Saturday :: Aug 7, 2004

FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real


by pessimist

The oldest & strongest emotion of mankind is fear.
— H.P. Lovecraft

Nothing is more despicable than respect based on fear.
— Albert Camus (1913-60), French novelist, essayist, playwright, philosopher

Where No Hope Is Left, Is Left No Fear.
- Author: Milton

Everyone believes very easily whatever they fear or desire.
— Jean de La Fontaine (1621-95), French writer, author

Editorial: Terror alerts and politics

What we see depends mainly on what we look for.
— John Lubbock

It turns out that the latest terror alert from the Bush White House and its Department of Homeland Security was based on information that is more than three years old.

How to defeat terrorism? Don't be terrorized. Don't let fear rule your life. Even if you are scared.
- Salman Rushdie

"There is nothing right now that we are hearing that is new," a senior law enforcement official who had been briefed on the alert told the Washington Post. "Why did we go to this alert level?" the official asked.

You can discover what your enemy fears most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.
- Author: Eric Hoffer

Here's a possibility: The Democratic National Convention got Americans looking seriously at President Bush's challenger, Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry. It is appropriate to ask whether the Bush camp, which has an ugly track record of politicizing the war on terror, is not so much frightened by an external threat as it is by an internal political threat.

Fear is only as deep as the mind allows
- Japenese proverb

Power does not corrupt. Fear corrupts, perhaps the fear of a loss of power.
— Joshua 1:9

Pride attaches undue importance to the superiority of one’s status in the eyes of others; And shame is fear of humiliation at one’s inferior status in the estimation of others. When one sets his heart on being highly esteemed & achieves such rating, then he is automatically involved in fear of losing his status.
— Lao-Tzu (6th century B.C.), Legendary Chinese philosopher

George Warmonger Bu$h is in abject terror that he will lose this coming election, one which he desperately needs in order to establish his credentials as a legitimate ruler. Losing will open up the files so meticulously secreted in order to keep the consequences of his actions, and those of many others, from being used against him and his crimial cohorts.

He who fears he will suffer, already suffers from his fear.
— Michel de Montaigne (1553-1592)

But his tools this time around are fewer than they were last time. He doesn't have Passive Al Gore to kick around anymore. This time, the Democrats have genuine warrior John F. Kerry.

Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.
— Henry Ford

The economy for the American work force is in the tank no matter what they say; oil prices set new records daily, and the economic reckoning which is coming soon isn't going to win him any friends among them.

No amount of security is worth the suffering of a life lived chained to a routine that has killed your dreams.
— Kent Nerburn

Where fear is, happiness is not.
— Seneca

And friends is what he is going to desperately need. Despite all the buffoonery concerning the politically-motivated terror alerts, Al Qaeda is still out there - a real threat, if not quite as powerful as Bu$hCo likes to inflate them.

Hate is the consequence of fear; we fear something before we hate it; a child who fears noises becomes a man who hates noise.
— Cyril Connolley (1903-74), English writer, critic

You never conquer a mountain. Mountains can’t be conquered; you conquer yourself – your hopes, your fears.
— Jim Whitaker

The world sits on the sidelines and watches just how much we will take while Iraq falls apart, Taiwan and China get closer to real war, North Korea gets closer to a real missile to toss nukes with, and the dollar is replaced by the Euro as the standard reserve currency.

Fear not your enemies, for they an only kill you; fear not your friends, for they can only betray you. Fear only the indifferent, who permit the killers and betrayers to walk safely on the earth.
- Edward Yashinsky

No president in our history has caused as many international estrangements as Bu$h has through his ill-considered and rash actions, several of which predate 9/11 and might have been forgiven had his post-9/11 actions not been so boorish.

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.
- T.S. Eliot

The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.
— Shirley MacLaine, American actress

But making friends isn't something he's good at, so he resorts to another emotion which causes gathering - fear.

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
— Robert Albert Bloch (b. 1917), American screen writer, "Psycho", "Psycho II"

People react to fear, not love- they don’t teach that in Sunday School, but it’s true.
— Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Italian painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer, scientist

Making people fear - it's in his best interest.

There are two levers for moving men: interest & fear.
— Napolean Bonaparte (1769-1821), French general, Napoleon I of France

By moving people through fear he can prevent reflection.

The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds.
— Lady Nancy Astor (1879-1964), English politician, 1st female member of the British Parliament

And with these numbers, reflection is something he needs to prevent!

Where fear is present, wisdom cannot be.
— Lactantius (260- AD)


Bush's grim poll numbers

You've probably heard that John Kerry didn't get much of a "bounce." These reports miss the important data. Let's look at the numbers.

1. What's changed. Three major media polls have been taken since the convention: ABC News/Washington Post, CBS News/New York Times, and CNN/USA Today.

The game of life is a lot like football. You have to tackle your problems, block your fears & score your points when you get the opportunity.
— Lewis Grizzard

Prior to the convention, Kerry's favorable rating was nine points higher than his unfavorable rating in the ABC poll. Since the convention, this margin has grown to 19 points. Bush's positive margin on the same question is just two points.

Character isn’t inherited. One builds it daily by the way one thinks & acts, thought by thought, action by action. If one lets fear or hate or anger take possession of the mind, they become self-forged chains.
— Helen Gahagan Douglas

In a CBS poll before the convention, the percentage of voters who were uneasy about Kerry's ability to handle an international crisis was 19 points higher than the percentage who were confident in his ability to handle such a crisis. After the convention, that margin of unease has shrunk to 11 points. Bush's negative margin on the same question is 12 points. In the CBS pre-convention poll, voters said by a 51-36 margin that the Democrats did not have a clear plan for the country. After the convention, they say by a 44-40 margin that the Democrats do have a clear plan.

Fear cannot be banished, but it can be calm & without panic; and it can be mitigated by reason & evaluation.
— Vannevar Bush (1890-1974), American electrical engineer, physicist

In a CNN poll before the convention, voters agreed by a 12-point margin that Kerry had "the personality and leadership qualities a president should have." After the convention, the margin is 20—eight points higher than the margin for Bush on the same question. Before the convention, by a 51-43 margin, voters trusted Bush rather than Kerry "to handle the responsibilities of commander-in-chief of the military." Now the candidates are even. Before the convention, more voters trusted Bush than Kerry "to protect U.S. citizens from future acts of terrorism."

Now more voters trust Kerry than trust Bush.

Trust is the antidote for fear. Trust that we will be given everything we need to get through this moment & this day.
— Murphy Tobin

2. Trial heats. Before the convention, Bush led Kerry 48-46 among registered voters in the ABC poll. After the convention, Kerry leads 50-44. In the CBS poll, Kerry turned a 45-42 lead into a 48-43 lead. The CNN/USA poll goes the other way, boosting Bush from a 47-43 deficit to a 48-47 lead. That's counterintuitive, given the pro-Kerry media coverage around the convention. It doesn't square with the CBS or ABC polls. Nor does it square with an American Research Group poll, which bumps Kerry from a 47-44 lead to a 49-45 lead, or a Newsweek poll—taken on the last night of the convention and the night afterward—which bumps Kerry from 47-44 to 49-42. So my guess is that the CNN poll is off the mark.

Look at the numbers for Kerry in these trial heats: 50, 48, 49, 49. Even in the CNN poll, he's got 47. Kerry is that close to making a Bush victory mathematically impossible. And look at Bush's numbers: 44, 43, 45, 42. Even the 48 percent for Bush in the CNN poll is too low, given how few undecided voters show up for the incumbent on Election Day.

Ultimately we know deeply that the other side of every fear is a freedom.
— Marilyn Ferguson (b. 1938), Writer, author

3. Bush's flat line. Look at the data going back to February. Over that period, Bush's top score in the ABC trial heat is 48. In the CBS and ARG polls, it's 46. During that time, Newsweek has repeatedly asked respondents, "Would you like to see George W. Bush re-elected to another term as president, or not?" The percentage saying Bush deserves re-election hasn't risen above 46. The percentage saying he doesn't deserve re-election hasn't fallen below 50. During the same period, Zogby surveys have repeatedly asked voters, "Do you think George W. Bush deserves to be re-elected as president of the United States, or is it time for someone new?" The percentage saying Bush deserves to be re-elected hasn't risen above 45. The percentage saying it's time for someone new hasn't fallen below 51.

To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.
— Bertrand Russell

Bush's job approval rating has been net negative in CBS surveys since April. Over the same period, his approval rating in ABC polls peaked at 51 but has been net negative in five of seven samplings. Even in the CNN poll, Bush's approval rating has been below 50 in four of the five surveys this year, including the latest. And in CBS surveys, the percentage of voters saying that things in the United States are on the wrong track hasn't fallen below 51 percent all year. The percentage saying things are moving in the right direction hasn't risen above 42 percent. In the post-convention CBS poll, 59 percent say we're on the wrong track. Only 36 percent say we're going in the right direction.

Fears are educated into us & can, if we wish, be educated out.
— Karl A. Menninger

4. Locking up support. Given how close Kerry is to 50 percent, Bush can't afford to let Kerry solidify his support. But that's exactly what Kerry is doing. In ABC polls since June, the percentage of Kerry supporters saying there's a good chance they'll change their mind has fallen from 12 to 5 percent. That's two points lower than the percentage of Bush supporters who say the same. In ABC's pre-convention survey, only 72 percent of Kerry's voters supported him strongly. In the post-convention survey, that number has risen to 85—virtually equal to Bush's 86.

We promise according to our hopes & perform according to our fears.
— François Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-80), French writer, moralist

Four years ago, based on numbers less grim than these, I said Bush was toast. Gore had passed Bush, and I thought the numbers couldn't turn around. I was wrong. They could, and they did, and they could again. But this time, Bush is the incumbent. It's hard to imagine what he can say from here on out that's going to change people's minds about him. And it's hard to imagine what he can say about Kerry that he hasn't already said in scores of millions of dollars worth of ads.

Hatred is never anything but fear – if you feared no one, you would hate no one.
— Hugh Downs

At the very least, it's Kerry's race to lose.

Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
— William Jennings Bryant (1860-1925), Writer, essayist, critic

The man who fears no truths has nothing to fear from lies.
— Sir Francis Bacon

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear – not absence of fear.
— Mark Twain


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