, the explicit policy of torture[1], the sequence of domestic wiretapping revelations which brazenly violate an already very permissive law[2], the amazing third-world-quality disaster-recovery performance we saw with Katrina, and the whole reaction to the financial crisis (nationalizing half the financial industry and handing blank checks to the other half), among many other things. So even stuff that looks very unlikely is worth at least considering. I'm no longer convinced that my "plausibility filter" is a good measure of whether we might see this administration in particular, or any administration, do some crazy and evil and self-defeating thing.

It does little harm to consider even crazy actions by people who currently seem to be acting in crazy ways. I don't see it happening, because too many people doing it would have to know they'd be very likely to fail, and to spend some time in prison as a result.

[1] It's no surprise that the odd cowboy decides to beat some answers out of a captive, any more than that the odd cop beats a confession out of someone. But I would have bet a lot of money that we'd never see an explicit policy of torture with the sign-off of the President, VP, and the folks at the top of the Defense and Justice departments.

[2] Note that the Democrats helpfully went along with closing down the only real chance for American voters to find out the scope of that surveillance, by giving the telecoms immunity. Thanks, guys, way to be marginally less evil than the other side!

#109 ::: Sub-Odeon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:38 PM:

Ggh!

hv bn dscvrd!

gss tht mns m jst pthtclly trnsprnt?

Yp. Prbbly.

=^)

Bs Rdn' Trvlr (tmp bn by Trs, 2006)
Pblc Rd Vt / Cmmnty Rd Vt (slf-bn)
Stn (yh mssd tht n, nnr nnr!)

n th nd, vn flt ws bng t trnsprnt, s dcdd t jst "cm t" tdy nd tk whtvr lmps 'v gt cmng t m fr "lrkng" bhnd dffrnt nms.

Fr th mst prt, swmmng n th Mkng Lght Ztgst s lk bthng n mld bttry cd. Bt t's wrth t t prtcpt bcs ) thr r s mny ntllgnt flk hr nd b) dscssng ds wth ntllgnt ppl wh strngly dsgr wth y s gd wy t rfn yr wn ds, nd ndrstnd hw thr ppl rrv t thrs. vn f y thnk thy r whck--ddl md.

S prdn th shll gm wth th lss. t ws bngn, nd s n lngr ncssry MH.

Ths rlly s fscntng plc. Prhps n thr lk t n th ntrnt. Tht's why lwys fnd n xcs t cm bck.

#110 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:43 PM:

Tim Kyger @ 90... Most of the follks here (IHMO; YMMV), are deep in a monoculture of thought

I think Mark Twain once said something about Democrats being congenitally unable to agree with each other on anything. Or words to that effect.

Has that changed? If so, we might as well send Abi packing because we obviously don't need moderators and disemvowellers.

#111 ::: Ame ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:51 PM:

P J @ 105, I agree with Ian. It's possible for McCain to legitimately win.
If he does, the less-than-10% chance means that it's very likely to have been fraudulent, but until you prove it, it ISN'T "more than suspicion of foul play".

He could win honestly. He could. Obama may be closer to a sure win than McCain, but he doesn't have one yet.

#112 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 03:58 PM:

albatross @ 108
I'd like to know what kind of hold they have over the Democrats in congress, that the Dems roll over and play dead so [expletive deleted] often. (I think they have stuff that sounds incriminating (whether it actually is or not), or they show the Dems a stack of file folders full of paper, implying they have evidence of possibly-incriminating acts.)
One thing I'm sure of, is that if the Republicans accuse the Democrats of some illegal act, the Republicans have already done it.

#113 ::: Laurie Mann ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:09 PM:

I'm in Western Pennsylvania (McCain spoke about 15 miles from my house yesterday). The immediate Pittsburgh area is very Democratic. Out here in the sticks, not so much. Take my neighborhood. Right now, there are 12 McCain signs and 6 Obama signs. When they say Pennsylvania is "Pittsburgh in the West, Philadelphia in the East and Alabama in the middle," they aren't kidding.

I hope Obama will take Pennsylvania; he might not take it by as much as the polls currently indicate, but I think he'll get it.

Like the "mini riot" conducted by Republican operatives (NOT local voters) in Florida back in 2000, I actually expect any post-election violence to be committed by Republicans.

Just be sure you vote (if you have registered to do so). That's the most important thing. Help other people vote. Be a poll-watcher. Give money! Do something!

The main reason the Republicans got away with stealing the federal election twice (in Florida in 2000 and Ohio in 2004) was because the vote margin between Bush/Gore and Bush/Kerry was close. The more states Obama can take, the harder it will be for Republican operatives to screw the democracy yet again.

#114 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:10 PM:

While I disagree with Tim Kyger politically, I have known him for many years (and Teresa has known him longer!) and I think it unlikely that he'd go anywhere near being disemvowelled. Unless he wanted to be. It's slightly disconcerting to see him thinking he might be. I'll cut him some slack for the time at which he posted, personally (not that my cutting anyone slack here matters).

It's also possible that The Hill is highly regarded by some, and other papers by others, on Capitol Hill.

#115 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:14 PM:

P J Evans @ 112... they show the Dems a stack of file folders full of paper, implying they have evidence of possibly-incriminating acts

They must have watched many episodes of Perry Mason. Well, it did work for him.

#116 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:29 PM:

Sub-Odeon #109: This really is a fascinating place. Perhaps no other like it on the internet. That's why I always find an excuse to come back.

Good luck on your second+ chance.

Serge #110: I think Mark Twain once said something about Democrats being congenitally unable to agree with each other on anything. Or words to that effect.

I'd probably take that in the context of being said of a Democratic party from the time before the Dixiecrats left to become Rethuglicans. I figure it's less severe now than it was then.

#117 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:31 PM:

The well organized and systematic strategy of voter repression is well in play. In Wisconsin the GOP attorney general's case to strip a million voters from the roles goes up tomorrow. A million voters in a state where there were 3 million voters and Kerry won by 9,000 -- if my figures are right. I'm feeling a little dizzy right now.

You all recall the things done to whistle blowers and other prominent Dem appointees and office holders in Wisconsin under the Gonzales DOJ, right? The Chief of Fire Fighters just got reinstated today, after being dismissed a couple of years ago for referring to the bush White House as 'bushies.'

In Indiana the case against the early voting centers will also be ruled tomorrow. Many thousands in Indiana have early voted. The gop has brought a case to close them, and throw out the votes already cast, because early voting centers are 'possible cause for voter fraud.'

This stuff is going on all around the country. The DOJ has studded the legal structures of all the states with Their Own loyal bushistas and cheneyites.

There is more than one way to 'win' an election, and all this activity is on the part of the GOP, not the Dems, on the part of the mcpln campaign, not the Obama campaign.

Love, C.

#118 ::: Sub-Odeon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:33 PM:

Wht gts m s hw mny ppl rfs t rcgnz tht bth th Rpblcn Prty nd th Dmcrtc Prty r rgnztns whch typclly plc slf-prpttn nd slf-ntrst bv prncpl.

t's nt s smpl s, "Dmcrts Gd, Rpblcns Bd!"

Bth prts hv shwn thmslvs bl nd wllng t tss prncpl t th wnd f thy thnk t wll gt vts. Hw ls t xpln th VST nmbrs f Dmcrts n ffc wh vtd "ys" n th rq nvsn, whn t ws pltclly xpdnt, nd thn trnd rnd t vt "n" whn tht t bcm pltclly xpdnt?

Lkws, t's dscncrtng t s ppl g pstvly psht n ndvdls, bsd prly n prty ffltn. s f n Gd Prsn cld vr blng t (nsrt prty nm hr) bcs vryn knws th scnd y bcm (nsrt pltcl prty nm hr) thy rmv yr sl nd nstll Pr vl Mchnsm, cmplt wth stvpp ht nd hndlbr mstch. "Nyh nyh nyh nyh! T hr t th trcks! Pss th rp!"

thnk th rlr 'mncltr' cmmnt spks t ths pltcl "blndnss" n tht ppl gt s wrppd p n thr pltcl ffltn, nd xcsng ts wknsss whl hghlghtng ts strngths, tht thy rlly d blv tht Thr Prty s th nly prty cntnng Gd Ppl, whl th thr prty s nthng bt pck f Drty Rttn Scndrls. T th mn.

n my lf 'v vtd ftn fr Dmcrts, nd mr rcntly, ftn fr Rpblcns. Bsd n sss, nd wht's gng n drng ny gvn lctn, nd wh thnk wll d th vrll bst jb. dn't xpct nyn t wrk mrcls, nd m rlstc ngh t knw tht th gy vt fr tdy, cld trn t t b crk tmrrw; bsd n rvltn f pst r crrnt msdds. S dn't ld tht cnddt dwn wth hp f mtnl wnts/nds, s sms t hv hppnd t bm.

f bm wns (nd tht's lky) thnk h's gng t b n vry dd pstn. Hlf hs spprtrs wll lv hm ndlssly, n mttr wht h ds, bcs thy hv bcm mtnlly nvstd n hm t th pnt tht h cn ltrlly d n wrng. Th thr hlf wll rpdly nd ngrly fll t wth th mn, bsd n hs nvtbl dvtns frm th "nrrtv" ths vtrs xpct bm t fllw. ny cprtn lndd t th Rpblcns wll bn sn s trtrs, nd ny cncssns gvn t th Rpblcns wll rn bm lts f nsty flngs frm ths wh r cnvncd tht th nly thng wrs thn Rpblcn, s chld mlstr.

#119 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:43 PM:

Graydon @ 77 and 94:

Sigh.

If you use provocative, extreme terms like "utterly" for the US, you're not going to have anything left to describe countries which are actually corrupt in systematic, meaningful ways. Like, oh, the 160-plus countries with worse corruption rankings than the US on
Transparency International's 2008 Corruption Index
.


Most of what you list are real problems. But to claim that they make the current US "utterly corrupt" suggests substantial ignorance of both US history (e.g., is the US currently more or less corrupt than at other stages in its history) and of much of what's going on in the rest of the world. As well as, perhaps, a certain amount of generalized bile and venom towards the US, which I don't think helps the conversation a whole lot.

#120 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:49 PM:

Earl Cooley III @ 116... I figure it's less severe now than it was then.

I certainly hope so. If it was worse then than it is now, I dare not imagine what that was like. By the way, I think I once read that William Jennings Bryant, who was the inspiration for anti-Evolutionist Brady of Inherit the Wind, was one of those instrumental in turning the Democratic Party into the Party of Social Justice while the Republican Party was becoming that of Big Business.

#121 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:50 PM:

Sub-Odious: You have, in the past, been the recipient of a great deal of forbearance and patient work on the part of the Making Light community. You've now made it clear that you didn't value it. If you don't know why we think it's valuable, you will never understand how this forum works.

I dismiss your claim to have taken off your mask, and to have no need for it in the future. First, the mask's still on. We don't know your real name. Second, I have no faith in your sincerity. You've given yourself permission to lie to us in the past. I see no reason to believe you won't give yourself permission to do so again in the future.

#122 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 04:53 PM:

Constance, a judge has ruled against the GOP on their move in Indiana. Early voting will go on as scheduled.

#123 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 05:00 PM:

Graydon@#94:


70 billion dollars of that 700 billion bailout is going for salary support in the affected institutions. (These being the people significantly responsible for the crisis.)

You have to pay the poor stupid sods something like what they're used to, you know, or they'll all sod off to other jobs, one or more highly-integrated institutions will fail due to disruptions attributable to poor staff retention, and the financial markets will freeze up again.

(It needn't be the sort of insane wages plus bonuses they used to get: they can't get that money at other jobs, either, and we don't care if upper management leaves: in fact it's better if they do. But we don't want all the brokers on the trading floor to decide to switch jobs at the same time, or even most of them.)

#124 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 05:04 PM:

Oops, are real names necessary here? (Sorry, I've been using this pseudonym for so long it feels like my real name to me now.)

(Ski mask? What ski mask? Oh, *that* ski mask. It's, er, a fashion accessory. I think it's very fetching, also it covers my facial deformity.)

#125 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 05:21 PM:

Nix @124:

Consistent pseudonyms are perfectly acceptable. Your true name, age, gender, location, profession, grandmother's blood type and favorite color are yours to hide or reveal.

Posting under your real-life name makes you more accountable for your actions, but a long association with the community under a consistent name is also a form of accountability. We make no distinction, here, between the two. There are many reasons people don't use their true names.

But pretending to be new, taking a second, third, and fourth run at the goodwill of the community after you've created an impression with one name, is not the same thing at all. If you have earned a reputation in this community, you must live with it.

Sub Odeon has not done that. Each new identity not linked to the last was a claim that he was new here, and didn't know our ways. It meant that anything he did wrong (and there was plenty) was taken as the awkwardness of inexperience. Each new name constituted a lie.

Choosing the name we call you doesn't.

Nice balaklava, though. Did you knit it yourself?

#126 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 05:23 PM:

Teresa @ 121... I think I just saw a record being broken.

#127 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 05:23 PM:

Nix, I Am Not A Moderator, but ISTM that the difference between your single, long-established pseudonym and the disemvowelled fellow above is that yours IS a single and long-established one. You haven't made a practice of playing the morally superior contrarian, stirring people up, getting banned and/or flouncing out, only to return under ANOTHER handle to stir things up some more.

FWIW, I believe that The Artist Currently Known As Sub-Odeon is *trying* to engage, rather than merely annoy, but the multiple-pseudonyms tactic is not only disingenuous towards the community (which is what I think annoys our moderators) but a way of letting himself avoid facing the fact that he doesn't tend to win his arguments here.

He seems to be working with a very different world-picture from the ones that most Making Light readers use. (Mostly basing my opinion on what I remember from "The sky isn't evil. Try looking up." thread.) Enough so that he can never "win" an argument with us, or us with him.

This can get pretty frustrating all around.

#128 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 05:25 PM:

Nix @ 124... I go by the name 'Serge', but in real life I really am actor Chritopher Lambert. That explains why Abi thought I sound exactly like him. Right.

#129 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 05:33 PM:

Nix @123 - I veeeery much doubt that $70 billion in bonuses is going to anyone but upper management.

Tim @whatever up there - Uh wow. Making Light a monoculture? This coming from a professional Beltway man? Do you get out much?

I do have to admit I'm impressed that a professional knows the word monoculture, though. So on your level of credibility from where I sit, you're not at zero.

#130 ::: Nix ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 05:54 PM:

abi@#125, oh, he's a sock puppet/morpher? No mercy then.

Michael@#129, upper management aren't going to get 70 billion in bonuses on their own. They didn't get that much even whe the going was good. (They got way too much for any sane man to be other than sickened by, but we're still talking low billions in any given year when summed across all of upper management in all the major investment banks. Not 70 billion.)

(Yes, I am in the biz. No, I have never had a bonus of any kind. They don't give bonuses to the geeks who write the backend software. Alas.)

#131 ::: j austin ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 06:16 PM:

I voted today. Very civil and patient, not a long line at the time I went(maybe thirty minutes)and even the babies were quiet and happy.

#132 ::: lightning ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 06:18 PM:

#90 Tim Kyger --

OK, so we're all full of little red ants. Care to enlighten us? The way your comment is phrased, it comes across as "My tinfoil hat is SOOO much bigger than yours ...". I assume that's not what you meant.

And it's never a good idea (especially on Making Light!) to assume "nobody here knows anything about X", for any value of X.

#133 ::: Elusis ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 06:22 PM:

I've already sent in my vote by mail, as I habitually vote absentee in order to avoid the potential hassles of voting in person and to make sure my vote, at least, has a paper trail.

But I think I may plan to fill my trunk up with bottles of water and fruit or cookies, then drive around to my neighborhood polling station and any others I can find, to offer to people if there are the kind of record-breaking lines that have been hinted at. I lived in Denver in 2006 during the nightmarish election mentioned in #75, and though most people managed to stick it out through the hours-long waits, some had restless children, health problems, or just a failure of nerve and went home without casting their ballots.

I'd like to make sure I do my piece to ensure that doesn't happen this time.

#134 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 06:33 PM:

Elusis @133:
I think I may plan to fill my trunk up with bottles of water and fruit or cookies

Go you! I'd add pads of blank paper and little packs of crayons, if you can find them cheap enough.

#135 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 07:01 PM:

Elusis: Some folding chairs or camp stools, if you have them and can manage them, and/or an offer to act as a placeholder for them in line while they sit down for some predetermined and finite period. There are going to be voters who have real trouble standing up that long.

For that matter, there are going to be voters who have trouble standing in line that long without an opportunity to duck off to the bathroom.

Toys, snacks, bottled water: all good.

#136 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 07:06 PM:

Fears of unrest have been a campaign staple in American politics for some time now.

Today's new book listings at my online books website include numerous works of campaign literature from 1868 (the first presidential election after the Civil War), as well as some of the more memorable political tracts from the years prior. If you take some of the pamphlets at face value, Americans in 1868 faced a choice between Negro mob rule bringing down civilization (if the Republicans were elected), or traitors plunging the country into a second Civil War (if the Democrats were elected).

(Thanks to the Internet Archive for providing many of the online books, and to Jonathan Wright for suggesting many of the titles.)

#137 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 07:11 PM:

John Mark #136:

Yeah, that's always the kind of choice I hate to make at the polls. Why can't we have the Negro mobs destroying civilization and the traitors plunging the country into another civil war? Why must we always be limited to these narrow either/or choices?

#138 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 07:19 PM:

Peter @119 --

I design information management systems for natural language content. I have the view of someone who thinks that the purpose of the system is what the system is observed to do.

And, institutionally, systemically, however you want to put that part of it, the US is utterly corrupt. It's not broadly actively oppressive; it's not entirely commercially collapsed into patronage mechanisms. (Though patent and other intellectual property efforts are headed that way.)
Lots of places are worse, sure.

But, well, the core problem with your banking system -- and pretty much all of it -- right now is that no one knows what anything in any particular bank happens to be worth; the basic mechanisms of trust essential to having a banking system at all are gone, and they're gone because pretty much everybody in positions of authority in all those banks put personal profit ahead of duty. That's not a bank, or a few banks; that's a core societal mechanism corrupted into a machine for making whomever happened to be driving it rich, at the great and lasting cost of most everyone else.

I don't think utterly corrupt is too strong a description of the institutional state that permits that.

#139 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 08:16 PM:

#100: I think you're overlooking an important point. It's still possible for McCain to win; Reagan came back from a big deficit in 1980. But it's not possible for McCain to win with people's minds and attitudes as they currently are. He needs something to change a whole lot of minds just to get him within striking distance, and it looks like he's not capable of doing his own persuading to any great degree. (Unless he just hasn't been bringing his A game to the last several months of campaigns, the entire debate schedule... yeah, right.)

Note the other example of a big late comeback: Reagan 1980. Something big happened to help Reagan make that comeback. (Actually, two big things: the debate that year was very close to the election. But everyone remembers the hostage crisis as the deciding event.) That's the kind of big thing that McCain needs to have happen to make *his* comeback (or even bigger, since he's on the wrong end of the charisma gap). Except he needs it to work in *favor* of the incumbent party, not against it like crises often do.

Furthermore, if a big event does happen between now and the election - then nearly everyone will be aware of it (otherwise it couldn't have been big enough to be the change McCain needed) and it will be obvious that pre-event predictions no longer hold water. The "McCain can't win" analysis is based on the current state of the race.

#140 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 08:50 PM:

Chris, 139 re: Reagan comeback: The hostages were taken back in 1979, exactly one year before the election, as a matter of fact: 11/4/79 (the 1980 election is the same date as this year's, as stands to reason 28 years later). So that in itself was not a late factor so much as an underlying motif throughout the election season. And the botched rescue was in April.

The last debate, just a week before the election, and Reagan's "are you better off now than you were four years ago?" presents a better case for being a game-changer, though. The question crystallized the doubter's concerns in a very powerful way, I have no doubt. (My mother voted for Carter, but she loved him - still does. I was 12.)

#141 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:09 PM:

Has anyone read about the most recent AP-GfK poll? This shows McCain and Obama much closer nationwide among likely voters; a quick perusal of their results makes me suspect their likely voter algorithm is choosing likely McCain voters somehow....

#142 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:19 PM:

Tim Kyger@90: Dude, that's an impressively graceless dump to take in the blog of someone you apparently know. Someone who truly considered the attitudes of the posters here beneath contempt probably wouldn't feel the need to say anything. Just sticking your head in to say "I know stuff! You're all wieners! My wife agrees!" with no accompanying content whatsoever is distressingly umambitious on your part. Please try to do better, perhaps at a more civilised hour, I know I composed a few things last night I didn't bother to post.

#143 ::: David DeLaney ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:20 PM:

I went to go vote early, on Monday, armed with the section from the Sunday paper helpfully detailing which races were on the ballot where and who was in them, and where all the early-voting places here were. I was a little surprised to find there was a second one just a little further from me than the downtown one is, which turned out to have much better parking, and went there instead.

Unfortunately, just before I got there some sort of computer issue took down _all_ the early-voting places in town (confirmed by a phone call they received a little after I got there). They said there'd been brief downtime earlier that day but it came right back up; this one went on for about fifteen minutes, after which I decided that, since early voting's open until 10/30 here, I could come back tomorrow.

I went back Tuesday and everything was fine; I voted and was out in five minutes. No line. Computerized lookup of my information (the failure of which was what stalled things the previous day), rather than the paper logbooks I'm used to when I go on an actual Election Day to my actual polling place. We're still using dial-screen vote machines - but they're the same ones we've used for a few years now, and they don't SEEM to be introducing odd biases into the election results that anyone can tell. So I'm fairly confident my against-the-color-of-the-state-tide vote will be counted...

As an aside, just about all the other voters that I saw there, both days, were as old as I or older (I'm 44 at the moment). Some _much_ older. No clue what their leanings were. I'll find out in a few weeks...

--Dave

#144 ::: Mark D. ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:28 PM:

Tim K. - please, you have plenty of back cred here. If there's something you know from your 20+ years of on-the-ground political experience, don't just lob superiority over the transom and flounce off. "Bear witness. Iterate."

#145 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:46 PM:

I am posting blind, but Oakland is a city with a large black population too.

These fuckers piss me off. I don't know where I'll be if this thing pulls an Ohio... but it's not likely to be home typing.

I'll want to see some Orange Revolution going on.

#146 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 09:48 PM:

albatross@141: Has anyone read about the most recent AP-GfK poll?

This?

"Intensity has increased among McCain's supporters."

That would be the swivel-eyed ones chewing the upholstery at the prospect of the White House not containing a white person, I imagine.

#147 ::: Michael Roberts ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:08 PM:

Terry @145 - was there some question about this? Speaking from my Hoosier perspective, yes: Oakland is absolutely code for "black race riots". It's all I know of the place, anyway. (No offense to anyone -- I'm just relaying my still small redneck within.)

#148 ::: mcpye ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:12 PM:

A quick query from foreign parts, spurred by the latest Bachmann/Tinklenberg (Immelman) brouhaha in Minnesota.

Can you have a write-in candidate in places with "voting machines" of one kind or another? How?

I like this:

"We have a Stone Age brain," Immelman says. "When you say the kind of things Michele Bachmann has been saying, you activate the Stone Age brain, and people react in fear. You don't have to be 'bombed back into the Stone Age.' You can be scared back into the Stone Age, too."

#149 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:21 PM:

I'm someone with severe spinal column - damaged vertebrae problems. I cannot stand anywhere any time for very long before excruciating pain sets in. So I'm very fortunate to be voting here in blue lower Manhattan and with neighbors I've been voting with for many years. Even some of the same poll workers have been working the elections all these years, though fewer all the time as the inevitable overtakes them.

It actually was fun when we voted in the gymn basement of St. Anthony's Church. We all knew each other. Everyone was so pleased to be voting.

But some years back, to reflect more downtown Asian presence in these precincts, we got divided out of our old one and put into a newly created one. It's not as much fun as it used to be. The school where we vote presently is the 4th voting place we've had since redistricting.

Still, for fun voting, this year we had a primary on Mardi Gras, so we brought Mardi Gras beads for everybody, which everybody was pleased to get. Mardi Gras beads always make people happy. They work something like 18 hour days sometimes for our elections.

Love, C.

#150 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:23 PM:

I've lost track of which post it was, and who made it, that today it was ruled that the early voting centers in the deeply Dem area of Indiana were ruled as allowed. Many thanks!

Though the story linked to says that the gop are thinking of taking the case to the state Supreme Court.

Love, C.

#151 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:33 PM:

John Houghton: It not news to us. I wrote about the 1BCT/3Id right about that time frame too.

Jim: The story that Cook County was a cesspool of vote-fraud in '60 is a nice strory but it's not true. It's one of the ways the Republicans went about making the voter suppression efforts of '64 look more legitimate.

#152 ::: Matthew Austern ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:54 PM:

I don't go along with Fragano@#69. I don't think the Republican Party is so amoral and grasping that they "will do anything to hold on." I think there are some things they wouldn't do, some lines they won't cross, some acts they would rather lose an election than commit.

What does bother me a bit is that I don't know what those things are. They've already done things to win that I didn't think any American party would do. They've already shocked me by crossing lines that I thought were uncrossable. I wish I could be more sure that they've already reached whatever they think their limits are.

#153 ::: sisule ::: (view all by) ::: October 22, 2008, 11:56 PM:

On the subject of entertaining children at the polls-

After Holloween, all those large packs of crayons & paper, or crayons and coloring books that are given out instead of candy will be on sale. Pick up a few bags - sales are good things. ;)

#154 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 12:00 AM:

Teresa @ 65:
Mark (61), polling was low-res and rudimentary when Truman defeated Dewey. It's been getting more sophisticated ever since. Go read up on it.

Damn, but that was condescending, and nearly totally off-point to boot. But thankfully others did get it.

BTW: I'll put my statistics-fu up against yours any day - almost all of the polling being done even today still reeks of selection bias. When Obama's got 10+ points after (reported) error and "Undecided" percentages, then I'll start springing for champagne.

#155 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 12:06 AM:

Mark: Unless you weren't trying to compare the polling methodology of Dewey/Truman to McCain/Obama, it wasn't off point.

If that wasn't your intent... I'd like to know what was, because the only reason I didn't make a response addressing the flaws in the Dewey/Truman polling and comparing it to present models (not to mention the difference between one poll, and the wealth of them today) is because Teresa made that comment, and to make another seemed like piling on.

My personal opinion, unless some sea-change takes place, and the public mood radically shifts (which will be obvious to all) an overnight shift from Obama six up (which is what he has now) to his being down (esp. given the really low favorables McCain has; added to the REALLY low favorables for Palin) and I will think (based on the previous two presidential elections) that something was monkeyed with, the game was rigged.

Why? Because they are so blatanly trying to rig it now. If they didn't want me to distrust them, they ought not have acted in so unstrustworthy a manner.

#156 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 12:13 AM:

Terry @ 151

Chicago politicians are corrupt. Downstate takes this as a fact of life, which is just muttered over but acknowledged as true with a few rare (and always suspect) exceptions. Chicago elections often have had suspect happenings, esp in regards to voter fraud and multiple voting. At one point, you, your dead mother, your dog, and your furniture could all vote for Mayor Daley. These effects were felt downstate, in the policies of the Democratic political machine in Springfield.

Sometimes? We're just as bad. Just not in the last few elections. (Outside Chicago, of course.;) I support Obama *despite* his living in Chicago, because he's still better than McPal)

#157 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:03 AM:

"Utterly corrupt"

Yes, that phrase is a bit of a rhetorical stretch, and it's quite possible that some or many of us are excessively idealistic, but .... I was born about the day of the election that signalled the end of the Hoover Administration, and by the standards of everything I can remember during the past nearly-eighty years, the United States' system and practice of Government has become more corrupt than I could ever imagine possible (and I probably have a more active and ingenious imagination that most Americans do). So: maybe not "utterly", but much too close to it for comfort, and I'm not going to revile (or even look askance at) anyone for using that word.

#158 ::: Matt Austern ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:12 AM:

Are you sure you have your tense right, Sisuile@156? And have you thought carefully about which Mayor Daley you're talking about?

Because the accusations you're making sound like the kind of thing that was conventional wisdom three or four decades ago, and the Daley Machine you're talking about sounds like the one led by Richard J. Daley (1902-1976), the "last of the big city bosses," as opposed to his son Richard M. Daley, who is, as far as I can tell, a perfectly ordinary politician with no more power than your average big city mayor.

Americans are often accused of having a short attention span, not knowing or caring about history. There's a lot of truth to that accusation. But the flip side of it is glomming on to some fact about a particular moment in history, elevating it to near mythical status, and clinging to it long after that moment has passed. (This seems to be a fairly common trap for political pundits.) The Daley Machine was once important, yes, but it was important at a time before many of the people in this conversation were born. Things change.

#159 ::: Ambar ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:26 AM:

Chris@139: an interesting look inside the McCain campaign here. This article gives a look at some of the internal stresses that are producing the visible gyrations.

#160 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:30 AM:

Albatross (51), I've heard that tone. It's weird and creepy. They think they're losing something, but I don't know what it is. I'm not sure they could tell you either.

Fungi (54), I've incorporated that Nevada link into the main post.

John Houghton (56), that is disturbing. Where's the need? It's right up there with building internment camps, supposedly in case of an ill-defined "immigrant emergency."

Jim (58):

Dude, I was born in Cook County. For all I know, I'm still registered to vote there. Along with my dead parents. As Democrats.

Democrats can be just as sleazy as Republicans.

Dude, that's a large part urban legend. To quote Atrios on Eschaton:
Blue PA

A lot of Democrats in this state now, though I really want to flag this sentence for a hint of what's to come.

In Philadelphia, the number of registrants, 1.1 million, actually exceeds the census count of the eligible population. The city has identified 58,000 "duplicate" registrations, and the actual number of eligible voters on the rolls is probably closer to a million, said the election board's Bob Lee.
They trotted this one out in '04, too. Since the media (not this article, really, but generally) has decided that playing stupid on these issues is the right way to go, let me offer a wee rebuttal of the inevitable. When people move, most do not bother to contact their local elections board and ask to be removed from the voter rolls. When people die, most do not bother to contact their local elections board and ask to be removed from the voter rolls. Philadelphia has about 10 trillion polling places, and if you move 50 feet in this city you likely end up having to renew your voter registration. Philadelphia also has a lot of old people who sadly occasionally die.

All those Snopesworthy bits we've all heard about voters still being on the rolls years after they've died, or urban precincts having more registered voters than inhabitants? Atrios is right. Telling the local precinct to strike the deceased from the rolls is way, way down the next of kin's list of priorities. Nobody bothers to tell their old precinct they've moved -- and urban renters move oftener than suburban homeowners. Having invalid names hanging around on the voter roles is commoner than chicken pox. Actual voter fraud is in fact quite rare.

Facts: always useful.

But all that's a side issue. The main point is still the one I addressed briefly in an earlier comment: you're saying that all political campaigns pull dirty tricks. They don't. The Democrats haven't been perfect, but individually and as a party, they haven't gone anywhere near the level of lying, cheating, chicanery, smear tactics, hatemongering, suppression of legitimate votes, infantilization, and plain habitual dishonesty the Republians have increasingly engaged in over the last twenty or thirty years.

Which is not to say the Democrats didn't do it in the past. Some decades back -- at a guess, before you were born -- there was a segment of the Democratic Party known as the Dixiecrats. They were, without question, into dirty tricks, hatemongering, and vote suppression. It was wrong and dishonest of them. But the answer wasn't to shrug and say that other parties sin too; it was to make them stop what they were doing.

If you're going to give your consent and support to the kind of tactics the Republicans have used over the last several elections, it'll be because you've decided to do it. Just don't kid yourself that everyone does it, because they don't.

Tom Whitmore @72: Nothing involving voting machines can ever be done quickly or easily. In general, that's a good thing.

Jim again (76): I assume you're a Republican because you argue like one. As for you other point, I'd say Nangleator (78) nailed it.

Tim Kyger (90): That looks like a really painful condition, but I'm sure if you'll just keep using that medicated cream the doctor gave you, it'll clear up.

I'm posting this at 2:22. I give it until 2:25 for disemvowellment. I haven't been personal or anything, I think,
That depends on whether you think that blowing off a friendship of more than thirty years' duration counts as personal.

You weren't here on business. You didn't even try to explain your position. You just spewed shit at us. You could have talked about anything, and this was what you chose.

but this message *will* be eviscerated. So much for opposing viewpoints and their "tolerance." Can't rattle the Narrative/Story ya know...
No, I'll keep it around to remember you by. It'll make things easier.

Graydon (94), I'd say that all those people who've had their understanding of democracy distorted are a bigger problem. Ditto, all the ones who've been hooked on regular doses of outrage-fueled adrenaline.

Miriam Beetle @96: Well done! You are hereby awarded the ears, the tail, and any other bits you fancy as trophies.

Ian Strock:

Are you saying there is absolutely no conceivable way John McCain can legitimately win the election?
No! Go outside, turn around three times, and spit. I'm saying that if the numbers turn out to be that different from everyone's measures and estimates, we should either be able to see the shift starting before Election Day, or we should be able to look at the results afterward and honestly say, "Oh shit, should have spotted that one long before." It shouldn't come as a sudden surprise. It also shouldn't be produced under conditions so dubious that no amount of personal effort can silence one's personal doubts.

Evan Goer (104): Not exactly new. He's the reason I know Patrick, and the person who got me into SF fandom. I don't know why he's suddenly broken out in a plague of assholes covering every square inch of his body. That unattractive mixture of aggressiveness, self-satisfaction, and self-pity is also new in my experience of him. I'm hoping it's just temporary brain damage, and not something he's worked to become.

Rich Klin (107), I don't have a shred of evidence either, but I find that believable.

Tom Whitmore (114), I'll probably be willing to cut Tim some slack in the future, but right now I'm hurt and angry and grossed out.

Serge (126): Uh-oh. Which record did I break? You just can't get the shellac since the war.

Adrian Smith (142), got it in one.

#161 ::: Avram ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:44 AM:

Tim Kyger @37, The Hill claims circulation of over 21,000. Wikipedia claims circulation of 18,000 for Roll Call, which I've been unable to verify independently. Roll Call's website doesn't (as far as I could find) mention actual circulation figures, only the claim that it's widely read by DC opinion leaders. I suspect that if Roll Call's circulation was actually higher than The Hill's, they would say so. Whether "highest circulation" constitutes "leading" is, I suppose, a matter of opinion, but it's at least arguable.

See that? Didja notice how I replied to you using actual factual claims and citations? As opposed to, say, your own comment #90, which consists entirely of attitudinizing. In five paragraphs, I see two claims of authoritative knowledge, but no actual facts that contradict anything that's been said here. And then you finish off by bragging that we're so afraid of your awesome viewpoint that we'll have to disemvowel you to maintain our "Narrative".

#162 ::: Rich McAllister ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:02 AM:

mcpye @ #148 : on the touch-screen machines here, one can select "write in" and a screen keyboard appears to type in the name. On the old mechanicals I used in New York decades ago there was a little window that exposed a paper tape to write on, which got changed after use. (I don't know how the scribblings on the tape got related back to whichever race it was for, perhaps there were row number markings that didn't show in the window.) Paper based systems (mark sense or punch card) are of course easy.

#163 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:14 AM:

This is one of the many reasons that I encourage people to take advantage of early voting if you live in a state where it's permitted. The more votes recorded before Nov. 4, the fewer chances for election-day shenanigans to make a difference. Also, if you have the time available and a car, you might consider volunteering to transport voters to the early-voting locations; many of the people who need that kind of assistance are precisely those who are most at risk of being intimidated or fraudulently denied franchise.

Also, remember the number 1-866-OUR-VOTE. This is the clearinghouse number to call if you encounter any unusual difficulty on Election Day.

One good thing about living in a "safe state" -- we haven't had any robocalls at all, and damn few political calls of any stripe. Or maybe they're just being ditched by the TeleZapper.

#164 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:16 AM:

Serge #126: Teresa @ 121... I think I just saw a record being broken.

The largest number of simultaneous (not merely overlapping) sock puppets that I know of is 85, a virtuoso performance by a prolific poster active in the 1980's Austin BBS scene; he maintained distinct posting patterns and online personas, and some of the various characters would, as a result, get into very convincing flame wars with each other.

#165 ::: Cynthia Wood ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:18 AM:

Dead voters on the rolls would be the registration vs. voting thing again. I'm 99% certain my dead MIL is still on the Tennessee voting rolls. My FIL certainly hasn't gotten around to removing her. But she's definitely not going to be showing up to vote. Nor is her presence there evidence of fraud by the Democrats, even though she was one.

#166 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:30 AM:

Hey, guys, I can vouch for Jim @43 as not being a troll or astroturfer. But he does have that Fox-News kind of tendency to draw equivocal "equivalencies"; I've seen it on other issues as well.

#167 ::: heresiarch ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:38 AM:

Scott Taylor @ 64: "Disenfranchisement is, in my mind, something that should be reserved only for truly heinous individuals. Felons should - at the worst - have their vote returned to them immediately upon release - and I would prefer that they be allowed to vote even while in prison."

I'm 100% with you there. They've been convicted of crime, not treason. They're still citizens. What right have we to take away their voice in our country?

Mark @ 74: "McCain used to be better than that, but he's been brainwashed in the eight years since his capture by the Viet Cheney."

I doubt it--all that's really changed is that he's been persuaded that being a dirty slimeball is a more effective tactic than acting virtuously. For McCain winning is, as always, the only thing.

albatross @ 108: "I'm no longer convinced that my "plausibility filter" is a good measure of whether we might see this administration in particular, or any administration, do some crazy and evil and self-defeating thing."

I think that goes a long way towards explaining why this thread exists, and why some people are so shocked by it. To anyone still trusting their plausibility filter, our worries seem insane. And maybe--hopefully--they are. But it seems equally insane to trust in a filter that's been proved wrong so many times before. Just because we can clearly see that it's insane and evil and self-defeating doesn't mean that they can. They invaded Iraq, after all.

Graydon @ 138: "And, institutionally, systemically, however you want to put that part of it, the US is utterly corrupt."

"Corruption" implies to me that someone is breaking the law; I find that most of the problems with the US don't come from people breaking the law. Rather, they come from people changing the law so that acting selfishly and recklessly is perfectly legal. So "corrupt" doesn't seem to me to be the right word--the system isn't failing to accomplish its goals because workers are on the take or something. It has been designed to do this.

#168 ::: miriam beetle ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:04 AM:

teresa,

Well done! You are hereby awarded the ears, the tail, and any other bits you fancy as trophies.

aw, thanks! i hope i make my contributions where i can.

& i can't help but feel a bit bad, now, that i didn't catch "sten." he definitely rubbed me the wrong way. the appeal-to-wifely-authority which brt loved to do should have tipped me off (i didn't recall that brt's convenient "wife" was a women's-studies-major-who-hates-mainstream-academic-feminism, as well as a woman-of-colour-who-hates-mainstream-academic-anti-racism. but i should have).

#169 ::: Juliet E McKenna ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:50 AM:

From a recent article on voter fraud in The Guardian.

But how real is voter fraud? It exists here and there, no doubt. But a study by a Columbia University found that between 2002 and 2005, the US justice department won just 24 successful voter-fraud convictions - in the entire country - during the same period that the department made such prosecutions a high priority.
also,
A former federal prosecutor in New Mexico, a conservative Republican who was controversially fired by the Bush administration in large part because he did not see voter fraud as a major criminal enterprise, says the investigation smells to high heaven. "I'm astounded that this issue is being trotted out again," he told the website Talking Points Memo on Thursday. "Based on what I saw in 2004 and 2006, it's a scare tactic."

#170 ::: Mez ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:03 AM:

Teresa (#160) "That looks like a really painful condition, but I'm sure if you'll just keep using that medicated cream the doctor gave you, it'll clear up." It can work.

#171 ::: Adrian Smith ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 06:44 AM:

Teresa@160: I've heard that tone. It's weird and creepy. They think they're losing something, but I don't know what it is. I'm not sure they could tell you either.

I'm afraid I think it might be something to do with their very identity as Americans.

#172 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 07:22 AM:

heresiarch @ 167:

If you want examples of people changing the law to permit what might otherwise be considered corruption or outright criminal activity, then you should consider Italy, where the Parliament has (again!) passed a law granting immunity against prosecution to the Prime Minister and his top associates. The last time Silvio Berlusconi was in power, Parliament also helped out his companies and associates by retroactively decriminalizing numerous activities they were accused of (or even on trial for) -- see here for a short summary.

See also this article in the NY Review of Books on the deep and abiding criminal-based corruption of the Campania region (among others), and its connection to Italian politics:

Candidates for Silvio Berlusconi's "good government" coalition campaigned actively in southern Italy denouncing the excessive power of investigative magistrates and the damage done to the regional economy by organized crime investigations. "We will vote for Berlusconi," Giuseppe Piromalli, a boss of the Calabrian criminal organization called the 'Ndrangheta, declared in open court. And after Berlusconi's coalition won virtually all the Sicilian seats in parliament, a Sicilian mafioso was overheard on a police wiretap saying, "Beautiful, all the candidates my friends, all of them elected."
and
Berlusconi's former campaign manager and the head of one of his largest companies was convicted of collusion with the Mafia but continues as a member of parliament with no pressure to resign while he appeals his case. Proven contact with organized crime figures is not a political liability. There are, in fact, twenty-four legislators with criminal convictions currently in parliament, and numerous lawyers in parliament represent both corrupt politicians and mafiosi also in parliament, all of them busy passing legislation to weaken the criminal justice system.

How anyone can call the US "utterly corrupt" when cases like Italy exist -- and Italy is, of course, nowhere near as bad as places like Russia, Azerbaijan, Iraq, or Zimbabwe -- is beyond me.

#173 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 08:52 AM:

Matthew Austern #152: I live in a state in which six years ago the Republican senatorial candidate defeated the Democratic incumbent by challenging his patriotism. That is to say, challenging the patriotism of a man who lost three of his limbs in the Vietnam War. After seeing that, I find it hard to believe that there is a moral line left to cross. After listening to Michelle Bachmann, I'm sure of it.

#174 ::: Sisuile ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 08:53 AM:

Matt @ 158

Institutional memory is long, and my faith in the current Mayor Daley's (or his staff's) purity is non-existent, so yes, I felt my tense was correct. I understand that the blatant voter fraud was Mayor Daley Sr., but Terry was asking for an example in the last century where the Dems had committed such acts. Daley Sr. certainly didn't play fair when it came to elections.

#175 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 09:33 AM:

Peter --

George H. W. Bush pardoned, blanket, the Iran-Contra conspirators.

George Bush has been busily stacking the justice department.

Pointing to some place you can assert is worse is not a refutation of corruption.

The US is not special, the good guys, or favoured of God. The US is, like absolutely everywhere else, precisely as good as the people who live there compell it to be.

#176 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 09:57 AM:

Tim Kyger @90:
that perhaps there really *isn't* some vast consipiracy

I can't speak for anyone else here, but personally, I don't think that there's a vast conspiracy among Republican operatives and officials to manipulate elections to their party's advantage any more than there's a vast conspiracy among the world's burglars to burglarize houses.

And Story, as we are told, is much more important than Plot

What on Earth do this blog's owners' opinions on how to write books have to do with any of this?

One set is accepted; the others are dismissed. Despite both being true.

It's spelled e-v-i-d-e-n-c-e. Do you have it? Then provide it.

I've been working as a political professional (i.e., paid to get actual *results*) for about 20 years now,

The doctors I've been to in my life knew more about medicine than I do. That didn't stop them from trying to explain their opinion of what was going on when discussing my medical issues with me, rather than just issuing some kind of ex cathedra pronouncements based on their authority as doctors.

It's like watching a train wreck to see the incredible amounts of posturing needed by everyone to fit Story to outside facts

In your post, you have three times written "story" with a capital "S", two times written "narrative" with a capital "N", once written "plot" with a capital "P", and once written "sillyness" with a capital "S" (I never thought there could be so much irony in a single word). Do you really think that you're in any position to accuse others of posturing?

I'm posting this at 2:22. I give it until 2:25 for disemvowellment. I haven't been personal or anything, I think, but this message *will* be eviscerated. So much for opposing viewpoints and their "tolerance."

Nonsense. I've said things that were a good deal to the right of the majority position here several times, and I never got disemvowelled for it. The one time I did get some trouble from the moderators, it was because I had gone too far in an argument with someone whose politics were apparently rightwing or centrist.

Can't rattle the Narrative/Story ya know...

The way you keep using postmodernist vocabulary makes me wonder: Are you a postmodernist yourself, or are you one of those people who think everyone to the left of themselves is a postmodernist? I won't have much respect for you either way, but it's kind of relevant for understanding your position.


Earl Cooley III @ 116
Serge #110: I think Mark Twain once said something about Democrats being congenitally unable to agree with each other on anything. Or words to that effect.

I'd probably take that in the context of being said of a Democratic party from the time before the Dixiecrats left to become Rethuglicans. I figure it's less severe now than it was then.

Yes, at some time, the Dems were arguably a coalition of Northern Catholics and Southern anti-Catholic bigots, wich might have given them a good shot in the "strangest organisation of all times" competition.

Serge @120
By the way, I think I once read that William Jennings Bryant, who was the inspiration for anti-Evolutionist Brady of Inherit the Wind, was one of those instrumental in turning the Democratic Party into the Party of Social Justice while the Republican Party was becoming that of Big Business.

Yes, apparently, at the time US politics was a matter of social conservatives who were economically left-leaning versus social liberals who were economically rightwing.

P J Evans @112:
I'd like to know what kind of hold they have over the Democrats in congress, that the Dems roll over and play dead so [expletive deleted] often. (I think they have stuff that sounds incriminating (whether it actually is or not), or they show the Dems a stack of file folders full of paper, implying they have evidence of possibly-incriminating acts.)

I'm not sure wether "the Dems" really roll over that often. My impression is that sometimes, Congress decides the way the Republicans want, and then a lot of people complain that "the Democrats" sold out, but if you look at how people voted, it turns out that most of "the Democrats" voted against what the Republicans wanted, and the Republicans got their preferred result thanks to a minority of Democrats. The members of that minority, in turn, might come from very conservative parts of the country, or might be afraid that their party will be accused of being "soft on national security", wich still doesn't go over well with the public.

Michael Roberts @129:
Tim @whatever up there - Uh wow. Making Light a monoculture? This coming from a professional Beltway man? Do you get out much?

There's a depressingly high number of people- and unlike manipulating elections, this does seem to be common all over the political spectrum- who think that all opinions that are significantly different from their own are the same.

Chris @139:
I think you're overlooking an important point. It's still possible for McCain to win; Reagan came back from a big deficit in 1980. But it's not possible for McCain to win with people's minds and attitudes as they currently are. He needs something to change a whole lot of minds just to get him within striking distance, and it looks like he's not capable of doing his own persuading to any great degree. (Unless he just hasn't been bringing his A game to the last several months of campaigns, the entire debate schedule... yeah, right.)

Note the other example of a big late comeback: Reagan 1980. Something big happened to help Reagan make that comeback. (Actually, two big things: the debate that year was very close to the election. But everyone remembers the hostage crisis as the deciding event.) That's the kind of big thing that McCain needs to have happen to make *his* comeback (or even bigger, since he's on the wrong end of the charisma gap). Except he needs it to work in *favor* of the incumbent party, not against it like crises often do.

Furthermore, if a big event does happen between now and the election - then nearly everyone will be aware of it (otherwise it couldn't have been big enough to be the change McCain needed) and it will be obvious that pre-event predictions no longer hold water.

Well, there's always this possibility.

Cynthia Wood @165:
Dead voters on the rolls would be the registration vs. voting thing again. I'm 99% certain my dead MIL is still on the Tennessee voting rolls. My FIL certainly hasn't gotten around to removing her. But she's definitely not going to be showing up to vote. Nor is her presence there evidence of fraud by the Democrats, even though she was one.

Yes- even if a crminal elections official would fraudulently registrate dead people, dogs, or furniture, how would that be supposed to help his side in the election itself?

#177 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 10:00 AM:

Graydon @ 175... The US is, like absolutely everywhere else, precisely as good as the people who live there compell it to be.

"I know when I've been insulted. I KNOW WHEN I'VE BEEN INSULTED."
- Lucy van Pelt

#178 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 10:05 AM:

Teresa @ 160... Uh-oh. Which record did I break? You just can't get the shellac since the war.

Heheheh... I was just thinking about how little time passed between CRV's reappearance and his being thrown out on his ass.

#179 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 10:14 AM:

Raphael @ 176... the Dems were arguably a coalition of Northern Catholics and Southern anti-Catholic bigots

I can see how that could have led to some problems.

at the time US politics was a matter of social conservatives who were economically left-leaning versus social liberals who were economically rightwing

A few years ago, SciFiction published an alternate-History tale whose author I can't remember, but its premise was that of Bryant running for President as a Democrat against Mark Twain as a Republican. By the end of the story, their ferocious campaign has fueled the birth of new technologies, and both parties have changed to become the opposite of what they are in our Reality.

#180 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 10:41 AM:

Graydon @ 175:

I have not, in any sense, been arguing there is no corruption in the US. I'm well aware that there is; none of what you've listed is, alas, news to me. Nowhere have I implied that the US is "favored of God" or any other such nonsense. The current Transparency International rankings put US at 18th, tied with Belgium and Japan; that means there are arguably 17 countries less corrupt than the US, some of them significantly so. (And, given the quoted confidence ranges for the actual indices, one could argue that the US is marginally worse than Belgium and Japan, as well.)

What I'm taking issue with is your extremism in the other direction: classifying the US as the Devil Incarnate. Saying that the US is "utterly" corrupt -- and possibly beyond any redemption -- means that the US is as bad as any place can possibly be when it comes to corruption. And that is simply, and demonstrably, not true.

#181 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 10:45 AM:

Mark @ 68 says:

"I'll bet you a Guinness you cannot come up with one single reputable source (i.e., not widely recognized as an organ of a right wing political organization) documenting allegations of Democratic voter suppression or actual vote (not registration but vote) fraud in the current century."

By "current century" do you mean "since 2000" or "in the last hundred years"? I know of a rather famous bit of Democratic fraud here in Philly in a 1993 election, not that long ago, where a federal judge found a bunch of absentee ballots turned in for a state Senate race to be fraudulent, and awarded the seat to the Republican candidate.

A 1997 retrospective article in the Philadelphia Inquirer (hardly a right wing front) summarized:

"U.S. District Judge Clarence C. Newcomer ruled that [Democratic candidate] Stinson's campaign had stolen the special election through massive absentee-ballot fraud, with help from the Board of Elections.

Stinson was stripped of his office and fined $25,000. Then he watched as a procession of campaign workers pleaded guilty to forging ballots, deceiving voters and other acts of fraud. He himself was tried on charges that he illegally opened absentee ballots and voting machines in his neighborhood polling place. He was acquitted."

("Stinson sees past as no bar to his about-to-open dream", Philadelphia Inquirer, February 9, 1997.)

The case was fairly high-profile because for a while it looked like the outcome of the election would determine which party would control the state Senate. (After another state senator died, that issue became moot.)

None of this is meant to justify or excuse shenanigans in the current election. But I hope this at least dispels any notion that charges of present-day Democratic voter fraud can be automatically assumed to be baseless.

#182 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 10:48 AM:

For whatever it may be worth, I understand the Nevada Secretary of State has told the GOP those votes will be counted, while tossing their suit out the door.

One problem with claiming that discrepancies are fraud is that they might be errors by the voter, errors by the clerks recording the information, or, just possibly, actual deliberate fraud, and there's no way to tell which one after the information gets on the rolls.

#183 ::: James D. Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:07 AM:

#181: But I hope this at least dispels any notion that charges of present-day Democratic voter fraud can be automatically assumed to be baseless.

Granted. Is there any voter fraud in the past 100 years that did not have the collusion of the Board of Elections as part of its essential mechanism?

#184 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:30 AM:

Peter Erwin #172: One big difference between corruption in the US and corruption in Italy is that the US is a major imperial world power, and Italy is not. The internal levels of corruption may be different, but ours (I'm American) are amplified all out of proportion by the tremendous amount of influence we have.

Serge #178: I was just thinking about how little time passed between CRV's reappearance and his being thrown out on his ass.

Yeah--I refreshed and his "I've been caught!" message came up as the most recent post; I refreshed again a minute later and it had been disemvowelled. Impressive.

#185 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:33 AM:

Peter --

"Utterly corrupt" means just that. It does not mean "maximally corrupt" or anything like that.

The question is not "are these institutions as evil as possible?"; it's "can these institutions be made less corrupt inside the existing social framework and consensus?" (If they can't, the trend is going to stay negative until some other social framework is established, a very dry phrase for exceedingly traumatic events.)

So far as I can tell, ever since money became speech, the answer to that question in the US is "no".

#186 ::: Face of the Unwanted ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:44 AM:

Hw lng bfr ths pst gts nkd?

Wh knws.

t'll stnd fr t lst fw mnts, nywy.

Tm Krygr s rght. Mkng Lght s mncltr. Snglr mntlty. Snglr thght prcsss. Prhps ths s th wy Trs nd Ptrck lk t? f s, thnk tht sys vlms bt thr "lbrl" mndst.

Clssclly, rl lbrl s pn t ds, cncpts, nd pnns nt ncssrly flttrng t thr wn.

Bt wt, my bd. Mkng Lght s "prgrssv" wb blg, nd th mdrtrs fl n qlms bt slncng dbt, dssnt, r ncmfrtbl ds v thr cntrl vr th blg's cmmntry.

Whch s fn, t's thr blg. Bt dn't knw hw nyn cn wlk rnd prfssng t hv n "pn mnd" nd thn nfrc th knd f dlgcl lckstp tht 'v sn nfrcd n ths blg n th lst 2.5 yrs.

Myb Ptrck, Trs, t l, nvr prtndd t hv "pn mnds" bt nythng?

wsh 'd knwn tht n 2006. t wld hv svd m lt f trbl.

W nw rtrn y t th mncltr. Hv fn grng mngst yrslvs.

#187 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:47 AM:

Hey, Face: Have you noticed that Tim's post didn't get disemvowelled? And I'm betting yours won't either.

#188 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:47 AM:

Re #186
How many points does this one hit on the troll bingo scorecard?

#189 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:53 AM:

#186 ::: Face of the Unwanted ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:44 AM:
How long before this post gets nuked?
Who knows.
It'll stand for at least a few minutes, anyway.

You are Community Radio Vet and I claim my five pounds.

#190 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:53 AM:

Carrie, given that Face is apparently the latest sockpuppet of that many-sockpuppets guy, I can imagine that it will get disemvowelled. Not that this would prove his point, though- sockpuppets are generally seen as a pain in the ass everywhere on the internet by pretty much everyone aside from themselves.

#191 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:56 AM:

"Come and see the violence inherent in the system! Help, help, I'm being repressed!"

Yawn.

People aren't banned or disemvowelled here for disagreeing with the moderators or the other participants. They, or their vowels, are removed because they're being obnoxious.

#192 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:58 AM:

Oh, is he? It didn't look like the same writing style to me, but in retrospect the question with no question mark should have tipped me off. Ah well.

But Tim's post is still up there, with all its vowels. :)

#193 ::: Don Fitch ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 12:00 PM:

# 179: " and both parties have changed to become the opposite of what they are in our Reality".

My problem is in figuring out what the parties are in our reality.

The Republicans are clearly opposed to States Rights, eager to take the nation into fiscally-irresponsible enormous debt, want the Government to inquire more closely into our private lives & communications, want to alter (or have altered) the traditional Balance of Power in favor of Rule by the Executive Branch, and are aiming for world-wide military domination by the U.S., while the Democrats are the conservative party, right?

Sometimes I feel that I'm getting too old to put up with such /s/h/i/t/ complexity & duplicity.

#194 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 12:26 PM:

Don Fitch @193 while the Democrats are the conservative party, right?

No, you're getting wrong what "conservative" means. In practise, it means keeping things the way they traditionally were, but above all, keeping the people on top who traditionally were on top, and making sure everything is as much for their convenience as possible. Most of the other stuff is mostly window dressing and spin to make "keeping the people on top who traditionally were on top, and making sure everything is as much for their convenience as possible" sound more respect- and electable, allthough there are of course people who got duped by it.

#195 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 12:28 PM:

Face (or should I say sockpuppet?) @ 186

I do not think the word liberal means what you think it means. A real liberal is open to new ideas for the simple reason that we don't know whether they're good ideas or not till we've looked at them and assessed them. Different ideas just because they're different? Not so much, not unless those ideas are good ones.

I'll take an extreme example for simplicity of illustration, since I think simplicity is necessary in this case due to the demonstrated learning curve of the listener: A subset of conservatives feels that I am a commie pinko traitor for holding liberal views. That's an idea that's very different from and unflattering to my own. It's also flat wrong.

I have no responsibility as a liberal to entertain wrong-headed ideas, particularly long disproved wrong-headed ideas. Nor to give them any credence or platform. In point of fact, one of the things that marks a liberal is the willingness to discard old ideas if they are bad ones.

In short, you seem to have a fundamental misunderstanding of both the definition of liberal and of open mind. It's a common misunderstanding among conservatives, but that doesn't excuse it. You probably won't get very far talking to liberals until you actually learn something about the way we think.

#196 ::: Nancy Lebovitz ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 12:39 PM:

I take Graydon's point of view to be that the US is doomed, not that it's the devil incarnate.

I've been surprised enough times lately that I don't have that sort of faith in my ability to predict. I do think the US has an substantial set of institutional tools for resisting tyranny and people who are devoted to using them. I don't know if it will be enough, nor if some sufficient cultural change will happen, nor if that change has to include capital punishment to be sufficient.

Graydon, do you have a time span in mind for self-induced disaster to hit the US, and ideas about how that disaster would affect the rest of the world?

#197 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 12:44 PM:

Nancy --

This ongoing financial meltdown looks like it counts from where I am sitting!

It's not solved, it's not contained, and it's not over, either. "Over" may require a replacement of fractional reserve banking.

And much of my point is that the institutional tools have been deliberately eroded and broken over the last 30-odd years; nearly forty, now.

The US founding fathers would have reacted to warrantless searches or aggressive war a good deal less calmly than the present population has done. In a lot of ways it looks like many people now agree that it has authority because it is the government, rather than it has authority because we say it is the government.

#198 ::: shannon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 12:47 PM:

In Memphis, I waited for about 30 minutes at early voting. The poll workers would allow the frail and elderly to move up to the front of the line. There are reports of record black turn out here[in the commercial appeal at least]

#199 ::: fidelio ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 12:59 PM:

shannon, I did my early voting yesterday--I did at during my lunch hour and depsite that timing there wasn't much waiting here in Nashville--although there may have been lines at other early voting locations. Things moved quickly and everyone was pretty cheerful and upbeat--and people kept trickling in and moving through the process.

Lamar Alexander's buffalo plaid signs are pretty ugly, but I guess since the best thing on his resumé is that he replaced Ray Blanton as governor of Tennessee while campaigning with that plaid shirt, I suppose it's the best choice he has available.

#200 ::: Peter Erwin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:01 PM:

Graydon @ 185:
"Utterly corrupt" means just that. It does not mean "maximally corrupt" or anything like that.

Perhaps you should attempt to define what you mean by "utterly", since it clearly seems to differ from what I understand it to mean, and from what the available dictionaries I've checked suggest. E.g., American Heritage Dictionary: "Completely; absolutely; entirely." (All of which are reasonable synonyms of "maximally".)

#201 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:07 PM:

I haven't read through the comments yet, so I apologize if this has already been covered:

PBS & YouTube have launched Video your vote. Bill Moyers had Mark Crispin Miller explain it at the end of last week's Bill Moyer's Journal.

MARK CRISPIN MILLER: Well, there's an organization called "Video the Vote", VideoTheVote.org, which is providing people with free cameras. The idea is to interview people who come from the polls and say, "They wouldn't let me vote although I'm registered." Or they'll say, "I pressed the button to vote for Obama, and the light for McCain lit up." You know, this kind of thing happened in over 11 states in 2004. Thousands of people saying this kind of thing happened. We need to gather the evidence that this has happened.
#202 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:07 PM:

Peter @#200: If I understand Graydon correctly*, he is making a distinction between the quantity of the corruption and the quality. For example, imagine a system made of some number of subsystems. It's possible for any combination of those subsystems to be corrupt, but each of them can also be corrupt to a greater or lesser degree. So Graydon's saying that all the subsystems of the US are corrupt, but none of them are as corrupt as they could be (or as analagous systems are in other places).

* Graydon, please feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.

#203 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:11 PM:

I wonder if the people who think of ML as a monoculture see Japan as a monoculture, or any US state as a monoculture. Within what's seen as a monoculture from the outside, there are always lots of variations. I see the variation here. I don't see as much of it in the conservative world. I know that's because I'm not looking there as closely as I do here.

Is the concept of monoculture actually a useful one in a polylogue, or merely a pejorative one for a monologist?

#204 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:29 PM:

The problem is with the mainstream media which is in the tank for Obama. Put simply, the media is reporting the polls to the public and the polls are always skewed in Obama's favor in an effort to make everyone believe Obama is ahead. But if you travel in areas where Obama is supposedly in the lead, you will see overwhelming support for McCain...NOT Obama. What I am seeing is NOT what I am hearing from the media. Has anyone asked the precentage of Democrats who are being polling in relation to Republicans? Because that can skew polls too. The media want to dictate who we vote for by drilling us with false polls.

McCain will win this, trust me.

#205 ::: Face of the Unwanted ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:33 PM:

Mkng Lght Sckpppt = nyn Wh Dsgrs Wth Th Ztgst.

Th prblm wth kpng n hndl t Mkng Lght, f y'r nt fllwr f th ztgst, s tht y gt bnnd. Y r frcd by dflt t s nw lss bcs th ld ns gt cnnd, lk Trtskyts drng th Blshvk Rvltn.

thnk th Dctnry.cm dfntn f "lbrl" s nstrctv:

http://dctnry.rfrnc.cm/brws/lbrl

tms #5, #8 nd #11 r ntbly bsnt frm Mkng Lght.

f y'r lbrl wh thnks #5, #8 nd #11 dn't mttr, K.

gn, wsh 'd hv rlzd tht Mkng Lght dsn't tlrt WrngThnk, bck n 2006. 'd hv mvd n nd nt wstd my tm.

Th rny bt ths blg (nd mny lk t) s tht t's flld wth slf-styld dssntrs wh, whn mng thr wn lmnt, qsh dssnt. Rlng gnst cnsrvtvs nd Rpblcns nd nn-prgrssvs (bcs vryn knwns cnsrvtvs nd Rpblcns nd nn-prgrssvs r Pr vl nd Nt T B Lstnd T f y'r ps prgrssv) th mdrtrs thn trn rnd nd d th xct sm thngs tht th Ttltrns f Th Rght r ccsd f dng: stppng dbt, ndng dscssn, slncng cntrrn pnts f vw, tc.

Bsclly, th Mkng Lght crwd sms t b syng:

1) W knw w r mrlly, thclly, nd pltclly rght.
2) Bcs w knw ths, w r nt blgtd t vn ntrtn th d tht myb, ppl wh dsgr wth s hv vld pnt f vw.
3) Thrfr thr s n nd t lstn t r rd nythng frm nyn wh dsgrs wth s.

Frnkly, thnk Mkng Lght wld d bttr s clsd phpBB frm, by nvttn nly. Flks (lk m) wh wndr n frm th ntrnt xpctng n "pn" blg plcy, gt dngd fr ll knds f crp, rght ff th bt, rn fwl f ny nmbr f shbblths, nd thn w'r bng lbld/dcrd fr flng t phld th ztgst, s f thr ws sgn rght t frnt dmndng tht ll prtcpnts flttr r sps th sm vws nd ds hld by lng-stndng prtcpnts.

thnk tht bt cvrs t.

W nc gn rtrn y t th mncltr...

#206 ::: Joel Polowin ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:45 PM:

The problem with keeping one handle at Making Light, if you're not a follower of the zeitgeist, is that you get banned.

Or you could, you know, stay away from a place where you've been told you're unwelcome. Rather than trying to force your way in, just to prove you can be an ass anywhere you want.

#207 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:46 PM:

Face @#205: I believe the phrase we're looking for is "Don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out". If ML sucks so much, there's this wonderful feature of the Internet where you don't have to read it! Amazing, no?

I'm not really interested in interacting with you any more (since it's really more like shouting into the void), but let me point out one thing: perhaps the reason your personas kept getting banned is because they all said the same obnoxious things. As someone who once got into an argument here over my support for capital punishment, I can tell you that merely disagreeing with the common opinion is not your problem.

Anyway, have a nice life.

Somewhere else.

#208 ::: Caroline ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:46 PM:

....And we have the long-form "YOU CENSOR DISSENTING VIEWPOINTS! FREEDOM OF SPEECH!"

Bingo!

(Protip: get your own blog. The First Amendment does not require anyone else to buy you a soapbox, as you seem to believe. It does entitle you to get your own and say whatever you like. I recommend Blogger.com.)

#209 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:48 PM:

Mark @204: I dunno, Mark--I live in what's generally considered a fairly strong "Obama" area (northern Illinois) and I don't see or hear all that much support for McCain in the general population around me. If nothing else, Obama is winning the yard sign count by about 20 to 1. So far.

I don't actually believe that that means much--certainly it isn't any kind of proof that Obama will win the general election, or even necessarily that he will win the state--but if the media reports that Obama is ahead in the polls in Illinois, my personal observation sort of backs the media.

Anyone else, from elsewhere?

#210 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:51 PM:

I guess all those Obama bumper stickers I see and which outnumber McCain ones greatly were put there by Republicans who want us libruls to think we might win.

#211 ::: Lexica ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:59 PM:

I wasn't aware that early voting was a possibility in Alameda County, but apparently it is.

There's going to be an early voting event on the steps of the main courthouse (1225 Fallon Street, Oakland) on Friday the 24th from noon to 2:00 pm.

#212 ::: Face of the Unwanted ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:02 PM:

Tm @ #203:

Tht's ctlly vry gd pnt.

spps s t lk ths.

Mkng Lght s "mn" cltr n th fllwng wys:

1) Vrtlly vryn wh s Mkng Lght rglr n gd stndng, vts Dmcrt. Thy mght nt ncssrly b rgstrd Dmcrt, bt thy vt Dmcrt nd wll lwys rsh t dfnd th Dmcrtc Prty n mttrs whr Rpblcns nd Dmcrts r n dspt.

2) Vrtlly vryn wh s Mkng Lght rglr n gd stndng, hs n mtnl dslk f Rpblcns. Nt jst Rpblcn pltcns, bt smll-r Rpblcns wh mght nt ncssrly b rgstrd Rpblcns, bt prhps vtd fr Bsh r spprt Rpblcn nttvs n gvrnmnt.

3) Mkng Lght rglrs n gd stndng dsply nfrmty f pnn n sbjct mttr lk gy rghts, th ccptn f rq, th hrrdnss f th Bsh prsdncy, wtrbrdng, tc, nd cnsdr nyn wh dsn't dsply smlr nfrmty t b bth mntlly nd mrlly dfctv. Y cn't smply dsgr wth th grp, wtht gttng dgpld nd/r dsmvwld nd/r bnnd.

S whl Mkng Lght rdrs nd prtcpnts mght hv "dffrncs" tht r f smll cnsqnc (rg, wht clr scks thy wr, whch sprts tms thy lk, whch ssns thy prfr, wht fd r msc thy njy) n mttrs f Lrg Cnsqnc (rg, pltcl) thy r, wth fw xcptns, f th sm mnd.

gn, f ths wr n nvt-nly frm wth sgn t frnt tht sd, "f y dn't gr wth s n th fllwng mttrs, y r nt wntd hr!" thn thnk ppl lk m wld lv t wll ngh ln, nd th frm prtcpnts wld hv t ndr lt lss "sck ppptry" by ths wh mstk Mkng Lght fr plc tht s pn t tr dbt bt Bg ds.

#213 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:03 PM:

I saw more Obama stickers and signs than McPalin ones in the San Joaquin valley two weeks ago. (It's a fairly conservative area of California; most of the lowerdowns are GOP, and their signs are conspicuous for their lack of stated party affiliation.)

#214 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:07 PM:

Mary Frances, I live in a DFL stronghold, so what my neighborhood seems like makes no nevermind (point: I know several Iraq War vets who all wear their red, white & blue Obama t-shirts to work on weekends).

But I was in rural Iowa, in a strongly pro-life/Republican little town, a few weekends ago, and what struck me was how *few* McCain bumper stickers/yard signs I saw. In fact, we only saw 1 yard sign at all (it was Republican, but for a local race.) There are still W stickers on a lot of cars, but I'm not seeing support for McCain. I wonder how many dispirited small business Republicans are going to just sit this one out?

Or maybe it's just that nobody's been able to afford a new car since 2004. I really don't know. I just was surprised.

#215 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:10 PM:

By his own admission, the loudly complaining fellow above hasn't been banned under every handle he;s used.

Bus-Riding Traveler, he says, was banned in 2006. I wasn't following the threads on which this happened, I don't remember it.

Public Radio Vet/Community Radio Vet created a lot of noise, and I think may have gotten disemvowelled a time or two. Disemvowelling isn't banning; I've been disemvowelled at least once (for an insufficiently oblique spoiler in a puzzle thread) and I'm still here. Many long-standing community members have lost their vowels on occasion when things have gotten heated; they're still here too. What PRV/CRV did was to flounce, repeatedly... announce that he was leaving the discussion, and then return to poke it again.

Sten... I don't recall Sten getting banned. Moderators would know better than I.

If Sub-Odeon/Face of the Unwanted has been banned, it's for admitted sockpuppeting (a well-recognized Internet term concerning the use of multiple handles with intent to delude), not for having dissenting opinions.

He's making himself look silly.

#216 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:11 PM:

Mark @ 204 and Face @ 205, do you have anything to back up your claims? Anything at all?

#217 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:18 PM:

/delurk - but not for the first time...

This election is really giving me the blues. Although there is a moral position to be taken, we're all trapped in the bogus equivalency game. I'm barely on speaking terms with some of my family members because they've been so badly twisted around by Republican rhetoric. I don't think this is their fault...they're sound, stolid Hoosiers, many of them vets. They look at McCain, and they don't actually see McCain the man. They see McCain the idea. Depressingly, they also see Obama the idea (courtesy of FOX news). Even more depressingly, half of them can't even get that far. They want a strong patriotic voice that speaks clearly and simply, without nuance or complication. They want to know why they've lost their jobs, why they've lost their retirement, why houses in their neighborhood are becoming abandoned, derelict. And they won't listen to me, because I'm a crypto-communist-socialist-atheist who moved to Yurp*! "Took our daughter-in-law and granddaughter with him to boot! How dare he enjoy decent health care and public transit and 6 completely godless weeks of public vacation!"

*Courtesy of Clive James

/relurk - hopefully for the last time!

#218 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:25 PM:

Face @ 212, some good points, but the fact remains that noone here gets banned or disemvowelled simply for disagreeing with the majority, even on what you call big ideas.

"Dogpiling" is a different matter, but if you see that as a violation of free speech, then there's probably no place on the internet (or in real life, for that matter) that has freedom of speech. "Dogpiling" is simply an ineviteable consequence of going somewhere where people are used to speaking their mind, and saying something with wich most people there disagree. The only way to avoid dogpiles would be by limiting the free speech of people who might take part in them.

#219 ::: Fc f th nwntd ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:27 PM:

GRHHH! BNND GN!!!

#220 ::: Fc f th nwntd ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:28 PM:

r prhps nt?

Smpl dsmvwld.

s ths prgrss? r s th bnnng jst nt ffctd yt?

#221 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:31 PM:

dlbowman@217: If that's the last time you re-lurk, does that mean next time you post you'll stick around?

#222 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:34 PM:

Yes, but I absolutely promise (on some obscure oath...I'm sure Serge will be able to remember a film reference that I'm forgetting) not to be a complete TWAT...see posts 220, 219, 212...

#223 ::: ethan ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:36 PM:

Mary Frances #209: Anyone else, from elsewhere?

I'm sure there are more, somewhere, but I've seen exactly two McCain signs in Rhode Island, and haven't once heard anyone say anything nice about him during this election cycle.

And I hate to feed the troll, but Face of the Unwanted (nice name, by the way--simultaneously pathetic and martyr-complexy, and over being disliked on one blog!), I cannot abide being told that I blindly support the Democrats. In general, I find the Democrats vile. They're just significantly less vile than the Republicans. As I've discussed here, I'm not voting for Obama (but would were I in a swing state because, terrifying as an Obama presidency would be, a McCain--or Palin--presidency would be exponentially more terrifying), and whenever there's a third-party challenger for local office I research them excitedly, and if they're not entirely despicable, I will vote for them enthusiastically.

Also, in 2000 I voted for a Republican for US Senate (not to mention that I voted for Nader for president, which is certainly not part of any monoculture there might be here).

#224 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:36 PM:

By the way, Face, you've complained that a) you think you were never welcome here and b) when you first came here, there was no warning sign that you wouldn't be welcome here. But didn't your first ban kind of show you that?

#225 ::: Sb-dn ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:42 PM:

Tstng, tstng...

#226 ::: Sb-dn ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:44 PM:

Ww, mst hv bn shrt bn?

#227 ::: Debbie ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:52 PM:

Well, my absentee ballot from Florida arrived yesterday. Somehow I'm hoping that this type of vote will count, but without playing quite the same prominent role as in former years.

#228 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:55 PM:

ISTM that we have quite a bit of disagreement here, and not a few flamefests, for such an alleged monoculture. I don't ever recall seeing anyone lose their vowels for disagreeing with the hosts or the common beliefs here, and I've carried out both experiments a number of times.

Any community has assumpions and common beliefs, and it's always hard to have discussions which contradict some of them. You can often do it, but not easily, and you'll feel like you're swimming against the current. The good news is, you learn stuff from the discussions, and with any luck, so do the people you're talking with. But it is a lot more work than hanging out with entirely like-minded people.

One really important thing to remember, though, is that there's a difference between on-topic discussions of ideas from a different (even upsetting) perspective, and threadjacking. If you take the position that, say, the financial meltdown is the fault of fractional reserve banking, it's reasonable to bring that up in a discussion about the financial meltdown, but not to try to turn every discussion into another exchange about the limitless evils of fractional reserve banking and the inherent superiority of the gold standard, or whatever.

And the wonderful thing about the net is that there are *millions* of little communities, far more than you could take part in. That means that if you've worn out your welcome in one such community (as CRV has here), you can find many, many more. This is one way in which every one of us with net access is richer than any but the luckiest people on Earth a hundred years ago.

#229 ::: Graydon ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 02:57 PM:

Carrie @202 --

That's got it. (Thanks!)

Kinda like how an organism with a compromised immune system can look healthy, lock sick, or lock nigh-dead; the thing they have in common is the compromised immune system. It doesn't help a whole lot to have an argument about which one looks sicker if one wishes to restore the organism to health.

#230 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:01 PM:

Apropos of nothing:

While the Making Light community is generally tolerant of polite dissent, I do think that there are some ideas which are considered beyond the pale. Simply expressing them may not be enough to get you banned, but it's not going to win you any friends, either, even if they're couched in lyric verse. Support for torture and opposition to civil rights for gay people are probably two of them. I imagine that advocating the disenfranchisement of women or blacks, or the execution of heretics, would get a similar reaction. I consider this a feature, not a bug.

On the other hand -- while the Making Light community is generally tolerant of polite dissent, and while even people posting in support of the general consensus can lose their vowels or be otherwise reprimanded for conversational fouls -- in my observation the level of politeness required of people who disagree with the general consensus is higher than the level of politeness demanded of those who agree. [1] This is unfortunate but perhaps inevitable.

[1] The instance that springs to mind is of a poster in favor of voting for third party candidates being smacked down for bringing up the argument in an unrelated discussion, while a different poster, arguing against voting for third party candidates in an unrelated discussion, was praised. Of course, other people will have different interpretations of these events, as they were as always more complicated than that. I will hunt down links if I have to, though I may not do it quickly.

#231 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:07 PM:

I was going to write a followup about the news I posted a while ago about an Army Brigade being assigned to "Homeland Defense" to assist civil authority on a permanent, rotating basis — then Terry Karney (151) quietly responded that he had posted about it in his own blog. He did, in great detail, with a much better grasp of the long-term implications.

Go read it.

#232 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:08 PM:
#204 ::: Mark ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 01:29 PM:

The problem is with the mainstream media which is in the tank for Obama. Put simply, the media is reporting the polls to the public and the polls are always skewed in Obama's favor in an effort to make everyone believe Obama is ahead....

.

Then explain this: why is the AP News Service, on which all the primary media depend more extensively all the time, since they have fewer and fewer investigative journalists and other reporters on the payroll all time, stating today that their polls show Obama 49% and McCain 48%, while Fox News, which is blatantly in the tank for the gop is reporting that their polls say it's Obama 49% and McCain 40%?

Where I live is deeply blue so there you go. I see no signs for either candidate around here. Only that the t-shirt vendors of which there are hordes, taking up all sidewalk space possible, have a plethora of choice of Obama support t-shirts for sale and not a single one with McCain on them.

Love, C.

Love, C.

#233 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:11 PM:

As an occasional dissenter here myself, I also feel, like Naomi, that I have to be more careful about expressing myself when countering prevailing opinion here. But I don't consider that a particularly bad thing. I highly value that this forum includes lots of talented writers who treasure choosing words wisely to say what you mean, and to be convincing. Being forced to do that helps improve my writing, and hopefully makes it stronger than it would be if I just went along with the crowd in posts here. And I don't fear getting banned or disemvoweled for dissenting, as long as I'm not rude about it. (Dogpiles may be another matter-- they're hard to avoid in heavily trafficked forums-- but I've seen the moderators take steps to rein those in as well.)

(I should note that although a number of my posts appear on political threads, politics per se isn't the main attraction of this forum for me. And anyone who thinks that they can learn all they need to know about politics from any one forum, this one included, needs to get out more. But I don't think folks here are that insular, by and large.)

#234 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:12 PM:

Mark #204:

Are you claiming that all the polling data from all the organizations doing the polls is skewed for Obama? Do you have some evidence for that?

For example, Fox News' own poll has Obama ahead by nine points, as this article discusses. Note that there's another poll which puts them much closer.

Now, at some level, the national polls are almost meaningless, because the election is decided by electoral college votes. So, once McCain has gotten enough votes to win all Texas' electoral votes, any additional votes are "wasted" as far as getting him into the white house goes. I like tracking this on , many other people here like other sites, which they've described in some depth in some posts here.

I don't buy the idea that all or most of the pollsters are intentionally skewing the results for Obama. They may be doing it unintentionally, and partisan pollsters may do it intentionally, but I don't buy that, say, The Pew Center or AP are intentionally trying to get it wrong. I can be convinced that I'm wrong, here, but it would require some evidence.

The people I know are overwhelmingly voting for Obama, or (in a few cases) staying home because they can't stand either candidate. I know two people who are voting for McCain. But obviously, since my friends and family aren't a random sample of voters, this isn't too meaningful for predicting the election. (Thus the famous quote, something like "Nixon can't have won. Nobody I know voted for him.")

#235 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:13 PM:

I see we've got a slow learner. Let him figure out that I can delete comments faster than he can write them.

By the way, all of Sten's vowels are gone now as well.

Did you know that "Face of the Unwanted" anagrams as We Often Hunt Facade, Anecdota Tween Huff, and Confute New Fathead?

#236 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:15 PM:

I lost a link. Electoral-vote.com.

#237 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:15 PM:

Raphael, #176: What I saw in Tim's post wasn't "postmodernism", but yet another example of the Republican pattern of accusing others of the things they are doing (or planning to do) themselves. Certainly the McCampaign is all about Story trumping everything else, including factual evidence and basic reality.

(Aside: I am also saddened to have to add Tim to the list of people to whose names I must append "before he went nuts" in conversation.)

And re voter fraud: Registration is only the first stage. Then you (the corrupt officials) hire homeless people (or illegal immigrants, or both), provide them with fake ID, and send them to vote in those fraudulently-registered names. At least ISTR that was how the Daley machine did it, and I presume the technique still works.

This is also why many states run periodic purges of their voter-registration lists; in TN, they do it about every 10 years. If someone hasn't voted in that period, their name is removed from the list and they have to re-register if they want to vote again. This eliminates a lot of the "deceased voters still registered" issue.

Kelly, #195: I think what we're seeing there is a common attack meme -- the idea that to be considered "liberal" or "open-minded", one has to sit back and take whatever the attacker does to you with a smile. Needless to say, this is a popular talking point with trolls and bullies of all stripes, because it gives them all the power and leaves the victim no recourse. My response to it is very straightforward: if they want me to respect their views, they have to respect mine in turn. Tolerance isn't a one-way street.

Mary Frances, #209: I had a 3-hour drive on non-freeway roads thru northern Texas on Tuesday, and I was looking for political signs along the way. This is an area which can be reliably predicted to vote McCain, and indeed I didn't see any Obama signs at all. However, neither did I see many McPalin signs -- maybe as many as 20 over the entire stretch. What I did see a LOT of were signs involving local races, and a surprising number of those had the party affiliation in very small type. And one large sign for Rick Noriega (Democratic challenger) vs. none at all for John Cornyn (Republican incumbent) in the Senatorial race.

Rikibeth, #215: IIRC, BRT was banned because Teresa gave him a time-out and he ignored it. PRV/CRV flounced multiple times, the last that I recall being after he was challenged to provide proof of his claim to be in the military. (Which he never did, and I still think he was lying thru his teeth.) But I don't think he was ever officially banned.

#238 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:36 PM:

However, in terms of signs supporting Obama MIA in action, in black neighborhoods where you would expect to see them, there's this editorial column in North Dakota's Fargo Forum today, by someone who used to live not far from Wildrose, Florida, and who just returned from a visit to the area,

You can read the editorial column here.

A quote:

Curiosity got the best of me, so I took the liberty to point out this odd observation to a black teller in a convenience store: Did she see racism as a factor here, and what was her theory on why no yard signs backing Obama were to be seen anywhere.

She looked at me like I had to be brain-dead. “Look,” she finally stated, “just go to your computer and Google ‘Obama sign burnt.’ People are scared. They do not want their houses burnt.”

Love, C.

#239 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:37 PM:

Disagreement that contributes to the conversation is welcome. I am conscious that it is a difficult position for a commenter to take, and I am always on the lookout for people taking those risks.

I've taken pieces out of people who argue the dominant position in a rude fashion, and I've waded in to support dissidents who are civil.

I expect to do both things in the future as well.

#240 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:38 PM:

Lee, thanks for the explanation.

#241 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:43 PM:

I've got trolls romping on the other side of the wardrobe. I'll be back when I can.

#242 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:44 PM:

Having had a moment to ponder, I do think I'd be willing to hear the case for torture provided it was in villanelle form, strictly in trimeter or tetrameter.

I don't say that I'd *approve*, but I would be willing to *hear*

#243 ::: lorax ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:57 PM:

Mark @204, there has been a great deal of information about the party breakdowns of the polls. Any reputable poll will disclose this -- perhaps the media reporting it won't bother, but someplace like fivethirtyeight certainly will include it.

They'll compare it to the breakdown of registered voters in the area, too. If the polls show a higher number of D than R, it's probably because there are a lot more D than R registered in the area polled (and vice versa), not necessarily because they're partisan hacks. A 50/50 breakdown of Democrats and Republicans would be nonsensical in a poll taken in Washington, DC or in Utah.

#244 ::: Jen Roth ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 03:58 PM:

I live in a blue town in a red region of a blue state. Lots of Obama signs -- the town's not blanketed with them or anything, but they're common (plus, they've not been the easiest things to get hold of). I've seen exactly three McCain signs in my town, and two are in the same yard.

#245 ::: John L ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:13 PM:

The media's reporting about the overall, nationwide poll results is misleading, as others have already pointed out. What's more important is how each state is polling, not the entire aggregate of US voters.

Looking at each state as an individual, I believe the fivethirtyeight.com site shows that Obama has well over the required 270 electoral votes included in either the solid blue or blue leaning states already. The media persists in using the overall nationwide poll numbers because they make the contest look a lot closer than it is, and there's not nearly as much excitement and drama if a blowout appears to be in the making.

Around my own neighborhood in Raleigh, the number of McCain vs Obama signs is roughly equal. On my own street they are 1 to 1, although I suspect the number of Obama supporters without signs is higher than the McCain voters without signs of their own.

#246 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:17 PM:

dlbowman76 @ 242, what if it were in ottava rima? For some reason I can hear the voice that Lord Byron used in Don Juan making the argument. Maybe because there was so much snark all through Don Juan, and I can't see old Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know making the argument any way except tongue firmly in cheek.

#247 ::: Dave Robinson ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:28 PM:

The one thing that scares me most in this election is the possibility that Sarah Palin might become President in the next few years. Add that terrifying thought to the fact that a company that makes voting machines has been clearly partisan, and you have a very unpleasant picture.

#248 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:30 PM:

Rikibeth @ 246, madam (I hope I don't presume too much within my pronouns), I would be hesitant to refer to "Mad, Bad, and dangerous to Know" Byron as an arbiter of taste, or prosody for that matter (honestly... Juan pronounced Ju-an to make the rhymes work.) However, if one were daring enough to express a case, however tenuous, in ottava rima then we surely must hear, but surely only in Italiano?

(I suspect my current immersion in Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle is invading my brain, ears and fingertips!)

#249 ::: Rikibeth ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:35 PM:

dlbowman76, you have the correct pronoun, even if I'm unaccustomed to the honorific, and I entirely understand about infectious prose styles. You should see what happens to me when I'm re-reading Patrick O'Brian.

#250 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:36 PM:

Lee #237:

Arghh! Don't append that to his name. Everyone sometimes spouts off more harshly than they intend. That's probably especially true when you see people spouting off about your area of expertise in ways that seem silly to you. I've sure as hell said some cruel things to people who were doing nothing worse than failing to understand a really complicated field after having read a popularization of it. I've even taken part in rump sessions at Crypto, in which an auditorium full of experts will sometimes laugh at those folks' failed efforts. This is enjoyable, but also hurtful and usually needlessly harsh. (Though not so much for people who should have known better.)

One of the most important things to remember about email, usenet, and weblogs, is that they're written down and frozen in time, but they're also experienced by the "speakers" more like a conversation in person, complete with things said in the heat of the moment that would be better forgotten, speakos that make you look like a fool, late-night fears and insecurities popping up in your comments, etc. Perhaps Teresa and the rest of us really were doing the equivalent of scaring ourselves with ghost stories, and perhaps Tim really was doing the equivalent of making fun of us for believing in ghosts. And neither of those necessarily reflects who we really are, as people.

IMO, this is especially true in this political season. A wise bookbinder pointed this out to me awhile back, and has made the same comment to many other people, too. Ending friendships or permanently labeling people as crazy in the midst of this is pure loss.

#251 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:37 PM:

I may work on a pantoum advocating torture -- that seems a convoluted enough form for a convoluted argument.

John Mark Ockerbloom @233 and Naomi Libicki @ 230: If I'm saying something that differs from what most people here have expressed as their opinion, I speak much more carefully than when I'm agreeing. Not because I'm afraid of bucking the trend -- because I know people here are pretty bright, in various ways, and if I'm disagreeing I know I'll have to defend what I've said, not what I wish I'd said (though there is clearly room for correction here as well). And I mostly agree with folks here -- not always. Ideas here take a fair amount of polishing. Ones where I'm agreeing have generally had more of that already.

#252 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:38 PM:

Raphael (176):

the Dems were arguably a coalition of Northern Catholics and Southern anti-Catholic bigots...
The party of Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion! We could do worse than to return to one of the standards of 1884 political campaigns: requiring that all our partisan calumnies rhyme (or alliterate, if they're one-liners).

Serge (178), I thank you, and I wish I could take credit for collaring him at record speed, but that glory belongs to Miriam Beetle. My contribution to the relay race was to instantly decide what to do about him, and disemvowel him immediately thereafter.

His foot done slid.

Peter Erwin (180), Graydon has a turn for systems. I'm not certain, but I believe "utterly corrupt" can mean "some portions are known to be corrupt, the checking and correction mechanisms have been corrupted or disabled, and it isn't feasible to revert to known-reliable backup."

John Mark Ockerbloom (181): You're right; your presence here is appreciated. Now:

I hope this at least dispels any notion that charges of present-day Democratic voter fraud can be automatically assumed to be baseless.
I never meant to suggest that it could automatically be assumed to be groundless. At most, I meant that the fraud charges currently being pushed by the Republicans are (as far as anyone can tell) groundless.

Sockpuppet (186), why do you thus feel sorry for yourself? You've been a dishonest participant, and you've hung out at Making Light long enough to know what happens to obnoxious sockpuppeteers. How is it possible that you've reached your apparent age without learning about social penalties?

By the way, monoculture, echo chamber, groupthink, and closed minds are all characteristic right-wing tropes. I've learned over time to interpret those accusations as the commenter's expression of dismay on discovering that he's been disagreed with.

And why does disagreement come as such a surprise? IMO, because there's actually less diversity of opinion and less sustained argument on right-wing sites. They're not used to it.

Carrie S. (187), I'm sorry. I had to do it. Otherwise, the eeedjits might get the idea that saying "I know you're going to disemvowel this!" is enough to save them.

Scott Taylor (189) is hereby awarded the five-pound prize.

Kelly (195), one of the reasons I can't feel guilty about suppressing right-wingers is that they make it obvious that in their set of values, forbearance and keeping an open mind just means you're being a sucker. They don't actually believe in those values. They just expect us to go on giving them the benefit of our belief in them.

Tom Whitmore (203), in this case case I'd say it's the latter. See also, my latest remarks to Sockpuppet.

Face of the Unwashed (205), do go away. This can't end well for you.

Rikibeth (215), Sten has now been banned and disemvowelled.

DLBowman (217), those kind of traditional conservatives get screwed over again and again by their own party. It's like they're getting punished for their loyalty.

#253 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:47 PM:

Teresa (252), This is story makes me weep twice, once because it illustrates how stupid we all are, over and over again, and because I won't get to read Tom Disch (whom I as a student met as a poet and admired and as a grown-up fell in love with as a novelist) write a beautiful, perfect parable about it.

#254 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:58 PM:

And my previous post could have done with more commas (damn you, Lynn Truss, for filling me with Comma-paranoia!!!)

#255 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 04:59 PM:

#245
I've seen a number of anecdotes about Obama lawn signs - and some photos of same - being stolen, or bumperstickers being torn off cars. I've seen photos of vehicles with Obama stickers that have been vandalized.
I have not seen or heard similar stories about McCain signs and stickers - not that it couldn't have happened, but it doesn't seem to be happening nearly as often.

I also suspect there are a lot of people who are afraid to put up signs, or can't put them up because of restrictions by their homeowners' association.

#256 ::: Fragano Ledgister ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 05:05 PM:

DLBowman76 #242: Well, I can't offer trimeter or tetrameter, but will pentameter do?


Stalin and Hitler would have laughed out loud
at Georgie w's concentration camp,
but he stands alone defiantly proud

at such obfuscations made before the crowd
saying that torture's but a bit of damp;
Stalin and Hitler would have laughed out loud.

If anyone should ever ask just how'd
he justify evil he'd get mental cramp
but he stands alone defiantly proud.

Dame Liberty is now beneath a shroud,
dull is the burnish on her copper lamp;
Stalin and Hitler would have laughed out loud.

The horn of freedom that once rang aloud
is now all silent; instead the boots stamp,
but he stands alone defiantly proud.

We now wait silent, with our heads all bowed
as tired soldiers march down the long ramp;
Stalin and Hitler would have laughed out loud,
but he stands alone defiantly proud.

#257 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 05:34 PM:

Lee @237, Terry Karney would be more able to give a more concrete read on this, but my take on PRV/CRV/SubOdious is that he came to the Northwest for ROTC training or possibly transferred from a Utah ROTC program to one in the Seattle area; things he said about living in this area didn't quite fit with him being an enlistee based at one of the local military bases, especially since he has implied (not here, but at Whatever) that he lived on or near Capitol Hill. He might be a Coastie, I don't know their residential patterns as well as I do the Army and AF people from Ft. Lewis-McCord.

I suppose he may have been sent here for training. He's certainly lived around here; he has resentments which are specific and identifiable.

#258 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 05:48 PM:

The modernism of pentameter will do, if you would be happy to accept Anthony Trollope's modernist essays on race...no that's unfair. You could go at least as modern as Joseph Conrad. (snerk).

The iron cross will hold
A body wracked with tears.
And we stood, in our fold

Knowing, that we were bold,
Not girls to feel the shears-
The iron cross will hold.

Black uniforms flapped cold,
Looking around (no queers!)
And we stood, in our fold

Nervous boys need to be told
Ignore the brutes, drink your beers!
The iron cross will hold.

In the trenches, we sold
A bargain! A few more years -
And we stood, in our fold

The boys within the cold -
Old pictures smeared with tears -
The iron cross will hold.
And we stand, in our fold.

#259 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 05:50 PM:

(I admit to brutish unfairness and duly apologize in advance. Mea culpa!)

#260 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 06:07 PM:

Will White People Riot [if Obama Wins]?

From The Root, a daily e-zine. Via Slate.

#261 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 06:14 PM:

Sisuile: The evidence (as opposed to the narrative) doesn't actually support the "Daley stuffed the ballot box" narrative. Did richard Daley Steal the 1960 Election Be sure to follow the link to the Slate Article.

My father's side of the family is from (and still in) Chicago. I know about it. Was it a machine town, you bet. Does that mean Daley sold the election to Joe Kennedy? No.

Serge: The best evidence for Bryant's violent antipathy for evolution is the way it was being used by the socially (and economically) conservatives to justify their rapine ways. It was a moral stand, more than an intellectual one.

John Mark Ockerbloom: I don't think I've ever said Dems couldn't engage in such shenannigans. What I do think is the Party (and members of it) as a whole hasn't adopted it as an intentional strategy. More people to th polls is what I want (and what I've encouraged). I don't care what party someone belongs to, I just want them to cast a ballot and have it fairly counted.

Mark: I am in an area which is, for the rest of the state, pretty conservative (David Drier, and before some strong efforts; and a guy with a fortuitous name, Rogan, as the Reps). It's going to have a stronger McCain turnout than most of the area. And I see "Republicans for Obama.org" signs, and Obama/Biden signs, in a ratio of about eight to one. The women beside me here in the coffee shop were debating which bond measures, a very conservative viewpoint on the spending of money was expressed. I don't think the will vote for them. But the one had an Obama Button.

In the other coffeee shop I frequent, the converstations political tend to be Obama favorable. When I responded to a couple who were wondering how an Obama supporter could compare his record to Palin's, I did. They didn't even try to defend their position; just said, "I guess you know who you're voting for" and then they left.

My housemate, a man who is pining for Goldwater, who still like Reagan and voted for neither Bush, nor Kerry, is voting for Obama. Last time around, I saw Kerry bumper stickers at about the same ratio as Bush Bumper stickers. This time... It's been about a week since I saw a McCain/Palin Sticker (and I didn't see any before she was selected).

So I don't see this "hidden" swell of McCain support you allege the "biased" media is covering up.

Regarding the cultural norms and tendencies: This is a, by and large, progressive crowd. It happen that progressives tend to be liberal (in both the classical, and more modern uses, of the word). We have a lot of brilliant people (enough so that I, who get what I think to be more than my share of praise; in other fora, feel nervous when writing here. In the company of exceptional people the exceptional is normal, and [hoping I am being neither falsely proud, nor modest] I am not used to being normal).

I am more careful when making ANY argument here; In my blog I can get away with a bit more flash and speed. There is less traffic. I am more careful when I am being contrarian... for the same reason. There are a lot of smart people here who will take apart my least mistake, facts will be checked, conclusions will be tested, assertions will have demands for justification.

I've gotten that for things in which I was poorly defending the majority view too; it's just less common. I don't know that this is so bad. Majority arguments are more spread out; and I've changed my thinking on them from discussions here, because others have done better jobs of explaning them/given me new facts.

In truth, I'm amazed we get so few serious trolls. I know my blog doesn't... there aren't enough readers (though I just got a thread-jacker... I wish Lj let me disemvowell). But I compare this to hullaballoo, or even Slactivist (much less Drum, TPM, etc.) and this is a wide open see of pleasant people... even those who have hobby-horses are (usually) tolerated (and usually not asked to stay away until the sound of clacking jaws has become pervasice; and more obnoxious than irritating).

So, evenly balance for viewpoints? No. Monocultural? Not that either. Kudos to abi Avram, Jim, Patrick and Teresa (an alphabetical, and in no way hierarchal, list) for establishing a venue where we can (with more sucess than not) do the sort of things we do.

Poems, puns, argument
are the fuel
for the spark made
by rubbing facts together:
It's how we are making light

#262 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 06:31 PM:

JESR: I seem to have missed a fair bit (there have been lacunae in my keeping up): As the facts seemed to me. He was/is in the US Army Reserve. He is/was on long term active Duty Assignment (Active Duty for Special Work/ADSW) at Ft. Lewis. He commuted from somewhere in Seattle/Tacoma (yes, I know that's a large area, and not the same as say, "Silver Spring/Takoma", but things were not clear).

He is confusing about what he believes. A lot of it appeared to be the, "A pox on both their houses but the Dems are nastier because X did Y, and that offends me personally, so I don't care as much about policy". He also tried to claim the mantle of "Virtus Miles" in that we were supposed to defer to him because he joined up to "defend us". His big thing was winning "the war on terra" and if that meant breaking a few eggs, well the omelet was going to be tasty, and you don't wanna see sausage made either.

He didn't like the level of disagreement he got on that subject.

#263 ::: joann ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 06:32 PM:

PJ Evans #255:

I would put up a sign (half my very short street has the same signs, the other half have none), but we feel that it might keep people from buying the house. (This probably falls into some form of rejectomancy, but there you go--or I go. anyway).

#264 ::: Michael I ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 06:41 PM:

Chris@139

Looking at Mark Blumenthal's chart for 1980 (from an 8/17/08 entry on convention "bumps") Reagan never was trailing at any point after June 1980. Basically the two convention "bounces" roughly cancelled out, leaving Reagan with a small lead in early September, which he basically held until the last couple of days of the campaign.

Which was when the electorate broke sharply toward Reagan.

(One key point is that Carter was very unpopular in 1980. Much of the electorate WANTED to vote for Reagan, they just needed to feel sufficiently safe in doing so.)


John L@245

Yes and no. A key advantage of national polls is that there are a lot more national polls than polls for any individual state, so any assessment isn't affected too much by any one pollster. And, in the political situation of the past few decades, a candidate's standing in the national polls does give a strong indication of their standing in the key states. So while it is definitely a good idea to also look at the available state polls, looking at the national polls isn't a bad idea.

#265 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 06:51 PM:

Terry Karney @261:
In truth, I'm amazed we get so few serious trolls. I know my blog doesn't... there aren't enough readers (though I just got a thread-jacker... I wish Lj let me disemvowell). But I compare this to hullaballoo, or even Slactivist (much less Drum, TPM, etc.)

I think aside from our hosts' moderation skills, it's probably because first, this is a less political blog than any of those- yes, there are a lot of political posts and debates here, but, at least when there's no very big recent or upcoming political event, there are often more non-political posts- and second, compared to the blogs you listed, there are a lot fewer posts here. So, people who are mainly interested in political blogs that get updated daily- both trolls and non-trolls- usually won't pay that much attention to Making Light. (And, while we're at it, ML seems to be on the blogroll of rather few main political blogs).

#266 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 06:56 PM:

Reagan galvanized the Republican grass roots in 1976, and they took over the party in 1980 with him as their standard bearer. Obama in 2008 is a lot like Reagan in 1980. McCain in 2008 is more like John Kerry running again in 2016 (when he would be the same age McCain is now).

#267 ::: Chris ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 07:05 PM:

#252:

those kind of traditional conservatives get screwed over again and again by their own party. It's like they're getting punished for their loyalty.

But of course. To a social dominator, loyalty is for suckers just as much as openmindedness is. Loyal people make the best tools, but if they really deserved more, they'd prove it by stealing it themselves.

Once again, I recommend Bob Altemeyer's free online book The Authoritarians to anyone who wants to understand the people that make up the U.S.'s present right wing. (They're not new to the present, they're not unique to the U.S. and they're not even always on the right; that's just where they are here and now.)

Most of the book is about the loyal followers, and why they keep taking bullets (metaphorical and sometimes literal) for people who don't give a damn about them; chapter 5 focuses on the leaders.

Here's Altemeyer on the social dominator's view on loyalty:

In a similar vein, remember those “group cohesiveness” items in chapter 3, such as, “For any group to succeed, all its members have to give it their complete loyalty.” We saw that authoritarian followers endorse such sentiments. But social dominators do not. Oh sure, they want their followers to be super loyal to the group they lead. But they themselves are not really in it so much for the group or its cause, but more for themselves. It’s all about them, not about a higher purpose. If trouble arises, don’t be surprised if they start playing “Every man for himself,” and even sell out the group to save their own skin.

#268 ::: Mary Frances ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 07:15 PM:

Terry Karney @261: Oh, the old "Joe Kennedy bought the election" bit--not in Chicago, he didn't (as you say). At least, not from Dick Daley, I don't believe.

One of the most perceptive points I've ever read about the 1960 election in Chicago was from an old time Chicago reporter (I'd like to claim it was Mike Royko, but I honestly don't remember--don't even remember the exact context, I'm afraid, but it still makes sense). He said something on the order of: "You know, Daley was always a lot more concerned about winning the state and county races than the federal ones. State's Attorney, that mattered; President? not so much."

Which is reinforced by my admittedly-casual memories of and reading about the Reign of Daley the First: if Kennedy's coat-tails weren't long enough to help with the local races, Daley would in all likelihood have ignored him. Or almost. Now, this doesn't mean that there wasn't plenty of chicanery going on in Chicago in 1960, and that that chicanery didn't help Kennedy get elected . . . but it was all a lot more complicated than "Daley stole the election for Kennedy," even on just a single-state level. "All politics is local," to quote another well-known Democrat . . . even in 2008, I imagine.

As for the current level of chicanery in Chicago--it's different. Just as rotten in its way, of course, but--definitely not the same level of voter fraud. And I suspect that "falsifying registrations" prior to the election wasn't something the old Daley Machine ever bothered with--what for? He didn't know how many votes he was going to need until the day of the election anyway . . .

#269 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 07:18 PM:

Terry Karney @262, third time of writing; as you say, one is more careful here. I guess I still have doubts that he was presenting himself truthfully because what he said of himself didn't fit in with what I have learned to expect of people doing what he said he was doing. His choice of neighborhood, for instance (which he said or implied was in Seattle proper and just east of downtown) is not one which would make for neighborly solidarity. On the other hand, his behavior online gives evidence that he seeks out conflict, so maybe it does make sense examined through that lense.

#270 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 07:23 PM:

A fellow on Whitechapel reports on the most egregiously evil direct-mail scare piece I've ever seen.

Whoever sent that out . . . I'm picturing them tied to a chair that delivers a mechanical kick to the gonads at irregular intervals. And the boot is steam powered, and runs on burning hoods and confederate flags.

#271 ::: TomB ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 07:37 PM:

Stefan Jones at #270: It's been identified in this post as from "Post Secret". It's an art project with a scary message.

#272 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 07:37 PM:

JESR: And the proiblems of interpreting what he was/wasn't doing is exacerbated by my not beig in the area (my familiarity with Ft. Lewis is all on the Active Duty side of the house, because; even though I was in, from my POV, in the Guard, I was actually in the AD army.

Which means the politics of his ADSW job, the nature of his duty, etc. are all hard to estimate. All in all, his description seemed credible, though the details were in repsonse to query, not offered freely. But while I know where Capitol Hill is, and have been there (had a friend who lived in the area) I don't know what the quality of living there is like.

#273 ::: mjfgates ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 07:40 PM:

Why ML doesn't get as many of the usual sorts trolls as you might expect:

Th ut t y
hv tn
th p
tht r
th cbx

nd hch
yu r prbby
vn
fr brkft

Fr
thy r dcu
t
nd cd

De-digitted leetspeak looks even worse than disemvowelled regular text. (Should "de-digitted" have one t, or two?...)

#274 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 07:48 PM:

Capitol Hill in Seattle is an area with a fair amount of people who know each other -- it's got a lot of gay, student and other activist people. Not a hotbed of Republicanism, and not a cheap place to live, mostly.

The poems so far have not been in favor of torture, and so would generally be fully acceptable here. Stefan Jones has come closest to advocating torture, and he's merely fantasizing so far.

#275 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 07:50 PM:

I just heard this morning that a new poll on Prop. 8 shows it running at 46 percent in favor. I can only hope.

#276 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 08:39 PM:
#260 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 06:07 PM:

Will White People Riot [if Obama Wins]?

Again, I say, look at the history of the Lincoln assassination.

Perhaps, though it's still too close to avoid tinfoil mockery, the JFK assassination.

But then, there was the MLK assassination.

We must pray, we must hope, we must sing, we must dance, in every way that this doesn't happen again, at Right Now, meaning for the next 8 years.

Because, the history of this nation informs us that this will happen again.

Love, C.

#277 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 08:43 PM:

Constance, #238: I did that search, and just on the first page of results I found stories from Florica, Missouri, California, and New York. Yikes.

Plus, of course, the trolls whining, "If someone burned a McCain sign, would you call it a hate crime?" Given that I've never heard of a cross being burned on a white person's lawn, no -- but this crap, clearly intended to evoke cross-burning, can't be described as anything else.

In our neighborhood, the signage is running about 50/50. However, I don't believe for a minute that all the people screaming "terrorist" and "kill him" at Republican rallies are trailer trash; I would imagine that most of them are respectable middle-class people very much like the ones in our neighborhood. And that makes me wonder whether any of the people on our street with McPalin signs out have targeted us for a firebomb in the event of an Obama win.

albatross, #250: I'd be more inclined to agree with you were this not the second encounter I've had with him here that pinged this way. OTOH, I suppose I could hold off unless/until there's a third one, on the principle that twice may still be coincidence. However, Teresa certainly seemed as taken-aback as I was, and I gather that she knows him a great deal better than I do.

#278 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 09:02 PM:

joann @ 263
Having your house up for sale is a special case. There's a lot of things you can't do - or have to do - then, so as not to offend potential buyers, some of which are real nuisances.

#279 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 09:34 PM:

When I was running errands today, I saw Democratic signs about 2:1 over Republican signs, and I've never seen that before. The giant Obama sign that was taken was back, and another one is up on a main street (although the anti-abortion protesters were a bit up the street, having their children kneel and hold signs), but one that had been up was down and a new sign said "Real Patriots Don't Steal Signs."

There's a case in Maryland where a McCain yard sign kept getting taken so the guy waited up and followed the people who took it. Two young women (one young enough to be brought back by her father to apologize) may get jail terms.

Manassas has never voted Democratic, even when the county around us has, and I'm beginning to think maybe we'll do it this time.

#280 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 09:44 PM:

albatross @ 137:

Yeah, that's always the kind of choice I hate to make at the polls. Why can't we have the Negro mobs destroying civilization and the traitors plunging the country into another civil war? Why must we always be limited to these narrow either/or choices?
One of the common paranoid assumptions is that All My/Our Enemies Are In League Against Me/Us (no matter how opposed to each other they pretend to be).

Thus your seeming two alternatives are all part of the same traitorous civilization-destroying plot fnord.

Like the Sekrit Allyance between [Shiite] Iran and [Sunni] Al Qaeda, following up the previous Sekrit Allyance between [secularist] Saddam Hussein and [anti-secularist] Osama bin Laden.

And you'll notice the current smear against Barack is that he's both Muslim (thus theistic) and Communist (thus atheistic).

At least McCain has decided to leave Reverend Wright out of the mix... maybe because drawing attention to Obama's church affiliations might blow the gaff on those other smears.

Two simultaneous contradictory claims, no problem; three such, maybe heads explode? -- or sleepyheads wake up?

#281 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 10:02 PM:

I think Tim Kyger has a couple of valid points.

Those of us who are very attuned to story (I realized during our "Build your own theology" class that I believed in people and stories, not necessarily in that order) are also vulnerable to it. If you prefer, consider us as being "gullible in the right way". It's pretty much the same thing. It's not a bad quality, either, as long as it's understood and accounted for.

I doubt very much the Bad Guys (whoever they may be) have anything too terrible planned, for the simple reason that they missed the chance: A few provoked or faked incidents around the Katrina refugee camps would've done the trick. I lived in fear of that happening for about a week and a half. They're bad enough, but they aren't bad enough, if you know what I mean.

The echo chamber is a real, if overstated, phenomenon. As a lefty, I don't find it a right-wing trope. (And I do find "mainstream media" to be one. Go figure.)

That said, there is a real and non-zero possibility of Something Bad happening.

An instructive example might be the Tulsa race riots, which ended in the destruction of Tulsa's thriving black business district and an unknown but large number of deaths.

I know people in the black community there who, to this day, will tell you the riots were instigated and planned with the specific goal in mind of destroying black economic power.

The truth seems to be that the first wave of the riot was simple, not particularly organized mob action. The second wave may have been economic in motivation--there's some circumstantial evidence that suggests this is so--but, if so, it was probably an unplanned, opportunistic attack under cover of a riot. The evidence has been obscured, sometimes willfully, so it's hard to say for sure.

That's the scenario I could see playing out.

I don't see the wingers with enough power having, frankly, the stones to instigate a coup. I do see them thinking longingly about being forced into such a situation, for certain values of "forced".

It's not that different from your average "Marty Stu Goes To The Apocalypse And Thrives" story.

#282 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 10:34 PM:
A few provoked or faked incidents around the Katrina refugee camps would've done the trick.

You may have missed a whole lot of propagandizing about all this.

Particularly this year, in the Midwest, including the bs spewed by the local newspaper where I grew up, about how different We White People Faced With Flood Deal With The Disaster Than Those Stupid Hand Out Black People In New Orleans -- and by golly we don't take a dollar of US tax dollars to recover, while, of course, being declared a Disaster Area and FEMA, by golly, actually showing up and begging you to take the american tax dollars to recover and -- whisper -- by golly you sure do.

I'm writing this out of my relatives's expereince this year in that Iowa area of flooding.

Love, C.

#283 ::: John A Arkansawyer ::: (view all by) ::: October 23, 2008, 11:03 PM:

Oh, Constance, believe me, I get the Katrina propaganda. When we had storms here in the wake of Hurricane Ike, I heard someone I'd think would know better complaining about how long it was taking to get power on locally because all our repairmen were down taking care of people who should know better than to live where they do. I had to bite my tongue. (Okay, actually, I ground my teeth. But still.)

What I meant was that, if I were a winger with no scruples and a will to power, I'd've seen those refugee camps as a wonderful way to fake Scary Black People Running Amok and just forcing me into declaring martial law. (For the good of the country, of course.) Just two or three good staged incidents, a planned over-reaction to really get the ball rolling, and voila! Instacoup!

When they turned out not to have that in mind, or on the tip of their tongues, I relaxed and decided we were probably through the worst. The wingers need to feel provoked before they get their war on. It's part of the cowboy gig: "Pick up the gun." "No, mister, I don't want no trouble." "Pick up the gun or I'll kill you." Bang! Except Jack Palance actually got the guy to pick up the gun.

(On previewing this, I noticed: I have my own counter-narrative, in which I believe, too.)

#284 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 07:04 AM:

For me, this is one of the magic questions: would you rather be in an argument where (a.) you know every rest stop along the route, your opponent(s) never quite catch up with you, and you bring the thing to its ironclad conclusion? Or would you rather be in an argument where (b.) your solid and familiar arguments get shattered into splinters by a wholly unsuspected new set of facts or analyses?

One of my definitions of "having a good life" is that you can manage (a.) handily, but you like (b.) better.

DLBowman (253), so many things get called tragedies that don't meet the spec. That one does.

Are you sure that one of the reasons you love Disch's short stories isn't because so many of them have that story lurking in their backgrounds?

Fragano (256), DLBowman (258), thank you.

Terry Karney (261) one of the stranger characteristics of the far right is that, to hear them talk about it, they never take the wrong path, never lose a fight, and are never honestly repudiated at the polls. Instead, they're always betrayed.

Two more reasons we don't get many trolls: First, we tend to regard the smaller ones as snack food. Second, we tend to have long, highly interactive conversations. They don't know where to come in.

Stefan Jones (270), whatever its stated intent, that's a dreadful piece of art. I don't offer this as a general principle, but I wouldn't create something so prone to be misinterpreted as suggestion or permission.

John Arkansawyer (281), I lit into that article because I believe in the power of story. I try not to believe that there's a widespread conspiracy afoot, though my plausibility filter got blown to shreds years ago.

A vivid, cohesive story creates a sort of field of potential narrative -- think of it as the set of all events that can be fit into that story's framework, and interpreted within its context. The story's existence greatly increases the odds of events happening that follow the form of its narrative. It's easier for people to do what they can first imagine.

Tim Kyger might well have had some good points. He might have found out that the points being made here weren't the ones he initially thought we were making. I'm angry because he didn't give any of us a chance to find that out, and because he behaved so badly.

Here's my addition to this thread's link swappage: a piece of religious right lunacy that made my jaw drop. Spectral evidence! Blood libel!

The Bree Keyton mentioned as the source for it is a washed-up chantoosie who by her own account got shot in the head one night while opening for a rock band, and went into the god biz. Her traveling act appears to be a sort of musical (only now it's for God, so you have to listen to it) post-Buffy "hot chick with long blonde hair and sword" routine. Seriously -- she sells specially blessed wooden stakes that appear to be some sort of folk magic.

Her theology is a complete mess of spiritual titillation, conspiracy theory, special revelation, and "spiritual warfare" practices that, again, appear to owe more to folk magic than to mainstream Christianity. Add a dollop each of right-wing fruitbattery, anti-Masonic sentiments, and Alexander Hislop, and you've got it.

I can't imagine anyone believing one of her stories who didn't start out wanting to believe her.

#285 ::: Carrie S. ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 08:33 AM:

I'm sorry. I had to do it. Otherwise, the eeedjits might get the idea that saying "I know you're going to disemvowel this!" is enough to save them.

Oh, no worries. I posted my comment before I realized FotU (what a lovely acronym that is!) was CRV's sockpuppet.

I have not seen or heard similar stories about McCain signs and stickers - not that it couldn't have happened, but it doesn't seem to be happening nearly as often.

Well, I took a McCain (or, more accurately, anti-Obama) sticker off a light pole in the supermarket parking lot last night; I don't know if that counts, as it wasn't on anyone's private property.

#286 ::: Chris Quinones ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 09:41 AM:

Michael I, 264: Happily deferring to your knowledge -- I was, as I said, 12 at the time.

#287 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 09:58 AM:

Teresa @ 284

Here's my addition to this thread's link swappage: a piece of religious right lunacy that made my jaw drop. Spectral evidence! Blood libel!

As sad as that is, I found it kind of amusing to see a link to Obama haters worrying about "black magic" in a thread in wich some posters have already posted reports about other Obama haters doing things that could be seen as trying to use sympathetic magic.

#288 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 10:37 AM:

Raphael @ 287... Obama haters worrying about "black magic"

Cue in Paul McCartney singing "Live and Let Die".

#289 ::: dlbowman76 ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 11:46 AM:

Teresa (284) - Tausend dank! I think that you're on to something there...But perhaps I am a strange reader, for these days I actively seek hope in my reading material. In other words, many thanks for publishing Gene Wolfe - whose books may not always have "happy" endings but whose vision is filled with hope, and hope these days is a commodity in short supply. (And this is lovely-please-shift-this-to-another-thread-please-happy-to-make-my-case-elsewhere fodder)

from darkest ancient Yurp

#290 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 12:48 PM:

Semi-OT: locally, people have started putting up signs in the font, color scheme and layout of the McCain/Palin signs, only they say:

Palin
Really?

#291 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 04:59 PM:

I just found this via a link elseNet.

Summary: McCain campaign worker who claimed to have had a reverse "B" carved into her face by a mugger who saw her bumper sticker has now confessed that it was a hoax, and is facing charges of filing a false police report.

What I wonder, given that apparently she has a history of mental problems, was whether it was all her own idea, or if someone put the notion into her head.

#292 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 06:03 PM:

Not rhymed or metered, but on "support for torture" here's a proposal:

End torture for the prisoners now held, and for all others who may ever be held -- with one specific group excepted:

Those in our own government (and mercenary) forces who have committed torture, ordered it, or encouraged it. That includes judges and DOJ lawyers who justified it, and the complicit military and civilian chain of command.

These will be made subject to the methods they themselves established. What could be more fair and just?

(Who watches tortures the watchmen torturers? Hmmm. Perhaps "trusty" prisoners, or former torture victims?)

Now here's the critical point: all this group will remain in full contact with the press and public, able to describe what they're going through, able to appeal for its cessation, and even able to write rebuttals to their own earlier justifications of torture. Likewise all their friends, families, and supporters will be free to petition on their behalf, so those pro-torture rules may get formally overturned.

Why, in no time at all, we'll have a universal anti-torture consensus once again.

That wouldn't be accomplished through merely ending torture by fiat -- not now, not after so many people have complacently accepted torture as a policy.

We need not only to end the practice, but also to eradicate its acceptance.

Otherwise the idea will linger, and its occasional manifestations (e.g. in police abuse of interrogated suspects) won't meet the wave of unanimous outrage needed to wash them out of our society.

. . .

Now am I going to get banned for proposing this (in prose)?

#293 ::: Stefan Jones ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 06:14 PM:

#292: How about: If you torture for a living, you have to agree to have your spouse and kids and parents and neighbors watch a tape of you doing it.

#294 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 06:17 PM:

But seriously, those folks actually deserve war crimes trials, and prison terms (with no torture).

#295 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 06:18 PM:

No, Pyre, you won't get banned for your modest proposal. No one will take it that seriously.

Pretending that I do, for a moment: the obvious flaw is indeed this: who would torture them? And are these torturers-of-torturers to be subject to the same penalty? If so, where does it end? If not, where is the moral high ground?

Your solutions to the "who" question are not very convincing. The "trustees" would, as above, be committing more crimes. And if you employed torture victims to do it, you would be adding to their trauma, not repairing it.

#296 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 06:23 PM:

Stefan Jones @ 293:

I'm not sure that rule would be a disincentive.

Think about all the photos the staff at Abu Ghraib freely and willingly took of themselves, smiling, laughing, with their victims posed helpless and humiliated.

Was that all meant to be kept a shameful secret?

Or were they planning to show the folks back home "What I Did During the War"?

#297 ::: Pyre ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 06:32 PM:

Xopher @ 295:

Here I call on higher precedent, namely Him who set aside Hell as a place of punishment, and let the denizens thereof deliver it: the damned torture the damned.

#298 ::: Teresa Nielsen Hayden ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 06:48 PM:

Lee (291), I saw the original story and doubted it. Given that there haven't been multiple lesser stories of McCain supporters getting mistreated, it's hard to believe in an over-the-top one. I was even more dubious when I saw that the "B" was reversed. I figured there was a minor chance that the assailant was dyslexic, and a major chance that the carving was done by someone working in a mirror, i.e. the supposed victim herself.

Pyre (297), if that's the precedent, then we can leave it in His hands. Honest and true: torture does not make the world a better place, no matter who's doing it.

#299 ::: Wesley ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 07:30 PM:

Lee, #291: What I wonder, given that apparently she has a history of mental problems, was whether it was all her own idea, or if someone put the notion into her head.

I suspect a little of both: it was her own idea, but someone created an atmosphere that encouraged something like it. When I heard about it my first thought was that this woman was learning from the example of her elders.

#300 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 07:41 PM:

Teresa @160 responding to John Houghton @56: The Army has been trying to acquire land to expand the Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado.

Blessedly, this initiative is banned, and the ban looks to stand good for now.

An old-time activist friend of mine has pointed out that "that's where the concentration camps would go." When I asked who they'd be rounding up, she said, "Oh, people like me. Hippies. Political activists. You know."

Made the little hairs on the back of my neck stand up when I heard about the whole domestic army deployment business.

#301 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 07:54 PM:

Stefan Jones #293: How about: If you torture for a living, you have to agree to have your spouse and kids and parents and neighbors watch a tape of you doing it.

The perfect soundtrack for such a video would be the Bachianos Brazil Samba by Michael Kamen (from Terry Gilliam's film, Brazil).

#302 ::: Jacque ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 08:10 PM:

Nancy @196: Graydon, do you have a time span in mind for self-induced disaster to hit the US, and ideas about how that disaster would affect the rest of the world?

21 December 2012, of course.

#303 ::: Constance ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 08:42 PM:

It’s right out of The Birth of a Nation playbook.

Certainly, as the Obama campaign believes, this is a woman with serious mental problems, who needs treatment, a lot of treatment, and right now.

However the advisor to the mvrik’s campaign, who immediately was spinning, to the Pittsburgh press and television stations, what they were supposed to think, should be charged with provocation to riot.

Some black man might still be killed because of this, or even, a neighborhood torched.

We all should be keeping detailed records of all these vile accusations that swirl around and out of the mvrik’s campaign, including the YouTubes, for when pln tries to run in 2012. Because she is going to. She’s really running for 2012 with that basest of bases right now.

Love, C.

#304 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 09:03 PM:

Theresa @ 298
Pyre (297), if that's the precedent, then we can leave it in His hands. Honest and true: torture does not make the world a better place, no matter who's doing it.

So Say We All.

I am not Christian, by upbringing or by inclination. So above and beyond any question of practicality, usefulness, etc. - the word of a God I do not accept as mine is not useful in adjudicating legislative actions - even were I to think it a good idea for us to render unto God what is Caesar's.


#305 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 09:05 PM:

Pyre @#280: It occurs to me that in multiple senses, "anything follows from a contradiction".

Besides the famous logical proof, it seems to me that there's something peculiar about maintaining two fervent but contradictory beliefs -- it really messes with people's minds, making them much more vulnerable to both manipulation and "going off the rails".

#306 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 09:35 PM:

Teresa, #298: It gets even more interesting. The McCampaign communications director released a detailed account of the alleged attack to the press before the police did. If McCain has any integrity, he'll fire this guy. I don't expect to see it happen.

And John Moody, Executive VP of Fox News, said in a blog post that if the story turned out to be a hoax, "McCain's quest for the Presidency is finished, forever tied to race-baiting." I'm betting a dinner (at a nice restaurant -- you don't want to eat my cooking!) that Moody is fired by Monday. Anyone wanna cover?

#307 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 24, 2008, 10:38 PM:

Wow (and no blame attaches) but Pyre, your proposal squicks the bejeesus out of me.

It's one of the most terrifying things I've read in ages. I can't explain it, but that's worse than what has happened already.

Oof.

(and no, it's not got me wigging out, and there's no sense of trauma... rather a huge feeling of "No, that's just wrong.")

#308 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2008, 01:43 AM:

John Mark Ockerbloom @181:
One thing that seems to hold true about Democratic vs. Republican vote fraud is that the latter is local/regional but the latter is national in scope. Not just in the offices targeted; the Republicans have been shifting fraud-mongering organizations from state to state as they're needed.

Raphael @287:
"Black magic" is any magic opposed to whoever declared it as such. (All magic is evil and forbidden in Christianity, so it can't mean "evil magic" except as a tautology.)

Pyre @297:
Keep in mind that some of us acknowledge said Higher Power without acknowledging the existence of Hell. Yes, we have Gehinnom, but (a) it's not eternal; (b) whether one is Jewish or not has little impact on whether one lands in Gehinnom or not, except that the standards are a bit higher for Jews (meaning a moderately-poor Jew will go to Gehinnom while a moderately-righteous Gentile goes to Olam ha-Ba); (c) while the imagery of the smoking crack in the Valley of Hinom is largely what fed the notions of first Gehinnom and subsequently Hell being fire and brimstone, it was actually a parable. The very notion that it is a period of punishment followed by release implies, in the Jewish view, that the punished can learn. The punishment allocated to a given sinner will reflect their sin(s) and tech them why they were wrong, not be a generic torment.

(The above also means that Gehinnom is not about torture, although the argument can be made that the naïve view of Christian Hell is. —Noting that Christian theologians generally don't accept said naïve view.)

#310 ::: Tom Whitmore ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2008, 01:53 AM:

And an Obama canvasser who got assaulted in a Chicago suburb got -- a telephone call of sympathy from Obama himself.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeff-dorchen/assaulted-canvasser-speak_b_136261.html

#311 ::: Randolph ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2008, 01:56 AM:

And, you know, if we're talking about pre-election-day violence; some is reported in California from Prop 8 supporters. I think the white boys are gonna riot, maybe even if McCain wins.

#312 ::: Cassie ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2008, 04:24 AM:

P J Evans @255:

I am in a traditionally-red state that is being called barely-blue in this election so far. I have seen one vandalized McCain sign (thin coat of spray paint, sign still recognizable), no Obama signs; despite my support of Obama do not feel safe putting his sticker on my car in this area, in large part because old and battered though said car is, I rely on it to get me places and cannot afford to have work done on it. (Perhaps oddly, I would gladly wear an Obama t-shirt, but then again it takes a different sort of bully to hurt me rather than just slashing a tire or the like.)

#313 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2008, 11:01 AM:

geekosaur 308: "Black magic" is any magic opposed to whoever declared it as such. (All magic is evil and forbidden in Christianity, so it can't mean "evil magic" except as a tautology.)

I understand that in the old days "black magic" was magic done by "black" people (which in Britain in former times included, for example, Spaniards). It was a racist term.

In Wicca we avoid such terms. Instead we speak of "baneful" magic (that is, magic intended to cause harm). A lot of Wiccans believe in the ethic of harmlessness expressed in the Wiccan Rede: "An* it harm none, do as thou wilt." My own oath expressly forbids "baneful, coercive, or manipulative magic."

If I were to use the term 'black magic' it would be in the context of color associations generally. To me black stands for determination, limitation ("the power that says No, and No further, and That Is Enough"), mystery. So if I'm doing mystery magic, I might use black yarn or other black symbolic objects to evoke those associations, but because of the associations most people have, I certainly wouldn't refer to it as "black magic" without explaining in detail.

Actually I should do some black magic (in the above sense) soon. I need determination (to do my workouts) and limitation (of my carbs) right now. See how that works? I also need red magic, for vitality, passion, and willpower, and green magic, for hope and renewal.


*if

#314 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2008, 05:36 PM:

Coming up: one unironically pro-torture villanelle, in tetrameter.

Please note: I do not actually endorse the views put forward in this poem! Do not expect me to defend them!

Where everything is just and fair
who would use violence to compel?
Is this a sin too great to bear?

But man's a beast, and places rare
(in this world of living hell)
where everything is just and fair.

Bodies toppled through the air
the day the mighty towers fell.
Is this a sin too great to bear?

Go waste your mercy, I don't care.
You think your soul too fine to sell
where everything is just and fair.

But still you need someone to dare
wrest truth from those who will not tell.
Is this a sin too great to bear?

There is no effort I would spare
to see my loved ones safely dwell
where everything is just and fair.
Is this a sin too great to bear?

That was the first villanelle I've ever written. It was hard. Who'd have thought? I mean, it's a 19-line poem and you only have to write 13 lines!

#315 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2008, 08:12 PM:

Naomi Libicki @314:
I thought it was pretty well known that the shorter the work, the harder it is to write. (After all, in a short work you need to polish every word to an adamantine gleam, and replace or discard the ones that don't advance the work enough. You can afford to be a bit sloppier in longer ones.)

(says the guy who's generally lousy at expressing himself at the best of times)

#316 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 25, 2008, 08:14 PM:

Naomi Libicki @314:
I thought it was pretty well known that the shorter the work, the harder it is to write. (After all, in a short work you need to polish every word to an adamantine gleam, and replace or discard the ones that don't advance the work enough. You can afford to be a bit sloppier in longer ones.)

(says the guy who's generally lousy at expressing himself at the best of times)

#317 ::: Naomi Libicki ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 12:56 AM:

geekosaur @315:

I see I was insufficiently clear. Let me try again.

That was the first villanelle I've ever written. It was hard. Who'd have thought? :)

Better?

#318 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 01:28 AM:

Naomi, #317: Villanelles are much harder to write than you might think. A lot of it is the challenge of coming up with two rhyming lines that each work well on their own, work equally well with the other lines of the poem, and then work together as a couplet. I've done a couple of villanelles, and they're by far the hardest form I've ever tried to work with. (I have not the intestinal fortitude to tackle a sestina.)

#319 ::: abi ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 10:39 AM:

More seriously, I don't think that "whites would riot" in the event of an Obama victory.

What chills me is the quieter, dispersed violence that seems all too likely: burning crosses, churches, houses, cars, people. Draggings behind pickups* and individual murders. Intimidation and threats.

Frack 'em. Do it anyway.

-----
* though the case in Paris, Texas that I was reading about seems less clear-cut than I first thought.

#320 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 12:22 PM:

abi, #319: From the article:
Prosecutors in the McClelland case said they are looking into whether one of the suspects, Shannon Keith Finley, was in a white supremacist gang while in prison for killing a friend.

And the claim is that the man who was killed was friends with the killers. Egad. IOW, this dude has already killed one person, and he was back out on the streets, and now appears to have killed a second one. I don't care if it was deliberate or not, he needs to be locked up for life as a menace to society (or at least to anyone unwise enough to pal around with him).

Side note: the descriptions of these guys are a dead-perfect fit for my definition of "white trash" -- having gone on a beer run to a different state, they were arguing about who was sober enough to drive home. I suppose we should be grateful that it was one of their own pals they killed, rather than a carload of people coming back from a family outing.

Second side note: My route back from last week's trip took me thru Paris, TX. Now I may never feel safe taking that highway again.

#321 ::: Marilee ::: (view all by) ::: October 26, 2008, 11:11 PM:

News tonight has Obama signs being "edited" to Osama in Maryland and anti-McCain slogans being painted on houses in Virginia.

#322 ::: Twill ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 07:20 PM:

Ummm.

1) "...while an election in progress" is a very interesting obfuscation of what was going on in Florida at that particular moment, eh? "...during a disputed recount" would at least be a transparent phrasing. There was no "election" in progress, the election was weeks earlier. And the definition of "riot" requires that there be actual violence or property damage. What property was damaged or who was hurt?

Also, I guess you don't remember the 2004 near-riot situations that also would be considered
"notable"?

2) When was the last time that large quantities of non-black American people went out and burned their town or city? Only Seattle comes to mind in the 90s and 00s, and those particular Democrat/Greens were imports rather than locals. It is not therefore a *fraudulent* racial narrative to take note of the periodic riots in South Central and to prepare for the likelihood of more of the same if people were somehow to choose not to vote for Obama.

Luckily for all of us, it's not looking likely that the current hapless Republican party will win the election. Not likely at all, since Obama is quite smooth as extremists go, and McCain is cranky and hopeless as "mavericks" go.

3) McClellan... locked up for life.

That's in Texas. You don't need a "hate crime" there in that kind of thing... the driver will probably get the death penalty. The other guy may be able to get off with a couple years for evidence tampering, assuming he can successfully argue that he had no idea the driver was going to do it.

#323 ::: Renatus ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 07:45 PM:

Obama's an extremist?

*bursts into helpless laughter*

#325 ::: JESR ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 09:04 PM:

Twill @322:

The chance of any the anti-WTO demonstrators self-identifying as either Democrats or Greens is so vanishingly small as to be undetectable without scientific instruments. Those big A-in-circle graffitti have an assigned definition.

#326 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 09:24 PM:

John @ #324, wow. Good for them.

#327 ::: Kelly McCullough ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 09:52 PM:

Joins Renatus @ #323 in unrestrainable fit of the giggles.

#328 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 10:15 PM:

'Extremist' for some value of extreme that I've never seen before. [giggling] Heck, he's about as extreme as Eisenhower. (Which is neither extreme nor liberal.)

#329 ::: 'As You Know' Bob ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 10:24 PM:

Twill at #322:

1) ...There was no "election" in progress, the election was weeks earlier....

No, it's not actually an "election" until the votes are counted. If the votes - ALL the votes - are not counted, you have failed Democracy 101.

2) When was the last time that large quantities of non-black American people went out and burned their town or city?

After any major sporting event. Ask Boston about the World Series riot, ask Pittsburgh about the Superbowl riot, ask Syracuse most any season.

#330 ::: John Mark Ockerbloom ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 10:40 PM:

"When was the last time that large quantities of non-black American people went out and burned their town or city?"

Well, where I live, the most infamous recent burning incident was the 1985 bombing of MOVE, which destroyed nearly a whole block of West Philadelphia rowhouses, but that was the work of the Philadelphia police.

But if you want to talk about more "conventional" ethnically-charged riots, the last two major ones I recall in my area are the 1971 Camden (NJ) riots, which primarily involved Puerto Ricans, and the July 1969 York (PA) riots, which involved whites and blacks battling each other. A number of the white principal figures in the York riots were not brought to trial until 2001. Among them were the (2001) mayor of York, who was eventually acquitted of murder charges but admitted to yelling "white power!" at a rally that stoked the violence.

These aren't the only riots in recent memory. (Philadelphia also had a number of ethnic riots in the 1960s.) But the recent ones I've cited should be enough to show that, under the right conditions, riots can erupt in any kind of group. They're usually touched off by some incident that can be interpreted as 'their group did our group wrong!' I can imagine scenarios where either whites or blacks could be whipped up into rioting following the November election, but I think (and certainly hope) that none of the scenarios is very likely.

Riots are nasty both for their direct effects and for the way they're remembered-- all too often folks just think of them as Scary Black People running amok. White-on-black violence is often forgotten or pushed under the rug, reinforcing this impression. York between 1969 and 2001 is just one example. Some of the deadliest race riots in American history occurred in the early 20th century in places like Tulsa and East Saint Louis. Most of the casualties in those cities were blacks attacked by whites, but the riots were omitted or minimized in most popular histories for a long time.

The official records can be misleading this way as well. Back here in Philadelphia, a July 1918 race riot started after a "colored probation officer" moved into a white South Philadelphia neighborhood, and her new neighbors formed a crowd outside her house that welcomed her "with a fussilade of stones through the windows". This is what the New York Times reported on July 29, 1918. But closer to the start of their article, we find that the people that were actually *arrested* and charged were "more than sixty negro rioters". Those scary black people, inciting riots by moving into innocent, stone-throwing white neighborhoods! You can't be too careful about them, can you?

#331 ::: Chris W. ::: (view all by) ::: October 27, 2008, 11:23 PM:

Re: riots.

Of course one also has to keep in mind that just because all of the rioters are wearing uniforms doesn't mean it's not a riot. The Chicago PD response to the 1968 protests is by no means the only example, but it does have the distinction of being referred to as a "police riot" in an official government report on the events.

#332 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 12:09 AM:

Extremists... Here in New Mexico, Steve Pearce is running for the US Senate and defeated Heather ("I cried when I saw Janet Jackson's breast on TV") Wilson in the primaries. Somehow he managed to convince enough of the local Republicans that she was a liberal, which is rather amusing because, when she was my Representative, voted the party line.

#333 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 12:57 AM:

Chris, #331: Re "police riots", I like the definition offered by John Barnes in A Million Open Doors: "The forces of law and order go berserk and attack the civilians." That certainly describes Chicago in 1968; it probably also covers Kent State.

#334 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 01:36 AM:

Lee: Kent State was a lot more complex than that, and simpler. They never should have been there.

That said, I don't know if the ought to have had ammo. They retreated, a lot, before someone fired, and the volley happened. It was only one volley. They were being attacked with rocks.

So... it was horrid, and wrong, and tragic. I don't think it falls into the "police riot" category.

#335 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 03:12 AM:

I've a feeling that the events around the RNC are indicative of something.

Maybe that "riot", with fires and looting and all the other bad things, is a breach of the peace, and a part of that breach is on the part of those who should be maintaining the peace.

And I wonder if too much of American riot policing has come out of the work of people such as Fairbairn and Applegate, with its roots in the policing of a quasi-colonial Shanghai. Is there an assumption that a riot is a form of organised revolt, a new Boxer Rebellion? And can that be particularly fed in the USA by the history of white-black racism?

See Applegate's "Kill Or Get Killed", which can be found here as FMFRP 12-80. (It has some useful stuff if you want to write a bit of 1930's pulp adventure.)

#336 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 10:28 AM:

Unlike Graydon, I don't think the US is utterly corrupt, not even in the data processing sense. (At least, I hope not...it's a fair bet no-one's bothered to take a backup.)

I do believe that your electoral system may now be irretrievably broken, though again I hope not.

And just for giggles, here's my nightmare scenario:

Nov 4: Election Day. Tensions run high due to various incidents of attempted voter suppression.
As the ballots are counted, three major population centres erupt in violence as a number of individuals, identified as Republican party operatives, are caught apparently attempting to compromise the voting machines. Agents provocateurs whip up Obama supporters into a fury, and carefully orchestrated riots break out across the country.

Nov 5: Violence intensifies. National Guard units are federalised to maintain order. Military units recalled earlier in the year are put on standby. Obama, shamed by the activities of his supporters, is forced to announce his withdrawal from the election on grounds of conscience, leaving John McCain unopposed.

Nov 6: President-elect McCain assassinated while making a public appearance to plead for calm. President Bush declares a state of emergency and imposes martial law.

January 20: Sarah Palin sworn in as President.

January 21: World goes to hell in a handbasket.

There are probably all sorts of detailed reasons why it could not happen precisely this way. I don't need to know those. I just need one good convincing reason why nothing even remotely like this could ever happen in America. Because I don't think there is one.

#337 ::: Rosa ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 10:48 AM:

Here's one, Zander:

Barack Obama is not John Kerry.
I don't think there's any way he'd step down because of that kind of chaos. One of the reasons the campaign has been encouraging early voting so much is to stave off any kind of election-day shenanigans, including the ones you just described.

If there were riots across the country and only thinly populated red counties were able to finish their voting, counting just the votes already in in New York, Philly, Chicago, Los Angeles, etc would show Obama was clearly going to win. No one would concede, they'd have to either let the courts decide or re-do the election.

No martial law (except possibly in some areas of big cities), no permanent suspension of the election, no President Palin, no handbasket.

#338 ::: Mycroft W ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 12:18 PM:

#293: I have two words for you (well, a story, really): Quitters, Inc.

Having them *watch*? How amateur.

And no, I don't actually approve this suggestion.

#339 ::: Zander ::: (view all by) ::: October 28, 2008, 04:58 PM:

Well, that's not the only way he could be taken out of the picture, but okay.

Since they didn't redo the election in 2000, though, when the wrong guy actually got into the White House (and Al Gore wasn't John Kerry either), I can't help wondering what it would take to make that happen.

I'm just scared. America's really big, and the thought of it not being in safe hands for another four years is quite terrifying.

#340 ::: geekosaur ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 02:09 AM:

Re the comment about Obama as "extremist": reading that along with the McCain "maverick" comment made me think he was being ironic.

#341 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 06:39 AM:

geekosaur @340, I don't think so- he put 'maverick' in quotes, but didn't do that with 'extremist'.

#342 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: October 29, 2008, 08:40 AM:

Zander:

Since they didn't redo the election in 2000, ... (and Al Gore wasn't John Kerry either), ....

Well remember, that was before 9/11 -- now we all know better than to submit to hijackers....

#343 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2008, 02:17 AM:

Terry Karney @ 334

Yes, Kent State was a cascade failure with a multi-branched fault tree, as they say in the trade*. If the guards had been a little more experienced and better-trained, if their lieutenant had been more experieneced with command under adverse conditions, if they hadn't had live ammo, if the crowd hadn't been throwing rocks at men with guns, if some dingbat in authority had made the distinction between maintenance of civil order and the use of military force, those four kids might not have died.

That's the tragedy of so many such violent situations: they're preventable in theory, but in practice prevention requires too many people to be reasonable, prudent, and professional for the odds to be very good that it will happen. And that's with the best will in the world; if the desire for violence is there from the start there's not much hope of a good outcome.

* Technically it's called a clusterf*ck.

#344 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: October 31, 2008, 09:24 PM:

Bruce: and if there hadn't been a general officer (I forget if he was Active, or Retired) to grab the guardsmen in hand and stop things, it might have been a little worse.

A bad day, all around.

On the plus side it did lead to formalized trainging in crowd control for the Guard, and I don't know anyone in the present Guard (ok, in positions of authority) who doesn't live in dread of another Kent State.

We talked about it during the lecture phase of Riot/Crowd Control classes.

#345 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2008, 02:18 AM:

Terry Karney @ 344

A little anecdote that your mention of a general officer reminded me of. My last day in active service; I've just been given my walking papers and gone down to the airport (this was at Fort Bragg in NC), paying full fare, not standby, so I can get to Philadelphia really fast to see my girl friend. The jet was broken, so Piedmont Airlines stuck us on a DC-4 (this was 1969, so the plane hadn't completely fallen apart yet) that clipped daisies over the mountains all the way to DC. I was somewhat preoccupied by the landscape seemingly a few feet from my nose*, and the engines were very loud, so I only heard part of the conversation between the officers across the aisle from me.

One of them was a light colonel of the Guard, who was talking about having been in Chicago during the '68 convention, and was describing, with a great deal of disdain, all the wrong things the cops there did. He was very clear that he expected more and worse, and didn't think there was any good excuse for it: the kids weren't Communists or enemy soldiers, they were American citizens with the right to speak.

I remember how hopeful that made me feel; most of the Regular Army officers I'd talked to about politics were quite sure that all young civilians were dirty hippes who needed to be turned from their Communist ways.

I remembered that colonel when I heard about Kent State; I keep hoping now that there are a lot more like him.

* Somehow it's different when you're in a helicopter and have other things to worry about.

#346 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2008, 09:47 PM:

* Somehow it's different when you're in a helicopter and have other things to worry about.

Ain't that the truth.

I recall, before I went to basic, giving my first course in the army. It was to my unit, as we prepared for a possibility of riots in '93 (the federal trial of the cops in the King Beating).

I gave them a lesson in press relations; which none of them were all that keen on. Being pretty fresh from a life as a reporter I was able to give them a better idea of what was going on.

The part which got them... the reporters go into the riot to do a job, and they go in unarmed.

#347 ::: lalouve ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2008, 10:13 PM:

Terry: when we had our shooting at protesters in Sweden (Adalen, 1931), I gather the prevention of more than 5 deaths came from a trumpeter in the reserve among the protesters, who blew the cease firing signal. Ever since that occurrence, it has been impossible to use the military for police work in Sweden - a law change to allow it was suggested a few years ago, and you could hear the grass roots growl...

#348 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: November 01, 2008, 10:43 PM:

lalouve: And my protesting the implemetations of that sort of thing (military in civilian control applications in the US) is greeted with mockery and disdain that I am a Chicken Little crying wolf, because the are good men, and true.

Sigh.

One of my favorite souvenirs is a shoulder board (buillion) from a Swedish Naval Officer. He gave it to me, with a huge smile on his face, saying he hoped to find me so he could give it to me; as he was no longer going to need it. His retirement began the next day.

#349 ::: John Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: November 02, 2008, 08:13 AM:

Terry@348:
Therein lies a tale?

#350 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2008, 03:56 PM:

Mercenary Firm Offers to 'Detain Troublemakers' on Election Day

Scroll down to the update, which will make it quite obvious why the offer won't be accepted. D'oh!

#351 ::: kaonny ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2008, 10:26 PM:

can i say i was very surprised espeacily after what happend at the rnc convention . we dont have to worry about any thing thats thankful

#352 ::: kaonny ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2008, 10:27 PM:

can i say i was very surprised espeacily after what happend at the rnc convention . we dont have to worry about any thing thats thankful

#353 ::: kaonny ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2008, 10:32 PM:

if obama lose nthats goneto be sad for real stuf da

#354 ::: Jon Meltzer sees something that looks like canned meat ::: (view all by) ::: November 03, 2008, 10:49 PM:

Or just weirdness ...

Welcome to Making Light's comment section. The moderators are Avram Grumer, Jim Macdonald, Teresa & Patrick Nielsen Hayden, and Abi Sutherland. Abi is the moderator most frequently onsite. She's also the kindest. Teresa is the theoretician. Are you feeling lucky?

If you are a spammer, your fate is in the hands of Jim Macdonald, and your foot shall slide in due time.

Comments containing more than seven URLs will be held for approval. If you want to comment on a thread that's been closed, please post to the most recent "Open Thread" discussion.

You can subscribe (via RSS) to this particular comment thread. (If this option is baffling, here's a quick introduction.)

Post a comment.
(Real e-mail addresses and URLs only, please.)

HTML Tags:
<strong>Strong</strong> = Strong
<em>Emphasized</em> = Emphasized
<a href="http://www.url.com">Linked text</a> = Linked text

Spelling reference:
Tolkien. Minuscule. Gandhi. Millennium. Delany. Embarrassment. Publishers Weekly. Occurrence. Asimov. Weird. Connoisseur. Accommodate. Hierarchy. Deity. Etiquette. Pharaoh. Teresa. Its. Macdonald. Nielsen Hayden. It's. Fluorosphere. Barack. More here.















(You must preview before posting.)

Dire legal notice
Making Light copyright 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 by Patrick & Teresa Nielsen Hayden. All rights reserved.