Posts from October 29, 2004
Bin Laden remixes Fahrenheit 9/11
: The eerie thing about the bin Laden tape is how he remixes Michael Moore — remixes as if in a Cuisinart. I swear the guy saw Fahrenheit 9/11 and picked up the themes for his latest wacky show — even the fixation with that goat book. It’s so nutty that if he weren’t such an evil murdering slime, it would almost be funny. Or it would sound like another 527 ad.
What’s also strange is that it’s hard to see exactly how he wants to influence the election. Though it may seem he’s trying to defeat the President, taunting Bush and America may only serve Bush. And that may be his goal: These cult nuts feed on having enemies and Bush is his ideal enemy.
I’ll add this: Kerry had better not use this as an opportunity to say, “See, Bush didn’t get bin Laden.” Here’s what the two candidates said today:
BUSH: Earlier today I was informed of the tape that is now being analyzed by America’s intelligence community. Let me make this very clear. Americans will not be intimidated or influenced by an enemy of our country. I’m sure Senator Kerry agrees with this. I also want to say to the American people that we are at war with these terrorists, and I am confident that we will prevail.
KERRY: In response to this tape of Osama bin Laden, let me just make it clear, crystal clear, as Americans we are absolutely united in our determination to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden and the terrorists. They are barbarians, and I will stop at absolutely nothing to hunt down, capture or kill the terrorists wherever they are, whatever it takes, period.
I was about to post this when I saw another Kerry comment:
In an interview with WISM in Milwaukee, Mr. Kerry also took the opportunity to suggest that Mr. bin Laden remained on the loose because of the Bush administration had bungled the campaign against terrorism.
“He didn’t choose to use American forces to hunt down Osama bin Laden,” Mr. Kerry said, referring to efforts to catch Mr. bin Laden in the mountainous Afghanistan-Pakistan border region. “He outsourced the job” to Afghan fighters.
And here’s a later report from the Washington Post:
Richard Holbrooke, a foreign policy adviser for Kerry, said on CNN that the tape was a reminder that Kerry would be more aggressive in pursuing bin Laden. “How can this grotesque mass murderer be out there on worldwide television more than three years after 9/11?” he demanded. “Why haven’t we captured him, if the Bush administration was going to be so effective in the war on terror?”
Kerry himself, in a television interview, complained that Bush “outsourced” the hunt for bin Laden and said, “We are paying the price for it today” — before he made his more circumspect statement. Bush joined the fray later in the evening, calling Kerry’s remarks “shameful” at a rally in Ohio….
Bad timing, Johnny, bad timing. We must be united against bin Laden as we were united against Hitler. Listen to your own statement, man. Keep on this track and it will backfire on you.
: Bin Laden snippets:
Contrary to what [President George W.] Bush says and claims — that we hate freedom — let him tell us then, “Why did we not attack Sweden?”
Sweden? Sweden? Where the hell did that come from? Is the guy sitting in New Jersey watching Ikea commercials? What does Sweden have to do with anything? Does he have the same brain fever Arafat has?
I wonder about you. Although we are ushering the fourth year after 9/11, Bush is still exercising confusion and misleading you and not telling you the true reason.
Echoes of F9/11.
And as I was looking at those towers that were destroyed in Lebanon, it occurred to me that we have to punish the transgressor with the same — and that we had to destroy the towers in America so that they taste what we tasted, and they stop killing our women and children.
This is the one part of the tape that sounds like himself: He would think in such sick, sophomoric symbolism.
We found no difficulties in dealing with the Bush administration, because of the similarities of that administration and the regimes in our countries, half of which are run by the military and half of which are run by monarchs. And our experience is vast with them.
And those two kinds are full of arrogance and taking money illegally.
The resemblance started when [former President George H.W.] Bush, the father, visited the area, when some of our own were impressed by America and were hoping that the visits would affect and influence our countries.
Then, what happened was that he was impressed by the monarchies and the military regimes, and he was jealous of them staying in power for tens of years, embezzling the public money without any accountability. And he moved the tyranny and suppression of freedom to his own country, and they called it the Patriot Act, under the disguise of fighting terrorism. And Bush, the father, found it good to install his children as governors and leaders.
More shades of F9/11: the obsession with the Saudi connection, the allusions to the American monarchy. It continues:
And we never knew that the commander-in-chief of the American armed forces would leave 50,000 of his people in the two towers to face those events by themselves when they were in the most urgent need of their leader. He was more interested in listening to the child’s story about the goat rather than worry about what was happening to the towers. So, we had three times the time necessary to accomplish the events.
There’s the ultimate 9/11 moment, of course: the goat book. Of course, it’s ridiculous to say that bin Laden and Atta could have been stopped in a matter of minutes. But he wants to feed F9/11′s contention that those minutes mattered.
: UPDATE: Richard Starr reminds me that Bin Laden vacationed with his rich family in Sweden. Thanks. It still looks as if this comes from a fevered brain, though.
: BILL MAHER UPDATE: Maher tonight says the tape won’t affect the election. “Americans know: Osama bin Laden does not pick our President. The Supreme Court does.”
: Maher says some of the stuff in the bin Laden tape “I swear to God could have come out of the Democratic National Committee or a Kerry speech.” Maher starts to read; Gen Wes Clark interrupts — sensibly — and doesn’t want to seem by silence to be agreeing with that. Maher reads some of bin Laden’s statements and the audience — amazingly — applauds! Maher: “Sometimes you can agree with an evil person. I mean, Hitler was a vegetarian.” What the F has become of us? A studio audience is applauding a mass murderer?
It gets worse. Gen. Wes says: “If George Bush had done his job before 9/11 we never would have had the strikes of 9/11.” Man, I’m glad I never supported him. It ain’t that simple, General.
Maher: “I don’t know why the Republicans get a mulligan on 9/11. The Democrats wouldn’t have.” Oh, crap.
: By the way, the last Maher show before the election is a dud of duds. Kevin Costner, political pundit?
: UPDATE: Joe Gandelman has the summary of who says what on the bin Laden tape.
Stuck at O’Hare. Back later…..
It’s later now… Back on my beloved couch…. I was greedy and stupid at the airport: Had a reservation on the 4p flight; meetings started and ended early; got to the airport at noon; used them newfangled machines to switch to the 1:30p flight but it only puts you on standby. Not good enough for Jarvis, I say to the woman: I want a seat. She switches my ticket. I go through security (extra security because I’d just switched flights and that flags you for screening but I don’t mind… really, I don’t). Get to the gate and find out that the 1:30 is canceled. And I gave up my seat on the 4p. Arrrgggghhhh. Amazingly, though, my cell phone rang and it was a recorded voice from United saying that I’d already been rescheduled onto the 4p flight again. No fuss. So I sat and waited for four hours, my penance for getting greedy. Sat next to an 8-month-old (and her mom) on the way back and the kid was good as gold. It’s Friday. I’m home. Sigh.
: Russell Beattie, who would have been a great hire, decided not to interview at Google:
So, I had an interview scheduled with Google today and I just cancelled it. I had a phone interview a week or so ago and today was when I was supposed to go down for the famous four hour Google-grilling and I just decided that I really didn’t want to subject myself to it. I highly doubt I’d get a job there anyways if they were judging me on my technical background (no PhD) and I suck at those puzzles they give you. Like I’d know what “the first ten digits prime in consecutive digits of e” even is. But honestly, I just decided that I wasn’t that enthusiastic about working there enough to even bother playing along just to see.
You can read it in my criticism of the Google SMS stuff that I’m not particuarly bullish on Google services and innovation going forward. I like Google Search and I like Blogger, but everything else they’re doing is disjointed. They’re slowly creating a mess of services with no real cohesive plan and it’s just not compelling to me. Orkut, GMail, Froogle, Desktop Search, etc. are all in beta and have no common thread or business plan. How many logins do I need? How is any of this stuff going to make money? Orkut even uses Microsoft tech on the back end, is that a joke? I compare Google to Amazon, eBay, and Yahoo and it seems like amateur hour over there. No excuses that they’re younger, I don’t think their problems have anything to do with that.
And besides, the options would suck.
Prediction thread: Place your bets
: OK, who do you think will win — by how much, in which states….?
Will it be decisive? Will it go to the Supreme Court again? Will it go to Congress?
I don’t care who you care about. I only want to see predictions, whether you like them or not. For history….
Arabs for Bush
: The Guardian says Bush has support in odd ports:
President Bush’s election campaign received support from an unusual quarter last week when Hasan Rowhani, head of the Iranian Supreme National Security Council, said that four more years of George W would be good for Iran. Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, was asked about the Bush-Kerry contest at a meeting with journalists a couple of weeks ago (before he was taken ill) and replied: “It makes no difference.”
In London, the consensus among Arab ambassadors – though they don’t say so publicly – is that keeping Bush in the White House would be preferable to starting afresh with Kerry….
Disliking Bush is one thing, but working up enthusiasm for Kerry is another – and there’s little sign of that in the Middle East.
Squeaky Fromm blog
: I’d like to see some independent verification of this but Steve Outing links to a 23-year-old Charleston Live Journal blogger who says she said nasty and apparently threatening things about the President and got a visit from the Secret Service.
At 9:45 last night, the Secret Service showed up on my mother’s front door to talk to me about what I said about the President, as what I said could apparently be misconstrued as a threat to his life. After about ten minutes of talking to me and my family, they quickly came to the conclusion that I was not a threat to national security (mostly because we are the least threatening people in the entire world) and told me that they would not recommend that any further action be taken with my case.