george w bush

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“This is it. The big one. This is the first revolution that has been catapulted onto a global stage and transformed by social media,” says Clay Shirky, professor at New York University and author of the book Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations. And what’s had the greatest impact? “It’s Twitter,” says Shirky.

So starts my piece in Crikey yesterday, We’re all wearing green for Iran now, apparently.

The article covers two main points.

One, this isn’t really the first time demonstrations have been organised or teargas reported via Twitter. Try Bangkok in October 2008. Try Chişinău in April 2009. And as Business Week pointed out, A Twitter revolution? Hardly.

Two, people are changing their avatars green to “support democracy in Iran” based on very little information. And as commenter Rena Zurawel claimed:

Whether it is a Rose Revolution in Georgia, or Orange Revolution in the Ukraine or a Green revolution in Iran — the source and inspiration is exactly the same: $70 million decided by the Congress to spend on so called “democratic changes in Iran”.

That last point intrigued me, so I poked around a bit.

I found this 2008 report from STRATFOR Global Intelligence: Geopolitical Diary: Iran, Psywar and the Hersh Article which is reproduced in full over the jump.

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Stilgherrian’s links for 04 November 2008 through 09 November 2008, gathered via Twitter and spat onto the page with love and some lemon juice and garlic:

I noticed this blogging meme over at Quatrefoil’s place and thought I’d give it a try. The results are surprising.

  1. Grab the nearest book.
  2. Open it to page 161.
  3. Find the fifth sentence.
  4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
  5. Don’t search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Use what’s actually next to you.

And the sentence is:

“Sensitive site exploitation will continue.”

That sentence doesn’t make a lot of sense by itself, but the next one adds all the context you need:

So far there had been no WMD stockpiles found.

The book is State of Denial: Bush At War, Part III by investigative journalist Bob Woodward. It’s been months since I read it but for some reason it’s still on my desk.

This afternoon the BBC reports that unnamed “US officials” have evidence that North Korea was helping Syria build a nuclear reactor. Here we go again. I think I might listen to some classic Detroit techno instead.

Even though George W Bush’s presidency has more than 6 moths to run, Fox News has already started writing the hagiography. The Daily Show‘s John Oliver has responded.

If the video doesn’t work for you, go directly to part 1 and part 2. Hat-tip to Peter Black.

Catching up on news from earlier this week, I’m astounded to read the real reason the US stock market rallied:The US Taxpayers just lent the Biggest Banks and Hedge Funds in New York $400 Billion in exchange for ‘mark to market valued’ sub prime mortgage securities that are probably nearly worthless (being so far down on the claims chart in a bankruptcy). This is a ‘silent bailout’ of the Republican’s biggest contributors that is going to be much more expensive than the S&L Rescue package of the early 90s. At least Bush Sr proposed the S&L bailout in the sunlight. Bush Jr, Paulson and the Fed are doing the bailout without asking our permission. What does ‘pork barrel’ John McCain think of this corporate welfare?”

14 March 2008 by Stilgherrian | No comments

Photograph of burned-out KFC store

When your business’ reputation sucks, what do you do? Re-brand it!

Jon Taplin reckons American business is hoping to revive “Brand USA” by supporting Barack Obama as a presidential candidate. In Reviving Brand America, he says:

It is getting very hard to be an American company in much of the world (see photo). Whenever they are pissed off in Karachi, they burn down the KFC. George Bush’s War has made competing against European and Chinese manufacturers like wrestling with one arm tied behind your back. So like any smart CEO, the elite has decided we need a re-branding of America with a charismatic man of colour at the front.

Exhibit A is the New York Post’s endorsement of Obama this morning. I would take it as a given, that Rupert Murdoch saw this editorial before it was published. Exhibit B is MSNBC. I promise you, Chris Matthews and Keith Olbermann would not be given the free rein to criticize both Hillary and Republican hypocrisy, unless Jeff Immelt, CEO of GE had not given the OK. I obviously think this is a rational move on the part of American business — and I know its not like they all met at some private club to decide this. I just think this is the consensus vision, well outlined by Andrew Sullivan a couple of months ago.

But is American business that concerned with their nation’s international image? Or is Taplin spot on?

Indeed, was the success of Kevin Rudd in Australia’s 2007 election partially the result of our stagnant image overseas?

Scientific American explains two media manipulation techniques, the “straw man” and the “weak man”. Know how to spot them and help fight the Hallucinating Goldfish.

In Getting Duped: How the Media Messes with Your Mind, Yvonne Raley and Robert Talisse write:

One common method of spinning information is the so-called straw man argument. In this tactic, a person summarizes the opposition’s position inaccurately so as to weaken it and then refutes that inaccurate rendition. In a November 2005 speech, for example, President George W Bush responded to questions about pulling troops out of Iraq by saying, “We’ve heard some people say, pull them out right now. That’s a huge mistake. It’d be a terrible mistake. It sends a bad message to our troops, and it sends a bad message to our enemy, and it sends a bad message to the Iraqis.” The statement that unnamed “people” are advocating a troop withdrawal from Iraq “right now” is a straw man, because it exaggerates the opposing viewpoint. Not even the most stalwart Bush adversaries backed an immediate troop withdrawal. Most proposed that the soldiers be sent home over several months, a more reasonable and persuasive plan that Bush undercut with his straw man.

The Weak Man tactic is a twist on this…

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A Christmas message in song from George W Bush, Leader of the Free World.

Hat tip to Peter Black.

I was going to write a serious piece comparing the George W Bush and Ronald Reagan presidencies, and discuss the links John Howard’s time as PM. But I’ve been distracted. Instead, I’ve been looking at the questions which led people to this website.

This isn’t original. Meg Tsiamis was there first. As she observed, people find one’s website through some astounding searches.

I’ve mentioned before that the most common search bringing people here is “steve irwin jokes” — something I find quite depressing. The Top 10 includes such gems as “gerbil sex”, “royal gay sex”, “glory hole” and “bestiality”. Classy eh?

But scroll down the list’s long tail, through 580 different keyphrases so far this month alone, and you’ll find actual questions. Here, then, are some of the answers. If you can expand upon them, please do!

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Photographs of Kevin Rudd with Al Gore, and John Howard with George W Bush

Al Gore’s Nobel Peace Prize is like a Magic Cloak of Invincibility. Now anyone wanting to criticise him had better have all of their ducks in a row — feathers freshly preened and all lined up like the North Korean Army — before they dare open their mouths.

And, through the magic of televisual political frottage, Kevin Rudd gets a +2 on his charisma too, since he’s been seen wandering Melbourne with The Big Al himself, quietly discussing… well, discussing something anyway. Does it matter exactly what?

Kevin Rudd knows Al Gore! AL GORE! He must be cool!

Since the US of A is our best friend and protector, mentor and high-tech stuff salesman, these pairings of potential PM with an Important American define our future.

We have Kevin Rudd, the quiet and unassuming Supernerd who can crack jokes with the president of China in his own language. Next to Kevin we have Al Gore, who everyone knows through that movie.

OK, some people want to spoil the fun by pointing out a few errors, but hey we all got the message.

Al Gore hasn’t yet said whether he’ll run for President, but former president and Nobel Laureate Jimmy Carter is behind him.

And then we have the Man of Steel and his submissive relationship with the Lame Duck President, digging up coal and uranium and oil and gas and whatever else they can find and selling it as fast as they can. Dubya is on the nose politically and has been for months, and the Man of Steel is making up policy on the fly.

Gee, there’s a choice, eh?

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