Monthly Archives: October 2004

Senior Bush adviser: “… we create our own reality.”

Also, thanks to senatorhatty for pointing me to this NY Times Article by Ron Suskind. (Registration is free and in this case quite worth it)

In the summer of 2002, after I had written an article in Esquire that the White House didn’t like about Bush’s former communications director, Karen Hughes, I had a meeting with a senior adviser to Bush. He expressed the White House’s displeasure, and then he told me something that at the time I didn’t fully comprehend – but which I now believe gets to the very heart of the Bush presidency.

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

This provides a clue as to why Bush supporters believe things that Bush did not say, but wants them to believe, and why most of those people believe Bush said those things when he didn’t. Apparently Leadership means that they Lead you to believe things that aren’t true.

Bush supporters: Are you voting for the Real Bush or the Fictional Bush?

I know you have probably seen this on your friends page already, but it deserves to be linked more.

Bush Supporters Still Believe Iraq Had WMD or Major Program, and Supported al Qaeda

  • 72% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq had actual WMD (47%) or a major program for developing them (25%).
  • 56% assume that most experts believe Iraq had actual WMD
  • 57% also assume, incorrectly, that Duelfer concluded Iraq had at least a major WMD program.
  • 75% of Bush supporters continue to believe that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda
  • 63% believe that clear evidence of this support has been found.
  • 60% of Bush supporters assume that this is also the conclusion of most experts
  • 55% assume, incorrectly, that this was the conclusion of the 9/11 Commission.

Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments, “One of the reasons that Bush supporters have these beliefs is that they perceive the Bush administration confirming them. Interestingly, this is one point on which Bush and Kerry supporters agree.” Eighty-two percent of Bush supporters perceive the Bush administration as saying that Iraq had WMD (63%) or that Iraq had a major WMD program (19%).

The article goes on to say that Bush supporters “have not accepted the idea that it does not matter whether Iraq had WMD or supported al Qaeda.”

“To support the president and to accept that he took the US to war based on mistaken assumptions likely creates substantial cognitive dissonance, and leads Bush supporters to suppress awareness of unsettling information about prewar Iraq.”

It looks like most of the folks voting for Bush will be voting for the fictional “Made For TV” version.

Your “viewpoint” character

Sort of related to what traveller said, I wanted to say a little bit about “viewpoint” characters and deciding what is “on camera” vs. “off camera”.

There are three “voice” styles. First person is, “I went to the store.” This makes it very clear who is speaking, and who your viewpoint character is. Second person is, “You went to the store,” or “You are on your way to the store.” (Second person is not used much except in Choose Your Own Adventure books :) And third person is “Joe went to the store.”

Most of us will probably write in the third person. With third person, you have to give the reader some cues as to who the viewpoint character is. The viewpoint character is usually your main character, but you can sometimes switch to another viewpoint character if you want to show something else happening out of sight of the main character. The best time to do this is at a chapter break when you would naturally change scene anyway.
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Debate reactions

Gah! Is it just me, or does Bush seem like just an angry, bitter man? Also I don’t believe he’s a “good steward of the environment”.

Overall I think Kerry came across as calmer and more composed and Bush seemed angry and flustered for most of the time.

Anyway, this NPR article has a link to the audio and a link to the full transcript a little further down. The text transcript is pretty complete (and faster to read) but doesn’t give you the tone of voice. (I listened to the whole thing and I think I got a feeling for the voices, emotions, sincerity, etc… but I didn’t see the video so I have no idea who was walking around or what facial expressions were made.

My opinions and interpretations follow.

1. To Kerry, are you or aren’t you wishy washy?
Strong and direct answer from Kerry.
Laundry list from Bush about the same supposed inconsistencies, along with some rhetorical questions that sound like accusations but technically aren’t, like “I don’t see how you can lead this country in a time of war, in a time of uncertainty if you change your mind because of politics.”
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high crimes and misdemeanors

I find it ironic that a large number of people who voted for Bush over Gore did so because Something was Wrong in the White House if Clinton could lie about having shagged someone and not get impeached for it.

Now Bush is found to have basically lied about reasons for going to war and sending 1000+ soldiers to their death and arranging for 22,000+ to be wounded badly enough to be airlifted out of Iraq to US or European hospitals.

I have my own ideas about which is the greater “crime or misdemeanor”. Not only has discussion of impeachment never been brought up in the House or Senate (as a Republican majority exists there), people still give W high marks in the approval column. Amazing.

Marathon script session

I spent a number of hours this weekend creating a mysql / perl / cgi script, to accept abuse reports and file them into a database.

This is part of a (hopefully) ongoing project which users can feed spam into and get customized blacklists out of.

The prototype is at if you want to check it out, though it doesn’t really work quite at all yet.
Create user
Paste spam in
Sign the report (doesn’t actually check pgp yet)

Actual script logged for my reference, view if you are really really bored. mmmmm, so geeky