Monday, November 29, 2004

spoof an online ecommerce operation?

Just in time for the holidays: A fellow I know might have been spoofed, or phished, or whatever it is via those oddball coupon sites for major vendors. Maybe someone reading this can say if they've ever seen anything like it. If not, this might be considered a cautionary tale:

Last week I sat and watched Eddie order a new desktop from Except at the last moment, he looked for those time-sensitive coupons to save a few bucks. He googled, and found a site that had what appeared to be legitimate Dell coupon offers, but when he clicked on them, instead of getting a coupon number to enter on Dell's site, he landed on a perfect replica of Dell's customized order page, with the coupon number already inscribed where it was to go. It looked for all the world like a legitimate affiliate site.

He selected the features he wanted, gave his credit card, etc. A short time later, he received an "acknowledgement" that had all the branding, graphics, fine print of Dell emails, along with every detail of his order, the right specs and prices, etc., but curiously no order number, no customer number, no estimated ship date. I.e., nothing that would enable him to reference the order. All these things were promised to arrive within a day with a confirmatory email.

None arrived. Today he called Dell, and after more than 90 minutes with two reps, all he know was that Dell had no record of his order, and says its acknowledgments always have some unique identifier.

Was he spoofed? It's being checked.

We've both ordered from Dell before, never a problem. But this coupon-clone site was strange. Is it now practicable for a spoofer to clone a major vendor's order sheets, and its acknowledgment email, thus capturing credit card info?

Fortunately Eddie's card hasn't been charged, and he's making sure it won't be. He's also sent the peculiar acknowledgment to Dell for a look. But anyone who's heard of comparable scenarios is implored to drop an email or a comment, gracias.

Update: After three Dell reps failed to locate Eddie's order, a fourth did. The cause of the mystery, as one can imagine, remains obscure. The paranoia level around here has been lowered to aubergine. Still, the possibility of some bizarro coupon hijacking of this sort - in theory - has not been disproved. It just seems not to have happened here.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

coup de des

In this year of aleatory electoral methods and outcomes, it would not be amiss, I hope, to ask whether this story from Wayne Madsen (which is a follow-up to this story) can be said to be any more incompatible with reality than any other version of events from any other "credible" news source.
This reporter has obtained a copy of a bank check for $29,600,000 that was allegedly sent to cover the cost of the Texas-based vote rigging operation.
Now here's a chance to use those powers of networks and tools whose fabulous potential we're always talking about: Let's all us bloggers get everyone who voted for Kerry to chip in $1 to the "turn an ex-FBI guy for freedom" fund, which I will be happy to set up. With the $56,249,864 thus collected (if Naderites wish to join in, we'd have another $405,623 for a grand total of $56,655,487), we should surely have enough dollahs get at least one of the alleged election riggers to come clean, and have enough left over to make a giant ice cream cone.

Uh oh, Keith Olbermann is taking Madsen's story apart.

How about if everyone who voted for Bush send a dollah to keep those fabulous retired FBI guys in nine irons? (That'll be $59,729,986 - thanks).

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Electing to differ

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Flickr as first person photo site

Flickr is evolving nicely, always working on making the whole process of uploading, accessing, organizing one's photos, and accessing other people's photos, ingeniously simpler and more community friendly. Interesting people, images, places, the feeling of going somewhere. It could be even more piquant. Here's a suggestion I just posted in the ideas forum:
This occured to me recently as I thought about the current ability of many with digital cams and photo-capable phones etc. to capture events in the making. First person shots of news as it happens - huge fires, police actions, war, strikes, etc. So many have the capability, but where can they place them that others would know to find them?

Flickr would seem an ideal network to get the word out about a news-in-progress space on the net. The space could be nuanced to capture local, regional, national and international events, but the point is, it would be a space that the next time there was breaking news, one would float over here to see if anyone on the scene had posted images. Would this not be of broad and timely interest?

Monday, November 22, 2004

the laggard pace of ambivalence

Friday, November 19, 2004

morphologies of attention

Is anybody studying whether attention moves in patterns -- waves, pointillism, or building cumulatively, or some sequence of such -- and what effect this can have on vectors of influence?

E.g., while the concerned citizens of the US appear to be resigned to four more years of White House Ecstatics, Terrorist Faith Healers, Crystal Children Economists and more, others, poor saps, seem unable to let the election thing go. So there are days of linking and pointing and commentary, then from out of nowwhere come entire directories of links, mini libraries, overviews, round ups, and so forth, e.g.,
Does their existence make a difference? Can we look back and see how and where and in what form net attention has had a discernable shaping hand? Is there a critical mass of shock and awe, or of skepticism, or of just plain disgust?

I don't know who studies things like this, if anyone. We hear famous bloggers predict that blogging will do all sorts of things - I believe at one point it was even rumored to be going to influence the recent presidential election. But the people who thought that don't seem to be focused on it much now. Looks like we're back to blogging about how important blogging will be in more diffuse ways.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

more fuckups than you can shake a fundament at

Electronic voting machines in Florida may have awarded George W. Bush up to 260,000 more votes than he should have received, according to statistical analysis conducted by University of California, Berkeley graduate students and a professor, who released a study on Thursday.(...)

Sociology professor Michael Hout, who chairs the university's graduate Sociology and Demography group, said the chance for such a discrepancy to occur was less than 1 in 1,000.(...)

"No matter how many factors and variables we took into consideration, the significant correlation in the votes for President Bush and electronic voting cannot be explained." (...)

Van Houten's group, which monitored polling places on Nov. 2, found that at least 40 of 798 machines they monitored were unable to print out a final tally tape at the end of the night
. Wired.

...of the 284,650 votes in Montgomery, a total of 5,693 registered no valid vote for president. And the percentages were significantly higher in the 231 precincts that wound up voting for Kerry (2.8%) than did the 354 that wound up voting for Bush (1.6%).

What happened in the voting precincts in Moraine, Ohio? 2,557 votes were cast at seven sites there. The President won the city by 2%. The number of ballots without a valid presidential vote was 5.6%.

As the Ohio recount nears, the number of hotspots continues to multiply. You are aware of the remarkable late night voting lines throughout the state, and the mysterious Glitch of Youngstown which initially registered negative 25,000,000 votes.

The Associated Press today carries a report of 2,600 ballots in nine precincts around Sandusky, Ohio that were counted twice— as that paper puts it— “likely because of worker error.” The Clyde precinct showed a voter turnout of 131%, to the dismay of the head of the elections board, Barb Tuckerman.Keith Olbermann, MSNBC

Sheila Lennon: Without recounts, we'll never know, will we? And if Americans don't believe their votes count, we won't bother to vote. Then what?

Let us prey

Arundhati Roy -
Between 2001 and 2002, nine out of 30 members of the US Defence Policy Group were connected to companies that were awarded Defence contracts worth $US76 billion. Time was when weapons were manufactured in order to fight wars. Now wars are manufactured in order to sell weapons. (...)

So, all you young management graduates don't bother with Harvard and Wharton - here's the Lazy Manager's Guide to Corporate Success: First, stock your Board with senior government servants. Next, stock the government with members of your board. Add oil and stir. (...)

We know very well who benefits from war in the age of Empire. But we must also ask ourselves honestly who benefits from peace in the age of Empire? War mongering is criminal. But talking of peace without talking of justice could easily become advocacy for a kind of capitulation. And talking of justice without unmasking the
institutions and the systems that perpetrate injustice, is beyond hypocritical.

::Peace and the New Corporate Liberation Theology.
Why does it seem to take someone with literary gifts to see what journalism misses?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

A master journalist

Abu Ghraib in Patterson, NJ. Dan Zwerdling deserves a Pulitzer. Second half tomorrow evening. Listen and weep.

Whose votes did Volusia County trash?

Bev Harris of is stumbling into some very curious trouble. Go here, scroll down to

TUESDAY NOV 16 2004: Volusia County on lockdown

A small bit:
Then, Ellen B., a voting integrity advocate from Broward County, Florida, and Susan, from Volusia, decided now would be a good time to go through the trash at the elections office. Lo and behold, they found all kinds of memos and some polling place tapes, fresh from Volusia elections office.

So, Black Box Voting compared these with the Nov. 2 signed ones and the "special' ones from Nov. 15 given, unsigned, finding several of the MISSING poll tapes. There they were: In the garbage.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Our man in bananas

Today I had the honor of working side by side with a Wal-Mart manager who shall remain nameless. This man, a retired Special Forces operative who has been everywhere from Peru to Panama to Scotland to Texas and now Florida, was entirely Gung Ho, in every fibre of his material extension, as Gung Ho-ness can possibly be. He was all about being the first to lift the heavy loads, the one to help all, the one to never participate in a conversation without promoting Wal-Mart, his employer of some 18 months. His basic approach to Wal-Mart: it is God, alias Mr. Bush, alias the Flag, and he sees no reason why anyone might wish to spend any money on consumer items or perishables anywhere else.

It was fascinating - this fit of unfeigned competence and fanaticism. He is in process of opening a giant distribution center -- said to be the largest anywhere -- which will deliver Wal-Mart stuffs to its Superstores and Sam's Clubs throughout Southwest Florida.

The scale of the operation clearly holds him in awe. Giant nitrogen-chilled rooms to hold bananas; Radio Frequency Identification for intelligent barcodes and hyperintimacy; hatred of Kerry for having the courage to dissent from the glory of Swiftboat Vet Self-Immortalization, Jimmy Carter is a coward, Clinton should have caught Bin Laden - no, that's his other life, but they are so difficult to keep separate, at least, they were for him.

As a military careerist, he had served on ships, been in Iraq in the first Bush war, reads the Drudge report with fervor and thinks Fox News and CNN are equally biased. "Somos pocos, pero somos locos" is tatooed around an image on his back. He worships Lee Scott, the current ceo of Wal-Mart, and as he reported after lunch, he dined in a local establishment where a few locals were putting on money airs, causing him to call his wife and tell her, viva voce, that they would be dining with Mr. Scott in December. The entire place, according to his telling, fell silent in rapt awe.

He knew little about retailing. He said a few interesting things, which could be entirely untrue, but no less intriguing as examples of what current Wal-Mart middle management believes:
  1. Wal-Mart tells all its suppliers what its customers want; they bend to its all powerful voice.
  2. Wal-Mart's suppliers have come to Bentonville and built sleek offices which are merely craven ambassadors waiting upon the pleasure of the King of Wal-Mart at his court, a warren of humble one-story wood-panelled offices, where whatever he says shapes their world, their marketing, and the future location of their employees, which is always China.
  3. Wal-Mart makes $.04 on everything it sells, no matter its price. It rules solely by volume (not unlike Google).
  4. Wal-Mart is about to go into the banking business.
  5. Wal-Mart is about to tell the music industry that no CD sold to its customers may cost more than $10.
  6. Wal-Mart knows more about consumer tastes, habits, buying preferences, price points, etc. than they know about themselves. Its Mordor eye is always watching, always on.
Wal-Mart has been called an information company masquerading as a retailer. Wal-mart's suppliers "sit naked in front of Wal-Mart" - according to a man interviewed by Hedrick Smith on his Frontline show airing tonight: Is Wal-Mart Good for America? Smith is one of the few thinking journalists around (he also did an interesting piece about Wal-Mart on Marketplace) -- I will try moving around my 13" made-in-China television's rabbit ears in hopes of getting a clear enuf PBS feed to watch it -- but I doubt he'll be telling my hombre loco anything he doesn't already know: To keep seeking to satiate our infinite desire, US manufacturers must go to China. In a few years, when China becomes expensive, Wal-Mart will direct them to Kazakhstan. Or Patagonia. Or Uranus.

But the thing to see is, this is not a departure from the Bush thread recently dominating this blog. Not at all. Nothing here is irrelevant. we are on topic, on point, with one for the money and two in the Bush.

Monday, November 15, 2004

it's not the coffee, it's the bunk

Jon Husband forwards this from Professor Stephen F. Freeman at the University of Pennsylvania:
As much as we can say in social science that something is impossible, it is impossible that the discrepancies between predicted and actual vote counts in the three critical battleground states of the 2004 election could have been due to chance or random error.
That's on page 7 of The Unexplained Exit Poll Discrepancy, about which, more here.

I love the bit right after the above quote where Prof. Freeman gently reminds the New York Times that stating that something has been "debunked" is hardly an explanation of how the alleged dissociation from bunking has in fact been ascertained.

Got Bunk?

Miracle: Multiplication of the votes and fishy presidents

From the George WalkerOnWater Bush dept:

A small sample of vote miracles from the Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Board of Elections site, conveniently summarized here, along with much else:
  • Bay Village - 13,710 registered voters / 18,663 ballots cast
  • Beachwood - 9,943 registered voters / 13,939 ballots cast
  • Bedford - 9,942 registered voters / 14,465 ballots cast
  • Bedford Heights - 8,142 registered voters / 13,512 ballots cast
  • Brooklyn - 8,016 registered voters / 12,303 ballots cast

Meanwhile, from The Smoking Gun:

SEPTEMBER 12--North Carolina cops are searching for a guy who successfully passed a $200 bill bearing George W. Bush's portrait and a drawing of the White House complete with lawn signs reading "We like ice cream" and "USA deserves a tax cut." The phony Bush bill--a copy of which you'll find below--was presented to a cashier at a Food Lion in Roanoke Rapids on September 6 by an unidentified male who was seeking to pay for $150 in groceries. Remarkably, the cashier accepted the counterfeit note and gave the man $50 change.
I'll buy that for a dollar

Sunday, November 14, 2004

the oddest thing

We understand that yes, Mr. Bush's bill of goods was the aura of confident leadership. The sizzle, while Mr. Kerry offered some beefy semblance of rational analysis. The poet won; the statesman, stuck in his programs ("I have a plan...") was no match.

Well, after making such a mess, after producing a world of uncertainty in the markets, the economy and the world of geopolitics, what Mr. Bush offered for sale was certitude. The attitude of certitude. Bush understood the emotive core of media in ways Kerry seems to have failed to grasp. Bush knew if he screwed up in Iraq, the media would take the resultant potential anxiety and maximize it. Then, if he said he was the one to fix it, the media would seize that, because it is an easy story to tell. It fits in with the simplicity that mass media requires in order to tell clear narratives. Moronic leadership and mass media as two peas in a pod - who'd a thunk it?

He sold it, we bought it; as many have noted, we the voters consumed, rather than participated in, the election. Nothing new there.

What's still to be understood, though, what's really odd, is what made Bush so sure of his "elect" status that he chose, throughout the campaign, to speak only to his base. To talk in terms that alienated those not in his base. To smugly reduce matters of world import to classroom giggles and ridicule. What made him so sure his base was large enough, when every poll said it was not? How did Bush know he would win, and when did he know it?

Threat Advisory

"The policy of the United States is to protect against the debilitating disruption of the operation of information systems for critical infrastructures and, thereby, help to protect the people, economy, and national security of the United States." George W. Bush.

"The healthy functioning of cyberspace is essential to our economy and our national security." Tom Ridge, The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, Dept. of Homeland Security.
I am going to show you, step by step and with screenshots, how an attack against our election system could very easily steal a Statewide or even a National election without leaving a trace. (...) Once I was done adding 3672 votes to Linda’s tally, I decide to just wipe out all of Sallie’s votes, making her total 0. Pay attention – I just added 3672 votes to one candidate's results and deleted 8291 votes from another in about 45 seconds! How to Hack the Vote.

"It's so frickin' easy, "Hack" isn't even the right word." - Chuck Herrin, Certified Information Systems Auditor, Certified Informations Systems Security Professional, MCSE, CEH
"Cyber attacks on U.S. information networks can have serious consequences..." The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace

Friday, November 12, 2004


Sheila Lennon has the story. Nader's in. The press release. Extra Credit: Harvard's Nieman Foundation says the mainstream press should be asking a shitload of questions, instead of tucking its cabeza up its culo. And Lennon offers us a Jon Stewart moment - in part:

Recounting by hand is a traditional safeguard. Now we know there will be some of that, and we will have some evidence -- one way or the other -- about the accuracy of the count for at least a small slice of the vote.

That's not sinister, it's The American Way.

Nader is rumored to have had some gracious help with expenses...

Citizen dutifully plays Three-Card Monte

From Votewatch (*):

When I [THE MARK] voted I noticed that the order of the candidates was different than the order on my sample ballot. The district number was also wrong. When I was done I asked the poll workers [TOSSERS] if they new that this was the case. They [THE MUSCLE MEN] didn't listen to me and said to submit my ballot in the box, assuring me that I had voted correctly. They are poll workers [SHILLS], I believed them. But then I stuck around and asked someone else, and explained in detail why I was concerned. It turned out that I had voted at the green table but the voting machine I used was for the orange table. They made everyone stop voting and they switched the machines. I don't know how many people had voted before me but they too had voted in the wrong precinct. And this wouldn't be so bad, except that the order of the candidates listed were in different orders in different precincts. Because I am registered to vote at the green table, my ballot gets counted as if my inka dotes are for the candidates in that "green-table" order. For example, on my sample ballot Kerry [THE LADY] is listed as #3 and Bush is listed #1. On the Orange machine, Bush was #3 and Kerry #1, so when I inked the circle next to the name John Kerry, I was actually voting for GW Bush without knowing it. I found it interesting that pollworkers were neglegent enough not to realize that the machines were in the wrong locations, but they were sticklers [LOOKOUTS] about my trying to find my ballot in the box. Anyhow, after waiting almost an hour trying to think of ways to at least void my vote for the wrong candidate, I was allowed to vote again with a provisional ballot (as if I were voting outside my precinct). I was hopeful at the time that this would at least cancel out my previous vote, but upon further contemplation I realize that they will most likely not count the provisional ballot seeing than I would have already voted. I'm glad that my state was able to overpower [COOL OFF] my mistaken ballot and those of voters [PUNTERS] in line before me at the voting location. My hope is that the voting process can be regularized without electronic expenses; maybe poll workers should have to pass a test on reading directions and carrying them out.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

sotto voce

Re the resistance to conspiracy theories: Consider: what is an election in the current stage of democracy, if not a very large game to trick a lottery in a war between opposed conspirators? Conspiracy is not the aberration, but the very form, of electoral politics.

See also this.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Ralph to NH: Live free or Diebold

Whatever else Ralph Nader is, he is an advocate for auditing suspiciously louche behaviors, of which we USians can boast multitudes. Nader has requested a recount of New Hampshire votes, and has until Friday to hand over a $2,000 filing fee. It would be redundant to continue, as Sheila Lennon has it all on Projo, including links to additional trend analyses, which include the line:
CONCLUSION: These numbers are NOT within a reasonable margin of error, and further investigation is required.
and an update on a request from Congressmen that the GAO investigate the election.

As Sheila notes, Nader is calling on Kerry/Edwards to put their voices where their words were a while back.

See also: Democracy Now revisits statistical anomalies on today's show (transcript). Then there's this round up. And Dave Pollard. And movements afoot (via Frank Paynter), with more links.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

my Elastigirl

ἀμφὶ δ' ἑὸν φίλον υἱὸν ἐχεύατο πήχεε λευκώ,
πρόσθε δέ οἱ πέπλοιο φαεινοῦ πτύγμα κάλυψεν 315
ἕρκος ἔμεν βελέων, μή τις Δαναῶν ταχυπώλων
χαλκὸν ἐνὶ στήθεσσι βαλὼν ἐκ θυμὸν ἕλοιτο. - Iliad V

and about her beloved son came streaming her white arms,
and with her white robe thrown in a fold in front she shielded him,
this keeping off the thrown weapons lest some fast-mounted Danaan
strike the bronze spear through his chest and strip the life from him.

...something aphrodisiacal about supermoms...

[I'm informed the Greek up there looks a little screwed-up on IE. It looks fine in Mozilla.]

the whos

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) - Voters nationwide reported some 1,100 problems with electronic voting machines on Tuesday, including trouble choosing their intended candidates.
In view of the abberrations of the 2004 election, who on either side would have a problem with
1. Auditing results randomly across the nation;

2. Developing better paraphenalia to manifest the will of the people?

(Anyway, reservations about the probity of 2004 refuse to go away, anomalies continue to present themselves, and the Onion heralds our valour:
"With my own eyes, I saw people from all walks of life waiting in long lines to cast their votes, and very few of them were turned away," Cruz said. "They believed in the democratic process, despite the existence of racial gerrymandering of the sort most recently seen in the redistricting of U.S. House seats to negate the impact of Hispanic and black voters in Texas."
This is funnier, inadvertently.)

Sunday, November 07, 2004


Harris sat up a bit straighter, smiled, and said, "We just edited an election, and it took us 90 seconds."



Black Box Voting (.ORG) is conducting the largest Freedom of Information action in history. At 8:30 p.m. Election Night, Black Box Voting blanketed the U.S. with the first in a series of public records requests, to obtain internal computer logs and other documents from 3,000 individual counties and townships. Networks called the election before anyone bothered to perform even the most rudimentary audit.
No paper trails, no audits, no protections on central vote-tabulating PCs. We call this, by what species of pollyannahood, an election? Hmm...

[update: chart/Olbermann/EOP/Rantworld/JOHO/Guydickenson/Lennon this/Pitt/Gillmor/this/this /etc.../]

Saturday, November 06, 2004

coming upon the Bush

Lordy me, journalists are having visions. At least, they are in Bucks County, right out in its open fields, then going back to their desks and writing newspaper articles about them.

This specimen presents a very clear formulation of what broke through the placid surface of USian blandness the other day. Written by a columnist in Buck's County, Pa. by the name of J.D. Mullane (not a writer I'm familiar with, just one who popped out via googling), it's entitled "What Divides America":
The divide in America is between those who recognize when the wheel of history turns, and those who don't....
It's a fact that during times of upheaval, many people misread the times and become history's sorry reactionaries.'s a matter of being able to read, and we'll take this opportunity to bash liberals whose self-proclaimed insight has been proven by history to have been prattle, blah, bleh...

Then we get to it: What really divides us is what hits the columnist, providing him with a dramatic Eureka moment motif, except that instead of his discovering the calculus or a fundamental law of motion, it's a shattering realization:

I realized what really divides us last week when President Bush visited Ruth Wright's farm in Lower Makefield.

Bush spoke of the stakes for the world in the global war on Islamo-fascist terror.

He spoke of Afghanistan and how, for the first rime [sic] in its 5,000-year history, it had held democratic elections to choose a president, and the first voter was a 19-year-old woman.

"Freedom is on the march," Bush said. "The world is changing because of our deep belief in freedom. We believe everybody wants to be free. Freedom is not America's gift to the world. Freedom is the almighty God's gift to each man and woman in this world."

Mullane offers a rapid-fire series of Spielbergian reaction shots, then cuts to the guts:

We are in the midst of an epoch, facing a great evil that must be defeated at all costs. Bush knows it. So do the 51 percent of Americans who voted for him on Tuesday.

You either see it, or you don't.

And there it is, you see, standing stark naked before you and unabashed, the Truth. You don't see? Pity. You'll get none of your argument here, no logic, no candyass liberal premises linked via a tedious course of White Man's Civics Lessons to a rational conclusion, a la Kerry. Instead, there is the transforming power of a vision given as a gift to some, withheld from others. You know who you are.

As Lenny Bruce would say, dig: The moment in which we, as witnesses, "recognize when the wheel of history turns," is itself the next big historical event. We can skip Emerson, Thoreau, and the rest of the American Wankendentalists and jump the bones of hizzoner the late great Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel hisself, who paradigmed the story of history to turn upon that moment when its I/eye turns back upon itself, pulling obstetrically from the hat of linear time the lop-eared rabbit of Absolute Knowledge, in so doing acquiring that old time pharmacokarmacological buzz that comes with bumping up against the Infinite and, furthermore, howeversomeekly while at it, downloading the joyous jesusjuice necessary to straighten out and or delete the unrepentent badasses of god's scorched earth.

It's the vision of Abraham all over again:

Afterward, as I trudged across a lumpy, muddy cornfield, I heard a father implore his young son, "Never forget you saw President Bush."
We USians have been on this joyride ever since Thomas Jefferson invoked what he thought was a commonplace, a basis for incontrovertible, axiomatic first things: "We hold these truths to be self-evident..." There it is, the evidence, the argument, the conclusion, all in one compact flashtube of optimized three dimensional simulated self-evidentiary epipanic self-evidentiariness: Now you see it, BADA the world BOOM changes.

This is poetry, myth, in American motion. It soars above the hemming and hawing of hoary animatronic ghost-presidents like Kerry who can only martial lengthy discourses, rich in exempla, superbly cadenced, all leading up to pointing to Bush and saying, he is wrong, but discovering all these words are tinder, bursting into flame as they approach the Bush, feeding the Bush, giving the Bush a Hand yes as it throbs yes as it trembles yes as it explodes into a billion poigns of light, bringing bushels of searing scarring burning freedom to those who otherwise would be consumed by the Evil.

Eat or be eaten, there is no other choice, no middle ground:
“We’ve sat idly by long enough and said, ‘Well religion and politics don’t mix.’ Don’t you believe it. If we don’t have moral people in government then the only other people that can be in government are immoral. That’s the only way it goes. Either you have moral people in there or you have immoral people.” - Pat Robertson
Now the point of this somewhat uneven stroll alongside Mullane in the clover of Buck's County is not to ridicule him, his views or the constituency he so triumphally addresses. Rather, it's that his is not so different from many other perspectives in responding to the returns of Election Day 2004 as a profound shuddering schism breaking through the mascara of USian society. Everyone on both sides of this election is seeing it as an historic articulation, the moment when we discovered we are two nations.

But is it? Or are we experiencing in a shock of deja-vu-itude the recognition that we have been living a Tall Tale for a very long time, a story made all the more bogus by the synthetic Dan Ratheriness of its mediation? We are a rather neurotic place, a bundle of contested values and mutually destructive energies. We have been for a very long time, since, say, 1860, or, 1800, or, 1774, or... You would think we'd have managed by now to acknowledge some of these differences openly, but no-o. We've opted for thinking we are all getting along, because the news is, you know, so boring, so rammed and jammed into tidy little bites of lede/inverted pyramid/cut to Kathy in the street buttonholing an alleged sample of the General Population/I make a dull grimace and now, this...

when, "in fact," what's happening here is quite interesting, rife with tension, surfacing here much the way something surfaced on September 11, 2001 in lower Manhattan, and maybe in this case that's not such a bad thing, to cut the crap and begin to look around and see, perhaps not with the omnipotent visionary power of Mr. Mullane, but with something of the unsynthetic singularity of actual attention, who it might or might not just be whom we have been calling "we," and giving some thought to producing that pronoun less frequently in impolite political discourse.

Cause that's it: we've just been waaaaaaaay too polite. We need news anchors that will tear their shirts, spread dirt on their TV hair, cuss the cameramen, scratch their balls, smoke a joint or two, ogle the interns, and offer something like what it is, besides kissing the arse of power, that they have been up to, they, these individuals, in their encounters not with History, or if it has to be with History, then let it be History written and produced by Rabelais, Richard Pryor, and Lenny Bruce. Not History seeing its big bad self and putting on airs, but history writ small, crabbed, euphemism-free, tobacco-stained, bristling with nervous tics and bad skin.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


I have no conception of what the vast majority of Americans in all those other states is really about. Yule, pondering this map.
Right. An uneasiness many share, few voice. Plenty bemoan "them," few attempt to see what exactly sort of failure to communicate we have here, or that it is even something we have. Failure to commune. To share in common. To come. Without this work of analysis, all the bloggercons in the world will make not the slightest whit of difference, Dave.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

can't we all just...

People showed up to vote without incident at poll 61 here this morning. No paramilitary groups made an appearance. I sat with a very nice old couple formerly from New Jersey, whose shared recollection went back to days when the democrats would bus voters from Jersey City to Hoboken, and from Hoboken to Jersey City, to make sure everyone voted as early and often as possible. Today those towns are, they said, Republican.

In my county and in others around the state, people holding Bush signs seemed to have perfect makeup and be peroxide blondes. No men among them. Good information says they were making $50 an hour. Meanwhile, black voters received calls telling them (a) their poll had suddenly relocated to some distant location, (b) if anyone in their family were ever charged with a crime, the whole family was ineligible to vote, (c) the democrats vote on Wednesday, and (d) they could vote by telephone.

Judging from the black voters I met yesterday, no one was about to be fooled.

What do republican voters of rural West Virginia, Georgia, South Carolina, Indiana and Alabama have in common with the befuddled adulterous former mayor of New York? Gawdfearin? (A friend reports finding Christian Coalition literature at the check-in desk of the poll she monitored today.)

One reason Mr. Bush maintains his peculiar base is, he brings politics down to its level.

Mr. Kerry on the other hand tried to raise it up. In this smallish, hurricane-challenged county, a young Harvard operative was brought in two months ago. He built a committed organization that was all over this election. The people at headquarters -- some of them from out of state -- injected an organizing energy the local dems haven't seen in donkey's years. Every poll was watched, every voter was called, and when a neighboring county reported light turnout, these folks hit the phones and called hundreds of registered democrats there from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m., urging them to get to the polls.

Part of the mystery of strongly divided elections is understanding how anyone can vote for the other guy. Part of the reality check USians will face is, how realistic is the rhetoric of healing and union that new-waveian solutions spout with such facility?

Monday, November 01, 2004

Dead vote walking

The Mystery of Master Bush

We were sickened four years ago when Mr. Bush, ensconced in tuxedo, danced his victory jig in Washington, Enron money flowing in Dallas, Karl Rove massing for action. That was before Mr. Bush discovered that being Presidential didn't matter. He had, thanks to Osama, carte blanche to act up. Instead of respecting the teenyweenyness of his electoral mandate, he chose to morph into a fringe candidate without portfolio, a bellicose little pundit running for class clown.

Now we can say: We forgive you, Mr. Bush: You are weak, you are small, you know only a world malevolently rinsed to Republican clarity and purpose. Your irrationality is terrifically postmodern, perhaps a little ahead of the historical moment. Could you possibly come back in, say, 100 years? Have a lager on US.

The Mastery of Mr. Bush

Alas, Mr. Kerry, you articulate reason's best arguments with all the passion of a bot. Your exhortations trail off, elide the emotive punch. Your seemliness, your classic political style belongs to a world of dioramas, civics lessons, and watery drinks. We all sense what your logic does not feel. To be other than Mr. 0 to Mr. Bush's 1, you need pixie power equal to Mr. Bush's venomous gifts of freedom.

Between the president and the present is 'id.' Instead of leaders, we're dealt well-heeled lads in knickers, incapable of regarding, let alone probing, the problem, which is, as always, us. Hard to listen to passion; harder still to hear the enemy. Injustice is easy, but justice takes balls. Coglioni. Cojones.

If we can't abide these two men whose positions are rooted in moments other than now, what might a plausible president of the present look like?

To "run" for president in this moment would mean running against the presidency as it is currently constructed. To say,
Look, it's time to change not horses, but streams. Terrorism is not some mysterious or psychotic power lurking out there. It is what we have long nurtured through our inconscient action in the world, and therefore it is, with some effort at self-understanding, in our power to cure.
Until we the people can swallow this, we're no less lost than are these frantic boys of ours, Mr. Future and Mr. Past. Still, this is Florida. I'm out, canvassing for the dems.