(Presented by "Hammond Lee Luti" and "Dick Impala," Child Safety on the Internet Conference, March 7, 2004. "♣" symbols indicate PowerPoint slides that are yet to be included.)
Thank you very much. We're very happy to be here to help give you a clearer image of the Bush Administration, its policies, its plans, its ideas. Much as the Web Police are able to operate where officials cannot, in order to be effective, we at the Campaign are very often able be more effective than the Bush Administration itself—at least more effective at conveying information clearly (though of course not at anything else).
Today as I speak I will be speaking often from the point of view of the Bush Administration itself, but I would like you to remember that as a part of the Campaign, very often I will be speaking in a way that is far clearer than you can ever hear from the Bush Administration itself. This is to help you with information related to the Campaign, and with the political process itself.
So that all said, I'd just like to say something on behalf of the Bush Administration. I'd like to just say—it's great to be here in Florida, the state that went the distance for us in 2000. Thank you, Florida.
And thank you, Web Police. As Peter said, there are a lot of good people out there, but also a whole great lot of bad people—we feel that way more than anyone else does!! And Peter mentioned that you can't always tell the difference between a child and an adult. Well, we can't either!!
That's why we have the concept we call "political children." "Political children" are, very simply, all of us. And we have defined "parental responsibility" in an extremely broad way.
Just like human children, political children—citizens—need special care. Citizens don't always know right from wrong, and don't always see what's going on. Like regular human children, all of us political children must be kept shielded from a lot of "real life" things, or we will make mistakes—maybe fatal ones!
But just like literal children, citizens don't always want to be kept safe from "real life" things. Sometimes they struggle and scream against being kept safe, sometimes with ear-piercing shrieks that can make your skin crawl. But sometimes you must take very special measures to make sure that things go as they should. We can't always take all the measures that we should—but we try, and we have very high hopes for being able to take bigger measures in the future.
There was recently one event that enabled us at the White House to impose strict safety on everyone regardless of what they thought they might need, regardless of how much they might resists. As Peter mentioned, the vast majority of pornography is located elsewhere in the world.
Well, today I'd like to tell you in detail about how we at the Bush Administration have used this attack by a crack team of mostly Saudi Arabian terrorists to enforce safety for all of our children—in other words, all people, everywhere.
I'd also like to tell you in some detail how we can all make sure that safety for all of us continues to be the rule well into the future—that we do not drop the ball when we are running downhill the fastest.
We hope that some of what we at the White House have learned can be useful to you, in your field of literal-child safety.
One of the foundations for our efforts to keep the USA public safe has been what's commonly called "media consolidation."
As you all know, here in the U.S., we have a very important concept called Freedom of Speech. This freedom is extremely important to us—for one thing, corporations depend on Freedom of Speech to do their lobbying, which is how they influence government.
We need a different way to restrict information. That way is media consolidation.
For only when there are very few points of ownership are the media really controllable.
One good example is Rupert Murdoch. Murdoch owns News Corp, which owns Fox News and a great number of other outlets, as well over 175 newspapers. He as an individual was strongly pro-War—and as it turns out, every single one of his 175 editors was also very strongly pro-war; that turned out to be a big benefit to us at the White House when it came time to promote the war to the American people.
Another example is ClearChannel, which owns a large majority of USA radio stations. ClearChannel's pro-war leadership sponsored most of the pro-war rallies nationwide through its stations; thanks to this, the TV news could show these pro-war protests rather than only the long-haired, punk-rock, anarchist, free-thinking, happy-go-lucky, hippie anti-war protests.
These examples illustrate why we at the White House have worked to eliminate limits to the maximum number of outlets one corporation can own.
Of course, the giant media complexes—including Disney, there it is! here we are!—are only one half of the way that we've managed to keep information safe.
The other side of this "Informational Safety equation" is the White House itself.
Now you may remember that three or four hours after the Saudi attacks of September 11, 2001, after it was clear that Saudi Arabians such as Osama bin Laden were behind the attacks, Mr. Rumsfeld began trying to figure out how to pin the attacks on Saddam Hussein so as to roust him from power. ♣ The attacks, as Mr. Rumsfeld later said, were clearly a "blessing in disguise" that needed to be exploited.
Now Mr. Hussein was indeed a major danger to American safety.
Right at the start of his reign, in 1973, he had ejected all American and British oil companies from Iraqi soil. Then, also in 1973, he helped lead the OPEC oil embargo that caused such pain for the US. This led to Richard Nixon to draw up plans for military attack against the Middle East—he backed down in part because Iraq was supported by the Soviet Union.
In the intervening years, we sometimes plied Mr. Hussein with various sorts of weapons to be used against religious fanatics, but a lot of us who are now in the White House never lost sight of the impediment he has always presented to our efficient use of Middle Eastern resources.
When the "new Pearl Harbor" that we had long hoped for finally occured, there was only one problem: the 9/11 "Pearl Harbor" had been accomplished not by Saddam Hussein, who we wanted to get rid of, but...
by Saudi Arabians—and the Saudis were our friends!
To get around this problem, Mr. Bush and others simply repeated over and over during important speeches that Saddam Hussein was supporting bin Laden.
Consolidated TV stations immediately picked this up—Fox started reporting as early as September 14, 2001 that Saddam Hussein was responsible for 9/11.
Within a very short time, fully two thirds of the American public safely felt that Saddam Hussein had helped the terrorists accomplish the attacks, and only 7% believed there was "no connection" between Hussein and al Qaeda. Of course there wasn't any such connection, in actual fact—but only we and another 7% knew that, and 7% didn't matter.
Another glitch we had to overcome was the CIA. Since the CIA kept saying there was no evidence for Iraqi WMDs, we created our very own White House spy agency, the Office of Special Plans, and staffed it not with real spies—who would have had professional ethics that interfered with their ability to think safely—but with politicians who already knew what they knew. The OSP determined that Saddam Hussein had WMDs, and that's what the media repeated and the American public came to believe.
Other forms of safety enforcement
♣ Mr. Bush, I think we can safely say, has in a great many ways been our safest president ever—of all the presidents, he has imposed the most varied and numerous new forms of safety on all of us.
The media and truth consolidation that enabled the Iraq War to happen are two of the ways that Mr. Bush has vastly surpassed all of his predecessors. But there are many other ways he has done so as well.
♣ Here at home, Mr. Bush has removed regulations threatening our safe utilization of the Middle Eastern resources that we have obtained through so much trouble. We have shelved the misleadingly-named "Clean Air Act," which in fact serves only ♣ to make air pollution more difficult, and we've gotten rid of a wide variety of other environmental regulations as well.
Mr. Bush has also taken many safety measures abroad, such as ♣ restarting the Mininuke program that would enable us to triumph in any conventional or nonconventional battle. ♣ Accompanying the Mininuke measure will also be a series of measures to assure that these new "Mininukes" do not fall into the hands of foreign terrorists, which they otherwise could.
♣ At the more human level, and speaking of terrorists, Mr. Bush has set up a series of camps, such as the one at Guantanamo Bay, that concentrate elements that might possibly end up being dangerous to our safety. These camps do this by operating outside of our framework of law, with its provisions for recourse to lawyers, etc.
♣ Correcting safety-impeding freedoms at home has also been possible via the USA PATRIOT Act, which reasserts the freedom of the FBI to behave as it must in order to assure our safety. In the 1960s, the FBI, under ♣ J. Edgar Hoover, performed extensive wiretapping, sabotage, infiltration, illegal detainings, and even assassinations in order to prevent safeguard us from dangerous elements. In reaction to this, many of the FBI's freedoms were curtailed, freedoms which the USA PATRIOT Act, ♣ instituted by the Justice Dept. under John Ashcroft, has now reinstated.
♣ The USA PATRIOT Act has been used to arrest and detain thousands of Muslims, some for up to 2 years, ♣ and it has also been used to arrest lawyers for Muslim defendants, when their defenses impinge on the safety of everyone else, and to arrest ♣ those who object to necessary safety measures abroad. ♣ The USA PATRIOT Act has also been used to neutralize economic threats—such as by detaining and deporting illegal Haitian immigrants as threats to our economic security. ♣ The Act has also been used to accomplish a wide variety of other security functions.
♣ The USA PATRIOT Act is enforced by the Department of Homeland Security under Tom Ridge. The DHS was recently created to incorporate the FBI, the INS, and several other security agencies, in order to make things work quickly—because as Peter noted, time is of the essence when dealing with danger. ♣ Much as Germany consolidated its security apparatus in the dangerous years leading up to WWII in order to act more quickly, we have followed the same sort of process in creating the Department of Homeland Security out of several disparate agencies.
♣ In the area of surveillance, we have instituted many programs, including the Total Information Awareness program. ♣ The TIA, when it is fully developed, will allow us to obtain great insight into everyone's activities by concentrating information from a wide variety of electronic sources. ♣ The sources that the TIA will use to better understand us will include facial recognition in public places, other biometric identification including iris and voice and fingerprint and gait recognition, financial records such as ATM and credit card usage, DNA collection, automated toll road pass records, airplane flight records, cell phone usage coordinated with location data transmitted by the cell phone, hotel usage, education enrollment records, medical and veterinary records, dental records, home telephone usage, home utility usage, websites surfed, email read, file transfer protocol usage, etc. etc.
♣ Through these and other means, ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣ TIA will make total security very easy. ♣ There will be no need, in the assurance of total safety, for children to report on their parents and schoolmates, nor for citizens to report on each other. Instead, every citizen's electronic footprint will effectively denounce him or her in every way that he or she needs to be denounced to insure the safety of everyone else.
♣ All of this notwithstanding, there are some freedoms that must actually be expanded in order for us all to be safe. One of these is of course the FBI's freedom to investigate and detain—freedoms curtailed after abuses by J. Edgar Hoover in the '50s and '60s, and reinstituted through the USA PATRIOT Act.
Another area of freedom that Mr. Bush has greatly expanded is the freedom of corporations to do business safely. For example, to make sure that corporations have the freedom to do the dirty work of bringing the resources home from Iraq, Mr. Bush has given companies doing work in Iraq judicial immunity from prosecution for any human rights or other abuses. Also, our tort reform packages at home—limits to lawsuit settlements—would give companies here at home the kind of immunity they're enjoying in Iraq.
Summary of safety so far
To make sure that we're on the same page for this very important next point, I'd like to sum up the various forms of safety we've talked about so far. Because shortly, I'm going to have to ask you for your help in making sure these efforts of ours are made permanent
Ah, excuse me, Mike, could you bring me the child?
[Mike brings "child" and rocks "child" gently back and forth.]
Now again, this is the child that is all of us—the political child, all of us citizens.
[Andy prepares the shrink-wrap bag over next]
And again, to assure our safety and freedom is to protect ourselves from all kinds of unsafe influences—including information that can damage our ability to participate in the political process in a safe, appropriate manner.
[Andy opens the shrink-wrap bag; Mike puts child into bag and zips it closed; vacuums it with a vacuum cleaner to create a shrink-wrapped "child"]
This is media consolidation, this is information control. It keeps us safe; it makes sure that only the right information gets in to the child. The USA Patriot Act, TIA, and other measures that keep the child—every person—from hurting us. They keep us safe and free.
[Andy drops baby in the bucket of liquid labelled "porno"]
As you can see, nothing can get through, the child can stay safe from any kind of noxious influence it might encounter.
Of course all that's only one half of the safety equation. We have to keep the child safe, this way; we also must keep ourselves safe from the child.
[Mike puts the "porno" bucket containing the shrink-wrapped "child" into the cage]
The child is now free. This is how we ensure your freedom.
The next step in safety
Now all of these achievements in safety you've seen demonstrated here—all of this—would not have been possible if not for one thing: the election of George Bush.
If George W. Bush had not won the 2000 election, we would not have had the same degree of media concentration—not at all. We might not even have had the USA PATRIOT Act, nor any of the other measures that we have taken to assure our safety. And it is truly scary to think how close we came to not winning the 2000 election.
If Mr. Bush doesn't win in 2004—eight months to the day from today—many of these forms of safety that we have established with great effort are very likely to disappear.
If it were up to Kerry, he would probably take this baby out of the cage.
[Mike takes the baby out of the cage]
If it were up to Kerry, he would take this baby out of the shrinkwrap.
[Mike takes the baby out of the shrinkwrap]
If it were up to Kerry, he would just put this baby right here, where anything could happen to it, and it could do anything.
[Mike puts the baby into the porn bucket]
This baby would no longer be protected, and we would no longer be protected from the baby.
That is why it is essential that we—you and we, together—make certain that Mr. Bush is reelected in 2004. Fortunately, we have a very good chance of doing so, thanks to a certain brand-new technology, and thanks to your help.
[Mike picks the baby up from the bucket, stuffs in the cage, and puts the box labelled "Diebold" over it.]
Now some of you may recognize this. If you don't, you will soon recognize it, because thanks to our efforts, most U.S. voting will take place via one of these machines in the 2004 elections.
Now you may remember that in 2000 we didn't win the popular vote—nor did we win the majority of votes in Florida. It's very clear that had all the votes been counted, Gore would have won the election. But we managed to prevent 80,000 Blacks and 10,000 Jews from voting—almost all of them Democrats—and we managed to keep 170,000 ballots from ever being counted.
But as you remember, there was a tremendous amount of fuss around this—it was not a nice situation; our lawyers had to engage in intimidation of ballot counters, and no one likes doing that.
This time, we have to assure that it'll happen again—but smoothly. How? There are three ways: Machinery, Tabulation, and Voter-Roll Scrubbing.
♣ Machinery. In 2000, a great many of the Florida voting machines, especially in poor areas, broke down and failed to work, or worked slowly, and with such a large turnout in these poor areas, many thousands of poorer people were turned away. Those poor votes were of course mostly Democrat, and unsafe.
In 2004, these new voting machines very often develop bugs and fail to work. Precinct workers who do not like the looks of their voters can simply not reboot their machines when they crash; this can prevent dangerous votes from happening. This is much more likely to happen than the malfunctions of the old machines with their physical moving parts, as any computer programmer can tell you. Also, the data can easily be altered without a trace by anyone with access to each precinct's vote-counting computer.
♣ Tabulation. In 2000, votes could be recounted, as we know. By the end of the harrowing recounting process with all of its "dangling chads" and so on, there were 170,000 votes that were never recounted, but could have been—only the decision of the Supreme Court stopped this danger from happening. Fortunately, the Supreme Court was in its majority Republican—but what a bit of luck that was!
In 2004, to avoid this sort of situation, the votes will not be recountable, because they will be only electronic. There is a proposed bill in Congress to require a paper receipt be given to voters that would enable recounting in the case of dispute or fudging of data, but it has been successfully blocked by Republicans so far.
♣ Voter-roll scrubbing. In 2000, 90,000 voters were removed from the voter rolls here in Florida because their names and addresses partially matched the names and addresses of convicted felons. Almost none of the 90,000 voters that were eliminated were actually felons, but almost all of them were Black, hence more likely to vote Democrat. (If you want to read the whole story of how we did this, you can read the first chapter of this book: The Best Democracy Money Can Buy.)
In 2004, many states are proceeding to "purge" their voter lists just like Florida did—possibly removing as many eligible voters as Florida did.
A summary metaphor
One nice way to think about this change in technologies from 2000 to 2004 is in terms of the change in execution technologies during the French Revolution. ♣ If the election were a beheading—executing the will of the public when that will runs counter to its own safety—then what happened in the Florida election of 2000 was beheading in an extremely clumsy way, with not just one, but a whole series of clumsy executioners—from the President's brother to the Supreme Court—each taking a thwack at the neck of the body politic. (You think the "dangling chad" problem was bad—try on a "dangling head" problem for size! Now that was a real "in your face" problem.)
♣ The voting machine of 2004, on the other hand, is the guillotine: It can happen the same way each time, without a need for a wide variety of operators of varying competencies. The voting machine, like the guillotine, can make the process much more efficient, more reliable, much quicker—and much less noticeable to the victim.
♣ Yes, it's thanks to this plain little box called the voting machine that we in the White House can ensure that George Bush and his White House can continue to ensure the safety of the American "political children"—all of us, in all the ways we have talked about.
But just like the guillotine, the new voting machines do need operators willing to operate them correctly and efficiently, precinct workers willing to go the extra distance to make sure that things go right—for example, when machines in poor or minority neighborhoods stop working, they aren't rebooted very quickly. Also anyone capable of editing Microsoft Access tables will be very useful, they can go in and verify that the votes tallied in any given day are kept safely in the right direction. Anyone at all with access to the vote-counting precinct computer can do this—not just the supervisors, but also the janitors, the machine repairmen, anyone with a key to the building.
Again, this is going to keep us safe and give us the security we need for the next four years—or more.
Remember what's inside this box!