The Guardian had an interesting project to try to get readers to send email to people in Clark County and influence the US vote.

The Guardian

Operation Clark County

[...]

It works like this. By typing your email address into the box on this page, you will receive the name and address of a voter in Clark County, Ohio. You may not have heard of it, but it's one of the most marginal areas in one of the most marginal states: at the last election, just 324 votes separated Democrats from Republicans. It's a place where a change of mind among just a few voters could make a real difference.

Writing to a Clark County voter is a chance to explain how US policies effect you personally, and the rest of the world more generally, and who you hope they will send to the White House. It may even persuade someone to use their vote at all.

They got some feedback from Americans.
KEEP YOUR FUCKIN' LIMEY HANDS OFF OUR ELECTION. HEY, SHITHEADS, REMEMBER THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR? REMEMBER THE WAR OF 1812? WE DIDN'T WANT YOU, OR YOUR POLITICS HERE, THAT'S WHY WE KICKED YOUR ASSES OUT. FOR THE 47% OF YOU WHO DON'T WANT PRESIDENT BUSH, I SAY THIS ... TOUGH SHIT!
PROUD AMERICAN VOTING FOR BUSH!

via Metafilter here and here

UPDATE: They actually got the idea from a blogger. See here and here.

77 Comments

I suspect that an organized campaign to affect an election in Europe or Japan from the US would be taken very, very negatively. This, on the other hand, is something that you seem to think is great idea. Turn it around, and ask yourself how most citizens of your country would look at a parallel situation.

The US Government has been actively involved in the politics of Japan including funding the current ruling party via the CIA. This is well documented in a New York Times series of articles.

Foreign multi-nationals actively lobby the government and are involved in Japanese political issues.

I personally would love for American's to write email to Japanese citizens directly and voice their opinions. This is MUCH healthier than direct pressure from the US Government.

This project is a citizen to citizen communication effort, albeit targeted. All the people are told to do is say what they believe. I don't think this is wrong.

I guess my point is, it's about providing voice, and the US citizens will make their own decisions in the end.

Random mail received from unknown foreigners would be treated by most people as spam (consider the source).

I fail to see how an increase in spam levels is healthier than my government pressuring foreign governments regarding my interests.

And if I don't like the way the pressure is going, that's one of many factors in voting differently next time.

I read the Guardian article when it came out and thought it was an incredibly naive idea that could only backfire on its intended (inferred) purpose of helping rid the world of the Bush Administration. I read the comments today and felt a little embarrassed that this happened.

Interesting exchange with James above however. The article came about I suspect because of a sense of deep frustration on the part of non US citizens about how voters in, for example, Clark County Ohio have a direct and powerful say in the politics of every other nation outside of their own. Where the reverse is very definitely not true (see the comments). The lives of everyone on this planet is, to some degree, affected by voters in the US as it is the nation that currently carries "the big stick".

I think an important idea many people miss is that many US voters probably *like* the power their country currently wields. Some citizens of the UK will know how this feels if they were around during the time of that nations Empire. The same will be true of some Japanese people.

That said the way for citizens of other nations to show their disapproval of the Bush administration in a tangible and non interfering way is to vote out of office those politicians in their own countries who are themselves supporting the Bush administration. Prime Ministers Koizumi and Blair immediately come to mind as strong supporters who fail to follow the wishes of their citizens in supporting the Bush Administration (contrary to the enraged Guardian poster the percentage of UK citizens supporting Bush is I believe around 16% which seems to me on the high side).

Consider this:

The Guardian chose to send out names and addresses of people to strangers. If you were a young woman, a single parent or an elderly woman living alone, how would you feel about the fact that your contact information was emailed to someone you don't know and for whom the Guardian itself cannot vouch? And further, that the Guardian promises to keep his/her contact information private, but gives out yours?

This was a massive invasion of privacy and provokes my outrage on that basis alone.

Joi, if we organized a letter writing campaign from people all over the world directed toward Tokyo Governor Ishihara's ignorance and insensitivity, would you be so kind as to use your clout to deliver printed copies of the letters to him personally the next time that you're at a gathering where you're both present?

Just a citizen to citizen communication effort, albeit targeted.

Anon: Absofuckinglutely. Send me the letters.

Thanks for the links Kevin.

Campaigns do this all the time. They give their volunteers addresses of voters and they all write tons of letters. I don't see how email is any different.

The Guardian idea was naive and foolish, and probably guarantees the opposite effect.

But Joi, this idea has been kicked around before -- I wouldn't assume that just because this person says it's their idea, the Guardian actually based this on this weblogger's specific idea.

I wouldn't base my choice of cat litter box liner on what this person has to say, much less a political campaign.

100 years from now...

KEEP YOUR FUCKIN' LIMEY HANDS OFF OUR ELECTION. HEY, SHITHEADS, REMEMBER THE BUSH WAR? REMEMBER THE WAR OF 2003 - 2005? WE DIDN'T WANT YOU, OR YOUR POLITICS HERE, THAT'S WHY WE KICKED YOUR ASSES OUT. FOR THE 47% OF YOU WHO DON'T WANT PRESIDENT HUSSEIN, I SAY THIS ... TOUGH SHIT! PROUD IRAQI VOTING FOR HUSSEIN!

As an american, one of the things that disturbs me most is how most americans don't know or care how our decisions impact the rest of the world. We're 10% percent of the global population and we use 30% of the worlds resources.

What we eat, what we drive, and how we think, has an impact (most times negative) on the lives of people around the globe.

ethnic clensing in the Sudan? Sorry I missed that. too busy trying to get the latest update on the Scott Peterson trial. Oooops!

Reading the comment of James Robertson, I totally can agree.
However that is exactly what the US is doing the last 60 years. Always interfering with other nations issues. So are you really surprised that lots of people are nowadays not in favor of the US ? Please keep Bush, but stay home for the next 50 years. Look at how many soldiers are in other countries. Are you still wondering why the rest of the world doesn't like that ? Would you like it having chinese soldiers
based in New York ?

I hope Bush gets again the job (I don't say gets elected :D). Nothing better can happen to united the rest of the world. Open the eyes of the ones who didn't realize it the last 60 years.

As Joi mentioned, every time a Japanese airline thinks about buying aircrafts, what a surprise the government gets
visits from lobbysts from Washington. (that is just a tiny example).

Sorry, but it's our election, no matter how badly we screw it up.

The Guardian proposal is a pretty clear sign that even the Brits really have no idea how Americans think. Anyone who had ever set foot in the Midwest (which includes Ohio) could have told them what a phenomenally stupid idea this was. Even those of us who despise George Bush and think the 2000 election was stolen would rally behind him in seconds in the face of an outside threat. (As in fact happened after 9/11.) He may be a moron, but he's our moron, and we aren't interested in having a bunch of foreigners telling us what to do about him. Doesn't running your own country keep you busy enough?

Guardian readers are a bunch of effete Muesli-eating, sandal-wearing morons who are ignored in their own country but nevertheless harbor grand delusions about their influence in the rest of the world.

America was the prime target of Jihadi terrorists on 9/11, but now we aren't. If the rest of the world is unhappy about this state of affairs, well, that's as it should be.

The President of the United States doesn't serve at the pleasure of foreigners, and any foreigner who doesn't like him is free to take his sentiments to the UN. Perhaps Guardian readers can prevail upon that august body to pass a really stern resolution against him.

In the real world, the US and the UK asked the UN Security Council to take military action in the Sudan to stop the genocide, but France blocked it.

Sound familiar?

Polite overseas influence is the least of our problems when it comes to people trying to influence our voting procedures.

"The US Government has been actively involved in the politics of Japan including funding the current ruling party via the CIA. This is well documented in a New York Times series of articles."

Countries interact. So do their governments. So do their citizens. Japan's lack of action in the War against the International Jihad (WWIII), although there's been some but little (given you all spent.. what 2 or 3 billion on RING-TONES, must be NICE!)..

Well, that's had an effect on me and my country.

So my question is does that allow me and.. say George Soros.. to try to 'fix' your elections for you, Joi Ito??

"Foreign multi-nationals actively lobby the government and are involved in Japanese political issues."

We're not talking acceptable lobbying, as others have pointed out.

"I personally would love for American's to write email to Japanese citizens directly and voice their opinions. This is MUCH healthier than direct pressure from the US Government."

Well, we'll see about that, after you finish reading this post from an American citizen to a snot-nosed (albeit rich) Japanese citizen.

"This project is a citizen to citizen communication effort, albeit targeted. All the people are told to do is say what they believe. I don't think this is wrong."

Well, perhaps you can read the above posts, as well as mine, and learn something for a change. Just because you're filthy rich, and you can blow $3500 on a monthly cell-phone bill (meanwhile yer buddy Liz Lawley chokes on Dave Winer's spending $350 on a hotel bill, but I don't recall her even coughing at your cell-phone bill.. not PC and she knows who is richer, I'd guess...)-;

Well, since you are 'thinking' it's a good idea to invade my personal election, I think I'll invade your personal air-space-between-the-ears, Joi Ito...

Btw, Joi Ito and friendz, I want to thank you..

..it was you and yer bloggin' buddies that forced me to look into some-a the facts, and separate it from the fiction that gets published in news and blogs alike. I'm almost certainly voting for Mr. Bush (despite some misgivings) because I've seen how Mr. Kerry gets lead by the nose by people that don't have to pay U.S. taxes, nor die in the U.S. and elsewhere, for no reason other than we are U.S. citizens and Allies of the American People.

I'm not talking about the brave men and women fighting in Iraq (from quite a few countries), but the 3,000 on 9-11, Joi Ito.

You forget them so easily. A little too easily.

You DON'T THINK, Joi Ito and friendz, or you wouldn't think this was such a great idea in the first place. Wouldn't-a passed the smell test, but all your bloggin' buddies have convinced you that only somebody "INSANE COULD POSSIBLY VOTE FOR MR. BUSH", haven't they? (Rhetorical).


The only way this could be better for Bush is if it were people from France doing the emailing...

@"gerald"

"As an american, one of the things that disturbs me most is how most americans don't know or care how our decisions impact the rest of the world."

Speak for yourself.

Btw, cut your income in half, send me the tips on how you get by and I'll believe one word of what your saying.

Mebbe you didn't notice that it's the G-8 countries that are getting attacked by the International Jihad, and I'm not ENTIRELY without some sympathies in these regards.

But blaming America and American's (and only near-psychotics differentiate, although there's a lot in the U.S. and around the world that do so, outta convenience), for ALL THE WORLD'S PROBLEMS..

..well, tell ya what.

Responsibility flows from authority. (In non-dysfunctional environments/businesses/etc...) I seem to mis-recollect when the U.S. was given the authority, but see daily in The PRess where we hold the responsibility.

'Funny'.. that...)-;

Or mebbe one-a you can recall this momentous event, the U.S. was given authority to solve all the problems the G-8 and U.N. and all you mother blogger's influencing The PRess have caused, directly or indirectly?

It could be I jes missed that, somehow.. seen stranger things...

But I still recall we were given the responsibility, throughout the 90's actually as well as when the 9-11 call came in..

@nojetlag..

You could stand to learn some, also.

Btw, I take it you haven't been over to Afghanistan lately.

You know the AWA, I hear they're not getting killed like they used to. You know.. the Afghanistan Women's Association (iirc, tho' never made that donation they deserved)...??

Mebbe it was some other name, but they were getting massacred..

..for setting up school-houses that included females. I hear that's going much better now, but I'm sure that's all coincidental to the Taliban getting thrown out, right?

Just like it's coincidence that Jordan has charge al-Zarqiwi with plotting an attack on Jordanians with conventional and chemical weapons...??

You catch that one?

"Conventional AND CHEMICAL weapons, intending to kill thousands", iirc. (Emphasis mine, because blog-induced ADD may cause some to have overlooked the obvious.)

Coincidence, I'm sure.

All that to say, not EVERYBODY 'thinks' like you do, 'nojetlag'. (You got any problems in your country?, btw, because if your country isn't darn-near perfect then mebbe you'd benefit from some nice warm stfu...;-)

On re-reading..

Well "massacred" was a li'l over-the-top, but the rest stands to reason.

The leader was assasinated, iirc, and the Taliban conducted search-and-destroy missions for obvious reasons, with 'good success'. The Taliban hasn't had that kind-a success lately, and it was and is largely (not entirely) because of THE HATED U.S. AND COALITION FORCES.

You're welcome.

But comparatively speaking, "massacred" was slightly exaggerated. I'll TRY to check back to see if anybody found any other exaggerations, or not.

Joi,

It is indeed common for the U.S. government to spend money or wield influence in foreign nations to suggest that that nation's government change its policies in some way beneficial to the U.S. In most circles, this activity is called "diplomacy."

The unsolicited advice of foreign socialists, that's what we Americans have been wanting. I can understand that inhabitants of accomplish-nothing countries would like to have a say in the one country that achieves, but hands off lest you ruin our beloved country as you have ruined what's left of yours. (Perhaps I will purchase a list of the e-mail addresses of a few million Europeans, so I can send them daily comments on their countries and advice on how they should vote. They'd appreciate that, right?)

So some people of the world share "a sense of deep frustration on the part of non US citizens about how voters in, for example, Clark County Ohio have a direct and powerful say in the politics of every other nation outside of their own. Where the reverse is very definitely not true."

Tough beans. You want to have a say in the world then 'get off the porch and run with the big dogs' as we like to say. Just because you are part of the first world doesn't mean you are not second rate (this really is more of a message for continentals, but it also applies to anyone who thinks or acts likewise.) Better yet why don't you put your own house in order before you try to tell me how to run mine.

The Guardian's letter campaign is as obnoxious as the sterotypical fat, loud American standing in Covent Garden shouting "How much is that in dollars?" (a spectacle I've witnessed, cringing, more than once). But, the vulgar, adolescent response by "Proud American? simply serves to confirm British and European biases about Americans. As an American, I'm ashamed of that kind of jingoistic loudmouthed bigotry. Let's hope "Proud American" grows up and learns to use the English language before he ventures outdoors again.

I am writing from a Midwestern swing state, Missouri, and derived much enjoyment from reading the responses of voters in Ohio as posted in the Guardian. The real problem underlying The Guardian's campaign, and those who agree with it, is that the voters in Britain ( to a lesser extent ) and those in France, Germany and others, have by their votes in the past, chosen the path whereby they lack the influence which the United States now unilaterally wields. France and Germany, to cite the two most obvious examples, have chosen to emphasize the social safety net at the expense of military power. They could not influence events in the world even if they wanted to. Sorry, but if you feel uncomfortable with the power of the U.S., you have no-one to blame but yourselves.

Oh yes, billg, we need more nuance from the nasty Americans. How DARE they not have the finely honed manners of an Oxford gentleman!!

One of the reasons 9/11 was a watershed is because it allowed people like billg to throw around "jingoistic" more frequently. Seems the only thing worse (to billg) than asking for the exchange rate might be proclaiming yourself proud of your country. You are a small, small man. Psssst...I'll let you in on a secret...ugly American wouldn't be so ugly if the country he was visiting hadn't been passed over 10x in every field imaginable by ugly American's country. What's ugly is the rampant jealousy of Europe.

It's a real shame that an American citizen choose to flame an interested foreigner. I would love to discuss the election with people overseas.

Still, you gotta be an American citizen to vote and you are expected to make the voting decision on your own. Persuasion from overseas will always be seen as meddling. If you wanted to take it to the extreme, you could even make the argument that concerted foreign efforts to push an American election one way or another could be seen as a breach of national security.

Don't worry. If Bush wins, the WHOLE WORLD will know that America is mainly composed of redneck yahoos. And when that ugly reality is exposed, we will be very sorry. In the long-run, truth and justice will prevail in spite of the usurper we have in office at this time.

The well-meaning spirit of Guardian readers should be noted and appreciated.

Bush is the (US) self-proclaimed "leader of the free world". If that really is true then the "free world" should be able to vote for him no?

('leader of the free world' - that really sticks in my throat)

@J. Toran

You mention Afghanistan. Ok, so who did provide training and weapons for the Taliban. As much as providing weapons and support for Saddam in the early years ? Go to Washington and check the old shipping papers. 5 Months before 9/11 there was a bunch of Taliban down in Houston to negotiate about the oil pipeline (Karzai did also work on this project at that time). At that time you didn't care about the women rights in Afghanistan.
The US always has to mess around in other nations, then creates monsters for their own economical and political profit and then pretends to be the leader of the free.
CUT the crap except in your country nobody still believes this crap anymore. Why is there no Jihad against Japan, Brazil, Norway, Switzerland and others ? Maybe cause they don't have soldiers based all over and interfere with others issues all the time ? Why you have soliders in other countries when you claim to DEFEND your country ?
Don't you know the difference between OCCUPATION and DEFENSE ?
If you stop bully the world and behave as if this planet belongs to 300 Million of people you won't have as many people as today that don't like your country.
What happend on 9/11 is a direct result of your foreign politics of the last 50 years. You mention 3000 poor people who got innocent victims. Do you also count the people who die every day due to the foreign politics of your government ?
Who is in your so called "alliance", just nations that think they have to be in their due to economical reasons. 4 more years of Bush will even wake them up. Or that got blackmailed to join in.
Iraq never had anything to do with Terror, rather with your old foreign politics. It was the CIA who brought Saddam to power. Don't forget such small details.

Look how Americans react if others interfere with their issues, so why you wonder how others react if you do the same to them since 50-60 years ?

stay home and leave the rest of this planet alone. We get
along pretty well without Washington and Texas.
thank you

Please see the original post. I thought that this was an "interesting" project. I don't think it's necessarily going to be that effective. I still disagree with all of you who think it's in some way evil. US citizens can choose to ignore the email along with their spam, or if they're interested, they can engage. It's their choice.

With respect to "it's just diplomacy"... See Tim Weiner, “C.I.A. Spent Millions to Support Japanese Right
in 50’s and 60’s,” New York Times, 9 October 1994. Sorry, I don't have a link. Basically, even as recently as the 60's the CIA was funding our ruling party, the LDP, to stay in power and stomp out all of the liberal parties. This is one of the major reasons we do not have a functional multi-party system in Japan. It was a co-opt or kill strategy ever since the end of the war and now this single party system is destroying Japan. If the Japanese were funding some political party directly in order to create a single-party system, I don't think you'd call that "diplomacy." Many of the liberals they stomped out were not far-left, but groups such as the teachers union and other fairly democratic groups. It is also interesting to note that most people in Japan are anti-Bush, whereas most politicians tend to be Republican friendly...

Robin Burk wrote @6:
Consider this:
The Guardian chose to send out names and addresses of people to strangers. If you were a young woman, a single parent or an elderly woman living alone, how would you feel about the fact that your contact information was emailed to someone you don't know and for whom the Guardian itself cannot vouch? [..] This was a massive invasion of privacy and provokes my outrage on that basis alone.

Gosh !
I understand that some despicable telecom companies publish thick books filled with the names and detailed addresses, as well as the phone numbers of thousands of people, conveniently organized along local administrative and/or geographical boundaries (e.g. Clark County, Ohio). Don't these telephone companies realize that some of their subscribers might be young women, single parents or elderly women living alone ? Where is the public outcry against such a massive invasion of privacy ?

Heath in Charlotte:

Having fun a a blog troll?

Asking for the exchange rate is not the equivalent of bellowing "How much is that in dollars?" Or, worse, yet, "How much is that in real money?" In other words, rudeness is not the same as politeness. Going to a foreign country and complaining loudly that it isn't like the U.S. is rude and obnoxious. These are simple concepts even children can understand.

Typically for blog trolls, you set up a scarecrow and then proceed to attempt to demolish it. All pointless and phony. There's no connection between being embarrassed by one person's obnoxious behavior and being proud of my country. I'd most likely be embarrassed by you if I ran into you overseas, but that doesn't diminsh my pride in my country, just one of its residents. And, even you, I'd hope, realize pride in your country doesn't require you to visit someone's else's country and prance around like a loudemouthed overfed arrogant buffoon.

As for European jealousy of the U.S., well, I've lived there (Have you? It would enhance your credibility.) and I never noticed any. Perhaps you're suffering from reading to many far-right blogs and listening to too many Bush/Cheney speeches.


Oh yea I'm really linking this Governor Ishihara fellow, any way this U.S. yahoo can send him a campaign contribution? - ya know just as my small part in undoing all the "damage" the CIA has done to the Japanese political system.

Of course he's kinda lost sight of that whole "winners write the history" thing; but I'm sure in this case the memories of the victime of Japanese aggression (China, Vietnam, Phillipines, etc.) will keep the history straight long after US textbooks have relegated the whole WW II/Japan thing to a minor footnote on where we dropped a couple of measly "atom" bombs.

But "white men out of Asia" oh hell yea, Governor Ishihara! It's about time my US tax dollars stopped going to pay for the defense of Korea, Japan, etc. And maybe on our way out we could leave you a few of our left-over nuclear weapons just so N.Korea won't be the only WMD-capable mini-state in the region. Then we could take bets on how long it would take you folks to start slaughtering oneanother once again.

Yea, no question you'd be much better off without all that Amerikkkan influence over there.

Ishihara for Shogun! Ishihara for Shogun!Ishihara for Shogun! Ishihara for Shogun!

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1329858,00.html

Dear Limey assholes (see above)

The primary objective of a newspaper is to come up with interesting stories and fill pages rather than overthrow foreign governments - and the Guardian achieved that, not only with its initial article but with the double-page spread where they posted American responses (both courteous and vituperative, see Dear Limey Assholes below

http://www.guardian.co.uk/uselections2004/story/0,13918,1329858,00.html

But 2 points: of course the Guardian is pro-Kerry but who isn't? At present, most British are pro-American and support the War (just) but are very anti-Bush. And that includes people on the right as well (i.e. Conservative party supporters). It's difficult to over-estimate the damage that Bush has done to America's image.

And, in a week, when the Bush administration has asked Blair to supply 500 or 600 more British troops (the Scottish Black Watch regiment) and deploy them to more dangerous areas to take over from the US, then it's reasonable for Brits to have an opinion about your election - some of our soldiers will inevitably be killed as a result of your President's decisions (whether justified or not isn't the point).

The increase in British troops is manageable since we only have about 10-12 thousand there (about the same as in Northern Ireland). But putting them directly under gung-ho American leadership and aggressive rules of engagement is highly controversial right across the political spectrum. Especially as people believe it is being done, right now, for electoral gain in the US. British people don't want their sons to die to help get Bush re-elected.

Crap, running outta time, jes when I wuz coming up with some-a my (imho) BEST LINES...

Uhhhhhh...

Joi Ito, maybe you would note the following:

It wasn't a question of whether you said it would be effective. The question was how exactly do you find it "interesting" that the U.S. Government that half of Americans not only support but voted for gets over-thrown?

You say that's "interesting", perhaps, because you'd like to have more say in the U.S. Government than you have in your OWN FRICKING GOVERNMENT...?!?

Thaz a li'l honest communication from a U.S. citizen to the citizens of the EU and Japan who are buying into the U.S. Government via John Kerry. Without his permission, I might add, afaik...

So, Joi Ito, I see you are filthy rich but not very capable of processing feedback, which is not all that uncommon...

Speakin' o' which, I just never got a round tuit, and haven't read reply from @nojetlag except the first sentence or two...

Should be fun, too, and hope to have time to reply later, as well as be permitted to (which I don't take for granted, btw, quasi-roshi-Ito-sans...;-). That were a compliment, of sorts, but prolee didn't come out right...;-D

That was a fairly poor attempt, imho, but couldn't leave the mis-impression that I'm filthy rich. Reason I'm cutting and running, this time, is I actually work for a living.

And I'm not a professor or snake-oil salesperson who gets indirectly paid for self-promoting-through-blogging, so's....

Outta here, for "a while", and may write more laterz or may not (again, if permitted).

Started skimming nojetlag...)-;

One thing, "sir" or "madam", you do NOT want to do around me.

Is bully me. The only "fight" (pushed a kid down and he cut his lip in the fall) I ever got into in school ever, in 4th grade, because I'm a Yao Ming kind-a guy..

..well it was when one-a the tallest kids in the class was picking on the only guy shorter than me and one other guy my size.

And, because I'm a hater of Stallmanism, you ESPECIALLY don't wanna bully me by calling me the bully.

That works for fans of Dave Winer and Stallmanist "philosophy", like when Winer says "unfair is now fair"... Uhhhhhhhhhhh...

Maybe where you come from, that Stallmanist bull manure flys.. like a pig.

So that would make you and yer friendz the Lord of the Flies...)-;

Just so you know where I'm coming from...

I may not return here, as I may not remain as civil as I have to this point...

J. Toran-

Your days out on the farm where you would sneak up behind animals -- remember them? Those days have apparently allowed you to become accustomed to the smell of bullshit. Stop speaking for our country, jerk.

Mike B,

"Still, you gotta be an American citizen to vote and you are expected to make the voting decision on your own."

From what I've seen, I'm not sure you are capable of thinking, let alone independent thinking, Mikey..

"Persuasion from overseas will always be seen as meddling. If you wanted to take it to the extreme,"

Persuasion of the kind you are witnessing here..

..well, that IS taking it to the eXtreme, after the fashion of the day. It's okie-dokie to screw the Okie from Muskogee, as long as you just SAY it's for his benefit. You just get enough thugs to join your gang, and the perception is the reality.. you see...

So, thaz how.. you see.. you get away with telling the poor dude "I'm doing this to EDUCATE you hicks, it's not for my benefit but to benefit YOU, ya see"..

Same way Howard Dean and his Deanic-depressives did in Iowa, for those who observed.

"you could even make the argument that concerted foreign efforts to push an American election one way or another could be seen as a breach of national security."

Yes, that's what I just said, also... We agree on that point, li'l boy...

"Don't worry. If Bush wins, the WHOLE WORLD will know that America is mainly composed of redneck yahoos. And when that ugly reality is exposed, we will be very sorry. In the long-run, truth and justice will prevail in spite of the usurper we have in office at this time."

Yes, and I can see you saw Deliverance and figured, like Ms. Halley Suitt.. blogger extraordinaire.. that anybody that votes for Mr. Bush is like the guys who attacked Burt Reynolds and crew, in the movie.

"Insane", I believe her exact word was on the subject, and she's used-ta getting to say who gets the last word in these things.

Well, the reality.. it'd be the reverse, of course... Some Americans are tired of getting buggered (not in the manner Winston Churchill used the phrase "Keep Buggering On", but in the corn-hole sense-a the word.. to be semi-polite to someone that doesn't deserve it.

Well, I'll be both buggered and buggering on, either way..


Thx for the chat, Mikey...

PS Born in Iowa City, moved to South Evanston when in diapers. Lived in Chicago area 'till '68 and enjoyed the "wide open space" of the 'burgs of CowTown, Ohio. You know, someday Columbus will be the largest city in Ohio.. like about the early 90's...

I learned my sense of smell working in the raw snakeoil of Computer Tech, Mikey, primarily. I hear ya and smell ya both, li'l boy...;-0-;

PPS I speak for m'self, as do you all. Saw where Bill Maher supposedly was quoted as saying "Those who ride alone ride with bin Laden" and noticed what a butthole he was. Apparently he never noticed that the strong ride alone and bin Laden's got quite the following, as does Bill Maher, himself.. Funny, these comedians these days.. like Maher and Jon Stewart...)-;


J.T. - Sorry, maybe I got a little out of line. Just getting caught up in the election.

You know, I think it's easy for red state types to vote Bush. After all, it's the blue states that are more likely to get hit by terrorist attacks.

Since British kids are also fighting and dying in Iraq, I think that British citizens have the right to discuss their concerns about the American election with us.

The poor little British people don't get to elect their own leaders. In their system, the Prime Minister is chosen by the members of Parliament, not by direct election. Their head of state is a hereditary monarch from some German family where they all have weird diseases and odd sexual fixations that make them dump sexy young ladies for old prunes who are no fun at all.

With so little experience of democracy, they're really in no position whatsoever to tell us how to choose our leaders.

The poor little US people don't get to elect their own leaders. In their system, the President is chosen not by direct election, but rather by the members of an Electoral College, or by the House of Representatives if no candidate obtains a majority in the Electoral College. Their current head of state is the mediocre son of a previous US President, and he evidences odd sexual and religious fixations that make him consider issues like homosexual marriage as abhorrent and not gay at all.

With so little experience e.g. of parliamentary representation, they're really in no position whatsoever to tell the world how the choice of a leader should relate (or not) to the popular vote.

Richard -

Your post is tongue-in-cheek hilarious, but I gotta say: for a hawk you are pretty disrespectful of our primary ally. Do you mean what you say?

Tony Blair is a great guy, Mike B., but Guardian readers are a breed apart; or so my British wife tells me. Europe in general is much less democratic than the US, still operating on the model that the elites know what's best for the commoners. The death penalty, for example, is banned in all your European countries, but the polling indicates that it's very popular with the commoners.

Perhaps the UK can start the march toward Democracy by getting an electoral college so they could split tickets like we do here. In the interest of harmony, we could invade them and impose democracy.

Just a thought.

But more seriously, we have a wannabe elite class emerging these days among people with technical pretensions. According to this group, politics needs to be more technology-driven, which would incidentally give them, the technical class, more influence. Their over-reaching is much like that of your Guardian readers.

I'd written a longer reply, mainly to you Mike B, and may post it or may not. It was a long-winded way of saying thx for the reply...

But I would observe the difference in class, not socio-economic class, but the plain old dull kind-a class that's gone outta fashion these days:

Between the "cosmopolitan" who posted 44 and the posts surrounding it (42, 43, 45, 46, not THIS one...;-). They say AD HOMINEM, AD HOMINEM as they attack the various world leaders with nothing buttttttt..

:

Btw, "Mossback" Richard Bennett (I picture in minds-eye Bill Bennett, for some odd reason...;-), good to "see" ya again... Don't get around like I used-ta.

Close, but unfortunately it goes back to the 90's as best as I can figure.

And it started probably before that, when the Atheists decided the only Religion that should be state-supported was their own. Conveniently Atheism is not classified as a Religion by anybody who's anybody, afaik. They invented Stallmanism before Stallman, best as I kin figure. "The ONLY good non-Religion is MY non-Religion, you see.. and all other Religions are so stupid only an insane person would give the thought any creedence, you uneducated fool!!!"

And like the Technologists, it's not so much "emerging" as it is a case of, perhaps, becoming exposed to "the light of day". But whether these realities ever DO get exposed for what they are is another matter, entirely, of course. Me, being born and bred to be a Scientist (failed, but 46-year-old "li'l Sis" being one-a the best in the world, afaik) I'm the black-sheep Technologist of the Family.

So I know there's a bit of difference between The Analyst laying out a grand system and The Coder delivering the final product. So it's not a question of what people understand so much as it's a question of what people are willing to actually DO about it and with it and in spite of it and all...

Talk being cheap, and most opinions... ... ... ?

;-D

Not that I'm disagreeing that much as it may 'sound', Richard, but just emphasizing that when it comes to over-reaching, these new TechnoBrats have a ways to go to catch up to the current 'champs'.

Richard - Thanks for your response. I'm not a big fan of The Guardian either. The "operation" was a silly stunt. If the person who gave the project a green light is a true Kerry supporter, it's a wonder why s/he couldn't foresee a backlash. Must have known zilch about Ohio.

J.Toran - Interesting analysis. I think that you hit upon many areas that will prove to be key themes in 21st century history.

I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned Putin's suggestion (made last week) that we vote for Bush. A former KGB stooge and current leader of the "evil empire". That's when my jaw hit the floor.

Richard Bennett wrote @46:
Europe in general is much less democratic than the US, still operating on the model that the elites know what's best for the commoners.

This reminds me that in the US, as late as the 19th century, slavery was widely supported by commoners in some parts of the country, until the elite imposed by fiat its abolition.
The elite also thought, a few decades later, that consumption by commoners of alcoholic beverages should be prohibited, but I digress.
Anyway, wasn't it in the same "democratic" country that in the sixties, commoners found normal for "negroes" not to be given full civil rights, or that "anti-miscegenation" statutes — ruled anticonstitutional by the US Supreme Court only in 1967 — were quite acceptable ?

But more seriously, we have a wannabe elite class emerging these days among people with technical pretensions

We apparently also have wannabe political commentators with a technical background, whose grasp of various countries' social/economic/political or cultural contexts, including that of their own country, seems quite fragmentary.

yes but The Guardian is one THE best looking and well designed broadsheets.

And Guardian readers now where New Zealand is! Most Americans don't despite the Hobbit!

So it's OK for Vladimir Putin, ex-KGB chief to vocally support Bush - you've no objections to that - but you don't like British people expressing an opinion.

According to today's Guardian some 14,000 people have asked who they can write to, which is a helluva lot of people for a write-in campaign in just a week.

But while I personally don't care whether you vote for a right-wing millionaire like Kerry or a right-wing billionaire like Bush, I think that the British have a basic right to tell you what they think (just as you have the right to ignore it). And if you don't like that, tough titty.

Glyn, 51 - I'm not sure if your comment was directed to me or not, but yeah... you and I agree. (almost to the letter)

MostlyVowels, your claim that: "as late as the 19th century, slavery was widely supported by commoners in some parts of the country, until the elite imposed by fiat its abolition."

As I recall, the slaves themselves were generally opposed to slavery, and they made up a large majority of the southern population. I would place them among the "commoners" rather than the "elite".

Sooo funny, several times I heard the word democracy. And this from people who live in a 2 party country where the most money gets the job. Where people get blocked from voting. If it would be a democracy, there would be a bit more parties and a bit more votes for them. But at the moment it seems to be 2 parties and the state where the presidents brother runs the show the election is fixed. Next time let's call it the place where money can buy EVERYTHING. (I didn't say that is a a bad thing, but let's be honest and don't talk about things that we all know doesn't exist). At least as an investor you are sure that the money you donate comes back via tax money the government throws your way. Absolutely a shareholder value friendly system. Just needs to be a bit more adjusted to the quarterly reportings :D

Enjoy your voting exercise and let me predict the outcome will be the same as it was the last time in Disney Worlds version of a democracy.

As I recall, the slaves themselves were generally opposed to slavery, and they made up a large majority of the southern population. I would place them among the "commoners" rather than the "elite".

This subjectivism in the definition of the “commoner” group upon which the “ekutes” impose their view, together with the imprevisible political inclinations of said elites, render your metric for defining democratic character essentially meaningless. Why shouldn't we then include, say, in the “commoners” the people across the world who are affected today by US policies, while having — just as the slaves — no say in the formulation of said policies ?

Perhaps the UK can start the march toward Democracy by getting an electoral college so they could split tickets like we do here.

The notion that there should exist a way for the executive of a country to be composed of members drawn from different political parties is such an original insight that it deserves a name. How shall we call such an unheard-of political construction ? Maybe a “governing coalition”. Hmm.

Woops. ekutes -> elites. (Stupid keyboard)

Why shouldn't we then include, say, in the “commoners” the people across the world who are affected today by US policies, while having — just as the slaves — no say in the formulation of said policies ?

Um....because we're talking about countries, not planets?

Why shouldn't we then include, say, in the “commoners” the people across the world who are affected today by US policies, while having — just as the slaves — no say in the formulation of said policies ?

Um....because we're talking about countries, not planets?

Oh.. Forgive me. As you stated that “Europe in general is much less democratic than the US” I assumed that de jure or de facto trans-national scopes aimed at furthering national interests, not necessarily focusing e.g. on energy supply issues, were also considered relevant...

Look. I think we're all missing a key point here. The British are fighting along side us in Iraq. The adventure makes them sick to their stomachs, as it does ours. As long as their kids are fighting and dying with us, their comments and suggestions should be met with kindness and interest.

To reject them, out-of-hand, like some cowboy/revolutionary minuteman hybrid is arrogant, selfish, and stupid.

Get some manners, America.

I think the Guardian campaign was fantastic, perfect in demonstrating why America deserves another 4 more years of Bush.

Once Bush's policies have kicked in - the Guardian won't need a letter writing campaign next time.

Another 4 years of Bush ha ha ha.

His healthcare reforms will ensure that next time round Americans will be jealous of UK dentistry.

Another 4 years of Bush ha ha ha.

What I’m amazed at most of all is the way this has been made out to be a personal attack on a nation’s people. Criticising the leadership of a nation is not an attack on the people of a country, neither is it an unpatriotic act. It is ridiculous that this has become a tit-for-tat arguments based on stereotypical misconceptions (yellow teeth and tea sipping snobs) and previous decisions made by long gone governments.

This is about a present day topic and the passionate belief of many Guardian readers around the world that this is not a righteous war and the current American foreign policy is wrong. It is not the opinion of all Brits, it has nothing to do with British dentistry or any likewise irrelevant domestic issues.

Very soon Britain will vote on its leadership, I could only hope that the rest of the world would be as passionate about the British leader. Having lived in the UK, I am sure there would have been greater willingness to take advice on-board, whether they agree or not. With a decision as big as this you should accumulate opinion rather than shun it as interfering. It is the government the Guardian readers criticise not the people.

We should all bare in mind that if we continually dismiss and ignore opinions of others they often find a way of unfortunately turning up on our doorstep but bigger and louder. At least this interference was by the power of pen rather than the ‘shock and awe’ power of a ‘sword’.

From what I read on the Guardian website these were letters from average people, with the same everyday concerns like you and me. They were far from preaching how to run the country, it was like a letter from an old friend asking you to heed their advise. What would make you passionate enough to write to another person in another nation?

Shouldn't we all ask ourselves how our decisions might affect others as well as ourselves.

Amidst great public backlash, the Gradien has stopped it's letter-writing campaign, but not before it helped solidify the President's lead. You can read all about it in the UK Daily Telegraph and in the Springfield Sun-Times.

The local Republican Party has thanked the Guardian for their help.

(PS - not to MostlyPompous: Is English a second language for you? Your usage of "e. g." is incorrect.)

(PS - not to MostlyPompous: Is English a second language for you? Your usage of "e.g." is incorrect.)

I'll assume this remark is addressed to me, as a string search shows that the only occurences of "e.g." in this blog entry are in my prose.
Methinks it behooves Mr. Bennett to learn a little more about English language usage. "E.g." stands for "exempli gratia", which could be translated as "for example's sake", or more simply, "for example". If Mr. Bennett is not even correctly acquainted with the semantics of commonplace Latin abbreviations, he can always reread the relevant sentences, substituting "for example" for "e.g." Mea gratia, he might even learn a thing or two ;-)

To Richard Bennett. It's the 'Daily Telegraph' not the 'UK Daily Telegraph'. Is English your second language? There is nothing wrong with MostlyVowels use of e.g. What is incorrect is to place a comma before the conjunction 'but'.

Oh, my. English grammar is sooo dangerous. Come on, guys. Your supposed to be talking about war, politics, and meddling foreigners. If you're gonna fight, get serious. Somebody should insult somebody else's yellow-toothed momma, or something.

You left out a comma, MostlyPompous, but thanks for proving my point about elitism and democracy.

Gardine readers accept elitism as good and necessary, not giving a second thought to the sheer arrogance of ordering the colonials to vote a certain way. Americans, being people of a democratic nature, have rejected the orders from the high-born toffs in the manor, and will proceed to cast their own votes as they see fit.

Incidentally, there was an actual grammatical error in my previous post but it hasn't been spotted; it has to do with a certain possessive pronoun.

You left out a comma, MostlyPompous, but thanks for proving my point about elitism and democracy.

Hmm, has the point that was "proven" something to do with the self-appointed Bennettian English language "elite" attempting to tell the "commoner" how "e.g." should be used ?

Gardine readers accept elitism as good and necessary, not giving a second thought to the sheer arrogance of ordering the colonials to vote a certain way.

Well, I happen to think that the — often self-righteous or perhaps even naive — Guardian newspaper's latest campaign was fairly pointless and counter-productive. It was predictable that the superficial reaction by the average USian to such a letter-writing campaign was going to be negative, and perceived e.g. as "ordering" [sic].

Incidentally, there was an actual grammatical error in my previous post but it hasn't been spotted; it has to do with a certain possessive pronoun.

What makes you think it hadn't been spotted ? It's just that I, along with many others, find it unproductive and tedious to point out other people's grammatical or stylistic awkwardness — including e.g. your "not to MostlyPompous" — especially as we cannot discount the probability that a person who still can't properly spell "Guardian" might actually be afflicted with a mild dyslexia.

Guardian readers shouldn't be villianized. Koizumi and Putin should be. Wish they'd shut their yaps about Bush.
I'm an American citizen and these two leaders have no right to tell me what they think I should do.

Boy, what a disappointment Koizumi turned out to be for Japan. Given the downward spiral of his leadership, it makes sense that he'd latch on to America's worst and most unintelligent President in history.

Bush has Putin and Koizumi in his corner, while Kerry has Arafat; what's the takeaway from this fact?

Pompous, misspelling the Guardian's name is a joke of long standing that originated in the pre-computer days when spelling errors were commonplace in that rag.

Try and keep up.

Richard, 69 -

The takeaway is that you are coloring significance into Arafat's opinion when there is none. Many foreign leadership figures are butting their noses into our business and ALL of it is crap. You are also making a huge leap by insinuating that John Kerry welcomes Arafat's opinion when you know good and well that he does not.

ALL of Bush's credibility is tied up in this idea that Kerry is a weak liberal. The American people know that Kerry will not lie down on terrorism; they also realize that Kerry is not a crazy left winger. So, what does that say about Bush?

I really like your writing style and your sense of humor, Richard. Yet, a piece of poo-poo wrapped in golden toilet paper is still a piece of poo-poo. And the stink of yours is beginning to fill up this thread!

Richard Bennett wrote @69:
Pompous, misspelling the Guardian's name is a joke of long standing that originated in the pre-computer days when spelling errors were commonplace in that rag.

One gets the impression that you believe that you managed to project, through your writings, an image of yourself as a person capable of wit...

I've read a few of the comments from my fellow Americans. I think it's hilarious that so many Americans were offended by the fact that anyone outside of the U.S. has an opinion. Perhaps they are following in our fearless leaders footsteps by dismissing everyone who doesn't agree with us. I'd like to point out to my fellow Americans that our dismissive attitude has gotten us into one hell of a bind in Iraq, and you guys are ass deep in the middle of the B.S. fighting beside our brave men and women who have been sent to die for nothing other than George Bush and his fellow bastards greed. The backlash from your campaign is just one more effort by the republicans to take the spotlight away from the lies and ineptitude of George Bush. Sure you have an opinion, sure you have a right to express it. A suggestion that we vote for someone other than George Bush doesn't necessarily mean that the mindless Bushie drones can't vote for their man. I support their right to vote for him, I do not support their decision, but they have a right to vote for whomever they see fit. Hell, if he's elected, it may be the last time we are allowed to vote...so they should get out there and excersise that freedom before it is gone.


The Guardian readership is well known for being 'lefty veggies'. The BBC and other media

outlets advertise their vacancies in this newspaper, so you can see where the BBC is coming

from. Not all Brits are so dumb as the Guardianistas. Apart from anything else, whoever

takes over the White House will have EXACTLY the same foreign policy decisions to confront

regardless of politics. Iran, North Korea, Israel, China etc..
On the bright side this limey wind-up may get some Clark Count voters out to the polling

booth.
By the way, where is Clark County?. I will send you another email to see what you are up

against

Dave. Bromley. Kent. England UK

http://www.justice.gov/ag/manualpart1_1.pdf (1.1MB)

The Al Qaeda Manual

Counterfeit Currency and Forged Documents

Organization Military Bases, "Apartments Places" - Hiding

Means of Communication and Transportation

Training

Weapons: Measure Related to Buying and Transporting Them

Member Safety

Security Plan

Definition of Special Operations

Espionage (1) Information-Gathering Using Open Methods

Espionage (2) Information-Gathering Using Covert Methods

Secret Writing and Cipher and Codes

Kidnaping and Assassinations Using Rifles and Pistols

Explosives

Assassinations Using Poisons and Cold Steel

Torture Methods

Prisons and Detention Centers

DECLARATION OF JIHAD [HOLY WAR]

Islamic governments have never and will never be established through peaceful solutions and cooperative councils. They are established as they [always] have been

by pen and gun
by word and bullet
by tongue and teeth


Message
Subject: Fw: My Resume
NAME: John Kerry

RESIDENCE: 7 mansions, including one in Washington DC, worth
multi-millions. I served in Vietnam (four months).

EXPERIENCE:
Law Enforcement. In my career as a U.S. Senator, I've voted to cut
every
law enforcement, CIA, and Defense bill. I ordered the city of
Boston to
remove a fire hydrant in front of my mansion, thereby endangering my
neighbors in the event of fire. I served in Vietnam (four months).

MILITARY:
I served in Vietnam (four months). I used three minor injuries to get
an
early discharge from the military and service in Vietnam (as
documented by
the attending doctor). I served in Vietnam (four months). I then
returned
to the U.S., joined Jane Fonda in protesting the war, and insulted
returning
Vietnam vets, claiming they committed atrocities and were baby
killers. I
served in Vietnam (four months). I threw my medals, ribbons, or
something
away in protest. Or did I? My book " Vietnam Veterans Against
the War: The
New Soldier", shows how I truly feel about the military. I
served in
Vietnam (four months).

COLLEGE:
I graduated from Yale University with a low C average. Unlike my
counterpart
George Bush, I have no higher education and did not get admitted to
Harvard
nor graduate with an M.B.A

PAST WORK EXPERIENCE:
After College and Vietnam, I ran for the U.S. Congress and have been
there
ever since. I have no real world experience except marrying very
rich women
and running their companies vicariously through them. I served in
Vietnam
(four months).

ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
As a U.S. Senator I set the record for the most liberal voting record,
exceeding even Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton. I have consistently
failed
to support our military and CIA by voting against their budgets, thus
gutting our country's ability to defend itself. Although I voted for
the
Iraq War, now I am against it and refuse to admit that I voted for
it. I
voted for every liberal piece of legislation. I have no plan to help
this
country but I intend to raise taxes significantly if I am elected. I
served
in Vietnam (four months).

My wealth so far exceeds that of my counterpart, George Bush, that he
will
never catch up. I make little or no charitable contributions and
have never
agreed to pay any voluntary excess taxes in Massachusetts, despite
family
wealth in excess of $ 700 million. I served in Vietnam (four months).

I (we) own 28 manufacturing plants (Heinz) outside of the U.S. in
places
like Asia, Mexico and Europe. We can make more profit from the
cheaper cost
of labor in those Countries, although I blame George Bush for sending
all of
the other jobs out of Country. I served in Vietnam (four months).

Although I claim to be in favor of alternative energy sources, Ted
Kennedy
and I oppose windmills off Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard as it
might spoil
our view of the ocean as we cruise on our yachts. I served in
Vietnam (four
months).

RECORDS AND REFERENCES:
None. However, I served in Vietnam (four months)

PERSONAL I practice my Catholic faith whenever cameras are present. I
ride a
Serotta Bike. I love to ski/snowboard. I call my Gulfstream V Jet the
"Flying Squirrel". I call my $850,000 42-foot Hinckley twin
diesel yacht the
"Scarmouche".

I am fascinated by rap and hip-hop and feel it reflects our real
culture.

I own several "Large" SUVs including one parked at my
Nantucket summer
mansion, though I am against large, polluting, inefficient vehicles
and
blame George Bush for our energy problems. I served in Vietnam (four
months).

PLEASE CONSIDER MY EXPERIENCE WHEN VOTING IN 2004.

Or simply consider this more significant experience when voting:

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20041108&s=facts

And in the end, Bush won the county by 1620 votes. In 2004, Gore won it by 324 votes. Hrm...

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