October 15, 2004  ·  Granny D

I want to thank Lawrence for letting me participate here. Yes, I’m running for US Senate (http://GrannyD.com) at the age of 94 against a Bush Yes Man and debate coach, Sen. Judd Gregg. I will debate Gregg next week and am nervous about it, though I certainly have the facts on my side, while his major accomplishments are the Iraq War, the deficit, the fact that the largest employer in New Hampshire was Digital Equipment when he began his term (it is now Wal-Mart), and the fact that you could eat the fish in our streams when he began his term, and they now have enough mercury to tell their own temperature! I’m coming from behind, to put it mildly, but some last-minute TV, a little advice from Joe Trippi, and I think I we can make it interesting.

I’m going to post all Gregg’s incredible Senate votes on my website over the next few nights. I can’t believe that someone can vote like that and expect to be reelected! Of course, a lot of things are happening these days that I can’t believe. It feels like a science fiction movie sometimes–so many people hypnotized, bodysnatched or zombified. We aren’t communicating with SO many of them, including people in our own families. We need psychiatrists to help us get through!

Tonight, I’m in San Luis Obispo for a college speech at Cal Poly, and I’m reading Lakoff’s “Don’t Think of an Elephant,” which is helping me understand why facts bounce off Bushites like raindrops off ducks. Some Bush apologists are now circulating Internet messages to the effect that the death rate in Iraq compares reasonably with the murder rate in this city or that. This is their new standard! At least they know they are comparing crimes, something Mr. Bush must smile at when he self-congratulates himself (constantly, I’m sure) for disconnecting from the International Criminal Court.

  • http://rimone.org rimone

    GOOD LUCK! we’re all rooting for you and wish you the best, you certainly deserve it and so does our country.

  • John

    Doris, good luck in the debate. I assume that you’ll hold the senator to be accountable for one of the biggest cases of government payback in history, the recently passed Corporate Tax Relief bill. The issues is the Congress took a WTO requirement to deal with a $5B problem and turned it into a $136B pork dinner for almost all of our representatives in Congress.

    Time to play hardball, Doris! Go get em!

  • Mark

    I do hope you win for the very reason you state on your web site:

    “By running a campaign without the influence of special interests and winning, Granny D will demonstrate that ordinary citizens have the power to reclaim our democracy and build a government that represents our needs and our values. As a Senator, Doris Haddock will put a �No Lobbyists Allowed� sign on her door and give her constituents the representation they deserve.”

    I am not a New Hampshire resident but I will be pulling for you. While serving in the military since 1989, I have often thought about becoming a Senator so that I may serve on the Armed Services Committee and work to make military life better. I would like for most lobbyists to take a hike into the “Forest of Enlightenment” so that they may see all sides of the arguments and understand what harm they may cause.

    The older I get the more I see power get concentrated into the few instead of where it needs to be, in the hands of the many. Is this a reflection of our society? People no longer able to take the time to be informed because they work 14 hour days, the kids are screaming for attention when you get home, you have an hour before you need to get to bed so you can catch 5 hours of sleep before commuting 2 hours one way by train to your job. You have to live so far away from your job because that is only where you can get a job, but housing is so astronomically expensive near your job that you can not afford a single family home, but there are no jobs near where you can actually afford to work. I think of that Pink Floyd song phrase, “I’m comfortably numb.”

  • Danny

    Is there an email address for Lessig? It’s probably too much to hope he’ll see this but there’s something I wanted to bring to his attention, if he hasn’t already seen it.


    I’m sure there’s no explanation needed but the irony of this is just brilliant. Disney gets its come-uppance. I’m trying to spread the word as much as possible as I think this is something definitely worth fighting for.

  • Ed

    Feels like democracy! :-)

  • Lessig

    alas, Disney is right.

  • James Robertson

    If you think that the demise of DEC has anything to do with the senate, you are hopelessly uninformed (in the economic sense) – and god help the nation if you get elected. DEC killed itself through the myopia of Ken Olsen – his “mental snapshot” of the industry was at least 10 years out of date.

  • http://grannyd.com/contribute.php Bill Rehm

    Comment for a few people:

    First, Granny D: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’ve already donated what I could to your campaign and I hope you win, but thanks for standing up in opposition. What kind of country will we have if incumbents run unopposed on either side of the aisle?

    Second: Folks who are saying nice things: If you can afford to, send some love to Granny D at http://grannyd.com/contribute.php (or click my URL link)

    Third, James: I’m a sporadic reader of this blog, but I’ve read it enough to appreciate your intelligence. But you’re either misreading Granny D’s comment or deliberately misinterpreting it. DEC out, Walmart in. Assuredly, Senator Craig didn’t run DEC out of business. But he’s hardly pushed to develop high tech jobs in the aftermath, either.

  • http://bigpatterns.blogspot.com/ J.B. Nicholson-Owens

    When Ralph Nader refuses corporate donations he is ridiculed for being unrealistic. When he runs against an incumbent and competes with a Democrat, he is told to get out of the race because he’ll “spoil” the chance for his Democratic Party pro-war, pro-PATRIOT Act, pro-war resolution competitor.

    I hope this is the turning of a new leaf where political competitors are weighed on their platform and their record (either in office or the public forum), rather than their chances of winning (a circular argument to be sure), or endorsing a duopoly simply because it has entrenched itself.

    Democrats in the Senate have a tendency to cave in on issues that the Left says are important: widespread support for the USA PATRIOT Act, supporting the resolution to make war without Congressional oversight, unanimously confirming Justice Scalia and 11 Democrats voting to confirm Justice Thomas despite the Left’s pro-choice stance. Senate Democrats also voted to pass bills that this blog finds quite wrong: copyright term extension act, 1996 telecommunications act (which, in part, deregulated media as did the FCC in 2003), and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

    Granny D: What is your stance on making ballot access easier and uniform across the country so as to allow more competition for public office?

  • Anonymous

    Seductions of cyberspace
    Wednesday, October 13, 2004

    Seductions of cyberspace

    As the legend goes, on the Internet nobody knows whether a person is a dirty old man trying to seduce teenagers; a gender-swapping woman playing with big boys in a virtual MUD room; or a teenager posing as an expert. As a New Yorker cartoon by Peter Steiner quipped, �On the Internet nobody knows you�re a dog.� At least for sometime, that�s what a California teenager Marcus Arnold had tried to do a few years ago. Probably using his knowledge gained from television programs such Court TV or Judge Judy, and taking advantage of the pseudonymous freedom that a newly started knowledge sharing company AskMe had provided, Marcus turned himself into a legal expert and began to dole out free legal advice. His simple direct non-legalese approach to puzzling legal questions had a great appeal. Soon people began to call him at home seeking his legal advice. But the burden of fakery became too heavy for the fifteen-year-old boy and one day, he said, I am not what you think. Real lawyers poured scorn but the public rallied around him and he continued to give his non-expert common sense expertise on legal matters for sometime. AskMe closed its free Website in 2002 but at its height about 10 million registered visitors posted questions and answers on everything from Armageddon to Zen. The Internet has created a new media environment that not only enables people to communicate, discuss and exchange information, giver and receive feedback, but also provides an interactive collaborative environment in which words can become deeds and speech can become action. Networked computers, the building blocks of the Internet, are much more than mere productivity tools and informatics systems. Unlike the traditional media, they are capable of creating cyber-environment that can be designed to be persuasive, that can motivate people to act and change their social behaviors. Stanford University researchers call this rhetorical concept as Captology, which according to BJ Fogg �focuses on the planned persuasive effects of computer technologies.� (http://captology.stanford.edu). What I am saying is this: It may be the next challenge for software programmers in Kolkata or Bangalore to design virtual environments to motivate people, for example, not to drink and drive, to have healthy sexual behavior, to avoid pregnancy. Professor Lawrence Lessig of Stanford Law School has expounded the view that computer codes have the potential force of law, that programmers could bypass Congress and in a manner speaking take laws into their own hands. But the rhetoric of software design, the persuasive code that entices, builds relationships, arouses and fulfills desires and keeps the users coming back has not been fully explored in areas other than cybersex and virtual reality Internet games like multi-user dungeons (MUDs). There may be fortune in developing codes that persuade the user to change his attitude, behavior and actions. The strength of the Internet is its interactivity, its ability to respond and give instant feedback. Feedback not only regulates the flow of communication but also gives some of the control back to the receiver of the message. Two persons in conversation establish a dynamic relationship to create shared meanings. Human communication is essentially a transaction that takes place effectively if people have or can create a common field of experience. Jehadis, for example, share each other�s mental model of the Islamic Paradise, and for them suicide becomes a door to that mental image of everlasting beauty. Persuasion works through sharing of mental models. The Internet makes it easy to share mental models whether they are of instant entrance to the Paradise through suicide bombing, buying and selling on a virtual platform such, or sharing knowledge as companies like AskMe do. Internet communication can transcend face-to-face communication, can be very persuasive, and in certain circumstances is even more desirable. Lack of face-to-face cues, physical appearance and vocal inflections, which might arouse skepticism (that�s how Marcus Arnold got away with it), are absent in Internet communication especially when it is time delayed (asynchronous) such as in e-mail or question-answer Websites. Selective self-presentation makes it possible for people to open themselves up to others, which they would hesitate to do in face-to-face conversation for fear of contradiction and lack of control. Even in chat rooms and instant messaging, communication can become what one researcher, JB Walther, called as �hyperpersonal,� that�s, socially more desirable than we are likely to experience face-to-face. It allows the play of fantasy partly to compensate for the absence of aural and visual information that gestures and voice create in interpersonal encounters. Fantasy lowers our guards and makes cyberspace so seductively persuasive�and dangerous. So many teenagers go astray in chatrooms because cyberspace lets them assume fake identities and gives them freedom to pretend what they fancy themselves to be. Some of them become victims of conmen and predators, who too assume identities desirable for their teenage victims. The playfulness of virtual environment, an environment of �Be what you want to be,� creates a pleasurable experience, a sensuous flow, in which we feel control of our environment that real life might deny us.
    (ND Batra is Professor of Communications, Norwich University, Vermont.)

  • Kathy Nolan

    I met Granny D in New York on her walk across America to bring attention to the need for campaign finance reform. When I asked her why she was doing the walk, she said that she saw the need, and that she knew she was the right person to do something about it. I’m sure she feels the same way about the Senate race in New Hampshire. I’m not surprised her opponent declined to accept her offer of a game of Scrabble, and despite his experience in debate, he may wish he’d never said yes to that, either! All of us need a Granny D in our lives — I hope the folks in New Hampshire do themselves proud on this one and give her to all of us as a US Senator.

  • http://chiefbullmoose.yahoo.com edromar

    Granny D:

    I tried to send you a message earlier, but I don’t see it here. Maybe they misunderstood my reference to “feisty old broad” as being undignified for the next Senator from New Hampshire. However, I know you would recognize the reference to when you told me that phrase was your favorite of all the parade signs I made for you. But I want everyone else to realize that no slur was intended. I have nothing but the greatest respect for you and your lack of false pretentions.

    I hope you have thought more on my answer to your question you asked when I was in New Hampshire as to what I thought we should do in Iraq. In the short time we had, I could not elaborate beyond telling you that we can do no good by staying. Whatever good we might have done in getting rid of Saddam, was washed away in a tor4rent of bloodshed and rule by surrogate puppets, employees of the CIA and other of our intelligence services. So by now, anything we touch over there is bound to turn to hit the fan.

    That is not to say we should abandon the game, just that we must redesign the roles. We were able to get our intelligence employees to solve problems over there for many years by keeping them quiet. Bush’s boys in Baghdad and Kabul kept the fundamentalists our of Iraq (and disruopted the Iranian theocratic revolution) and threw the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Even today, most Taliban and Afghans do not realize that Osama was working for Poppy Bush, and was distributing Company funds, not his own money, to lead the Mujahadeen against the Soviets.

    Even after Osama went askew (as our Company men all eventually seem to do –Noriega and Madman Insane, for example), We forstered a Commander to form the Northern Alliance who only failed to dislodge the Taliban because he was killed prematurely, our back-up secret pupet, Karzai, is working fairly well in Afghanistan because he had widespread support in Afghanistan prior to being installed as a pupetpt. Not so with our mistaken choice of Chalabi, our puppet who proved thoroughly inadequate–but only because he had not developed a real following in Iraq while he was still our secret agent.

    But there is no way staying in Iraq to try to shore-up our Allowi puppet will help. Only by having him publicly kick us out could he gain the public support to pull his people together. We should be supplying him anything he needed, secretly, but turn our rhetoric against him and his Iraqi gov’t, emphasizing that they are on their own and must live or die as a consequence of their own choices. Nothing like having ALL IRAQI FACTIONS HAVING A COMMON ENEMY (US) WILL WORK SO WELL TO GIVE THEM UNITY. If we are going to mess in other countries’ sovereingties, we better get back to doing it secretly. Our Company had once wor4ked that up to a pretty good science.

    Some may object to my claims that we must publicly abandon Iraq, preferably at the request of their government, and while allowing them to throw us out militarily, on the bull in the china shop theory: we broke it, we own it; we’ve got to fix it. First, Iraq was broke long ago.

    First the Soviets imposed the Baathists, then we imposed Saddam Hussein before he became Madman Insane. But the factionalization pre-existed all that, and they cjhose to bread any unity by taking advantage of one another. We merely knocked the shattered object off the shelf and now try to sweep its disparet pieces into one dust-pile.

    Second, because it was already shattered by years of internecine greed, we don’t own it any more than we would an already broken tea cup we knocked from the shelf.

    Third, we can’t fix it. It has to fix itself. And the only way that can happen is for us to get the heck out, publicly, preferably by being chased out by whatever kind of government they can put together.

    Our problem never was the CIA. It was THE BUSH MAL-ADMINISTRATION’S INTERFERENCE WITH the work of our intelligence and diplomatic services that has screwed everything up.

    On the other hand, I did want to insist at the time I first alluded to the fact that there is no good we can do over there, that as a candidate, you don’t dare be so honest with the American people. It is not that the average citizen can’t understand what really needs to be done, its just that they don’t want to believe that its all our own damn fault we have a war on terrorism growing in danger daily, as Kofi Annan pointed out today. Your voters won’t want to hear the truth that Annan spoke a couple weeks ago, our preemptive war on Iraq was an illegal violation of International Law and the UN Charter, and, since our Senate passed bills affirming our adherence to those diplomatic documents, it was an illegal violation of our own laws!

  • http://www.rebuff.org Reynolds Jones

    Thank you Granny D. We have donated what we can — we are watching your page — on to victory — or at least make him sweat. I think you can win.