So it seems little has changed since the late 1970s. According to this Guardian article, following the murder of Joanna Yeates, Avon and Somerset police are advising women not to walk alone at night. Sound familiar?
This casually sexist response by the police, according to which women are effectively being advised not to have a life (especially given the wintry daylight hours!) reminds us of the importance events like Reclaim the Night and the Million Women Rise March. They are as important as they ever were, since the early Take Back the Night marches in Philadelphia and Brussells in the mid-1970's. (A history of Take Back the Night is here.) What is frustrating is that the same argument needs constantly to be made, 35 years on.
When the first Take Back the Night and Reclaim the Night marches took place, they were a direct response to small-minded sexist police "advice" like that recently meted out by the Avon and Somerset police. That is why they were held outdoors; that is why they were held at night; and that is why they were women-only affairs. But recently the focus of many RTN marches has justifiably shifted to domestic violence and intimate partner violence. (According to Home Office statistics, only 17% of rapes are committed by strangers; 54% are committed by partners (including spouses) or ex-partners. And according to this BCS report, only 13% of rapes are committed in a public place; 55% occur in the victim's own home, and 20% occur in the offender's home.)
I have personally heard the view many times that this change of focus makes RTN marches in some sense passé. But this criticism overlooks the fact that RTN marches make for a strong, clear public message, and provide an opportunity for the feminist community to reassert their continued presence and solidarity. And anyway, thanks to Avon & Somerset police, it turns out that after all we all need reminding of the original motivation for RTN: that violence against women is not the responsibility of the women who suffer it.
You might have noticed that the blog is looking a bit different these days. Following the departure of two key members, who we can't thank enough for all their efforts (love to Dan and Jon!), we have taken the opportunity to reinvent the group somewhat. So welcome!
The group has always been about consciousness-raising, and we want to keep that aspect of the group. But now we want to direct our attentions outwards somewhat, and make more the opportunity of so many pro-feminist men being in the same place, so we are gearing up for some more focussed activism (as well as the day-to-day stuff we have always done!).
We each have our own take on our feminism or pro-feminism, and the group will be a great way to meet like-minded men to get involved in some actions. But our main concentration as a group is the campaign for equal parental leave, as well as surrounding issues of work/life balance and better working conditions for women and men with dependents.
To get things rolling, we are all reading the recent report by the Fatherhood Institute into a variety of gender inequalities and injustices in current government legislation about parenting and more besides. You can download the report here. The UK is a pathetic *18th* out of 21 countries considered. If you want to do something about it too, consider joining us for our next meeting, on the 23rd January. (Email us for more details.)
More New Year feminist and pro-feminist things of interest:
bill's profeminist blog has this great post suggesting some Pro-feminist New Year's resolutions for straight guys. (I think plenty also apply to gay men!) Thanks, Bill!
The Feminist Library is celebrating 35 years of archiving and activism on the 19th February, at the Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, London E5 0PU. (For FB-lovers, the event page is here.) It's going to be a good one, and volunteers are still wanted!
We will also be updating the blog much more often, so bookmark us, or sign up to our RSS feed, and get involved!
Please ask what happened with his open letter he sent all of the New Jersey educators back one week before his first election. He lied and did everything completely contrary to what he told us in that letter that was sent out one week prior to his election. That spells a liar in my book. Anyone who dupes people into voting them in on a lie is complete trickery. I do not trust him. Ask him about that letter that was never published in any media? Hum, funny, I wonder why?
The State Government is not making a ‘U’ turn on this matter because we believe that Federal and State BN Governments being in the family can resolve this issue amicably between the parties concerned as diplomacy is better than confrontation.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Haji Adenan Satem said that, that is why the State Government has decided not to proceed on the motion to Article 1(2) of the Federal Constitution which categorised Sarawak as one of the thirteen (13) states in Malaysia.
"The amended Article 1(2) is perceived as not in the spirit behind Inter-Governmental Committee Report and the Malaysia Agreement which was clearly reflected in the original wordings of that Article," he said.
Adenan elaborated, that Article, before its amendments clearly provides that the Federation of Malaysia consisted of: (1) The States of the federation of Malaya; (2) The States of Sabah and Sarawak; and (3) Singapore.
He said this in his Winding-up Speech at the last day of the 18th Sarawak DUN's Sitting today.
"The Prime Minister has announced that he is willing to discuss with Sarawak and Sabah on any matters related to the misinterpretations and misunderstandings to the Malaysia Agreement 1963."
"On this note, the Prime Minister clearly shows that he is willing to discuss this matter with the State Government and to find solutions to resolve this issue," stressed Adenan. -UnReportedNews™®
In questi giorni stiamo seguendo tutti con il fiato sospeso le notizie nucleari provenienti dal Giappone. E' particolarmente difficile trovare fonti di informazione se non corrette almeno ragionevoli. I quotidiani online al solito si distinguono per un'approssimazione quasi criminale (in particolare Repubblica che tiene la linea "AAAAAAH MORIREMO TUTTI!!"). Fortunatamente oggi abbiamo internet e la possibilità di sapere molto di più che ai tempi di Chernobyl.
Purtroppo chi governa le centrali tende a non essere molto trasparente, e ci sono forti dubbi che conosciamo tutto quello che succede. Qualcosa però sappiamo. Amedeo Balbi ha riassunto in maniera ammirabilmente asettica alcune cose nel suo post "Un po' di cose che so sulle centrali nucleari", di cui sottoscrivo anche le virgole.
Se sai l'inglese hai più opzioni. Non è per niente male l'articolo apparso oggi su Ars Technica (che è capace di trattare in maniera imparziale cose persino più controverse, come i prodotti Apple). Particolarmente sensata mi sembra la conclusione:
This latter set of issues mean that the surest way to build a safe
nuclear plant is to ensure that nothing goes wrong in the first place.
There are ways to reduce the risk by adding more safety and monitoring
features while tailoring the design to some of the most extreme local
events. But these will add to the cost of a nuclear plant, and won't
ever be able to ensure that nothing goes wrong. So, deciding on if and
how to pursue expanded nuclear powerwill require a careful risk
analysis, something the public is generally ill-equipped for. (grassetto mio)
Io continuo ad essere contrario alla costruzione di centrali nucleari in Italia, sostanzialmente per motivi di costo e (naturalmente) di sfiducia. Niente mi toglie dalla testa che chi le vuole sa benissimo che non saranno mai effettivamente costruite e che si tratta di stipulare contratti, distribuire soldi e pagare penali a industrie bustarellanti.
Terdapat beberapa kesalahan fakta asas dalam ulasan saudara Akmar.
1-Saya bukan wartawan Berita Harian tetapi Utusan Malaysia
2-Di Cutri, saya membuat kerja-kerja thinning, bukannya memetik buah
Maka saya tertanya-tanya sama ada saudara membaca sepenuhnya laporan saya atau sekadar membaca tajuk sahaja?
Sudahkan saudara membaca lapan muka surat laporan khas saya. Sudahkan saudara membaca sepenuhnya tulisan Nick McKenzie dan menonton 7.30 report?
Jika dibaca, pastinya jelas terpampang maklumat asas tadi. Takkan itu pun masih buat silap fakta.
Inilah penyakit orang kita. Dia baca tajuk, dia terus percaya. Dia tak kaji betul-betul tapi dia share di Facebook, WhatsApp.
Saya lihat saudara Akmar berada dalam kategori ini. Jenis suka baca tajuk, lepas tu terus melompat buat ulasan. Baca saudara, Allah dah kata, Iqra' (baca).
Macam tu jugalah kaitannya dengan iklan-iklan menawarkan kemewahan dengan kerja ladang buah di Australia. Ramai yang percaya bulat-bulat.
Memang duit jadi kelemahan manusia dan sebab tu lah iklan kerja Australia di Facebook ni semuanya tayang duit.
Mungkin ada yang plan nak pergi tiga bulan sahaja (selari dengan tempoh sah visa pelancong), maklumlah sebulan dapat RM9,000, tiga bulan dah berapa? Lumayan, boleh bayar hutang.
Tapi sedih, lepas tiga bulan pun tak boleh balik lagi.
Memang orang Melayu obses dengan duit segera. Tengoklah skim cepat kaya, MLM dan sebagainya, orang Melayu lah yang palig ramai kena tipu.
Saya pun tak faham sangat kenapa orang kita mudah sangat kena tipu. Gores dan menang pun kena tipu. Alahai...
Saya tidak berminat untuk menjawab serangan dan cercaan peribadi saudara ke atas saya. Pemikiran saya bukanlah serendah itu.
Saudara juga telah membuat tafsiran sendiri mengenai diri saya berdasarkan laporan yang dibuat walaupun tidak mengenali secara peribadi.
Maka, izinkan saya untuk membuat penilaian menggunakan methodology yang sama, siapakah diri saudara berdasarkan maklumat yang saya peroleh di laman Facebook saudara
Selepas disemak, saudara dilihat konsisten mempromosikan peluang pekerjaan ladang di Australia dan secara terbuka meminta rakan FB berhubung jika berminat.
Dan seperti biasa, yang indah-indah sahajalah diceritakan. Biasalah taktik FB marketing dan saya lihat saudara adalah orang yang mengkaji teknik FB marketing.
Maka, izinkanlah saya bertanya:
1- Apa yang dibuat saudara di Australia? Kerja ladang atau bawa orang masuk? Atau seorang pekerja ladang yang nampak peluang untuk buat duit dengan bawa masuk pekerja.
2- Berapa lama dah saudara di sana? Adakah visa membenarkan saudara bekerja di sana? Bagaimana dengan kawan-kawan yang mengikuti saudara, visa apa yang nak digunakan? Student visa?
3- Katakan saudara adalah jujur, tidak menganiayai kawan-kawan yang dibawa masuk, adakah saudara sedar apa yang dibuat adalah jenayah? Pernahkan saudara mendengar istilah human traficking?
Ramai menuduh saya menutup periuk nasi bangsa saya di Australia. Tunggu....saya jelaskan dulu okey.
Laporan saya bertujuan:
1-Mengelakkan rakyat Malaysia dan bangsa saya daripada terpedaya dengan janji manis ejen. Ramai dah orang terkena, orang dari kampung.
Saya pun berasal dari kampung dan tak sanggup tengok orang saya kena tipu.
Tak kena atas kepala saudara Alhamdulillah, tapi jangan nafikan ada kes macam ni dan jumlahnya besar.
Ada yang sanggup pinjam duit sebab fikir dia pergi sekejap je, dah dapat buat untung akan balik segera. Alih-alih hidup susah di farm dan berhutang lagi.
Apa yang saya tulis bukan rekaan. Bukan imiginasi. Semua makumat saya terima daripada pekerja farm juga. Saya bukan keyboard warrior, saya turun ke ground dan saya tengok dan rasa kehidupan orang kita di Swan Hill.
Cuma masalah dengan bangsa Melayu yang masuk farm ni, dia tak suka cerita kedukaan dia sangat. Dia bagitahu kawan-kawan di Malaysia kerja best padahal diri sendiri je lah yang tahu.
Yang di Malaysia percaya bulat-bulat dan terpengaruh ke sana.
Sebab apa? Sebab ego, orang kampung dengar tumpang bangga. Kerja di Australia beb, bunyi gah sangat, malulah kalau mengaku hidup susah.
Bagi yang berjaya, berjayalah, dan kita jangan lupa memang ada yang terjerat di Australia. Semoga yang berjaya itu tidak mencemari tangan mereka dengan memanipulasikan mana-mana pihak.
2- Disebabkan banyak sangat orang Malaysia salah guna visa pelancong dan langgar peraturan, Imigresen sana dah alert.
Kalau naik penerbangan tambang murah, lagilah Imigresen curios. Tengoklah apa soalan dia tanya masa nak masuk. Lebih-lebih lagi kalau Australia adalah negara asing pertama yang korang lawat.
Adil kah benda ni untuk kira-kira 30 juta rakyat Malaysia lain yang nak ke sana melancong, bekerja secara sah, buka bisness dan lain lain.
Disebabkan pekerja ladang Malaysia buat hal dengan imigresen, orang lain kena getah. Pekerja Malaysia di farm tuduh saya tutup periuk nasi, sedarkah yang korang juga tutup periuk nasi rakyat Malaysia yang lain.
Bagi lah apa pun alasan, kerja tanpa permit tetap salah. Hormatilah undang-undang negara orang, kita pun marah Bangla dan Indon masuk Malaysia kerja haram.
Setiap rumah orang ada peraturan, kena lah ikut. Bukan sesuka hati terjah dan bagi hujah kami cari rezeki halal (TAPI DENGAN CARA SALAH).
Kena ingat, apa yang berlaku di ladang-ladang akan menjejaskan 156,000 diaspora Malaysia yang berada di Australi secara sah tak termasuk pelajar dan pekerja haram lain
Untuk kefahaman, saya copy n paste petikan statement seorang peguam rakyat Malaysia yang memiliki law firm, Fides Lawyers di Melbourne sejak 8 tahun lalu, Vicknaraj Thanarajah dalam isu ini.
As of 30th March 2016 the percentage of Australian residents born overseas are one of its highest in Australian History. The latest statistics show that out of the current Australian Population 156,500 or 0.7 percent are from Malaysia.
These are the legitimate migrants on record till to-date.
The above figures do not include the students who come here yearly to study or the illegal migrants.
According to the statistics for the months of September 2016, there are approximately 35,000 thousand people from Malaysia who visit Australia between August and September of 2016.
The above figures shows us a few crucial facts;
1.The Malaysian Diaspora in Australia is about 156K, and we have a sizeable presence in Australia being the top 10 diaspora in Australia;
2.The Monthly Malaysian Entrants Australia is the top 5 in Australia;
Therefore, whatever happens to the Malaysian community in Australia, has an impact not only to Malaysia reputation but also to the rest of the diaspora that have migrated here or has legitimate business interest in Australia, this includes a series of investments by Malaysian GLC in Australia.
It is also commonly known that Malaysia is the only Southeast Asian country with access to the electronic travel authority system under which Malaysian citizens — and applicants from most of the Western world — can get a three-month tourist visa online.
This is probably the result of the excellent diplomatic relations that is shared between the two countries.
Common sense would dictate that should there be in surge in abuse of this privilege this efficient process is endangered in being scrapped.
Australia tak bodoh, dia bukan tak tahu apa yang pekerja ladang ni buat. Kalau tengok statistik protection visa pun dah kantoi sebab tiba-tiba mendadak naik. Ini kerja siapa sebenarnya?
Malaysia negara aman dan masih berungsi tetapi ramai rakyat kita minta visa perlindugan (refugee). Negara kita tak beperang pun. Untuk kepentingan dia, dia menipu dalam borang permohonan siap kondem Malaysia lagi.
Berdasarkan statitik laman web Imigresen Australia, didapati permohonan visa protection oleh rakyat Malaysia meningkat daripada 294 permohonan pada 2013-2014, 1,401 permohonan pada 2014-2015 dan meroket kepada 3,549 (2015-2016)
Dari 294 permohonan naik kepada 3,549 permohonan dalam masa hanya empat tahun? Kegilaan apa kah ini?
Berikut petikan kenyataan Vicknaraj Thanarajah:
According to the statistic published by the Department of Immigration in Australia, we can gather the following crucial facts;
•Asylum applications from Malaysians lodged while within Australia in the last financial year topped 3500, more than double the total for 2014-15 even though Malaysia is a stable and functioning state, new figures show.
•Immigration department figures show 87 per cent of these applications are refused. Of the reviews conducted by the Migration and Refugee Division of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, 88 per cent validate the original decision.
•The tribunal processed more than 2000 reviews last financial year — a fourfold increase on 2014-15 — representing almost half of its protection claim caseload.
•Details of the recent flood of onshore asylum applications from Malaysia, which totalled just 294 in 2013-4, are contained in documents published on the department’s website.
•In 2014-15, 1401 Malaysians applied for asylum from within Australia. That total surged to 3549 in the 2015-16 year.
Baca lagi petikan kenyataan Vicknaraj Thanarajah:
"Apart from the above financial and legal considerations, these workers need to be aware of the political considerations that are associated with the Horticulture industry in Australia specifically the Fruit Picking Jobs.
The truth is, this is not a new issue; the Malaysians are just a latest wave of workers that are being used by the syndicates as work-stock. Prior to in recent years this there was an uproar on the abuse of Pacific Islanders as illegal workforce and as a result of an inquiry, the illegal workforce have significantly reduce from the Pacific Island.
It is my personal opinion the Malaysians are merely filling in a temporary gap left by the prior inquiry in relation to the Pacific islanders. What the Malaysian migrants need to realise, that the labour dilemma is soon to be solve (at least in part); because a political solution has been reached recently.
The Immigration Department of Australia will be launching a special class of visa (416) to enable Pacific islanders to work in the horticulture industry seasonally. This is supposed to commence by the 19th of November 2016.
Unfortunately Malaysia is not on the list as that particular visa caters for Pacific Islanders.
The hypocrisy of politics are blinding, the blatant fact remains that there is a need for workers in the horticulture industry especially in rural Australia, and the industry and the syndicates are filling that gap and need.
The syndicates take advantage on this legal and economic arbitrage simply because workers are voiceless because of their legal status in Australia.
Rhetorically, Corporations, Farmers and Authorities, at the Federal, State and Local Government manage the blame efficiently and seamlessly each respectively pleading ignorance of the existence of such syndicates and illegal workforce.
This plea of ignorance is laughable, especially with the example of the case of Swan Hill a rural town in regional Victoria is swarming with Malaysians Workforce.
The issue and the challenge now is whether the Australia Government specifically the Minister responsible for Immigration is going to provide an empty political retort by conveniently electing to enforce a pre-existing law or a sound policy resolution that is sustainable and future proof for all those affected by the labour shortage.
For the sake Human Dignity and Decency, I challenge the Minister to extend the same opportunity for Malaysians to enable them to apply as seasonal workers in the Horticultural Industry.
Alternative expand the quota of Sub Class 462 Work Holiday Visa which is currently fixed at 100 visa for Malaysian per annum.
Saya juga sependapat dengan Vicknaraj yang berharap ada sinar untuk rakyat Malaysia bekerja di ladang-ladang secara sah supaya nasib mereka lebih terjamin.
PM Najib pun dah jumpa dengan PM Australia, Malcom Turnbull di APEC, Lima, Peru, kelmarin.
Malaysia, Australia bincang isu kedatangan migran
LIMA, Peru 20 Nov. - Kerjasama berkaitan kedatangan migran secara tidak sekata adalah antara topik yang disentuh dalam perbincangan dua hala Malaysia dan Australia di luar persidangan Kerjasama Ekonomi Asia Pasifik (APEC) di ibu negara Peru semalam.
Perdana Menteri, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yang mengadakan pertemuan dengan Perdana Menteri Australia, Malcolm Turnbull berkata, Australia dalam pertemuan itu meminta kerjasama Malaysia untuk membendung isu pelarian, yang menghantui negara berkenaan ekoran kebanjiran migran itu.
"Beliau (Turnbull) mahu bendung masalah migran ini yang dikaitkan dengan permerdagangan manusia," katanya kepada wartawan Malaysia di sini selepas menghadiri program hari pertama Mesyuarat Pemimpin Ekonomi APEC.
Antara kerjasama itu adalah melalui pertukaran laporan risikan dan melakukan larangan rasmi iaitu dengan mengambil tindakan sekiranya migran berkenaan melalui perairan negara, katanya.
Kita harap pertemuan ini dapat merintis jalan ke arah rundingan yang akan memberi manfaat kepada rakyat Malaysia yang mahu bekerja di Australia secara sah dalam sektor kemahiran rendah.
NOTA: Ada beberapa soalan Saudara Saharudin Jang yang perlu saya jawab.
1- Apakah keburukan yg ada pada rakyat malaysia bekerja di malaysia.
Keburukan? Saya dan jutaan rakyat Malaysia lain tetap kerja macam biasa. Memang ada kelemahan tertentu seperti gaji yang tak setara dengan kos sara hidup. Saya sebagai rakyat pun buat 2-3 kerja untuk survive. Dan buat masa ini saya belum terfikir perlu bekerja di negara orang secara haram untuk survive.
2- Adakah baik untuk kerajaan malaysia jika aliran wang tunai dari aussie masuk kemalaysia dan dihabiskan untuk membayar cukai & gst?
Betul tapi sepatutnya dilakukan secara sah. Pekerja haram tidak mebayar cukai kepada kerajaan Australia dan duit berkenaan mengalir ke Malaysia secara tak sah.
3- Ramai pekerja di aussie nie akan terdidik dgn cara hidup di aussie x boleh wat huru hara bising n sabagainya yg menganggu privasi org lain. Betul atau tidak?
Betul lah. Mematuhi undang-undang perkara yang mulia, begitulah juga undang-undang Imigresen di Australia. Kenapa tak hormat pula?
Kalau setakat nak didik supaya tak bising, kat Malaysia pun boleh. Hormati hak jiran tu kan ajaran Islam.
4- Pepatah orang dahulu jauh berjalan luas pengalaman.
Betul ke tidak.
1000 peratus saya sokong. Sebab saya sendiri suka berjalan. Sejak 2006 sampai sekarang, dah 24-25 negara saya dah pergi.
Pada 2010 saya berekspedisi dengan tiga lagi kawan naik motosikal dari KL ke London dalam masa 2 bulan. Di sepanjang perjalanan saya jumpa ramai rakyat Malaysia yang berjaya, tak ada seorang pun daripada mereka ni bekerja secara haram.
Bulan Ogos lepas, saya berada di Rio de Janeiro, Brazil selama tiga minggu untuk liputan sukan Olimpik Rio2016.
Saya pun kenal ramai lejen-lejen hardcore overlander yang dah pusing dunia, mereka tak der pula nak kutuk-kutu Malaysia. Jangan baru jejak kaki di satu negara, dah rasa Malaysia ni serba tak kena.
5- Berapakah komisyen yang bro saiful haizan terima daei egent egent pembuat bridging visa. Yg lebih membahayakan kedudukan malaysia pada PRU 14 nanti. Setiap pemegang visa a & c x boleh balik kemalaysia tau. Camner diorg nk undi BN namti. Heheheh.
Apa punya soalan ni. Apa kaitan dengan ejen buat bridging visa? Sepatutnya mereka yang marah dengan saya.
Kalau tak boleh balik, pergilah mengundi di kedutaan. Asalkan berdaftar dengan SPR.
Akmar pula ada cakap yang Imigresen Australia tangkap orang Malaysia sebab Najib nak rakyat balik undi dia.
Hahahaha...hal politik tak perlu masuk lah bro. Tak habis-habis dengan politik.
Terima kasih kerana membaca ke peringkat ini. Saya menghargainya kerana selepas ini saya tidak lagi mengulas isu ini secara detail di FB.
La proposición no de ley instado en la cámara parlamentaria por el grupo de CIUDADANOS se ha presentado hoy. En su defensa habló Melisa Rodríguez.
Una España que en pleno Siglo XXI maltrata a través de la legislación a los niños cuando considera que tras la separación el poder seguir bajo la crianza, el amparo y la educación de tanto el padre como la madre, debe ser la excepción.
Sólo algunas comunidades autónomas se distinguen del resto, pues en su legislación foral han contemplado la custodia compartida diferente a la excepción del artículo 92 del Còdigo Civil.
Sorry,pricam gluposti...Ne chat nego poruke...Razmenili smo nekoliko...Zivis u inostranstvu ako se ne varam...Rekao sam da ne volim bas poeziju,ti si odgovorila da ne volis bas previse ni ti ali ti se svidja ta pesma...
Da, da Setila sam se. Bio je to Prever i pesma "...hladno je VI srdacnim TI, ona zamenila..."
Bio je razlog da je napisem, bas to Vi i Ti Secam se.
Tacno...Kakva memorija...Ja se nikad ne bih setio pesme...A Jesenjina sam ja pominjao-"kerusu"...bas mi je drago da smo se ovde nasli... :D
I meni, takodje. Ja mu dodjem kao neki veteran na ovom forumu
Sorry,pricam gluposti...Ne chat nego poruke...Razmenili smo nekoliko...Zivis u inostranstvu ako se ne varam...Rekao sam da ne volim bas poeziju,ti si odgovorila da ne volis bas previse ni ti ali ti se svidja ta pesma...
Da, da Setila sam se. Bio je to Prever i pesma "...hladno je VI srdacnim TI, ona zamenila..."
Bio je razlog da je napisem, bas to Vi i Ti Secam se.
Tacno...Kakva memorija...Ja se nikad ne bih setio pesme...A Jesenjina sam ja pominjao-"kerusu"...bas mi je drago da smo se ovde nasli... :D
Sorry,pricam gluposti...Ne chat nego poruke...Razmenili smo nekoliko...Zivis u inostranstvu ako se ne varam...Rekao sam da ne volim bas poeziju,ti si odgovorila da ne volis bas previse ni ti ali ti se svidja ta pesma...
Da, da Setila sam se. Bio je to Prever i pesma "...hladno je VI srdacnim TI, ona zamenila..."
Bio je razlog da je napisem, bas to Vi i Ti Secam se.
Sorry,pricam gluposti...Ne chat nego poruke...Razmenili smo nekoliko...Zivis u inostranstvu ako se ne varam...Rekao sam da ne volim bas poeziju,ti si odgovorila da ne volis bas previse ni ti ali ti se svidja ta pesma...
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U.S. stocks rallied on Wednesday, fueled by a surge in financial and tech shares, which helped Wall Street to partially shake off Tuesday's sharp fall. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index enjoyed a run deep into positive territory, helping it cut into Tuesday's 100-point drop, and marking its best daily rise since Nov. 7, when it surged 2.4%, according to FactSet data. On Wednesday, the Nasdaq rose 1.4% to 6,234. The S&P 500 index climbed 0.9% at 2,440, representing the benchmark's best daily rise since April 24. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 0.7% at 21,454. Those moves come a day after equities saw their worst selloff in more than a month on the back of doubts about President Donald Trump's pro-growth agenda. The small-cap Russell 2000 nearly closed at a record, finishing up about 1.5% on the day, and highlighting the broad-based nature of the rally. Helping to support a bid for bank shares was a rise in government bond yields, with the 10-year Treasury note yield at 2.22%. Those gains were aided by European Central Bank officials attempting to tamp down the market's bearish reaction to ECB President Mario Draghi's comments on Tuesday, which were interpreted as hawkish, pushing the euro and yields globally markedly higher.
Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.
Travis Nielsen is the founder and CEO of Azurigen Management and Consulting Solutions Inc. A STEM project management firm that specializes in linking conservation based science to business and government. He is a published scientist specializing in Marine Biology with 10 years experience in STEM, and 10 years of experience in management and leadership. He […]
Ume da bude ok kad hoce.Ali uglavnom nece
E Kobajo,mogu cera da ti budem
ako sam te uvredio ...izvini...
imam odgovor koji bi cule tvoje usi, a imam i onaj koje ne bi...
al nema veze...
kao da si rekla "matori drkadzija"
a verovatno nisi pogresila...
hvala u svakom slucaju...
I’ve joined forces with Sam over at Governmentdirt.com, so I’ll be posting my political stuff over there (as will others)! You can find my first posting about Bush and his speech on Vietnam by clicking on this link! My other blogs that you may enjoy are: • Zalandria: Funny pictures, great links and occasional commentary! […]
I wanted this blog to be constantly updated, with lots of commentary by me. But I never have the time! So, for the foreseeable future, check out these great blogs that I check every day! PoliticalWire Political Insider TIME/Real Clear Politics CNN/Political Ticker AmericaBlog DailyKOS IntelDaily Government Dirt
BOSTON—My take on the election: Vision without details beats details without vision. President Bush put forward a powerful and compelling philosophy of what the government should do at home and abroad: Expand liberty. You can disagree with Bush's implementation of that vision, but objecting to it as a matter of principle isn't a political winner. John Kerry, on the other hand, campaigned as a technocrat, a man who would be better at "managing" the war and the economy. But for voters faced with a mediocre economy rather than a miserable one, and with a difficult war that's hopefully not a disastrous one, that message—packaged as "change"—wasn't compelling enough to persuade them to vote for Kerry.
Without reliable exit-poll data, it's hard to know exactly which voters and issues decided the election, but my guess is that the Democrats will ultimately conclude that they did what they thought was necessary on the ground to win the election. Karl Rove and the Republicans just did more. (On the exit-poll question: If the initial evening exit-poll result that 5 percent of the late deciders broke for Ralph Nader had turned out to be accurate, Nader would have received more votes from among the pool of late-breaking undecideds than he ended up receiving from the entire electorate.) The Democratic confidence during the early afternoon and evening was based on more than faulty poll data. The Kerry campaign was confident that high turnout from the party base would swing the election their way.
But this election wasn't a swing, or a pendulum. There was no fairly evenly divided group in the middle of the electorate that ultimately broke for one side and made the difference. The 2004 campaign was not a tug of war between two sides trying to yank the center toward them. Instead, it was a battle over an electorate perched on a seesaw. Each campaign furiously tried to find new voters to add so that it could outweigh the other side. Both sides performed capably: Kerry received more votes than Al Gore did four years ago, and he even received more votes than the previous all-time leader, Ronald Reagan in 1984. President Bush just did even better.
Rove's gamble that he could find more Bush supporters from among nonvoting social conservatives than from the small number of undecideds in the usual voting public worked exactly as designed. The question for Democrats is whether Rove's formula will turn out to be a one-time trick tied to Bush's personal popularity and the emotional bond the nation formed with him after the trauma of 9/11, or whether the Democratic Party has been relegated to permanent, if competitive, minority status. Are the Democrats once again a regional party, the new Eisenhower Republicans of the Northeast? For seven consecutive presidential elections, the Democratic candidate has failed to garner 50 percent of the vote. Not since Jimmy Carter in 1976 has a Democrat won a majority, and even Watergate could get Carter only 50.1 percent.
The silver lining for the minority party is that the Democrats may have a slight edge in the Electoral College. Although he lost the popular vote by more than 3.5 million (a landslide in a 50-50 nation), Kerry lost the presidency by a much smaller amount: fewer than 140,000 votes in Ohio. The 2008 battleground will likely be even smaller than 2004's: Only 19 states in this election had a vote margin that within single digits. In 2000's divided America, Bush and Gore finished within 5 points of each other in 22 states. This time, Bush and Kerry came within sniffing distance of each other in half as many, 11. Despite President Bush's remarkably successful campaign, and despite the fact that he became the first president to win a majority of the vote since his father did the same in 1988, in his second term George W. Bush will preside over a country that is even more divided than it was during his first.
BOSTON—A little after 4:30 p.m., Joe Lockhart stood at a podium at the traveling press filing center at the Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel and briefed the media on the campaign's view of Election Day so far. Here's a partial transcript. The questions are paraphrases, but Lockhart's quotes are verbatim.
"The rules state if you are in line when the polls close, you are allowed to vote. … They just need to get there by the time of the poll closing. We will be providing coffee and doughnuts for those who have to wait in line as a way to ease their pain, I am told. I believe this is true, that the campaign has authorized in some places in Ohio Port-a-Potties to make sure that people don't leave because they have to go to the bathroom. They tell me that's true."
"In these battleground states, we have targeted 60 precincts per state: 20 that polled very well for then-Gov. Bush, in 2000, 20 that were mixed, 20 that voted heavily for Gore. Let me share a few things from around the country that we've drawn from those precincts. So far today, our base precincts are running ahead of both Republican base precincts and ahead of Al Gore's performance in every battleground state, with the exception of New Mexico, where we are even, and Arkansas, where we're slightly behind.
"So when you look at the whole, 12 or 13, whatever we settled on battleground states, we believe in our key precincts, as a measure of turnout, that we're doing well.
"In Florida, Democratic precincts continue to outperform Republican precincts, and African-American and Hispanic turnout is still running higher than expected. We've seen anecdotal evidence, particularly in some of the Hispanic voting areas, of very heavy turnout. We have a turnout advantage in Miami-Dade County, Broward County, and Palm Beach County.
"In Ohio, Democratic precincts again are outperforming the Republican Bush precincts by about 8 percent. Cuyahoga County turnout advantage in precincts carried by Gore is 7.1 percent compared to the precincts carried by Bush in 2000. Franklin County, we're seeing a turnout advantage, and Hamilton County, which is Cincinnati, a turnout advantage in Gore precincts by again, about 6 and a half percent.
"Wisconsin, Democratic precincts are outperforming Bush precincts by about 1.9 percent; that holds for Dane County, which is the Madison area, and Milwaukee County, and even the heavily Republican county in the Milwaukee suburbs, where our turnout advantage is small, but it is an advantage.
"A couple other: Colorado Democratic precincts are outperforming Bush precincts by about 4.6 percent; Iowa Democratic precincts are outperforming the Bush precincts by about 10 percent. So, we think that the turnout numbers have been encouraging, but we still believe that we have a lot of work to do."
Q: Explain what those numbers mean.
"That's not exit polling. That's turnout. Again, as I said, if you look at key precincts around the state, which is how we judge turnout, we have heavily Democratic districts, and then you've got heavily Republican precincts. And the numbers that I was using were all comparative, comparing the Democratic precincts to the Republican. It doesn't tell you everything, but I think it tells you a lot. If County X, which always votes Democratic, 100 people show up, and County Y, which always votes Republican, 93 people show up, at the end of the day, you have some sense that things are going well for you. And that's good news. Again, it doesn't tell you who's won or lost, but it does give a sense that our efforts at sort of turning out the voters are having some success."
Q: Knowing what you know now, how confident are you that there will be a winner declared tonight?
"I don't know that we know anything more about that … than we did coming into the day. There's two pieces of information, one is that we feel good about where we were in the battleground states. We have said that consistently over the last week. We feel good so far about the turnout. But those things aren't enough. Everybody knows a campaign who thought the turnout looked good in the morning and relaxed in the afternoon and came out unsuccessfully."
Q: How are you redeploying your resources?
I'll give you one example. Gen. Wesley Clark was in New Mexico for us today, and based on some information that we gathered, in both New Mexico and Nevada, we've asked him, and he's on his way now, to do some work in Nevada. So, that's one example, I think, of a body being moved. But this is mostly satellite interviews, phone calls, and movement within a state
"Are the speeches done? If I answered yes, I wouldn't be honest. You know how we work; they'll be done just before they're due."
Q: Have you seen any exit polls? What do you think of them?
"Well, the only thing that I've seen in print is on online sources that I find highly unreliable."
George W. Bush's last victory party, which took place four years ago in Austin, Texas, never quite got underway. There was some annoying business about a withdrawn concession phone call and a steady downpour of rain. This year's party, held inside the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., was in one respect an improvement. There was no rain.
The evening began in the Reagan Building's giant, sloping atrium. The GOP herded its youngish volunteers into a mosh pit, jammed between the stage and the TV cameras. Vodka tonics were consumed, and the twentysomethings seemed poised for giddy celebration. Just after 12:30 a.m., Fox News awarded Ohio to Bush, bringing the president's electoral tally, by the network's count, to 266. Four more years! Alaska followed 20 minutes later, nudging Bush to 269. Four more years! At that point, a portly man wearing a blue suit and pin-striped shirt removed his "W Is Still President" lapel pin, held it aloft like a cigarette lighter, and began to lurch toward the stage.
But as soon as the crowd began to rock, Bush's glorious night ground to a halt. More than three hours passed without Fox awarding Bush a single electoral vote. Some of the other networks refused to give him Ohio. It wasn't that the remaining states were breaking for Kerry; they simply weren't breaking at all. The country band playing at the victory celebration exhausted its playlist and began glancing up nervously at the TV monitors. A producer with a ponytail and "W" hat waddled onstage and told them to keep playing. Reporters in the press row reached for their cell phones: The news from Boston was that John Edwards would take the stage and extend the election.
Ed Gillespie, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, dashed to the podium and, in a speech that lasted for the exact duration of Edwards', declared that Kerry couldn't possibly unearth 100,000 more votes in Ohio. The crowd whooped, but malaise was setting in. Wouldn't the president just get over here and declare victory already? Better yet, wouldn't Kerry just give up?
The heavy eyes were a marked shift from the evening's start, which was brimming with cautious optimism. As Bush swept the early states, Jeremy Bouma, a member of something called the Center for Christian Statesmanship, told me the expected surge in Democratic turnout would be offset by new evangelical voters. "My prayer going into this was that the evangelical vote was the X Factor," he said. Rosario Marin, a former U.S. treasurer, thought that Bush had succeeded in increasing his support among Hispanic voters. She was telling me why Latinos did not, in fact, oppose to the Iraq war when Gillespie announced that ABC had called Florida for Bush.
Aaaaaaaaah! she screamed, into my right ear."Oh, sorry." Then: Aaaaaaaaaah! "Oh, sorry." Aaaaaaaaaaaah! I told her she should go ahead and scream. After she caught her breath, Marin said: "I'm so happy. I'm so excited. My heart is pumping. I've got to call my husband." And then she was gone.
Bush never appeared at his 2000 victory party. Around 3 a.m. Wednesday, a question arose as to whether, in fact, he would appear at this one. CNN's John King reported that Bush had stormed into Karl Rove's office and asked the guru to let him declare victory. The reporters in the press room that weren't asleep let out a whoop. King later reported that Rove told the networks that if they would just call New Mexico for Bush, the president would make his way to the Reagan Building. The message was clear: I know you're tired. So give me the damn state.
At 5:05 a.m., an end—sort of. CNN reported that Bush wouldn't appear in person Wednesday morning; Andy Card, his chief of staff, would speak in his place. Card arrived in a room with a few dozen listless Republicans and said nothing memorable. Mario H. Lopez, one of the listless, declared, "I don't know how I cannot describe this night as historic." Then he glanced at someone's watch and said, "I think we're gonna get some breakfast and then get ready to go to work." ... 3:17 a.m.
Party Monster: Welcome to George W. Bush's "victory" party in Washington, D.C. Sorta. Us news reporters have been herded into a giant white tent, yards away from the actual party, and contact with revelers looks unlikely. This is what the mob outside Studio 54 must have looked like, if only you upped the dweeb factor.
As the Washington Post's "Reliable Source" column notedthis morning: "Reporters wishing to cover the president's election night party will have to pay $300 for the privilege of a 3-by-2-foot work space and a padded seat in a tent nearby to watch the proceedings on television. … Small groups of media will be escorted into the atrium of the Ronald Reagan Building to look around—but they won't be allowed to talk to participants." For a White House that hates the press, handcuffing reporters on Victory Night seems appropriate.
Last-minute indicators of victory: The handful of people I saw shuffling out of the White House grounds looked grim. Someone who identified himself as a Homeland Security apparatchik looked ebullient. On Fox News, Bill Kristol and Mort Kondracke are wearing prepared smiles. ... 4:05 p.m.
Recriminations Watch—Hispanic-Vote Edition: In the category of what my friend Noam Scheiber calls "possibly meaningless anecdotal evidence," my relatives in Northern New Mexico report an inordinate number of Bush signs in the poor Hispanic colonias—communities that figured to go overwhelmingly to Kerry. The same relatives report that Hispanic men profess to have a cultural affinity with Bush, who they see as a tough, macho sort of guy. Again, meaningless, but it underscores a point: That's about the only thing Bush has going for him with the Hispanic community. The Bushies, who heralded their leader's minority-outreach miracles as Texas governor, have done a shoddy job of courting Hispanics since entering the White House.
A few months back, Antonio Gonzalez of the William C. Velasquez Institute told me that Kerry staffers had whiffed at the Democratic Convention. They featured too few Hispanic speakers; and the preoccupation with Iraq drew attention away from domestic issues affecting the poor. All Karl Rove had to do, Gonzalez said, was goad his keynote speakers into mumbling a few "qué pasas" and the Hispanic vote might tilt slightly to Bush. Well, it didn't happen and it hasn't happened. Most surveys show Bush polling around 30 percent to 35 percent of the Hispanic vote, about what he did in 2000. Even GOP apparatchiks, wishing for miracles, don't put Bush much above 40 percent.
If Bush loses tight races in Florida and New Mexico (and, God forbid, Nevada and Colorado), an early recrimination theory might be that Bush spent too little time chasing Hispanic voters. Then again, perhaps he didn't have a chance. The sour economy disproportionately affects Hispanic and black communities; so does the Iraq War, which draws foot soldiers from the poorest segments of the population. Though both candidates ran Spanish-language ads in the Southwest, the campaigns seemed, at times, to forget about Hispanic voters entirely. Remember the fixation on the gringo Spanish spoken (haltingly) by Al Gore and Bush in 2000? Did Bush and Kerry ignore Hispanic voters, or has the media processed them as stable members of the electorate?
Even if Bush should lose, the GOP would be wise to thank him for ratcheting up their Hispanic numbers to Ronald Reagan levels—and up from depths plumbed by the Bob Dole and George H.W. Bush campaigns. But for a man who wonEl Paso County in his 1998 gubernatorial race, 35 percent doesn't seem like much of a miracle. ... 1:11 p.m.
Tom DeLay's Poetic Justice: Tom DeLay's push to rejigger Texas' congressional districts, an effort that caused such a kerfuffle last year, has faded under the onslaught of Swift Boat Veterans, the Osama tape, and Al Qaqaa. But DeLay's gambit has been no less effective. Five Texas Democrats face re-election Tuesday in GOP-friendly districts, and even the most optimistic Dems predict that only one or two of them (probably Martin Frost or Chet Edwards) can survive. There's a better-than-even shot that allfive Democrats will lose, giving the House GOP majority an enormous boost.
But it's not all sad news. With an influx of new Republicans comes an infusion of unwitting comic genius. Most of this can be seen in the personage of Ted Poe. Poe, a former Houston felony court judge, kicked off his national political career in August by boldly proclaiming, "Now is not the time to be a French Republican."
On the bench in Houston, Poe styled himself as a remorseless, Wild West, hangin' judge in the tradition of Roy Bean. His brainchild was something he called "Poetic Justice." With "Poetic Justice," Poe sentenced criminals to public humiliations to teach them a lesson. Shoplifters who found themselves in front of Poe, for instance, had to stand outside the stores they pinched from carrying signs identifying themselves as criminals.
When a man robbed legendary Lone Ranger star Clayton Moore, Poe made the perp shovel manure 20 hours a month at the Houston police department's horse pens. The sentence was to last for 10 years.
The Club for Growth's Stephen Moore reports that Poe made convicted car thieves hand over their own cars to their victims. Convicted murderers were forced to visit their victims' grave sites; others felons had to hang their victims' pictures in their cells and, upon release, carry them in their wallets. According to the Houston Press, Poe slapped one homicidal drunken driver with the following the rap:
… boot camp; erecting and maintaining a cross and Star of David at the accident site; carrying pictures of the victims in his wallet for ten years; observing the autopsy of a drunk-driving victim; placing flowers on the graves of the two victims on their birthdays for the next ten years; and carrying a sign outside a bar that reads, "I killed two people while driving drunk."
This article describes the ambiance of Poe's Houston office: "a poster of Alcatraz, a painting of a scene from the battle of Gettysburg and a sign proclaiming, 'I really don't care how you did it up north.' "
As the Houston Chronicle reports, victims' relatives have charged that Poe would often fail to follow through on the harsh sentences—a revelation which comes as something of a relief. Slate eagerly awaits the punishments Poe metes out on congressional Democrats. ... 11:12 a.m.
A Snowball's Chance: If the election drifts into Mountain Time Tuesday, will John Kerry regret stiffing New Mexico? That's one theory being floated on Joe Monahan's superb New Mexico political blog tonight. George W. Bush visited the state Monday, Dick Cheney over the weekend. So, New Mexicans will wake up Tuesday to read triumphant Bush headlines like this and this, while they'll see news pictures of Kerry overnighting in Wisconsin.
Bill Richardson pulls all the puppet-strings in New Mexico, but there's mounting evidence that Kerry may be in trouble. The polls have looked limp. And there's a theory that Al Gore's slim margin in 2000—366 votes, all found days after the election—may be attributable to one thing: snow.
On Election Day 2000, a freak snowstorm blanketed "Little Texas," the swath of southeastern New Mexico known for its cultural and political kinship with its neighbor. Conservative voters in three counties stayed home in droves. With Gore running strong in northern New Mexico and narrowly winning Albuquerque, the snowed-in voters may have cost Bush the state.
Tuesday's weather report: This site says "rain and snow showers will linger" near the region. Kerry may need every flake and drop. … 12:01 a.m.
Monday, Nov. 1 2004
The ESPN Primary: "Mr. President, I am wondering how you feel about taxpayers having to have a financial burden placed on them for building new stadiums and new facilities for existing teams?" So went The Candidates: Election 2004,ESPN's special last night that valiantly tried to make Tuesday's contest into a referendum on professional sports. Jim Gray, the thinking man's Ahmad Rashad, the guy who hones his interview technique on coaches trying to sneak off the court before halftime ("So, uh, how do you prepare for the second half?"), landed interviews with both candidates. With its modus operandi inching ever closer to that of Sabado Gigante, it's groovy to see ESPN put on its serious face once in a while—for the shtick to give way to grave pronouncements about THE WORLD BEYOND SPORTS. Except that Gray never acknowledged that such a thing existed.
In response to a question about ticket prices, Bush replied, "I was always concerned when I was with the Rangers that our ticket prices would become so high that the family would be priced out of baseball." Perhaps this is why Bush helped build the Ballpark at Arlington, one of the most expensive venues in baseball and one of its most soulless. For his part, Kerry repeated his I-stand-with-the-working-man pabulum, suggesting that fathers were looting their children's college funds to sit at club level.
Asked to name his favorite athlete, Kerry, of course, straddled, ticking off a fair slice of the Boston Bruins' first line and, for swing-state mojo, a handful of Detroit Red Wings. Bush got another chance to coo about his clutch performance during the 2001 World Series. And that's about as deep as our man Gray got. There are some reasonably interesting questions to ask about sports, such as why it remains one of the viciously anti-gay segments of public life, a black mark that is ignored when it isn't celebrated.
But why get huffy when you can ask both candidates, as Gray did, what should be done about Pete Rose, who after his selfless act of contrition last winter finds himself no closer to baseball's Hall of Fame? This is the kind of spitball that will get you hooted off most respectable sports radio shows, but the candidates tried their level best. Bush said Rose had never really apologized to baseball. Kerry straddled, then agreed. You could see the nervous flicker in both men's eyes—Bush: Christian values!; Kerry: Cincinnati values!—as they tried outflank one another on Charlie Hustle's quagmire. ... 10:02 p.m.
FORT LAUDERDALE—Republicans love to criticize Democrats for failing to use "dynamic scoring" when assessing the impact of tax cuts on budget revenues. But if President Bush loses the 2004 presidential election, it may be because Karl Rove failed to use dynamic scoring when assessing the impact of his political strategy on the electorate.
In budgetary matters, dynamic scoring means including the effect that cutting taxes will have on economic growth when determining how a tax cut will affect federal revenues. A static analysis, on the other hand, would just decrease the government's inflows by the amount that taxes were cut (or increase revenues by the amount taxes were raised), without calculating the ways a change in tax policy can change people's economic decisions.
For the 2004 election, Rove's static political analysis was that appealing to the 4 million evangelicals who didn't vote in 2000 would bring President Bush a decisive re-election victory. Bush's campaign—and his presidency—have appealed almost entirely to the base of the Republican Party. In a static world, that strategy makes sense: Consolidate the support you received last time, and then find new conservative voters who weren't motivated to turn out four years ago, whether because of the late-breaking news of Bush's DUI arrest or because they weren't convinced of Bush's conservative bona fides. But Rove may have missed the dynamic analysis: the effect that such a strategy would have on the rest of the nonvoting public.
In most states, the Democratic voter-registration program has outpaced the Republican one. Here in Florida, that hasn't been the case, as the GOP has turned up more new registrants across the state than the Democrats. But evidence that Rove's unconventional strategy inflamed the Democratic base can be seen in the early-voting turnout, which seems to be favoring the Democrats. Friday's South Florida Sun-Sentinel featured this headline on the front page: "Early Vote Turnout Boosts Democrats." Calling the turnout in heavily Democratic Broward County a "bad sign for President Bush's chances to win the state," the Sun-Sentinel noted that "twice as many Democrats as Republicans had either voted at early voting sites or returned absentee ballots in the county." In Miami-Dade, another heavily Democratic county, Kerry stands to beat Bush by 90,000 votes if a Miami Herald poll conducted by John Zogby is accurate, Herald columnist Jim DeFede wrote on Thursday. Al Gore won the county by less than 40,000 votes.
"By our count, John Kerry already has a significant lead with the people who have already voted in Florida," Tad Devine said in a conference call with reporters Saturday. The voters who are waiting in line for 2 1/2 hours to vote—almost exactly how long the line was Saturday at the downtown Fort Lauderdale public library—aren't doing that to register their support for "more of the same," he said. Interestingly, Devine sounded more confident about Kerry's chances in Florida than in Ohio, a state in which most people think Kerry has a slight edge. He said that Kerry had a "small but important advantage" in Florida (as well as Michigan, Minnesota, New Hampshire, and Pennsylvania) but only that the race was "very close" with Kerry "positioned to win" in Ohio, putting that the Buckeye State in the same category as Bush-leaning (by most accounts) states Iowa, Nevada, and New Mexico.
It's possible that Rove and the Bush campaign have turned up a huge trove of conservative nonvoters who were registered to vote four years ago and who therefore aren't showing up in the numbers of new registered voters. Unless that's true, however, the early indications are that Rove's repudiation of centrist politics will backfire. The secret of Bill Clinton's campaigns and of George W. Bush's election in 2000 was the much-maligned politics of small differences: Find the smallest possible majority (well, of electoral votes, for both men) that gets you to the White House. In political science, something called the "median voter theorem" dictates that in a two-party system, both parties will rush to the center looking for that lone voter—the median voter—who has 50.1 percent of the public to the right (or left) of him. Win that person's vote, and you've won the election.
Rove has tried to use the Bush campaign to disprove the politics of the median voter. It was as big a gamble as any of the big bets President Bush has placed over the past four years. It has the potential to pay off spectacularly. After all, everyone always talks about how there are as many people who don't vote in this country as people who do vote. Rove decided to try to get the president to excite those people. Whether Bush wins or loses, it looks like he succeeded.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.—By most standards, John Edwards has been a solid running mate for John Kerry. He throttled Dick Cheney in the vice presidential debate (less sympathetic observers thought he at least held his own), he draws big and enthusiastic crowds, he gave a decent if not spectacular acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention, he's always on message, and he's committed no memorable gaffes or otherwise violated the Hippocratic oath of vice presidential nominees. He wasn't selected to win his home state of North Carolina, so it isn't fair for Democrats to be disappointed when the Tar Heel State stays in the Bush column, as it almost certainly will, a week from tonight. But Edwards partisans did expect him to help the Democratic ticket to appeal more to rural voters, and there's no evidence that he's managed to pull off that admittedly difficult feat. If Kerry loses a close election next week, the first second-guessing question has to be, Was John Edwards the right choice?
According to a poll released on Saturday by the Center for Rural Strategies, Kerry trails President Bush by 12 points, 53 to 41 (with a 4.4 percent margin of error), among rural voters in 17 battleground states. Four years ago, Al Gore lost those voters to Bush by a nearly identical margin, 11 points. No reasonable person expected Edwards to help Kerry actually win among rural voters, but it was hoped that he would help the ticket outperform Gore's number and reduce the margin to single digits. When Edwards was criticized for "disappearing" after the convention, the Kerry campaign explained that he had been dispatched to rural areas that were being ignored by the national media, and they assured everyone that he was wowing local media. Local voters seem to be another matter.
During a Tuesday conference call that was set up to discuss how good the Kerry campaign feels about its chances to win the election, the one disappointment expressed by Joe Lockhart and Stan Greenberg was Kerry's performance in rural areas. "I think we recognize that rural voters have not come to us in the way that we had hoped for in this election," Lockhart said. Greenberg said the fact that rural voters were "stuck" was a big factor in why Iowa and New Mexico, states that were won by Gore, remain tossups.
A less exciting but more traditional vice-presidential pick might have served Kerry better by putting one of those states safely in his column. New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson or Iowa Gov. Tom Vilsack could have guaranteed their states' electoral votes for the Democrats. Perhaps even Arkansas' Wes Clark or one of Florida's two senators, Bob Graham and Bill Nelson, could have put their states away for Kerry.
None of those candidates would have generated the buzz that selecting Edwards did, and there are reasons to believe that each of them would have been truly bad choices. Maybe they all would have been crucified by Dick Cheney. But Vilsack, in particular, made Kerry's shortlist, along with Edwards and Dick Gephardt. If you're a Democrat looking at the electoral map, which would you rather have right now, a veep debate win or Iowa's seven electoral votes?
How I Voted: I didn't mean to abstain from Slate's "Show Us Your Ballots" exercise, but I missed the deadline. Here's my candidate: Kerry. I was ambivalent about the Iraq war before the invasion, and I ultimately decided that if you're ambivalent about war you should be against it. The president and this administration apparently feel otherwise. They've put the burden of proof on peace rather than war. Their disdain for the global institutions that have projected American power overseas for 60 years has undermined not just our country's hard-earned reputation and moral authority but our hard-earned might. Their disregard for the Geneva Conventions is shameful and a dangerous international precedent. On the domestic side, Kerry seems a little too eager to spend taxpayer dollars, but I take his pledges of—if not his instincts for—restraint as a reason for guarded optimism. More important, on that score, he can't be any worse than Bush. Besides, this is a one-issue election for me. I don't hate President Bush. I think he's well-intentioned and a good man. He's just not a good president.
COLUMBUS, Ohio—Al Gore couldn't carry Tennessee. But will John Kerry lose his home faith? Among Catholic voters in this state, a recent poll done by Ohio University showed Kerry trailing Bush 50 percent to 44 percent, while the race among Protestants was closer, with 50 percent backing Kerry and 49 percent behind Bush. (Though both results are within the margin of error.) The question isn't just a matter of trivia: In Sunday's New York Times, Adam Nagourney raised the question of whether a Kerry defeat would "make it more difficult for another Catholic to capture the Democratic nomination any time soon." Kerry's opposition to Church teaching on abortion (at least in public policy) led to several controversies, including the one where some bishops announced they would not give Kerry Communion if he were in their congregations. Losing a bishop or two is one thing; if Kerry can't carry the Catholic vote comfortably in swing states, electability-driven primary voters may look more skeptically at future Catholic candidates.
Nationally, the polls have been mixed, and some recent polls have shown Kerry gaining ground among the flock. Last week's Zogby Poll showed Kerry leading among Catholics, and at Beliefnet, Slate's "Faith-Based" columnist Steven Waldman noted that undecided white Catholics broke for Kerry in two polls after the first debate. But despite that support, the debates over whether Kerry is a "real Catholic" have put liberal Catholics on the defensive and made them feel like an embattled minority. A convention of political journalism has added to the feeling: the unfortunate tendency to pronounce that "white men" or "married women with children" or "churchgoers" believe certain things, even when as many as 45 percent of the members of the demographic disagree. Journalism has no reservations about the tyranny of the majority.
So, when several hundred Columbus-area Catholics, including a nun and several priests, gathered Sunday afternoon for a "Catholics for Kerry" rally, the event had the air of a coming-out party. The speakers on stage embraced each other as each one finished addressing the audience. "It feels good, doesn't it?" said Sen. Dick Durbin, a Democrat from Illinois. A member of the Columbus City Council, Maryellen O'Shaughnessy, sounded a we're-here-get-used-to-it note. "We won't be afraid to speak out on whom we support," she said. "We will not be cowed by some extremists who would have us be quiet."
At times, the speakers at the event seemed more interested in rebuking the leaders of the Church who have criticized Kerry than in praising the candidate himself. It wasn't a sober gathering filled with theological and canonical explanations of where Kerry's politics fit in with Church teaching. Too often, the rally was an angry, if understandable, rant. Father James Colopy read a letter written by his aunt to the New York Times and a local newspaper after the Republican convention. Her brother was burned to death in Vietnam, and she was outraged at the Purple Heart band-aids worn by delegates. The Purple Heart "should be honored as the flag is honored," she wrote. "And [Bush] calls himself a pro-life president," Colopy said. "Lies, all lies." Father Greg Jones agreed that Bush was not pro-life in the Catholic sense—because he prosecuted an unjust war, because he executed more than 150 people as Texas governor, because his abortion policy "is full of asterisks"—and alluded to the Church's pedophilia scandal when he said, "Tainted leadership has promoted the lie." The pope and the Catholic Church demand respect for all life, "from conception to natural death, not death in the Texas deathhouse," Jones said. "You see, life doesn't end at birth." And minority groups are alive, too, Jones said. You're supposed to nurture the lives of all of them, "not just one lesbian in the White House." (Jones did have a funny riff on Lynne Cheney's outrage over her daughter's "outing": "Hello? She's a professional lesbian," who worked for Coors doing gay outreach. "She actually traveled the country with Mr. International Leather. That's pretty lesbian.")
The speakers were smart men and women of faith, but they sometimes came across as imbued with the same self-righteousness as their political opponents. Eric McFadden, the man who organized the event through his Web site (and who was interviewed by Nightline beforehand), said he doesn't like it when the Bush campaign shows photos of the president with members of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic organization. As a fourth degree Knight, "That's an affront to me, because he does not walk with Christ," McFadden said. Father John Ardis, Kerry's pastor from the Paulist Center in Boston, explained that Kerry's Catholic faith dictated his support for Democratic slogans like "closing the gun show loophole" and "extending the assault weapons ban."
The quieter, less political moments were more effective. "God is real in John and Teresa's lives," Ardis said. "While they could undoubtedly choose to sit back and enjoy lives of relaxed leisure, they do not." By the time Sen. Durbin mentioned the Gospel story of the self-righteous prayer of the Pharisee and the humble prayer of the tax collector, his question—"How can those on the other side be so convinced of their righteousness?"—came as a rebuke not just to the religious right but, unintentionally, to the assembled religious left.
On Monday, I went to McFadden's house to talk about the rally with him. He agreed that parts of the rally may have come across as self-righteous, but added, "What was said yesterday had to be said. My organization shouldn't have to exist." They started it, he said. "They drug my religion into it, my faith. We didn't ask for this." For example, the Bush campaign shows pictures of the president meeting with the pope. "At that meeting, Pope John Paul II scolded him and condemned his war." The pope supports a multilateral approach to fighting terrorism, he continued. "Pope John Paul hasn't said a word in these last two months about abortion. But Pope John Paul has condemned the war twice. … To me, the pope has endorsed the platform that John Kerry is running on with regards to the war on terror."
McFadden, who is anti-abortion, concedes that some of Kerry's positions, such as his support for federal funding for abortion, are "tough," but says Catholics shouldn't be single-issue voters. And rallies like the one here on Sunday make him feel better. "I kind of felt like I was alone at the beginning."
If John Kerry becomes president, the long-simmering divide between conservative and liberal Catholics will probably widen. But whether Kerry becomes president—and whether the Democrats wait four more decades before nominating another Catholic—may depend on just how not-alone McFadden is.
MILWAUKEE—Here's a complaint you won't hear very often: Some Democrats wish John Kerry's campaign was just a tiny bit more like Al Gore's. They may be happy to do without the sighing, the man-tan, the public displays of affection, the ill-fitting populist message, Joe Lieberman, Mark Fabiani, and the weird New Yorker interview. But there's one thing they do miss: Gore's post-convention riverboat trip down the Mississippi River.
Karl Rove has attributed the narrow Democratic victory in Iowa four years ago to the riverboat trip, which allowed Gore to reach rural river counties that Bush couldn't reach by plane (for want of a suitable runway). The congressional newspaper The Hill noted earlier this month that Gore won nine of the 10 Iowa counties along the Mississippi River. That feat is even more impressive in light of Gore's miserable performance nationally in rural areas.
Kerry is doing all he can to appeal to rural voters, particularly in Ohio. In addition to Thursday's hunting trip, he attended Mass on a Saturday afternoon during his bus trip this past weekend, and he accepted a shotgun as a gift during a political rally at the end of that trip. (That was the second time I've seen Kerry receive a gun at a rally. He was also given one during a September rally in West Virginia's coal country. He refrained this time, however, from mourning the fact that he could not use it to shoot the president.) But if Kerry wins Ohio and ends up losing Iowa and Wisconsin (and thereby the presidency), some fingers will immediately point at Kerry's failure to imitate Gore's successful, and nearly decisive, boat ride.
Would President Gore Have Prevented 9/11? In Reason's poll of notables from the "reason universe," Camille Paglia explains that she's voting for John Kerry this time and that she voted for Ralph Nader four years ago because she detests "the arrogant, corrupt superstructure of the Democratic Party." But even though Paglia thought Gore would be such a bad president that she was driven to vote for Nader, she also claims that if he had become president he would have prevented 9/11.
Paglia doesn't put it that way, but the logic is inescapable from her explanation of her "most embarrassing vote": "Bill Clinton the second time around. Because he did not honorably resign when the Lewinsky scandal broke and instead tied up the country and paralyzed the government for two years, leading directly to our blindsiding by 9/11."
Campaign Reporters for Truth: I wasn't one of the members of the traveling press that went on the hunting trip with Kerry. I am, however, a member of the traveling press. And I can tell you that the goose that Kerry shot was a mere gosling, wearing only a loincloth, fleeing the scene, and that Kerry chased it down and shot it in the back.
WATERLOO, Iowa—Since the final presidential debate, John Kerry has traveled around the country delivering a series of speeches that his campaign calls his "closing argument." The topics vary, but the theme is always the same, the "Fresh Start for America": Friday in Milwaukee, a "fresh start" for jobs; Monday in Tampa, a "fresh start" for health care; Tuesday in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., a "fresh start" for fiscal responsibility and Social Security. The speeches are supposed to convince Americans of Kerry's fitness for the presidency, but a side effect has been to demonstrate how inept he is at delivering prepared remarks.
The campaign gives reporters the text of each of Kerry's speeches "as prepared for delivery," apparently to show how much Kerry diverges from them. During his stump speeches and town halls, Kerry makes the occasional Bush-style error, such as the time I saw him tell a blind man in St. Louis that he would "look you in the eye." Tuesday night in Dayton, Ohio, Kerry tried to thank teachers for spending money out of their own pockets on students, but instead it came out as a thank-you to Mary Kay Letourneau as he said, "And they're putting out for our kids." His pronunciation of "idear" grates on my ears far more than Bush's "nucular." But the authentic Kerryism emerges only when he gives a formal address.
Kerry proves incapable of reading simple declarative sentences. He inserts dependent clauses and prepositional phrases until every sentence is a watery mess. Kerry couldn't read a Dick and Jane book to schoolchildren without transforming its sentences into complex run-ons worthy of David Foster Wallace. Kerry's speechwriters routinely insert the line "We can bring back that mighty dream," near the conclusion of his speeches, presumably as an echo of Ted Kennedy's Shrum-penned "the dream will never die" speech from the 1980 Democratic convention. Kerry saps the line of its power. Here's his version from Monday's speech in Tampa: "We can bring back the mighty dream of this country, that's what's at stake in these next two weeks."
Kerry flubs his punch lines, sprinkles in irrelevant anecdotes, and talks himself into holes that he has trouble improvising his way out of. He steps on his applause lines by uttering them prematurely, and then when they roll up on his TelePrompTer later, he's forced to pirouette and throat-clear until he figures out how not to repeat himself. He piles adjective upon adjective until it's like listening to a speech delivered by Roget.
Kerry's health-care speech Monday in Tampa was a classic of the form. The written text contained a little more than 2,500 words. By the time he was finished, Kerry had spoken nearly 5,300 words—not including his introductory remarks and thank-yous to local politicians—more than doubling the verbiage. Pity his speechwriters when you read the highlights below. It's not their fault.
Kerry's Script: Most of all, I will always level with the American people.
Actual Kerry: Most of all, my fellow Americans, I pledge to you that I will always level with the American people, because it's only by leveling and telling the truth that you build the legitimacy and gain the consent of the people who ultimately we are accountable to. I will level with the American people.
Kerry's Script: I will work with Republicans and Democrats on this health care plan, and we will pass it.
Actual Kerry: I will work with Republicans and Democrats across the aisle, openly, not with an ideological, driven, fixed, rigid concept, but much like Franklin Roosevelt said, I don't care whether a good idea is a Republican idea or a Democrat idea. I just care whether or not it's gonna work for Americans and help make our country stronger. And we will pass this bill. I'll tell you a little bit about it in a minute, and I'll tell you why we'll pass it, because it's different from anything we've ever done before, despite what the Republicans want to try to tell you.
Kerry's Script: These worries are real, and they're happening all across America.
Actual Kerry: These worries are real. They're not made up. These stories aren't something that's part of a Democrat plan or a Republican plan. These are American stories. These are the stories of American citizens. And it's not just individual citizens who are feeling the pressure of health care costs. It's businesses across America. It's CEOs all across America. This is an American problem.
Kerry's Script: That's wrong, and we have to change it.
Actual Kerry: Well, that's wrong, my friends. We shouldn't be just hoping and praying. We need leadership that acts and responds and leads and makes things happen.
Kerry's Script: That's wrong, and we have to change it.
Actual Kerry: Well, that's wrong. We had a chance to change it in the Congress of the United States. They chose otherwise. And I'll talk about that in a minute.
Kerry's Script: It's wrong to make it illegal for Medicare to negotiate with the drug companies for lower prices.
Actual Kerry: But not satisfied to hold onto the drug company's profit there, they went further. Medicare belongs to you. Medicare is paid by the taxpayer. Medicare is a taxpayer-funded program to keep seniors out of poverty. And we want to lower the cost to seniors, right? It's common sense. But when given the opportunity to do that, this president made it illegal for Medicare to do what the VA does, which is go out and bulk purchase drugs so we could lower the taxpayers' bill and lower the cost to seniors. It is wrong to make it illegal to lower the cost of tax and lower the cost to seniors.
Kerry's Script: And if there was any doubt before, his response to the shortage of flu vaccines put it to rest.
Actual Kerry: Now, if you had any doubts at all about anything that I've just said to you, anybody who's listening can go to johnkerry.com or you can go to other independent sources and you can track down the truth of what I've just said. But if you had any doubts about it at all, his response to the shortage of the flu vaccine ought to put them all to rest.
Kerry's Script: I believe we need a fresh start on health care in America. I believe we need a President who will fight for the great middle class and those struggling to join it. And with your help, I will be that kind of President.
Actual Kerry: I believe so deeply—and as I go around, Bob and Bill and I were talking about this coming over here from other places—that the hope that we're seeing in the eyes of our fellow Americans, folks like you who have come here today who know what's at stake in this race. This isn't about Democrat and Republican or ideology. This is about solving problems, real problems that make our country strong and help build community and take care of other human beings. I believe we need a fresh start on health care in America. I believe we need a President who's going to fight for the great middle class and those who really are struggling, even below minimum wage now. And they won't even raise it. With your help, ladies and gentlemen, I intend to be that kind of President who stands up and fights for the people who need the help.
Kerry's Script: Families will be able to choose from dozens of different private insurance plans.
Actual Kerry: Now George Bush is trying to scare America. And he's running around telling everybody—I saw this ad the other night. I said, "What is that about? That's not my plan. That may be some 20 years ago they pulled out of the old thing." But here's what they do, they are trying to tell you that there is some big government deal. Ladies and gentlemen, we choose. I happen to choose Blue Cross/Blue Shield. I could choose Kaiser. I could choose Pilgrim. I could choose Phelan. I could choose any number of different choices. That's what we get. And we look through all the different choices and make our choice. You ought to have that same choice. The government doesn't tell what you to do. The government doesn't run it. It gives you the choice.
Kerry's Script: Ladies and Gentlemen, here's the Bush Health Care Plan: Don't get a flu shot, don't import less-expensive drugs, don't negotiate for lower prices, and most of all, don't get sick.
Actual Kerry: So, Ladies and Gentlemen, if you had doubts about it at all, here's the Bush Health Care Plan: Don't get a flu shot, don't import less-expensive drugs from Canada, don't negotiate for lower prices on prescription drugs. And don't get sick. Just pray, stand up and hope, wait—whatever. We are all left wondering and hoping. That's it.
TEMPE, Ariz.—"The president is an alien. There's your quote of the day," Ken Mehlman said before the final presidential debate to reporters who were peppering him with questions about the rectangular shape underneath the president's jacket during the first debate. "He's been getting information from Mars," said Bush's campaign manager, and at the debate, "his alien past will be exposed."
Well, at least it wasn't that bad. Indisputably, this was the president's best debate. Just as it took Al Gore three debates to settle on the right tone during the 2000 campaign, President Bush figured out in his third face-off with John Kerry how to be neither too hot nor too cold. But Kerry was as good as he can be, too, and more important, what good the president did with his performance will be overshadowed Thursday when the TV networks spend the entire day running video clips of him saying of Osama Bin Laden on March 13, 2002, "I truly am not that concerned about him."
By denying that he had ever minimized the threat posed by Bin Laden, Bush handed Kerry, during the very first question, the victory in the post-debate spin. The Kerry campaign's critique of the president is that he doesn't tell the truth, that he won't admit mistakes, and that he refuses to acknowledge reality. Bush's answer played into all three claims. Within minutes, the Kerry-Edwards campaign e-mailed reporters the first of its "Bush vs. Reality" e-mails, complete with a link to the official White House transcript. A half-hour later, the Democratic National Committee circulated the video.
If the president had ignored Kerry's charge, everyone would have forgotten about it. By contesting it, Bush handed Kerry two gifts: As delighted as the Kerry people must be by yet another untruthful statement from the president, the substance of this particular statement is even more important. Dick Cheney's false declaration that he had never met John Edwards didn't help the Bush campaign, but this error will be orders of magnitude more damaging. Video of the vice president standing next to Edwards at a prayer breakfast is embarrassing. Video of the president saying he isn't concerned about the mastermind behind the Sept. 11 attacks is devastating.
The president's blunder also provided at least a glimpse of the foreign-policy debate I hoped to see. Here's a more complete version of the president's 2002 comment: "I truly am not that concerned about him. I know he is on the run. I was concerned about him, when he had taken over a country. I was concerned about the fact that he was basically running Afghanistan and calling the shots for the Taliban." The president's philosophy toward the war on terror could not be clearer: It is a war against nation-states, not against "nonstate actors" like al-Qaida. Bin Laden was dangerous because he controlled a state, not because he controls a terrorist network. When the Bush campaign talks about "going on the offense," this is what they mean. Kerry, after all, talks about hunting down the terrorists where they live. To Bush, that's not good enough. The subtext of the initial exchange between Bush and Kerry was more illuminating than the entire first debate.
The Bush counteroffensive to the president's mistake was to try to find a Kerry misstatement to fill in the "on the other hand" section in fact-checking news stories. During the debate, Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt sent out an "Urgent Alert" to reporters that read, complete with weird capitalization: "John Kerry's statement that he passed 56 bills during his 20 years in the senate is a complete and utter falsehood. Kerry passed five bills and Four resolutions." In Spin Alley after the debate was over, Bush campaign communications director Nicolle Devenish called Kerry's comment about the number of bills he authored his "Al Gore moment." But when Schmidt asserts that Kerry passed only five bills and four resolutions, he means bills that passed both houses of Congress and were signed into law. The Bush campaign's own "Breaking Debate Fact" e-mailed during the debate says that Kerry was the lead sponsor of 31 bills, 122 amendments, and 28 resolutions that passed the Senate.
Kerry did make some misstatements of his own, of course. He repeatedly said his health-care plan covers all Americans, which isn't true, and his assertion that the Bush campaign hasn't met with the Congressional Black Caucus isn't true, either. After the debate, Joe Lockhart admitted that Bush had a "ceremonial" meeting with the black caucus. But Kerry's minor inaccuracies will be overshadowed by the video of Bush saying, "I truly am not that concerned about him."
The most telling pre-debate quote came from Tony Fabrizio, a Republican pollster who told the New York Times that the first debate "was a chance for the president to lay [Kerry] out and just lock it. In the past two weeks, that's been turned on its head." That was my sense going into this debate: The situation was precisely the reverse of where the campaign stood before the first debate. Another decisive win for Kerry could have ended the race, as the campaign dominoes would have begun to fall his way. That didn't happen, and the debate was much closer than Kerry would have liked.
But as with previous debates, Kerry won the post-debate instant polls. After the last two, Kerry's margin of victory grew substantially beyond the margins in the snap polls. Bush's Bin Laden goof will give Kerry his best opportunity to score a post-debate knockout.
ORLANDO—Sen. John Kerry, you just walloped President Bush in the first 2004 debate. What are you going to do now? Go to Disney World, apparently: The Kerry campaign and his traveling press spent Friday night at the Swan & Dolphin Hotel at Walt Disney World, possibly the only place more unreal than the presidential campaign bubble. There couldn't be a more appropriate place for Kerry to stay the night after the debate, because right now, Democrats think they're in the happiest place on earth.
As the press bus arrived at the Fort Lauderdale airport Friday morning, a reporter jokingly pronounced a crowd of Kerry supporters to be "30 percent more excited" than they would have been before Thursday's debate. But he underestimated the enthusiasm among Democrats for Kerry's performance. In 90 minutes, Kerry erased the nagging complaints within his party about the effectiveness of his campaign, and he crushed any incipient Dean nostalgia.
On the stump, Kerry has discovered a new applause line, simply uttering the word "debate." At the University of South Florida in Tampa on Friday, Kerry walked out to the loudest and longest ovation I've seen in more than a year on the campaign. Kerry's still a 40-minute rambler at his campaign events—he should consider traveling with a podium equipped with green, yellow, and red lights that tell him when to stop—but he didn't have to do anything more than ask the crowd, "So, did you watch that debate last night?" to get the rumbling foot-stomping and cheering started again. In Orlando later that night, Kerry uses his new line—"Did you watch that little debate last night?"—as his opener, and again its gets the crowd roaring.
Kerry has even taken to ridiculing the president for his underwhelming showing. On Friday night, he mockingly impersonated Bush as a stammering Porky Pig. (Not Elmer Fudd, as the New York Timesclaims. Get your cartoon references right, Gray Lady!) The next day, Kerry was at it again, poking fun of Bush's repetition of the phrase "hard work" at the debate: "He confuses staying in place, just kind of saying, 'It's tough, it's hard work, you gotta make a decision,' "—laughter—"he considers that, and confuses that, with leadership."
Those Democrats who aren't already buoyed by the debate will take heart in Saturday's Newsweek poll, which shows the race in a statistical tie: Kerry at 47 percent and Bush at 45 percent, with a 4-point margin of error. Kerry adviser Joel Johnson dismissed the poll's significance during a conference call with reporters, saying, "It's probably a poll that we took issue with in the past," such as when Newsweek showed the president leading by 11 points coming out of the Republican convention.
In the wake of all these good signs for Kerry, the Bush campaign is busy trying to Gore him, to kill the Democratic buzz by turning Kerry's debate victory into a defeat. A White House pool report Saturday from the Baltimore Sun's David Greene reported that Bush communications director Nicolle Devenish said, "Nobody is going to look back on November 3 and remember that first debate for anything other than a night when Kerry made four serious strategic mistakes." Here's how Greene summarized the mistakes: "1) Kerry spoke of a 'global test.' 2) Kerry called the war in Iraq a mistake then later said Americans were not dying for a mistake. 3) Kerry spoke of the troops deserving better after saying in an interview before the debate that his vote on funding was made in protest. 4) Kerry offered what Nicolle called a 'new insult' for allies when he said the coalition is not 'genuine.' "
Thursday night after the debate, the Bush surrogates emphasized Devenish's second point, to reinforce its caricature of the Democratic nominee as a habitual flip-flopper. By Friday and Saturday, however, the Bush campaign had seized upon Kerry's mention—a virtual aside—of a "global test" for pre-emptive war as their chance to reverse the perception that Kerry won the debate. (Based on Devenish's comments, they've also dropped their initial nobody-won spin in which they sounded like Kevin Kline in A Fish Called Wanda: "We didn't lose Vietnam! It was a tie!")
On Friday afternoon, the Bush campaign e-mailed excerpts of remarks the president made in Allentown, Pa., including this quote: "Senator Kerry last night said that America has to pass some sort of global test before we can use American troops to defend ourselves. He wants our national security decisions subject to the approval of a foreign government. Listen, I'll continue to work with our allies and the international community, but I will never submit America's national security to an international test. The use of troops to defend America must never be subject to a veto by countries like France." Scott McClellan piled on, as distilled by another White House pool report, saying that Kerry's comment "showed a fundamental misunderstanding of the war on terrorism," and that the remark "shows something that is very disturbing."
By Saturday, Bush himself had taken to calling the "global test" the "Kerry doctrine," which would "give foreign governments veto power over our own national security decisions." In the afternoon, the Kerry campaign dispatched Richard Holbrooke to rebut "Bush's misleading rhetoric on the stump" in a conference call. Nearly every question was about what Kerry meant during the debate by "global test," and about the Bush's campaign's rhetoric of a "global permission slip" and the "Kerry doctrine." Holbrooke read Kerry's debate statement in full: "No president, through all of American history, has ever ceded, and nor would I, the right to preempt in any way necessary to protect the United States of America. But if and when you do it, Jim, you have to do it in a way that passes the test, that passes the global test where your countrymen, your people understand fully why you're doing what you're doing and you can prove to the world that you did it for legitimate reasons."
Holbrooke said the "Bush attack" was "another flagrant misrepresentation by the administration of what Sen. Kerry said," and added, "Who in their right mind would not wish to be sure that the use of force preemptively, or for that matter, any use of force, gets support and understanding from the rest of the world and from the American people and is fully justified?" He called it "longstanding American doctrine" and "a standard position, all presidents have taken it since at least 1945." Sounding irritated about the repeated mentions of the "Kerry doctrine" by reporters, Holbrooke said, "Don't call it a Kerry doctrine. That would suggest that John Kerry has enunciated something new, and he didn't."
An hour later, at 2:30 p.m., Kerry adviser Joel Johnson and Democratic National Committee adviser Howard Wolfson held a conference call to "discuss the results" of the presidential debate. The first question, from a Knight Ridder reporter, was about "this alleged Kerry doctrine." Would the campaign make any "paid media response"? No, Johnson said, we're going to focus on the economy in our TV ads, as planned. "We don't feel like this one is one we're going to have to respond in any way" in paid media.
The Republicans are "trying to take away the medal from the Olympic gymnast after the contest is over," Wolfson said. ABC's Dan Harris asked, "Aren't you opening yourself up to the charge that you've failed to learn the lessons of August?" referring to the Swift Boat ads and the Kerry campaign's belated response. "We're focusing on the failed economy," Johnson said. But you should know, "He'll never give a veto to any other country, period." Harris replied, "But boy, it really sounds like you're letting that charge hang out there." Johnson: "Well, we'll take that under advisement."
Shortly after that conference call ended, the Bush campaign e-mailed its script for a new TV ad, called—surprise—"Global Test." The ad says in part, "The Kerry doctrine: A global test. So we must seek permission from foreign governments before protecting America? A global test? So America will be forced to wait while threats gather? President Bush believes decisions about protecting America should be made in the Oval Office, not foreign capitals." Within a couple of hours, the Kerry campaign had changed its mind about whether to release its own ad. Their script begins, "George Bush lost the debate. Now he's lying about it." The Kerry ad also tries to change the subject, to a New York Timesstory that comes out Sunday. That day's conference call is billed as, "What President Bush Really Knew About Iraq's WMD Programs Before the War."
During his conference call, Joel Johnson complained, "The Bush campaign is trying to concoct arguments that the president couldn't make the other night in the debate." That's exactly right. The mystery is why Johnson didn't think his campaign would have to do the same for Kerry.
MIAMI—Can we change horses in midstream? Democrats wanted Republicans and independent voters to be asking themselves that question at this stage in the presidential campaign, but with little more than a month to go before Election Day, some Democrats are asking it of themselves. It's the seven-month itch: The long general-election campaign has led the voters who settled down with Mr. Stability to wonder what would have happened if they had pursued their crushes on riskier but more exciting candidates. What if dreamy John Edwards were the nominee instead of John Kerry? Would he be better able to explain his votes for war and against the $87 billion to fund the war? Would his campaign have been leaner and more effective than Kerry's multitudes? Or what about Democrats' first love, Howard Dean? Remember him? Would his straightforward opposition to the war in Iraq look more prescient now than it did during the Iowa caucuses, which were held shortly after Saddam Hussein was captured?
The most surprising Democrat to engage in this daydreaming is one who never dated Dean in the first place: Peter Beinart, editor of the New Republic. Writing in Time, Beinart says, "[T]here's reason to believe [Democratic primary voters] guessed wrong—that Dean would be doing better against Bush than Kerry is." Deaniacs can be forgiven for being a little bit piqued at the timing of Beinart's conversion. After all, most Dean supporters thought Beinart's magazine did its best to torpedo the Dean candidacy for much of 2003, including an online "Diary of a Dean-o-Phobe." But TNR also ran glowing profiles of Dean and his campaign manager, Joe Trippi, and it never married Kerry, either. Although the magazine ultimately endorsed Joe Lieberman, its endorsement issue contained an article praising every other major Democratic contender—Dean, Edwards, Dick Gephardt—except John Kerry. So, it's understandable why Beinart would be one of the first to fantasize about divorce.
Beinart argues that Dean's clarity on the war, his straight-talking authenticity, and his lack of a Senate voting record would have forced President Bush to focus on the issue of Iraq, rather than the character of John Kerry. Not everyone who worked for Howard Dean during the primaries agrees that the Vermont governor would have been a stronger nominee—in fact, some say just the opposite or even burst into laughter at the notion—but one senior Dean adviser that I talked to Wednesday agrees strongly. "If Howard Dean were the nominee right now, nobody would be wondering where he stands on Iraq, nobody would be accusing us of not fighting back, and we wouldn't be fighting to hold on to our base," said the adviser, who asked that his name not be used. Kerry's "thoughtful and nuanced positions" might be an admirable quality in a president, but they're difficult to defend during a campaign.
A Dean general-election campaign would have contrasted Dean's record with Bush's in three ways: Dean being against the war versus Bush being for it; Dean's record of balancing the Vermont budget while providing health care versus Bush's largest deficits in history with no health care; and a new wrinkle that was only hinted at during the primaries, Dean's mysterious, infrequently mentioned "tax reform" vs. Bush's irresponsible tax cuts. Yes, Dean would have repealed the entire Bush tax cut, the senior adviser said, but he would have proposed replacing it with some Dean tax cuts, including the elimination of payroll taxes on the first $20,000 of income. The message: Bush cuts taxes from the top down, but Dean cuts them from the bottom up. Why didn't Dean introduce this during the primaries, when his tax-hiking ways made some Democrats think he would be an electoral disaster, the second coming of Walter Mondale, in the fall? He wanted to wait until after the Feb. 3 primaries because "he didn't want people to think he was pandering," the adviser said.
The Dean adviser did go out of his way to insist that he was not criticizing the Kerry campaign. The Republicans "might have destroyed Howard Dean," too, he said, but "I just think Howard would have matched up differently and better." The Dean adviser praised Kerry's maligned convention, which made voters believe that Kerry was a viable commander in chief who was as good as Bush or better on the issues of terrorism and homeland security. "They were in perfect position after the convention to win this thing," he said, quickly adding that he's not saying they've lost it. But then he added, "They basically are hoping that Bush shits the bed in the debates."
Of course, it's pretty obvious that the Republicans would have run a different campaign against Howard Dean than they did against John Kerry. But that doesn't mean it would have been any less effective. And if Dean couldn't beat Kerry, what exactly would have made him so formidable against President Bush? Would Dean's support for civil unions in Vermont have made gay marriage a much bigger issue in the fall? Was there something in his past that we didn't learn about? Would the aggressive campaign he would have waged in the spring and summer—leaping instantly on every bit of bad news from Iraq, from Abu Ghraib to Fallujah—have backfired? Would Dean have been able to build a campaign that brought together his divided Vermont and D.C. factions? It's impossible to know, though divining that impossibility is exactly what Democratic primary voters charged themselves with this time around.
Falling in love with Dean all over again ignores what made Democrats fall out of love with him in the first place. An incomplete list: his infuriating stubbornness and refusal to admit mistakes; his lousy white-background TV ad in Iowa; and his shift from a straight-talking, budget-balancing, health-care-providing Vermont governor to the shrieking leader of a cult movement. In Iowa, Dean's poor showing was exacerbated by the fact that he was the second choice of no one. He and Kerry found out that in American democracy, it's better to have a large number of people barely tolerate you than to have a smaller number like you a lot. By the weekend, it will be clear whether Kerry managed to rally a nose-holding majority to his side at Thursday's debate. If not, expect to hear a lot more conversations like this over the next 33 days.
TORONTO—At its simplest, George Butler's pro-Kerry documentary Going Upriver is a powerful rebuttal of the errors—factual and moral—made by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. But the movie also tries, with limited success, to do something more ambitious: to argue implicitly that the current war in Iraq is directly analogous to the war in Vietnam, and that John Kerry's actions of 30-odd years ago really are the most important issue facing Americans in this election. Kerry was right then, the movie implies, which makes him right now.
"You can't understand John unless you understand what Vietnam is to him," a voice—I think it's Max Cleland—declares during Going Upriver's opening moments. The answer to that mystery isn't entirely clear by the end of the film, but it's obvious what Vietnam symbolizes to George Butler: Iraq. Neil Sheehan, an author and historian (and former Vietnam correspondent) who gets a lot of screen time in the movie, is one of the first to make the implicit comparison between the mistakes of Vietnam and the mistakes in Iraq. "Everyone believed in the war at first," he says. Next, we see LBJ making the moral and humanitarian case for war, to "help the little nations" against the tyranny of larger aggressors. Butler doesn't connect the dots for the audience, but it's impossible to miss his drift.
In another scene, we see video of a dead Vietnamese man while listening to Kerry's words about how the orders he is following are supposedly for the benefit of dead men like this one. Sheehan, the historian, makes the obvious parallel: "They were coming as liberators," but the Vietnamese resisted, no matter the cost, no matter how long it took. A veteran debating John O'Neill on the Dick Cavett Show says that opposing your government isn't the same as opposing your country, and that the war in Vietnam has nothing to do with democracy or freedom. "We're destroying ourselves as a nation," he says, instead of being the country that others want to emulate. Sound familiar?
After Sheehan's "liberators" comment, the moment in the film with the most contemporary resonance is at the Winter Soldier hearings, when a soldier displays a photo of himself, grinning ear to ear, over a dead body. Other soldiers tell how they weren't given instructions in the Geneva Conventions or taught how to treat prisoners of war. One soldier says he was told to count POWs only after unloading them from a boat, never when boarding them, in case one or two didn't make it.
There are reminders, at times, of how different the two wars are: The casualties in Vietnam were much higher, 1,500 dead and 8,000 wounded in the Tet Offensive alone. And Max Cleland says he felt betrayed by the occupant in the Oval Office, something I doubt many troops feel today (though active-duty military support for Bush isn't as high as it has been in recent years for Republicans). "Here we are, mid-assault, and the commander-in-chief turns his back on us," Cleland says of LBJ's decision not to run for re-election.
But the film repeatedly emphasizes the youthful Kerry's statements about his lifetime opposition to war. We hear his letter to Julia Thorne after the death of his friend Dick Pershing, in which Kerry writes that if "I do nothing else in life," he will work to convince people that war (this war, or all war?) is a "wasteful expenditure." During the Vietnam Veterans Against the War march on Washington, Kerry declares that his protest is "not the struggle of one day" but of a lifetime, and that admitting a mistaken policy doesn't mean that America is a "craven, hollow place."
What lessons has Kerry learned, though? When will he explain them to us? It's become a cliché to wonder what happened to the youthful Kerry, to the eloquent young man who risked his political viability to oppose a war out of principle. Just because Kerry opposed Vietnam doesn't mean he has to oppose the war in Iraq, of course, but the largely antiwar crowd at the premiere was stoked by Going Upriver into believing that. During the Q&A after the movie, one man stood and asked, if Kerry he opposed the war in Vietnam out of patriotism and love of country, why doesn't he do the same today? Chris Gregory, a former Army medic and VVAW member who appears in the movie and attended the premiere, objected and said, "It's a little too broad a brush" to say that Vietnam and Iraq are one and the same. "John is very focused on winning this job," Gregory said. "He wants to be right. But he wants to win more than he wants to be right."
TORONTO—We're at the point in the campaign when we're supposed to wring our hands over the decline of politics, mourn the lack of coverage of "the issues," and decry the media's focus on personality and the horse race. But my guess is we're about to get mired in the muck of the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth all over again. Going Upriver: The Long War of John Kerry, a new documentary by George Butler, hits theaters in the United States on Oct. 1. The film, which had its world premiere here Tuesday evening, is sure to land the Swifties in the news again. For one, the movie is based on Tour of Duty, the Douglas Brinkley hagiography that the Swift Boat vets say incited them to action in the first place.
More important, Going Upriver seems designed to rebut, one by one, the three campaign ads put out by the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth: one questioning Kerry's heroism during the war, one criticizing his antiwar testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and one condemning his decision to throw his ribbons over a fence in front of the Capitol during an antiwar demonstration. Butler re-edited his film in response to the Swift Boat ads, and he said after the premiere that the movie wasn't finished until Tuesday morning. On the matter of Kerry's conduct during the war itself, Butler has Kerry's "band of brothers" describe his actions on "Silver Star day," and Jim Rassman tells the story of how Kerry saved his life and won the Bronze Star in the process. In addition, numerous speakers talk about how dangerous commanding a Swift Boat was, and how deadly.
On Kerry's Senate testimony, Butler shows the statements made by veterans at the "Winter Soldier" hearings in Detroit, where veterans confessed to committing atrocities during the war. Some of those claims have been disputed, but the Winter Soldier hearings were the basis for Kerry's statements about atrocities before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Butler shows veterans talking about shooting children and gang raping a woman in public. In the film, Kerry protests that he didn't personally see anyone chop off someone's head, but he believes that the U.S. government's policies in Vietnam—such as burning the homes of noncombatants, or creating "free-fire zones" in which all Vietnamese were deemed to be the enemy—were in violation of the laws of war.
As for Kerry's tossing of his ribbons, Butler spends a long section of the film showing veterans angrily and defiantly hurling their medals toward the Capitol. The sources interviewed for Going Upriver discuss how "painful" the protest was, how it was "terribly difficult," "extremely hard," etc. Perhaps to dismiss the charge that Kerry's protest was somehow phony because he tossed his ribbons instead of his medals, a speaker points out that some veterans threw their medals, others threw their ribbons, and others tossed their citations or even the boxes that their medals came in. Kerry was almost the last man to stand before the microphone during the protest, and according to Tom Oliphant, he "kind of lobbed" his contribution over the fence and walked away.
During this scene, Butler includes a photograph of Kerry shoving his ribbons through the fence that he left out of the film's companion book. The next shot is the one of a crumpled Kerry, being consoled by Julia Thorne. The demonstration was designed to illustrate that "the sacrifices that we went through were for nothing," says Bobby Muller, one of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. "That's the bitter pill, and I think that's the harder pill to take, frankly," than coming back and saying their service was necessary for the continuation of freedom and the American way. Throughout the film, Muller is Kerry's most effective advocate, the man who most persuasively argues that what Kerry did when he returned from the war was not just defensible but morally correct.
Swift Boat Vet obsessives will note that there's nothing about the (unfair) criticism of Kerry's Purple Hearts or the fact that Kerry was likely in Cambodia in January or February instead of the previous Christmas. More important than those details, however, are Butler's other omissions. For example, in Tour of Duty Brinkley quotes some of Kerry's crewmates talking about their initial anger at Kerry when they learned he was leading antiwar demonstrations. Though they later came to understand his decision—and believe that he was right—at first they felt betrayed. Butler, however, shows only David Alston, who says he was glad to see Kerry speak out. On the other hand, Going Upriver is honest about something the Kerry campaign isn't: The film bothers to point out that when Kerry volunteered for Swift boat duty, he wasn't asking for one of the war's most dangerous jobs. At the time, the boats were engaged in coastal patrols, checking the papers of commercial fisherman.
One more Swift Boat-related bit of news from the premiere: During the Q&A with Butler after the film was over, a member of the audience asked him why he didn't include anything about Christmas in Cambodia. Butler explained that it's very difficult to know whether Kerry was in Cambodia, then changed the subject to the lack of credibility of John O'Neill, the co-author of Unfit for Command. (O'Neill appears in Going Upriver when he is dredged up by Richard Nixon and Charles Colson to be a public-relations counterweight to Kerry and the VVAW.) O'Neill, Butler pointed out, denied ever being in Cambodia despite telling Nixon otherwise. But in the course of telling the story, Butler seemed to imply that he, or someone on his crew, leaked the tape of O'Neill's comment to the news media. "We found a Nixon White House tape," Butler began, before stopping himself. "Or, there is in existence a White House tape ..."
ALLENTOWN, PA.—The Washington Post's Mark Leibovich profiled Kerry adviser Bob Shrum in a piece Friday that focused on the so-called "Shrum Curse," the idea that Shrum is the losingest great political strategist of modern times. Leibovich didn't bring up William Jennings Bryan or the Buffalo Bills, but he does compare Shrum to Kerry's favorite baseball team, the Boston Red Sox. Ten speechwriters at the Democratic convention, Leibovich writes, considered wearing "Reverse the Curse" T-shirts emblazoned with a picture of Shrum. The article's headline: "Loss Leader: At 0-7, Adviser Bob Shrum Is Well Acquainted With the Concession Speech."
Ouch. It gets worse. Here are some of the piece's highlights: "Shrum's career-long slump in presidential campaigns, a well-catalogued losing streak that runs from George McGovern to Al Gore. … the ["Reverse the Curse"] slogan endures as a joke among Kerry staffers. … Shrum's 0-7 win-loss record in presidential elections has become ensconced in the psyches of the campaigns he orchestrates. …. Kerry is sputtering … His campaign has been called listless and unfocused, words that were also applied to Shrum's last presidential enterprise, the Gore campaign (a forbidden comparison within Kerry headquarters). … But curses sometimes have prosaic explanations. … critics started to rehash old complaints about Shrum. They say he relies too heavily on populist rhetoric, … that his aggressiveness led to backbiting within the campaign. ... James Carville harpooned Shrum relentlessly to reporters at the Republican convention last week. Clinton himself was critical of the campaign's reluctance to attack Bush—a position Shrum had advocated—in a phone call to Kerry … Shrum's brand of old-style liberalism—steeped in the tradition of his political patron, Ted Kennedy—is anathema to the centrist, New Democrat ethic that got Clinton elected twice. … 'You tend to listen extra hard to Clinton people,' says a mid-level Kerry aide who didn't want to be identified because he's not an official spokesman. 'They've actually won one of these.' "
The one thing Leibovich couldn't nail down was Shrum's role in the Kerry campaign after the elevation of John Sasso and Michael Whouley and the infusion of Clinton operatives like Joe Lockhart. How much power does Shrum have now? Does he still have the candidate's ear? "Shrum is either in Kerry's doghouse, or his influence has been diffused by the high-level additions. Ultimately, though, campaign sources say, Shrum is a survivor" who has "worked strenuously to cultivate Lockhart." Leibovich also writes that Kerry feels loyal to Shrum for helping him to defeat William Weld in 1996.
So, Shrumologists take note: During a rally here on Friday, the same day Leibovich's critical profile appeared, Kerry inserted a Shrumian flourish into his standard stump speech. For a few minutes, Kerry sounded an awful lot like Al Gore during his much-criticized—and Shrum-penned—"people vs. the powerful" acceptance speech at the 2000 Democratic convention. The business-friendly Kerry of Labor Day vanished, replaced by a Wall Street-bashing economic populist.
Kerry spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said Kerry's remarks weren't significant. "It didn't strike me as anything unusual," she said. "It's not a 'people vs. the powerful.' " Judge for yourself: There's a theme that runs through "everything I just talked about," Kerry explained. "Why aren't we importing drugs from Canada? Why did they take that out? Why did we refuse to allow Medicare to be able to negotiate [bulk drug prices] so you would lower your taxes? Why has the tax burden of the average American family gone up while the tax burden of the richest people in America has gone down? Why is it that when we're fighting to have alternative and renewable energy, we wind up with an energy bill that's written for the oil and gas companies? Why is it that when American citizens are losing their health care by the millions, it's the HMOs and the companies that keep getting fed?" Kerry mentions all of these things frequently on the stump, but this time he punctuated his critique with an allusion to the rhetoric of Al Gore's "forbidden" campaign: "I'll tell you why: because this administration exists for the purpose of serving the powerful and the moneyed, and we need to restore … the voices of America, the real Americans who built this country and make it strong. We need to step up and fight."
Was Kerry paying a final tribute to the dear, departed Shrum? Or was Shrum serving notice to the Clinton faction that he won't disappear without a fight? Both? Neither? Was it just a coincidence? What is the sound of one hand clapping? If a Shrum falls in the forest, does it make a sound?
DES MOINES—The most interesting thing to happen with the Kerry campaign Wednesday was an exchange between Stephanie Cutter, a Kerry spokeswoman, and CNN's Candy Crowley. Disgruntled reporters gathered around Cutter after Kerry's anticipated but disappointing speech in Cincinnati that criticized President Bush's handling of the war in Iraq. The speech had two memorable moments, both of which occurred before it really began: the announcement beforehand that Peter Frampton was on hand, and the shouts of a protester—"You said you committed atrocities. You said you burned villages"—who was silenced when the man standing next to him put him in a headlock. After the speech, Kerry spokesman David Wade said the protester was a man named Mike Russell, who Wade said was the Bush-Cheney chairman in Bracken County, Ky., during the 2000 election. "He is now, coincidentally, with the Swift Boat Veterans," Wade added.
Nothing Kerry said in Cincinnati could compensate for the blunder he made the day before when he stood before cameras on the tarmac of the Cincinnati airport and expressed his sorrow for the 1,000th American casualty in Iraq. "More than 1,000 of America's sons and daughters have now given their lives on behalf of their country, on behalf of freedom, in the war on terror," Kerry said. The war on terror? Oops. The mistake was part of the natural reversion to the mean of the Kerry candidacy. After the successful day and a half of campaigning that followed his conversation with President Clinton, the usual Kerry—the New Old Kerry—was back. Kerry took no questions after making his mystifying "war on terror" comment. Crowley called out, "Senator, you've been saying that it's 'wrong war, wrong place, wrong time.' What does that mean about these deaths?" but Kerry, in a typical maneuver, just walked away. It's been more than five weeks since Kerry last took questions at a press conference, or an "avail," as it's called.
So, Crowley asked Cutter if she could explain what Kerry meant. Short answer: No. Long answer: Cutter said Kerry was referring to something Donald Rumsfeld said Tuesday about the increase in terrorists in Iraq after the war. "There were not terrorists in Iraq before we went," Cutter explained (incorrectly), but there are now. Kerry was just "repeating what Rumsfeld said," Cutter continued. So, Crowley asked, Iraq is now part of the war on terror? "No. That's not what I'm saying," Cutter said. "Should he have clarified it, said it differently? Maybe. But the point remains the same. There was no terrorism before we went to war. There is now terrorism there." But Democratic orthodoxy is that the war on terror and the war in Iraq are distinct, Crowley said. Cutter replied, "And he agrees with that." Crowley: "Had he stayed for questions, we could have clarified that."
Kerry should have said, hey, I misspoke, I was trying to express my sympathy for all the Americans who have lost their lives in the broader war on terror, not just the 1,000-plus who have died in the war in Iraq. But instead the campaign has concocted this preposterously complicated explanation, saying yes he meant to say it, but no, he thinks Iraq is not part of the war on terror. What?
The other head-scratcher uttered by Kerry in the past two days came Wednesday in Greensboro, N.C. There, in response to a question from a woman about the health problems caused by mold and indoor air contamination—and her complaint, "There's not one agency in this government that has come forward" to deal with the problem—Kerry endorsed the creation of a new federal department. "What I want to do, what I'm determined to do, and it's in my health-care plan, is refocus America on something that can reduce the cost of health care significantly for all Americans, which is wellness and prevention," Kerry said. So far, so good. But then, "And I intend to have not just a Department of Health and Human Services, but a Department of Wellness." Again, what? Apparently this idea comes from Teresa Heinz Kerry, who told the Boston Herald in January 2003 that she would, in the Herald's words, "be an activist first lady, lobbying for a Department of Wellness that would stress preventive health." Oh, boy. Preventive health is a fine idea, but do we need a new agency—I assume it's not Cabinet-level—to handle it?
Kerry ended his day in Iowa, the state that launched him to the nomination of the Democratic Party. The traveling press headed to the Hotel Fort Des Moines to spend the night. At the hotel, I came across an inauspicious if ultimately meaningless piece of trivia on an information sheet given to hotel guests. Three presidential candidates, according to the hotel, celebrated their victories in the Iowa caucuses at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. Two of them, Walter Mondale in 1984 and Bob Dole in 1996, went on to win the nominations of their parties (the third was George Bush in 1980). In their general-election match-ups, Mondale won one state and the District of Columbia, while Dole won 41 percent of the popular vote. John Kerry? He too celebrated caucus night at the Hotel Fort Des Moines this January, but the hotel hasn't added him to its list yet. Maybe it's afraid of being a three-time loser.
CINCINNATI—John Kerry is so concerned about the plight of American manufacturers that he's taken to doing short advertisements during his campaign events. "Go to a Web site," Kerry exhorted his audience Tuesday in Greensboro, N.C. "It could be johnkerry.com, or go some other place. Go to truth.com, if there is one. And find out what's really happening." So I went to truth.com, and I found out what was happening: "Truth Hardware designs and manufactures a complete line of hinges, locks, operators, and even remote controlled power window systems used on wood, vinyl, metal and fiberglass windows, skylights, and patio doors."
I'm hesitant to criticize Kerry for his extemporizing, because his Kerrymeandering (a word invented by my colleague Will Saletan) makes the repetition of campaigning more endurable. More important, overdisciplined Robopols who never say anything interesting are one of the many reasons to hate politics. And this Kerrymeander was merely amusing, not harmful, though a good rule of 21st-century campaigning should be, don't refer to Web sites that you haven't visited. Kerry even had the good fortune to refer to the Web site of a company that manufactures its products in Owatonna, Minn.—a swing state!
But Monday's impromptu comments were more damaging. In addition to making a joke in West Virginia about taking a shotgun with him to the presidential debates, Kerry decided it would be a good idea in Pennsylvania to talk about how he has difficulty deciding what to eat at restaurants. "You know when they give you the menu, I'm always struggling, what do you want?" he said. A cook at a local restaurant, though, solves Kerry's dilemma by serving "whatever he's cooked up that day. I think that's the way it ought to work for confused people like me who can't make up our minds what we're going to eat." Kerry has yet to mourn the fact that fewer and fewer gynecologists are able to "practice their love" with American women, but his handlers have so much confidence in him that on Tuesday they banned the national press pool from observing his satellite interviews with local TV stations.
Still, even Kerry wasn't as off-message as one of the local politicians who introduced him at the Greensboro town hall. Sure, Republicans say Kerry is a flip-flopper, the politician said, but so-called "flip-flopping" is a sign of skepticism, of being open to learning new things. "We call it thinking," he said to huge applause from the crowd. The guy must not have gotten the memo: Kerry no longer wants to be the thoughtful candidate of nuance. Like President Bush, he's discovered the virtues of moral clarity.
Bush describes the world in terms of black and white, good vs. evil. Kerry now describes the world in terms of right vs. wrong. "As the president likes to say, there's nothing complicated about this," Kerry says every time he begins his new "W. stands for wrong" speech. Kerry no longer brags about being complicated, as he did in his acceptance speech at the Democratic convention. He's now as simple as Bush. As Kerry said in Greensboro, "John Edwards and I believe, deep to the core of our being, that there's an easy distinction between what's right and what's wrong."
You won't be shocked to learn which side of the line Kerry thinks Bush falls on. Bush on the war: wrong. Bush on government spending: wrong. Bush on Medicare: wrong. Bush on Social Security: wrong. Bush on outsourcing: wrong. Bush on the environment: wrong. (Kerry also referred to mankind's "spiritual, God-given responsibilities" to be stewards of the Earth.) And in Greensboro, Kerry added a new element to his "That's W., wrong choice, wrong direction," refrain. Each time, he concluded with, "And we want to make it right." Kerry did get a little overzealous about his new theme when he referred to the treasury secretary as "John W. Snow—John Snow, excuse me." After some laughter from the audience, Kerry added, "Well, he's wrong, too."
Kerry has also begun to criticize Bush for breaking promises, for not being as unwavering as he pretends to be. In West Virginia on Monday, Kerry said Bush promised in 2000 to spend more money on clean coal technology, but the money never came. In North Carolina on Tuesday, Kerry mentioned the administration's overconfident estimates of war on the cheap: "He promised that this war would cost $1 billion, and that oil from Iraq would pay for it."
The audience liked the new black-and-white, with-us-or-against-us Kerry. He was doing so well that during the question-and-answer session he felt liberated to engage in some more improvisation. A woman stood up and announced, "I'm so excited to see you. I think you're hot." Referring to his 27-year-old daughter, Vanessa, who was in the audience, Kerry said, "My daughter just buried her head. That is not the way she thinks about her father. But at my age, that sounds good." While he was talking, Vanessa Kerry looked down and stuck her fingers in her ears.
CLEVELAND—Everything you need to know about Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential run—and therefore, everything a Democrat needs to know about taking the White House from an incumbent—is supposed to have been scrawled on a wipeboard in Little Rock 12 years ago by James Carville. "It's the economy, stupid," the phrase that has become holy writ, was only one-third of Carville's message. The other two tenets of the Clinton war room were "Change vs. more of the same" and "Don't forget health care." John Kerry has been running on two of those three planks, the economy and health care. But one day after talking with President Clinton on his deathbed—Kerry's, not Clinton's—the candidate has finally embraced the third: change.
Kerry offered a taste of his new message Monday morning at one of his "front porch" campaign stops in Canonsburg, Penn., but he waited until the afternoon in Racine, W.V., to unveil his new stump speech in full. The new message: Go vote for Bush if you want four more years of falling wages, of Social Security surpluses being transferred to wealthy Americans in the form of tax cuts, of underfunded schools and lost jobs. But if you want a new direction, he said, vote for Kerry and Edwards.
It's a simple and obvious message, but Kerry hasn't used it before. There were other new, even more Clintonesque wrinkles, too. Kerry talked about the same issues—jobs, health care, Social Security, education—that he's talked about in the past, but he had a new context for them: how Bush's policies were taking money out of taxpayers' pockets. The deficit, the Medicare prescription drug plan that forbids bulk-price negotiation and the importation of drugs from Canada, and the "$200 billion and counting" Iraq war all "cost you money," Kerry said, by increasing the cost of government. Kerry even pushed his health-care plan as a selfish device to put more money in voters' wallets (rather than an altruistic plan to cover the uninsured), in the form of lower health-insurance premiums ($1,000, he says). He also talked about a Clinton favorite, putting 100,000 new cops on the street during the 1990s, and he said he wanted to cut taxes for corporations by 5 percent to lower the cost of doing business in the United States. Talking about corporate tax cuts on Labor Day—if that's not a New Democrat, I don't know what is.
In West Virginia and later Cleveland, Kerry framed most of the new message around a mantra: "W stands for wrong. Wrong choices, wrong judgment, wrong priorities, wrong direction for our country." If you like those wrong choices, the lost jobs, "raiding Social Security," rising health-care costs, and "a go-it-alone foreign policy that abandons America," then vote for George W. Bush, Kerry said. If not, vote for me. The cost of the Iraq war is coming out of your pocket, he said, and it's taking away from money that could be used for homeland security. "That's W.; that's wrong," he said. With each issue Kerry raised—from Iraq to rising Medicare premiums to Social Security to jobs—he concluded his criticism of the president's policy by repeating, "That's W.; that's wrong."
It's not a perfect speech, nor is it delivered all that well. Kerry will never win an oratory contest with Bush, and he is fond of bizarre extemporizing. For example, he said, after being given a shotgun by a union leader to emphasize his support for hunting, "I'm thankful for the gift, but I can't take it to the debate with me." Still, even with Kerry's shaggy delivery, the speech—and more important, the message, if he sticks with it—should be good enough to get his campaign out of its latest sinkhole.
Sometimes, Kerry even improvises well. During the event in Canonsburg, Kerry was heckled by a small but noisy group of Bush supporters. But he managed to pull something out of Clinton's bag of tricks. When Kerry began talking about how the average family's tax burden has risen during the past four years, a man shouted, "Yeah, you're average, Kerry!" In response, Kerry adopted the tactic that Clinton used at the Democratic Convention in Boston: He embraced his affluence. "Just to answer that guy, 'cause he's right," Kerry said. "I'm privileged," just like President Bush. As a result, "My tax burden went down," Kerry said. "And I don't think that's right. I think your tax burden ought to go down."
Before today, Kerry's public image was starting to resemble that of a different Democratic candidate of recent vintage: the Republican caricature of Al Gore, a self-promoting braggart with a weakness for resume-inflating exaggerations. When Kerry was so angered by a Washington Post headline last week that he decided to speak directly after Bush's acceptance speech at the Republican Convention, he appeared to be imitating Gore's unfortunate tendency to let his campaign strategy be driven by the whims of the political media. Some Democrats feared that, by shaking up his campaign over the weekend and bringing in John Sasso and Michael Whouley, Kerry was overreacting in Gore-like fashion to some bad August press. On Monday, anyway, those fears seem overstated. The revamped Kerry campaign looks more like the Democrat who beat a president named Bush than the Democrat who lost to one.
NEW YORK—If it's true that the better speech-giver wins in presidential elections, then it's going to be Bush in a landslide. In his speech accepting the Republican nomination for the presidency—particularly the powerful final third—the president provided the eloquence that the times demand. It's too bad he doesn't have the presidency to match his (or Michael Gerson's) rhetoric.
The inspiration the president provided, however, was overshadowed by the disturbing nostalgia for Sept. 11 that preceded it. The phenomenon of "faster nostalgia" keeps accelerating, and the decades we reminisce about grow closer and closer to the present with each passing year. But the two political conventions this August must be the first recorded instances of nostalgia for the 21st century.
During the Democratic convention, too many speakers looked back to 9/11 with fondness. They didn't recall the months after the worst foreign attack in American history as a sad and tragic time. Instead, they appeared to remember those days as a warm-and-fuzzy time of national unity, now lost because of Republican partisanship. But the GOP's wistful look back at the tragedy as a marvelous occasion that somehow justifies the re-election of President Bush was even more stomach-turning. The convention's final night had the air of a VH-1 special: I Love Sept. 11.
Before President Bush came out to speak, the convention's image-masters aired a hagiographic video, a 9/11 retrospective that was Field of Dreams as told by the narrator of The Big Lebowski, with a dash of the David McCullough sections of Seabiscuit. (Like The Dude's rug in Lebowski, 9/11 really tied Bush's presidency together.) The reason to re-elect Bush, actual narrator Fred Thompson implied, is not the foreign-policy actions he took after being saddled with a historic tragedy. No, Bush merits re-election because of his performance as an Oprah-like healer in chief. He placed a deceased New York cop's badge in his pocket. He jogged with a wounded soldier. And most of all, he went to a baseball game.
"What do a bullhorn and a baseball have in common?" Thompson asked, and soon we were told: The defining moment of the Bush presidency came not only on Sept. 14, as previously thought, when Bush stood at Ground Zero and proclaimed that the terrorists who struck New York and Washington would "hear from us." It also came a month later, when Bush marched to the mound of Yankee Stadium and boldly, decisively, resolutely tossed out the first pitch of the World Series. "What he did that night, that man in the arena, he helped us come back.That's the story of this presidency," Thompson said, as I wondered how many takes it took Thompson to do this without giggling. You keep pitching, no matter what, Thompson said. You go to the game, no matter what. "You throw, and you become who you are." The delegates went nuts. Remember that time Osama chased Bush's slider in the dirt?
The absurd film was actually Bush's second introduction. The first had come five minutes earlier, when New York Gov. George Pataki finished his speech, a repugnant politicization of Sept. 11. At first, like the video, Pataki's use of 9/11 was just laughable, such as when he took a moment to thank the good people of the swing states Oregon, Iowa, and Pennsylvania for their generosity in New York's hour of need. The despicable moment came later, when he blamed the Clinton administration for the terrorist attacks.
After 9/11, "The president took strong action to protect our country," Pataki said. "That sounds like something any president would do. How I wish that were so." Instead, Bill Clinton shamefully ignored the attacks on the World Trade Center, the embassies, and the U.S.S. Cole. "How I wish the administration at that time, in those years, had done something," Pataki said. "How I wish they had moved to protect us. But they didn't do it."
But, wait—didn't President Clinton strike at Osama Bin Laden's training camps in 1998? And didn't Republicans criticize him for doing it? I think it's misguided and pointless to discuss whether 9/11 was preventable, and it's a waste of time to ponder who is more blameworthy, Bush or Clinton. But since Pataki brought it up, isn't the fact that President Bush presided over the most catastrophic attack on the U.S. mainland in American history a strike against him, not a point in his favor? If it was so obvious that the nation needed to attack al-Qaida more forcefully in the 1990s, why did President Bush take nine months to pay attention to the threat? And didn't the Clinton administration disrupt the planned millennium bombing of Los Angeles International Airport? Wasn't that a move to protect us? Nothing Zell Miller said Wednesday was as loathsome as Pataki's speech.
There was an honest case to be made for war with Iraq: Saddam Hussein did not possess nuclear weapons, but he was pursuing them and needed to be toppled before he acquired them. President Bush never made that case, preferring instead to exaggerate the nature and immediacy of the threat and to link al-Qaida with Iraq in the public mind. This convention continued that disgraceful record, muddying the distinction between 9/11 and Iraq, conflating the war of necessity the nation faced after the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon with the war of choice in Iraq, and repeatedly telling the lie that John Kerry wants to wait until the nation is struck again before crushing al-Qaida.
The president's defenders say he invaded Iraq with good intentions, and I believe them. But if President Bush didn't mislead us into war, he's misleading us during one, and he deserves to be defeated for it.
NEW YORK—One of the most striking things about watching the Republican National Convention from inside Madison Square Garden has been the lack of enthusiasm among the delegates on the floor. When they formally, and unanimously, nominated George W. Bush as their party's presidential nominee Wednesday at the conclusion of the roll call of the states, the delegates failed to muster much applause for their action. "We can do better than that," complained Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael Steele from the podium. "Come on now, bring it on for the president." The delegates dutifully applauded some more, but they still weren't very loud, and Steele still seemed disappointed.
But by the end of Wednesday night, the delegates were fired up. What got them going? Speeches by Zell Miller and Dick Cheney arguing that John Kerry can't be trusted on matters of national security, that he's weak, indecisive, and open to influence from foreign leaders. "Kerry would let Paris decide when America needs defending," Miller scoffed, and the delegates booed. During Cheney's speech, delegates joyously mocked Kerry by chanting "flip flop, flip flop," and they booed the idea that Kerry even aspired to be the country's commander in chief. The knock on Democrats this year is supposed to be that they hate the other guy more than they love their own. Based on this convention, it sure looks like the same is true of Republicans.
Tonight confirmed what I suspected before the Democratic convention began: In violation of the normal rules of politics, this year's election is a referendum on the challenger rather than a referendum on the incumbent. There's a general sense that a change in presidents would be a good thing, but the country is taking that decision more seriously than it would in peacetime, and voters aren't certain, despite their disapproval of President Bush, that a President Kerry would be an improvement.
That's why this was the night the Republicans did their convention right. During the first two days of this convention, the prime-time speakers gave eloquent speeches, but they didn't hammer Kerry enough, with the exception of Rudy Giuliani's effective pummeling of Kerry's reputation for inconsistency. Tonight, Miller and Cheney more than made up for the oversight. My guess is that Republicans won't be able to convince voters that Bush has been a wonderful president, but they just might be able to convince voters that Kerry would be a terrible one.
There is the question, though, of whether anything that happens at this convention will make much of a difference in the race. As a rule, political conventions are aimed at the great mass of undecided voters who typically determine the outcome of elections, and this convention has been no different. But what's interesting about the Republicans' decision to follow those rules and hold a convention that appeals to swing voters is that Karl Rove has already announced that 2004 is a year that the normal rules don't apply.
This is supposed to be a "base" election, not a "swing" one. Rove believes that there are more votes to be found among the conservatives who didn't turn out to vote in 2000 than among the minuscule pool of undecided voters. In search of those stay-at-home voters, President Bush and Vice President Cheney almost exclusively visit heavily Republican areas in swing states.
Democrats fear that the Bush-Cheney campaign may be able to pull off a national version of what Ralph Reed did for Saxby Chambliss in Georgia two years ago, when Reed turned out droves of new evangelical voters who made the difference against Max Cleland. The race in Missouri provides a good example of what Republicans are trying to do. Earlier this year I spoke to Lloyd Smith, who is advising the Bush-Cheney campaign in the Show-Me State this year. Smith said the Bush-Cheney campaign will win the state by going to precincts that had as few as 500 or 600 voters in them four years ago and finding another 100 voters in each one to vote for the president.
In 2000, those stay-at-home voters didn't like George W. Bush enough (or hate Al Gore enough) to be motivated to get out to the polls and vote. Based on Bush's record, my guess is that they don't like him any more now. Love of Bush won't win the Republicans the presidency. Fear of Kerry might.
NEW YORK—Inside Madison Square Garden, Tuesday's schedule promised another day of moderation, with Laura Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger following Monday's tag-team of John McCain and Rudy Giuliani. But outside the hall, among the protesters, Tuesday is the day marked off for the hard-core left, for the anarchists and communists and the man at Union Square who is calling for American soldiers to rise up in mutiny and frag their commanding officers. Except at this convention, even the anarchists are moderates.
At Union Square, where Tuesday's "day of action" begins at 4 p.m., a small crowd gathers to block off the entrance to the park in defiance of police orders. "Ladies and gentlemen, you have to remove yourselves from the entrance," says a cop in front of a phalanx of shield-bearing officers. The crowd, which had been chanting, "Go arrest Bush! Go arrest Bush!" decides to adjust its message. The new chant: "The police deserve a raise! The police deserve a raise!" Who says anarchists aren't politically savvy? When trying to win over an audience, abandon the red-meat rhetoric and instead reach out to independent swing cops.
The protesters and convention speakers have a lot in common, in fact, including a preference for empty slogans and false choices. But more important, they both believe that showing resolve is the most important political act. The protesters believe that if enough of them are willing to lie down in the streets and get arrested—and if they do it over and over and over again—the American people will be persuaded to consider their point of view. The convention speakers agree that doing something over and over and over again, being unwavering and unchangeable, is the best way to pull Americans to your side.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Tuesday speaker with the most, er, movie-star appeal, says that "perseverance" is the quality he admires most about President Bush: "He's a man of inner strength. He is a leader who doesn't flinch, doesn't waver, and does not back down." Sure, the president led the country into an unpopular war, Schwarzenegger says, but that's a good thing! "The president didn't go into Iraq because the polls told him it was popular. In fact, the polls said just the opposite. But leadership isn't about polls. It's about making decisions you think are right and then standing behind those decisions." Schwarzenegger echoes what Monday night's final speaker, Rudy Giuliani, said: "There are many qualities that make a great leader but having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader."
Now, that can't possibly be right. Surely Giuliani and Schwarzenegger believe that having the correct beliefs is more important than sticking by your beliefs, no matter how wrong you are. Sticking by your beliefs is probably the most overrated leadership trait. All great politicians are flip-floppers, including President Bush.
The biggest fib the president says on the stump is, "When I say something, I mean it." Did he mean it when he said that no matter what the whip count, he would ask for a second vote at the Security Council before going to war with Iraq? Did he mean it when he was against a Department of Homeland Security? Did he mean it when he opposed the creation of a 9/11 commission? Did he mean it when he opposed McCain-Feingold? Did he mean it when he said troops shouldn't be used for nation-building? Did he mean it when he said he planned to use his presidency to strengthen international alliances? Does he mean it when he says, "It's the people's money, not the government's money"? If so, then why does he spend so much of it?
Up to now, the Kerry campaign has elected not to use this inconsistent record to undermine the Republican claim that President Bush is a man of great resolve. Instead, they've decided to buttress the idea. The president is stubborn, unyielding, Kerry says. He's not flexible enough.
Kerry's approach plays into liberals' fantasies about themselves. Liberals think they're smarter, more thoughtful, more nuanced than conservatives. They think they're more aware of the complexities and ambiguities in life. They're not inconsistent; they're Emersonian. Kerry tried to take advantage of this at the Democratic Convention when he said that he understands that some things are complicated. Bush's response has been to say, as he does often, "There is nothing complicated about supporting our troops."
Howard Dean got it right when he said that people don't like President Bush because they agree with his policies. They like him because they think he's a strong leader. Unless Democrats can undermine that belief, they don't have a chance of regaining the presidency. The Kerry campaign may finally be learning this. When Bush said that he now believes the nation actually can win the war on terror (despite saying otherwise previously), the Kerry campaign e-mailed a press release with the headline, "Bush: Against Winning the War on Terror Before He Was for It." Maybe they've learned that Kerry can't blunt Bush's strength on national security without making at least some people think the president is a flip-flopping "politician." You don't beat your opponent by listening to his message, nodding, and saying, I agree.
NEW YORK—Zell Miller will be the most notable apostate at the Republican National Convention, but Ed Koch gets to be the first. At the first GOP convention ever held in New York City, the first speaker after the opening remarks by Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie and RNC Co-Chair Ann Wagner is the former mayor, a Democrat. "Why am I here?" the jovial Koch asks the smattering of assembled delegates at the sparsely attended Monday morning session. "I'm here to convert you. But that's for the next election. This year, I'm voting for the re-election of President George W. Bush." The small crowd gives Koch a huge cheer.
Koch is followed by another New York mayor, the current one. At the first GOP convention ever held in New York City, Republican Michael Bloomberg declares, "Welcome to America's New York." It's a strange choice of words, one that makes it sound as if the Republican delegates suspect they somehow landed in Russia's New York. (Perhaps that was the New York that Koch presided over.) But Bloomberg's choice of words is telling. The picture of New York painted during the convention's morning session is a city in tune with the rest of the country, the South, Middle, and West that most Republicans hail from. Maybe Bloomberg should have said, "Welcome to Red America's New York."
After Bloomberg speaks, a video produced by the History Channel tells the political history of the capital of Blue America, but it's really the history of the Republican Party in New York. We hear about the birth of Teddy Roosevelt, for example, but not, say, the Stonewall riots. (The video also contains the first bit of disinformation at the convention: It calls TR "our second-youngest president" when in fact he was the youngest president, taking office as a 42-year-old after the assassination of President McKinley. JFK, at 43, was the youngest man elected to the presidency.) "America's New York" is where the Bill of Rights was written, not where the gay rights movement began. It's where Abraham Lincoln, the most beloved Republican, denounced the spread of slavery at Cooper Union. It's also home to the machinery of global capitalism: the New York Stock Exchange and the headquarters of more major corporations than any other city.
Long before we get to Rudy Giuliani, New York Mayor No. 3 of the day, the message of Day 1 couldn't be clearer: Don't worry, nervous visitors. Despite what you may have heard from your friends (or seen from the protestors), this is your town!
But the Big Apple love-in doesn't last all that long. No one denounces the city, of course, but the disconnect between the majority of New Yorkers and the majority of Republicans comes across during the succession of speeches by GOP congressional candidates. In the most Jewish city in America, Mississippi congressional candidate Clinton LeSueur strays from President Bush's carefully inclusive religious rhetoric. Instead of making the nonsectarian statement in his prepared text—"The very foundation of this country is faith"—LeSueur says, "The very foundation of this country is Christianity and faith in Jesus Christ."
Ted Poe, a congressional candidate from Texas, goes even further. He compares Upper West Side liberals, at least implicitly, to the nation's enemies in the war on terror. The country is currently fighting for freedom abroad in Iraq, Poe says. But it's also fighting for "basic American principles" at home. "This threat is real," he continues. Don't "complain and criticize as the French did in the war in Iraq." No, this dangerous "threat" must be stopped with a fierce barrage of smaller government and lower taxes. "Sitting on the sidelines is not an option," says Poe, sticking with his hilariously inappropriate analogy. "Now is not the time to be a French Republican" (or, as the official transcript of his piece has it, an all-caps "FRENCH REPUBLICAN").
Who screened Poe's speech? Sure, it's not prime time, but certainly someone pointed out (or someone should have pointed out) that it wasn't a good idea to compare Democrats, by far the majority in New York, to Baathists.
Maybe Poe was more shocked by the scale of the anti-Bush protests in the streets than he should have been. He expected the Republicans to be greeted in Manhattan as liberators.
NEW YORK—There's an old rule of thumb in high school and college debating: The first side that is forced to bring up Hitler to defend its case automatically loses. (Sorry, MoveOn.org.) Referring to Der Fuhrer is a desperate act, the crotch-kick of rhetorical devices. It may get you out of a streetfight, but it is cause for disqualification in more formal settings, like political conventions.
But if you expand the Hitler rule to include all references to World War II, President Bush would have lost this election on a technicality several years ago. After all, if reflecting the glory of the Good War upon yourself is the only way you can make the case for combat, your case isn't very good. Whenever the president is backed into a corner, he relies on a specious historical analogy to defend his policies. Iran, North Korea, and Iraq = Axis. Reconstructing Iraq = Reconstructing Japan. The analogies made by the president and his allies aren't always clear—why is Saddam, for example, compared to Hitler instead of Tojo or Hirohito?—but no one seems to notice.
This administration's embrace of Dubya Dubya Two to defend its foreign policy is as tiresome as the tendency among liberals to believe that the phrase "another Vietnam" is always sufficient proof that the antiwar side is right. So, I was going to challenge the Republican Party at this convention to make the case for its policies without referring to World War II, but it appears that I'm too late. On Sunday evening, excerpts of Rudy Giuliani's Monday night speech were e-mailed to the press. Here's Giuliani on why Bush is a good president: "There are many qualities that make a great leader, but having strong beliefs, being able to stick with them through popular and unpopular times, is the most important characteristic of a great leader." Rudy's first example: "Winston Churchill saw the dangers of Hitler when his opponents and much of the press characterized him as a war-mongering gadfly." Come on, guys. You lost the bet, and the convention hasn't even started yet.
The hoariest cliché in politics (other than "hoariest cliché") is that elections are about the future. But it may be proven wrong this year. The Democrats held the all-Vietnam-all-the-time convention in Boston, and the Republicans look like they will flip the calendar back a few years further in New York. When the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth moved on to John Kerry's activities as an antiwar protester during Vietnam, the presidential campaign seemed to be creakily lurching toward the present, but with only two months to go, we may not have enough time to get there. And now that the GOP wants to talk about the '40s, we don't have a chance.
"We have seen these kind of times in the past. We have seen a former enemy of America, Japan, become an ally in peace," President Bush told USA Today last week. The administration strenuously objected when people tried, on the eve of war in February 2003, to compare Iraq to postwar Japan. Before the war, the Bushies got into a tizzy when anyone suggested there would be a seven-year military occupation. More like 30 days, or six months, or at the absolute maximum two years, they insisted. Now the president trots out the MacArthur comparison every chance he gets.
Earlier this month in Columbus, Ohio, I saw Bush talk about "having Kobe beef" with the prime minister of Japan. "And here we are talking about peace," he said. "Someday, an American President will be talking to a duly-elected leader of Iraq, talking about the peace, and America will be better for it." Here was Bush on Sunday in Wheeling, W.Va., combining two of the most-overused historical analogies in politics, World War II and Harry Truman: "We've done this kind of work before. One of my closest collaborators in peace is the Prime Minister of Japan. It wasn't all that long ago in the march of history that my dad and your dads were fighting the Japanese. And yet here we are, because we insisted upon the transforming qualities of liberty, we insisted that Japan be given a chance to self-govern and be a democratic nation. We believe that even an enemy could accept liberty as a way of life. Fortunately, my predecessor, Harry Truman, stuck with that point of view." If Bush could have squeezed in a "party of Lincoln" reference and a Cold War riff, he would have hit the historical analogy Grand Slam. (For Democrats, replace "party of Lincoln" with Selma.)
George W. Bush is not FDR, and war opponents are not Neville Chamberlains. I'm tempted to engage the GOP in the historical debate to point out, for example, that one of the lessons of World War II was that international institutions like the United Nations and NATO would help keep the peace in a dangerous world. (That's something Bush claimed to believe in 1999 when he was campaigning for the presidency for the first time. "My goal, should I become the president, is to keep the peace," Bush said in his first debate in New Hampshire, according to Frank Bruni's Ambling Into History. "I intend to do so by strengthening alliances, which says, 'America cannot go alone.' ") Or to point out that the reconstruction of Japan—no sovereignty, no flag, no national anthem, no diplomatic relations—was very different from the Bush policy in Iraq. Or, for those who prefer the Cold War analogy, that President Kennedy agreed during the Cuban Missile Crisis to remove missiles from Turkey in exchange for Khrushchev's removal of Soviet missiles from Cuba.
But that makes it sound like we should be negotiating with Osama Bin Laden over Turkey, which obviously isn't the case. So let's just say that historical analogies are, on their own, insufficient to prove much of anything. I say Saddam, you say Hitler. Let's call the whole thing off.
OKLAHOMA CITY—Does John Edwards talk about stuff besides the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads? As he says to the people who ask him a question at his town-hall meetings, "The answer is yes." But once you've been following a candidate for a few days, his stump speech starts to get a little tedious. OK, more than a little tedious. The press corps (and the campaign staff and the Secret Service) entertains itself by playing "Wheel-o," a betting game where we guess which of the 16 numbers scrawled in chalk on the back wheel of the plane will rest on the ground after landing. Or we roll Jack Edwards' toy ball up the aisle of the plane during takeoff and cheer if it gets into the front cabin. Or we take pictures of ourselves in front of the "world's largest six-pack," six brewing tanks painted like beer cans in front of the brewery in La Crosse, Wis. Or we dream of driving to Juarez, Mexico, during tonight's stay in Las Cruces, N.M.
Reporters listen when the candidate speaks, but we don't hear him. My ears perk up only when Edwards says something new or different, and after a while, I start to hear nuances that aren't there. On Monday in La Crosse, Edwards dropped his exaggerated claim that Kerry volunteered for dangerous combat duty in Vietnam. Aha! I thought. The campaign is finally abandoning its mild, needless puffery about Kerry's war record to head off nitpicking from the Swift Boat Veterans and others. Well, nope, actually. The next day Edwards made the claim again.
So, instead of reporting on whatever contrived bit of newness I heard in Edwards' speech today, here's a list of the things he's said over and over again during the past two and a half days. I've stripped out the bromides—"hope over despair, possibilities over problems, optimism over cynicism"—and focused solely on policy proposals. These aren't all the promises or proposals Edwards has made this week, just the ones he makes most often. For best results, crank up Tina Turner's "Simply the Best," Van Hagar's "Right Now," or anything by Bruce Springsteen or John Cougar Mellencamp while reading:
raise the minimum wage;
spend more money on: early education, public schools, child care, afterschool programs, and salaries for teachers in the communities where they're needed;
raise taxes on: companies that take jobs overseas; individuals who make more than $200,000 a year;
reduce taxes for: small businesses that create jobs in communities with high unemployment; individuals through a $1,000 tax credit for health care and a $4,000 tax credit for college tuition (in addition to promising four years of tuition to individuals who perform two years of public service);
improve health care by: making the congressional health-care plan available for purchase by all Americans; covering all children; allowing prescription drugs to be imported from Canada; and allowing the government to use its bulk-purchasing power to negotiate lower drug prices from pharmaceutical companies;
reform labor laws by: swiftly and severely punishing employers that violate labor laws; banning the hiring of permanent replacements for strikers; "make card-check neutrality the law of the land";
fight the war on terror by: strengthening alliances to help "get terrorists before they get us";
improve the situation in Iraq by: improving our relations with allies so that NATO will agree to get involved; keeping Iran and Syria from interfering; and getting "others involved in reconstruction besides Halliburton."
Though the real message is the one-point plan of getting a new president.
Refer to this list often. Read it three or four times each day while grooving to Van Halen. Pretty soon, when John Edwards asks, "Are we going to have a president and a vice president who actually understands what's going on in your lives? Who presents an optimistic, positive, hopeful, uplifting vision of America? Or are we going to have a campaign based on fear and lies?" you'll be praying for more fear and lies, too.
COLUMBUS, Ohio—"I feel like a talk-show host," President Bush says midway through Thursday's first campaign event. He's standing next to a stool and a lectern, and he paces in circles to address the audience seated on all sides around him. Even from a distance, I can see why Bush charmed the press corps during his 2000 campaign. He's likable, winning, and self-deprecating. He's also quick on his feet, not with an instant recall of statistics but with snappy retorts that break up the room. This event was billed as an "Ask President Bush" forum, and although there didn't turn out to be much time for questions, from the outset the intimate setting made it more interactive than a typical presidential visit.
The president didn't get it quite right when he called himself a talk-show host. He opens more in the vein of a revival-tent preacher, albeit a subdued one, and he concludes as a standup comic. "I think you have to ask for the vote," Bush says near the beginning, as he always does. "You got it!" yells someone, the first of many call-and-response moments. Then Bush segues into something that sounds more like a sermon than a stump speech.
"All of you are soldiers in the army of compassion," the clergyman-in-chief tells the crowd. "And one of the reasons I'm seeking the office for four more years is to call upon our citizens to love your neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself." After his usual endorsement of the Golden Rule, Bush speaks of souls, which also isn't unusual for him: "We can change America one soul at a time by encouraging people to spread something government cannot spread, which is love."
Bush goes on to talk about his desire to have the government fund more faith-based initiatives. "If you're an addict, if you're hooked on drugs or alcohol, sometimes government counseling can work. But sometimes it requires a change of heart in order to change habit," he says. "There are people who are empowered to change hearts in our society. Not by government, by a higher calling, and therefore government ought to welcome these words of compassion and healing."
Bush isn't a fire-and-brimstone preacher, talking about sinners in the hands of an angry God. He's a hippie priest, emphasizing the Christian message of brotherly love. I can almost hear the guitars and tambourines. He says, "I know we can change America for the better by calling on those who are change agents, those who are willing to put our arm around someone who needs love and say, 'I love you, brother. I love you, sister. What can I do to help you have a better life here in America?'"
From there, Bush becomes a teacher, imparting "the lessons of September the 11th, 2001." "We'll never forget!" a man seated among the firefighters calls out. Bush's Lesson 1: "We're facing an enemy which has no heart, no compassion. And that puts them at an advantage in a way, because we're a country of heart and compassion." Lesson 2: "In order to defend the homeland, we got to be on the offense. We must deal with those people overseas, so we don't have to face them here at home." Lesson 3: "In order to be able to defend ourselves, we've got to say to people who are willing to harbor a terrorist or feed a terrorist, you're just as guilty as the terrorists." Lesson 4: "When we see threats, we must deal with them before they fully materialize." Lesson 5 is a corollary of Lesson 4: "We saw a threat in Iraq."
Even while Bush is in his teaching mode, the whole event has a Sunday-morning air. Bush says of Saddam, "He had used weapons of mass destruction. Remember that? He had used them on his own people." The crowd murmurs back, "That's right, that's right." When Bush mentions that John Kerry and John Edwards were two of only 12 senators—whom Wednesday he called "a small, out-of-the-mainstream minority"—to vote against the $87 billion for the war in Iraq, someone else yells out, "Shame on them!"
Bush almost gets weepy later, when he tells a story "that touched my heart," about seven Iraqi men who visited him in the Oval Office. The men's right hands were chopped off by order of Saddam Hussein, and they had X's burned into their foreheads. An American organization provided them with prostheses. "A guy took my Sharpie, wrapped his new fingers and wrote, 'God bless America,' in Arabic," Bush says, his voice choking up. "What a contrast," he says. In America, "We want to heal you, no matter who you are," his voice catching again.
So, are we going to abandon Iraq? Bush asks the crowd. "Are we going to be a country of our word?" he asks. "Or are we going to go timid and weary and afraid of the barbaric behavior of a few?" The crowd shouts back: "No!"
As the event winds down, Bush gets looser and funnier. He points to a member of the crowd, one of the hand-picked Ohioans intended to represent a particular Bush policy, and says that she can explain it better than he can. Then he turns to another audience member and says, "You didn't have to agree with her." When another of the Representative Americans tells Bush that she recently received her associate's degree, magna cum laude, Bush replies, "That's better than I did, I want you to know."
Bush says a CEO in the audience has an interesting idea to share. The man doesn't say anything. "Flex time," Bush says. "I'm glad you told me what my interesting idea was," the CEO says appreciatively. Bush replies, "I'm not a lawyer, but it looks like I'm leading the witness." "I appreciate that," the CEO says, and Bush shoots back, "You appreciate the fact that I'm not a lawyer?"
After last week's Democratic convention, I felt that John Kerry had become the favorite in the presidential race. Now, after only two days with President Bush, I'm not so sure. He's that good. Unlike many people, I'm not threatened by the president's religious rhetoric. It must be the Midwestern Catholic in me. Like the people in the audience, I find it familiar and comforting. I can see why so many people believe the president is "one of us," no matter how rich or how elite his background. And I can see that Kerry will have a tough time besting Bush in all three debates.
Still, not everything goes perfectly. When Bush gets ready to leave, he announces, "I'm off to Saginaw, Michigan," forgetting what must be a central tenet of Buckeye State politics: Never mention the state that is Ohio State's biggest rival, especially in Columbus, home to the university. For the first time all day, two men near me boo.
MANKATO, Minn.—After watching President Bush speak for only a couple of hours on the 2004 stump, it's easy to see the main tenets of his re-election campaign: My opponent is un-American, or at least less American than me and you. My opponent, much like Al Gore, doesn't know who he is. My opponent is a tax-hiking, big-government liberal. Worse, he wants to ask other countries for permission for America to defend itself against its enemies. Last, and most important, my wife is better than his wife.
What you don't hear from President Bush's stump speech, or from his surrogates, is what he plans to do were he given another four years as president. The problem is particularly glaring on matters of foreign policy. There are glimmers of a domestic agenda in the president's two campaign events Wednesday: He wants to reform America's high schools, increase math and science education, and increase the use of the Internet in schools. He wants more ethanol subsidies. He wants to make health care more available and affordable. He wants less regulation. He likes community colleges. He wants workers to be able to acquire flex time and comp time in lieu of overtime pay.
Bush also gives his audiences a rehash of the greatest hits from his 2000 campaign mantras. He likes tort reform and dislikes "frivolous lawsuits." (A favorite line of Bush crowds: "You cannot be pro-patient and pro-doctor and pro-trial lawyer at the same time. You have to choose. My opponent made his choice, and he put him on the ticket.") He wants private Social Security accounts for younger workers. He likes marriage and the family, which always gets him a big cheer, because what it really means is he's against gay marriage. He's for a "culture of life," "judges who faithfully interpret the law instead of legislating from the bench," and a "culture of responsibility." Not to mention the responsibility society and the ownership society. He's still against the soft bigotry of low expectations. And of course, he wants everyone to love their neighbor just like you'd like to be loved yourself.
Bush doesn't talk much about the future. He talks about the past. The biggest portions of Bush's speech are spent mounting a vigorous defense of his presidency. When Bush's campaign foundered in New Hampshire four years ago, he retooled his strategy in response to John McCain and began billing himself as a "reformer with results." He's not using that slogan yet, but the rhetoric is similar. "It's not enough to advocate reform," he says. "You have to be able to get it done." The closing section of his speech ends with the mantra, "Results matter." On education, health care, the economy, farms, and security, Bush concludes by saying, "Results matter." Of his Medicare prescription drug benefit, Bush says, "Leaders in both political parties had promised prescription drug coverage for years. We got the job done."
Bush spends the longest amount of time defending his policies after Sept. 11. He takes credit for the creation of the Homeland Security Department (one of those things that Bush voted against before he voted for it), and he takes pride in the Patriot Act. Afghanistan has gone from being the "home base of al-Qaida" to being a "rising democracy." Pakistan, once a "safe transit point for terrorists," is now an ally. Saudi Arabia, he says, "is taking the fight to al-Qaida." Libya has given up its quest for weapons of mass destruction.
Most of all, Bush defends the war in Iraq. He repeats the litany of reasons for going to war: Saddam was defying the will of the United Nations, he harbored terrorists, he funded suicide bombers, he used weapons of mass destruction against his own people. "In other words, we saw a threat," Bush says. "Members of the United States Congress from both political parties, including my opponent, looked at the intelligence and came to the same conclusion."
What Bush doesn't acknowledge is what went wrong: The WMD were never found. We weren't welcomed as liberators. Oil revenues haven't paid for the war. It wasn't a cakewalk. What went wrong? Why? Given four more years, what does Bush plan to do about it? He hasn't told us yet, other than suggesting "more of the same."
"Every incumbent who asks for your vote has got to answer one central question, and that's 'Why?'" Bush says. "Why should the American people give me the high privilege of serving as your president for four more years?" The answer Bush gives to that question is his record. He says he deserves re-election because of what he has already done. At Wednesday's first event, in Davenport, Iowa, U.S. Rep. Jim Nussle embodies this attitude when he introduces Bush to the crowd. "There is no one I would have wanted to be at the helm of this country these last four years than you," Nussle says.
Bush and Nussle are asking the wrong question. The real question an incumbent faces is, what now? What's next? So far, Bush isn't telling. A president's record matters, but the reason it matters is because it has predictive value. Bush's defenders say he is a transformational figure, that he's willing to take on big problems and challenges. Wouldn't you like to know what Bush believes those big problems and challenges would be in foreign policy over the next four years? Are there gathering threats that, like Iraq, he thinks need to be tackled "before they materialize"? The president says that is the lesson of Sept. 11, that the nation must confront its security problems pre-emptively. Where else does he plan to apply that lesson? Does he plan to tell us?
After the 2002 midterm elections, when Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill objected to another round of tax cuts for the rich, Vice President Cheney told O'Neill to discard his worries. We won the midterm elections, Cheney said. "This is our due." As much as liberals dislike President Bush's record over the past four years, it's the prospect of another four years that terrifies them. What they want to know—what keeps them awake at night—is what President Bush hasn't answered yet: What are you going to do next? This time, what will be your due?
BOSTON—Throughout his presidential campaign, John Kerry has relied on a team of salesmen to make the case for why voters should elect him as the next man to occupy the Oval Office. Even before the arrival of John Edwards as his running mate, Kerry seemed to know that he needed a charismatic advocate by his side at all times. In Iowa, Christie Vilsack, the wife of Hawkeye State Gov. Tom Vilsack, charmed the crowds at Kerry events, and the surprise arrival of this-man-saved-my-life Jim Rassman cinched the caucuses for Kerry. In New Hampshire, it was Bay State neighbor Teddy Kennedy who entertained the audience, while Kerry was content to play master of ceremonies to a cavalcade of guest stars. In effect, the first three days of the Democratic convention take the conceit of the standard Kerry campaign event to its logical conclusion, by eliminating the candidate entirely.
Unfortunately, it didn't work quite as well on Monday night as I expected. Al Gore and Jimmy Carter, the night's two main speakers not named Clinton, made powerful and persuasive critiques of George W. Bush's presidency, but they failed to advance much of a positive case for a President Kerry. Gore, the first major speaker to take the stage, gave the best speech it's possible for Al Gore to deliver, hitting that third gear he usually skips, the one in between robotic Gore and mental-patient Gore. It felt like Gore's turn to have a Bob Dole moment, to reinvent himself as an elder statesman who laughs at himself.
But what the speech did for Gore is less important than what it did for Kerry: not enough. Gore's case against Bush was clear and convincing. He asked those who voted for his opponent four years ago, "Did you really get what you expected from the candidate that you voted for? Is our country more united today? Or more divided? Has the promise of compassionate conservatism been fulfilled? Or do those words now ring hollow? For that matter, are the economic policies really conservative at all? Did you expect, for example, the largest deficits in history?" Gore also reached out to Nader voters—and maybe even to capital-L Libertarians—asking, "Do you still believe that there was no difference between the candidates?" Gore even advanced what Mickey Kaus dubs the "Pedro Martinez" theory of the presidential campaign. He asked supporters of the Iraq war to consider the merits of a relief pitcher: "Wouldn't we be better off with a new President who hasn't burned his bridges to our allies, and who could rebuild respect for America in the world?"
But if you're deciding whether to turn to the bullpen, it matters whether the guy warming up is Eric Gagne or Byung-Hyun Kim, and Gore doesn't do much to assure voters who aren't certain about Kerry's merits. Here's the entirety of his case for Kerry: He is loyal. He is honest. He is patriotic. He served in Vietnam. He protects the environment. He fights narcoterrorism. He's a deficit hawk. He picked John Edwards.
It's not a bad list, but it feels insufficient. Carter's speech suffered from a similar problem. It was filled with reasons to vote against George Bush but not enough reasons to vote for John Kerry. Carter's critique of Bush was even more effective than Gore's, though, in part because it was so genially vicious. Alone of all the speakers Monday night, Carter alluded to Bush's service, or lack thereof, in the National Guard. He noted that Truman and Eisenhower, the two presidents Carter served under during his time in the Navy, "faced their active military responsibilities with honor." Kerry, likewise, "showed up when assigned to duty, and he served with honor and distinction." Carter also came the closest of any speaker to calling Bush a liar. He said that if Bush wins reelection, "the manipulation of truth will define America's role in the world," and he said that "in the world at large we cannot lead if our leaders mislead." Carter even made what to my ear sounds like a reference to the Abu Ghraib scandal, saying that "we cannot be true to ourselves if we mistreat others."
Like Gore, however, Carter's embrace of Kerry wasn't as persuasive as his denunciation of Bush. This is nice, but it just isn't enough, I think to myself. Maybe Kerry can't rely on surrogates anymore. He's going to have to finally sell himself. Then Bill Clinton strode into the FleetCenter to worshipful applause.
Clinton sold Kerry, rather than just tearing down the leading brand. And he managed to tie Kerry's Vietnam experience into a compelling thematic refrain, with Kerry declaring "send me," like a believer answering God's call, every time his nation needed him. Soon, the crowd began chanting Clinton's refrain with him. As usual, Clinton's familiarity with the language of religion added depth to his oratory. After Clinton said to remember the Scripture, "Be not afraid," I found myself singing the hymn in my head: "I will go, Lord, if you lead me. I will hold your people in my heart." More concisely: Send me.
The speech was everything Kerry could have wished for, an electric performance by the party's most charismatic salesman. Still, as the former president walked off the stage, I had to wonder how many people were thinking: Send Clinton. This man would beat President Bush—again—in a romp. Kerry, on the other hand, hasn't yet proved that he can close the deal.
So, in the end, Clinton's speech was just like Gore's and Carter's. It was nice, but it isn't enough.
LOS ANGELES—John Kerry did something I thought was impossible tonight. He turned himself into John Edwards. This may be the secret of Kerry's success in the Democratic primaries: What Bill Clinton did to infuriate the Republican Congress during his presidency, Kerry does to his fellow candidates. He co-opts their issues, their message, even their language. When Howard Dean was the obstacle in Kerry's path, the Massachusetts senator talked about throwing the special interests out of Washington and putting the people back in charge. Now that Edwards is the lone serious contender, Kerry pitches himself as the positive, optimistic candidate with "real solutions."
"I've offered a positive vision of what we ought to be doing in America," Kerry declared in the opening moments of Thursday's debate. "Once we have a nominee, this country will have an opportunity to hear a positive vision of how we can offer hope to Americans, optimism about the possibilities of the future, not divide America but bring it together to find real solutions. And that's what I'm offering: real solutions." Edwards must have felt like a sitcom character, the candidate for student council president watching his classmate deliver a stolen version of his speech. The "Real Solutions Express" is the name of Edwards' campaign bus. "Real Solutions for America" is the name of Edwards' 60-page policy booklet. It's also the phrase plastered across the top of Edwards' campaign Web site.
But unlike the sitcom character, who takes the podium and falls flat on his face, Edwards dominated the early portion of the debate. He throttled Kerry—with an assist from an aggressive Ron Brownstein—after Kerry couldn't explain why he thought the Defense of Marriage Act was unconstitutional in 1996 but that a constitutional amendment isn't needed now to ensure that states are not forced to recognize gay marriages from other states. After Kerry's long-winded and unsatisfactory answer to whether he would vote for the Defense of Marriage Act today, Edwards jabbed, "I'm not sure what he said about that. But I would not vote for it." Then Edwards deftly moved to Kerry's left on the issue, saying he believes the federal government ought to be required to recognize gay marriages if they are recognized by a state. Edwards also looked strong when he confronted Al Sharpton to defend his support of the death penalty.
Despite the inclusion of Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich, they weren't much of a factor. They sat on the far end of the table away from the TV camera, and they were confined mostly to interjecting asides to the main debate between Kerry and Edwards. They seemed like the political debate version of the two grumpy old men who issue catcalls from the balcony during The Muppet Show.
But despite Edwards' strong start, by the end of the debate a second impossible transformation had occurred. John Edwards turned into John Kerry. Kerry answered a difficult question from Larry King about his opposition to the death penalty—"A person who kills a 5-year-old should live?"—clearly and directly. "Larry, my instinct is to want to strangle that person with my own hands," he said. But the system is flawed, it's applied unjustly, and as a matter of principle, "the state should not engage in killing." That's the best answer you can give to that unpopular position. Edwards, by contrast, sounded like the Kerry of old when he tried to explain why he supports a system that King said "nearly executed over 100 people who didn't do it." He talked about how "serious" the issue was, and how "serious steps" need to be taken, such as "making the court system work." Finally, King bailed him out: But why do you favor capital punishment? Oh yeah, Edwards seemed to think, that's what I should be talking about, and he brought up some liberal red meat: "Those men who dragged James Byrd behind that truck in Texas, they deserve the death penalty."
On another occasion, Brownstein had to repeatedly query Edwards to get him to explain whether there were any substantive differences between him and Kerry on the issue of reforming the way Washington works. "Do you view Sen. Kerry as part of the solution or part of the problem?" Brownstein asked. Edwards dodged the question. "Is there a difference in your commitment to this cause and what you see from Sen. Kerry?" Brownstein tried again. "Yes," Edwards said, because I'm an outsider. But that's not substantive, Brownstein objected. "He is saying many of the same things. Are you saying that he is less committed?" Edwards demurred.
Then Kerry swooped in to damn Edwards with praise. "I don't think there fundamentally is a difference," he said. "I mean, John has raised almost 50 percent of his money from one group of people in the United States"—"Is that the trial lawyers?" King interrupted—"That's correct. And I don't ever suggest that he is beholden to them," Kerry continued magnanimously. "Because I know he stood up on the patients' bill of rights."
The real Kerry returned a few moments later, with a preposterously unclear statement on his first executive order: "Reverse the Mexico City policy on the gag rule so that we take a responsible position globally on family planning." But then Edwards picked up the Kerry torch when Los Angeles Times editorial page editor Janet Clayton asked him how he can criticize the president for a war that he voted for. Edwards tried to appear thoughtful and serious, saying he gave "an awful lot of thought and study to it." Not only that, "I was worried about it. All of us were. I took this responsibility seriously." But why did you vote for it? "What we did is we voted on a resolution," Edwards stammered. And Bush didn't conduct the war properly. "So are you saying you were suckered?" Clayton asked.
King asked Edwards if he regrets his vote for the war. "I did what I believed was right at the time," Edwards said. "Do you regret it?" King asked again. "I did what I believed was right at the time," Edwards repeated. "Do you regret it?" King asked again, this time to laughter. "We don't get to go back, Larry," Edwards insisted. "Well, you can regret something," King said.
Kerry pounced on his chance to play Edwards to Edwards' Kerry. "Let me return a favor from the last debate to John," he said. "You asked a yes-or-no answer: 'Do you regret your vote?' The answer is: No. I do not regret my vote. I regret that we have a president of the United States who misled America and broke every promise he made the United States Congress." Substantively, this is the same answer Edwards gave, but it was clear instead of evasive and concise instead of tortuous.
It couldn't have been clearer: Edwards had become Kerry and Kerry had become Edwards. Kerry's critics will likely see this as more evidence of flip-flopping opportunism. Kerry will likely see it as victory.
NASHVILLE—The Democratic Party's estimates of its chances of defeating President Bush in November have rebounded in concert with John Kerry's campaign. A little more than a month ago, most Democrats were overly pessimistic about the 2004 election. Now they're overly optimistic. Sunday afternoon, during a press conference prior to a Democratic Party rally at the downtown Hilton here, U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., declared not only that "Bush 43 looks very beatable at this point," but also that 2004 could be a congressional "tidal wave year" for the Democrats, akin to 1994 for the Republicans.
And if 2004 isn't a Democratic 1994, maybe it's 1976. That was former Vice President Al Gore's message to the Tennessee Democrats Sunday night. In an angry, sweaty shout, sounding like the second coming of Huey Long, Gore drew an extended comparison between the post-Watergate election of 1976, the year of his first election to Congress, and the post-Iraq election of 2004. John Kerry's two main rivals in Tennessee, Wesley Clark and John Edwards, spoke to the party, too, but Gore was clearly the main event. And if he wasn't before he spoke, he was by the time he was finished.
"You know, there was a mood in '76, a spirit of unity, a feeling of determination that we were going to win that race that year," said Gore, clearly linking that feeling to the resolve of 2004 Democrats to win back the presidency. Gore, however, wasn't referring only to the feelings of national Democrats in 1976. He was referring to the feelings of Tennessee Democrats, who were bitter over a Senate race that had been lost six years earlier.
Gore's father, Albert Gore Sr., was defeated in his 1970 campaign for re-election to the U.S. Senate. Gore made a number of comparisons between 1970 and 1976 in Tennessee and 2000, 2002, and 2004 in America. "President George W. Bush reminds me more of former President Richard Nixon than any of his other predecessors," he said, implying, it seemed, that Nixon smeared his father in the midterm elections of 1970 just as President Bush smeared Georgia Senator Max Cleland in 2002. "They tried to make out like my dad was an atheist because he didn't want a constitutional amendment putting the government in charge of telling children how they ought to worship God in the public schools," Gore said. "They came out with accusations that he was unpatriotic because he was opposed to the Vietnam War and the mistaken policy that got us into that war." Gore recalled his father's concession speech on Election Night: "He took the old Confederate slogan about 'The South shall rise again,' and he stood it on its head. And he proudly proclaimed, 'The truth shall rise again!'"
Gore was also drawing an analogy between his father and himself. He was expressing the hope that just as his father's loss was redeemed by the election of a Democrat, Jim Sasser, to his U.S. Senate seat six years later, so too could Gore be redeemed after his loss to George W. Bush, if the Democrats reclaim the White House in 2004. As Gore stood on stage before his remarks, I wondered, what must it be like to be Samuel Tilden? What's it like to be haunted by the fact that you're a historical footnote? Gore's speech provided some answers.
"We have seen an administration which in my view more closely resembles the Nixon-Agnew administration than any other previous administration," he said. "There's a reason I say that. I don't offer that as simply a casual slur." The crowd laughed. "I'm not above a casual slur," Gore added, in a "mind you" tone, to more laughter. "But I'm biased, I didn't vote for the guy." A man calls out, "Neither did America!" To which Gore responds, "Well, there is that."
He continued: "But here's the reason I say that President George W. Bush reminds me more of former President Richard Nixon than any of his other predecessors. Nixon was no more committed to principle than the man in the moon. He, as a conservative Republican, imposed wage and price controls. Hard to believe in this day and time. But he did. And he cared as little about what it meant to be really conservative as George W. Bush has cared in imposing $550 billion budget deficits and trillions in additions to the national debt. That has nothing to do with conservatism and everything to do with his effort to get re-elected!"
Gore then explained how he planned to travel to Iowa in September 2001 to deliver "a real ripsnorter of a speech" that would have harshly critiqued President Bush's first nine months in office and broken Gore's political silence. He abandoned his plan after the Sept. 11 attacks, he said, and instead swallowed his pride and told the Iowa Democrats of the man he clearly feels stole the presidency from him, "George W. Bush is my commander-in-chief."
"I think there were millions just like me, who genuinely, in spite of whatever partisanship they may have felt prior to that time, genuinely felt like they wanted George W. Bush to lead all of us in America wisely and well," he shouted.
"And the reason I'm recalling those feelings now is because those are the feelings that were betrayed by this president! He betrayed this country! He played on our fears! He took America, he took America on an ill-conceived foreign adventure dangerous to our troops, an adventure that was preordained and planned before 9/11 ever took place!" Gore closed with his father's line from 1970: "And so I say to you in closing my friends, in the year of 2004, the truth shall rise again!"
The crowded erupted in a frenzy that recalled a Howard Dean audience circa August 2003. Which, if you think about it, is pretty much where Gore still is. Many Democrats took the 2000 election personally, and they saw the Dean campaign as the outlet for their anger and frustration. But no Democrat could have taken it more personally than Al Gore. To those who speculate that Gore's endorsement of Dean was a crude and ill-timed political calculation, this speech was a repudiation.
Not only does he believe that he should rightfully be president, he also thinks he performed his patriotic duty in the aftermath of 9/11, and Bush screwed him for it. To Gore, it seems that beating Bush wouldn't suffice. He wants to convince the world that Bush is one of history's worst presidents.
Gore is still popular with the Democratic base, but after this speech, the question for the party's nominee has to be, do you want this man to speak at the convention in Boston? Even if you like the sentiment behind this speech, if Gore delivers an address like this one in July, the historical analogy won't be to the Democrats of 1976 or to the Republicans of 1994. Instead, the comparison will be to the disastrous Republican convention of 1992. The angry white male is back. Do the Democrats really want him?
ST. LOUIS—Dick Gephardt's congressional district is Busch country, if not Bush country, so if you're going to hold a Republican presidential campaign rally in a Democratic stronghold, this one's as appropriate as any. Mary Matalin, who's on board the Bush-Cheney '04 team as a campaign adviser, is in town with a phalanx of Missouri Republicans. I'd say she's in town to distract media attention from the Democratic primary in the largest of the Feb. 3 states, except there's pretty much no Democratic campaign to speak of in Missouri. As a result, Missourians appear more interested in the Democratic primary for governor, between incumbent Gov. Bob Holden and State Auditor Claire McCaskill, than in presidential politics.
The Bush rally does, however, provide some insight into the general-election campaign message that the Bush-Cheney campaign is trying out. If the Democratic primaries and caucuses over the next four or five weeks are a referendum on John Kerry's electability, it's worth knowing what he's expected to be electable against. Monday's rally is the second Republican event I've attended this campaign—the other was in Nashua, N.H., where John McCain stumped for the president—and the president's re-election argument, as advanced by his surrogates, couldn't be clearer. The Republicans want the threshold question of this election to be: On Sept. 11 and Sept. 12, 2001, would you rather have had George W. Bush as president or his Democratic opponent?
Both Bush rallies that I've attended emphasize the idea that the president merits re-election as a reward for past performance, as much as—or even more than—any promise of future results. "On Sept. 11, when this nation faced in many respects the greatest threat to our security, President Bush stood forward, led this nation with clarity and with strength, which has earned him the admiration and appreciation of the overwhelming majority of Americans, and I believe has earned him another term as president of the United States of America," McCain said in Nashua. The speakers at Monday's event strike similar notes. "This is a man who has restored peace to the American homeland, after we suffered the worst attack we have suffered here since Pearl Harbor," U.S. Sen. Jim Talent says. U.S. Sen. Kit Bond puts it this way: "I'm most concerned about the war on terror. When Sept. 11, 2001, hit us, George Bush knew what to do."
Al Gore tried to run on the Clinton record of peace and prosperity. The Bush campaign looks like it will run on arguable prosperity and war. Kerry's line that the war on terrorism is as much a law-enforcement and intelligence-gathering operation as it is a military one is derided. "There's only one person gonna be running for president in November of this year who believes that the war against terrorism is a war, against a transnational army that attacked and every day threatens the people of the United States, not a law enforcement action against a few stray criminals," Talent says. Matalin concurs. "This is not a law enforcement effort, as has been said. This is a war. This is a global war. This is a war between barbarism and civilization."
Local boy John Ashcroft and the Patriot Act receive a heaping of praise. "John Ashcroft and the Bush administration have been successful," Bond says. "According to the FBI director, at least 100 planned terrorist attacks, underway for the United States, were disrupted because they used the Patriot Act. Thanks heavens we have the Patriot Act and we have somebody like John Ashcroft ..." I think Bond's concluding phrase is "who's going to use it," but I can't hear him over the crowd's applause. This is Bizarro World when compared to the Democratic campaign trail, where Ashcroft is deemed a supervillain second only to Karl Rove.
"The polls show that one of our colleagues in the United States Senate is leading in the Democratic primary here," continues Bond, referring to Kerry. "He wants to get rid of the Patriot Act. He voted for it, now he doesn't like it." The effectiveness of that line is undercut by Bond's demagogic follow-up: "Personally, I like being free of terrorist attacks." The crowd laughs appreciatively. Later, Matalin says that John Ashcroft is more than a mere terrorist-fighting, cell-breaking, plot-disrupting attorney general. "John Ashcroft is a hero."
Argument No. 3 is that the missing weapons of mass destruction in Iraq are irrelevant. Partly, because as McCain said back in New Hampshire, "Saddam Hussein acquired weapons of mass destruction, he used weapons of mass destruction against his own people and his enemies, and there is no expert that I know that doesn't believe that if Saddam Hussein was still in power he would be attempting to acquire weapons of mass destruction."
But the humanitarian benefits of the Iraq war are emphasized more than the threat posed by Saddam. In Nashua, McCain cited a mass grave of 3,000 "men, women, and children," and added, "My friends, when those 8- and 9-year-old boys were let out of prison in Baghdad, our effort and our sacrifice was justified." Matalin compares Bush's hope for a democratic Iraq to the hopes of Islamic radicals. "There are forces that want to go backwards, that are for oppression, repressing women, there is no freedom, versus going forward into the modern world," she says.
After the event is over, I tell Matalin that the Republican pitch sounds backward-looking. OK, people liked President Bush after 9/11. But that's not an agenda. What's the president's plan going forward? "This is a generational commitment to get this job done," she says. "It took 60 years of a policy of hypocrisy, turning the other way when there was oppression and tyranny in that region, to create this kind of terrorism against America. So, getting a whole region to bring in the hallmarks of a modern state, private property, human rights, rights for women, a judicial system, market principles, it takes more than a campaign cycle. So, he reversed a 60-year policy that wasn't working in the region, and he is putting in place, which is going to take more than one term or two terms, collective security arrangements for the 21st century."
That's a mouthful. And it sets up what I think will be the most intriguing question of the general election. Which candidate will succeed in portraying himself as the internationalist in the race? The Democratic contenders push cooperation, alliances, and multilateral institutions, but they also use nationalist rhetoric to tar Bush for spending money abroad rather than spending it at home (say, "opening firehouses in Baghdad and closing them in the United States," a Kerry line). Taking off on some of that nationalist rhetoric, the Bush surrogates describe Democrats as isolationists who want the United States to abandon its leadership role in the world. The Democrats respond by describing President Bush as a unilateralist who abandoned the nation's role as a global leader. Who will succeed in defining himself as a broad-minded internationalist and his opponent as a narrow-minded nationalist? Our next president.
HOOKSETT, N.H.—Howard Dean is going to Arizona! He's going to New Mexico! He's going to Michigan! And Washington! And Burlington?
Every major Democratic presidential candidate except Howard Dean will campaign Wednesday in one of the Feb. 3 states (Arizona, Delaware, Missouri, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Carolina). Front-running John Kerry heads to St. Louis for a rally, while John Edwards goes to Springfield, Mo., and St. Louis. Wesley Clark travels to Charleston, S.C., Joe Lieberman is doing three events in Delaware (not "Joeklahoma"?), and Dennis Kucinich will stump in Oklahoma. But Dean is going to rest up and regroup at campaign headquarters in Vermont. He's not taking the day off—he's going to do television interviews with local stations in key February states—but the decision indicates that the Dean campaign may be looking past Feb. 3 in its quest for the nomination after a second-place finish in New Hampshire.
The campaign won't out-and-out admit that it's looking past Feb. 3, of course. The current spin: We've raised $1.5 million in the past week. We have a 50-state organization. But what good did their money and their organization do them in Iowa and New Hampshire? From another perspective, it looks as if the campaign isn't sure what to do right now. Every staffer that I talked to Tuesday night didn't know his or her next destination. New Hampshire communications director Dorie Clark told me she was moving out of her Manchester apartment, putting her stuff in storage, and ready to take her duffle bag wherever they told her to go. They just hadn't told her yet.
But there may be a strategic motivation for going into hiding. At the Holiday Inn bar in Manchester Monday night, Dean campaign manager Joe Trippi told reporters that Dean just needed to hang around long enough until voters got tired of John Kerry. Then, he hoped, those voters would start coming back to Dean. He cited the example of Jerry Brown winning Colorado in the 1992 campaign after voters tired of Bill Clinton. (He then insisted that his candidate was not Jerry Brown.) The assumption had been that Dean was going to go fight in Arizona and New Mexico, but Trippi sounded like a man who was managing expectations in preparation for a potential goose egg on Feb. 3. (Many people think Dean has a better shot on Feb. 7 in Washington and Michigan.)
It's not an insane idea. Sit back, husband your resources, and pray that John Kerry can defeat John Kerry in time to give you a chance on March 3, when huge states like California, New York, and Ohio weigh in. Dean's support in Iowa and New Hampshire turned out to be very soft, and Kerry's support is likely to be soft, too. Now that Kerry is the front-runner, he's going to start receiving a lot more scrutiny from the press, which Dean hopes will damage Kerry's perceived electability. Plus there's the theory that Kerry is a candidate who wears poorly on voters.
The last two Democrats to win both Iowa and New Hampshire were Al Gore in 2000 and Jimmy Carter in 1976, but Dean's best hope is that the Kerry campaign is closer to that of the Democrat who won both states four years before Carter: Edmund Muskie. The problem with that hope is that the second-place finishers in New Hampshire who ended up as the "perceived winner"—Eugene McCarthy in 1968, George McGovern in 1972, and Bill Clinton in 1992—all finished within single digits of their opponent. Dean lost by 13 points.
Wesley Clark's third-place finish in New Hampshire also looks likely to hurt Dean's chances. Of the 35 percent of New Hampshire voters who cast ballots for a candidate other than Dean or Kerry, the 13 percent who went for Clark are the largest trove of likely Dean voters. The longer Clark stays in the race as a serious contender, the longer the antiwar vote is divided.
So, it's a long shot, and Democratic National Committee Chairman Terry McAuliffe has ordered candidates who don't win a state on Feb. 3 to quit the race. (At the Holiday Inn, Trippi virtually promised to ignore McAuliffe.) But it's probably Dean's only shot. Will the voters who dated Dean, then married Kerry get bored enough that they start to fantasize again about sleeping with Dean?
MANCHESTER, N.H.—I knew John Kerry was the man of the hour, but what made the feeling more than an abstraction was the Baltimore-Washington airport bookstore. It stocked a display of Kerry's campaign book, A Call to Service, above the latest books by Bill O'Reilly and Ann Coulter. Yes, it's the Washington area, but still—it's an airport bookstore.
Kerry continued his winning streak at tonight's debate, the final one among the seven remaining Democrats before the New Hampshire primary. Debates have been Kerry's best format during this campaign. He's a TV candidate, cool and authoritative, and the time-cramped medium comes to his aid by forcibly restricting his long-winded oratorical perambulations. But until tonight's context, Kerry's debate performances seemed as irrelevant as Al Sharpton's zingers.
The moment when Kerry won the debate, I thought, was when he answered Manchester Union-Leader reporter John DiStaso's question about his decision to throw his medals (or was it his ribbons?) away in protest during the Vietnam War. "I could not be more proud of the fact that when I came back from that war, having learned what I learned, that I led thousands of veterans to Washington, we camped on the Mall underneath the Congress, underneath Richard Nixon's visibility," Kerry said. "He tried to kick us off. And we stood our ground and said to him, 'Mr. President, you sent us 8,000 miles away to fight, die and sleep in the jungles of Vietnam. We've earned the right to sleep on this Mall and talk to our senators and congressmen.'" Kerry used the occasion to cast himself as both pro-veteran and antiwar, surely the sweet spot he hoped to squeeze his candidacy into before he got bogged down over the meaning of his vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution.
I'm beginning to suspect that Kerry's lack of clarity on the Iraq war actually benefits his candidacy. One, because voters from a wide spectrum can find ways to square his position with theirs, and two, because his muddled ambivalence best captures the way I suspect the great majority of Democrats feel. (Kerry may have best explained his stance in October 2002 when he said, "My vote was cast in a way that made it very clear, Mr. President, I'm voting for you to do what you said you're going to do, which is to go through the U.N. and do this through an international process. If you go unilaterally, without having exhausted these remedies, I'm not supporting you. And if you decide that this is just a matter of straight pre-emptive doctrine for regime-change purposes without regard to the imminence of the threat, I'm not going to support you." The quote is taken from Walter Shapiro's One-Car Caravan.)
But wouldn't Kerry know it? Even during his rosy post-caucus glow, he can't escape the man he once exasperatedly referred to as "Dean, Dean, Dean, Dean." Whether the Vermont governor is riding high in the polls or flaming out, he's the candidate the media fixate on. The local ABC affiliate in Manchester trumpeted its Nightline broadcast of the debate by mentioning only one candidate, Dean, by name. And if Dean's last-ditch effort to save his candidacy wasn't already the story of the day, his campaign ensured that it would be by sending their candidate on a televised triple play: the debate, his (and his wife's) interview with Diane Sawyer on ABC's Primetime Live, and his appearance on the Late Show With David Letterman. I watched all three from the comfort of my hotel room.
There are advantages to watching political events on television rather than attending them in person. For one, you get to see them as the viewers do. I was on the scene in Iowa during this campaign's defining moment, the Dean Scream, and I didn't even notice it. The crowd was so noisy during what appeared to be typical Dean behavior during a stump speech, not unlike his listing off of the industrialized countries with universal health care ("the British and the French and the Germans," on and on to "the Danes, the Swedes, the Japanese, even the Costa Ricans have health care!"), that no one in the room seemed to hear the "part growl, part yodel," as the Boston Globe put it. Second, when you attend a political debate, all you really do is watch it on TV anyway, except you watch it in on TV in a room filled with other journalists. Third, I had no idea that Ernie Hudson, aka "the fourth Ghostbuster," had his own show on ABC.
A couple things struck me from the Primetime interview. Dean said he was "speaking to 3,500 kids" on caucus night. I didn't formally survey the demographics of Dean's volunteers in Iowa, obviously, but his reference to the "under-30 generation" during his post-caucus speech elicited mild boos from the crowd. When I followed three Dean volunteers as they canvassed for votes in Des Moines, one was 33, one was 55, and one was 58. They weren't atypical. From my experience, nothing tweaks Dean supporters more than the idea that they are angry children, and they're right that the widespread belief that Dean is the kiddie candidate gives voters a reason not to take him seriously.
The second thing that occurred to me was something from Howard Dean: A Citizen's Guide to the Man Who Would Be President, the book by a team of Vermont reporters. In it, one journalist notes that as Vermont governor, Dean never quite grasped that he was something other than an ordinary person, and that his words had unusual power. Sure, he had an uncommon job, but other than that, Dean thought he was just a regular guy. To a great extent, Dean has behaved on the campaign trail as if he still feels the same way.
Dean's regular-guy status is one of the most appealing things about his candidacy, and it's one of the most fun things about covering him. He's willing to let himself be a normal person to a reporter in a way that most politicians won't. But in another way, a presidential candidate, and especially a president, isn't a regular guy. Presidents can't do or say the things that even senators and governors can. Neither can first ladies. That may not be fair, but that's the way it is.
It looks as if Howard and Judy Dean have decided that if they can't remain "just ordinary folks," they don't want to be president and first lady. That's admirable. But I also suspect that that decision, and not some pirate yell, is the biggest obstacle that would keep them from the White House.
MASON CITY, IOWA—Whatever John Kerry is doing right in this campaign, he isn't doing it on the stump. At least, that's my impression after watching him last night. Granted, it was the end of a long day for the senator, who spent much of it flying around Iowa by helicopter, and Kerry is a notoriously erratic speaker. The speech I watched him give had the quality of a rambling answering-machine message—Where is he going? What is he talking about? Will it ever end? But Kerry is the candidate that I've seen the least of in person, so I'm willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. Maybe I've just never seen him on a good day. If his momentum in the polls is for real, he must be doing something right.
There's a nugget of a theme in the middle of the speech, where Kerry uses President Bush's aircraft-carrier "Mission Accomplished" banner (derision of which is a surefire applause-getter in Iowa and New Hampshire alike) as a device to critique President Bush's domestic policy. "What mission?" Kerry asks. What about the mission to provide jobs for the unemployed, or to alleviate the high cost of prescription drugs, or to help family farmers, or to decrease the number of uninsured, or to clean up the environment? On those counts, "It's not even mission attempted," Kerry hollers. "It's mission deserted! Mission abandoned! Mission not even tried!" (Kerry returns to this theme at the conclusion, when he says Democrats will hang their own "Mission Accomplished" banner when they send President Bush back to Texas.)
In his first 100 days as president, Kerry says, he would issue an executive order that prohibits government officials from working as lobbyists for five years after they leave public life. He vows that every meeting between an official and a lobbyist in his administration would be public record. He makes an eloquent case for providing health care for the uninsured, saying, "Health care is not a privilege for the powerful and the wealthy. It is a right for all Americans." And he gets the automatic cheers any Democratic candidate gets when he refers to John Ashcroft by promising to "appoint an attorney general who is outside politics" and who will "not pursue a political and a religious agenda."
The audience doesn't seem wowed by Kerry, and he isn't bum-rushed by supporters the way I've seen crowds swarm around Howard Dean, Wesley Clark, and to a lesser extent on Thursday afternoon, John Edwards. What am I missing? I wonder. But driving between Dean events today, I hear a radio ad that might provide part of the answer. It supports Ryan Lizza's theory that Kerry is gaining ground by pushing an anti-tax message. Unlike unnamed other candidates, "John Kerry is not going to raise taxes on the middle class," the announcer says.
Kerry didn't directly criticize Howard Dean or Dick Gephardt on Thursday (though the veteran who introduced him did criticize Dean when he compared Kerry's Vietnam experience to "another candidate" who "asked for a deferment" and then went skiing). But he emphasized tax reform, not just the repeal of the Bush tax cuts. "I'm not looking for some great redistribution" or a "confiscatory" tax scheme, he says. "I'm looking for fairness." He also promises to "scour" the tax code for provisions that benefit "Benedict Arnold" companies and CEOs who move their assets offshore to escape taxes. Fifteen years ago, Kerry says, U.S. businesses had $250 billion in offshore assets. Today, it's $5 trillion. "This system is rigged against the average American," he says. "America is losing its democracy to a dollar-ocracy."
If Kerry's lead in the polls is accurate, and if it's attributable to his message on tax cuts (two pretty big ifs, in my opinion), Dean's decision to withhold his tax-reform plan until after the Iowa caucuses will be considered a major miscalculation. Instead of betting everything on Iowa and New Hampshire in an attempt to end the campaign before it began, Dean overconfidently decided to keep part of his platform in his quiver, presumably hoping it would have greater impact during a later stage of the campaign.
But what's bad news for Dean could be good news for the rest of the country. For years, pundits have complained that Iowa and New Hampshire have too much control over the presidential nominating process. This year, most people thought Iowa and New Hampshire would be even more important, because the condensed primary schedule would create unstoppable momentum for the winning candidates. But it looks like Terry McAuliffe's plan is having the opposite effect: By cramming so many primaries and caucuses into a small part of the calendar, McAuliffe created something much closer to a national primary than ever existed before. Joe Lieberman and Wesley Clark are taking advantage of the new game by staking their candidacies on the states after Iowa and New Hampshire. And if John Zogby is right about John Kerry, Howard Dean may be forced to do the same thing.
DES MOINES, IOWA—To give you an idea of how crowded Iowa is with presidential candidates and those who follow them, here's what happened in the first hour and a half after I landed here Wednesday night: At baggage claim, I encountered two Kerry campaign workers in need of a lift, so I dropped them off at Kerry HQ, which is downtown in what used to be a car dealership. Moments later, when I pulled up in front of my hotel, the "Real Solutions Express"—the big, blue, star-spangled Edwards bus—was sitting outside. After I checked in, I rode up the elevator with Juan Williams. Ten minutes later, my next elevator ride was with Aaron Pickerel, the Iowa political director for the Edwards campaign. In 20 minutes of TV viewing, I saw ads for Dean, Kerry, Kucinich ("Did I approve this commercial? You bet"), Edwards, Dean again, and Kucinich again.
Two days ago, the Iowa storyline seemed pretty clear: Howard Dean and Dick Gephardt would duke it out for first place, and John Kerry and John Edwards would compete for third. But now, if the latest Zogby poll is to be believed, it's a four-way run for the finish. No one seems to have any idea how things are going to go down on Monday, but at the moment, the race feels so close that the results won't winnow a single candidate from the race.
Right now, the biggest mystery of the campaign to me is what's gotten into John Edwards? After his spectacular performance at the Des Moines Register debate earlier this month, I thought to myself, "Too little, too late." After the Register endorsed him, I yawned. But a campaign rally this afternoon at the Renaissance Savery Hotel is the first Edwards event I've witnessed where an enthusiastic crowd gave him the aura of a winner. Before today, I'd only seen Howard Dean and Wesley Clark perform this well. (I'll weigh in with a judgment on John Kerry after I see him tonight.)
North Carolina Gov. Michael Easley introduces Edwards with the best introduction speech I've heard for any candidate this campaign. He praises Edwards' opponents, saying: "They've all served our country well. I don't have anything negative to say about any of them, and neither does Sen. Edwards." Then he says something artfully negative about them anyway. "I'm running [for re-election] this time, and I want to run with someone I can run with, not from." Easley prepares the crowd for Edwards' theme: The North Carolina senator has dropped his aw-shucks, son of a mill worker, I've-done-this-my-whole-life campaign, and now presents himself as a fighter who has defeated powerful interests and powerful Republicans. "When he decided to run [for U.S. senator], he took on the toughest Republican establishment in the history of this country," Easley says.
Edwards has expanded one of the most effective portions of his stump speech, the part about "two school systems, one for the haves, and one for the have-nots," and turned it into the campaign theme. There are "two Americas," he says: two school systems, two tax systems, two economies, even "two governments in Washington, D.C." America also has "two images all around the world," the shining City on a Hill versus a new, less flattering image that's been created by President Bush.
Edwards has always gone after lobbyists, but now he's more strident about it. "We ought to cut these lobbyists off at the knees," he says. "We ought to ban them from making political contributions." He rails against the "revolving door" between lobbying and government, and he condemns "war profiteering." "We ought to ban these companies from making political contributions at the same time they're bidding on Iraq."
Of the corporate lawyers who underestimated him in the courtroom, Edwards yells: "I beat 'em. And I beat 'em again. And I beat 'em again." Ditto for "the Jesse Helms political machine," which underestimated him during his race for the U.S. Senate, he says. "And now I'm the senior senator from North Carolina, not Jesse Helms! And that is good for America!" (This fires up the crowd, but won't John Edwards not be the senior senator from North Carolina next year, because he decided to run for president instead of re-election? Is that bad for America?)
By the end of his speech, Edwards is sounding more and more like the man he's been chasing, Howard Dean. Up to now, most of the non-Deans have been trying to copy Dean's message by mimicking his anger, but Edwards zeroes in on another part of Dean's pitch, the part about empowering "you." Edwards promises to take away Washington from "that crowd of insiders in Washington, D.C.," and restore it to you. He can't do it alone, he says: "You and I are going to do it together." And the last line of his speech is no longer about himself, about an America in which the son of a mill worker can beat the son of a president. Instead, the son of a mill worker sounds like the son of a stockbroker: "I believe in you."
On the subject of speaking precisely: I've been inundated with complaints about my recent piece that listed six statements made by Wesley Clark in New Hampshire. Unfortunately, I lumped statements that are objectively inaccurate (there were no terrorists in Iraq before the war) with statements that are demagogic (we could find Osama Bin Laden "if we wanted to") with statements that are imprecise (the statement that Bush "never intended to put the resources in to get Osama Bin Laden" can be defended logically, but so can Howard Dean's statement about the "Saudi tip-off" conspiracy theory that a secretive administration breeds conspiracy theories; neither are smart politics) with statements that are merely provocative and controversial and could be used to tar Clark unfairly (for example, I think it's unwise for Clark to focus on whether 9/11 was preventable). And I didn't outline which statement I believe falls in which category.
The point of the piece, which was admittedly not clear, was to suggest that Clark may not be the "electable Dean" that his supporters believe he is. Both candidates have a propensity to make statements that range from impolitic to provocative to simply inaccurate. If you like Clark or Dean, you're predisposed to excuse these statements or to see them as courageous truth-telling. If you don't like them, you have a different reaction. I wanted to highlight this similarity between the two candidates, which belies the consensus that Clark is supported by careful centrists and Dean by angry liberals. I wish I had been more precise.
Whether it's true or not, Gen. Wesley Clark's rise in the polls in New Hampshire is being partly attributed to some voters having "cold feet" about former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean, especially Dean's penchant for making statements that are quickly seized upon by Fox News or the Republican Party as evidence of unpatriotic disloyalty. But Clark has the same propensity for speaking imprecisely off the cuff. Here are some statements I heard him make last week during my trip with him in New Hampshire:
Bush was "warned" about 9/11? "President Bush didn't do his job as commander in chief in the early months of his administration. He was warned that the greatest threat to the United States of America was Osama Bin Laden, yet on the 11th of September in 2001, the United States had no plan for dealing with the threat posed by Osama Bin Laden. The ship of state was on autopilot. There were good CIA officers and FBI officers and everybody doing what they'd been taught to do, but the essential leadership process of putting focus on the resources of the United States, and giving these agencies a real target and a mission, it wasn't done. At least, I think that's what the evidence will show if we ever get the results of this presidential commission, and if they've asked the right questions." (Jan. 6, McKelvieMiddle School, Bedford.)
Bush "never intended" to get Osama Bin Laden? "We bombed Afghanistan, we missed Osama Bin Laden, partly because the president never intended to put the resources in to get Osama Bin Laden. All along, right after 9/11, they'd made their mind up, I guess, that we were going to go after Saddam Hussein. That's what people in the Pentagon told me. And they capped the resources, stopped the commitment to Afghanistan, and started shifting to prepare to go after Saddam Hussein." (Jan. 6, McKelvieMiddle School, Bedford.)
There wasn't a single terrorist in Iraq before the war? "The president was not and has not been held accountable yet for misleading the American people. He is continuing to associate Saddam, Iraq, and the problem of terrorism. Yet the only terrorists that are in Iraq are the people that have come there to attack us." (Jan. 7, Town House, Peterborough.)
Fifty-five million voters are "ill-informed" dupes of the Christian right? "Now, there's one party in America that's made the United Nations the enemy. And I don't know how many of you have ever read that series of books that's published by the Christian right that's called the "Left Behind" series? Probably nobody's read it up here. But don't feel bad, I'm not recommending it to you. I'm just telling you that according to the book cover that I saw in the airport, 55 million copies have been printed. And in it, the Antichrist is the United Nations. And so there's this huge, ill-informed body of sentiment out there that's just grinding away against the United Nations." (Jan. 7, FullerElementary School, Keene.)
Does Islam need an Enlightenment or just Match.com? "Young men in an Islamic culture cannot get married until they can support a family. No job, no marriage. No marriage, unhappy young men. They get real angry, they feel real frustrated, they feel real powerless. And a certain number of them are being exploited in the mosques by this recruiting network." (Jan. 8, Havenwoods Heritage Heights senior center, Concord.)
President Bush doesn't even want to find Bin Laden? "Newsweek magazine says he's in the mountains of western Pakistan. And I guess if Newsweek could find him there, we could, too, if we wanted to." (Jan. 8, Havenwoods Heritage Heights senior center, Concord.)
[Update, 1/15/04: Click here and scroll to the bottom to read a more precise explanation of this article.]
PETERBOROUGH, N.H.—The metaphorical moment of my first 24 hours on the Clark trail took place late Tuesday, when a college student handed her résumé to a Clark aide and asked for a job. The objective emblazoned across the top of the page stated that she wanted a position with the Kerry campaign, except the word "Kerry" was scratched out and "Clark" was hand-written below it in ink. If that's not proof of Clark's newfound No. 2 status in New Hampshire, Howard Dean's campaign produced still more evidence when it authorized volunteers to distribute anti-Clark flyers at a Clark town-hall meeting Wednesday here in Peterborough.
On one side, the flyer reads "WESLEY CLARK: PRO-WAR," followed by a list of the general's much-discussed statements in support of the congressional Iraq war resolution. It's the stuff that gave Clark grief when he entered the race in the fall: He advised Katrina Swett, campaigning at the time *, to vote for the resolution, and he told reporters this past September that "on balance, I probably would have voted for it." On the other side, the flyer reads "WESLEY CLARK: REAL DEMOCRAT?" followed by Clark's much-discussed statements in praise of President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the Bush Cabinet, plus evidence of his pro-Republican voting record in presidential elections (until 1992).
Clark strategist Chris Lehane paints this as hypocrisy on Dean's part. After calling on Terry McAuliffe to put a stop to intra-party bickering, the former Vermont governor aims his guns at his fellow Democrats when the tactic serves his interests. Fair enough, but who cares? More important is Clark campaign's sense of pride that it has arrived as a serious Dean rival. No campaign has ever been happier to have a target on its back.
Just as a press release at the Oct. 9 Phoenix debate showed that the Dean campaign considered Dick Gephardt its main obstacle of the moment, these flyers, however mild, demonstrate that Clark has become a big enough irritant to merit a swat of his own. "The Howard Dean campaign is starting to get a little nervous," Mo Elleithee, the campaign's New Hampshire communications director, crows at a conference call slapped together to gleefully respond to Dean's "negative attack flyers." "They're hearing our footsteps."
The Clark campaign insists that it was never engaged in any negative campaigning, and it's true that Clark has refrained from explicitly attacking Dean or any of his opponents at the three events I've attended so far. But there's no disputing that a healthy anti-Dean undercurrent runs through Clark's events. "You want to find the candidate you like, and you want to find the candidate who can win," says the man who introduces Clark in Peterborough. President Bush will run for re-election on national security and tax cuts, and Wesley Clark, he says, unlike Dick Gephardt and Howard Dean, can win on both.
Clark himself is even vaguer, but it's clear to whom he is referring when he opens each stump speech with a declaration that the party must rise above its anger in this election. "I'm not running to bash Bush," he says. "I'm running to replace him." The rest of the speech focuses on his patriotism, his faith, and his policies, but I wonder if this is another quiet shot at Dean. During Vietnam, "Every man in America understood that he had a military obligation," so it's no big deal that Clark served his country, Clark insists. (Did Dean understand his obligation?) And then, at a quick press conference after the town hall, a reporter asks Clark to respond directly to the flyers. Sounding more than ever like the man who just attacked him, Clark replies, "I guess that's what professional politicians do."
Correction, Jan. 9, 2004: In the original version of this article Chris Suellentrop referred to Katrina Swett as "Representative," when in fact she was merely campaigning for Congress at the time. Return to the corrected sentence.
BEDFORD, N.H.—When I last saw Wesley Clark, I called him "Howard Dean with flags." Since then, he's reinvented his candidacy and made himself an even bigger threat to the former Vermont governor. He's now Howard Dean with flags and tax cuts.
Clark seems pretty close to emerging as the consensus pick for the only realistic non-Dean candidate. By sitting on the sidelines during the various Dean-Kerry, Dean-Gephardt, Dean-Lieberman, and Dean-"Insert Democratic candidate here" scraps, it appears that Clark's benefited from the "Dean vs. the Washington Democrats" infighting. He's in a statistical tie with Dean in a national poll. And by camping out in New Hampshire while everyone else makes a two-week sprint toward Iowa, Clark hopes to rise even further in the Granite State polls, too. (To be fair, not everyone is in Iowa. Joe Lieberman is spending a good deal of time in New Hampshire. But Clark strategist Chris Lehane rightly says that Lieberman is like "Bruce Willis in The Sixth Sense: He's dead and doesn't know it yet.")
For Dean, Clark poses a slight problem because the general can't be painted with the same brush as Edwards, Gephardt, Kerry, and Lieberman. He's not a "Washington Democrat." He didn't vote for No Child Left Behind. He didn't vote for the Iraq resolution. The question for Clark is whether he will emulate Bill Clinton as the Comeback Kid, turning a potential second-place New Hampshire finish into an expectations victory, or whether he's just the voters' Fallback Guy. After all, the usual sad lot of the first runner-up is to sit around and vainly hope that the reigning Miss America won't be able to fulfill her duties. (Of course, there is always that chance that Howard Dean posed naked somewhere … never mind.)
As a candidate, Clark has improved his skills dramatically since I watched him speak in September. He's smoother, more coherent, and more concise. He's also willing to give voters at least mildly unpopular answers. At a "house party" on Tuesday (the first of several days that I'm going to be following Clark in New Hampshire), Clark tells a man concerned about job losses, "We'll probably never bring back the specific manufacturing jobs that have left." He doesn't rule out means-testing Medicare, though he does say that he's predisposed against it. (My favorite fudge on the subject: "I'm against means-testing as a matter of principle, insofar as it's at all practical.") The house is filled with physicians worried about medical malpractice suits, but Clark states his opposition to "arbitrary caps" on legal damages. "The court system really is important for ordinary Americans," he says. "The truth is if you're a poor person in this country or a person of modest means, the only way you can get legal advice is on a contingent-fee basis."
Despite the widely held belief that Clark is the candidate of Clintonian moderates while Dean is the candidate of the so-called "angry left," I don't see much evidence that voters at Clark events are more centrist or less liberal than voters I've seen elsewhere. (Exhibit A: A reporter walks up to a man in scrubs at the house party. "You're a doctor?" he asks. "An abortion provider!" is the cheery response.) At a town-hall meeting Tuesday night, one of Clark's biggest applause lines is his pledge to raise taxes on people who make more than $200,000 a year: "We're gonna ask them to be patriotic. We're gonna take back the Bush tax cuts."
But what really endears him to the crowd is his indictment of President Bush during the run-up to war. After outlining the Clark plan for Iraq—1) withdraw Paul Bremer; 2) put a non-American in charge; 3) place U.S. forces under NATO; 4) allow a rapid turnover of the country to Iraqis, "long before this July 1 date"; 5) don't let the Kurds keep their weapons, and don't give them an autonomous region—Clark mentions his Monday night appearance on MSNBC's Hardball. Chris Matthews was obsessed with Clinton's impeachment, Clark says. It's all he would ask him about. "We wasted millions of dollars and years in this country trying to find something that Bill and Hillary Clinton did wrong. And it was a waste of money and effort," Clark says. "I'd like to know why the United States Congress and this party is not demanding, every single day, an investigation into why the president of the United States misused the intelligence community, took us to a war we didn't have to fight, and still won't tell the American people the truth! That's what should be investigated! That's the truth!"
The candidate is angry, his voice rises, and the crowd leaps to its feet. It's Clark's best moment of a pretty good day. He's got them, I think, as the crowd presses around him for autographs and picture-taking. But I also can't help but think that Howard Dean would have had them on their feet from the start.
On Aug. 14, 1991, Vermont Gov. Richard Snelling died and was replaced by his mostly unknown lieutenant governor. The state's press corps could only wonder, "Who is Howard Dean?" writes David Moats, the editorial page editor of the Rutland Herald, in the introduction to Howard Dean: A Citizen's Guide to the Man Who Would Be President. The book is written by "a team of reporters for Vermont's Rutland Herald & Times-Argus" who purport to know Dean best. Moats writes, "It took the next decade for those of us in the press, and our readership, to gain an understanding of the energetic, ambitious politician who was sworn into office that summer afternoon in 1991."
Unfortunately for the nation, the Vermont press corps can't give us 10 years to gain an understanding of Howard Dean. Instead, they've given us 245 pages. The book sketches a pretty positive portrait, but fair or not, the juicy parts tend to be Dean's lesser-known lowlights:
Like father, unlike son: After being rejected for World War II service "on medical grounds," Dean's father volunteers for a civilian job helping the Allied cause in North Africa. (When Dean bypassed Vietnam under similar circumstances, he went skiing.)
Strange bedfellows: Brother Jim Dean (who now works for the campaign) describes his brother's 1971 graduation from Yale: "We get to Howard's room, and he isn't there, but there are a bunch of people apparently living there who aren't Yale students but are kind of street people with tattoos and all."
Governor who? On the day he took office, "Dean was considered a relatively minor figure, almost a lightweight," writes Darren Allen, chief of the Vermont Press Bureau. "Democratic Lt. Gov. Howard Dean outstripped other Vermont politicians for anonymity," the Associated Press had reported that morning. "Dean has been elected to statewide office three times, but 39 percent of those questioned had no opinion of him or had not heard of him."
Lights out: In one of Dean's first major decisions as governor, he sided with power companies in favor of a 25-year contract to purchase electricity from Quebec. Environment groups opposed the project because of Hydro-Quebec's damming of state rivers; human-rights groups worried about the fate of the Cree Indians, whose land would be flooded; and consumer groups worried whether the plan would even save Vermont money. The consumer groups, at least, turned out to be right: "In the late 1990s, Vermont's two biggest power companies nearly became insolvent as they struggled to pay what turned out to be high costs for Quebec power." Vermont consumers and businesses received "steep rate increases."
Not-so-green Dean: As governor, Dean turned out to be pro-conservation but anti-regulation, a position that some environmentalists find hard to reconcile. The state bought and preserved more than 470,000 acres of wild land, but Dean's administration also gutted or ignored Vermont's environmental regulations in order to land new business development. Upon retirement, the executive officer of Vermont's Water Resources Board charged Dean's administration with underfunding the state's Agency of Natural Resources and with politicizing environmental science: "ANR has not been given the resources to adequately do its job and too often the scientifically sound recommendations by ANR technical staff are overruled in final permit decisions by political appointees." (Dean's budget chief admits in the book that some agencies, including the Department of Natural Resources, were underfunded: "I agree that they didn't have enough money to do what they were authorized to do.")
In general, Dean showed a disdain for Vermont's legal and regulatory processes in favor of ad hoc deal-making and what he called "common sense" and "reason." Dean's critics say he abandoned a 20-year approach of appointing locally respected officials to environmental commissions. Instead, he "seems to have looked to people who wouldn't oppose his philosophy, who wouldn't demand tiresome scientific data and who wouldn't mind working for a governor who might inject himself in cases," writes Hamilton E. Davis, former managing editor of the Burlington Free Press. Some of Dean's defenders argue that he "never really understood the damage he was doing to the regulatory system."
Like governor, like candidate: Dean "never quite grasped the idea that he was something other than a normal guy," Davis writes. "He was smarter than most, of course, and with an unusual job, but otherwise he seems to have considered himself an ordinary guy who could say pretty much whatever crossed his mind without getting too wrought up over it."
More love from fellow Democrats: The book relies in many places on All Politics Is Personal, a memoir by Ralph Wright, the Democratic speaker of the Vermont House during much of Dean's political life in the state. "I guess this was the one thing I never could understand about Howard Dean. He always seemed so ready to abandon his cause at the first sign of defeat," Wright complains. "Maybe it was his medical training that toughened him to the certain failures that awaited us all. Maybe it was an unwillingness to have any cause at all, at least any cause for which he was willing to risk his political skin. … It wasn't just causes he was willing to abandon, he was capable of acting the same with people."
Safety second: Dean, at a press conference explaining why he wanted Vermont's Agency of Transportation to stop removing some steep rock walls along a section of the interstate that the agency had deemed too dangerous: "I got sick and tired of looking at [the construction] on my way back and forth between Montpelier and Burlington. … I'm not a safety expert. … If someone gets killed, then it's one someone who didn't have to die. It's very hard to second-guess this. But I react the way a Vermonter has to, to this. I don't like it."
Davis, the former Burlington Free Press managing editor, cites the incident as a good example of Dean's managerial style, "which was to give the agency secretaries something close to full autonomy, but then to hold them accountable publicly."
Dean's Kentucky campaign begins poorly: Letters received by Dean after he signed Vermont's civil-unions bill: "I was really sorry to read where you have allowed the passage of a bill recognizing queers to marry," wrote someone from Kentucky, "who vowed never to vacation in Vermont again." "I have been a Democrat all my life, but now that the Democrats are turning into queers, I am switching to the Republican Party. I hope you and all your queer buddies rot in hell."
Another said, "Dean Is a Faggot Lover. All Homosexuals, Go to Vermont, Dean Loves You. All Normal People, Stay Away From Vermont. A State Full Of Perverts—Run By Perverts. Boycott Fag Run Vermont." On one fund-raising walk after the bill-signing, an elderly woman walked up to Dean and said, "You fucking, queer-loving son of a bitch."
Here's a quick guide to the good parts of Winning Back America, Howard Dean's campaign book to be published Dec. 3 (complete with a cover picture of the candidate trying his damnedest to look sunny):
Chapter 1: "I'm a Regular Guy." Dean touches on his family's roots and his childhood in New York City, and he makes passing mention of his Rhode Island prep school, but he says he "really grew up in East Hampton on eastern Long Island." His "idyllic childhood" involved being outdoors, riding bikes, a duck pond, fishing, sailing, and baseball. His dad wouldn't buy him a uniform for his baseball team because he thought it was a waste of money. The chapter concludes, "At heart, I'm a country person."
Chapter 2: Howard Dean, Farmer. Devoted to Dean's summer jobs as a teenager. Dean writes two sentences about working as a sailing-camp counselor but an entire page about his work on a cattle ranch in Florida. There he earned "agricultural minimum wage," cleared land, dusted crops, and in a yearning-macho voice worthy of Apocalypse Now's Col. Kilgore, he remembers "feeling the cool mist of the herbicide on my bare chest as the plane went over."
Chapter 3: "Unlike George W. Bush, I Had Black Roommates at Yale." Bush went to Yale, too, but his senior year was Dean's freshman year, 1968. "The gulf between our experiences was much larger, though; it was as if we were a generation apart," Dean writes, referring to the changes wreaked both by "the phenomenon of the sixties" and the increasing diversity of the Yale student body, including more Jews, more public school students, and in 1969, women.
Chapter 4: Howard Dean, Ski Bum. Dean's post-college years before medical school. He skis in Colorado (living in a cabin "in a little place called Ashcroft"), where he pours concrete and washes dishes to pay the bills. He becomes a teacher by virtue of a strange snap judgment after missing a plane to Bogotá, Colombia: "I've taken many hundreds of flights in my life, and this is the only time that's ever happened. I realized that there was a reason I missed the plane. I cut short my intended trip, went home, and decided to get to work." After teaching for a year, he takes a job on Wall Street. He decides he's too careful with other people's money to be a good broker, and that he doesn't really like New York City.
Chapter 5: Med School and Judy. Contains one of the more intriguing sentences in the book: "I didn't really get to be a happy person until I went to medical school." Dean's explanation for this is that he didn't work hard enough at Yale, and "If I'm directionless and coasting, I'm not happy." He meets his future wife, Judy Steinberg. He doesn't get into any of his top three choices for his medical residency. The University of Vermont was choice No. 4, and he moves to Burlington in May 1978.
Chapter 6: Dean Enters Politics. Is Dean a moderate Republican in disguise? He compares himself to his Republican father, a "fiscal conservative" who was "not particularly liberal on social issues, but he wasn't particularly conservative either. Today he would be considered a moderate, business-oriented Republican; he wanted the budget run properly. In that way, I am very much my father's son." Dean on why he's a "pragmatic Democrat": "I was friendly with the younger, more liberal Democrats because they were my age, but I didn't vote with them. I didn't relate to their political sensibilities."
Chapter 7: The Vermont Statehouse. A woman tells him, "You're going to do really well here, but you've got to get over this chip on your shoulder that tells you to fix somebody's wagon if they cross you."
Chapter 8: Governor. "Our telephone number remained in the book." Dean cuts marginal tax rates to improve Vermont's economy, but he insists he didn't engage in the "outrageous tax cutting that went on in some of the states." He also cuts spending programs over the objections of liberal Democrats. On one occasion, he visits Congress to talk about health care: "Bob Michel, the House minority leader, was there. He was a wonderful person. Newt Gingrich was there. He's not a wonderful person."
Chapter 9: More of the Vermont Miracle. Here's Dean's illustration of the "striking difference" between Republicans and Democrats: "When the Democrats controlled the National Governors Association (I was chair of the NGA from 1994 to 1995), we used to fight against our own party when it passed legislation that harmed the states. When the Republicans took over, however, they took orders from the G.O.P. in Washington, with few standing up for the people they represented. … Most Republican governors caved to the right-wing Republican White House because they were fearful; the folks in the White House are more than willing to threaten them."
Chapter 10: Pre-President Dean. He defends the Bush daughters: "I know that several thousand kids every year get caught with fake IDs." And he defends his wife's decision not to participate in his presidential campaign: "The notion that the wife is going to be dragged along in the wake of her husband's career is something that should have been left behind decades ago." Six sentences on religion, including "I'm a fairly religious person though I don't regularly attend church or temple," "I pray just about every day," and "I also believe that good and evil exist in the world, and I thoroughly disapprove of people who use religion to inflict pain on others."
Dean's favorite books: All the King's Men, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Ken Kesey's Sometimes a Great Notion; also Barbara Ehrenreich's Nickel and Dimed and David McCullough's Truman ("It is one of the books that has had the most impact on me in the last ten years").
Dean ranks the presidents: 1) Washington; 2) Lincoln; 3) FDR; 4) a four-way tie between Jefferson, Truman, TR, and LBJ, despite Vietnam. We also learn Dean's weight, about 167 pounds. And don't tell Arianna, but he drives a Ford Explorer.
Chapter 11: The Chapter Most Worth Reading. Dean on the execution of his brother Charlie by communists in Laos in 1975 and on the death of his father in 2001. His parents thought Charlie was CIA: "There was speculation that Charlie was in Laos because he was working for the CIA and I think my parents believed that to be the case. Personally, I don't think he was employed by the U.S. government in any capacity, but we'll probably never know the answer to that question." Dean admits that he has spoken to counselors about his brother's death, and the chapter ends, "I'm sure that, had he lived, he'd be the one running for president and not me."
The second half of the book is campaign boilerplate: True believers will nod in approval, but you've heard this stuff before.
The first Wednesday of every month is Meetup day for Howard Dean supporters, so they're gathered in a cramped restaurant called Merrimack, waiting for the candidate to arrive. It's close to a Holiday Inn where Dean and the other candidates will participate in a "women's issues" debate sponsored by Planned Parenthood. Merrimack is packed with media, including Joe Klein ("Hi, Joe," Dean says when he gets there) and George Stephanopoulos, who appears to be dressed in the same black turtleneck Wesley Clark and Dennis Kucinich wore Tuesday night.
Once Dean arrives, he stands atop a chair to address the crowd. "It's not true that I'm the shortest candidate in the campaign," he says. "In fact, I may be in the top half." This isn't as preposterous as it sounds. There are nine candidates, and only John Kerry, John Edwards, and Dick Gephardt are indisputably taller than Dean. Dennis Kucinich and Carol Moseley Braun are shorter. That leaves a fierce battle for the vital center among Dean, Wesley Clark, Al Sharpton, and Joe Lieberman. Maybe at the next debate they should all line up in their stocking feet.
During his speech, Dean clearly urges his supporters (who are voting this week on whether the campaign should turn down federal matching funds) to let him bust the federal spending caps: "It's a gamble, and there's good things to be said for both sides. But I fundamentally do not believe we can compete with George Bush if we limit our spending to $45 million."
Earlier in the day, Dean delivered a speech in New York (which I watch from the comfort of my Manchester hotel room, on www.howarddean.tv) to announce the vote. What catches my eye: While criticizing President Bush's "powerful money-bundlers," Dean said, "They are people like Walden O'Dell, a 2004 Pioneer, who is also manufacturing electronic voting machines to count our votes, and has said that he is, quote, 'committed to helping Ohio deliver its electoral votes to the president next year.' " Does Dean believe that the Republican Party is going to manipulate electronic voting machines to steal the 2004 election? At Merrimack, I ask him. He admits that he doesn't know much about the subject, but he sounds open to the possibility. "I think it's a serious issue," he says.
A line Dean says to a supporter that he might want to consider dropping: "The only difference between me and McGovern is we're going to be in the White House."
Things of interest during the Planned Parenthood debate:
The candidates are asked to grade themselves on their parenting, and Dean and Clark give the most interesting answers. "I will not pretend for a moment that I did 50 percent of the work, but I did a lot," Dean says. Clark is even more honest. "I don't give myself a very good grade, but I had an A-plus wife," he says. "Sometimes you get better than you deserve in life, and I've been lucky."
They are also asked, "Do you practice a faith, and would you invoke the name of God when discussing a policy?" Nearly every one of them gives the safe answer, that their faith is important to them, but that they respect the separation of church and state. "I pray every night, but don't go to church very often," says Dean. "My religion does not inform my public policy, but it does inform my values," is Edwards's answer, and he adds, "The president of the United States should not be setting policy for the country based on his or her faith."
Only Kucinich dissents. (Along with Clark, Kerry, and Braun, he's one of four Catholics at the debate. Although Braun and Clark self-identify as Catholics, Braun attends an Episcopal church and Clark attends a Presbyterian one.) He says that within the context of a pluralistic society, religious values can and should influence public policy. "We must live our spiritual values in our public policy," such as full employment, health care, and education, he says. "A government that stands for peace reflects spiritual values." After the debate, I try to ask Kucinich about the relationship between his faith and his public policy, but I get off on the wrong foot by saying that he changed his abortion position to pro-choice "right before" he started running for president. "Wrong," Kucinich says, it was spring 2002. The discussion goes nowhere from there.
Since the topic came up, after the debate I also ask Clark why he converted to Catholicism as a young man, and why he no longer practices.
"When I was in England during the Vietnam War, the Nonconformist churches over there were just extraordinarily political. And I just couldn't go to service and have them condemn the armed forces that I was serving in. I mean, they were my West Point classmates there, and they were being accused of terrible crimes, and it wasn't so," he says.
"I believed in the structure, and the balance, and the long-term durability of the Catholic Church, and that's why I converted to Catholicism. But over the years as we went from location to location and saw the church, we found that our spiritual needs were better met by attendance at Protestant services. The services were richer in their spiritual meaning. And of course I still consider myself a Catholic. But I enjoy the singing, I enjoy the sermon, I enjoy the fellowship in the Protestant services. It's just a much deeper spiritual experience. That's for me."
Back to the debate. Three of the candidates say 18-year-old women should be required to register for Selective Service, just like 18-year-old men. "If you have different standards, that begins the path toward discrimination," Dean says. Clark and Kerry say yes, too. Edwards says no, and Braun says it would be OK if it weren't for the fact that one in four women at the Air Force Academy are victims of sexual assault or rape. Kucinich gives my favorite answer, an attempt to have it both ways: "No, not that they can't, if they want to."
What role would a "first lady, first man, or first friend" play in their administrations? There are three interesting answers. Dean confirms that "I'd very much like to be the first president who has a working wife in the White House" who does not participate in his career. Braun, who is divorced, says, "This is an impossible question. There has never been a First Man or First Gentleman." Like Dean, but with more flair, she concludes, "You'll get me, but you'll get no one for free."
But it's Kucinich, who also is divorced, who steals the show. "As a bachelor, I get a chance to fantasize about my first lady. Maybe Fox wants to sponsor a national contest or something," he says. He adds that he wants "someone who would not want to just be by my side," but would be a "dynamic outspoken women who was fearless" in her support for peace in the world and universal, single-payer health care. So, "If you're out there, call me."
SIOUX CITY, Iowa—Dean season! Gephardt season! Dean season! Gephardt season! If any lingering debate remained over which presidential candidate is currently enjoying his media moment, my two days with Dick Gephardt settled it. The 20 national reporters who follow Gephardt for all or part of his campaign swing from Des Moines to Sioux City are the latest sign that not only have the leaves turned in late October, but so have the media.
I came along to witness firsthand the evidence for something I wrote earlier this month after the Phoenix debate, that Gephardt's hard-nosed and well-organized Iowa campaign presents, at the moment, the biggest obstacle to President Dean (or, to be fairer, Democratic Nominee Dean). But I missed the media conspiracy memo that told everyone else to show up, too. During Gephardt's weekend swing in Iowa two days before, only three national reporters trailed the candidate. But now, David Brooks is here. So are Mara Liasson of NPR and Carl Cameron of Fox News. Throw in reporters from ABC, MSNBC, Knight Ridder, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Christian Science Monitor, Newsweek, and the New York Times. (Counting Brooks, on Wednesday there are two New York Times writers following Gephardt.) Just for the sake of overkill, there are reporters from the British press and from Japanese television along for the ride. At one event in Pocahontas, Iowa—a town with an absolutely gigantic statue of the Indian princess outside her teepee welcoming visitors from the highway—the number of journalists nearly matches the number of prospective caucus-goers.
The Gephardt campaign pushes its slow-and-steady-wins-the-race angle (or is it a plea for votes from Maryland Terrapins alums?) by emblazoning "Fear the Turtle!" on the front of the press itinerary, complete with a little clip-art turtle on every page. The packet includes the latest Iowa poll results, which show Gephardt and Dean in a statistical tie for the lead, with Kerry and Edwards lagging behind. For good measure, the campaign throws in last week's favorable press clippings, including Des Moines Register wise man David Yepsen's assertion that Gephardt is the Iowa front-runner and that Dean has "plateaued" in the state. Also enclosed is a much-discussed Washington Postreport—distributed, in truncated form, to voters at campaign events—that Gephardt is the candidate "many prominent Republicans fear the most." Not included is a delicious metaphor for Gephardt supporters to latch onto: While hurtling from campaign stop to campaign stop in Iowa over the past few months, the Dean van has been pulled over multiple times for speeding.
At his first stop, a senior center in Des Moines (the first of three consecutive senior centers visited by the campaign), Gephardt is supposed to deliver a "health policy address," but it turns out to be a rehash of old Howard Dean quotes about Medicare. (Later, while being ribbed by reporters about the false advertising, Gephardt's Iowa press secretary, Bill Burton, protests that he never called it a "major" policy address.) The newest wrinkle: Gephardt wants to paint the 1997 balanced budget accord—generally thought to be one of President Clinton's major accomplishments, and one supported by Dean—as a "deep, devastating cut" in Medicare.
While Gephardt speaks in front of a sign that reads "Protect Social Security" and "Protect Medicare" over and over, like computer-desktop wallpaper, I wonder: Does he really want to play this game? Dredging up old quotes and votes about Gephardt's onetime conservatism is what helped to derail his '88 campaign. He voted against the establishment of the Department of Education. He voted for a constitutional amendment to ban abortion. He voted to means-test Social Security and to eliminate cost-of-living adjustments from the program. He voted for Reagan's 1981 tax cuts. He opposed an increase in the minimum wage. Does a man with a legislative record this long and varied really want to ostentatiously declare, "There are life-and-death consequences to every position taken and every vote cast"? If that's so, how many times was Dick Gephardt on the side of death?
For now, however, it's a more recent House vote that's preventing Gephardt from running away with the Iowa race. At nearly every campaign event I attend, Gephardt is forced to deliver, in effect, two separate stump speeches. The first is the one he would like the campaign to be about: universal health care, jobs, and the immorality of rapacious multinational corporations. Gephardt's not anticapitalist: "Capitalism is the best system," he says in Pocahontas. "But capitalism has to have rules, so the capitalists don't destroy the very system" they benefit from.
He describes his visits to Mexico, China, and India, where workers live in the cardboard boxes used to ship the products they make. "I smelled where they live," he says. They live without electricity, without running water, with raw sewage running down the streets and next to "drainage ditches filled with human waste." "They live in worse conditions than farm animals in Iowa," he continues. "This is nothing short of human exploitation, that's what it is, for the profit of some special interests in the world." I'm not sure I agree with Gephardt's proposed solutions—though I'm intrigued by his notion of a variable international minimum wage—but there's no denying that he's a powerful critic of global capitalism's excesses.
Then, once Gephardt has finished and the applause has subsided, almost invariably a voter raises his hand to ask: What about Iraq? Was this war about oil? How can we recover the world's respect? How can we pay for all your programs with a war on?
At this point, Gephardt is forced to unveil stump speech No. 2. Sept. 11 changed everything, he says. Government's highest obligation is to protect American lives. In a Gephardt administration, the highest priority would be to prevent a nuclear device—"dirty or clean"—from going off in New York, Los Angeles, or Des Moines. That's why he decided Saddam Hussein needed to be removed. He supported the war because he believed the estimates of the CIA and the warnings of former Clinton administration officials, not because he listened to President Bush ("I would never do that").
Slowly, Gephardt's defense of his vote for the congressional war resolution transitions into a critique of the president. Though in an interview he insisted that the president was smart, on the stump he's not shy about insinuating that the president (whom he often refers to as "Dubya") is stupid. "He's incompetent," "He frightens me," "He's hard to help," I told him America founded the United Nations because "I wasn't sure he knew the history," and "If you'd been meeting with him every week since 9/11, you'd be running for president," too. Because Bush refused to negotiate with Kim Jong Il, North Korea is now "weeks away" from producing nuclear bombs. Bush abandoned the peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine, saying, "It's not our problem." He's arrogant. He doesn't play well with others. By the end, people are satisfied enough with Gephardt's explanation, and maybe even a little terrified, but you get the sense that they're not enthused by it.
But Gephardt isn't counting on enthusiasm. He has a couple edges on Dean, in addition to his obvious union support. For one, a surprising number of Iowa Democrats just don't like the former Vermont governor. The opposition to Gephardt tends to be substantive, based on his support for the war or his failure as Democratic leader to enact a more Democratic agenda. But the opposition to Dean is stylistic, or maybe even cultural. In socially conservative Iowa, sometimes you hear it whispered: Where's Dean's wife? Before Gephardt arrives at an event in the town of Ida Grove, I overhear a woman grumble about Judith Steinberg's refusal to campaign for her husband. "I can't get used to that," she tells her companion. "It's supposed to be a family thing."
By the same token, Gephardt never fails to mention the "church loans" and "church scholarships" that allowed him to attend Northwestern and then Michigan law school. He also refers to his son, Matt, who survived prostate cancer as an infant, as a "gift of God." I don't think I've ever heard Howard Dean say the word "God" in reference to anything.
Just before the last stop in Sioux City, I'm granted a 10-minute ride-along interview with Gephardt. I've got a number of questions, but the one I really want an answer to is this: If balanced budgets and free trade—two things that don't get a lot of emphasis in the Gephardt platform—weren't the secrets of the Clinton economy, what were? Higher taxes for the rich? Gephardt explains that the '97 budget accord wasn't needed to balance the budget, and then he tries to explain why Bush's steel tariffs—which Gephardt supported, and which made the United States lose manufacturing jobs—aren't analogous to the retaliatory tariffs Gephardt wants to be able to impose on foreign products or factories that don't comply with minimal labor and environmental standards. Soon enough, we're so sidetracked that I've forgotten entirely what we were talking about.
But afterward, when I'm once again following Gephardt in my rental car, I'm left with my question: Clinton balanced the budget and promoted free trade, and the economy boomed. President Bush ran up enormous deficits and put new restrictions on trade, and the economy sputtered. Isn't Dick Gephardt's plan closer to President Bush's?
[…] Do you have a Libraries blog? Are you thinking about starting one? Are you wondering how to more effectively communicate with users and peers? Join the Web Governance Committee, Information Technology, and the Libraries Publishing Program for a pair of blogging workshops this May. Registration Form […]
In 2010 the UCI (Union Cycliste Internationale - the world governing body for sports cycling) allowed disc brakes to be used on competition cyclo-cross bikes. Since then there has been much speculation on whether the suits at UCI would change the…
Sho? Neka vide članovi na kakav su se sajt učlanili...
Kad je ova sliČka odgovarajuća a ona sa šeširitji nije, što da ne iskoristim svoju pravo na besplatnu reklamu i marketing :?:
Zaboli me pravo da ti kažem šta tje ko da pomisli...
Jako se tesko nosim, kao sto rekoh, savesna sam i odgovorna, onda se jako naljutim kad mi se prebaci za nesto, sto na kraju i nije moja odgovornost ali taj tzv. autoritet ima pravo da ustane na levu nogu...onda primenjujem taktiku i princip ujedanja za jezik, i skretanje pogleda kako ne bih upotrebila ruku koja sama krene da uzvrati informaciju iz prve ruke...sputavam suze ljutice, ali ja taj bes ne ponesem kuci, nego akumuliram pa prvi vikend odem u diskoteku i izvristim sa sve 5 promila alkohola...i sve je cool...dakle nosim se!
Koji je tvoj ventil za ispustanje negativne energije?
Za sebe smatram da sam prilicno odgovorna, uvek stignem svoje obaveze da pozavrsavam...samo mi treba prostora, onda je dobra volja jak faktor...ako me pritisnu nekim rokovima, onda tu zakazujem...ne funkcionisem pod pritiskom...
Synchronized cortical activities in the central nervous systems of mammals are crucial for sensory perception, coordination, and locomotory function. The neuronal mechanisms that generate synchronous synaptic inputs in the neocortex are far from being fully understood. This thesis contributes toward an understanding of the emergence of synchronization in networks of bursting neurons as a highly nontrivial, combined effect of chemical and electrical connections. The first part of this thesis addresses the onset of synchronization in networks of bursting neurons coupled via both excitatory and inhibitory connections. We show that the addition of pairwise repulsive inhibition to excitatory networks of bursting neurons induces synchrony, in contrast to one’s expectations. Through stability analysis, we reveal the mechanism underlying this purely synergistic phenomenon and demonstrates that it originates from the transition between different types of bursting, caused by excitatory-inhibitory synaptic coupling. We also report a universal scaling law for the synchronization stability condition for large networks in terms of the number of excitatory and inhibitory inputs each neuron receives, regardless of the network size and topology. In the second part of this thesis, we show that similar effects are also observed in other models of bursting neurons, capable of switching from square-wave to plateau bursting. Finally, in the third part, we report a counterintuitive find that combined electrical and inhibitory coupling can synergistically induce robust synchronization in a range of parameters where electrical coupling alone promotes anti-phase spiking and inhibition induces anti-phase bursting. We reveal the underlying mechanism which uses a balance between hidden properties of electrical and inhibitory coupling to act together to synchronize neuronal bursting. We show that this balance is controlled by the duty cycle of the self-coupled system which governs the synchronized bursting rhythm. This work has potential implications for understanding the emergence of abnormal synchrony in epileptic brain networks. It suggests that promoting presumably desynchronizing inhibition in an attempt to prevent seizures can have a counterproductive effect and induce abnormal synchronous firing.
Financial services industry figures have revealed that many lenders will struggle to meet the mid-2010 deadline for licence applications under the upcoming consumer credit regime, despite the government's decision to offer a six-month reprieve.
By Dylan Bell and Jasmin Husain It was quite the week for millennials when it came to entertainment news. Leo might finally win an Oscar this weekend Netflix’s bingeworthy Full House sequel, Fuller House, just came out Kanye West, in typical Kanye West performative fashion, has spent the week continually out–Kanye Westing himself Cult sensations Broad City and Girls […]
Exploring the radiosynthesis and in vitro characteristics of [(68) Ga]Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9.
J Labelled Comp Radiopharm. 2017 May 30;:
Authors: Jensen SB, Käkelä M, Jødal L, Moisio O, Alstrup AKO, Jalkanen S, Roivainen A
Vascular adhesion protein-1 (VAP-1) is a leukocyte homing-associated glycoprotein, which upon inflammation rapidly translocates from intracellular sources to the endothelial cell surface. It has been discovered that the cyclic peptide residues 283-297 of sialic acid-binding IgG-like lectin 9 (Siglec-9) "CARLSLSWRGLTLCPSK" bind to VAP-1 and hence makes the radioactive analogues of this compound ([(68) Ga]Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9) interesting as a non-invasive visualizing marker of inflammation. Three different approaches to the radiosynthesis of [(68) Ga]Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9 are presented and compared to previously published methods. A simple, robust radiosynthesis of [(68) Ga]Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9 with a yield of 62% (non-decay corrected) was identified, it had a radiochemical purity >98% and a specific radioactivity of 35 MBq/nmol. Furthermore, the protein binding and stability of [(68) Ga]Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9 were analysed in vitro in mouse, rat, rabbit, pig, and human plasma and compared to in vivo pig results. The plasma in vitro protein binding of [(68) Ga]Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9 was the lowest in the pig followed by rabbit, human, rat, and mouse. It was considerably higher in the in vivo pig experiments. The in vivo stability in pigs was lower than the in vitro stability. Despite considerable species differences, the observed characteristics of [(68) Ga]Ga-DOTA-Siglec-9 are suitable as a PET tracer.
PMID: 28556976 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]
Sajber baka rece da te je videla na subotickom radiju i da licis na Mariju Serifovic po gradji, a ja sam posebno slab na takve...
Setih se kada mi je tvoja seka rekla za vas razgovor na msn-u.
Budi iskrena pa priznaj!
Rekla je " ajde seko da te vidim jednom"
a ti si rekla pa "boze seko imas moje slike na mom profilu" i i nikada nisi skidala neku masku tokom razgovora.Marija M je rekla....bolje da ne znas sta. 8)
Da mi nisi vredjala cerku i zenu onda kada si banovana, oprostio bih ti tupavost, ovako malo teze ce da ide...
Bjelica je jedan svrcko, koji pati sto je necu pustiti da se uvali u moju gajbu u krugu dvojke...a i nije ni zasluzila.... 8)
The Public Health Nurse also serves as a resource for individuals and groups within the community, providing a public health perspective to community initiated... $94,010 - $106,685 a year From Nunavut Government - Fri, 23 Jun 2017 18:19:14 GMT - View all Clyde River, NU jobs
Programme de promotion sociale. Pour se voir accorder la priorité en vertu du programme de promotion sociale, les candidats doivent montrer clairement qu’ils y... $31.16 an hour From Government of the Northwest Territories - Sat, 24 Jun 2017 10:21:21 GMT - View all Sachs Harbour, NT jobs
Programme de promotion sociale. Pour se voir accorder la priorité en vertu du programme de promotion sociale, les candidats doivent montrer clairement qu’ils y... $14.47 an hour From Government of the Northwest Territories - Sun, 11 Jun 2017 13:10:19 GMT - View all Sachs Harbour, NT jobs
Ancora non erano arrivati i tempi dei giochi social su smartphone e tablet, eppure già c’era un gioco (in versione flash per pc) che avrebbe fatto scuola per i titoli successivi: si tratta di Governor of Poker, uno dei giochi di poker gratuiti più riusciti di sempre e che è anche disponibile su iTunes per […]
The Chhattisgarh region of central India is rich in mineral resources, but its people live in poverty, eking out a living amongst the fighting that has gone on for close to three decades, with many of them uprooted from traditionally held tribal land. These people end up caught between the government and the Maoist rebels, and it’s this tension that serves as the backdrop to Amit V. Masurkar’s finely chiseled film, Newton. In the world’s largest democracy, free and fair elections are seen as the way to counter Maoist opposition, and the key to free and fair elections is the
V Sloveniji je vsako leto več starejših ljudi, starih tudi 8o in več let. Pa vendar, kako kakovostno bivati v domačem okolju čim dlje? Kako starejšim pomagati, da bi ostali vključeni v družbo kljub težavam z mobilnostjo? V okviru Zavoda Zlata mreža so ostarelim na voljo prostovoljni šoferji. O tem kot tudi o drugih dejavnostih pomoči starejšim še posebej v poletnih mesecih bodo spregovorili Edvard Kužner, Slavica Frelih iz Kopra, Črt Urbašek iz Velenja, Eva Jelnikar Mrak in uporabniki prostovoljnih storitev. V oddaji, ki jo bo vodila Danica Lorenčič bo nastopil tudi Trio Lipa iz Buzeta.
... Supreme Court denied cert in Peruta v. California , the Second Amendment is a "disfavored" amendment at this point, and guns and gun parts are the popular eeevil nuisance of the day - so it's okay for government to ban them, right? FPC's Brandon ...
La historia de la antigua ciudad de Santa Fe se descubre en las Ruinas de Santa Fe La Vieja, antiguo emplazamiento en el que pueden admirarse las huellas del ayer.
El sitio corresponde al asentamiento en el que estuvo la ciudad de Santa Fe desde su fundación en 1573 hasta la década de 1660, cuando fue trasladada 78 kilómetros hacia el sur. Su localización y excavación se debe a Agustín Zapata Gollán (1895-1986), quien inició sus investigaciones a mediados de 1949. En el sitio pueden distinguirse dos áreas que tuvieron usos y formas de ocupación diferenciadas: el entorno de la Plaza de Armas, con solares dedicados a usos religiosos, administrativos y viviendas, y la zona de las "cuadras", dedicadas a cultivos urbanos (frutales y viñedos). El río San Javier ha erosionado el sector próximo a la Plaza, donde se encontraban la Iglesia Matriz, la Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús, la iglesia de San Roque y la casa del propio Juan de Garay. El área actual del sitio de casi 69 hectáreas corresponde a las dos terceras partes de la traza fundacional. En este sector se ubican el remanente de la Plaza de Armas, las iglesias conventuales de San Francisco, Santo Domingo y La Merced, el Cabildo y un número significativo de viviendas, entre ellas: las de Cristóbal de Garay, nieto del fundador, y las de Alonso Fernández Montiel, Francisco de Páez, el escribano Juan de Cifuentes, Juan González de Ataide y Manuel Ravelo. De las construcciones originales se conservan partes bajas de los muros y sus cimientos, construidos con la técnica de tapia o tierra apisonada, además de fragmentos de tejas, algunas de ellas con dibujos e inscripciones. En relación con estas estructuras, las investigaciones arqueológicas han puesto a la luz un importante caudal de objetos que testimonian la vida de la ciudad hasta mediados del siglo XVII: cerámica indígena, hispano-indígena y española, porcelana oriental, tejas, ladrillos, monedas, medallas, cuentas de collares y rosarios, amuletos, útiles de labranza y herramientas. El registro arqueológico da cuenta de una sociedad compleja y pluriétnica en la que conviven españoles, mestizos, aborígenes y africanos. Dentro del recinto de los templos las excavaciones dejaron al descubierto los restos de los pobladores allí enterrados, dos centenares de sepulcros de los cuales Zapata Gollán pudo identificar algunos de los más importantes, entre ellos los de la hija de Garay, fundador de la ciudad, y su esposo Hernandarias de Saavedra, el primer gobernador criollo del Río de la Plata.
EL PARQUE Y SUS COMPONENTES:
Campo de la Doma
Museo de Sitio
Iglesias de San Francisco, Santo Domingo y La Merced
Casas de González de Ataide, Garay, Páez, Cifuentes, Fernández Montiel
El Museo Histórico de Santa Fe invita a recorrer sus salas
La recorrida de las salas del museo se propone como un modo interesante de evocar la historia, conocer sus personajes, reconocer momentos, estilos y acontecimientos. Durante todo el mes de marzo, el Museo Histórico Provincial de Santa Fe “Brigadier Estanislao López” invita a visitar y recorrer la casona de San Martín y 3 de Febrero, en pleno casco histórico de la ciudad, donde puede apreciarse la Muestra Temporaria "Con nombre propio" en la que se exponen vajilla y otros objetos de uso personal con monograma. Las otras siete salas ofrecen un patrimonio diverso, compuesto por mobiliario, arte religioso, pintura , fotografía, documentación, objetos de uso doméstico que hacen referencia a la historia provincial y regional desde los tiempos de la colonia hasta el siglo XX. Entre las actividades del año, han comenzado a desarrollarse tareas de extensión. El asesoramiento a docentes, talleres para el nivel primario , la entrega de cartillas y otras propuestas, dentro del área de Serivicios Didácticos, tendrán continuidad de abril a noviembre. Para mayor información las escuela podrán dirigirse al área de Servicios Didacticos del Museo, de martes a viernes de 8,30 a 14 horas a partir del próximo diez de marzo. Horarios De martes a viernes, de 8,30 a 19,30 hs. Sábados, domingos y feriados, de 16,30 a 19,30 hs.
A suicide bombing and gun attack on a popular restaurant of the Somali capital Mogadishu early on Thursday killed at least 17 people, including foreigners.
The Al Shabab Islamist militant group claimed responsibility - saying one of its fighters rammed a car packed with explosives onto the gates of a posh hotel.
A photograph uploaded to social media by Abdulaziz Billow Ali showed the area affected by the explosion engulfed in flames, while loud gunfire can be heard in subsequent videos.
The explosion caused a huge inferno inside the famous Pizza House Restaurant. Sporadic gunfire can still be heard #Mogadishu #Somalia. pic.twitter.com/gtilI4hQGS- Abdulaziz Billow Ali (@AbdulBillowAli) June 14, 2017
Al Shabab claimed the attack in #Mogadishu. pic.twitter.com/9nscf9fWhF- Ruslan Trad (@ruslantrad) June 14, 2017
Gunmen then stormed the neighbouring restaurant and held dozens of people hostage inside.
Special forces released at least 50 hostages, according to the state news media, but many were wounded in the attack, which dragged on late into the night.
One witness said the gunmen were dressed like soldiers. They also cut off electricity to impede the siege by security forces.
Its almost midnight in #Mogadishu and heavy exchange of gunfire can still be heard at Pizza House. Gunmen still holed up inside. #Somalia pic.twitter.com/heb2uwl8AA- Abdulaziz Billow Ali (@AbdulBillowAli) June 14, 2017
Its already past dusk & gvt forces are still engaging gunmen in heavy gunfire. Smoke has engulfed z sky near the scene of z blast #Somalia pic.twitter.com/BJRCB9kzP1- Abdulaziz Billow Ali (@AbdulBillowAli) June 15, 2017
Stepping up attacks
Al-Shabab last year became the deadliest Islamic extremist group in Africa, with more than 4,200 people killed in 2016, according to the Washington-based Africa Center for Strategic Studies.
The group has carried out a campaign of suicide bombings in its bid to topple the Somali government and impose its strict interpretation of Islam. It often targets high-profile areas of Mogadishu, including hotels, military checkpoints and areas near the presidential palace. It has vowed to step up attacks after the recently elected government launched a new military offensive against it.
They have also been behind attacks in neighbouring Kenya, including the Westgate Mall siege in Nairobi in 2013. Deadly attacks on hotels popular with foreigners have become one of their trademarks.
You will be responsible for managing a caseload of clients including assessment, individual program planning, counselling of individuals and/or families,... $30.70 - $37.35 an hour From Government of Saskatchewan - Fri, 23 Jun 2017 10:21:11 GMT - View all Saskatoon, SK jobs
In an environment consisting of a high volume of daily mail, e-mails, telephone calls and counter inquiries, you will be providing intake assessment, program... $19.42 - $24.33 an hour From Government of Saskatchewan - Mon, 19 Jun 2017 10:16:08 GMT - View all Saskatoon, SK jobs
You will independently perform complex clerical and receptionist duties including some financial and statistical matters for the Local Registrar.... $20.97 - $26.28 an hour From Government of Saskatchewan - Mon, 26 Jun 2017 10:23:55 GMT - View all Saskatoon, SK jobs
Secondary School Secretary. Please use “Governor Simcoe Secretary Vacancy” as your e-mail subject. Administrative Secretaries if/when when required, and have... From District School Board of Niagara - Thu, 22 Jun 2017 15:42:06 GMT - View all Ontario jobs
Moving forward, the Government of Canada will use an appointment process that is transparent and merit-based, strives for gender parity, and ensures that... From Governor in Council Appointments - Tue, 27 Jun 2017 01:22:08 GMT - View all Canada jobs
Moving forward, the Government of Canada will use an appointment process that is transparent and merit-based, strives for gender parity, and ensures that... From Governor in Council Appointments - Wed, 21 Jun 2017 19:24:02 GMT - View all Canada jobs
To achieve its mandate, the CBC/Radio-Canada produces, procures, and distributes Canadian programming in English, French and eight Indigenous languages and... From Governor in Council Appointments - Tue, 20 Jun 2017 19:15:13 GMT - View all Canada jobs
To achieve its mandate, the CBC/Radio-Canada produces, procures, and distributes Canadian programming in English, French and eight Indigenous languages and... From Governor in Council Appointments - Tue, 20 Jun 2017 19:15:13 GMT - View all Canada jobs
Moving forward, the Government of Canada will use an appointment process that is transparent and merit-based, strives for gender parity, and ensures that... $200,900 - $236,300 a year From Governor in Council Appointments - Sat, 17 Jun 2017 07:12:24 GMT - View all Canada jobs
Moving forward, the Government of Canada will use an appointment process that is transparent and merit-based, strives for gender parity, and ensures that... From Governor in Council Appointments - Fri, 16 Jun 2017 19:12:14 GMT - View all Canada jobs
Moving forward, the Government of Canada will use an appointment process that is transparent and merit-based, strives for gender parity, and ensures that... $174,700 - $205,500 a year From Governor in Council Appointments - Fri, 09 Jun 2017 10:08:11 GMT - View all Canada jobs
Moving forward, the Government of Canada will use an appointment process that is transparent and merit-based, strives for gender parity, and ensures that... From Governor in Council Appointments - Fri, 09 Jun 2017 10:08:11 GMT - View all Canada jobs
We haven't done one of these profiles for a while..
Something a little different today, but a feature that's something that (hopefully), older AdGrads readers will remember. We've got a fairly recent grad, Di Caplinska, who is a planner at Euro RSCG, to write for us about how she got into the business.
So, without further ado...here's Di's account:
"On a number of occasions recently I have found myself on the receiving end of questions from soon-to-be graduates about how to get into this tricky industry. A number of paths can be proffered, but how people get into their first advertising job are always interesting - and never straightforward. So with some encouragement from Will and AdGrads, whose contribution to my journey has been invaluable, I have decided to write up mine, as long-winded and frustrating at times as it was.
Coming from Latvia, a small country loved by British stag dos, feared by Scandinavian ice hockey teams, and hated by the IMF, advertising was never really on my radar. Being born in a family of Soviet engineers and spending summer holidays in Maths camps didn’t exactly further my exposure to the industry that is, frankly, still in its infancy anyway (as you’d expect from a country dealing with a communist hangover). My love affair with advertising kicked off when I moved to the UK for University and studied Business, later switching to Marketing - focusing on Brand Management in my final year. At the same time, suddenly finding myself in a new country provoked a deep interest in all things ‘culture, people, and the way they think’, so I started observing the world from an outsider’s perspective to an almost scientific degree. One would have said that is a pretty clear path into Planning, but not before I spent a year in the corporate world of B2B Marketing; something which helped to confirm that it’s not for me.
My first exposure to advertising in practice (as opposed to through books, blogs, and newsletters – all in this deck) was with JWT London as part of their 2 week Account Management placement just before the start of my final year. Apart from meeting great people, having to squeeze a gigantic papier-mache cow into an elevator, and running 5k in holey Converse, it confirmed my intuitive leaning towards Planning, as well as teaching me very valuable lesson. Namely, that getting in was going to be painful, especially if you don’t have any relevant family contacts, and even more so if your alma mater is outside the Russell Group. And…let’s just say I felt like I was doomed as I wasn't born speaking English and wasn't able to master some eloquent assessment centre banter. With this positive outlook, I decided to harass the finest of JWT’s Planners for advice. Some shared interview wisdom, others bought me encouraging cups of coffee, and one pointed me towards Miami Ad School’s Planning Bootcamp in case graduate schemes didn’t quite work out.
And they didn’t. In the interests of putting my dissertation first, I limited my applications to Planning positions only and managed to secure two final rounds – at Dare and Leo Burnett, but sadly, I didn’t land the coveted gig. In parallel to this, in the climate when redundancies were far more popular than graduate schemes, I pulled out at all stops. I ran a cheeky recruitment Facebook ad that got blogging exposure and some LinkedIn introductions, I milked what advice my lecturers had to give, crashed semi-relevant industry events with a handful of (pretty embarrassing, frankly) business cards, and watched agency twitter feeds for internship opportunities. And when my university wasn’t part of the advertising recruitment milkround, I blagged my way into the one that was - Oxford, which was conveniently next door.
Unemployment panic aside, my graduation week culminated in shooting a cringeworthy video about how geeks are the new mainstream as part of my Miami Ad School application. Less than a month later I was in their Hamburg office trying to shake off that ‘Business School student’ look and soak in all the ideas flying around. Probably the most tangible thing I came out with a few months later was this ‘Junior Planner for Hire’ presentation that has been viewed over 1,000 times since. And then I came across The Planner Survey, an annual report on the state of Planning in the world lovingly crafted by Heather LeFevre, which provided a handy list of relevant recruiters in the UK. In the end I got a break with the help of wise, genuinely interested, and very well-connected people at Copper who helped me land an internship at EuroRSCG London which eventually led to a permanent position.
There it is, a very happy ending! And now, in the interests of keeping karma on my side, I’ve put together this presentation of ultimate tips on getting into the industry. Enjoy it, pass it on, and don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions."
India is arriving on the world stage as the first large, economically powerful, culturally vibrant, multiethnic, multireligious democracy outside of the geographic West. As it rises, India has the potential to become a leading member of the "political West" and to play a key role in the great political struggles of the next decades. Whether it will, and how soon, depends above all on the readiness of the Western powers to engage India on its own terms.
THREE STRATEGIC CIRCLES
India's grand strategy divides the world into three concentric circles. In the first, which encompasses the immediate neighborhood, India has sought primacy and a veto over the actions of outside powers. In the second, which encompasses the so-called extended neighborhood stretching across Asia and the Indian Ocean littoral, India has sought to balance the influence of other powers and prevent them from undercutting its interests. In the third, which includes the entire global stage, India has tried to take its place as one of the great powers, a key player in international peace and security.
Three things have historically prevented India from realizing these grand strategic goals. First, the partition of the South Asian subcontinent along religious lines (first into India and Pakistan, in 1947, then into India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, in 1971) left India with a persistent conflict with Pakistan and an internal Hindu-Muslim divide. It also physically separated India from historically linked states such as Afghanistan, Iran, and the nations of Southeast Asia. The creation of an avowedly Islamic state in Pakistan caused especially profound problems for India's engagement with the Middle East. Such tensions intertwined with regional and global great-power rivalries to severely constrict India's room for maneuver in all three concentric circles.
The second obstacle was the Indian socialist system, which caused a steady relative economic decline and a consequent loss of influence in the years after independence. The state-socialist model led India to shun commercial engagement with the outside world. As a result, India was disconnected from its natural markets and culturally akin areas in the extended neighborhood.
Finally, the Cold War, the onset of which quickly followed India's independence, pushed India into the arms of the Soviet Union in response to Washington's support for Pakistan and China -- and thus put the country on the losing side of the great political contest of the second half of the twentieth century. Despite being the largest democracy in the world, India ended up siding with the opposite camp on most global issues.
The last decade of the twentieth century liberated India from at least two of these constraints; state socialism gave way to economic liberalization and openness to globalization, and the Cold War ended. Suddenly, New Delhi was free to reinvent its foreign policy -- positioning itself to face the rise of China, shifting its strategic approach to its other neighbors, and beginning to work closely with the world's existing great powers.
VARIETIES OF INFLUENCE
India's recent embrace of openness and globalization has had an especially dramatic effect on the country's role in the region. As the nations of the subcontinent jettison their old socialist agendas, India is well positioned to promote economic integration. Although the pace has been relatively slow, the process has begun to gain traction. The planned implementation of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement this summer signals the coming reintegration of the subcontinent's markets, which constituted a single economic space until 1947.
At the same time, optimism on the economic front must be tempered by an awareness of the problematic political developments in India's smaller neighbors. The struggle for democracy and social justice in Nepal, interminable political violence and the rise of Islamic extremism in Bangladesh, and the simmering civil war in Sri Lanka underscore the potential dangers of failing states on the subcontinent. There are also the uncertain futures of Pakistan and Afghanistan: defeating religious extremism and creating modern and moderate states in both countries is of paramount importance to India. A successful Indian strategy for promoting peace and prosperity within the region would require preventing internal conflicts from undermining regional security, as well as resolving India's own conflicts with its neighbors.
In the past, great-power rivalries, as well as India's own tensions with Pakistan and China, have complicated New Delhi's effort to maintain order in the region. Today, all of the great powers, including the United States and China, support the Indian objective of promoting regional economic integration. The Bush administration has also started to defer to Indian leadership on regional security issues. Given the new convergence of U.S. and Indian interests in promoting democracy and countering extremism and terrorism, New Delhi no longer suspects Washington of trying to undercut its influence in the region. As a result, it is more prepared than ever to work with the United States and other Western powers to pursue regional goals.
Meanwhile, the external environment has never been as conducive as it is today to the resolution of the Indo-Pakistani conflict over Kashmir. The conflict has become less and less relevant to India's relations with the great powers, which has meant a corresponding willingness on New Delhi's part to work toward a solution. Of particular importance has been the steady evolution of the U.S. position on Kashmir since the late 1990s. The support extended by President Bill Clinton to India in its limited war with Pakistan in 1999 removed the perception that Washington would inevitably align with Islamabad in regional conflicts. But India remained distrustful of the Clinton administration's hyperactive, prescriptive approach to Kashmir. It has been more comfortable with the low-key methods of the Bush administration, which has avoided injecting itself directly into the conflict. The Bush administration has also publicly held Pakistan responsible for cross-border terrorism and has extracted the first-ever assurances from Pakistan to put an end to the attacks. New Delhi does not entirely believe these promises, but it has nonetheless come to trust Washington as a source of positive of influence on Islamabad.
These developments have opened the way for a peace process between the two governments. With the growing awareness that the normalization of relations with Pakistan would end a debilitating conflict and help India's regional and global standing, New Delhi has begun to negotiate seriously for the first time in decades. Although the pace of talks has not satisfied Pakistan, the two sides have agreed on a range of confidence-building measures. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rejected the idea of giving up territory, but he has often called for innovative solutions that would improve living conditions and for common institutions that would connect Kashmiris across the Line of Control. Singh has made clear that the Indian leadership is ready to risk political capital on finding a diplomatic solution to Kashmir.
India's recent effort to resolve its long-standing border dispute with China has been just as bold. New Delhi decided in 2003 to seek a settlement with Beijing on a political basis, rather than on the basis of legal or historical claims. As a result, during Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to New Delhi in April 2005, India and China agreed on a set of principles to guide the final settlement. The two governments are now exploring the contours of mutually satisfactory territorial compromises.
India's search for practical solutions to the disputes over Kashmir and its border with China suggests that the country has finally begun to overcome the obsession with territoriality that has consumed it since its formation. Ironically, the nuclearization of India and Pakistan in 1998 may have helped in this regard: although nuclearization initially sharpened New Delhi's conflicts with both Islamabad and Beijing, it also allowed India to approach its territorial problems with greater self-assurance and pragmatism.
Progress on the resolution of either of these conflicts, especially the one over Kashmir, would liberate India's political and diplomatic energies so that the country could play a larger role in the world. It would also finally release India's armed forces from the constraining mission of territorial defense, allowing them to get more involved in peace and stability operations around the Indian Ocean. Even with all the tensions on the subcontinent, the armies of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh have been among the biggest contributors to UN peacekeeping operations. The normalization of Indo-Pakistani relations would further free up some of the best armed forces in the world for the promotion of the collective good in the greater Middle East, Africa, and Asia.
Even as the Kashmir and China questions have remained unsettled, India's profile in its extended neighborhood has grown considerably since the early 1990s. India's outward economic orientation has allowed it to reestablish trade and investment linkages with much of its near abroad. New Delhi is negotiating a slew of free- and preferential-trade agreements with individual countries as well as multilateral bodies including the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), and the Southern African Development Community. Just as China has become the motor of economic growth in East Asia, a rising India could become the engine of economic integration in the Indian Ocean region.
After decades of being marginalized from regional institutions in different parts of Asia, India is also now a preferred political partner for ASEAN, the East Asian Summit, the GCC, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, and the African Union. Moreover, it has emerged as a major aid donor; having been an aid recipient for so long, India is now actively leveraging its own external assistance to promote trade as well as political objectives. For example, India has given $650 million in aid to Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban. Meanwhile, the search for oil has encouraged Indian energy companies to tail their Western and Chinese counterparts throughout the world, from Central Asia and Siberia and to western Africa and Venezuela.
On the security side, India has been actively engaged in defense diplomacy. Thanks to the strength of its armed forces, India is well positioned to assist in stabilizing the Indian Ocean region. It helps that there has been a convergence of U.S. and Indian political interests: countering terrorism, pacifying Islamic radicalism, promoting democracy, and ensuring the security of sea-lanes, to name a few. The Indian navy in particular has been at the cutting edge of India's engagement with the region -- as was evident from its ability to deploy quickly to areas hit by the tsunami at the end of 2004. The Indian navy today is also ready to participate in multinational military operations.
AXES AND ALLIES
The end of the Cold War freed India to pursue engagement with all the great powers -- but especially the United States. At the start of the 1990s, finding that its relations with the United States, China, Japan, and Europe were all underdeveloped, India moved quickly to repair the situation. Discarding old socialist shibboleths, it began to search for markets for its products and capital to fuel its long-constrained domestic growth. Economic partnerships were easy to construct, and increasing trade flows provided a new basis for stability in India's relations with other major powers. India's emergence as an outsourcing destination and its new prowess in information technology also give it a niche in the world economy -- along with the confidence that it can benefit from economic globalization.
Barely 15 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, India's omnidirectional engagement with the great powers has paid off handsomely. Never before has India had such expansive relations with all the major powers at the same time -- a result not only of India's increasing weight in the global economy and its growing power potential, but also of New Delhi's savvy and persistent diplomacy.
The evolution of Sino-Indian ties since the 1990s has been especially important and intriguing. Many see violent conflict between the two rising Asian powers as inevitable. But thanks to New Delhi's policy of actively engaging China since the late 1980s, the tensions that characterized relations between them from the late 1950s through the 1970s have become receding memories. Bilateral trade has boomed, growing from less than $200 million in the early 1990s to nearly $20 billion in 2005. In fact, China is set to overtake the European Union and the United States as India's largest trading partner within a few years. The 3,500-kilometer Sino-Indian border, over which the two countries fought a war in 1962, is now tranquil. And during Wen's visit to India in April 2005, India and China announced a "strategic partnership" -- even though just seven years earlier New Delhi had cited concerns over China as a reason for performing nuclear tests, prompting a vicious reaction from Beijing.
India has also cooperated with China in order to neutralize it in conflicts with Pakistan and other smaller neighbors. In the past, China tended to be a free rider on regional security issues, proclaiming noninterference in the internal affairs of other nations while opportunistically befriending regimes in pursuit of its long-term strategic interests. This allowed India's subcontinental neighbors to play the China card against New Delhi when they wanted to resist India's attempts to nudge them toward conflict resolution. But now, Beijing has increasingly avoided taking sides in India's disputes, even as its economic and security profile in the region has grown.
China is not the only Asian power that India is aiming to engage and befriend. Japan has also emerged as an important partner for India, especially since Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi has transformed Japanese politics in the last few years. During a visit to New Delhi just a couple of weeks after Wen's in April 2005, Koizumi announced Japan's own "strategic partnership" with India. (This came despite Japan's harsh reaction to India's nuclear test in 1998, which prompted Japanese sanctions and an effort by Tokyo to censure India in the United Nations and other multilateral forums.) Amid growing fears of a rising China and the incipient U.S.-Indian alliance, Japan has elevated India to a key player in its long-term plans for Asian security.
Recognizing the need to diversify its Asian economic portfolio, Tokyo has also, for political reasons, begun to direct some of its foreign investment to India (which has overtaken China as the largest recipient of Japanese development assistance). Since the start of the Bush administration, Japan has also shown increasing interest in expanding military cooperation with India, especially in the maritime domain. India, too, has recognized that it shares with Japan an interest in energy security and in maintaining a stable balance of power in Asia. Japan actively supported India's participation in the inaugural East Asian Summit, in December 2005, despite China's reluctance to include New Delhi. Neither India nor Japan wants to base their political relationship exclusively on a potential threat from China, but both know that deepening their own security cooperation will open up new strategic options and that greater coordination between Asian democracies could limit China's impact.
India's relations with Europe have been limited by the fact that New Delhi is fairly unimpressed with Europe's role in global politics. It senses that Europe and India have traded places in terms of their attitudes toward the United States: while Europe seethes with resentment of U.S. policies, India is giving up on habitually being the first, and most trenchant, critic of Washington. As pessimism overtakes Europe, growing Indian optimism allows New Delhi to support unpopular U.S. policies. Indians consistently give both the United States and the Bush administration very favorable marks; according to a recent Pew Global Attitudes poll, for example, the percentage of Indians with a positive view of the United States rose from 54 percent in 2002 to 71 percent in 2005. And whereas a declining Europe has tended to be skeptical of India's rise, the Bush administration has been fully sympathetic to India's great-power aspirations.
Still, India does have growing economic and political ties with some European powers. Although many smaller European countries have been critical of the U.S.-Indian nuclear deal, the continent's two nuclear powers, France and the United Kingdom, have been supportive. Paris, in particular, bet long ago (well before Washington did, in fact) that a rising India would provide a good market for high-tech goods; with this in mind, it shielded New Delhi from the ire of the G-8 (the group of eight highly industrialized nations) after India tested nuclear weapons in May 1998. In the last several years, the United Kingdom has also started to seize economic opportunities in India and has been generally accommodating of New Delhi's regional and global aspirations.
In the wake of the Soviet Union's collapse, India also worked to maintain a relationship with Russia. The two states resolved residual issues relating to their old semi-barter rupee-ruble trading arrangements, recast their 1971 peace and friendship treaty, and maintained military cooperation. When President Vladimir Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin, in 2000, India's waiting game paid off. A newly assertive Moscow was determined to revive and expand its strategic cooperation with India. New Delhi's only problems with Moscow today are the weakening bilateral trade relationship and the risk of Russia's doing too much to strengthen China's military capabilities.
At the end of the Cold War, the prospect of India's building a new political relationship with the United States seemed remote. Washington had long favored Pakistan and China in the region, India had in turn aligned itself with the Soviet Union, and a number of global issues seemed to pit the two countries against each other. Yet after the Cold War, India set about wooing the United States. For most of the Clinton administration, this sweet-talking fell on deaf ears, in part because Clinton officials were so focused on the Kashmir dispute and nonproliferation. Clinton, driven by the unshakable assumption that Kashmir was one of the world's most dangerous "nuclear flashpoints" and so needed to be defused, emphasized "preventive diplomacy" and was determined to "cap, roll back, and eventually eliminate" India's nuclear capabilities. Of course, Clinton's approach ran headlong into India's core national security concerns -- territorial integrity and preserving its nuclear option. Pressed by Washington to circumscribe its strategic capabilities, New Delhi reacted by testing nuclear weapons.
But even as it faced U.S. sanctions, New Delhi also began to proclaim that India was a natural ally of the United States. Although the Clinton administration was not interested in an alliance, the nuclear tests forced the United States to engage India seriously for the first time in five decades. That engagement did not resolve the nuclear differences, but it did bring Clinton to India in March 2000 -- the first American presidential visit to India in 22 years. Clinton's personal charm, his genuine empathy for India, and his unexpected support of India in the 1999 war with Pakistan succeeded in improving the atmospherics of the relations and in putting New Delhi on Washington's radar screen in a new way.
It took Bush, however, to transform the strategic context of U.S.-Indian relations. Convinced that India's influence will stretch far beyond its immediate neighborhood, Bush has reconceived the framework of U.S. engagement with New Delhi. He has removed many of the sanctions, opened the door for high-tech cooperation, lent political support to India's own war on terrorism, ended the historical U.S. tilt toward Pakistan on Kashmir, and repositioned the United States in the Sino-Indian equation by drawing closer to New Delhi.
India has responded to these sweeping changes by backing the Bush administration on missile defense, the International Criminal Court, and finding alternative approaches to confronting global warming. It lent active support to Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan by protecting U.S. assets in transit through the Strait of Malacca in 2002, agreed to work with the United States on multinational military operations outside of the UN framework, and, in 2005 and 2006, voted twice with Washington against Iran -- an erstwhile Indian ally -- at the International Atomic Energy Agency. India also came close to sending a division of troops to Iraq in the summer of 2003 before pulling back at the last moment. Every one of these actions marked a big departure in Indian foreign policy. And although disappointed by India's decision to stay out of Iraq, the Bush administration recognized that India was in the midst of a historic transformation of its foreign policy -- and kept faith that India's own strategic interests would continue to lead it toward deeper political cooperation with Washington. New Delhi's persistence in reaching out to Washington since 1991 has been driven by the belief that only by fundamentally changing its relationship with the world's sole superpower could it achieve its larger strategic objectives: improving its global position and gaining leverage in its relations with other great powers.
But India's ability to engage everyone at the same time might soon come to an end. As U.S.-Chinese tensions grow and Washington looks for ways to manage China's influence, questions about India's attitude toward the new power politics will arise: Can India choose to remain "nonaligned" between the United States and China, or does India's current grand strategy show a clear bias toward the United States?
The nuclear pact unveiled by Bush and Singh in July 2005 -- and consolidated when Bush went to New Delhi in March 2006 -- was an effort by Washington to influence the ultimate answer to that question. Bush offered to modify U.S. nonproliferation laws (subject to approval by Congress, of course) and revise the global nuclear order to facilitate full cooperation with India on civilian nuclear energy. New Delhi, in return, has promised to separate its civilian and military nuclear programs, place its civilian nuclear plants under international safeguards, and abide by a range of nonproliferation obligations. India's interest in such a deal has been apparent for a long time. Having failed to test weapons before the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty was drafted, in 1968, India was trapped in an uncomfortable position vis-à-vis the nuclear order: it was not willing to give up the nuclear option, but it could not be formally accommodated by the nonproliferation regime as a nuclear weapons state.
India's motives for wanting a change in the nuclear regime are thus obvious. But for the Bush administration, the deal is less about nuclear issues than it is about creating the basis for a true alliance between the United States and India -- about encouraging India to work in the United States' favor as the global balance of power shifts. Ironically, it was the lack of a history of mutual trust and cooperation -- stemming in part from past nuclear disputes -- that convinced the Bush administration that a nuclear deal was necessary.
AN IMPOSSIBLE ALLY?
Many critics argue that the Bush administration's hopes for an alliance are misplaced. They insist that the traditionally nonaligned India will never be a true ally of the United States. But such critics misunderstand India's nonalignment, as well as the nature of its realpolitik over the past 60 years. Contrary to a belief that is especially pervasive in India itself, New Delhi has not had difficulty entering into alliances when its interests so demanded. Its relationship with the Soviet Union, built around a 1971 peace and friendship treaty, had many features of an alliance (notwithstanding India's claim that such ties were consistent with nonalignment); the compact was in many ways a classic response to the alignment of Washington, Beijing, and Islamabad. India has also had treaty-based security relationships with two of its smaller neighbors, Bhutan and Nepal, that date back to 1949-50 -- protectorate arrangements that were a reaction to China's entry into Tibet.
In fact, there is no contradiction between India's alleged preference for "moralpolitik" (in opposition to pure power politics, or Machtpolitik) and the Bush administration's expectation of an alliance with India. New Delhi is increasingly replacing the idea of "autonomy," so dear to Indian traditionalists, with the notion of India's becoming a "responsible power." (Autonomy is thought appropriate for weak states trying to protect themselves from great-power competition but not for a rising force such as India.) As India starts to recognize that its political choices have global consequences, it will become less averse to choosing sides on specific issues. Alliance formation and balancing are tools in the kits of all great powers -- and so they are likely to be in India's as well.
That India is capable of forming alliances does not, however, mean that it will necessarily form a long-term one with the United States. Whether it does will depend on the extent of the countries' shared interests and their political capacity to act on them together. The Bush administration expects that such shared interests -- for example, in balancing China and countering radical Islam in the Middle East -- will provide the basis for long-term strategic cooperation. This outcome is broadly credible, but it is by no means inevitable, especially given the United States' seeming inability to build partnerships based on equality.
When it comes to facing a rising China, India's tendency to engage in regional balancing with Beijing has not come to an end with the proclamation of a strategic partnership between the two nations. Indeed, preventing China from gaining excessive influence in India's immediate neighborhood and competing with Beijing in Southeast Asia are still among the more enduring elements of India's foreign policy. Despite Western concerns about the military regime in Myanmar, New Delhi has vigorously worked to prevent Yangon from falling completely under Beijing's influence, and India's military ties with the Southeast Asian nations are expanding rapidly. In 2005, when Pakistan pushed for giving China observer status in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, India acted quickly to bring Japan, South Korea, and the United States in as well. Given India's deep-seated reluctance to play second fiddle to China in Asia and the Indian Ocean region -- and the relative comfort of working with a distant superpower -- there is a structural reason for New Delhi to favor greater security cooperation with Washington.
In the Middle East, too, India has a common interest with the United States in preventing the rise of radical Islam, which poses an existential threat to India. Given its large Muslim population -- at nearly 150 million, the third largest in the world -- and the ongoing tensions stemming from the subcontinent's partition, India has in the past acted on its own to avert the spread of radical Islam. When Washington aligned with conservative Islamic forces in the Middle East during the Cold War, India's preference was for secular nationalist forces in the region. When the United States acted ambivalently toward the Taliban in the mid-1990s, India worked with Russia, Iran, and the Central Asian states to counter the Taliban by supporting the Northern Alliance. Now, although some in India are concerned that alignment with the United States might make India a prime target for Islamist extremists, there is no way India can compromise with radical Islam, which threatens its very unity.
But shared interests do not automatically produce alliances. The inequality of power between the two countries, the absence of a habit of political cooperation between them, and the remaining bureaucratic resistance to deeper engagement in both capitals will continue to limit the pace and the scope of strategic cooperation between India and the United States. Still, there is no denying that India will have more in common with the United States than with the other great powers for the foreseeable future.
While New Delhi has acknowledged that U.S. support is necessary for India's rise to be successful, Washington has recognized India's potentially critical role in managing emerging challenges to global order and security. As a major beneficiary of accelerating globalization, India could play a crucial role in ensuring that other developing countries manage their transitions as successfully as it has, that is, by taking advantage of opportunities while working to reduce the pain of disruption. Given the pace of its expansion and the scale of its economy, India will also become an important force in ensuring that the unfolding global redistribution of economic power occurs in an orderly fashion. Meanwhile, India could become a key player in the effort to modernize the politics of the Middle East. If nothing else, India's success in ensuring the rights and the integration of its own Muslim minority and in reaching peace with Pakistan would have a powerful demonstration effect.
To secure a long-term partnership with India, Washington must build on the argument of "Indian exceptionalism" that it has advanced in defense of the recent nuclear pact, devising a range of India-specific policies to deepen cooperation. India is unlikely, however, to become a mere subsidiary partner of the United States, ready to sign on to every U.S. adventure and misadventure around the world. It will never become another U.S. ally in the mold of the United Kingdom or Japan. But nor will it be an Asian France, seeking tactical independence within the framework of a formal alliance.
Given the magnitude of the global security challenges today, the United States needs more than meek allies. It should instead be looking to win capable and compatible partners. A rising India may be difficult at times, but it will act broadly to defend and promote the many interests it shares with Washington. Assisting India's rise, then, is in the United States' own long-term interest.
…like a good Indiana Jones movie, the real story of this lost treasure began with a flash of archaeological insight in a remote Asian jungle half a world away….
Koh Ker, Cambodia – Protests from the Kingdom of Cambodia recently halted the multi-million dollar Sotheby’s sale of an ancient stone statue with the support of the United States government. When the Cambodians sought help bringing the thousand-year-old Khmer statue back to their country the New York Times ran a detailed article entitled “Mythic Warrior Is Captive in Global Art Conflict.”
10th century Cambodian sculpture previously scheduled for a multi-million dollar Sotheby’s sale.
Their investigation reveals that the legal and moral issues surrounding the ownership and sale of ancient art are quite complex. In this case, one generous art collector may actually provide a positive solution. But like a good Indiana Jones movie, the real story of this lost treasure began with a flash of archaeological insight in a remote Asian jungle half a world away.
Mystery of the Missing Men of Koh Ker
One thousand years ago, the Khmer Empire ruled most of what is now Southeast Asia from its capital in Angkor. During their heyday, the architecturally and artistically sophisticated Khmer people created some of humanity’s most extraordinary stone temples and statues. Apart from a few stone inscriptions, however, no written records of the civilization survived. Out of necessity, archaeologists have had no alternative but to piece the story of the Khmer people together, clue by clue and stone by stone.
Rising above 30 meters in height, Koh Ker’s central temple-mountain of Prasat Thom was built 100 years before Angkor Wat. Photo: Khmersearch, Panoramio.
Early in the 10th century (for reasons that are still unclear), King Jayavarman IV and his son Harsavarman II relocated the empire’s capital from Angkor to an isolated plateau 100 km to the northeast. There they built the city of Koh Ker, a huge new complex of temples and shrines, where they established their throne for a brief 16 year period (928-944 AD). Like all great Khmer cities, Koh Ker was ultimately abandoned and swallowed up by the jungle. The rediscovery of the Khmer civilization by Westerners didn’t begin until French explorers arrived in the second half of the 19th century.
In 2007, stone conservator Simon Warrack was working with the German Apsara Conservation Project (GACP), a scientific organization that had been doing critical restoration on Angkor Wat temple for more than a decade. In May, Warrack took a side trip to the Koh Ker site (Google Map link) to consider future conservation needs there.
At Koh Ker, Warrack noticed two distinctive pedestal platforms in the first enclosure of Prasat Chen. There, by the west gopura (an entry structure), he saw the feet where two statues had clearly been broken off. But the gods that once stood there were nowhere to be found. The mystery sparked his imagination.
The two Koh Ker pedestals as Warrack found them at Prasat Chen in May 2007. The pedestal circled in red shows a fabric section still attached in the center.
Virtually Connecting Ancient Dots…and Stones
From my own research cataloging the devata of Angkor I can attest that field work is generally hot, uncomfortable and distracting. Almost all of my discoveries happen at my desk in Florida examining photos taken weeks or years before at remote locations. Warrack continued his search in similar fashion.
The Norton Simon dvarapala featured in “Adoration and Glory”, p. 149
He pondered the distinctive bases and began searching for photos in books and research archives. Finally, he found a possible solution. In “Adoration and Glory – The Golden Age of Khmer Art” by Emma Bunker and Douglas Latchford one image stood out. It showed a figure identified as a dvarapala (guardian) at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena California. That statue was missing its feet, but many are. The key to solving this puzzle was the unique tail at the bottom of its clothing element. After scanning images and digitally combining them Warrack confirmed the close match between the two fragments.
Warrack’s 2007 digital superimposition of the base and body of the Koh Ker statue.
Warrack immediately wrote a short paper to seek opinions from others in the field of Khmer studies. He forwarded copies to friends and associates as well as to key authorities including the APSARA Authority, which manages the Angkor region’s heritage assets; the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts in Phnom Penh; and the École française d’Extrême-Orient (EFEO), a French organization dedicated to Asian studies that has been active in conservation efforts at Angkor since 1907. I met Simon in 2007 shortly after his find and the photos above come from the original article he shared with me.
Everyone who saw his image realized the importance of this observation. Determining the original location of displaced objects can be a huge help in interpreting their meaning and significance within the context of an ancient civilization. The record shows that the Norton Simon piece was acquired legitimately and is on public display for educational, artistic and cultural appreciation. But not all art ends up this way. Much of it disappears into private collections, out of view.
Such was the case of the complimentary statue that stood face to face with this one more than a thousand years ago at the Khmer capital of Koh Ker.
Sotheby's twin Khmer warrior. Note the unbroken base of the fabric tail.
The Long Lost Twin Reappears
In the summer of 2010, a “noble European lady” contacted Sotheby’s to discuss the sale of a “spectacular tenth-century Cambodian sculpture, 160 centimeters in height and exceptionally well carved.” Word got out quickly to the worlds of art and archaeology. When pictures began to circulate it was instantaneously clear that this was the long-lost companion to the statue Warrack had connected to the Norton Simon Museum three years earlier.
Meanwhile, in New York, the matching sculpture was estimated to sell for millions of dollars. According to the owner’s records, she legally acquired the piece in 1975 from the now-defunct London art dealer Spink & Son. The Norton Simon Museum also acquired their piece that year. Some evidence suggests that both statues left Cambodia in the late 1960s, but exactly when and how that happened, and who arranged it, is unknown.
Paraphrasing Sotheby’s Senior Vice President Jane A. Levine, the New York Times article stated “Ms. Levine countered that the statue could have been removed any time in its thousand-year history, and said the word ‘stolen’ was often ‘used loosely.’ ” Meanwhile, Christie’s auction house acquired Spinks in 1993 and claims that the 1975 records of the statue’s origin are “no longer available.”
Regardless of the lack of facts, the ownership of both statues seems quite legal under international laws. Which brings us to a question at the heart of this matter.
Who Should Own Historical Art?
An idealistic answer is “humanity” but even this dream can have unexpected consequences as we’ll discover below. My personal goal would be for historical assets to be accessible to everyone who wants to respect them, preserve them, appreciate them and learn from them. But this philosophy wouldn’t get me through the front door at most of the world’s public institutions holding these assets (let alone to private collections).
Most of us are fortunate enough to live in a free society. We can buy, sell and own personal property within the law. The laws protecting heritage assets have evolved considerably over the past few decades, and they continue to do so. But the fact remains that countless artifacts were legally acquired by collectors (“noble ladies” included) as well as public museums since the beginning of time. Isn’t it their right to display, use and sell their property as they see fit?
Let’s consider some difficult questions raised by recent news:
The taller Buddha of Bamiyan before and after destruction. Photo: Wikipedia.
1. Can a government or private entity decide to demolish old structures? This happens every day in every city around the world. Sometimes historical societies rally to save a site. Sometimes they can’t, as seen in the shocking annihilation of the Buddhas of Bamiyan. Was that government right? Were those people right? And who are you to judge? Do you live there?
In Sarasota Florida some local groups rallied to have this mural erased from a shop.
2. Can a government or private entity destroy something offensive or blasphemous to their values or religion? How far does freedom of expression go? This Yale article discusses the destruction of Buddha images in the Maldives. But it also mentions things like Henry VIII’s systematic destruction of all the monasteries in England, Wales and Ireland. Near my home in Sarasota Florida a debate has run for months about erasing a mural that may promote gangs. Acts of artistic control and destruction happen all the time.
Sunken treasure found by Odyssey Marine 1700 feet deep in the Atlantic Ociean.
3. Can a private group use its own funds to recover or preserve historical objects that were clearly abandoned by the original owners hundreds or even thousands of years earlier? In other words, does everything actually belong to some hypothetical “rightful owner”? And who owned these things before them? Odyssey Marine Exploration in Tampa Florida just got a harsh lesson in how arbitrarily this question can be answered. Odyssey spent years working to locate and salvage a ship in international waters off the coast of Portugal. It lay, unknown and untouched for two centuries in 1700 feet of water. US courts just ruled against Odyssey and returned all the artifacts to Spain.
Ironically, that silver and gold was mined in Peru by peasants working under slave-like conditions. Peru, of course, came under Spanish control in the 16th century when conquistadors brutally subjugated the Inca civilization in their quest for territory, power and treasure. But to the US courts, 200 years of ownership was enough to confiscate assets for an “original” owner…but not 400 years. Peru’s claim to the artifacts was ignored.
On the other side of the gold coin, salvage operations generally destroy much of the archaeological evidence that exists on a wreck site. I took an archaeological research diver workshop at a Florida galleon site, and I’ve also had the privilege of discussing this topic with the father of underwater archaeology, George Bass. I am quite opposed to the wholesale destruction of history to recover precious metals on land or at sea.
But in this case, Odyssey Marine consistently gathers a lot of archaeological data from their sites. And is it reasonable to ask when and how carefully archaeologists would be excavating this particular site more than half a kilometer deep? It seems we can all learn much from Odyssey’s digital photos, detailed site maps and the thousands of objects recovered. More than we would have known if the site was never found. Now the responsibility falls to Spain to educate and inspire us with their recovered objects. The world watches.
The “Angel of Beng Mealea” - March 5, 2006 and February 12, 2007.
4. Do poor people have the right to take abandoned objects from public places just to survive? I wrote about my own painful experience with this at Beng Mealea in this article “Death of an Angel.”
There are countless examples. There will be countless more. Each situation is different. Right and wrong are not always clear. And certainly never appear the same to opposing parties in a disagreement.
Back in 2008 I bought a used car legally. But what if the original owner (or the factory, or the country where it was built) tried to reclaim it because “I parked it too long” or “I wasn’t taking care of it” or “they want to study it” or “it belongs in the original place”? I can’t say I’d be too happy.
But there are solutions to these issues…as there are to most human conflicts: communication, empathy and diplomacy. Fortunately, a combination of these factors may lead to a resolution to the quandary of the Sotheby’s statue sale.
Collectors Who Share
Cultural sensitivity about who historical objects should belong to is a fairly new concept. As noted above people have the right to own private property. This has been going on for a long time. Humans are an acquisitive species by nature.
It’s worth noting that some of the most successful “acquirers” (Rockefeller, Carnegie, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates come to mind) have also proven themselves as some of our most generous givers. And some art collectors have proven themselves in this way, too. After a lifetime of actively hunting, obsessively gathering and painstakingly preserving the rare objects they crave…many end up donating their collections to public institutions.
In the world of Khmer art, Douglas Latchford, co-author of “Adoration and Glory” with art historian Emmy Bunker, is one example. He began collecting Khmer artifacts 56 years ago (1956). Over the years he and his friends have shared financial gifts with the National Museum of Cambodia. More significantly, he is the museum’s biggest contributor of artifacts (read more about Douglas Latchford on KI-Media).
Now another collector may assist with a solution to the thorny situation of the Koh Ker statue at Sotheby’s.
Dr. István Zelnik, founder of the Gold Museum in Budapest, Hungary.
During the 1970s, Dr. István Zelnik served as a Hungarian diplomat in Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. Like many passionate collectors he invested his money in rare books, antiques and works of art. Motivated by a love of art and curiosity about the objects he found, he became an increasingly sought after consulting expert for museums and archaeologists around the world. In 2011 his dreams culminated with his greatest achievement: founding the Zelnik István Southeast Asian Gold Museum in Budapest Hungary.
In a statement to the New York Times Dr. Zelnik expressed the possibility that he may purchase the statue for donation to the people of Cambodia. A generous, diplomatic and expedient solution in our complex world. The owner would be compensated for her private property, huge amounts of time and money would not be wasted on legal litigation, and the people who respect and admire the art of the Khmer people could once again see this expression of creativity in the land where it was born.
I wish him success and encourage him along with Mr. Latchford and other collectors to continue sharing the objects of their passion with the world.
The two mythic Cambodian warriors as they one faced each other at Koh Ker. Below, Simon Warrack asks if they can one day be reunited?
Could Two Ancient Brothers Meet Again?
To conclude this article I contacted Simon Warrack to ask his current ideas about the ownership of historic art. Here’s what he had to say:
“The concept of “ownership” may be the wrong place to start when considering important objects. It is the value and significance of an object that should be thought of first, rather than who it belongs to.
”The questions should really be about the object itself, not who it belongs to. Where is the object best valued? Where is it best appreciated? Where is it best understood? Where is it best conserved?
“Who an object belongs to should be secondary. As one of my colleagues observed ‘Objects are not important because they are in museums. They are in museums because they are important.’ The object itself is the important factor, not the museum that possesses it.
“After finding the empty pedestals seven years ago actually seeing both Koh Ker statues is remarkable. The possibility now exists that, one day, they may be reunited.
“Today, I called HE Hab Touch to ask his opinion on this matter. He is optimistic but noted that at this early stage no decisions or agreements are in place. However, Cambodia is ready and there are at least two suitable, secure locations where the pieces could be located for public appreciation. In the National Museum, of course, but plans are also being made for a museum at Preah Vihear, the same province where Koh Ker is located. There, the museum will become a gateway to the World Heritage Site and these figures could, once again, provide a wonderful center piece to welcome visitors from around the world.”
Simon closed by mentioning a concept from the book, Who Owns Antiquity by James Cuno. Cuno observes that national museums in wealthy nations host “encyclopedic” collections of objects from around the world, while national museums in less wealthy countries host indigenous local art relating to their own history.
He suggests that the global exchange of art would be a good direction to head in. Just as it is good for a child in Pasadena to experience the art of Cambodia, wouldn’t it also be wonderful for a child of Cambodia to see pieces of American history? Or the creations of Greece, Rome, Egypt, Mexico, etc.?
With communication, empathy and diplomacy we can all grow and learn.
This file photo shows a woman riding her tricycle, loaded with polystyrene boxes, in Shanghai. China might set an annual economic growth target below 8.0 percent for this year, state media said, as the leaders of the world's second largest economy acknowledge it is slowing.
03 March 2012 AFP News
China might set an annual economic growth target below 8.0 percent for this year, state media said, as the leaders of the world's second largest economy acknowledge it is slowing.
The report in the official Shanghai Securities News came before Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivers an annual policy address to lawmakers on Monday, when he is due to announce economic goals for the year.
China's economy expanded by 9.2 percent last year, slowing from 10.4 percent in 2010, as global turbulence and efforts to tame high inflation put the brakes on growth.
"An economic growth rate adjusted down to around 7.5 percent will not have any impact on economic development," the newspaper quoted Li Guozhang, an academic at Lanzhou University and member of an advisory body to the National People's Congress, or legislature, as saying.
China typically exceeds the annual growth target unveiled every March at the parliament session, and most economists are predicting GDP growth of 8.0-8.5 percent for China this year.
The 2011 increase in gross domestic product was well above the government's 8.0 percent target.
In a bid to counter slowing exports, the government has cut reserve requirements for banks twice in the last three months to increase lending and give the economy a boost.
Investment bank Goldman Sachs has forecast China will set a lower GDP growth target of 7.5 percent at the legislative meeting, but said that implied the government was willing to accept slower growth.
"A slightly lower GDP growth target rate is sensible given the fall in the level of potential GDP growth," Goldman said Friday in a research report.
"It can also be viewed as a gesture from the central government that local governments should not focus solely on the pace of GDP growth."
China has sought to prod local governments to focus on the quality of growth instead of its speed, while also seeking to shift away from dependence on exports to other engines such as domestic consumption.
China could target containing inflation to less than 4.0 percent this year at the upcoming congress, the Shanghai Securities News said, amid worries surging prices could spark social unrest.
For all of 2011, China's consumer price inflation was 5.4 percent, official figures showed, well above the government's full-year target of 4.0 percent and higher than the 2010 rate of 3.3 percent.
03 March 2012 By Kuch Vipheak DAP-news Translated from Khmer by Soch
Svay Rieng – In response to news media report indicating that Chhouk Bandit, the mayor of Bavet city who is suspected of shooting and causing injuries to 3 workers – was arrested, Chieng Am, the Svay Rieng provincial governor, confirmed over the phone that, as of 03 March 2012, there was no arrest made against the CPP Bandit yet.
Chieng Am told DAP-news over the phone that Chhouk Bandit was not arrested, i.e. his case will be dealt legally by the court.
This morning, Orn Soeun, the commander of the Svay Rieng military police, confirmed over the phone that there is no news about Chhouk Bandit’s arrest yet. Similarly Kiet Chantarith, the spokesman for the national police force, also made the same claim.
Expectations for the arrest of Chhouk Bandit started when Sar Kheng, the minister of Interior, revealed that Chhouk Bandit was indeed the suspect in the shooting on protesting workers in Bavet city. The shooting led to 3 workers who were seriously injured and had to be sent to Calmette hospital for medical care.
Updated at 3 p.m. ET on Jan. 27 There has been a lot of arguing about the size of crowds in the past few days. Estimates for President Trump's inauguration and the Women's March a day later vary widely. And for crowd scientists, that's pretty normal. "I think this is expected," says Mubarak Shah , director of the Center for Research in Computer Vision at the University of Central Florida. Shah says he encountered something similar during mass protests in Barcelona, Spain a couple of years ago. "The government was claiming smaller number than the opposition was claiming," he says. Counting quarrels have popped up during previous events in the U.S. as well. During the Million Man March in 1995, the National Park Service estimated the crowd to be far smaller than the organizers claimed. The controversy led Congress to bar the Park Service from doing head counts on the National Mall. The reason that disagreements frequently arise is that there's no foolproof way to get an accurate head
Thursday, 01 March 2012 May Titthara and David Boyle The Phnom Penh Post
The Ministry of Interior has sought a warrant for the suspect who shot three people at a protest outside a shoe factory last week amid more allegations from government and police officials that the perpetrator was Bavet town governor Chhouk Bandith.
Interior Ministry spokesman Khieu Sopheak said yesterday that a complaint had been filed seeking an arrest warrant for the suspect.
“The shooter was not police, he was a civil person,” he said, adding that the ministry would go ahead and arrest the suspect if the court decided to issue a warrant, before declining to provide further details.
The shootings took place outside the Kaoway Sports Ltd factory in Svay Rieng’s Bavet town on Monday.
A police officer who was an eyewitness at the scene of the shooting and asked not be named, said Chhouk Bandith became enraged after a worker threw a stone at his head while he tried to find a solution to the protest.
“So he took the gun from his waist to shoot three times into the sky to protect himself [and] get out of the crowd, but I don’t why the bullets hit the workers,” he said.
A senior official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also said the perpetrator was Chhouk Bandith, but declined to comment further.
Both of Chhouk Bandith’s phones have remained switched off since he told the Post on Tuesday that he was aware of rumours that he had shot the three workers, which he categorically denied.
But Keo Kong, Bavet municipal police chief, said his part of the investigation had now concluded and in his opinion, Chhouk Bandith was not the perpetrator.
“National police have got everything, but from my point of view, I don’t think that Mr Chhouk Bandith did it,” he said.
Eyewitness reports of the incident suggest a man dressed in a khaki police-style uniform flanked by a bodyguard and another man dressed in police clothing stepped out of a Lexus, fired into the crowd and ran to a nearby black Toyota Camry, which he fled in.
Rights groups and the opposition Sam Rainsy Party have attacked authorities for taking so long to arrest a suspect in a shooting that took place in front of police officers in a crowd of some 6,000 protesters.
They have also asked that security camera footage recorded during the incident, which has reportedly been viewed by MOI officials, be released to reassure the public the real perpetrator was being pursued.
Mathieu Pellerin, a monitoring consultant for the rights group Licadho, said testimony from eyewitnesses and the victims’ injuries suggested the shootings were intentional, but he stressed the most important thing was that a suspect be arrested and an impartial trial conducted.
“What matters is the evidence is brought forward to the court, and if the evidence is showing that there was attempted murder, then that person, however important they may be, should be charged with attempted murder,” he said.
The shooting put three women in hospital: 18-year-old Keo Neth, 23-year-old Nuth Sakhorn and 21-year-old Buot Chinda – who was left in critical condition after a bullet pierced her chest.
Buot Chinda’s older brother, Sam Sinat, said yesterday his sister continued to receive medical treatment, and labelled authorities “hopeless” for failing to arrest a perpetrator.
“I want the authorities to arrest the perpetrator and send them to jail to provide justice for the victim,” he said.
The Kaoway Sports factory supplies sportswear giant PUMA, which has previously said it was investigating the case.
A Cambodian woman rides on her motorbike loaded with vegetables for sale in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 01 March 2012.
A Cambodian motorized cart loaded with firewoods drives on a street in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, 01 March 2012. Cambodia's economy is expected to grow 6.5 percent in 2012, up from 5.75 percent in the year 2011, the International Monetary Fund said in its annual review, adding that government policies to boost the investment climate were paying off. EPA/MAK REMISSA - 1 March, 2012
An injured woman rests at Koh Kong provincial hospital on Tuesday following a bus crash that left one dead and 46 injured. A second passenger died yesterday before he could be transported to Thailand. Photo Supplied
Thursday, 01 March 2012 Tep Nimol and Bridget Di Certo with additional reporting by Cheang Sokha and Mom Kunthear The Phnom Penh Post
The death toll from Tuesday’s tour bus crash in Koh Kong climbed by one yesterday when an Austrian man died at the provincial hospital, while the man behind the wheel was detained by authorities.
Koh Kong Provincial Hospital director Mat Ly Hsai Song said the 72-year-old Austrian man who had been traveling on the bus from Sihanoukville to Koh Kong was due to be evacuated to Thailand for medical treatment yesterday.
“Before getting in the car to go to Thailand, the Austrian man, who had high-blood pressure, walked into the bathroom, where he fell down dead,” Mat Ly Hsai Song said. “He died instantly from a blood clot and was unable to be saved.”
The Austrian is the second fatality after a 23-year-old Russian woman was killed on Tuesday when the Paramount Angkor Express bus sustained a punctured tyre and rolled over, injuring all 46 passengers – most of them foreign tourists.
Another Austrian man and an American man were evacuated to Thailand for medical care yesterday, Koh Kong Provincial Hospital deputy director Suon Samit said, adding the men were seriously wounded, with broken bones, head injuries and shortness of breath.
A Finnish woman who sustained a serious back injury and a 5-year-old Cambodian girl who had her arm amputated at the shoulder directly after the crash were evacuated to Thailand on Tuesday, Suon Samit said.
The Finnish Embassy in Bangkok told the Post that seven Finnish nationals had been involved in the crash.
All were being treated in Bangkok, but only one was seriously injured.
A Swedish woman was transported from Koh Kong by ambulance yesterday afternoon to Royal Rattanak Hospital in Phnom Penh, hospital staff said yesterday.
She was undergoing operations last night and would be in hospital for seven to 10 days, staff said.
Seven foreigners and five Cambodians who were in stable condition remained at Koh Kong Provincial Hospital yesterday, Suon Samit said, adding that those who had been discharged from hospital had been sent to stay at the Ear Aun guesthouse in Koh Kong district near the hospital.
Provincial governor Bun Loert paid for the accommodation and food expenses for those crash victims who had sought refuge in the guesthouse.
Bun Loert said yesterday that all the crash victims with the exception of one Japanese man had already left the guesthouse.
“We will check to find out the reason for this traffic accident, strengthen the traffic law and the vehicles, and look after the victims until they are better,” he said by telephone yesterday.
The driver of the bus had initially fled the scene of the accident and escaped into a nearby forest, however Koh Kong authorities said yesterday that Phnom Penh police had apprehended him at the central office of Paramount Angkor Express.
The driver will be detained while police complete their investigation of the accident, Koh Kong traffic office chief Uk Sopha said.
“We anticipate handing our investigation over to the court next week because such a big crash takes a long time to investigate,” Uk Sopha said.
“According to the traffic law, if the court finds the driver guilty of provoking the accident, he can be sentenced for between one and two years and the company will have to take some responsibility, too.”
Representatives from Paramount Angkor Express could not be reached yesterday.
Paramount’s insurer, Caminco Insurance Company, said their investigators had visited the hospital and the scene of the crash yesterday.
“The company has third-party liability and passenger liability insurance,” Dy Len, a planning officer at Caminco told the Post.
“This is the biggest case we have ever had,” he said, adding that other concerned parties such as embassies and ministries were also conducting their own investigations.
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A map created by the rights group Licadho shows economic land concessions and mining concessions in Cambodia. Map Supplied
Thursday, 01 March 2012 May Titthara and David Boyle The Phnom Penh Post
If the government continues to grant economic land and mining concessions at the current rate, there will be no more arable land left in the country to give away within one year, a researcher from the Cambodian Centre for Human Rights said yesterday.
Pointing to the vast increase in economic land concessions granted last year alone, which rights group Adhoc places at about 800,000 hectares, Ouch Leng, the head of the CCHR’s land reform program, said only 300,000 hectares of unclaimed arable land remained.
“The government can grant licenses for one more year because the remaining arable land is only 386,294 hectares,” he said.
Exploratory mining concessions had been included in this calculation, he said, because while firms granted these rights did not technically own the land, they acted like it in practice by erecting fences and expelling villagers from the area.
Ouch Leng said increasing outbreaks of civil unrest across the country such as the protests in Kandal, Kratie and Ratanikkiri province were sounding a clear message that Prime Minister Hun Sen had begun to heed.
On Monday, the premier canceled all 35 commercial fishing lots on the Tonle Sap lake, leaving the country’s most fertile fishing ground entirely for small scale fishermen.
Beng Hong Socheat Khnmero, spokesman for the Ministry of Land Management, said ELCs were not the responsibility of his ministry and deferred questions to Ministry of Agriculture officials, who could not be reached for comment.
But figures released by the Ministry of Agriculture on Tuesday showed 1.19 million hectares had now been granted in ELCs, far below findings from rights groups Adhoc and Licadho released late last year, which put the number closer to 2 million.
A map from Licadho obtained by the Post shows that 54.90 per cent of all arable land in Cambodia had been absorbed by ELC’s alone up until November 2011.
Am Sam Ath, senior investigator at Licadho, said that the latest figures show two-thirds of all arable land in Cambodia has now been given away through ELCs.
“We [Cambodians] are dependent on agriculture, but two-thirds of arable land has been granted as economic land concessions,” he said.
“I don’t know if the government is worried, but NGOs are.”
Statistics released by Adhoc last year found that when all types of private concessions were added together, including forest concessions, about 39 per cent of Cambodia’s entire land mass has been granted to private firms.
Thursday, 01 March 2012 Bridget Di Certo The Phnom Penh Post
Reserve international Co-Investigating Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet’s investigation into government-opposed Case 004 will continue after the Khmer Rouge tribunal’s Pre-Trial Chamber judges yesterday failed to agree on key issues that could have stopped it in its tracks.
The controversial case, which Prime Minister Hun Sen has said “will not be allowed”, involves the alleged crimes of three former Khmer Rouge cadre, including one current commune chief in Oddar Meanchey’s Anglong Veng district, a former Khmer Rouge stronghold.
Case 004 investigations cover a range of crime sites including former security centres and execution sites in Kampong Cham, Kampong Thom, Pursat, Battambang, Banteay Meanchey and Takeo provinces.
The three suspects are allegedly being investigated for their responsibility in the deaths of tens of thousands of individuals through executions, starvation, disease and genocidal massacres.
The UN-nominated Kasper-Ansermet has been at loggerheads with his Cambodian counterpart since he assumed office upon his predecessor’s resignation.
Cambodian Co-Investigating Judge You Bunleng has refused to recognise Kasper-Ansermet as his legitimate counterpart until the government’s Supreme Council of the Magistracy “approves” him, and has stonewalled all attempts by Kasper-Ansermet to perform judicial duties.
Kasper-Ansermet took two proposals to You Bunleng in December. One was to resume investigations in Case 003, which was closed by his predecessor and You Bunleng. The second was to continue investigations in Case 004.
The two international judges in the Chamber, Rowan Downing and Chang-Ho Chung, fully accept Laurent Kasper-Ansermet’s power to act, while the three Cambodian judges in the Chamber, like You Bunleng, refuse to acknowledge his authority.
Thursday, 01 March 2012 Bridget Di Certo The Phnom Penh Post
Cambodian judges and officers at the Khmer Rouge tribunal are continuing to block civil party applicants from participating in the government-opposed cases 003 and 004,while international judges continue to base their decisions on civil party rights in spurring the two cases forward.
Outspoken Khmer Rouge victim advocate Theary Seng was yesterday rejected by default as a civil party in controversial cases 003 and 004 after Pre-Trial Chamber judges issued lengthy considerations but could not reach a consensus on her case.
Cambodian judges in the Pre-Trial Chamber said there were no relevant suspects in the cases as no one had been charged and so rejected Theary Seng’s appeal to be granted civil party status. “Errors committed” by then Co-Investigating Judge Siegfried Blunk and his Cambodian counterpart You Bunleng, whom rejected Theary Seng’s civil party application, were so grievous as to render any determination of the application “unfair”, they said.
Due to a failure to agree, the rejection of Theary Seng’s civil party application stood. Theary Seng has previously denounced the court as a “sham” and attempted to cease all participation in proceedings.
International judges Rowan Downing and Katinka Lahuis noted in their decision that the co-investigating judges still had discretion to grant Theary Seng civil party status, as UN-nominated reserve Co-Investigating Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet had with New Zealand civil party Rob Hamill.
However, lawyers for Hamill said in a press release yesterday that despite Kasper-Ansermet granting their client civil party status, Cambodians court officials have blocked their access to the case file in Case 003 on the basis that the national side of the court does not recognise Kasper-Ansermet’s authority.
The lawyers called the action “a stealthy attempt to override the decision of Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet” as there had been no public information released that the national side of the court would not recognise any decisions of Kasper-Ansermet.
Xayaburi work goes on (photo credit: Suthep Kritsanavarin)
Wednesday, 29 February 2012 Written by Our Correspondent Asian Sentinel
Despite reservations from Mekong Basin countries, construction continues
Over the opposition of environmental groups and the governments of other countries in the Mekong Basin, the Thai government is pushing ahead with the construction of the controversial Xayaburi Dam, environmentalists say.
Although the Cambodian and Vietnamese governments have expressed concerns about the dam and work was supposed to stop until further study has been completed, preliminary construction on the giant dam deep inside Laos, is continuing, according to International Rivers, which opposes the structure.
Large numbers of workers have been on the job for two years to build access roads and facilities for the project, said Pianporn Deetes, Thailand Campaign Coordinator for International Rivers. Ch. Karnchang, Thailand’s largest construction company, has the contract to build the dam for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, better known as EGAT, which has contracted to 95 percent of the energy from the dam.
“It doesn’t mean the dam can’t be stopped,” Deets told Asia Sentinel in a telephone interview. “We believe there are many channels that we can try to cancel the PPA (power purchase agreement).”
Thailand appears to be defying an agreement in early December by the Mekong River Commission Council, comprising water and environment ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, to seek international support to produce a more complete study of the dam, which is intended to produce 1,280 megawatts of power for the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.
The Mekong supports the largest freshwater fishery in the world. The downstream governments are concerned that the Xayaburi and 10 other dams planned for the Mekong, which feeds a river basin populated by 60 million people, will do irreparable damage to the river’s habitat.
Environmentalists say anywhere between 23 and 100 fish species could be adversely affected.
The dam, 810 meters wide and 32 meters high, is opposed by 263 NGOs from 51 countries. Thousands of people in the region have urged that it be cancelled. Its primary objective is to generate, along with electricity, foreign exchange earnings for financing socio-economic development in Laos, a landlocked and obscure country of 6.8 million mostly poverty-stricken people. Laos is seeking to develop its way into prosperity through extensive investment in dams, mines and plantations, hoping for jobs, rising incomes and revenues to end poverty.
Wracked by incessant bombing and the dropping of tens of millions of antipersonnel mines by the Americans during the Vietnam War, Laos remains one of the world's poorest countries, ranking 135th in the world. Nearly 41 percent of the population are under the age of 14. It is one of the few remaining one-party Communist countries left on the planet. Subsistence agriculture accounts for as much as 30 percent of gross domestic product, according to the CIA Factbook, and provides 80 percent of total employment.
Ten dams are already in operation across the country, generating 669 megawatts of power. Another eight are expected to be operational by this year, generating an additional 2,531 megawatts. Nineteen more are planned and 42 more are the subject of feasibility studies, almost all of them financed and developed by foreign interests expecting to turn a profit from electricity generation. Thailand is to import up to 7,000 megawatts by 2015. Vietnam will take another 3,000 megawatts by 2015 possibly rising to 5,000 megawatts by 2020 in accordance with an understanding reached in December 2006, according to a 2010 study titled Development in LAO PDR: the Food Security Paradox, produced for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and written by researcher David Fullbrook.
In 2010, the Mekong River Commission commissioned a strategic environmental assessment that recommended all decisions on Mekong mainstream dams be deferred for a period of at least 10 years while further studies can be conducted.
“We are afraid the fish migration could be destroyed,” Deets said. “There are 60 million people in the basin who depend for their livelihood on the river.”
The Thai government, she said in a prepared statement, “has ignored the agreements made last year among the four regional governments and the concerns expressed by Cambodia and Vietnam. With more than eight provinces in Thailand at risk from the Xayaburi Dam’s transboundary impacts, the state has also disregarded its duty to protect its own people from harm. It’s irresponsible to push forward with this dam, when the project’s impacts on Thailand have yet to be adequately studied.”
“The Mekong River Commission governments have not yet reached agreement on the Xayaburi Dam nor have they closed the prior consultation process,” the press release quoted Lam Thi Thu Suu, Director of the Centre for Social Research and Development in Vietnam, as saying. “By committing to purchase power from the dam and moving forward with the project’s implementation, EGAT and Ch. Karnchang are violating the trust and goodwill of Thailand’s neighbors. No construction on the Xayaburi Dam should proceed while further study is underway.”
Four Thai banks have already provided financial support for the dam including the state-owned Krung Thai Bank. When the Commission asked about the steps they took to examine the project’s environmental and social impacts, however, the banks were not able to provide detailed information.
“It’s astonishing to think that the financiers of this project have not taken the dam’s significant environmental and social impacts more seriously. Even a five minute search on the internet would reveal numerous media reports that highlight the concerns of the Thai people,” Deets said. “The recklessness of EGAT’s and the Thai companies’ pursuit of the project is likely to become a catastrophe for our country’s reputation. We call on the Thai government to immediately cancel the power purchase agreement and for Thai banks to withdraw financing from the Xayaburi Dam.”
An independent study has already concluded that the Xayaburi Dam’s electricity is not needed to meet Thailand’s demand for energy in the coming decades.
PHNOM PENH (Kyodo) -- Cambodia has decided in principle to regulate fishing in a large stretch of the Mekong River in order to conserve endangered dolphins, a government official said Wednesday.
Touch Seang Tana, chairman of Cambodia's Commission for Conservation and Development of the Mekong River Dolphin Ecotourism Zone, told reporters a new sub-decree on protection of the dolphins has just been finalized and is expected to soon be approved by the Cabinet meeting.
He said the sub-decree covers a 180-kilometer stretch of the Mekong River -- from the border with Laos through Cambodia's two northeastern provinces of Stung Treng and Kratie -- considered to be a key dolphin habitat in need of protection.
He said villagers in the protected area will still be allowed to conduct fishing activities but only with cast nets, not gillnets and fish cages that can trap and drown dolphins. Floating houses will not be allowed in the zone since gillnets can be hidden underneath them.
"We are convinced that the measures will save dolphins from being trapped and drowned in gill nets or fish cages," he said.
The Mekong River subpopulation of the species, which is known as the Irrawaddy Dolphin, has been listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature since 2004. It has been declining since the mid-1970s.
Touch Seang Tana estimated there are more than 100 adult Irrawaddy dolphins left in the Mekong, while international wildlife conservation group WWF recently estimated the number is more like 85.
In January, the commission, the Cambodian government and the WWF signed a document in which they vowed to work together and with a sense of urgency to conserve this endangered species.
Sotheby's is working to help return an ancient statue to Cambodia after the government claimed it had been illegally removed from the country decades ago.
The auction house said Wednesday it took the 1,000-year-old relic off the auction block a day before a sale scheduled for March 24, 2011, after Cambodia sent a letter asking Sotheby's to do so and arrange for its return.
The 5-foot-tall sandstone sculpture of a mythical warrior in an elaborate headdress had been estimated to sell for up to $3 million.
Sotheby's identified the seller as a European collector who purchased the work from a London dealer in 1975, almost two decades before a 1993 Cambodia law prohibited the removal of cultural artifacts without government permission.
The auction house said it informed Cambodia about the statue in writing 4 1/2 months before the sale, in November 2010.
Jane Levine, senior vice president and worldwide compliance director for Sotheby's, said the government did not respond until March 23, 2011, a day before the auction, when the United Nations cultural agency UNESCO contacted the auction house on Cambodia's behalf.
Cambodia "did not allege that the statue constituted stolen property, did not identify any basis to contest the owner's title to the property and did not allege that it would be unlawful for Sotheby's to sell the statue or that Cambodia owned the statue," said Levine.
The Associated Press was not immediately able to obtain the letter.
The story was first reported in New York Times on Wednesday.
The Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement that it was working closely with the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan and the Cambodian government "to look into the matter and determine the proper course of action."
Spokeswoman Danielle Bennett declined on Wednesday to answer further questions, citing the ongoing investigation.
After the seller and Sotheby's voluntarily withdrew the statue from the sale, the auction house said it asked Cambodia to come up with a solution agreeable to both parties.
In May, Cambodia endorsed a plan to seek a buyer to purchase the statue and donate it to Cambodia. It subsequently identified a Hungarian antiquities collector as a potential buyer, with whom Sotheby's has been in talks, the auction house said.
"We are also very interested in hearing from anyone else who would be interested in participating in such a sale process," added Levine, a former Manhattan federal prosecutor who was appointed to President Barack Obama's Cultural Property Advisory Committee last year. "Sotheby's would like to find a solution that is fair to both Cambodia and to the owner who bought the sculpture in good faith almost 40 years ago."
Cambodian diplomatic officials in the United States were not immediately available for comment Wednesday. Anne LeMaistre, a Phnom Penh-based UNESCO representative who is involved in the talks, told The Times "buying back such items can seem distasteful, but sadly it is not unusual when the country's aim is return of the property."
The work is one of a pair of statues from a temple in Koh Ker, north of the famous Angkor Wat complex of temples.
Archeologists have matched the footless statue to a pedestal and feet at a Cambodian archaeological site. The other statue has been at the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, Calif., since 1980, and also has been matched to its base at the site.
Many ancient artifacts were looted and damaged in the 1970s when the Khmer Rouge ruled the country.
Eric Bourdonneau, the archaeologist who matched both statues to their pedestals, told the Times the relics were looted in the early 1970s.
Levine said Sotheby's was aware before accepting the statue for sale that it had come from Koh Ker. But she said it did not know when and how it was removed "as the circumstances of that are to date unknown."
She said the statue was purchased in "good faith" and exported long before the 1993 Cambodian law was passed, "and Cambodia has not claimed otherwise."
Levine said a law dating to the 1920s may have provided certain export restrictions but did not nationalize ownership of Cambodian relics, and therefore could not retroactively "redefine clearly established legal title rights."
Kancelariju NVO Mladi Romi i radionicu u kojoj se realizuju aktivnosti projekta “Dorra Nuova”, posjetila je danas ambasadorka SAD-a u Crnoj Gori, Margaret Ann Uyehara. Projektni tim je ambasadorku Uyehara upoznao sa projektom “Povećanje zapošljivosti dugotrajno nezaposlenih žena – Dorra Nuova” i njegovim ciljevima. Tokom posjete, govorilo se i o aktivnostima koje su realizovane u […]
The extremely expensive tablet will marketed specifically towards party officials.
If you thought iPads were expensive, think again. A new Chinese tablet called the Red Pad will cost $1,600 dollars, but not just anyone can buy it, even if you do have the money.
After heavy criticism over its price from Chinese consumers, marketing and advertising featuring the Red Pad seemingly disappeared. Now, the Economic Times is saying that the manufacturer will only sell the tablet to bureaucrats and not the public. Originally the device was going to be available for anyone with the money (or the ability to subsidize the purchase), but the public backlash was so strong, the manufacturers decided to change its marketing tactics. It now looks like some back-pedaling occurred, and as a result the tablets availability will be limited to only Party officials.
But it’s not only the cost that will appeal to party members either. The Red Pad is specifically built to cater to their needs: the tablet from Red Pad Technology (which is supposedly in cahoots with the country’s Ministry of Information Industry) comes packaged with government database access and integration with the communist mouthpiece website, People’s Daily.
What’s possibly most amusing about the Red Pad is its operating system. The 9.7-inch Red Pad uses the Android OS, which is surprising considering China’s ongoing issues with Google. Aside from its ironic use of this platform and outrageous price, the Red Pad is similar to any other tablet: it features an A9 dual core processor, Wi-Fi and 3G support, 16GB of flash storage, with a sub 10-inch touchscreen display.
Last month we heard that a personalized iPad application was being developed for UK Prime Minister David Cameron. The supposed app would give him immediate access to government affairs and news. While the degree of this app has been questioned (it’s possible it’s merely a secure, Flipboard-like portal to this data), it’s clear that government leaders have become taken with tablets.
Judge Laurent Kasper-Ansermet was appointed as Reserve Co-Investigating Judge on 1 December 2010. (Photo: Courtesy of ECCC)
Friday, January 20, 2012 AFP News
The United Nations on Friday protested at Cambodia's rejection of a Swiss judge to the international Khmer Rouge tribunal who has paralyzed probes into two cases opposed by the government.
Cambodia is in "breach" of an accord with the UN setting up the international tribunal into the Khmer Rouges crimes of the 1970s in which up to two million people died, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky told reporters.
"This is a matter of serious concern," stated Nesirky who said the Cambodian government had formally notified UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday of its refusal to name Laurent Kasper-Ansermet of Switzerland as co-investigating judge.
"The United Nations continues to support Judge Kasper-Ansermet and Cambodia should take immediate steps to appoint him as international co-investigating judge," the spokesman said.
The tribunal, officially known as the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia, was set up with one Cambodian investigating judge and one foreign judge. The previous German judge resigned in October following government opposition to further prosecutions linked to the 1975-1979 regime.
Kasper-Ansermet was the official reserve judge and Nesirky stressed that the 2003 accord setting up the court "states unequivocally" that if there is a vacancy the person appointed must be the reserve judge.
The Cambodian government "raised ethical concerns" about Kasper-Ansermet in November, said Nesirky.
"The United Nations thoroughly reviewed the concerns, determined that they were unfounded, and requested that the Supreme Council of the Magistracy proceed with his appointment."
David Scheffer, an American named as special expert on UN assistance to the Cambodia trials, is travelling to Phnom Penh for talks with the government and court officials, the spokesman added.
Kasper-Ansermet has been blocked since his arrival in Phnom Penh in December. The supreme council, the government body charged with rubber-stamping the nomination, has not met.
And the Cambodian co-judge You Bunleng has publicly refused to work with the Swiss. Kasper-Ansermet has in turn accused You Bunleng of blocking "important" information about the two new cases involving five ex-Khmer Rouge members accused of crimes against humanity.
The tribunal has so far completed just one trial. A second is underway but risks being overshadowed by the new controversy.
Among Cambodia, Laos, Burma and Vietnam, widely abbreviated as CLMV, Cambodia is the most outstanding investment destination for Thai companies thanks to the country's free-trade policy and abundant natural resources, according to the Trade Negotiations Department.
Srirat Rastapana, director-general of the department, said that though Cambodia was the last to join Asean in 2009, its trade policy is the most liberalised among the four countries under the government’s policy to draw foreign investment and reduce poverty.
"Cambodia sets its sight on infrastructure investment, particularly road connection with neighbouring countries and hydro power plants. Beside, it possesses a competitive edge, over natural resources. Offshore oil and gas reserves were discovered. This could help eradicate poverty, but it depends on the efficiency and transparency of revenue to be derived from the resources," she said.
In 2010, Cambodia attracted FDI worth US$782.6 million (including $349 million from other Asean countries), up 45.2 per cent from the previous year. Among 10 Asean nations, in terms of FDI, it was ranked the 7th. Cambodia is also a member of key international organisations like the World Trade Organisation, International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank.
Srirat noted that the Asean community paves way for Thai investment. Low labour cost would also be on the plus side. Attractive investment areas are in parawood processing, hotel, food and spa, aside from construction.
Khse Diew artist performs a traditional song in the CLA studio. (Mathew Wakem/Phnom Penh Post)
Friday, 20 January 2012 Diana Montaño The Phnom Penh Post
Some of Cambodia’s most renowned musical masters will gather this year to create a recording of musical forms in danger of being lost, as part of the “Documentation of Three Khmer Musical Traditions” project spearheaded by the local NGO Cambodian Living Arts.
The project, funded by a grant from the US Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation, will create audio-visual documentation of three traditional forms: Kantaoming, classical funeral music; classical wedding music; and Smote, a unique combination of poetry and chanting performed in Buddhist ceremonies, particularly funerals.
Cambodian Living Arts was founded in 1998 as the Cambodian Masters Performers Program with the mission of rescuing and reviving artistic traditions virtually wiped out during the Khmer Rouge era. The organisation has worked to bring together living masters of traditional Khmer arts to create recordings and performances, and teach younger artists.
According to Marion Gommard, communications director of Cambodian Living Arts, 90 per cent of Cambodian artists were killed during the 1975-1979 Khmer Rouge era, decimating the largely oral cultural tradition. Without any written record and few surviving masters, these classical art forms are in danger of being permanently lost.
“Historically, transmission has only been oral,” she says. “That is why it’s so important to record, so artists can pass down knowledge.”
Sarin Chhuon, CLA’s studio manager, says there is an urgency to record these forms while master musicians are still alive, since most of them are in their 80’s and 90’s.
“We have to do this now. In the next five or 10 years, they may be gone,” he says. “Most of the songs are in their brain, they’re not written down.”
Sarin Chhuon says that while these forms are still popular among Cambodians during wedding or funeral ceremonies, most people have lost touch with the classical styles.
“People are still using it but it has disappeared in its original form,” he says. “They just use really bad cassette tapes, or they have one or two musicians playing modern wedding music. They don’t even know what the real music is like. So slowly, it is being lost.”
Smote, the more religious of the three forms, is a blend of poetry and chanting conducted at Buddhist ceremonies, though most Cambodians associate it with funerals. “With the chanting, people feel free and let it go. It describes comfort to people who are dying. In a funeral, the chanting lets the family know it’s OK,” says Sarin Chhuon.
CLA is forming an advisory board for the project, and hopes to begin recording by February. Three musicians working as CLA teachers in their provinces have already agreed to participate, and the organisation hopes more musicians will get involved. The three artists, all renowned masters from the ’50s and ’60s, are Sok Buch, a Kantaoming master in Takeo and Siem Riep, Ling Srey, a classical wedding musician from Siem Riep, and Koeut Ran, a Smote master from Kompong Speu.
There are plans to release 3000 CDs of the “Documentation of Three Khmer Musical Traditions” project recordings. The organisation has released two CDs of its master artist recordings in the past, but the $12 selling price has been too expensive for most Cambodians, according to Sarin Chhuon.
With this project CLA hopes to make CDs available to Cambodians for $1 or $2. By making the recordings more accessible, CLA hopes ordinary Cambodians will rediscover the classical forms of these popular musical styles.
“We want people will use the CDs in their ceremonies,” says Sarin Chhuon. “I hope they will throw away those old tapes.”
Friday, 20 January 2012 Written by Pavin Chachavalpongpun Asia Sentinel
Taking over where Thaksin left off
It has been six months since the July election that brought the first woman into Thailand's top political position—Yingluck Shinawatra.
During this period, Prime Minister Yingluck has encountered several difficult issues, ranging from the devastating floods, the attempt to provide amnesty for her fugitive brother Thaksin, and the increasing cases of lèse-majesté.
But there is one area in which Yingluck has appeared to be doing well so far—foreign affairs. It is fair to say that since Thaksin’s downfall in 2006, Thailand has had no tangible foreign policy. The Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat governments were short-lived. And the Abhisit Vejjajiva period was marked by conflicts with neighbouring countries, especially Cambodia.
It is therefore a real test for Yingluck to reinvent Thai diplomacy, the one that departs from antagonism toward neighbouring countries. In terms of Thai-Cambodian relations, Yingluck paid a high-profile visit to Cambodia, as the first country in her introductory tour. Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen was gleeful to roll out a red carpet to receive the Thai female premier. For now, relationship between the two countries has returned to normalcy. And the secret to this success is that issues in this bilateral relationship have simply become less politicised, particularly on the Thai part.
Yingluck then went on to visit a number of countries which are members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), including Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar and recently the Philippines. Symbolic as they were, these visits signalled Thailand’s recovery from political illness at home and its eagerness to take a role in ASEAN. But a question must be asked: How realistic is the Thai eagerness?
During her visit to Naypyidaw in December 2011, Yingluck demonstrated that her government wanted to diversify Thailand’s policy options towards Myanmar, by reaching out to both the government as well as the opposition. Yingluck held a discussion with President Thein Sein and also paid a visit to Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy. At the end of her tour, Yingluck offered her support for national reconciliation in Myanmar, wishing to see further political reforms in the country long governed by the military.
Can Thailand, despite these bold moves initiated by Yingluck, expect a shift in its foreign policy which was traditionally seeking to achieve national interests at the expense of promoting universal values, such as democracy and human rights protection? My answer is rather pessimistic.
Ultimately, both Yingluck and her foreign minister, Surapong Tovichakchaikul, have no experience in diplomacy. And one must not forget that Yingluck is indeed Thaksin in disguise. Accordingly, it is likely that she will restore the Thaksinized foreign policy which was essentially commerce-driven without any respect for principles.
From 2001-2006, Thailand under Thaksin was so ambitious that it thought it could conquer the world. Thaksin, a successful businessman himself, was confident that he could transform Thailand into a hegemon dominating smaller and weaker states in the region.
Thaksin then bypassed Asean, once a cornerstone of Thai foreign policy. He perceived Asean as a representation of an “old politics”—the kind of politics sullied by rigid bureaucratic processes. Instead, Thaksin invented a myriad of business-centric cooperative frameworks, including the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) and the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS). He also strengthened Thai economic cooperation with major trading partners through the conclusion of many free trade agreements. Undoubtedly, the Thaksin period witnessed the most colourful and innovative foreign policy Thailand ever had had in decades.
The remapping of Thailand in the age of globalisation put Thaksin’s foreign policy on the spotlight—he was tipped to become Asia’s next leader. Thaksin endorsed diplomatic activism; and in this, he wanted to place Thailand at the core of the regional order through which the Thai influence was wholly felt. In the latest reinvention of Thailand as a regional leader, Thaksin also turned the kingdom into a company, run by a CEO prime minister whose task was to evaluate economic costs and benefits in the conduct of diplomacy.
Not only did the content of foreign policy change. The operational mode within the foreign ministry also underwent an extreme makeover. Representatives of the nation and the monarch were now becoming CEO ambassadors who would visit their customer for products demonstrations. While CEO ambassadors were dressed with more power, the role of the Foreign Ministry in the formulation of foreign policy diminished.
The prime minister, his advisory team, and his chosen foreign ministers all sidelined the Foreign Ministry’s officials. And the House of Government became enormously influential in the making of foreign policy.
The radical transformation of the Foreign Ministry has left a deep scar of conflict between those who agreed and disagreed with Thaksin’s approach. And the immense polarization in politics in this post-coup period has further intensified such conflict within this state agency. Yingluck and Surapong must not attempt to politicise foreign policy issues, as seen in the previous administration.
If Thaksin is indeed behind the formulation of Thailand’s foreign policy in this Yingluck era, then he has to learn the mistakes he made while he served as prime minister. Thaksin’s past foreign policy initiatives might have provided his government with a channel to secure Thailand’s supposed national interests. But along the way, he and his family members were accused of stoking their wealth by using state mechanisms.
Yingluck needs to open up the foreign policy decision-making process, making it transparent to the public to avoid any controversy. More importantly, her foreign policy for the next few years, if she will ever serve the full four-year term, will have to be based proportionally on economic interests and good governance. This is because her government has received a popular mandate through democratic means and also because Thailand cannot run away from a new international environment that has become more democratic.
(Pavin Chachavalpongpun is a fellow at Singapore’s Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. Pavin is the author of “Reinventing Thailand: Thaksin and His Foreign Policy” (2005). Follow him at www.facebook.com/pavinchachavalpongpun.)
Herceg Novi jedan je od najljepših gradova Crne Gore i svojevrsni “skriveni dragulj”, ocijenila je američka ambasadorka, Margaret Ann Uyehara, koju su ugostili predsjednik Opštine, Stevan Katić, predsjednik Skupštine, Miloš Bigović i potpredsjednica Opštine, Danijela Đurović. Uyehara smatra da je dobro što je lokalna vlast brzo prepoznala ključne probleme i počela sa njihovim rješavanjem. Saglasna […]
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GenevaLunch News BERN, SWITZERLAND – Four rail groups are receiving CHF21 million in aid from the Swiss government to offset some of the losses they suffered in 2011 due to the rapid increase in the value of the Swiss franc during the year. All four provide transalpine shipping and use combined or piggyback cargo transport, carrying trucks […]
GenevaLunch News BERN, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss government said Wednesday night 2 November that it condemns Israel for two new measures, voted by the Israeli cabinet Tuesday, shortly after Unesco admitted Palestine as a member. Bern stopped short of calling the measures retaliatory, but it notes that the decision by Tel Aviv to “speed up construction of […]
GenevaLunch News BERN, SWITZERLAND – The Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs confirmed to ATS and AP news agencies Sunday that the government has blocked more than CHF27 million in Syrian assets, although it has not confirmed if they belong to Bachar al-Assad, president. He and his brother are on a list of 23 persons whose assets were […]
GenevaLunch News Update 12:50 Bern / Zurich, Switzerland (GenevaLunch) – The argument over who gets the Duvalier millions, some CHF5.8 million of them, will finally be heard in court, with the Swiss government 2 May initiating forfeiture proceedings at the Swiss Administrative High Court. The proceedings are the first under a Swiss law that went into effect […]
Many products and services Canadians rely on every day work properly and safely because of standards — from products like hair dryers or microwaves, to the cars... From Governor in Council Appointments - Tue, 28 Feb 2017 08:53:41 GMT - View all Canada jobs
Many products and services Canadians rely on every day work properly and safely because of standards — from products like hair dryers or microwaves, to the cars... From Governor in Council Appointments - Tue, 28 Feb 2017 08:52:47 GMT - View all Canada jobs
Many products and services Canadians rely on every day work properly and safely because of standards — from products like hair dryers or microwaves, to the cars... $179,200 - $210,800 a year From Governor in Council Appointments - Tue, 28 Feb 2017 08:52:47 GMT - View all Canada jobs
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倫敦必做十件事☞10 Tops Things to Do in LONDON
✔ Market - 婆婆媽媽逛市集來挖寶
✔ Boat Trip - 搭渡輪遊泰晤士河
✔ See - 衛兵交接擠擠擠
✔ Royal Park - 皇家公園是野生動物園
✔ Walk - 漫步泰晤士河畔好浪漫
✔ Bus Tour - 雙層巴士市區巡禮
✔ Shop - 哩哩叩叩買好多
✔ Eat - 新鮮多汁炸魚薯條
✔Museum - 大英博物館古文物探險
✔ Gallery - 國家藝廊耍氣質
時間更多的人可以參考大英博物館的館長 ~ Neil
History of the World ~ in 100 objects ]
其中的第99項竟然是 [信用卡] 還蠻妙的
今日午餐: Fire &
※ 發信站: 批踢踢實業坊(ptt.cc)
◆ From: 188.8.131.52
推 irenedeai:靜靜的康河很美很美+1 06/13 08:29
推 ladyluck: 靜靜的康河很美很美+1 我有一次不小心在傍晚翻進國王學 06/13 09:29
→ ladyluck:院裡，就一個人坐在河邊發呆好久，還奇怪怎麼都沒人了... 06/13 09:30
推 appogge:卸卸 我的確是搭乘20:35的coach回倫敦 06/13 14:00
※ 編輯: IamSammi 來自: 184.108.40.206 (06/14 21:17)
推 IamSammi:哈哈...我也有翻進國王學院...入口還寫著遊客止步XD 06/14 21:25
→ xenopus:有機會來國王學院旁邊的Clare學院，全艦橋最漂亮的河邊� 06/15 07:59
→ xenopus:花園!! 人又比國王學院少 06/15 08:00
Fudge Kitchen 的商店，賣的是乳脂軟糖（Fudge：其實是有點像台灣的牛奶糖，不過要比牛奶糖在甜上好幾倍，而且有多種口味可供選擇），在店外就可以聞到陣陣的蕉糖味，而店內則可以觀看師傅們製作 Fudge 的過程。
國王學院旁可以看到國王學院私有的祈禱室↑以及在祈禱室對街的偉大聖瑪莉教堂 (Great St.Mary Church) →，此教堂是週遭最高的一座建築物，進入教堂參觀是不用錢的，另外你可以花兩英磅到教堂的頂端去欣賞週遭的美景...
The Backs 的叢林
劍橋原為康河 (River Cam)沼澤區旁的一座小市場，其前身起源於牛津大學在 1209
A.D.發生暴動，三名學生被吊死後，一些學者逃難到劍橋，在當時的英王亨利三世的庇佑下，於1233 A.D.建立正式學術組織，而在 1284 A.D. 成立劍橋大學第一個學院 ~ 「彼得學院」。
《QS (Quality Safety) 世界大學排名》~ 2004~2009所依據的權重如下：
劍橋大學是所「書院聯邦制」大學，主要由中央行政機構、科系和學院三個部份組成。科系負責向學生提供課程、組織講座，在監委會監督下進行研究和教學工作，而每個科系的學者們均來自不同的學院。由31所自治獨立的學院組成，其中最古老的學院為「彼得學院(Peterhouse, Cambridge)~ 1284 A.D.」，同時也是最小的一個學院；成立最晚的為「羅賓森學院(Robinson College,
Cambridge)~ 1977A.D.」，每個學院擁有獨立的資產及資金來源。31所學院中除了3所學院只收女生外：露西‧卡文迪什學院、新大廳學院和紐姆學院，其餘男女皆收。而其中有4所只收研究生：卡淶爾大廳學院、達爾文學院(Darwin College,
Cambridge)和聖埃德蒙學院(St Edmund's College,
~聖約翰學院「嘆息橋 Bridge of Sigh」
(Bridge of Sigh) 的名字是19世紀時，由英國詩人---「風騷的浪漫主義文學泰斗」~
拜倫勛爵所取的，是威尼斯多座建於16世紀的橋樑之一，完工於1600A.D.。造型屬於早期巴洛克式風格，封閉式的拱橋由石灰岩鑄成，呈房屋狀，上部穹隆覆蓋，封閉得很嚴實，只有向運河一側的石樑上開有兩個小窗。嘆息橋橫跨在Rio di Palazzo河上，連接威尼斯公爵府的審訊室和老監獄，是由Antoni Contino設計的，他的叔叔Antonio
聖約翰大學是劍橋大學第二大學院，建於1511.04.09 A.D.。它的前身可追溯到13世紀的聖約翰醫院，醫院於16世紀初時已殘破不堪，因此當時由羅切斯特主教「聖約翰·費舍爾」提出改建醫院建造學院的想法，得到英格蘭國王「亨利八世」和主教「尤利烏斯二世」的批准，伊利主教也同意將這做宗教醫院改建轉變為一所學院，建校經費則源自王太后~亨利七世的母親「瑪格麗特‧博福特（Margaret Beaufort）」女士之遺產。
沿著聖約翰學院參觀路線，經過正門、前庭、禮拜堂、中庭後，來到康河河畔，可見聖約翰學院有兩座橋橫跨於康河上，一座為Wren橋，另一座則為著名的嘆息橋(Bridge of Sigh)。
"Bridge of Sighs"（嘆息橋）之所以取名為此，是因為該橋曾是連接學生宿舍和期末考場的必經之路，每到要參加考試之時，學生往往嘆息不止，忐忑不安的經過此橋走向考場。其中的心情，箇中資味是否如威尼斯之嘆息橋般呢？由此可見劍橋學生們的幽默。
劍橋康河第一站 ~ 皇后學院
皇后學院 (Queens' College, Cambridge）由瑪嘉烈‧安茹(亨利六世皇后)於1448 A.D.建立，又於1465 A.D.由伊莉莎白·伍德維爾(愛德華四世皇后)再次建立。
數學橋 (Mathematical Bridge)是一條跨越康河，把皇后學院在康河兩岸的校園接駁起來的一座小橋，數學橋連接了學院早期建築（被學生們稱作黑暗面）和近期的建築（被學生們稱作光明面），是劍橋大學著名的觀光景點之一。數學橋是它的非官方名字，它的官方名字只是「木橋」而已。數學橋是由威廉‧埃瑟里奇（William Etheridge）設計，並在1749 A.D. 由詹姆斯‧艾塞克斯（James Essex）興建，並在1866 A.D. 和1905 A.D. 重建，但是原本的設計並沒有改變。
劍橋 康河第二站 ~ 國王學院
( King's College)
國王學院在亨利六世鼎力相助下始建於1441 A.D.。其原設計概念是節儉的，但從1445年起學院的建造目的轉變為「彰顯王室的地位」， 建造過程中學院建築體逐漸佔據劍橋市中心的大部分地區，使得很多街道被迫關閉，因此現今呈現於我們面前之國王學院，其規模才如此的宏偉。
國王學院於1443 A.D. 開始學院採取了一個更加宏大的計劃。學院創始人~ 「威爾」於1448 A.D. 詳細的描述了該計劃要建造一座宏偉的庭院，並在庭院的一側建造一座禮拜堂。但十年後，《玫瑰戰爭》開始，「亨利六世」面臨財政危機，而此時禮拜堂的東側建造了60英尺，而西側之建造了8英尺。建築工程直至1508 A.D. 「亨利七世」獲勝結束戰爭而繼續開始建造禮拜堂的屋頂。禮拜堂內部的建造直至1544 A.D. 在「亨利八世」的幫助下才完工。
藝術的倫敦，免費遊！ - 2008-07-13, 20:16
事實上，倫敦在食宿如此昂貴的情況，還可以吸引背包客的興趣和注目，就是因為倫敦有太多免費且是世界級的景點和活動！如果是喜好美術館和博物館的朋友，到了倫敦更是如獲至寶！因為最精采的美術館和博物館，全都是免費入場的！不論是可以看到很多國中高中時，美術課本名畫的國立美術館(The National Gallery )、現代藝術極致表現的Tate
Museum)、還是擁有小朋友最喜歡的恐龍的自然史博物館(Natural History Museum)全都不用付一毛錢，就能進入。以下分別介紹如下。
Modern在西元2000年才開幕，但不到十年，就已經成為倫敦不可錯過的重要景點。在Tate Modern中，展示著二十世紀以後的現代藝術。本身就極具現代感的室內空間，完全與展示品融為一體。譬如像是下方照片所呈現出的簡潔的巨大挑高空間，竟然是Tate Modern的出入口之一。
★Tate Modern：每日10:00~18:00。每星期五、六延遲至22:00閉館。(一定要利用延遲閉館日，到Tate Modern欣賞美麗的倫敦夜景喔！)
★自然史博物館：星期一~星期六：10:00~17:50 / 周日、假日：11:00~17:50。無延遲閉館日。
Holyrood Park 亞瑟王的寶座Arthur' s seat 在皇宮的旁邊 沿著皇家哩大道到底就是
One day scene : high street, Parliament
square, Warriston’s close and the kitchens of Telford College.
愛丁古堡是蘇格蘭的精神象徵，愛丁堡市的徽章上就有愛丁古堡的圖像。位於愛丁堡市的心臟地帶，建立於一座長達三億四千萬年前的死火山岩頂上，從市中心各角落都可看到。海拔120米，從上面可以俯瞰愛丁堡全城的景色。人類在該地區的活動可以追溯到公元前9世紀的銅器時代，七世紀溫伯瑞亞的「愛德溫國王」曾進行大規模整建。雖然堡壘固若金湯，但總免不了在歷史的進程中遭到戰火毀壞，愛丁古堡的建築體在16世紀的「長期圍城」（Lang Siege）事件中一部份被毀，但也有少數建築挺過這次圍城，其中最著名的便是建造於12世紀早期的「聖瑪格麗特禮拜堂」。愛丁古堡於1371 A.D. 蘇格蘭國王「大衛二世」修復後才呈現今日風貌。
古堡內可分為：城堡大道、下(The Lower Ward)、中(Middle Ward) 、上城(The Upper Ward) 及國王廣場 (Crown Squzre) 五大主要部份。
Ⅰ~ 城堡大道 (Esplanade)：每年愛丁堡 tattoo 表演處
1.大門 (Gate House)：建於1866 A.D.的守衛室及大門，裝飾作用大於實際功效。
Ⅱ~ 下城 (The Lower Ward)
2.舊警衛室 (Old Guardhouse)
3.內城牆 (Inner Barrier)
4.吊閘門 (Portcullis Gate)：進入城堡區的正式大門，有內門、外門及閘門三道。
5.捷徑階 (Lang Stairs)：70級階梯提供上、中防衛區最短的連接捷徑。
Ⅲ ~ 中城 (Middle Ward)
6.阿吉爾砲台 (Argyle Battery)：又稱作六砲台，大砲皆為19世紀拿破侖戰爭時所鑄造。
7.大車庫 (Cartshed)：古時停放50 輛大車之車庫，現改為遊客餐廳。附近還有軍火庫及軍醫院景點。
9.兵營 (New Barracks)：提供士兵充份休息處，至今仍為軍事用途並不對外開放參觀。
10.福格之門 (Foog's Gate)
Ⅳ ~ 上城 (The Upper Ward)
11.瑪格麗特禮拜堂 (St. Margare's Chapel)：建於12世紀初，為古堡內歷史最悠久之建物。16世紀初時曾為彈藥庫，於1845 A.D. 才改回禮拜堂樣貌。教堂裡有本11世紀的福音書，教堂外為中古世紀存留下來之「蒙斯梅格砲」(Mons
Meg)，為1449 A.D.於比利時製造，重6噸，所發射之砲彈每顆約為1500 kgw，因為砲體笨重，在蘇格蘭對英格蘭之戰役後自此退役，之後閒置於城堡地窖內。
12.狗墓園 (Dog Cemetery)：埋葬許多皇室成員及軍官的寵物狗及軍隊的吉祥動物~鹿。
14.福威爾砲台 (Forewall Battery)
15.半月砲台 (Half-Moon Battery)：防守最脆弱的城堡東側，陳列了「七姐妹」 ~ 7座16世紀的大砲。
Ⅴ ~ 國王廣場 (Crown Square)
16.皇宮 (Royal Palace)：16世紀蘇格蘭的瑪麗女王在頂樓的女王臥室產下詹姆士六世。二樓為展示皇室的王冠、寶座之處。
17.大廳 (Great Hall)：1639 A.D. 以前都是蘇格蘭國會開會之處，一直以來都是皇室舉行重要儀式場所。大廳內最引人注目之處為16世紀的木樑屋頂，每根柱角都有人物或動物的面具裝飾，每根柱子均繪以精美的幾何畫作裝飾。除了屋頂的雕樑畫棟外，四周的牆壁也以金光閃閃的劍器加以裝點。
18.安女王建築 (Queen Anne Building)：建於1708 A.D. 原為軍人休息處所。
19.蘇格蘭國家紀念戰爭館 (Scottish National War
20.城堡地窖 (Castle Vaults)：國王廣場的正下方就是城堡地窖，這裡以往是做為戰俘牢房、儲藏室、市民監獄等之用，現今牆上仍留有囚犯的註記。
Gallery of modern art:
Opening hours: Monday to Wednesday and Saturday
-10 am to 5 pm, Thursday -10
am to 8pm, Friday and Sunday – 11am to 5pm.
人民宮殿 People’s Palace
the Hunterian Art Gallery
Pier大約15分鐘 抵達Bowness之後, 店家多了起來
除此之外, 夏天有推出晚間渡輪...有些有供應自助餐, 有些是搭配BBQ
有關湖上活動資訊可以參考Windermere Lake Cruises
THAILAND may lose at least two of its satellite orbital slots if the government fails to resolve longstanding differences with Thaicom on proposed reforms for the satellite sector, the satellite operatorâs chief executive, Paiboon Panuwattanawong warned yesterday.
Jeff Cox examines the Democratic field of candidates for governor through a “Berniecrat” lens. -promoted by desmoinesdem All Democrats understand the great damage that Republicans have done to Iowa in a very short time, but we are far from being clear on how to undo the damage. Obviously, we must to elect a Democratic governor, […]
Perfect (and much needed!) antidote to Goves return. Just had my girlfriend in stitches by reading this out to her "in the style of" the TV cartoons - knock a few of these out as short animations with a decent voiceover as per the originals and you'd be a YouTube legend by lunchtime!
Long-time Slashdot reader quotes Ars Technica:The Justice Department on Friday petitioned the US Supreme Court to step into an international legal thicket, one that asks whether US search warrants extend to data stored on foreign servers. The US government says it has the legal right, with a valid court warrant, to reach into the world's servers with the assistance of the tech sector, no matter where the data is stored. The request for Supreme Court intervention concerns a 4-year-old legal battl ...
El Parque Arqueológico de Tierradentro está localizado en el departamento del Cauca, municipios de Belalcázar e Inzá. Se puede llegar a él desde Popayán (100 km) o vía La Plata (60 km).
Los vestigios arqueológicos son abundantes en la región, incluyen tumbas subterráneas o hipogeos, y estatuas de piedra; se concentran principalmente en cinco áreas localizadas en los alrededores de la población de San Andrés de Pisimbalá.
Tierradentro es única por sus sitios monumentales ubicados en el Alto del Aguacate, Alto de San Andrés, Alto de Segovia, Alto del Duende y El Tablón. Estos sitios conforman el Parque Arqueológico. La topografía del área es quebrada, conserva vegetación primaria en pequeña proporción en los páramos circundantes, y aún existen animales silvestres. En las laderas se observan los pequeños aterrazamientos en donde se ubicaban las viviendas de los antiguos pobladores.
Non Non Biyori ~ Murid SD yang bernama Hotaru Ichijou telah pindah bersama orang tuanya dari Tokyo ke daerah pedesaan. Sekarang dia harus beradaptasi dengan sekolah barunya, di mana ada total hanya ada 5 siswa di kelas yang sama yang berkisar muridnya bercampur dari sekolas dasar hingga sekolah menengah pertama. Ikutilah petualangan sehari-hari mereka di pedasaan itu.
Information Type: TV Episodes: 12 Status: Finished Airing Aired: Oct 8, 2013 to Dec 24, 2013 Producers: Lantis, Media Factory, Silver Link, Sentai FilmworksL Genres: Comedy, School, Slice of Life, Seinen Duration: 24 min. per episode Rating: PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
Henry – Trevor Farney Pistol – Matt Gurley Fluellen – Heather Miller Exeter – Elizabeth Anderson Boy – Amy Shelden Dauphin Louis – Claire Wehry Canterbury/Governor/Soldier – Vonda Schuster Michael Williams – John Stafford III Constable – Jerry Wehry King … Continue reading →
The orange part of the flag, that is. I thought it was something like ‘green for the 40 shades’, ‘white for the sky’ and ‘gold for the all gold’ (or Golden Age of Irish monasticism, would be more fitting). And when I found out it was ‘orange’, I was in denial. I refused to give up the lustre of gold for the rust of orange. Of course, I really had no idea what the Irish tricolour actually meant.
For those still favouring gold, you should know that ‘green is for those who regard themselves as Irish on the island of Ireland’, ‘orange (after William of Orange) is for those who regard themselves as British on the island of Ireland’, and ‘white is for the peace between them’. Some would say that it’s more so a religious divide than a cultural one, but some would also say that the white is not peace they share but ….
The story of the flag is that it was inspired by that of France, which similarly has disputed symbolism. White represents the clergy, red for the nobility, and blue for the bourgeoisie. That just gave me an idea to add to our list of symbols for the Irish flag: white is the church that has separated the two groups. Ah, tis all a bit political for me. Personally, I would prefer a different flag:
This flag does have gold. Hurray! But it’s more than just that. The golden harp has been a symbol of Ireland for around a millennium (see here). The harp is our national emblem and I interpret its place on this flag as representing not only the importance of the harp in Irish history, but the importance of music in general, and, with that, all the arts. All the arts of Ireland: Irish music, poetry, song, story - our heritage. These are what have made our country unique. The gold symbolising our culture’s richness. That, not political boundaries, was what united our country.
The green is a deeper, solemn shade. A shade for wisdom. For centuries’ learning of our monks, our brehon’s (judges) 20 years of aural memorisation of every detail, poets’ and story-tellers’ ability for something new nearly every day of the year, for education for Catholics after O’Connell abolished the Penal Laws.
All that speaks to me more.
So why isn’t the flag of Ireland? Well, because it’s already the flag of Leinster.
You see, during the Eleven Years’ War, a self-governing body was established in Kilkenny which remained loyal to the British monarch throughout its duration. From 1642 to 1649, the Irish Catholic Confederation governed most of Ireland and basically wanted freedom for Catholics in Ireland under the crown of England, as opposed to free from it. Their flag was a gold harp on a green background, supposedly incited by Owen Roe O’Neill (one of the descendents of the ancient Irish ruling dynasty of Uí Néill) who flew it from his ship’s mast and who would become the Commander of the Confederate Army. Thenceforth, it became associated with Kilkenny and its province, Leinster.
Our tricolour was first flown in public on the Mall in Waterford City on March 7th 1848. And we commemorate its anniversary today. So it’s a more suitable day than most to buy a wee Irish flag.
On this day, September 18th, in 1914, the Government of Ireland Act had reached the statute books in Westminster. This act was set to give Ireland Home Rule; something that the Irish politicians and the Irish people had been aiming towards for decades. But, as is natural in Irish history, bad luck has to mock the wishes of the downtrodden Irish (as if Father Time and Mother Éire had had a very difficult divorce. This probably originated in the early Middle Ages when Ireland refused to experience the Dark Ages. )
World War I shook the Home Rule Bill off the table in Westminster. And it would only be back on the table after the conflict had ended.
“Hmmm, lunchtime, maybe? If not, then surely by Christmas?”
And so, frustrated by this, the IRB (Irish Republican Brotherhood) met to decide the fate of Irish republicanism. The Easter Rising was the ultimate result of this meeting. In commemoration of the importance of the site (north Parnell Square), the Garden of Remembrance was opened in 1916, on the 50th anniversary of the 1916 Rising.
For those who gave their lives in the fight for Irish freedom…
Incidentally, also on this day, in 1922, another bill rose to attention. This was the Constitution of Saorstát Éireann Bill, which W. T. Cosgrave (the first Taoiseach/Prime Minister/President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State) introduced to enable the implementation of the Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland.
How does China solve the country’s prevalent public transportation problems? By unveiling the world’s first autonomous train transit system that runs on a virtual track. In this video we will know about China’s New Autonomous Train that Doesn’t Even Need Rails for its truck.
CHINA’S AUTONOMOUS TRAIN TRANSIT
The world’s first rail less train was revealed last week in Zhuzhou in central China’s Hunan province. China’s state-owned enterprise called CRRC began developing the Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit back in 2013, to provide a solution to the country’s transportation problems in congested urban areas.
The Autonomous Rail Rapid Transit in short ART is some kind of cross between a train and a bus or tram. The ART runs on roads like a bus, but only on designated paths like a tram. It's modular like a train, and carriages can be added or removed to accommodate different numbers of people. Each carriage can fit about 100 passengers.
ENVIRONMENT FRENDLY VEHICLE
It is considered to be a cheaper alternative to other commute networks as well as being sustainable and environmentally friendly. With a cross appearance between a bus and a train, the autonomous train is composed of three carriages and spans 30 meters long.
It’s part of the intelligent rail express system by CRRC, which operates on rubber tires as opposed to traditional rail tracks. Means, it runs on rubber tires and has sensors to read the dimensions of the road and plan its route.
A pair of dashed white painted lines acts as virtual tracks which the autonomous train follows. The idea is that the 'smart train' could travel without a driver or rails.
CAPACITY AND CAPABILITY
This ART system can be driven up to a maximum speed of 70 km/h and can carry up to 300 passengers in three carriages at a time. Providing a new and smart method for solving urban transport pressures, the autonomous vehicle is powered by electricity, which can journey to a distance 40 km when fully charged. It uses a lithium titanate battery and can embark on a substantial journey with only 10 minutes of charging.
Equipped with sensors, the autonomous train can process and analyze road dimensions then plan its own course. Very much like a bus-train hybrid vehicle running on a virtual track. CRRC can also add more carriages to the transit system in order to increase the passenger capacity. Moreover, the newly developed ART system can be integrated fairly easily into existing road infrastructures as it doesn’t require heavy construction works compared to rail track systems.
COST SAVING EFFORTS
In general, most medium-sized and smaller cities in China doesn’t have the budget to build expensive subway systems, or most of the time, they take too long to build. According to Xinhua, it costs up to $102 dollar to build a kilometer of a subway track, as compared to about $2 million for a standard length ART bus. So, this solution proves to be ideal because of its multiple advantages over conditional transit systems. It’s cheap, sustainable, and is able to transport a large volume of people in a fast and reliable manner.
The current ART system is still in its prototype stage and is driven manually by a human driver. However, the Zhuzhou city government in the Hunan province is expected to build a 6.5-kilometer ART line throughout its downtown. Operations of the autonomous train within the city will begin in 2018.
Ticket's : $10.00 at door Please fill out application and email to MBCS323@Gmail.com
Regular Scheduled Meetings
Emmanuel Family Life Center Fashion Show Saturday February 2nd @ Governor Square Mall
Junior Miss, Little Miss & Mini Miss: Princess Ball February 16, 2013 Regular Scheduled Meetings: Contestants must attend ALL January 14, 21, 28, February 4, 11, 18, February 22, 2013 Dress Rehearsal 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. You can make Contestant, Donations & Vendor Payments Online.
PA-Malvern, Leads the Industrial Relations function in all matters affecting the represented and unrepresented workforce in plant operations. Included are: labor relations, compensation, organization effectiveness, union organization prevention, and governmental compliance. Client Details A leading chemincal distribution company Description Develops corporate labor relations objectives in support of Company p
MD-Laurel, Security Vault Works provides turnkey construction and installation services to financial institutions, large retailers, bank equipment manufacturers, and US Government agencies. Currently, we service local and national customers – coast to coast – from 10 Branch offices in 9 U.S. states. See our website at www.svwinc.com for more information about our Company and our projects. Our Corporate offic
The recent World Cup performance by the talented Indian team has stirred the hornet's nest. Heads are rolling in Pakistan and the blame game is just about to start in India. However, I doubt if anything meaningful would come out of it. Ramachandra Guha describes cricket as a "special game" in India in his outstanding book on Indian Cricket - A corner of a foreign field, and one has to agree. More than just another sport, it's now another icon of national pride. When tension mounted between India & Pakistan, Indian government was quick to snap all cricketing ties, however, the Pakistani hockey & TT teams were touring India, that too without a whimper from Thakre and likes. Every year the broadcasting rights for cricket in India are fought over intensely with the amounts going up astronomically. Every cricket match in any corner of India, featuring the Indian team, sometimes even without them, meets full-house with thousands turned down!
If such is the love for the game, how come no one cares a damn about the domestic cricket in India? Before delving deeper, let's see if it is really the "love" of the game or just fanatic following of the home team. The Indian crowd has given diametrically opposing impressions over time. Compare the standing ovation received by the Paki team in the Chennai test and the unruly crowd of Calcutta in the '96 WC Semifinal. So, do people want to see good cricket or they just care for their team's win? The truth lies somewhere between these two extremes. I think, people have some idea (almost fair) about the team's calibre and when they perform below there capability, they face the fan's ire. Indian team's ouster in the first round was definitely below their capabilities. It's not that the fans expected them to win the cup; they were hailed as heroes in the last WC when they played out of their skins to reach the finals, only to get hammered!
Coming back to domestic cricket, one most common argument is that the Ranji Trophy has too many teams, thus diluting the quality of cricket. I quote from the wikipedia page -
Up until the 2002-03 season, the teams were grouped into five zones - North, West, East, Central and South - and initial matches were played within the zones on a league basis. The top teams (two until 1991-92, three after that) from each zone played in a national knock-out competition, leading to a final which decided the winner of the tournament.
Kids playing cricket near Payakara Falls, Ooty
Starting with the 2002-03 season, the zonal system was abandoned and a two-division structure was adopted: the Elite Group and the Plate Group. For the 2006-07 season, the divisions were re-labelled the Super League and Plate League respectively.
The Super League is divided into two groups of eight and seven teams, while the Plate League is divided into two groups of six teams each. In both divisions, the top two teams from each group advance to the knock-out phase. The finalists from the Plate League are promoted to the Super League the next year while the two teams at the bottom of the Super League are relegated.
If this seems too many, we've got Duleep Trophy, with just 5 zonal teams. I quote -
Five Indian zonal teams regularly take part in the Duleep Trophy - North Zone, South Zone, East Zone, West Zone and Central Zone.
The original format was that the five teams played each other on a knock-out basis. From the 1993-94 season, the competition converted to a league format.
From the 2003-04 season onwards, the five original zonal teams competed along with a sixth guest team which was a touring foreign team. The first guest team was England A in 2003-04.
If you say the slow test cricket is the deterring factor, we've got Deodhar Trophy, 50-over one-day competition played on a league basis among the 5 zonal teams since 1973!
So there, we've got all flavors of cricket in the domestic competitions, yet it's not able to pull the apparently cricket crazy crowd of India. It has to do something with the quality of cricket played. The difference of quality between international fixtures & these domestic ones has to be huge, thus not attracting the attention of people. This again is a mind-boggler! Cricket is played almost everywhere in India and yet we can't produce ample number of quality competitors for the domestic cricket? This points towards the callous attitude of cricket governing body in India. We should do more to train & prepare cricketers from their younger days. There is another anamoly here, our under-19 team was among the strongest & in the final of last two U-19 World Cups! How do you explain this decline of form of the same players when they graduate to the big league? It's as if they stop adding value to their cricket while their peers from other countries move on.
There is another deterrent, parents skepticism towards career in professional sports. I don't know if we can tackle this problem in the short run in a third-world developing country like India. May be BCCI can announce some comprehensive scholarships, may be they have these even now. But the fact remains that the parents are scared to let their kids chase their cricketing dreams at the cost of sound academic background, thus increased probability of a decent career.
Another face of the problem is the media coverage of these games. I do get to read about them in the newspaper, however no channel is ready to air these games. We do get to see the NKP Salve Challenger Trophy, but not other games. This again depends on the fact that there aren't many buyers for these games, because these are low quality matches. Some vicious cycle we've got here! We can't relate with these matches, because we can't see them. They can't broadcast the matches, because no one sees them!
These definitely aren't the only problems with the Indian cricket. Still, I feel if we can address these one fast, the Indian cricket will be benefitted a lot and fast. Depleted bench strength & mediocre domestic cricket are holding back Indian cricket big time.
Sandipan started with his views, which unfortunately didn't look very well prepared. However, he was lucid; talked much without saying much. Rest three had solid experience in industry, extending the operations at the world stage. They talked with more authority and shared their experiences. All of them were very sure that the dream of 100 Indian MNCs by 2020 is well within the reach and sort of underrated. It was quite inspiring hearing their first hand experiences.
Like all good panel discussions, this one too ended with a Q&A round by audience. Like all good audience, lots of questions came out after a little prodding. What was most interesting to note was that the crowd - comprising the leaders of tomorrow, yada yada yada - was quite skeptic about achieving the goal! There were questions about the government and its ineffectiveness, about sustaining the current wave of growth, about population & literacy, about infrastructure & investment - all of them showing how improbable this goal seems to be. On the contrary, the panel maintained its stand that India will have to do too bad to miss this one!
Their settling argument was that India has reached this stage even with the kind of government & stifling regulations we've had, so there is every chance that now that the condition have improved a lot, India will bloom even more. The post-lib generation hasn't seen those days, when Infosys almost died as an infant after frustrating experiences trying to work for global client, mainly due to the policies in 1989!
What will happen remains to be seen, but this skeptism in the youth of the nation, crème de la crème, worries me. Not like OMG-India-is-screwed-now worry, just a little concern.
PS: Just a small note, reply to Jeet's comment on my last post where he said, "I don't agree with Sandipan's only one answer theory.. I don't know about comp. sci and engg. but Civil Engineering was all about evaluating multiple correct answers and 'choosing' one of them." Still, you'll find the management education a whole lot different than engineering. CS is mainly about optimizing; space, speed, transfer, safety.. So in a way, you are confined in your pursuit of the answer. You can say that A is better than B and like that. Civil, as I understand, does have an element of subjectivity to it. In the managerial world, I'm told, there are many situation where nothing's universally better or worse. It all depends on what you decide.
Experience in the areas of international business/exports (experience in the areas of international business/export in the aerospace security, infrastructure,... From Governor in Council Appointments - Fri, 21 Apr 2017 23:10:24 GMT - View all Canada jobs
Dete shto si se usro... Idi peri se... Pa ondak dodji choek...
Tragedija je u tome sto je on u godinama, takoreci matori smrad, da je mladji pa da se ovakvo ponasanje i pripise mladosti, s obzirom da je drtina matora, moze se samo nazvati ozbiljnim bolesnikom, i ignorisati ovakve njegove bljuvotine....
Responsible for creating and implementing political strategy for relevant electoral engagement. Start of the 2017 Winter Season (approx.... From Whistler Blackcomb - Sat, 03 Jun 2017 01:16:13 GMT - View all Whistler, BC jobs
Il Consiglio dei ministri ha pubblicato, sulla Gazzetta Ufficiale n. 147 del 26 giugno 2017, il decreto legislativo n. 16 giugno 2017, n. 100, con le disposizioni integrative e correttive al decreto legislativo 19 agosto 2016, n. 175, recante testo unico in materia di società a partecipazione pubblica. Si riporta il citato provvedimento n.175/16 ,recante […]
Headquartered in the City of Kamloops, the TNRD provides a wide range of local government services to a population of 130,000 located within its 11 diverse... $4,716 a month From CivicInfo BC - Wed, 28 Jun 2017 01:46:14 GMT - View all Kamloops, BC jobs
Headquartered in the City of Kamloops, the TNRD provides a wide range of local government services to a population of 130,000 located within its 11 diverse... $4,716 a month From CivicJobs.ca - Wed, 28 Jun 2017 02:50:28 GMT - View all Nicola, BC jobs
The optimistic exhibition focuses on the future, asking how design challenges the present and shapes things to come.
Enter and Encounter is a joint exhibition produced by Design Museum Finland and the Finnish Association of Designers Ornamo, featuring contemporary design after Helsinki’s Design Capital Year of 2012. Aalto University's course Design for Government is nominated to take part in the exhibition!
The course 'Design for Government' is organised yearly at Aalto University since 2013, joining Finnish ministries together with multidisciplinary student teams to solve complex, policy-level challenges. The aim of the course is to introduce design as a strategic competence that can be applied in public sector decision-making. In the course, students apply empathic design approaches to identify stakeholder needs, systems approaches to analyze the wider context of policies, and behavioural insight to identify and design relevant solutions. Design for Government is at the frontier of design expansion into the public sector. It builds on a tradition of design ‘beyond the object’ – the design of processes, services, strategies and other immaterial products.
Design for Government has so far collaborated with 6 different ministries, and 70 alumni of the course span more than 11 disciplines and 4 universities. Ministry-commissioned projects range from addressing how building standards enable accessible and independent living and how the new national waste code should be enacted, to how agricultural production relates to the circular economy and nutrition at schools. Solutions created by students range from simplifying web services to rewriting policy documents. In the exhibition Enter and Encounter, the course and its objectives are displayed through a video documentary. The documentary depicts the various design activities in the course, student proposals and impacts from students’ and ministry perspectives.
Team: Taneli Heinonen, Seungho Lee, Hella Hernberg, Juha Kronqvist, Ramia Mazé; curatorial assistant Miina Pohjolainen and video documentary Roman Lihhavtshuk.
What affects rubber frictional performance on ice?
The public examination of the doctoral dissertation of András Kriston, M.Sc. (Eng.)., will be held on 30 June 2017 at 12.00 at the Aalto University School of Engineering. The title of the dissertation is Micro contact analysis of rubber-ice interaction during frictional processes. The field of the dissertation is engineering design and production, vehicle engineering, rubber/ice friction.
The good frictional performance of rubber on ice heavily influences vehicles’ mobility at winter conditions. In this dissertation, a methodology chain was developed using various microscopical imaging techniques in order the reveal the main frictional mechanisms when tire tread rubber slides on ice. The studies presented in this thesis help to broaden our understanding in the physics of tire-ice contact.
By analyzing the ice surface at its post-sliding state, different kind of contact marks can be observed depending on simulated traffic conditions (i.e. ice surface contamination), rubber hardness and rubber surface roughness. The results showed that it is not possible to single out one specific frictional mechanism due to the complexity of the tribosystem. The friction can be low when the rubber compound is harder, or the ice surface temperature is higher resulting local melting spots, leading to more hydrodynamic friction. Contrary, when the rubber compound is soft enough, or the ice surface temperature is colder, the likelihood of melting is low thus other mechanisms like deforming ice surface asperities and ploughing by hard fillers in rubber are more dominant. Interestingly, it was observed that pre-melted ice layer always lubricates the contact surface.
To overcome on the difficulties of observing three-dimensional micro contact state when rubber is squeezed against different type of road surfaces, a new, micro-computed-tomography based method was proposed. As a result, it was seen that the contact area on ice-like flat road surface is governed by the deformation of the rubber surface asperities, while on a rough road surface the contact is driven by the bulk deformation of the rubber. The nature of the contact state influences the frictional mechanisms of rubber on road surfaces. The large variety of observed frictional and contact mechanisms indicates that all modern tire compound development needs to fulfil multiplicity of requirements. Optimizing dynamic stiffness of the rubber, a good control over the rubber surface roughness and improving the molecular level interactions, like adhesion, can improve the performance of tires on icy surfaces.
Opponent: Dr. Lasse Makkonen, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finland
Supervisor: Professor Kari Tammi, Aalto University, Finland
Advisors: Dr. Tibor Fülöp, Goodyear S.A., Luxembourg; Ari Tuononen, D.Sc.,Aalto University, Finland
Airlines serving the U-S will have new security rules to follow. More from CBS News. Activists say they're watching closely -- following the indictment of three Chicago police officers for covering up parts of Laquan McDonald's death. Governor Rauner threatens to cancel dozens of lawmakers' holiday vacations if they don't pass a budget by Friday. And the wheel-spinning in Springfield has lottery players running to beat a deadline.
President Trump hosted the families of victims of crimes committed by undocumented immigrants at the White House on Wednesday as a part of an effort to put pressure on Republicans in the House to pass legislation targeting so-called sanctuary cities. “You lost the people that you love because our government refused to enforce our nation’s…
Mark Pecen is the Chairman, ETSITC Cyber Working Group for Quantum Safe Cryptography (QSC) (France), Chief Operating Officer, ISARA Corporation, and Board member, Institute for Quantum Computing (Canada). He is currently the CEO of Approach Infinity, Inc. and a member of the Safeguard advisory board. Leading governments around the globe, along with major corporations, including…
At its last Monthly Forum for 2011 the ETUI would like to discuss the current state of economic governance on the European level as well as the economic outlook going into 2012 in the light of the second AGS and the recently agreed six-pack, and against the background of the still unresolved crisis.
Over the last 60 years workers’ participation has developed into an essential component of the European socio-economic model. This year’s European Panel conference, organized by the Hans-Böckler and Friedrich-Ebert Foundations and the ETUI in cooperation with the German and European Trade Union Confederations, will debate in what way workers’ participation has made a more sustainable contribution than other corporate governance models to overcoming the crisis.
The current policy debate on the debt crisis in Greece has so far focused mostly on macroeconomic aspects and on whether the Greek government has sufficient political capital to deliver the reforms agreed with the European Commission and the IMF for receipt of financial aid. The ETUI, at the September gathering of its Monthly Forum, will provide an alternative perspective on this issue by looking into some of the distributional implications of the fiscal austerity and deep recession currently experienced by the Greek economy.
As a continuation of its training / workshop on “The Lisbon Treaty and its impacts on workers’ rights and trade unions” the ETUI will give a two-day training on “EU2020 and the social impact of Economic Governance”.
UKPSC Uttarakhand Public Service Commission has letest published the Recruitment notification 2016 to fill up the empty post 138 vacancies of the various Officer Posts. It is a good news for the all candidates who are wetting or searching for the Government Jobs in Uttarakhand state. Applicants who are fulfill interested in Public Service Commission Jobs. they have […]
As hundreds of animal lovers watched on the south lawn of the state Capitol, Governor Wolf signed into a law a wide-ranging bill for which they spent years advocating. KYW Harrisburg Bureau Chief Tony Romeo reports.
The government’s mission to put the UK at the forefront of commercial spaceflight has been given a big boost after plans were announced to build the world’s first private space research centre in Bedfordshire. The £120 million Blue Abyss facility will be constructed at RAF Henlow, providing domestic and international companies with access to the […]
The rabbit keeps digging. And digging. How far are you ready to go down?
I first began to follow this story when I heard about the drowning death of Jeff Buckley. I'm not sure why but the first thought that came into my head was that it had something to do with Elizabeth Fraser.
I had no idea that all of this had been prophesied for years and years before, in ways that actually give me chills.
I had no idea that this was all closely following a very ancient script, for reasons I can't begin to wrap my head around. The symbolism is almost shockingly unambiguous, as we'll soon see.
I had no idea that a tragedy involving Chris Cornell, Jeff Buckley's close friend and posthumous spokesman, would take place on the banks of another river almost exactly 20 years later, a tragedy that seemed to follow a remarkably similar mythic script. And a tragedy that would seize the attention of millions all around the world.
And I most certainly had no idea twenty years ago that at the very same time police divers were scouring the muddy waters of the Wolf River Lagoon for Jeff Buckley's corpse a well-publicized reenactment of a mystery religion based on the drowning death of a revered ancient Egyptian god was being undertaken by an elite "secret society" just a few blocks away.
Yeah. That happened.
I'm still having trouble wrapping my head around that one too.
WHY AND WHAT FOR?
A reader asked a highly pertinent and perceptive question in the comments section of the previous post. It cuts to the heart of this extraordinarily unlikely mystery we're trying to crack here.
The thing that I keep asking is "why?" Why would spirits reenact this little passion play at all? Why with this small handful of singers and songwriters? It seems like a lot of effort, a lot of autistic attention to trivial details few would even notice - so where's the actual payoff for the Good Folk's effort? The only thing I can think up is that all the world's a play to them, but the dramatis personnae onstage never see more than a few glimpses of their lines before it's time for them to be spoken.
Why indeed? We're not talking about show biz superstars here, we're not talking about Benifer or Brangelina, we're talking about two cult performers who never broke into the mainstream.
We're talking about two very vulnerable souls whose supernatural gifts were balanced out by their struggles with their troubled upbringings and mental illness. But at the same time we're talking about two performers who could count the highest echelon of the music biz elite in their circle of apostles.
And we're talking about a love story whose tragic end was prophesied in a song that has garnered a staggering 48 million views on YouTube. Those people may not realize it but they've soaked all this in.
Which only makes sense because what we're actually seeing is a ritualistic reenactment of one of history's oldest love stories.
It's becoming increasingly well-known on the Internet that this song is about Jeff Buckley, though I think most people tend to underestimate how deep Fraser's obsession with the man really was. I don't think she ever got over it.
Buckley idolized Fraser, studied her, imitated her (the first time I heard Jeff Buckley- knowing nothing about him- I said to myself, "this guy sure sounds like he listens to a lot of Cocteau Twins records"). But when they met Fraser was in the middle of a serious- and painfully public- mental health crisis that would find her hospitalized twice within a year.
Buckley brought color and excitement back into her life but he had far too many groupies chasing him to stay with an older woman who brought a lot of emotional baggage in tow. Plus, his star was rising and her band was in the process of winding down their long run.
The Wikipedia entry recites the almost-unimaginably eerie fact that Fraser was recording this song while the man about whom she was singing was dying on the other side of the world, but omits the fact that they were lovers:
Fraser wrote the song's lyrics. While recording the song on 29 May 1997, she found out that her once-close friend, Jeff Buckley, had drowned. "That was so weird ... I'd got letters out and I was thinking about him. That song's kind of about him – that's how it feels to me anyway."
And what most people tend to overlook is that not only is she singing about Buckley- yet again- she is also unconsciously prophesying his death. Yet again:
Night, night of matter (?)
Black flowers blossom
Fearless on my breath
Black flowers blossom
Fearless on my breath
Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath
I have a problem with this interpretation of the lyrics. As far as I can tell what Fraser is actually singing is "Night, night of murder" not "matter." Which makes a lot more sense when followed by "black flowers blossom." Why?
Because black flowers have traditionally been associated with death and mourning:
The color black has always been synonymous with death and mourning. It is thus the color of sadness and farewell. So, many people consider black roses to symbolize bereavement, loss and mortality. They are often used at funerals.
And then there's this couplet, which connects us to a constellation of ancient goddesses whose dramas all center on lost loves ( and one of whose incarnations is known as "the first mermaid").
Water is my eye
Most faithful mirror
OVER AND OVER AND OVER AGAIN
Some of Fraser's most extraordinary vocal performances come when she is channeling the dramas of ancient mythologies. This of course includes the Siren but also Lorelei, Echo, Pandora (not just once but twice), Persephone and Coatlicue.
But there's one particular story that she seemed to embody and that's the story of the goddess who fell in love with the young shepherd boy. It seemed to start in an oblique and incidental way:
The Cocteaux released Moon and the Melodies in late 1986, which featured 'Sea, Swallow Me' and 'She Will Destroy You', among others. Then they released Blue Bell Knoll, which again is a reference to an old folk belief about a death omen. The bluebell is also known as Endymion non-scriptus.
Endymion is yet another doomed mortal whom a goddess fell in love with:
Wandering farther afield from the British Isles, the bluebell is associated with the shepherd boy Endymion. The moon goddess, variously called Seline or Diana, fell in love with him and cast an eternal sleep on him so that she could enjoy his beauty alone, forever.
In Babylonia, the month Tammuz was established in honor of the eponymous god Tammuz, who originated as a Sumerian shepherd-god, Dumuzid or Dumuzi, the consort of Inanna and, in his Akkadian form, the parallel consort of Ishtar.
Inanna and Dumuzi also seem to be the stars of one of the earliest known tellings of the Descent into the Underworld, where Inanna traveled to retrieve the soul of her lost shepherd-boy consort. This story would be told over and over again. This story was retold in Phrygia as the myth of Cybele and Attis (note see Tracy Twyman's dissertation of this myth at her blog):
Cybele loved the beautiful shepherd, and made him her own priest on condition that he should preserve his chastity inviolate. Atys broke the covenant with a nymph, the daughter of the river-god Sangarius, and was thrown by the goddess into a state of madness, in which he unmanned himself.
This story was told in the pages of Sir James Frazer's Golden Bough, a book Elizabeth Fraser certainly seemed to have read. A variant on the story has the hermaphroditic Agdistis in place of Cybele. Strangely enough this version also correlates to the Fraser-Buckley drama, given the Cocteau Twins' singer's own innate androgyny. As the singer explained in 1995:
"I was very worried about being unattractive because I think I look quite masculine. Sometimes I feel more masculine than feminine and I don't like it. I mean, you've got a person who is in recovery from incest surrounded by men. I've never had a highly developed sense of being female."
Fraser would refer obliquely to Cybele in one of her many songs focused around moths and butterflies, 'Great Spangled Fritilary', a butterfly whose scientific name is S Cybele.
(Both) Aphrodite and Persephone, goddess of fertility and death, love Adonis, a beautiful young man. Adonis is killed by a wild boar while he is on the hunt: Aphrodite begs Zeus to restore him to life, but Persephone also demands that he be brought back to life for her sake. Zeus settles the dispute by resurrecting Adonis, but commands him to live six months in the upper world with Aphrodite and six months in the lower world with Persephone.
And sure enough, just before she would meet Jeff Buckley, Elizabeth Fraser would be depicted rising from a scallop shell like Aphrodite in the music video for 'Bluebeard'.
The Syrian version of this archetype, widely believed to be the original incarnation of Aphrodite herself, who takes us right back to the world of sirens and mermaids. The very first mermaid, or so the story goes:
Atargatis was in love with a human shepherd but accidentally killed him. Out of guilt, the goddess flung herself into the ocean hoping to become a fish. But her beauty was so great, that she never could fully become a fish. Instead she became half goddess, half fish, with a tail below the waist and human body above the waist.
BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER... ...let's play the Name Game. You see this little mythology primer here isn't just for the giggles and grins, it cuts right to the core of the very strange daisy-chain of synchronicity we are trying to untangle. Because Jeff Buckley's very surname means "shepherd boy."
Ó Buachalla, taken from the Irish word 'buachaill' originally meaning 'herdsman' (in modern Irish it has come to mean 'boy'), was anglcised early as Ó Boughelly, Boughla, Buhilly and later as Buckley.
So you see I'm not exaggerating when I claim that what we're seeing here is a very ancient psychodrama that chose to play itself out in real time. I mean it literally. Do you understand me now?
And what about Liz Fraser? Well, given the Egyptian origin of the Biblical name (the first Elizabeth was connected to Moses and Aaron, both of which are native Egyptian names) I will go to my grave believing that in fact it comes from Eloah-Esi-Beth, or "Temple of the Goddess Isis." We'll get to Isis shortly. But first the Fraser name, which ties into Knights Templar history, of all things:
The Frasers are believed to have come from Anjou in France. The name Fraser may be derived from Fredarius, Fresel or Freseau. Another suggestion is that the Frasers were a tribe in Roman Gaul, whose badge was a strawberry plant (fraisier in French).
Might come from "fraisier." Gee, you think?
But what's the significance of strawberries in this tale here? Well, it ties right back into the lineage of the same goddesses we're looking at. In this case the Syro-Roman variant:
The strawberry was a symbol for Venus, the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shapes and red color.
In a connection that will take on greater significance when we get to the next chapter of this drama, it so happens that Venus had a very Roswell kind of origin story:
In another story, told by Hyginus, an egg fell from the sky into the Euphrates, was rolled onto land by fish, doves settled on it and hatched it, and Venus, known as the Syrian goddess, came forth
Yeah, we're going there. But don't worry- it's baked right into the cake.
Yeah, those eyes. I know.
But of course the big kahuna of love-goddess and doomed shepherd myths is that of Isis and Osiris. In the best-known telling of the tale, Osiris' first death comes when he is drowned in the Nile inside his sarcophagus:
In some cases the texts suggest that Set takes the form of a wild animal, such as a crocodile or bull, to slay Osiris; in others they imply that Osiris's corpse is thrown in the water or that he is drowned. This latter tradition is the origin of the Egyptian belief that people who had drowned in the Nile were sacred.
And just to establish his shepherd cred:
He also carries the crook and flail. The crook is thought to represent Osiris as a shepherd god. The symbolism of the flail is more uncertain with shepherds whip, fly-whisk, or association with the god Andjety of the ninth nome of Lower Egypt proposed.
And as the fathomless enigmas of fate would have it, one of the foundation texts for the Isis-Osiris myth takes us back to- you guessed it- Memphis:
Another important source is the Memphite Theology, a religious narrative that includes an account of Osiris's death as well as the resolution of the dispute between Horus and Set. This narrative associates the kingship that Osiris and Horus represent with Ptah, the creator deity of Memphis.
Quoting directly from the Memphite Theology, we have this:
Isis and Nepthys without delay, for Osiris had drowned in his water. Isis [and Nephthys] looked out, [beheld him and attended to him].
OK, we have a river, a drowning and a Memphis. Can I shoehorn a wolf into this little catty-corner? Oh, yes I can:
In the beginning, Osiris was associated mostly with agriculture. This cult spread rapidly into Upper Egypt, and soon Osiris became identified with the funeral god, Abydos, Khenti-Amentiu, who was symbolized by the wolf.
But then we get thrown right down the crazy-stairs...
Oh, the eyes. Interesting.
While police divers were still dragging the Wolf River Harbor for Jeff Buckley's body, just a few blocks east the Grand Krewe of Osiris was enjoying the Carnival Memphis, kicking off at the Crosstown Concourse:
The Carnival Memphis Association organizes, plans, budgets, and promotes the King, Queen, and Royal Court, as well as many of the events staged during Carnival week. However, the Grand Krewes (once known as secret societies) also stage their own festivities throughout the year, elect their own royalty, manage their own budget, and have their own membership requirements.
Most of these organizations bear Egyptian names in accordance to tradition originally set out by the Mystic Memphi, and in conjunction with Memphis being the sister city of ancient Memphis, Egypt. The twelve Grand Krewes that Carnival Memphis recognizes are the Mystic Society of the Memphi, Osiris, Sphinx, RaMet, Ennead, Phoenix, Aani, Ptolemy, Kemet Jubilee, Ptah, Luxor, Queen Bees.
The Carnival kicks off the first weekend following Memorial Day. But what exactly is the Grand Krewe of Osiris? Well, besides the hosts of osirismemphis.com, that is?
Osiris was founded in 1934 as a Mystic Secret Society. Osiris membership has always consisted of top professional and business leaders.
The Great Eye, the hieroglyphic symbol of Osiris for thousands of years, continues looking intently forward to the future of great city of Memphis, on the American Nile.
The Great Eye? You mean the one glowing in the middle of that giant pyramid you got there? The one on the shore of the Wolf River Lagoon? OK. Thanks.
Good, clean Masonic fun
And what exactly do their ceremonies entail?
The ceremonies were mysterious and symbolic, but the most common feature was the procession of Queen Isis in her carriage, far beyond the precincts of her temple on occasions to other towns.
These occasions were passed amid great rejoicing, music, dancing, and feasting which formed important parts of the festival rites.
The feast was held within lofty walls, with an entrance between immense pylons inscribed with hieroglyphs.
Those called to join celebrated the regeneration of the land, the renewal of friendships, and the hopes for a productive and joyful year!
Our Queen Isis has always been known for her beauty and membership in a prominent family. She wears the Ring of Isis, engraved with her hieroglyphic symbol.
The identity of King Osiris is revealed at the Banquet of Past Kings. He and all Past Osiris Kings wear the King’s Medallion on a scarlet and white ribbon at all Osiris and Carnival events.
OK, now I'm sure this is all fun and harmless and zany (totally Masonic) fun for the Memphite upper crust. But that doesn't matter in the context of ritual, especially the kind of ritual that goes beyond ritual. Because all this was going on while Jeff Buckley's body was floating a few blocks away in the Wolf River in the same exact way Osiris' body floated in the Nile.
But again, the point is that happened. That actually happened. A bunch of drunk lawyers, doctors and their wives were playacting the mysteries of Isis and Osiris while an aspiring rock superstar was actually playing the part of Osiris in a ritual who I can't begin to imagine who -or more accurately, what -- was staging.
I mean, I never heard of this Carnival until a few hours ago. Have you?
What are the odds Elizabeth Fraser knew about any of this while she was writing songs that prophesy how a man she wouldn't meet for another 12 years would die? Somewhere between slim, zip and fuckall I'd wager. But stay tuned because this story is about to take a very dark and sinister turn, taking us into the world of elite UFO cultists, the Tower of Babel, demons of the air, World War Three, and a prophecy of the most momentous event of our times. I wish I were kidding.
Sanjala sam psa koji govori. Panavlja sve kao papagaj što mu kažeš, a slatko neko malo kuče, kovrdžavo na kratko ošišano, samo dojuri legne da ga pomaziš pa o5 odjuri ko lood... e sad, beše tu još svašta nisam samo kuče sanjala, al da ne dužim.... 8)
Let's get this out of the way first - SPOILERS! Then this: Alien: Covenant is not a very good movie. It's not offensively terrible, in fact it goes out of its way to be as inoffensive as possible. Even the gore seems polite. I'd give you a synopsis but you can just as easily take all your favorite scenes from the Alien franchise, arrange them however you please, add in a cartoon villain whose motivations are entirely incomprehensible and then go fix yourself up some Jiffy Pop. Alien: Covenant goes to great lengths to piss away the entire ontology proposed in the film it's meant to act as a sequel to, ostensibly annihilating the god-like Engineer race in a blink-and-you'll-miss-it CGI eruption that has all the heft and drama of a 80s video game. But at the same time it seems to tell a story beneath the surface narrative. And a lot of its riffs will be well familiar to anyone versed in Ancient Astronaut Theory. Which, let's face it, was arguably extraneous to the running plot of Prometheus (space mission finds remains of alien race mixed up with the xenomorph progenitors). As Gordon and I discussed, it also feels like it meant to originally serve as the advance guard for a new AAT media blitz*, a plan that appears to have been scuttled in the wake of Hurricane Trump and the resultant cold (for the time being) civil war the country has been plunged into. I've never seen divide-and-rule politics as divisive as what we're seeing today, with the ostensible goal being to atomize the population into impotent, squabbling subsects in order to preempt any potential challenge to oligarchal rule, even if the oligarchy itself is itself carved up into mutually antagonistic camps. (I should mention here that this whole program seems to have fired up in the wake of the Occupy movements). Of course there's also the fact that the easiest social grouping (tribe, country, empire, etc) to conquer is one that's divided against itself. Just saying.
But even this miserable turn of events seems to resonate with the AAT perspective as well, specifically the "gods at war" subplot running through Zecharia Sitchin's bibliography, as well as some of the theorizing emerging on the fringe science circuit. Now, there's a strand of thinking among those who wrestle with the Fermi Paradox, essentially arguing that high technology is inherently anti-adaptive and inevitably leads to self-destruction. What this theory essentially proposes is that we've not had any (acknowledged) contact with extraterrestrial races because they've all been wiped out by their own advanced technology (read: 'weaponry'). This of course is a wildly egocentric assumption ("extraterrestrial races are all as savage and murderous as we are") and automatically presumes that our own high technology is not in fact some kind of alien intrusion, even if it behaves every bit like one. I bring this up because there are two running themes in Alien: Covenant I do want to unpack, because they do (obliquely) reference some of the basic tenets of AAT (the film seems to keep a lot of its AAT on the DL). First off is David's genocide of the Engineer planet. This was a fairly ridiculous subplot, essentially chucking everything we were told about these beings in the first film. This is a billions year-old race that seeded all life on Earth and yet they're all defeated by a lone android who had hijacked one of their spacecraft? Huh? Wouldn't they naturally have some kind of defense infrastructure that would have intercepted this ship before it ever reached orbit? There's no attempt at following the story's own internal logic. Now there are all kinds of ways you could have made sense of this. The Engineers had degenerated over the millennia and lost their high technology, that they'd become so drunk on their own power that they never expected any exterior challenge, etc etc etc. But the film makes absolutely no attempt to sell any of that. But by the same token there's a fascinating allegory at work here, even if it's unintentional, and that ties back to the war of the gods theme running through a lot of AAT theorizing. Note that the Engineers aren't decked up in their Gigeresque finery in the apocalypse scene but look more like the kind of quasi-Medievals familiar to space fantasy fans. They also look pretty stupid gazing up at the approaching ship like the hapless New Agers in Mars Attacks.
But were they in fact the Engineers? Some fans don't seem to think so. A closer look at the (humanoid) aliens in the film may suggest that this in fact was another descendant race, the clue being the skintone (matte and pinkish as opposed to chalky white and moderately reflective). They also don't seem quite as black-eyed. Another clue is their reaction to the ship, arguably suggesting these people were expecting their gods to return. MARS, ATTACKED
Is this a fakeout or a reference to another covert subplot altogether? It's possible there was a revelation that this was just a descendant race in the original script but that all got lost in the rewriting process. Perhaps David's apparent plan to kill off the human colonists- who are both his progenitors and another descendant race- are the clue here. Either way, the story (mankind's cousins wiped out by a space invader) ties in pretty neatly with the theories put forth by plasma physicist Dr. John Brandenburg:
"Dr. Brandenburg has previously theorized that the red color of Mars and the radioactive substances in its soil are the result of a thermonuclear explosion from natural causes. He now says that the “high concentration” of Xenon-129 in the Martian atmosphere and uranium and thorium on the surface are remnants of two unnatural nuclear explosions, most likely triggered by alien invaders.
"Who were these aliens invading and eventually wiping out? Brandenburg believes Mars once had a climate like Earth and was inhabited by two civilizations – one in a region called Cydonia Mensa and another at Galaxias Chaos. Why these two regions?
'Analysis of new images from Odyssey, MRO and Mars Express orbiters now show strong evidence of eroded archeological objects at these sites.'
According to Brandenburg, the Martians maintained a high civilization, albeit a non-technological one:
He says Mars once had an Earth-like climate home to animal and plant life, and any intelligent life would have been about as advanced as the ancient Egyptians on Earth.
There's also David's genetic tinkering with the xenomorph genome. As a self-styled god, David here is playing the part suggested by AATheorists, who postulate that the Anunaki went through a series of experiments in creating the modern human genome and eradicated unwanted models while they did so. Strangely enough, this also correlates to the AAT-friendly origin myth put forth by the ancient Greek writer Hesiod in his landmark Works and Days. Hesiod, significantly, was apparently deeply influenced by Babylonian literature, the Enuma Elish in particular. And the war of the gods certainly correlates to the Titanomachy, or the wars between the Olympians and their progenitors, the Titans. So is there an unspoken inference that David is the titular Prometheus, defying the "gods" and shepherding the engineered development of the xenomorph race? In the context of the film itself it's really hard to care one way or the other but it does suggest that there was in fact a lot more meat on the bone in previous drafts of the script.
THEY'RE EVERYWHERE But it's worth noting that the Alien franchise is not only another example of a major SF property that revolves around AAT it's also an example of a SF franchise onto which AAT was grafted midstream (at the same time it was grafted onto the Predator franchise). Some franchises have AAT baked into their genome at conception (Star Trek (more or less), the Space Odyssey series, Battlestar Galactica) but many more seem to have it implanted sometime into their runs (Quatermass, Doctor Who, X-Files, Indiana Jones, Transformers, Jonny Quest, Godzilla, Doom, Halo, Assassin's Creed).
The report has become noted for one short section entitled "The implications of a discovery of extraterrestrial life", which examines the potential implications of such a discovery on public attitudes and values. The section briefly considers possible public reactions to some possible scenarios for the discovery of extraterrestrial life, stressing a need for further research in this area. It recommends continuing studies to determine the likely social impact of such a discovery and its effects on public attitudes…"
One detail that caught the eye of researchers like Richard Hoagland is the mention of possible artifacts discovered on our neighbors, artifacts that might call our entire view of our planet and our very existence into question.
"While face-to-face meetings with it will not occur within the next twenty years (unless its technology is more advanced than ours, qualifying it to visit Earth), artifacts left at some point in time by these life forms might possibly be discovered through our space activities on the Moon, Mars, or Venus."
And then there's this passage, which basically explains why so many STEM types are so deeply wounded by AAT:
"It has been speculated that, of all groups, scientists and engineers might be the most devastated by the discovery of relatively superior creatures, since these professions are most clearly associated with the mastery of nature, rather than with the understanding and expression of man. Advanced understanding of nature might vitiate all our theories at the very least, if not also require a culture and perhaps a brain inaccessible to Earth scientists."
Huh. And the money quote: suggestions for how that eventuality- or some kind of alien contact- might be managed by the Managers.
Continuing studies to determine emotional and intellectual understanding and attitudes -- and successive alterations of them if any -- regarding the possibility and consequences of discovering intelligent extraterrestrial life.
Historical and empirical studies of the behavior of peoples and their leaders when confronted with dramatic and unfamiliar events or social pressures. Such studies might help to provide programs for meeting and adjusting to the implications of such a discovery. Questions one might wish to answer by such studies would include: How might such information, under what circumstances, be presented to or withheld from the public for what ends?
And lo and behold, 57 years after the Brookings Report we get this:
The solar system that humanity calls home may have once been inhabited by an extinct species of spacefaring aliens, a top scientist has suggested.
A space scientist has suggested ancient extraterrestrials could have lived on Mars, Venus or even Earth before disappearing without a trace.
In a fascinating academic paper about “prior indigenous technological species,” Jason T. Wright from Pennsylvania State University raised the fascinating possibility that evidence of these extinct aliens could exist somewhere in the solar system.
Wright is an astronomer who received global attention after suggesting an “alien megastructure” had been spotted in orbit around a distant star.Now the stargazer has said advanced aliens may have left behind “technosignatures” for us to find — if only we knew where to look for them.
Of course, this is exactly what Richard Hoagland has been talking about- and has been roundly attacked for doing so- for at least the past 40 years. But I suppose it's different when the very same theorizing comes from within the priesthood.
It's funny; last night I was cutting the grass and thinking about stuff. You know, like you do when you're cutting the grass. Then I started mulling over how simplistic and repetitive the Ancient Aliens show is and how quickly Giorgio Tsoukalos transformed himself into a cartoon character. But then I realized that's how educational indoctrination works in our culture. All kinds of teaching and training materials in public schools use cartoon characters, right? Walt Disney probably made a fortune licensing his characters for educational films. And it's through repetition that people really learn anything. So Ancient Aliens might chew over the same gristle year after year but that helps keep its messaging consistent as its audience ebbs and flows (read: enters/graduates high school). Love it or loathe it, you have to acknowledge that there's a cogent methodology at work there. Government-conditioning program or cult indoctrination, they all work out of the same toolbox. Is it all leading up to some major revelation, the way 'Disclosure' advocates expect? Or is all leading up to some massive Project Blue Beam type of hoax? Well, why would anyone expect it to? Why would anyone expect the skies to open- or not- as the climax of all this conditioning? The answer, of course, is Hollywood. Because that's the way it works in the movies. Real life doesn't usually work that way. However, no matter who or what is behind all this the fact remains that, like it or don't, AAT (and the UFO topic in general) have already dramatically changed our culture, our technology and our society. Certainly our popular culture. Being a bit long in the tooth it still boggles my mind how many younger people take the basic assumptions of AAT for granted, even if they haven't read a page of Sitchin or Von Daniken or even watched a single Ancient Aliens. They don't have to. So much of their favorite pop culture is neck deep in it.
*You can toss in the Sekret Machines project here, spearheaded by former Blink 182 guitarist Tom Delonge and Peter Levenda of Necronomicon and Sinister Forces fame, and involving all kinds of Deep State heavies such as John Podesta.
I’m in this new LA Times story featuring the major candidates in the California Governor race. My profile is the only one that mentions science: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-california-governo…story.html #libertarian This is who’s running for governor of California in 2018, and who might be running. Read more
Well, you all know what the big story was this past week. I wasn't going to post on it but enough people have asked and it seems germane to the ongoing Reality Show we're all unwitting (and unwilling) extras in. In case you've been on media blackout or a vision quest, here's a brief thumbnail sketch:
The United States launched a military strike Thursday on a Syrian government airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians earlier in the week.
On President Donald Trump's orders, US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase that was home to the warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks, US officials said.
As it happens, the airstrikes apparently didn't even seem to have the desired deterrent effect. The air base was up and running soon after the strikes:
Syrian warplanes took off from the air base hit by US cruise missiles yesterday to carry out bombing raids on rebel-held areas, in a defiant show of strength.
Just hours after the al-Shayrat airfield was bombed with 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from warships in the Mediterranean, aircraft struck targets in the eastern Homs countryside, according to a monitoring group.
The airstrikes were carried out on Khan Sheikhoun - the same town Bashar al-Assad’s regime is accused of attacking with chemicals - and seven other towns around eastern Homs, some of which controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
This rebound seemed to catch the War Party off guard, since CNN reported on the same story but appeared to ascribe the airstrikes to phantom warplanes. I mean, it couldn't be the Syrians or the Russians, right?:
(CNN) New airstrikes targeted a town in Syria that was hit by a chemical attack earlier this week, activists said, less than a day after the US bombarded a Syrian air base to "send a message" to the Assad regime.
It wasn't immediately clear who conducted the strikes on Khan Sheikhoun, which was hit on Friday and Saturday, though only Russian and Syrian regime aircraft have been bombing that area of rebel-held Idlib province.
CNN, who've been hammering Trump around the clock since he humiliated their network head in a post-election tantrum, suddenly changed their tune when he started raining bombs on Syria. Sam Kriss reports:
The media was kind to Trump’s attack on Syria. Every pompous outlet that has spent the last five months screaming incessantly about the threat to democracy, the inevitable deaths and the terror of wars, had nothing but applause as soon as the wars and the deaths actually got going.
A fleshy and dangerous idiot, a vulgarian, an imbecile – until those first perfect screaming shots of Tomahawk missiles being fired were broadcast – that’s our guy, you show them Donny! This is when, as Fareed Zakaria put it on CNN, Trump ‘became the president.’
The same mainstream media, which has become a hornet's hive of conspiracy theorizing since the election, was quick to shoot down any conspiracy theories about the Syria Bombshow.
A volley of US cruise missiles had barely been launched into Syria before the internet filled up with fact-free theories about the real reason for the international crisis.
A popular one on the right-most fringes: the US government actually carried out the chemical weapons massacre in Syria last week - a "false flag" to trick President Donald Trump into retaliating, thus entangling himself in a foreign war.
A slightly more convoluted strain on the left: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia by provoking the missile strike.
Alt-left conspiracy theorists prefer the idea that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia.
Ron Paul, whose son Rand is now a rising star in the Senate, was perhaps the most prominent public figure to cast shade on the Syria op:
“Before this episode of possible gas exposure and who did what, things were going along reasonably well for the conditions,” the former Texas congressman stated. “Trump said let the Syrians decide who should run their country, and peace talks were making out, and Al Qaeda and ISIS were on the run.”
“It looks like, maybe, somebody didn’t like that so there had to be an episode, and the blame now is we can’t let that happen because it looks like it might benefit Assad.”
A gas attack launched by the fleeing Syrian rebels, a side quickly losing it’s CIA-sponsorship and well aware it’s continued health depends on American funds, sure has a shit-ton more to gain from wide swathes of civilians dying on camera. Even better if they die particularly gruesomely and in a way the rebels claim they couldn’t be responsible for despite being photographed with all the tech to do so.
How does Trump’s seemingly pointless explosion-show play into this? The answer: perfectly...
Consider also that the Chinese President was in Mar-a-Largo when the strike was underway, that Trump not only told him it was going to happen but actually ate dinner with him as it went on and the event spirals into even greater significance. A show of force full of technical prowess in a contested warzone while the Russians stood back and watched sends a powerful message to a foreign leader currently dining in enemy territory.
Is this just swivel-eyed speculation? Is there any reason to believe this wasn't all some improbable coincidence, that Xi Jinping was indeed dining with Trump while the Bombshow began? Because if it's not a coincidence then it's one hell of a psyop; running a mindfuck on your most dangerous frenemy during a state visit. What's this all about then? Joseph Farrell reports:
While there have been a spate of articles recently about growing Russo-Chinese defense and security ties, matching their growing financial and economic ties, this one left me stunned, for there was a statement within it that caught my eye, and Mr. B's as well, and I'm sure the reader saw it as well. As one can imagine, this one fueled my "high octane speculation" mode to the nth degree. Here's the statement, and a bit of surrounding context: Russia and China are tired of Washington's "defensive" military installations in their backyards — and they're already taking action.
According to the Atlantic Council and other responsible thinkers, the Untied States reserves the right to park its missile shields anywhere it wants, whether it be in Europe, East Asia, or the dark side of the Moon.
President Trump on Wednesday removed controversial White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon from the National Security Council, part of a sweeping staff reshuffling that elevated military, intelligence and Cabinet officials to greater roles on the council and left Bannon less directly involved in shaping the administration’s day-to-day national security policy.
The restructuring reflects the growing influence of national security adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general who took over the post after retired general Michael Flynn was ousted in February and who is increasingly asserting himself over the flow of national security information in the White House.
Do yourself a favor and set a news alert for "McMaster." That's a name you're going to be hearing more of in the days ahead. Or you won't. Which is probably the more troubling scenario. And with Bannon off the NSC there's apparently an effort to shuffle him off to some fat-salaried thinktank glue factory. The not-news of Bannon's interest in The Fourth Coming was dragged out yet again, this time by The New York Times. But the article planted a helpful hint of why Bannon is on the elbow list and might be giving us a grim preview of the year ahead:
Bannon’s Views Can Be Traced to a Book That Warns, ‘Winter Is Coming’
WASHINGTON — Stephen K. Bannon has read the book three times. He still keeps a copy of it — one that’s creased and copiously underlined — in a library with the rest of his favorites at his father’s house in Richmond, Va.
The book, “The Fourth Turning,” a 1997 work by two amateur historians, Neil Howe and William Strauss, lays out a theory that American history unfurls in predictable, 80-year cycles of prosperity and catastrophe. And it foresees catastrophe right around the corner.
It also leads to unavoidable questions about war and whether Mr. Bannon, who has recommended the book to countless friends and made a film about it in 2010, is resigned to catastrophic global conflict. He says he is not.
And he remains unconvinced that the United States can effectively intervene in overseas conflicts like the one unfolding in Syria. As one of the voices in the administration who expressed skepticism about a military strike in response to the Assad regime’s chemical attack on its own citizens, Mr. Bannon insists he is no warmonger.
Well, there you have it.
Is the Syria proxy war threatening to heat up again, or is this all just another dance in the Cold War Kabuki? Have actions like the Bombshow become like sacrificial actions in ongoing magical actions? Or is the real war is for your mind and is playing out in thousands of manufactured headlines, blizzards of 30 second videos with deceptive text crawls and the endless babbling of overpaid talking heads? I feel stupid even asking the question. Just in case you're worried that this is all leading to nukes raining down on American cities, the cognitive warriors seem to be trying to defuse any expectations of impending Armageddon:
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster says that while the U.S. would push for regime change in Syria, “We’re not the ones who are going to effect that change.”
“What we’re saying is, other countries have to ask themselves some hard questions,” McMaster said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." “Russia should ask themselves, ‘What are we doing here?’ Why are we supporting this murderous regime that is committing mass murder of its own population and using the most heinous weapons available?’”
Translation: No way in Hell we have the readiness needed for a hot war with a military superpower. And since the mindfuck is the mother's milk of Cog-War, the careful inoculation of mixed messages into the mediafeed becomes just as vital a weapon as a cruise missile. Scratch that- much, much more so.
The Trump administration appears divided on whether the U.S. is pursuing a policy of regime change in Syria, days after the first direct American military attack against the Syrian government.
Thursday’s strike “was related solely to the most recent horrific use of chemical weapons,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. The goal of the attack was to send a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad and its ally Russia that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate the use of chemical weapons, he continued. “Other than that, there is no change to our military posture.”
But United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said there can be no peace in Syria with Assad in power. “There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “Regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.”
Though Haley stopped short of indicating the U.S. would take military action to overthrow the Syrian dictator, her comments reflect a sharp change from the administration’s previous position.
The difference here, of course, is that Tillerson sets and executes policy and Haley sits in a glorified debating society and blows smoke and fairy dust for a bunch of bored bureaucrats wishing they had their real government jobs back, the ones they enjoyed before being pushed upstairs to their present posts. The media only pays attention when bombs are falling. It's all black magic, make no mistake about it. There are different terms and epithets for it all now, but when you strip all the twenty-dollar words and the credentials and the technology away the intent and the effect is no different than a witch doctor's curse. William S. Burroughs understood this, since his uncle Ivy Lee was the creator of one of these modern strains of black magic, so-called "public relations." Burroughs considered his uncle a bonafide "evil genius." And Lee was a piker compared to the algorithm-fired masters of the dark arts striding the globe today. Here's a story that probably won't pop up on your Facebook feed. Anyone paying attention to the Russia hacking story probably knows how incredibly weak the hacking evidence actually is,* but now Wikileaks is teasing out the Seth Rich mystery again.
‘Guccifer 2.0’ Chat With Nude Model Sparks New Conspiracy Theories About Murder of DNC’s Seth Rich
New chat logs between alleged Democratic National Committee hacker Guccifer 2.0 and a Playboy centerfold model surfaced today via Wikileaks on Twitter, throwing more fuel on the conspiracy theories surrounding murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. The Twitter conversation, conducted via direct messages, purports to reveal Rich as the primary leaker of the DNC e-mails that proved highly disruptive during the 2016 presidential election.
In direct messages dated August 25, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 mentioned having a whistleblower at the DNC, and said he was looking for a “person of trust who can be a guarantee in case anything happens.” When Young suggested trusting Julian Assange, Guccifer 2.0 called him “unsafe” and that he “may be connected with Russians” despite being his hero.
“I’d like to find a journalist who can do an investigation and teel [sic] the real story of his life and death,” he said, and revealed that the whistleblower he was referring to was none other than a person named “Seth.”
“I suppose u know who I’m talking about,” he said, adding that he felt sorry about the murdered DNC staffer’s parents and that he wished for journalists to uncover the truth of his murder. Seth Rich, a 27-year-old mid-level DNC staffer, was shot and killed in the early morning of July 2016 in Washington DC, while he was walking home from a bar and talking with his girlfriend on his mobile phone. Rich’s killers left his watch and wallet untouched on his body.
This wasn't floated by Alex Jones or David Icke, it popped up on Heat Street, which is owned by the Dow Jones Company and Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp. This story looks like it's going to grow some legs yet. So are you sick of the Cog-War and the Cold War Kabuki yet?Tired of your social media hijacked by proxy warriors fighting battles for cliques within the Intelligence community? Burnt out on the whole Reality Show Presidency and its discontents altogether? Start looking into ashrams in Sri Lanka, then. This machine is just getting warmed up. *Maybe some bright young spark should see if maybe the hacking an inside job by intel people who correctly judged a Trump White House would be easier to dominate than a bloated, top-heavy Clinton one. Just throwing that out there for giggles and grins.
Funhouses are only fun when you can leave them. When the distorting mirror images become your new, day-to-day reality construct, then it's not so much fun anymore. I dreaded the 2016 Election because I had a very strong feeling that no matter who won we'd be plunged into a dystopian paradigm in which major power blocs would erupt into all-out warfare. And I sensed that neither Trump nor Clinton possessed the political skills or the communicative powers to keep the carnage fully out of our view. Or our path. And I was right. Trump's only been in office for a little over two months and I'm exhausted already. I'm certainly not alone in this. It all feels like a TV sitcom in its seventh season, well after the writers ran out of story ideas. The shark has been good and jumped. And the ratings (the approval ratings, in this case) are plunging too. What is truly demoralizing though is the utter transparency of the secret war playing out, the seemingly endless spy vs spy thrust and counter-thrust, and the obvious deceptions. Even more so is the Animal Farm-like metamorphosis of the Democratic Party into a full-blown, funhouse mirror of McCarthy-era Republicans, but with Glenn Beck-worthy conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure. I don't know about you but all of a sudden the world seems especially cold, hard, gray, harsh. Masks are coming off, velvet gloves tossed into wastebins. It doesn't seem to matter who wins the scorpion fight, you're still stuck with a scorpion. We can't call out the play-by-play because it's largely being acted out behind closed doors. But we can look at the collateral damage and make certain speculations.There's no doubt that it would all be just as bad-- probably worse-- if Hillary won. Even so, this all feels especially grating. You've probably seen this story:
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on Friday apologized to the owner of a Washington pizzeria that became the subject of a conspiracy theory about human trafficking last year.
Pizza shop Comet Ping Pong was thrust into the spotlight last year after a gunman allegedly fired a shot inside the restaurant. The suspect said he was investigating the unsubstantiated conspiracy theory that Hillary Clinton and her campaign chairman, John Podesta, were operating a child sex trafficking ring out of the restaurant.
The theory, which became known as Pizzagate, had circulated among far-right conspiracy theory websites and social media accounts.
“In our commentary about what had become known as Pizzagate, I made comments about Mr. Alefantis that in hindsight I regret, and for which I apologize to him,” Jones, who runs Infowars, said in a video. James Alefantis is the owner of Comet Ping Pong.
Jones said his website relied on reporters who are no longer employed by Infowars and that video reports about Pizzagate were removed from the website. He also invited Alefantis onto the show to discuss the incident.
FBI’S RUSSIA PROBE EXPANDS TO INCLUDE ‘PIZZAGATE’ THREATS
According to McClatchy News, the FBI’s Russian-influence probe agents are exploring whether far-right news operations, including the pro-Donald Trump sites Breitbart News and Infowars, “took any actions to assist Russia’s operatives.” Trump’s ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn and his son, a member of the Trump transition team, were among those who boosted the so-called “PizzaGate” pedophile conspiracy theory.
I doubt this will quell the fervor among the Pizzagaters on sites like 4chan and Voat. Given the suspicion many on the fringes regard Jones with it may in fact give the flagging movement a fresh jolt. Jones' apology may also have to do with the drive to purge YouTube of "extremist" content and the controversy over the use of advertising on videos corporate clients find objectionable. A World without Sin, as our Gordon might put it.
Washington Post headline, pre-election.
So much for theories that the FBI was ready to make mass arrests of prominent Washington figures related to Pizzagate. Has any "mass arrest" Internet story ever panned out? Maybe it has:
Donald Trump became president on Jan. 20. And in one short month, there were more than 1,500 arrests for sex crimes ranging from trafficking to pedophilia.
Big deal? You bet. In all of 2014, there were fewer than 400 sex trafficking-related arrests, according to FBI crime statistics. Liz Crokin at TownHall.com has put together a great piece on the push by the Trump administration to crack down on sex crimes. And she notes that while "this should be one of the biggest stories in the national news... the mainstream media has barely, if at all, covered any of these mass pedophile arrests. This begs the question – why?
This may have nothing to do with Trump-- in fact, it's likely it doesn't-- since these kinds of actions are planned out months in advance. The arrests continue, in case you were wondering, with major busts going down on a near-weekly basis. Someone's cleaning house. For what it's worth, I always reckoned that Pizzagate was in fact cover/distraction for a more hidden struggle, one that would take place under the radar*. As I noted back in November:
No one is saying as much but this very much feels connected to a deeper, more covert war.
Why would I say such a thing? Because at the same time the Pizzagate story went dark we've seen major strikes taken against international pedophilia, which actually is a global conspiracy, with its own networks, secret codes and moles within established centers of power such as schools, police departments and governments.
With such combustible accusations-- and such potential for a scandal that could quickly spread out of control (ie., involve political figures you're not trying to destroy)-- you'd naturally expect the action to go dark and the fall guys to be placed pretty far down the foodchain. (Remember that a prior investigation bagged one of the most powerful people in Washington at one time, former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert).†
"EVER WONDER WHAT IT'D BE LIKE TO DIE IN A PLANE CRASH?"
Dems to David Brock: Stop Helping, You Are Killing Us
Democrats know they need someone to lead them out of the wilderness. But, they say, that someone is not David Brock. ￼ As David Brock attempts to position himself as a leader in rebuilding ademoralized Democratic Party in the age of Trump, many leading Democratic organizers and operatives are wishing the man would simply disappear.
Many in the party—Clinton loyalists, Obama veterans, and Bernie supporters alike—talk about the man not as a sought-after ally in the fight against Trumpism, but as a nuisance and a hanger-on, overseeing a colossal waste of cash. And former employees say that he has hurt the cause.
It's worth remembering that Breitbart.com Andrew Breitbart died of a heart attack at the age of 43. A year before he'd posted a cryptic tweet that some have since linked to the Pizzagate imbroglio. Just before his death he hyped some revelation about Barack Obama's past. A coroner in the office handling Breitbart's body subsequently died of arsenic poisoning. The day Breitbart's autopsy results were revealed, in fact. COME BACK ROY COHN, ALL IS FORGIVEN We also saw James Comey revive Russiagate, which had been flatlining after Vault 7. Any illusions among Trump fans that the FBI was secretly on their side were ground into powder, between this revelation and the Pizzagate conspiracy investigations. One can't help but wonder if the New Praetorians (I've noticed that the Praetorian meme has been picked up by more prominent commentators, but you heard it here first) are losing their last shred of patience with Donald Trump's shenanigans and are planning imminent regime change:
WASHINGTON (AP) — The FBI is investigating whether Donald Trump’s associates coordinated with Russian officials in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election, Director James Comey said Monday in an extraordinary public confirmation of a probe the president has refused to acknowledge, dismissed as fake news and blamed on Democrats.
In a bruising five-hour session, the FBI director also knocked down Trump’s claim that his predecessor had wiretapped his New York skyscraper, an assertion that has distracted White House officials and frustrated fellow Republicans who acknowledge they’ve seen no evidence to support it.
How surreal is the world in which you know live in? So much so that mainstream political site The Hill is comparing the action in Washington to a Stanley Kubrick film, one which has become notorious for the conspiracy theories that have been projected onto it (and is well familiar to Synchronauts):
On the 40th anniversary of the publication of The Shining, Stephen King must be wondering if Washington is working on its own sequel. For the last couple months, Washington has been on edge, like we are all trapped in Overlook Hotel with every day bringing a new “jump scare,” often preceded by a telltale tweet. Indeed, a Twitter whistle has replaced suspenseful music to put the entire city on the edge of their seats.
In this Shining sequel, however, people are sharply divided on who is the deranged ax-wielding villain in this lodge, the president or the press. Ironically, with the recent disclosure that some of the Trump campaign may indeed have been subject to surveillance, the president is looking more like Danny Torrence, a character dismissed for constantly muttering “redrum, redrum” until someone finally looked in a mirror at the reverse image to see the true message.
Yeah, I'm not really feeling that metaphor there, but whatever. It's been that kind of year. Now the Internet is burning up with theories that disgraced National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has "turned" and is going to testify against the Trump Administration, or at least figures attached to it. It's hard to imagine a three-star general can be stupid enough to be guilty of things Flynn's been accused of but that may speak to a culture of impunity in Washington, in which your misdeeds are only punished if you get on the wrong side of the wrong people. LIKE A BAD CYBERPUNK NOVEL One wonders if the secret war has spread outside Washington. Car service giant Uber seems to be having a major run of rotten luck lately:
Uber Technologies Inc. is suspending its self-driving car program after one of its autonomous vehicles was involved in a high-impact crash in Tempe, Arizona, the latest incident for a company reeling from multiple crises.
In a photo posted on Twitter, one of Uber’s Volvo self-driving SUVs is pictured on its side next to another car with dents and smashed windows. An Uber spokeswoman confirmed the incident, and the veracity of the photo, and added that the ride-hailing company is suspending its autonomous tests in Arizona until it completes its investigation and pausing its Pittsburgh operations.
The incident also comes as Uber, and Chief Executive Officer Travis Kalanick, are currently under scrutiny because of a series of scandals. The ride-hailing company has been accused of operating a sexist workplace. This month, the New York Times reported that Uber used a tool called Greyball to help drivers evade government regulators and enforcement officials. Kalanick said he needed "leadership help" after Bloomberg published a video showing him arguing with an Uber driver.
So who did Kalanick piss off? Coincidentally- there's that word again- the crash comes soon after Wikileaks revealed that CIA hackers had the ability to override the computer systems in automobiles. From Mashable:
WikiLeaks has published a trove of files it says are linked to the CIA's hacking operations — which apparently includes efforts to hack into cars.
The first in a series called "Vault 7," "Year Zero" supposedly comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virginia.
"Year Zero" details the CIA's malware arsenal and "zero day" exploits against Apple iPhones, Google's Android operating system, Microsoft Windows and even Samsung TVs.
According to a document from 2014, the CIA was also looking at infecting the vehicle control systems used by modern cars and trucks.
It turns out this 20-something woman was being pimped out by her boyfriend, forced to sell herself for sex and hand him the money.
“It was a small glass capsule with a little almost like a circuit board inside of it,” he said. “It's an RFID chip. It's used to tag cats and dogs. And someone had tagged her like an animal, like she was somebody's pet that they owned.”
This is human trafficking. It’s a marginal issue here in the U.S. for most of us. Part of that is because the average person isn’t sure what human trafficking – or modern day slavery – actually means.
Technology is our friend, right? And now this:
Turkish Hackers Threaten To Wipe Millions Of iPhones; Demand Ransom From Apple
Today, courtesy of CIO, we learn that a group of hackers referring to themselves as the "Turkish Crime Family", has been in direct contact with Apple and is demanding a $150,000 ransom by April 7th or they will proceed to wipe as many as 600 million apple devices for which they allegedly have passwords.
The group said via email that it has had a database of about 519 million iCloud credentials for some time, but did not attempt to sell it until now. The interest for such accounts on the black market has been low due to security measures Apple has put in place in recent years, it said.
Since announcing its plan to wipe devices associated with iCloud accounts, the group claimed that other hackers have stepped forward and shared additional account credentials with them, putting the current number it holds at over 627 million.
According to the hackers, over 220 million of these credentials have been verified to work and provide access to iCloud accounts that don't have security measures like two-factor authentication turned on.
Of course, if credible, with an ask of just $150k, this is the most modest group of hackers we've ever come across.
Given the war that's erupted between the increasingly aggressive Turkish government and the EU, money may clearly not be the object here. Turkish PM Erdogan is clearly set on reconstructing the old Ottoman Empire and shivving Apple might just be part of the march. Besides, Turkey is taking that recent coup attempt-- which is almost universally blamed on the CIA-- very personally.
Speaking of the EU, we've seen stories that Trump advisor Steve Bannon wants to dissolve the union. Which may be why Trump-adversary John McCain announced his unalloyed support for it- and the "New World Order" (his words, not mine):
The world "cries out for American and European leadership" through the EU and Nato, US senator John McCain said on Friday (24 March).
In a "new world order under enormous strain" and in "the titanic struggle with forces of radicalism … we can't stand by and lament, we've got to be involved," said McCain, a former Republican presidential candidate who is now chairman of the armed services committee in the US Senate.
Speaking at the Brussels Forum, a conference organised by the German Marshall Fund, a transatlantic think tank, he said that the EU and the US needed to develop "more cooperation, more connectivity".
"I trust the EU," he said, defending an opposite view from that of US president Donald Trump, who said in January that the UK "was so smart in getting out" of the EU and that Nato was "obsolete".
He said that the EU was "one of the most important alliances" for the US and that the EU and Nato were "the best two sums in history", which have maintained peace for the last 70 years. "We need to rely on Nato and have a Nato that adjusts to new challenges," he said.
Would McCain speak this way to a domestic audience? Of course not. Or maybe he would- I can't tell which way is up anymore. But either way it's good to know where he really stands.
Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli told a gathering of Asian leaders that the world must commit to multilateral free trade under the World Trade Organization and needs to reform global economic governance.
“The river of globalization and free trade will always move forward with unstoppable momentum to the vast ocean of the global economy,” Zhang said. China will remain a strong force in the world economy and for peace and stability, he said, adding that countries must respect one another’s core interests and refrain from undermining regional stability.
I suppose this is why China is off the target list for our new Cold (?) Warriors. I've resisted posting on all this because it's all so depressing. I've actually written a few pieces on this chicanery that I ended up roundfiling. But I suppose I just wanted to go on the record about all this skullduggery, for posterity's sake.
UPDATE: Sex trafficking arrests and trials continue to proliferate. Most recent bust, an international ring in Minnesota. There is way too much activity going down in too short a time for this to be spontaneous. * Which is exactly why I refrained from commenting on it here for the most part, instead noting that it had become a kind of memetic virus in much the same way that the Franklin/Boy's Town scandal had in the 90s. (Note that prior to the election-- and Pizzagate-- Trump nemesis the Washington Post was all over the issue of sex trafficking in the nation's capital). † The ongoing legal and police actions coinciding with the moves to shut down the Pizzagate fringes on the Web seem like the exact kind of action one would expect if there were a serious operation at work. Shutting down the Internet chatter makes perfect sense in this context because it can only complicate cases made by prosecutors.
2017 might seem like the hangover after a particularly-nasty meth, glue and Thunderbird bender, but it's actually a year of major anniversaries. We're coming up on the 70th Anniversary of Kenneth Arnold and Roswell (as well as the National Security Act), the 50th Anniversary of Sgt. Pepper and the Summer of Love and the centennial of the Russian Revolution. But there are a lot more observances, all kinds of 'ennials to observe. I thought I'd dig into a few anniversaries germane to The Secret Sun and the topics we look at here. Readers are encouraged to weigh in with their own (observations that can be counted in multiples of five and ten, that is) in the comments.
December will see the fifth anniversary of the 2012 apocalypse/ascension/ absurdity (depending on your point of view). Needless to say, most of us are still here and the skies didn't open and Nibiru didn't come crashing into the moon. So there goes another apocalypse.
I can't help but wonder about the 2012 meme, though. As I wrote a couple years back, it certainly seems like something changed that year, that the bottom fell out somewhere but no one seemed to notice it at the time. I mean, Donald Trump is sitting in the White House, isn't he? If even you're a Trump supporter you have to admit this would have seemed impossible five years ago.
Maybe the Apocalypse works on a different timeline than it does in the movies. Maybe we're living in one only we can't see the forest fire for the burning trees. History can only be written from a distance.
This week also marks the 20th anniversary of the last of the Order of the Solar Temple "suicides" ( rendered in quotes since many investigators suspect foul play by outside parties with the OST mass deaths). I wrote in some detail about the OST and their influence on pop culture here (the X-Files writers seemed especially fascinated with the OST and their unique status and history and the lingering questions over their deaths).
Postmortem reports claimed that the OST committed ritual suicide in order to spiritually ascend to Sirius, where they believe their souls originated from. If this is true this is another troubling link to the "Walk-Ins from Sirius" theme from Ruth Montgomery's seminal Aliens Among Us, which has also been linked to the Heaven's Gate suicides.
Last week marked the 20th anniversary of the Phoenix Lights flap, a controversial UFO sighting that caused a major media meltdown and has been the focus of a growing mythology ever since. What is particularly interesting about the Phoenix episode- however you view it-- is that it took place right down the highway from the Heaven's Gate compound in Rancho Santa Fe, CA. It may have been seen as the final sign that their ride was here, seeing as how the web-savvy cult was monitoring all kinds of infostreams for omens and portents.
Speaking of double helixes, 1997 saw the announcement that the first major cloning had been done, of "Dolly" the sheep. The news was broken in Roslin, Scotland, of all places (Dan Brown fans take note). More ominously it was also the year IBM's Deep Blue beat Garry Kasparov in chess. Coincidentally or not, Steve Jobs returned to Apple a few months later and changed the world as we knew it. One of his last projects was designing the Apple HQ, which looks like a friggin' flying saucer.
Why do all those events feel so closely entwined? We can't say we weren't warned.
1987 is the 30th anniversary of the publication of Whitley Strieber's seminal autobiography Communion, which brought the concept of alien abduction out of the fringes and into book store in America and other parts of the world. It's hard to explain to younger people what a phenomenon this book was, the controversy it engendered, and the effect it had on the culture. Strieber was a well-known author of best-selling horror novels, a couple of which had been adapted into movies (Wolfen and The Hunger) but never enjoyed a success like Communion, which stayed on the New York Times best-sellers list for months and sold millions worldwide.
Daytime talkshows were suddenly fora for abductees, whether real or imagined, as were popular tabloid TV shows like Unsolved Mysteries. The craze made celebrities out of Strieber, abduction researchers like Budd Hopkins and David Jacobs and later, Harvard psychologist John Mack. Oldline UFO researchers stewed on the sidelines, having traditionally regarded abduction reports with suspicion, if not contempt. Communion would lead to other projects, the Travis Walton biopic Fire in the Sky, The X-Files (which became an even greater phenomenon than Strieber's book), and the Steven Spielberg maxi-series Taken (which would be the SciFi Channel's most-watched series at the time of its airing).
1987 was also the year New Age seeped into the mainstream and has been insidiously rewriting its host body like a computer virus ever since. Pop culture was the medium yet again- a miniseries based on Shirley MacLaine's "spiritual authobiography" Out On a Limb was aired on ABC and planted the seeds for the Me Generation's catch-as-catch-can Theosophy 2.0.
1987 saw "Ramtha" go wide with the publication of JZ Knight's autobiography, A State of Mind. Channeling soon became a multimiilion dollar industry, with hundreds of mini-Ramtha's popping out of the woodwork dispensing greeting card homilies for a spiritually-indiscriminate polity. All you needed to do was squint, loll your head around meaningfully, adopt a weird quasi-British accent and learn to spout pseudo-profoundities and you were in clover.
Again, the New Age craze is hard to explain today, though in large part because the New Age is so ubiquitous today it's woven into the cultural fabric of most Western- and many non-Western- cultures. Yoga studios can be found in every sizable American town. Acupuncture and other "alternative" modalities are often covered by health insurance programs. Health food stores are slowly displacing conventional supermarkets and many more traditional houses of worship offer New Age programs (meditation, yoga, self-actualization) to their congregants.
1987 also saw the Harmonic Convergence (aka the "New Age Woodstock"), meant to act as the movement's big hop over the cultural fence. But its organizers (which included the original 2012 guru, Jose Arguelles) deeply misjudged the true nature of the movement and how it actually existed in the ideational biosphere. This wasn't a revolution, it was a slow-moving insurrection, one that subverted culture from within, all the while denying its very existence (the hallmark of a true New Ager is that they deny actually being a New Ager). Big, showy events weren't going to do the work. Tenacious, relentless but quieter actions were going to insinuate New Age into the mainstream.
1987 saw the Iran-Contra Affair- in which arms were sold to Iran in exchange for American hostages held by Iran-controlled radicals and the profits then diverted to anti-Sandinista militants in Nicaragua- become the major news story, dominating the headlines and Sunday talk shows for the entire year and into the next. Iran-Contra is also arguably the impetus for the true mainstreaming of conspiracy theory (just in time for the dawning of the Internet Era). Conspiracy research wasn't a fringe hobby then, it was front page news all across the world. It's just that the virus escaped from the lab and filtered down into places the mainstream media would have rather it hadn't.
But the real groundwork for the rise of conspiracy culture would be laid ten years earlier when the first fully-functional home computer, the Commodore PET was debuted at a trade show. Conspiracy theory may have thrived on talk radio (and short wave and ham radio, not to mention mail order) but it would explode on the Internet, even in the crudest venues of the BBS dial-in days. At the same time the Commodore was unveiled, a new President from Plains, Georgia took office who swore to tear the lid off government corruption (and significantly, UFO secrecy) in Washington. Things, predictably, wouldn't work out so well for him.
1977 saw the commoditization of the modern Hollywood blockbuster-- already having birthed itself in 1975 with Steven Spielberg's Jaws. George Lucas' spiritual SF epic Star Wars and Spielberg's UFO fantasia Close Encounters of the Third Kind changed the rules forever (you can throw in Saturday Night Fever if you like, as it spawned the rise of the blockbuster soundtrack as well) and, as many would argue, planted the seeds for the eventual creation empoverishment of the Hollywood they created. In today's market, doubles and triples are no longer be enough, you need to either write a movie off as a tax loss or score a grand slam blockbuster, complete with merchandising and ancillary rights.
But Star Wars and Close Encounters were such monsters because they filled a genuine void in the culture, a need for miracle and transcendence in a rapidly-secularlizing culture. In their wake the movies would become the dream theater of the masses, in the same way the great cathedrals were to the peasants of the Middle Ages.
Both films struck at the right time- NASA tested its first space shuttle at the beginning of the year, promising a new era in space exploration. One that has yet to come to pass, 40 years later. Even so the mood was right at the time.
On the other end of the ritual spectrum 1977 also saw the arrest of David Berkowitz, whom the media named as the sole "Son of Sam" killer despite the fact that witnesses had cogently and explicitly described other shooters not matching his description. Berkowitz himself would later claim he was a member of a sect of the Process Church of the Final Judgement, he was not the only shooter and that the killings were human sacrifices. And as fate would have it two of the men he claimed as his accomplices would die under mysterious circumstances not long after Berkowitz was arrested. And their father was named Sam.
Also in the summer of 1977, Elvis Presley died after a long struggle with obesity and prescription drug abuse. It was poetic in a Greek tragedy kind of fashion since '77 not only saw the precipitous rise of Disco as an all-consuming craze (Donna Summer had the first hit with a totally-synthesized record, "I Feel Love," that year) but also the breakthrough of punk rock and first-wave New Wave (the Sex Pistols, the Clash, Elvis Costello and Talking Heads all released their debuts), which took the basic, four to the floor rock 'n' roll Presley cut his teeth on and wed it to postmodernism, Dada and other weird, Continental theories that old-timers like the King would never have anything to do with.
Not that most of America even noticed. The Eagles' Hotel California, Pink Floyd's Animals and Fleetwood Mac's Rumors were albums most of the public were actually buying. Punk bombed bad in its first assault on American record stores and most of the first wave bands would soon break up or radically water down their styles in a bid to make it to the US Top 40. New Wave, which began as a marketing ploy to ease punk into the American market, would become the musical equivalent of New Age, a contagion that would insinuate itself into the host and rewrite the matrix from within. 40 years later New Wave concepts are so dominant (irony and sarcasm not the least among them) in pop they're no longer recognized as distinct or unique. But that process began in earnest over 35 years ago, when MTV began beaming art school weirdos from England into a growing number of American living rooms. In short order even Jethro Tull and Bob Dylan- the onetime crunchiest of the crunchy- were recording with drum machines and sequencers. There's more to come.
By the dawn of the 20thcentury, architect Frank Lloyd Wright had discovered something I didn’t learn until the 21st century — that kleptocapitalism must finally and necessarily destroy the standards of every profession with which it comes into contact.
In his 1900 speech to the Architectural League of America in Chicago, titled The Architect, Wright “…reminded his colleagues that in this country commerce had triumphed over art,” wrote Robert C. Twombly in his book Frank Lloyd Wright: His Life and His Architecture. “The lust for money had reduced the architect to a servant of the business community.”
Wright charged that the American architect “…panders to silly women his silly artistic sweets,” trading experimentation and individuality for financial security. Wright called typical turn-of-the-century Chicago homes for the well-to-do “fantastic abortions” and said they “lied about everything.”
“(The architect) now modeled commercial buildings after Greek temples and luxury homes after Louis XIV palaces, all because the businessman and his wife ‘knew what they wanted,’” Twombly wrote. “No longer an independent spirit, the architect had become a salesman, peddling prepackaged ‘styles’ from the files of huge ‘plan-factories.’
“At the height of the industrial revolution in America, Wright was painfully aware that the new corporate elite had usurped the status of the professional, reducing him to an employee at its beck and call.”
In 21st century capitalism-gone-wild America, that sad state of professional degradation applies not just to architects but to physicians, professors, military officers, police officers, attorneys, journalists, you name it.
For pity’s sake, judges have been caught framing innocent American children because they’ve been bribed by private prison corporations to provide warm bodies in order to increase the corporation’s lucrative taxpayer subsidy.
Wright employed stylistic innovations to achieve an inobvious family privacy in his prairie houses. The windows were easy to see out of but, because of overhanging features, difficult to see into. Shielded by broad eaves, windows could stay open even in rain. Exterior doorways were hidden in recesses, behind walls or around corners.
“A house that has character stands a good chance of growing more valuable as it grows older, while a house in the prevailing mode, whatever that mode may be, is soon out of fashion, stale and unprofitable,” Wright said.
The McMansions that now litter our landscape, with their bludging, tumorous protrusions, are an example of the latter.
Twombly noted that with five children by 1901, Wright, in his home designs, “…took greater pains to provide for group solidarity than for individual interests. Whether it was a symbolic inglenook, a formal entryway, a playroom for his children or his many exquisite dining and living rooms, his most elaborate efforts were areas of group activity.”
“Wright understood the family to be a tightly knit group within a larger community from which it withdrew occasionally (but did not reject) for its own sustenance. More concerned at this stage of his life with family unity than personal freedom, he assumed the former made the latter possible.”
Twombly suggests that Wright’s turn-of-the-century prairie houses offered a combination of innovation and protection that appealed to their forward-looking but finally insecure upper middle class owners.
“As independent businessmen likely to own their own moderate-sized manufacturing concerns, and as conservative Protestant Republicans, they frowned on eccentric social behavior, liberal causes and protest literature,” he wrote. “In a period of ‘progressive’ reform, they clung to 19th century values and like others in the rapidly growing metropolis felt themselves engulfed by sweeping changes not entirely to their liking…
“Wright’s designs satisfied needs and wishes murkily understood but deeply felt by large numbers of city dwellers and satisfied them more fully, in fact, than conventional styles. The prairie house appealed to an apprehensive upper middle class by emphasizing in literal and symbolic ways the security, privacy, shelter, family mutuality and other values people found increasingly important in a period of urban dislocation and conflict.
“Rapid industrialization and urbanization in late 19th century America created a disorienting situation. Armies of working class immigrants from Europe and from American farms and small towns helped escalate social tensions and instabilities in the cities. Newcomers of all classes, having lost their roots, found their places of residence determined not by family tradition or landholding but by unpredictable and insecure market situations. Vast impersonal corporations assumed control over the lives of laboring people, over white collar workers and executives, and over self-employed businessmen and professionals whose livelihoods depended upon the whims of an incomprehensible and seemingly capricious economic system. The depression of the 1890s, the most devastating in American history to that point, exacerbated the general uneasiness as even more people began to sense their helplessness.
“Few individuals could count on uninterrupted upward mobility, permanent employment or a secure future for their children. Even the upper middle class, especially people like Wright’s clients who did not possess inherited wealth, faced the specter of possible downward mobility and the loss of everything.”
As an inspiration for Ayn Rand’s architect hero Howard Roark in The Fountainhead, Frank Lloyd Wright had, in a sense, helped her write her fiction by overdramatizing his career.
In a 1914 Architectural Record article, Wright presented “…his first proclamation of the ‘persecuted genius’ legend, an interpretation of his life as a continuous battle against overwhelming odds, as a struggle for principle despite social ostracism, personal indifference, financial hardship, public ridicule and personal rejection,” Twombly wrote.
“Publicly begun by Wright in 1914 and perpetuated by his closest admirers until the present day, the ‘persecuted genius’ legend became a major component of his self-image.”
In fact, Wright had notable professional support and public acclaim at the beginning of his career.
“Even Hollywood paid its respects,” Twombly noted. “Warner Brothers asked him to design sets for The Fountainhead (1949), based on Ayn Rand’s novel by the same name, but when Wright demanded $250,000 for the job — he did not want it — negotiations ended.”
Wright died in 1959, just before his 92nd birthday, a venerable, outspoken sage whom some called a crackpot. But we’d have recognized many of his concerns easily enough.
“Continued growth of the military establishment and the mushrooming of governmental bureaucracy and of corporate hegemony made him despair for the future of democracy,” Twombly noted. “Fearing that centralized authority manipulating a mass society would crush individual liberties, he interpreted American foreign policy as a cover to advance overseas corporate interests and attacked internal anticommunism as a ‘smoke screen’ for political consolidation to further selfish partisan gain.”
Too bad we didn’t listen to the architect. We might have built something better than the shabby, ramshackle structure this country has become.
“Helen Gahagan Douglas … had not the slightest interest in politics until the late 1930s. Her conversion was as dramatic as a first-act curtain in the theater.”
Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas, a former movie star and opera singer, was a principled beacon of liberal light following the death of FDR.
She had once played She Who Must Be Obeyed, and when she ran for Senate in California, Congressman Richard Nixon regarded her as She Who Must Be Waylaid.
Helen Gahagan Douglas
“While sitting in a Viennese coffeehouse with an English music critic who was a friend of several colleagues, the two discussed her new contract,” wrote Sally Denton in The Pink Lady: The Many Lives of Helen Gahagan Douglas. “Suddenly, the man leaned in conspiratorially and whispered, ‘Of course, Miss Gahagan, you are pure Aryan?’
“Helen felt sick to her stomach as the man attempted to recruit her to the Nazi cause. ‘Aryans such as we,’ he told her, ‘(have) a duty to defend the superior race against Jews.’ At first she couldn’t speak. Until that moment the perspective of Jews in the world was a purely abstract notion. Now, as the Englishman spouted the familiar rantings of Hitler and Goebbels while asking her to enlist the support of fellow Nazi sympathizers in America, she felt forever changed. Her ‘Irish blood at the boiling point,’ she tore up the contract and left for home.”
It didn’t help the English critic’s case that her husband, the film actor Melvyn Douglas, was a Jew.
But it was the Dust Bowl that really blew Helen Gahagan Douglas into politics.
Once upon a time, specifically in California during the Dust Bowl 1930s, those much-despised “illegal aliens” were American citizens who’d fled West.
“Confined to filthy camps, thousands of starving families were ‘herded about like animals,’ living without toilet or showers, while local officials and growers fought to keep the federal government from supplying the migrants with food and medical supplies, fearing that they would form permanent communities, join unions and, most significant, interfere with the cheap Mexican laborers they were shuttling across the border and paying slave wages,” wrote Denton.
“Importing labor was far cheaper than establishing schools and health-care clinics for American migrant workers, so the growers used every method possible, including force, to get the migrants to move on.
“Helen and Melvyn had attended dinner parties at which the subject of the ‘Okies’ was raised and they were frequently appalled at the lack of compassion shown by many of their peers. They ‘listened with astonishment to people making comfortable statements about how the situation was exaggerated or that the migrants should stop being so lazy and dirty.’”
Guided by Eleanor Roosevelt, she became more involved in politics even as she became less involved in her marriage. After Melvyn started a serious affair with a co-star, they separated, but would never divorce.
“I suppose it is commonplace that most long-time couples divide areas of emotional response, even as they share responsibilities and material goods,” Melvyn said years later. “Certainly our friends, the Roosevelts, had done something like that.”
Rising in politics, Helen had few illusions about it. “I was raised in a household of dominating men, and I learned early that men guard their authority over women jealously,” Helen said. “As for politics, they sincerely believe public life to be a male bailiwick. They reason that men have been running the country for the past two hundred years and are meant to do so for centuries to come. In short, men would never share power with women willingly. If we wanted it, we would have to take it.”
Fighting a conservative tide to keep the liberal Henry Wallace vice president in 1944, Douglas gave an eloquent speech at the Democratic National Convention.
“The Democratic party is the true conservative party,” she said. “We have conserved hope and ambition in the hearts of our people. We are the conservative party. We have conserved the skills of their hands. We have husbanded our natural resources. We have saved millions of homes and farms from foreclosure and conserved the family stake in democracy.
“We have rescued banks and trust companies, insured crops and people's savings. We have built schools. We have checked the flooding rivers and turned them into power.
“We have begun a program to free men and women from the constant nagging fear of unemployment, sickness, accident—and the dread of insecure old age. We have turned a once isolated, flood-ravished, poverty-stricken valley, the home of four and a half million people, into what is now a productive, happy place to live—the Tennessee River Valley. We have replanted the forest, re-fertilized the soil. Ours is the conservative party.
“We have guarded children, protected them by labor laws, planned school-lunch programs, provided clinics. Ours is the conservative party. Ours is the party that has created laws which have given dignity and protection to the working men and women of this country. Ours is the party that has made the individual aware of the need for his participation in a true democracy. We are the conservative party.
“We have conserved the people's faith in a people's government—democracy.”
Elected to Congress in 1944, Douglas was often compared to her glamorous right-wing counterpart there, Clare Booth Luce, the playwright and wife of Time Inc. founder Henry Luce.
“Driving cross-country with her secretary Evie Chavoor, and a friend, Jarmila Marton, having decided to make the move to Washington by automobile, the women tuned the radio to a morning news broadcast,” Denton wrote. “They listened with amusement to the announcement that Helen had defeated Luce as one of the 10 best-dressed women in public life.
“The rookie congresswoman had broken a cap on her front tooth, leaving a gap and stump when she opened her mouth to smile. Evie ‘turned around and looked at Helen, and there she was in the back seat with her terrible sloppy pants on … huddled in a blanket, her hair all streaming down.’ The women howled with laughter, wishing a photographer could see her in such a state.”
Douglas understood, though, that the trivial focus on women’s looks was a means of undermining their power. “Congresswomen’s ideas should rate above their clothes and looks,” she said. “Why this emphasis on the sexes anyway, in a serious thing like government?”
But there was nothing phony about her, nothing fake. She was a proponent of what philosophers call “virtue ethics,” giving a fair summary of it in this quote: “Character isn’t inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks and acts, thought by thought, action by action. If one lets fear or hate or anger take possession of the mind, they become self-forged chains.”
The liberal and idealistic Douglas was waylaid by the rising, conniving and unprincipled Nixon, sounding an ugly theme that has echoed in American politics right into the 21stcentury.
Nixon’s dirty tactics — among them smearing Douglas as a Communist and sponsoring calls to ask voters if they were aware that her movie star husband was “a Jew” — earned him the apt, lifelong nickname Tricky Dick. But Douglas was also hampered by her own lofty idealism and California’s Chinatown-like civic corruption. And the times were against her, the 1950 election coinciding with both the rise of McCarthyism and the height of the Korean war.
“There was the United States fighting communism and I was the person who said we should limit the power of the military and try to disarm the world and get along with Russia,” Douglas said.
“The worst moment, a sight I couldn’t shake, was when children picked up rocks and threw them at my car, at me. I knew that in order to survive I would have to accept the rocks and the Nixon campaign, shrug them off and move on. I wondered if I would be able to do it.”
She was, finding herself exhausted but strangely calm after Nixon’s huge victory. “I was so pleased that I had escaped the terrible burden of hating Richard Nixon that I was almost elated,” she said.
Nixon, in later years, at least feigned regret over his behavior in the campaign. “Years later, asked by British publisher David Astor to explain his campaign tactics, Nixon reportedly ‘cast down his eyes with a look of modest contrition’ and explained, ‘I want you to remember that I was a very young man,’” wrote Anthony Summers in The Arrogance of Power: The Secret World of Richard Nixon. “In 1950, (Nixon) was 37 and a veteran of four years in the House of Representatives.”
Douglas summed it up simply: “There’s not much to say about the 1950 campaign, except that a man ran for Senate who wanted to get there, and didn’t care how he did it.”
After Nixon revealed his true character to the world in Watergate, and was driven from office in shame, Douglas had the last laugh. But she didn’t laugh. She mourned.
“If the national security is involved, anything goes,” she said in 1973. “There are no rules. There are people so lacking in roots about what is proper and improper that they don’t know there’s anything wrong in breaking into the headquarters of the opposition party.”
After Nixon’s resignation, a bumper sticker started appearing on vehicles throughout California: “Don’t Blame Me, I Voted for Helen Gahagan Douglas.”
Her secretary Nan Stevens said, “People rather expected that she would be gloating over Richard Nixon finally being found out, but she was only said. She thought it terrible for the country and for America’s reputation abroad. I know that makes her sound almost too good to be true, but she was good. I’m not saying Helen didn’t have feet of clay. But you had to look awfully hard to find her tiny clay feet.”
Douglas and her husband often led separate lives. She had an affair with, among others, Lyndon Baines Johnson, but became estranged from with him during his presidency over her support for disarmament and opposition to the escalating Vietnam War.
But Douglas and Melvyn were always good friends, and he made an impassioned radio speech for her during her doomed Senate campaign. “It is easier — as a matter of fact it is the easiest thing in the world — to call people of good will dirty names, to call them Communists,” he said.
Melvyn was at her side when she died of cancer in 1980, and he wrote, “She was entranced always by the light. In every house we ever occupied, she wanted the windows to be wider. She always thought no room could have too many windows … She was always saying, ‘Look at the light! Isn’t it beautiful? Shewas the light. And she was beautiful.’”
Existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre wrote about learning to love music in the child’s dark refuge of the silent cinema during the 20th century’s second decade.
“Above all, I liked the incurable muteness of my heroes,” he wrote in his memoir The Words. “But no, they weren’t mute, since they knew how to make themselves understood.
“We communicated by means of music; it was the sound of their inner life. Persecuted innocence did better than merely show or speak of suffering: it permeated me with its pain by means of the melody that issued from it.
“I would read the conversation, but I heard the hope and bitterness; I would perceive by ear the proud grief that remains silent.
“I was compromised; the young widow who wept on the screen was not I, and yet she and I had only one soul: Chopin’s funeral march; no more was needed for her tears to wet my eyes. I felt I was a prophet without being able to foresee anything: even before the traitor betrayed, his crime entered me; when all seemed peaceful in the castle, sinister chords exposed the murderer’s presence.
“How happy were those cowboys, those musketeers, those detectives: their future was there, in that premonitory music, and governed the present. An unbroken song blended with their lives, led them on to victory or death by moving toward its own end. They were expected: by the girl in danger, by the general, by the traitor lurking in the forest, by the friend who was tied up near a powder-keg and who sadly watched the flame run along the fuse.
“The course of that flame, the virgin’s desperate struggle against her abductor, the hero’s gallop across the plain, the interlacing of all those images, of all those speeds, and, beneath it all, the demonic movement of the “Race to the Abyss,” an orchestral selection taken from The Damnation of Faust and adapted for the piano, all of this was one and the same: it was Destiny.
“The hero dismounted, put out the fuse, the traitor sprang at him, a duel with knives began: but the accidents of the duel likewise partook of the rigor of the musical development; they were fake accidents which ill concealed the universal order. What joy when the last knife stork coincided with the last chord! I was utterly content, I had found the world in which I wanted to live, I touched the absolute. What an uneasy feeling when the lights went on: I had been wracked with love for the characters and they had disappeared, carrying their world with them. I had felt their victory in my bones; yet it was theirs and not mine. In the street I found myself superfluous.”
“Assured of living in the best of all possible worlds, I made it my business to purge it of its monsters,” wrote Sartre, recalling his childhood fantasies in The Words.
“As cop and lyncher, I sacrificed a gang of bandits every evening. I killed without pleasure or anger, in order to save young ladies from death. Those frail creatures were indispensable to me; they called out for me. Obviously they could not have counted on my help since they did not know me. But I thrust them into such great perils that nobody could have rescued them unless he were I.
“When the janissaries brandished their curved scimitars, a moan went through the desert and the rocks said in the sand: ‘Someone’s missing here. It’s Sartre.’ At that very moment I pushed aside the screen. I struck out with my sabre and sent heads flying. I was being born in a river of blood. Oh, blessed steel. I was where I belonged…
“I would hurry to bed, reel off my prayers and slip between the sheets. I was eager to get back to my mad recklessness. I grew older in the darkness, I became a lonely adult, without father or mother, without home or hearth, almost without a name.
“I would walk on a flaming roof, carrying in my arms an unconscious woman. The crowd was screaming below me. At that moment, I would utter the fateful words: ‘Continued in the next installment.’
“‘What did you say?’ my mother would ask. I would answer cautiously: ‘I’m leaving myself in suspense.’ And the fact is that I would fall asleep, amidst those perils, in a state of thrilling insecurity.”
As Sartre matured, his fantasies of violence were replaced by an analysis of the realities of violence.
In the 1940s, the conquered French were tortured by their German occupiers. By the 1950s, the freed French were torturing the Arab natives in colonized Algeria. That irony was not lost on philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre.
“Sartre wrote a sensational review, published in L’Express, of Henri Alleg’s book The Question, an account of being tortured by paratroopers in Algiers,” wrote Ronald Aronson in his book Camus & Sartre.
“Beginning with the memory of the Germans torturing the French at Gestapo headquarters in 1943, Sartre recalled that the French had declared it to be impossible that ‘one day men should be made to scream by those acting in our name. There is no such word as impossible: in 1958, in Algiers, people are tortured regularly and systematically… Appalled, the French are discovering this terrible truth: that if nothing can protect a nation against itself, neither its traditions nor its loyalties nor its laws, and if 15 years are enough to transform victims into executioners, then its behavior is no more than a matter of opportunity and occasion. Anybody, at any time, may equally find himself victim or executioner.’”
The French government inadvertently underlined the truth of Sartre’s words by immediately trying to censor them.
“His powerful denunciation caused L’Express to be confiscated by the authorities on March 6, 1959, and during the next several weeks the article became famous by being published in a pamphlet, confiscated, then appearing in a scroll that could only be read with a magnifying glass, and finally being published in Switzerland,” Aronson noted.
Writing in 1961, Sartre eloquently examined the full extent of what the tortured felt prepared to do once they turned torturer.
“Violence in the colonies does not only have for its aim the keeping of these enslaved men at arm’s length; it seeks to dehumanize them,” Sartre wrote. “Everything will be done to wipe out their traditions, to substitute our language for theirs and to destroy their culture without giving them ours. Sheer physical fatigue will stupefy them. Starved and ill, if they have any spirit left, fear will finish the job; guns are leveled at the peasant; civilians come to take over his land and force him by dint of flogging to till the land for them. If he shows fight, the soldiers fire and he’s a dead man; if he gives in, he degrades himself and he is no longer a man at all; shame and fear will split up his character and make his inmost self fall to pieces.”
Before Bush and Cheney’s regime, I too thought it impossible that men should be made to scream by those who were acting in the name of my nation. During and since Bush and Cheney’s regime, I too discovered that nothing can protect a nation against itself, least of all rebranding it a “homeland” to justify the use of torture.
Sartre wrote, “We are living at the moment when the match is put to the fuse.” And I know just how he felt.
Albanian police accompany ballot boxes at the end of Albania's general election voting in the capital Tirana, Sunday, June 25, 2017. Albanians voted Sunday in a general election with the country's two biggest political parties working together for membership of the European Union.
OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Gov. Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that Washington state lawmakers have reached agreement "in principle" on a new two-year state operating budget, but legislative leaders won't release any details until the four legislative caucuses are briefed on the plan....
Jessica Reid is a senior who has been going to VCS for six years. In September of 2017, Reid will be attending the University of California Los Angeles. She will join her older sister Katelyn there. Reid participates in four AP classes (5 if you separate Economics and Government) while balancing being a part of four clubs […]
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“When the river gets ice on it, they really congregate around open water to feed on fish,” Kellner said. “You can have a couple dozen eagles on the ice close to each other.”
With the resurgence of our national bird over the past decades, spotting an eagle has become a common, but still exhilarating, occurrence at many of Missouri’s state parks. Seeing an eagle is not guaranteed, just a bonus.
You can eagle watch from the warmth of your vehicle, or hike the park trails. The only required equipment is binoculars, or a spotting scope.
Most of the eagles in Missouri are migrants that head south each winter from the Great Lakes and Canada when freezing temperatures block them from the fish that are their main food supply. They begin arriving in late November, and stay around until March, depending on the weather.
But Missouri also now has permanent residents with eagles building nests along the state’s rivers and major lakes. Resident eagles have become a featured attraction of summer float trips on many Ozark rivers.
“Stockton Lake has an average count of 110 birds,” said Doug Rusk, natural resource manager at Stockton State Park. “It is common to see 10 to 15 eagles along the shoreline. As Stockton Lake starts to freeze, you can watch eagles trying to pick the shad out of the ice.”
The Mississippi and Missouri rivers are prime viewing spots in winter.
On the state’s eastern border, eagles can be found on the Mississippi River from Wakonda State Park north of Hannibal south to Trail of Tears near Cape Girardeau.
Parks on smaller rivers also get their share. Eagles can be seen at Meramec, Castlewood, and Route 66 state parks on the Meramec River. Sam A. Baker State Park gets an occasional winter visitor on Big Creek and the St. Francois River. And a hiker at Cuivre River State Park recently saw five mottled juvenile eagles from the top of Frenchman’s Bluff. Bald eagles don’t get their distinctive white heads and tails until they are about five years old. Then both the male and female have similar plumage.
Up to 25 eagles gather in the mornings in the sycamore trees at Roaring River State Park, and roost in the afternoon sun on the hillside across from the park’s nature center. Bennett Spring State Park has both migrating eagles and permanent residents, which built a nest south of the park along the Niangua River.
“Twenty years ago, there were only winter migrants that stayed through the cold months,” said Diane Tucker, naturalist at Bennett Spring State Park. “In the past few years, at least one breeding pair has stayed year-round and had offspring.”
At Montauk State Park, a pair of eagles has been nesting in the park since 2001, but had abandoned the eggs each March 1, frightened off by the hubbub of the opening of trout season. This year, park naturalist Stephen Bost tried a new tactic.
The nest is in the tallest pine on a ridge overlooking the bridge where the governor traditionally fires several shots with a starter’s pistol to open trout season. This year, for several weeks before the opening of the season, Bost went to the bridge and clanged on it to acclimate the birds to sharp noises.
On opening day, the siren sounded, Gov. Jay Nixon fired the pistol - and the birds stayed put. They hung around and raised three eaglets, providing year-round entertainment for floaters on the upper Current River.
Nine kayakers leaving Montauk State Park on a November float watched in amazement as an adult eagle snatched a fish from the river, and landed on a limb just above them to have a leisurely lunch.
A common goal
Jones-Confluence Point State Park, which opened in 2004, is at the only spot where you can put one foot in the Mississippi, and the other in the Missouri. It also is the perfect spot for winter eagle watching.
The park has 1,121 acres, but its neighbors are even larger. When added together, they serve as a 10,000-acre welcome mat for migrating birds and waterfowl.
The park is on the same road as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Riverlands Migratory Bird Sanctuary, a mosaic of 3,700 acres of waterways and wetlands next to the Melvin Price Locks and Dam on the Mississippi. The dam itself is a magnet for birds in bad weather when its outflow may be the only unfrozen water.
Also nearby is the Missouri Department of Conservation’s Columbia Bottom Conservation Area, which was created with wildlife and waterfowl in mind and adds 4,318 acres of prime habitat. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently took over management of the 1,470 acres of Cora Island in the Mississippi.
“It all works in conjunction,” Kellner said. “I’ve never been in a setting where you’ve had so many agencies working toward a common goal.”
A bounty of birds
While eagles are the stars, they are not the only rare birds that gather around the confluence in winter.
“We have great egrets for much of the year, and some snowy egrets,” Kellner said. “We get American white pelicans frequently. Trumpeter swans start showing up in November-December. We get several dozen.”
On a drive through the park, a familiar face was behind a spotting scope braced on the window of an idling van. Richard Coles is a retired Washington University professor and a leading birder in the St. Louis area.
“I probably come out here three or four times a month,” Coles said. Asked what he was watching, he replied, “There’s a group of gulls over there, and what may be a long-billed dowitcher.
“A friend of mine witnessed a merlin, a rare small falcon, dismembering and eating a ring-billed gull. Back there is a really beautiful group of pintails in breeding plumage. That’s one of our prettiest ducks, with chocolate-brown heads and long tails.”
As eagle watchers get more accomplished, Coles suggested they turn their binoculars on the rest of the bounty of birds.
“The eagle is a real jazzy, sexy bird for the general public,” he said. “But for those of us out on a regular basis, you get a little benumbed.”
Margaret and Terry Reilly are from Orillia, Ontario. The Reilly's own several rental properties, some of which are former single-family homes that they have converted into rooming houses for low-income tenants. Margaret has been involved in alleviating poverty and homelessness since her father became the priest at an inner-city Anglican church in Toronto and opened a youth hostel there, while Terry has served on the City of Orillia Homeless Committee. Providing housing to marginalized members of society has always been a deliberate choice for the Reilly's.In 2008, after police surveillance confirmed drug activity at two of the Reilly's rental properties, a branch of the government called the Director of Asset Management took control of them. Since then, the properties have languished largely unoccupied, falling into progressively worse repair. Stripped of their rights as landlords, the Reillys had no choice but to watch their properties deteriorate physically and depreciate in value. Then, in 2012, the Government of Ontario brought a motion to permanently seize and sell the properties on the grounds that some of the tenants’ rents may have been paid, in part, with the proceeds of their drug activity. There is no evidence that any funds paid by tenants was derived from drug money; the state merely assumed that cash payments must have come from the proceeds of illegal activity. http://theccf.ca/r-v-reilly-civil-forfeiture/
This property(S) were seized under the Forfeiture Act without anyone being charged. This family has NEVER had their day in court but had their property taken away. The lesson here is monitor your tenant activity; visit twice of more time per year to ascertain the activity in YOUR PROPERTY. Be more diligent in your tenant screening. Bad things can happen to good people. #ASKPYLYP Use a realtor to screen tenants in your rental condos. Ready to invest? If I haven't scared you call me at 647 218 2414 http://Davidpylyp.com
Urbanation recently polled Builders to ascertain the level of FOREIGN OWNERSHIP in the Toronto Condominium Market
The results of a survey conducted by Urbanation Inc. indicate that the majority (52%) of buyers of new condominium units in the Greater Toronto Area are being purchased by investors who do not intend to occupy their units and that only about 5% of new units are being purchased by foreign buyers (i.e. buyers whose primary residence is outside of Canada). The survey was conducted among developers of condominium projects being developed in the 3rd quarter of 2016 (projects in the pre-construction and construction stages and recently completed projects). Urbanation Inc. is a research company that has been analyzing the Toronto condominium market since 1981.The results of the Urbanation survey are consistent with the findings set out in the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (“CMHC”) November, 2016 report, Housing Market Insight Canada – Foreign Ownership. The CMHC reportindicates that foreign ownership of condominiums in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area in 2016 was 2.3%, with the greatest concentration of foreign ownership in new condominiums and condominiums with more than 500 units.There has been considerable speculation as to whether the Government of Ontario will introduce a tax on foreign buyers, as was done in British Columbia. Since the results of the surveys conducted by both Urbanation and CMHC indicate that only a small percentage of units are being purchased by foreign buyers, this would seem to suggest that there is no need for a foreign buyers tax.Another survey conducted by Urbanation indicated that the supply of condominium units in the Greater Toronto Area listed as available for rent dropped by 13% in the 3rd quarter of 2016.“Market conditions became very tight in the third quarter with the average condo rental spanning only 12 days on the market and the number of units renting for above asking price more than doubling from a year ago.”These findings are consistent with recent findings of the Toronto Real Estate Board, which indicated that rental rates for condominium units had escalated considerably due to the fact that there were fewer new condominium projects being completed in the third quarter.With the hot real estate market in the GTA it will be interesting to see what happens in 2017.
Many are looking at these results in light of BC's additional tax of $150,000 per property in Vancouver and Toronto's eyeing Revenue Tools ( additional Taxes ) Do you think we need a Toronto Condo Tax on Foreign Owners? How do we decide who is a foreigner? Are they a Student? Are the Landed Immigrant or Permanent Resident? What's the best way to see a condo unit?
The high level of debt carried by Home Owners in Toronto is exceeding their capacity to safe for their rainy day fund. One singular event, a car accident or if one wage earner is laid off can have serious consequences.
We may qualify at the posted rates and take a mortgage at the variable rates; additional expenses make it harder to save for retirement or that annual vacation. Who says so? CD Howe Institute. December of 2015
The portion of mortgage indebted households with a primary mortgage debt-to-disposable income ratio in excess of 500 percent has climbed from 3 percent in 1999 to 11 percent in 2012.December 9, 2015 – The federal government should pay close attention to several pockets of risk in the Canadian housing market, according to a new C.D. Howe Institute report. In “Mortgaged to the Hilt: Risks From The Distribution of Household Mortgage Debt,” authors Craig Alexander and Paul Jacobson expose pockets of vulnerability by going beyond national averages and focusing on the distribution of house mortgage debt by income, age and region, all of which matter most when assessing risk. “Household mortgage debt has risen dramatically and traditional economy-wide averages understate the degree of financial risk for those that carried mortgages because they typically divide the value of mortgages across the income of households with and without mortgages”, remarks Alexander. Using the data from the Survey of Financial Security, the authors find that the ratio of the value of mortgages on primary dwellings have jumped from 144 percent of after-tax income in 1999 to 204 percent in 2012. However, this also understates the degree of financial risk for a significant minority of households. The author’s analysis suggests that a significant minority of Canadians having taken on a high degree of financial risk. The portion of mortgage indebted households with a primary mortgage debt-to-disposable income ratio in excess of 500 percent has climbed from 3 percent in 1999 to 11 percent in 2012. Their analysis of the distribution of mortgage debt is as follows:
Income: The increase in highly mortgage-indebted households has been in all income groups, but more so in lower-income quintiles.
Age: The increase in financial risk is also evident across all age groups, but more so for younger Canadians who have entered the market most recently.
Region: As one might expect, there has been greater concentration of mortgage debt in the provinces with the strongest housing booms.
Additionally, the authors find that roughly 1-in-5 of mortgage indebted households have less than $5,000 in financial assets to draw upon in response to a loss of income or to higher debt service costs. 1-in-10 mortgage-indebted households have less than $1,500 in financial assets to address any shock. This represents an inadequate financial buffer, as average mortgage payments are more than $1,000 a month, before taxes and operating costs. The federal government may want to consider further policy actions to lean against the shift towards significantly higher mortgage burdens. However, such policy measures should not be unduly heavy handed and should be targeted to address the distributional nature of the risks. For example, potential targeted measures would be to tighten underwriting requirements by lifting required credit scores, capping total debt-service ratios at lower levels, lifting qualifying interest rates when doing income testing, or varying the minimum downpayment by the size of mortgage to target higher-priced markets. Such measures would build on the regulatory tightening already done to date without posing a material threat to Canadian real estate markets. https://www.cdhowe.org/sites/default/files/attachments/research_papers/mixed/Commentary_441_0.pdf Click here for the full report.
Getting the correct Mortgage Advice; living with your means and eliminating HIGH Interest rate credit card debt all count towards securing your long term comfort. I recommend a debt check up with http://RenewyourMortgage.ca
Because the best mortgage is NO mortgage at all. David Pylyp TXT 647 218 2414 or Email
The most important tools to a free people, in this day, are guns, drugs, information and communication. They are necessities and natural, universal human rights. The means and methods of their liberation and acquisition from an adversary or predator are not subject to any restraints or limitations."
"Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves." ~ Henry David Thoreau
"When a man is denied the right to live the life he believes in, he has no choice but to become an outlaw." -- Nelson Mandela
"Whoever lays his hand on me to govern me is a usurper and tyrant, and I declare him my enemy." -- Pierre-Joseph Proudhon
See Law Enforcement Against Prohibition at http://www.leap.cc
"Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual." -- Thomas Jefferson
This is NOT a nation of LAWS. This is a nation of FREEDOM, where one's propriety is determined, ultimately, by PEER REVIEW. Nazi Germany was a nation of LAWS - and everything Hitler did was legal.
If you are UNWILLING to break a bad law, you are a fool and a threat to all free people. And if you are UNABLE to break a bad law, you will have discovered why.
At the city of Toronto's budget committee meeting on Tuesday, they'll be discussing a proposed $75 administration fee. Torontonians will have to pay the fee in order to process a Municipal Land Transfer Tax payment.
It was put forward by Toronto City Councillor Gary Crawford
If passed, the fee would be imposed as of April 1st and would reportedly save the city $5 million a year.
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Chesapeake Energy Corp. said Friday that Thomas L. Ryan has been chosen to join the company's board of directors, taking the seat of Louis A. Simpson, who has resigned.
Ryan is president and chief executive of Service Corp. International , which operates a network of funeral homes and cemeteries.
Ryan will stand for election at the company's annual meeting of shareholders on June 14. He has already been appointed to the board's audit committee, replacing R. Brad Martin, who is becoming chair of the nominating, corporate governance and social responsibility committee.
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With almost 600,000 condominium units in the Province of Ontario and more coming; the Condominium Act was slated for review. I disagree with an additional layer of government that is ruled by Tribunals that require paralegal representation and will require funding [ we pay ] as compared to legal redress. This also will cure many self managed Condo buildings that run rogue over residents. However the Top Talking points are; A new Condominium Authority will be established in 2015 to prevent common disputes and serve as a cheaper alternative than the court system to resolve problems. It will be an independent, not-for-profit corporation self-funded by a $1-per-unit monthly fee and will fall under the oversight of the provincial auditor general. There will be mandatory licensing and education requirements for condominium managers. The new administrative authority is designed to regulate condo managers and property management companies through a compulsory licensing system and a code of ethics. Governance requirements for those on condo boards will include training of directors. Boards would no longer have to pass a by-law in order to hold a conference call or virtual meeting online. And they would be required to update owners regularly on insurance and any legal proceedings. There will be clearer rules to protect owners from sticker-shock costs after purchasing newly built units. Developers will be required give buyers a guide to condominium living at the time of sale and the Ontario new home warranty will soon also apply to some condo conversion projects in older buildings. Improved regulation for condo corporations should help curb financial mismanagement and organizational bungling and reduce fraud. It would forbid condo corporations from finalizing some maintenance contracts unless they have sought competing bids for work and give owners more information about their corporation’s finances and clarify rules about reserve funds.
The Protecting Condominium Owners Act 2015 Bill 106
Trudeau... The Past Prime Minister said it best when he said the "Government has no business in your bedroom" What would he say about this?
Section 2(1) of the Human Rights Code provides that: 2. (1) Every person has a right to equal treatment with respect to the occupancy of accommodation, without discrimination because of race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, marital status, family status, disability or the receipt of public assistance. For the purposes of section 2(1) “occupancy of accommodation” has been interpreted to include living in a condominium corporation and “disability” includes a medical condition which may be irritated by the presence of smoke. It is crucial to note that the Human Rights Code takes precedence over all other Ontario provincial laws, including the Condominium Act. http://www.millerthomson.com/en/publications/newsletters/mtcondolaw-ontario/june-2014/the-smoker-next-door-responding-to-smoke
Meanwhile, those who smoke on balconies and carelessly flick their butts away are responsible for fires. Who says so? The Fire Department.
In the last five years, cigarettes sparked 97 fires on condo and apartment balconies, tallying $45M in damage, said fire chief Ken Block. That includes the Clareview condo complex fire in May sparked by cigarette butt discarded into a diaper pail, which left more than 300 people without a home. "Fires caused by the improper disposal of smoking material are completely preventable, and yet are the cause of some of our city's most dangerous and devastating fires, http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/cigarette-butt-receptacles-ordered-for-condo-apartment-balconies-1.3114066
So where will we go for a cigarette? What about marijuana? Legal Medical use... I have a permit / script for that... right? What are your thoughts?
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- BP will pay the U.S. government $4.5 billion over a span of years to settle criminal claims against the British oil giant resulting from its April 2010 Macondo well oil spill, called the largest manmade environmental disaster in U.S. history.
In addition to what amounts to the largest-ever criminal settlement with federal authorities, BP said it will plead guilty to 11 felony counts and two of its employees will face criminal manslaughter charges for their role in the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
"All of us at BP deeply regret the tragic loss of life caused by the Deepwater Horizon accident as well as the impact of the spill on the Gulf coast region," Bob Dudley, BP's chief executive, said in a statement. " We apologize for our role in the accident, and as today's resolution with the U.S. government further reflects, we have accepted responsibility for our actions," he added.
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We developed a decision support framework that facilitates the assessment of alternative mountain pine beetle (MPB) management strategies on wildlife and other sustainable management indicators. Specifically, the framework permits the evaluation of ecological trade-offs (i.e., the probability of occurrence of bird species; landscape composition and configuration; wildlife habitat supply) under alternative salvage logging strategies. An additional function of the framework is to identify areas of uncertainty where data gaps continue to limit decision-making. We demonstrated the application of the decision support framework by evaluating the consequences of five specific salvage harvesting strategies in a case study of a forest landscape in northeastern British Columbia. The five strategies included: 1) a baseline scenario based on current management practices in MPB-affected landscapes; 2) a scenario for salvage-logging-only stands with high pine composition; 3) a scenario for salvage logging stands that in