March 20

All things outside of Burning Man.

March 20

Postby KellY » Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:04 pm

So, International Answer is organizing protests of the Iraq war/occupation protests on March 20th in a number of cities across the country, and I was having very mixed feelings about attending. I was completely against the invasion of Iraq, and against Bush's foriegn policy in general, and pretty much everything Bush has done in office really. But neither do I think that having the U.S. immediately pulling out our troops is a good idea, and I certainly don't think protests are going to make any dent in the White House's behaviour. At this point, writing letters to Senators and Representatives is probably a lot more effective than once again marching down Market Street with the usual suspects.

BUT. This February the Department of Justice, working with the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force served subpoenas ordering Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa to turn over documents relating to a November 2003 anti-war conference. The subpoena asked for all records of Drake University campus security officers reflecting any observations made of the conference, including any records relating to the people in charge, or to any of the attendees. Also, the subpoenas sought information about the local chapter of the left-wing National Lawyers Guild, which had helped to organize the conference.

In May 2002, Ashcroft announced the elimination of twenty-six-year-old regulations that had prevented the FBI from monitoring "open to the public" events held by domestic religious, political and civic organizations unless the FBI had specific cause for doing so. And in a November 23, 2003 article, the New York Times detailed how -- according to a leaked bureau memorandum -- the FBI was collecting extensive information about, and tracking, antiwar demonstrators. According to the Times, the memo "possessed no information that violent or terrorist activities are being planned" as a part of major protests. Still, even with no evidence of a link to terrorism, the surveillance continued -- and likely continues to this day.

The same week as the Iowa actions, subpoenas were also issued to hospitals in in New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Ann Arbor. In March, San Francisco General Hospital and Planned Parenthood were also served. The Justice Department says it needs the medical records to defend the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act (PBABA), which has been challenged in the courts. Apparently, the Justice Department wants the records to show that procedures doctors deemed medically necessary actually were not. Suddenly, medical records that were thought to be completley confidentiial are not.

A lot has been said about Howard Stern, and whether or not he was being censored for criticizing Bush. Less publicized is that on March 7th CNN reported that the Republican National Committee told television stations across the country not to run ads from the MoveOn.org Voter Fund that criticize President Bush, charging that MoveOn is paying for them with money raised in violation of the new campaign-finance law. In a letter sent to 250 TV stations, the RNC wrote:

'As a broadcaster licensed by the Federal Communications Commission, you have a responsibility to the viewing public, and to your licensing agency, to refrain from complicity in any illegal activity...Now that you have been apprised of the law, to prevent further violations of federal law, we urge you to remove these advertisements from your station's broadcast rotation.'

Of course, Move On denies they are breaking any laws and no actual legal action has been taken against them. The RNC is just trying intimidate broadcasters and silence an opposing point of view.

And that is what takes me back to the March 20th protest. The White House is trying to crack down on dissent, and scare us into silence and acquiescence. So it is more important than ever to say: "I will NOT be quiet. I will NOT keep my head down. Video me protesting, put it with copies of my email in my FBI file. I will not be frightened by John Ashcroft."

A lot of people have problems with International Answer, the group organizing the protests. But hey, they obtained the permits, and this is bigger than them, their views, and the war itself. The right to speak your mind, to organize, and to disagree with the government are supposed to be what America is all about. So I'll be out on the street that morning exercising some basic liberties, and I hope that you will too.

Thanks for reading my little manifesto.
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Postby Zephryus » Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:37 pm

[rant]
I went to the march in San Francisco last year when the war in Iraq started. While it was a very good experience overall, I have to say (as someone who has been to more than his share of protests) that the ANSWER people are complete knuckleheads who have no freakin' clue as to how to articulately state an argument. When they took to the podium, they embarrassed us all by being the very embodiement of the self righteous, self important, holier than thou, neo-socialist, sound and fury uber-liberal organization unable to focus on a single argument for more than five minutes at a time. They got thousands of people together in one place under one slogan and then used the podium to express their agenda, pissing off a lot of supporters in the process. I'm a liberal and an active citizen and I was just as pissed off as anybody about the apparant motives of our government in starting that war. But the day of the march, I didn't hear anyone give a good, sound reason for ending the hostilities. All I heard was "We're right. They're wrong. We don't care what they think or say. We don't like what's going on, and we aim to change it through brute force. Because we're Right, damnit." That's called preaching to the choir, and it's the worst argument to make when you've managed to get as much attention and support as they had. I agree that Bush and the fundies are doing some seriously fucked up things, but the poeple who run ANSWER are no more reasonable. They just happen to be on the other political extreme. I refuse to let them (ab)use my support again.
Jumping around and shouting may be a lot of fun and a good excercise in collective democracy, but the administration has learned to ignore it. We need to shift tactics, and that means writing to our representatives. That's what they're there for.
[/rant]
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Postby Badger » Mon Mar 15, 2004 4:50 pm

I'm glad to hear that I'm not alone in my experiences with ANSWER sponsored demos.

They're essentially cranks as far as I can tell.

Lots and lots of fury, little in the way of substantive ideas or ability to articulate positions.
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Re: March 20

Postby juanicoheal » Mon Mar 15, 2004 6:24 pm

KellY wrote: But hey, they obtained the permits, and this is bigger than them, their views, and the war itself.


Are you saying that you must have PERMISSION to protest?
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Postby KellY » Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:16 am

Well, it's generally regarded as courteous to let interested parties know if you're going to have thousands of people marching down major streets. I suppose you could be all Black Block and just want to fuck shit up, but I personally don't see that as the point. And I.A. is the only group I know of making an effort to organize large protests of any sort.

Badger and Zeph, sorry you don't agree with my point that Bush's actions are more relevant than International Answer's failings -and Zeph, I was at the same demonstration as you and agree that their speakers were lame. No rule says you have to stick around for the speeches.
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Postby MrMullen » Tue Mar 16, 2004 11:42 am

Zephryus wrote:[rant]
I went to the march in San Francisco last year when the war in Iraq started. While it was a very good experience overall, I have to say (as...

[CLIP CLIP Some Very Good Points Made CLIP CLIP]

...collective democracy, but the administration has learned to ignore it. We need to shift tactics, and that means writing to our representatives. That's what they're there for.
[/rant]


I love ANSWER! My parents were on the fence about the Iraqi war and they saw some people from ANSWER give a speach and they turned Pro-War. They figure any if all those idiots were anti-war, then they should have nothing to do with them. Made my Republican Pro-War heart few warm (For once in my life).

I LOVE ANSWER! They are socialist and they are morons! All I have to do is take people who are not sure about the war to an ANSWER rally and they come back pro-war! Make's my job easier!
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Postby Isotopia » Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:18 pm

Badger and Zeph, sorry you don't agree with my point that Bush's actions are more relevant than International Answer's failings


Your read much more into Badger's answers than what Badger actually said.

Trust me.
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George Wrote Me A Personal Letter Today...

Postby Last Real Burner » Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:43 pm

Dear Rick, (yes George and I are on a first name basis)

The political season has arrived. Finally, we know who my opponent will be. I recently called Senator Kerry to congratulate him on winning his party's nomination. I told him I'm looking forward to a spirited campaign.

This should be an interesting debate. Senator Kerry has spent two decades in Congress; he's built up quite a record. In fact, Senator Kerry has been in Washington long enough to take both sides on just about every issue. He's been for the Patriot Act and against it; for NAFTA and against it; for the No Child Left Behind Act and against it; for the use of force in Iraq and against funding the liberation of Iraq. My opponent clearly has strong beliefs -- they just don't last very long.

And the choice is clear. It's a choice between keeping the tax relief that is moving the economy forward, or stopping the recovery by putting the burden of higher taxes back on the American people.

It is a choice between an America that leads the world with strength and confidence or an America that is uncertain in the face of danger.

It's a choice that I will set squarely before the American people.

We've achieved great things. The last three years have brought serious challenges, and we have given serious answers. I look forward to telling the American people that.

Most importantly, we have a positive vision for winning the war against terror and for extending peace and freedom throughout our world; a positive vision for creating jobs and promoting opportunity and compassion here at home. We'll leave no doubt where we stand. And come November, we'll be reelected.

The stakes are high, and I need your help. Could you contribute and make a difference in what could be a close election?

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Everything you send will help our TV buy -- on national cable and in 18 battleground states on local stations. The ads are strong. They remind people of this Administration's accomplishments, and will lay out our positive agenda and contrast it with John Kerry's wrong votes and out-of-the-mainstream philosophy.

The other side has several attack groups, funded by large unregulated "soft money" contributions from wealthy liberals, so I need your help today with a gift of $1,000, $500, $250, $100 or even $50 or $25 to keep ratcheting our TV effort up. Federal law allows gifts of up to $2,000 a person.

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Postby Zephryus » Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:44 pm

KellY, the last thing I would tell anyoe to do is to stop contributing to the democratic process. If you're geared up for a good hell raising demonstration, then go and make some noise. Seriously.
For me, I 've seen enough groups get into ANSWER's position and then completely screw the pooch to realize that the easiest thing to do in radical politics is to completely misdirect your energy and ground yourself out impotently. I've also noticed that media organizations tend to gloss over complexity in favor of a clean story. In this case, it means they present ANSWER's opinions as the group consensus for any rally that ANSWER organizes. Yeah it sucks, but there's politics for you. When I went to that rally in SF, I saw ANSWER taking a lot of really good, heartfelt sentiment and seriously abusing it. The telivision crews filmed their prattering, filmed the thousands of gathered protesters, and said that ANSWER spoke for all of them. Because you know what? ANSWER was speaking for all of us. We gave them our voice by being there. Protests can be seen as an excercise in instant third party creation, and I'm sick of going out, raising the hue and cry, pouring my heart into a mass movement, and then realizing that I've effectively given my vote to a bunch of political yahoos.
Now, you do make a good point about ANSWER being the ones who are actually obtaining the permits and organizing the demonstrations. I'm not privy to the current power politics of the movement, and I honestly can't imagine why another, more intelligent group isn't leading the charge. It frankly puzzles and worries me.
Oh, and in my opinion, going to a demonstration and not staying for the speakers is like going to a basebell game and leaving at the seventh inning. No fucking point, unless you really are just about the sound and fury.

-Zephryus, disaffected activist
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Postby Zephryus » Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:55 pm

Oh, and Mr Mullen, I don't know how sarcastic you're being, but if you really are pro-war, I kindly request that you listen to the more thoughtful and articulate arguments being made against the war. There's actually a good deal of it out there, even though the signal to noise ratio can be high. I'm not asking you to come around to our point of yiew, just to listen, because a lot of the better arguments focus on responsibility and long term effects/goals of our government's current actions rather than being simple blanket disagreements with war in general. ANSWER's main failing is not having the intelligence or imagination to give more than the simplest, black and white arguments. It is not a failing shared by the entire anti-war movement.
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Postby Badger » Tue Mar 16, 2004 4:58 pm

ANSWER's main failing is not having the intelligence or imagination to give more than the simplest, black and white arguments. It is not a failing shared by the entire
anti-war movement.


No, but it's certainly a failing (shortcoming actually) that has substantially diluted the crux of the message in my opinion. Too many diverse agendas wanting to pile on the bus and call it their own at the expense of the broader more salient issue(s).
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Postby Zephryus » Tue Mar 16, 2004 5:30 pm

You got that right, Badger. The radical left in America still hasn't quite figured out how to pick its battles.
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Re: George Wrote Me A Personal Letter Today...

Postby RingO'Fire » Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:01 pm

Last Real Burner wrote:...the tax relief that is moving the economy forward...


You're kidding, right?
...but it seemed like such a good idea at the time...
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Postby electrolux » Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:01 pm

The protest in Vancouver seems to be run by similar nitwits, who have decided to tack on a whole bunch of other issues to the protest (afghanistan, palestine, native people in canada). Oh and of course they also have to protest 'US imperialism in Haiti'. Not everything is about 'US imperialism', kids. Haiti is just a fucked up country. So I won't be there.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:35 pm

electrolux wrote: Haiti is just a fucked up country. So I won't be there.
One of the reasons that Haiti is so unstable is that its been interfered with on a regular basis by the US for the past 100 years--or more. (I know Southern slave holders had the bejesus scared out of them by the slave revolt.) One of the reasons that I don't like this stupid war, is that our foriegn intervensions have this nasty habit of becoming festering international wounds that we return to again and again (Haiti, 50-year civil war in Guatemala, Nigaragua,) or the only government that can keeps us out is something completely repressive and psychotic (Iran, Cuba, N. Korea.) If insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a new result--then Haiti and Iraq are just two more american lapses into lala land.
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Postby Isotopia » Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:36 pm

One of the reasons that Haiti is so unstable is that its been interfered with on a regular basis by the US for the past 100 years--or more.


S'cuse me if I take exception and suggest that your statement is as simplistic as it's naive. The Dominican Republic (just on the other side of the island when last I checked) has had the same episodic intrusions, meddlings and influence peddlings by the US yet they seems to be economically functional and far from ecological catastrophe.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:41 pm

I did say "one." The Dominicans must have been lucky enough to dodge their Papa Doc avatar.
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Postby Alpha » Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:58 pm

Executive summary: Haiti's problems can be directly linked to the meddling of both the United States and France.

I don't know the history of the Dominican Republic but I believe the fish has it right as far as Haiti goes. Haiti revolted against French occupation in the 1790s. President Washington loaned large sums of money to the French landowners in Haiti to suppress their revolting workers. When John Adams took over as president, he reversed our country's policy and instead gave financial support to the Haitians. President Jefferson then turned the policy around AGAIN, and allowed France to attempt to re-conquer Haiti (fortunately the failed). As if we hadn't meddled enough in Haiti's affairs, in 1915 Woodrow Wilson invaded Haiti with U.S. troops, ostensibly to protect it from the Germans (Great Britain was doing a fine job of that though) but in reality to protect the financial interests of American corporations. The last marines left Haiti in 1934. Franklin Roosevelt is quoted as saying"I wrote Haiti's Constitution myself, and if I do say it, it was a pretty good little Constitution."
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Postby DVD Burner » Wed Mar 17, 2004 3:13 pm

theCryptofishist wrote:One of the reasons that Haiti is so unstable is that its been interfered with on a regular basis by the US for the past 100 years--or more.


Everywhere the americans and british have been over the past few centuries have major problems including Iraq.

in most cases the so called "insurgents" and "terrorists" are just going up against bullies that are invading/stealing their land the best way they can and know how weather anyone wants to realize that or not.

More so than the hindu's, Phillipino's, hawian's and others did.
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Postby MrMullen » Wed Mar 17, 2004 3:31 pm

Badger wrote:
ANSWER's main failing is not having the intelligence or imagination to give more than the simplest, black and white arguments. It is not a failing shared by the entire
anti-war movement.


No, but it's certainly a failing (shortcoming actually) that has substantially diluted the crux of the message in my opinion. Too many diverse agendas wanting to pile on the bus and call it their own at the expense of the broader more salient issue(s).


This is why the anti-war movement is completly failing in this country. It has nothing to do about being anti-war. They pile on to the protests other subjects that should not be part of the pile. I have seen anti-war protesters push socialism and Palistine (SP?) causes at anti-war protests. Right there you lose atleast 60% of the people who you are trying to get on your side.
Some advice to the anti-war crowd; Don't push other causes at the anti-war protest especially topics that turn people off. Focus only on the war, if don't you will lose most average Americans.
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Postby MrMullen » Wed Mar 17, 2004 3:40 pm

Alpha wrote:Executive summary: Haiti's problems can be directly linked to the meddling of both the United States and France.

I don't know the history of the Dominican Republic but I believe the fish has it right as far as Haiti goes. Haiti revolted against French occupation in the 1790s. President Washington loaned large sums of money to the French landowners in Haiti to suppress their revolting workers. When John Adams took over as president, he reversed our country's policy and instead gave financial support to the Haitians. President Jefferson then turned the policy around AGAIN, and allowed France to attempt to re-conquer Haiti (fortunately the failed). As if we hadn't meddled enough in Haiti's affairs, in 1915 Woodrow Wilson invaded Haiti with U.S. troops, ostensibly to protect it from the Germans (Great Britain was doing a fine job of that though) but in reality to protect the financial interests of American corporations. The last marines left Haiti in 1934. Franklin Roosevelt is quoted as saying"I wrote Haiti's Constitution myself, and if I do say it, it was a pretty good little Constitution."


Liberal excuses, at best. Haiti's problems are just like Mexico's problems, created by themselves. Neither country ever has had a leader that stood up to serve the country and not line their pockets. I would challenge any person here to prove other wise. Haiti and Mexico have had a string of corrupt powers who's only goal was to enrich themselves on the backs of the average and poor. What both of these coutries need are leaders that will not rob the population blind and then run. Until then, the only hope that Haiti has is to be ran by the US. We might not do a perfect job, but we'll do a better job than an Haitian has ever done or would ever do.
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Postby DVD Burner » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:27 pm

Alpha wrote: The only reason any Haitian might not ever do as well as we would (god forbid) is because they completely lack a secure social structure in which to develop a benign democracy. They were doing just fine until Europeans showed up.

Oh, and Wilson invaded Mexico several times in the early 20th century, too. Hmm.....


There are'nt any real resourses in Hati are there?
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Postby Alpha » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:27 pm

MrMullen wrote:string of corrupt powers who's only goal was to enrich themselves on the backs of the average and poor


Uh, are you sure you're not talking about OUR current leader?

we'll do a better job than an Haitian has ever done or would ever do.


Hegemonic asshole. The only reason any Haitian might not ever do as well as we would (god forbid) is because they completely lack a secure social structure in which to develop a benign democracy. They were doing just fine until Europeans showed up.

Oh, and Wilson invaded Mexico several times in the early 20th century, too. Hmm.....

[previous post removed to change the accusation of racism; Mullen's statements are blatently hegemonic but only possibly racist.]
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Postby DVD Burner » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:32 pm

Alpha wrote:
[previous post removed to change the accusation of racism; Mullen's statements are blatently hegemonic but only possibly racist.]


I thought ahead of you because i know what you mean.

it's ok. :wink:
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:51 pm

DVD Burner wrote:There are'nt any real resourses in Hati are there?
A couple of weeks ago I asked the question "How did the Duvaliers get rich anyway?" which lead us to the old (1960s) Encyclopedia. We came away with "Well, even in a really poor country you can squeeze blood out of the peasents" as the best answer. Meaning, we couldn't find any indices of wealth, so that remains our best guess. Despite the age of the reference material, we figured it would give us a broad idea. No one went to the library to research the question further.
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Postby theCryptofishist » Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:54 pm

Alpha wrote:Oh, and Wilson invaded Mexico several times in the early 20th century, too. Hmm.....
Invasions were something of a hobby for Wilson. The Soviet Union.
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Postby KellY » Wed Mar 17, 2004 7:22 pm

Hey Zephyrus,

You do make a lot of good points, but I still don't think I.A.'s problems outway the need to loudly condemn Bush's McCarthyite intimidation tactics. And the more voices, the better. I also can understand the cynism about protesting, but I think the massive turnouts in the antiwar demonstrations late 2002/early 2003 were important in showing that Bush did NOT act with the approval of huge numbers of Americans, even if it didn't stop the invasion.

Another reason why I'm going out: on Monday February 23rd Education Secretary Rod Paige called the National Education Association a "terrorist organization" for disagreeing with Bush's education policies. No, I don't think he meant that the teacher's union was planting bombs; he just meant terrorist as 'people who who dare to disagree with us'. Fifty years ago he would have called them communists, with equal veracity.

It's both sickening and frightening. I only hope that Bush overreaches in his arrogance and blows it in November.

Oh, and Mullen, try doing some research before making such stupid proclamations - or is that too much like being part of the "liberal intellectual elite" conservatives hate so much?
"Of what use is a philosopher who doesn't hurt anybody's feelings?" -Diogenes
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Postby DVD Burner » Wed Mar 17, 2004 7:27 pm

KellY wrote:Oh, and Mullen, try doing some research before making such stupid proclamations - or is that too much like being part of the "liberal intellectual elite" conservatives hate so much?


http://www.snopes.com/inboxer/hoaxes/presiq.htm

The study determined the following IQs of each president as accurate to within five percentage points:

147 .. Franklin D. Roosevelt (D)
132 .. Harry Truman (D)
122 .. Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
174 .. John F. Kennedy (D)
126 .. Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
155 .. Richard M. Nixon (R)
121 .. Gerald Ford (R)
175 .. James E. Carter (D)
105 .. Ronald Reagan (R)
098 .. George HW Bush (R)
182 .. William J. Clinton (D)
091 .. George W. Bush (R)


or, in IQ order:

182 .. William J. Clinton (D)
175 .. James E. Carter (D)
174 .. John F. Kennedy (D)
155 .. Richard M. Nixon (R)
147 .. Franklin D. Roosevelt (D)
132 .. Harry Truman (D)
126 .. Lyndon B. Johnson (D)
122 .. Dwight D. Eisenhower (R)
121 .. Gerald Ford (R)
105 .. Ronald Reagan (R)
098 .. George HW Bush (R)
091 .. George W. Bush (R)


The six Republican presidents of the past 50 years had an average IQ of 115.5, with President Nixon having the highest IQ, at 155. President G. W. Bush was rated the lowest of all the Republicans with an IQ of 91. The six Democrat presidents had IQs with an average of 156, with President Clinton having the highest IQ, at 182. President Lyndon B. Johnson was rated the lowest of all the Democrats with an IQ of 126. No president other than Carter (D) has released his actual IQ, 176.

Among comments made concerning the specific testing of President GW Bush, his low ratings were due to his apparent difficulty to command the English language in public statements, his limited use of vocabulary (6,500 words for Bush versus an average of 11,000 words for other presidents), his lack of scholarly achievements other than a basic MBA, and an absence of any body of work which could be studied on an intellectual basis. The complete report documents the methods and procedures used to arrive at these ratings, including depth of sentence structure and voice stress confidence analysis.

"All the Presidents prior to George W. Bush had a least one book under their belt, and most had written several white papers during their education or early careers. Not so with President Bush," Dr. Lovenstein said. "He has no published works or writings, so in many ways that made it more difficult to arrive at an assessment. We had to rely more heavily on transcripts of his unscripted public speaking."
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Postby KellY » Wed Mar 17, 2004 7:33 pm

Umm, why did you quote me? Does that have anything to do with what I said?
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Postby DVD Burner » Wed Mar 17, 2004 7:36 pm

KellY wrote:Umm, why did you quote me? Does that have anything to do with what I said?


Yes it does but since you dont get it,


forget it. :?
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