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Obama's Peace Prize Lecture
December 10, 2009 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Obama's Nobel Peace Prize lecture
posted by Dumsnill (155 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
I don't agree with everything he said, but I thought it was surprisingly... interesting, considering the circumstances.
posted by Dumsnill at 8:00 AM on December 10, 2009


It's a nice piece of rhetoric, and the sentiment is surely heartfelt but – forgive me for saying this – it seems a little like an undergrad thesis/antithesis/synthesis lit paper: forcing a dichotomy and then reconciling it without really reconciling it.
posted by mr. remy at 8:14 AM on December 10, 2009


Still, we are at war, and I'm responsible for the deployment of thousands of young Americans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill, and some will be killed.

Wow. Imagine Kissinger saying anything remotely close to this.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:16 AM on December 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Yeah, I haven't been 100% thrilled with the job he's done, even though he can't totally be judged on all this stuff at this moment in time.

But Goddamn do I love this man sometimes. And Goddamn am I glad that Bush isn't president anymore. It's like having a bad cough, and when it goes away it's so nice, but then you forget you ever had it - except those moments where you realize how nice it is to breathe normally.
posted by ORthey at 8:20 AM on December 10, 2009 [40 favorites]


it seems a little like an undergrad thesis/antithesis/synthesis lit paper: forcing a dichotomy and then reconciling it without really reconciling it.

It may be undergrad rhetoric (I happen to think its considerably more sophisticated and courageous than that). But after 8 years of kindergarten-level name-calling, that's a huge step up.
posted by googly at 8:21 AM on December 10, 2009 [17 favorites]


The exports of Libya are numerous in amount. One thing they export is corn, or as the Indians call it, "maize". Another famous Indian was "Crazy Horse". In conclusion, Libya is a land of contrast. Thank you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:22 AM on December 10, 2009 [35 favorites]


Did you use the word "lecture" instead of "speech" self-consciously or by mistake?
posted by Plutor at 8:25 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Is there an audio or video version of this anywhere?
posted by localhuman at 8:31 AM on December 10, 2009


Did you use the word "lecture" instead of "speech" self-consciously or by mistake?

Calling it a lecture seems to be the right wing talking point of the day.
posted by Poolio at 8:32 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Undergrad rhetoric? Maybe, in that it's a back-to-basics restatement of the American ideals that the neo-cons spent 8 years trashing as hard and fast as they could. That's why he got the prize in the first place: because the world liked that old America, and wanted it back.
posted by vibrotronica at 8:37 AM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


even though he can't totally be judged on all this stuff at this moment in time

Which raises the question of why he has been awarded a Peace Prize. President Obama is, essentially, conducting the very same military campaign that Bush lead up until a year ago, albeit one refocused on Afghanistan. Thus, a fair question is whether Obama's notion of "just war" and its justifications can be taken on face value — or not.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:38 AM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


That's because "lecture" implies BOOK LEARNIN'!
posted by brundlefly at 8:40 AM on December 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Which raises the question of why he has been awarded a Peace Prize. President Obama is, essentially, conducting the very same military campaign that Bush lead up until a year ago, albeit one refocused on Afghanistan.

And albeit one where he's leaving Iraq, as opposed to sticking by the position of entrenching ourselves there for God knows how long, and albeit one where's expressed a willingness to talk to people like Ahmedinajad and Chavez, as opposed to using verbal barbs and sabre rattling in their general direction, and albeit one where he no considers allied support an afterthought but an essential piece of foreign policy. Small differences, you know.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:43 AM on December 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


Did you use the word "lecture" instead of "speech" self-consciously or by mistake?

Calling it a lecture seems to be the right wing talking point of the day.


With the Nobels (not just the Peace Prize) it's traditionally called a lecture, not a speech.
posted by aswego at 8:45 AM on December 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


... where he no longer considers allied support ...
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 8:46 AM on December 10, 2009


Which raises the question of why he has been awarded a Peace Prize. President Obama is, essentially, conducting the very same military campaign that Bush lead up until a year ago, albeit one refocused on Afghanistan. Thus, a fair question is whether Obama's notion of "just war" and its justifications can be taken on face value — or not.

Face value? What other reason could there be? The dude has from the beginning of his appearance on the national scene said the same damn thing over and over again--Afghanistan was a just war, Iraq a war of choice (and therefore wrong). He supported Afghanistan, and was against Iraq. Not sure how that could be percieved as being anything but straight up from the beginning.

I can understand, however, how after the last President, people might be confused. But for people to act like this is a sudden change of course for him requires a suspension of disbelief.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:47 AM on December 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


That's because "lecture" implies BOOK LEARNIN'!

No, it's because Nobel laureates give lectures. Everything is not a piece of the vast conspiracy to discredit Obama.
posted by otio at 8:50 AM on December 10, 2009 [13 favorites]


President Obama is, essentially, conducting the very same military campaign that Bush lead up until a year ago, albeit one refocused on Afghanistan.

That's accepting Bush's logic, not Obama's. Bush argued that Iraq and Afghanistan were the same. Apparently people now thing Bush was telling the truth?

Bush's positions (and those who are shocked! shocked I tell you! at these developments) ignore the basis for the Afghanistan campaign--The Taliban paid, supported, housed, assisted and helped with the attacks on 9/11, support that was critical to the success of the operation. And they did it because they agreed with al Qaeda and because Al Qaeda helped them in their civil war at home, including killing the Taliban's greatest enemy and Afghanistan's greatest anti-Soviet fighter Massoud days before 9/11.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:51 AM on December 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


It's such a relief having an intelligent, responsible adult in charge of the world's only superpower.
posted by daveje at 8:55 AM on December 10, 2009 [9 favorites]


BP: You really think that the moral content of starting war against a random country is "essentially ... the very same" as the moral content of ramping down a war against a country whose government was responsible for attacking those who declared war?

There is a difference between Iraq and Afghanistan, and there is a difference between starting a war and ending it. I believe you may have overlooked the reality of those differences in your post.
posted by jock@law at 8:56 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Your love is like bad rhetoric, and bad rhetoric is what I need.
posted by punkfloyd at 8:58 AM on December 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Small differences, you know.

I don't disagree that President Obama is leading a different and more thoughtful variety of foreign policy than his predecessor. But with respect to Afghanistan, at least, his campaign there is not so much different today from the butcher's bill that Bush left that country with when his term ended, if not escalated considerably.

Maybe there are just wars. Possibly, probably. Is our war on Afghanistan just? I wonder if it can be said that Obama knows what one is, and whether that merits awarding him a Peace Prize.

Also left unsaid in this speech is that America is the world's largest arms dealer. The major reason that just and unjust wars continue in the world is that they are easily equipped with American military technology. This Prize would have been an amazing opportunity for Obama to announce his push for policy to cut off weapons sales outside the US.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:04 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did you use the word "lecture" instead of "speech" self-consciously or by mistake?

By mistake. Sorry.
posted by Dumsnill at 9:06 AM on December 10, 2009


That's accepting Bush's logic, not Obama's

A lot of innocent people are getting killed, regardless whose logic one agrees with.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:09 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


War is peace (prize).
posted by dirigibleman at 9:09 AM on December 10, 2009 [8 favorites]


And right-wing political correctness aside, there's nothing wrong with calling it a lecture.
posted by dirigibleman at 9:10 AM on December 10, 2009


But as others have pointed out, it is traditionally called a lecture, but in the academic sense, not the preachy sense.
posted by Dumsnill at 9:15 AM on December 10, 2009


I think they gave Obama the award because they viewed his actions as a way to rebuild the connections between Europe and American and rebuilding hope in the idea of Global governance and working together.

After the bailouts and the apparent sucking up to Wall Street it's easy to have a cynical view of this: That they are basically promoting the idea of "Peace" as control by global elites. Making the world safe for capitalism and Wall Street, along with The City and the rest of the financial centers around the world. Safe for the elites to remake the whole world as a giant Cash pump.

I don't really think that global governance is a terrible thing, but I don't really see it as something deserving of the Peace Prize either. But that said the prize is supposedly for:
shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.
Which I suppose that kind of activity might qualify.
posted by delmoi at 9:16 AM on December 10, 2009


I wonder whether the Nobel Peace Prize was a gambit to get Obama to de-escalate in Afghanistan. If so, that gambit has failed.
posted by jonp72 at 9:16 AM on December 10, 2009


I wonder whether the Nobel Peace Prize was a gambit to get Obama to de-escalate in Afghanistan.

I doubt it had any such effect or that the people who awarded him the prize would have thought this was plausible. (Although they did display remarkably poor judgment in giving him the prize at all, so who's to say?) It could have actually made him more likely to escalate in Afghanistan. "Hey, even if I do this hawkish thing, I'm still Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama!" Again, though, it seems implausible that the prize would have any effect on US military action in either direction.
posted by Jaltcoh at 9:24 AM on December 10, 2009


otio: "No, it's because Nobel laureates give lectures. Everything is not a piece of the vast conspiracy to discredit Obama."

Never thought it was. I'm just too accustomed to modern conservatives' anti-intellectual rhetoric. I stand corrected!
posted by brundlefly at 9:29 AM on December 10, 2009


It would've been nicer if he had acknowledged that he is now the figurehead over the US military-industrial complex and as such could never be awarded for "peace" until such time as he institutes massive changes in the status quo. Then he would politely decline the award and donate the equivalent amount of forfeited prize money from his personal fortunes to landmine removal and veteran's assistance charities. But, I live in an unreal world.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:29 AM on December 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


From the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize Lecture by Martti Ahtisaari:

"Wars and conflicts are not inevitable. They are caused by human beings. There are always interests that are furthered by war. Therefore those who have power and influence can also stop them."
posted by blucevalo at 9:40 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


It would've been nicer if he had acknowledged that he is now the figurehead over the US military-industrial complex and as such could never be awarded for "peace" until such time as he institutes massive changes in the status quo.

It seems like before the election we had one bar for 'massive change', and now 11 months in we have a much higher bar that we consider 'massive change'. Again, Obama's nuclear policy alone used to qualify for massive change, not anymore. Obama's Iran strategy used to qualify as massive change, not anymore. The Iraq draw-down used to qualify as massive change, but not anymore. MY GOD, how will I ever find it in my heart to vote for this evil man in 2012? Oh yeah, this is the real-world President, and we just had eight years of Bush.
posted by Think_Long at 9:40 AM on December 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Again, Obama's nuclear policy alone used to qualify for massive change, not anymore. Obama's Iran strategy used to qualify as massive change, not anymore. The Iraq draw-down used to qualify as massive change, but not anymore.

Well, we're still making fresh nukes. We're still dropping bombs. The rhetoric and tone has shifted but the bottom line is still the same.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:42 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


This Prize would have been an amazing opportunity for Obama to announce his push for policy to cut off weapons sales outside the US.

I agree. It would have been great for him to say this, or to refuse the award, or to declare that from now on, the US would never wage another war, ever again. But he's a Democrat, and one whose foreign policy has been pretty much a matter of record since his senator days. So I don't get the sense of disappointment or surprise. This response was pretty much what you'd expect. If you want someone more radical in the White House, organize and campaign one in. I'd probably vote for him.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:42 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Or her.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:43 AM on December 10, 2009


Or her.

Or amend the constitution for robot aliens to be eligible.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:44 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


So I don't get the sense of disappointment or surprise.

I'm not surprised. I am a little disappointed, though, in the lack of courage and the lack of imagination. He might look back on this with regret as a missed opportunity for an act of bravery, and one day realize he was someone in a unique position to affect major changes.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:49 AM on December 10, 2009


Just as long as those robots can provide a birth certificate proving they were manufactured on American soil, everyone should be fine with that.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 9:50 AM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Or amend the constitution for robot aliens to be eligible.
posted by jock@law at 9:50 AM on December 10, 2009


manufactured on American soil

or designed by two americans
posted by jock@law at 9:52 AM on December 10, 2009


Maybe there are just wars. Possibly, probably. Is our war on Afghanistan just? I wonder if it can be said that Obama knows what one is, and whether that merits awarding him a Peace Prize.

Let's break this statement down. Your stated position is that you wonder if it can be said that President Obama knows what a just war is?

What reason do you have to believe that President Obama does not know what a just war is? Because he is conducting a war you disagree with?

I'm going to venture a guess that the man has thought more about the Afghanistan war in detail and in general than each and everyone of us has. He has certainly thought about it more than George W. Bush, who had a very easy time of figuring out whether to attack Afghanistan or not.

Let's look at the reported facts:

When the history of the Obama presidency is written, that day with the chart may prove to be a turning point, the moment a young commander in chief set in motion a high-stakes gamble to turn around a losing war. By moving the bell curve to the left, Mr. Obama decided to send 30,000 troops mostly in the next six months and then begin pulling them out a year after that, betting that a quick jolt of extra forces could knock the enemy back on its heels enough for the Afghans to take over the fight.

The three-month review that led to the escalate-then-exit strategy is a case study in decision making in the Obama White House — intense, methodical, rigorous, earnest and at times deeply frustrating for nearly all involved. It was a virtual seminar in Afghanistan and Pakistan, led by a president described by one participant as something “between a college professor and a gentle cross-examiner.”

Mr. Obama peppered advisers with questions and showed an insatiable demand for information, taxing analysts who prepared three dozen intelligence reports for him and Pentagon staff members who churned out thousands of pages of documents.

This account of how the president reached his decision is based on dozens of interviews with participants as well as a review of notes some of them took during Mr. Obama’s 10 meetings with his national security team.


You can disagree with the President's choice. However, all the evidence points to the fact that he has thought this one out over and over again. I personally have no doubt that he has thought this one out far more than his predecessor and probably far more than any politician has thought about the Afghan war.

The idea that he does not know what a just war is has no basis in reality.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:57 AM on December 10, 2009 [23 favorites]


It's such a relief having an intelligent, responsible adult in charge of the world's only superpower.
I favourited this because that's my view too despite having an ultra-leftist critique of the US and its role in the world. Because at a certain level, that latter is just a given of our times, but because you're a democracy it does actually make a difference whether the figurehead on top of the whole shebang is a rational pragmatist or a faith-based incompetent ideologue. That saying about it's a tiny margin of difference but in that tiny margin so many lives are lived.
posted by Abiezer at 9:57 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not surprised. I am a little disappointed, though, in the lack of courage and the lack of imagination. He might look back on this with regret as a missed opportunity for an act of bravery, and one day realize he was someone in a unique position to affect major changes.

What I find stunning is your continued insistence that you know the President's mind. The idea that he lacks courage makes no sense to me. You can disagree with the President's reasoning for military, strategic, moral or other grounds. But to attribute to President Obama a lack of courage and bravery because you disagree with him isn't argument. It is simple character assassination.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:01 AM on December 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


He might look back on this with regret as a missed opportunity for an act of bravery, and one day realize he was someone in a unique position to affect major changes.

Because, you know, an awards ceremony is a much better place to leverage change than the office of the President of the United States, which he has 3-7 years left to serve.
posted by Think_Long at 10:02 AM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


It would have been great for him to say this, or to refuse the award, or to declare that from now on, the US would never wage another war, ever again

Until everyone puts down their arms, I never want the United States to declare that it will never wage another war again. War as a last resort, yes. War only when attacked or in defense of another yes. But to stand aside while others wage war on others for internal political or economic benefit, or for no reason at all would be more of a tragedy than having to go to war. To assume that our mere renunciation of war would make all others truly renounce war is a mistake--one that would cost more lives than it would save.

And yes, I do understand that the cost of holding this true is that fools like Bush will use these beliefs as a way to induce people to go to war when it is wrong. But this is also the price of all democracy. We must always be vigilant for any misuse of the state--that is our duty.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:09 AM on December 10, 2009 [7 favorites]


Iran strategy used to qualify as massive change, not anymore.

Iran has shut the door on that one, not us. They have failed to live up to their agreement to turn over nuclear materials for medical enrichment. They have supressed their own population in an effort to make peace overtures more difficult (and to keep themselves in power). Obama owed it to the world to try and break the deadlock and to treat the Iranian government as an equal who deserved to be talked to and negotiated with. They have failed to live up to that hope, not the President.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:12 AM on December 10, 2009


Ironmouth - yeah, I was using that as an example of something we progressives used to champion as huge change, but it now seems to be lost in the shuffle of "Bush's third term!"
posted by Think_Long at 10:14 AM on December 10, 2009


I think the prize committee had two big legit goals : Put more ideological muscle behind Obama promise to withdraw from Iraq, which the military contractors all oppose. Avoid angering Iran, China, or Russia by not giving the award to their dissidents.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:19 AM on December 10, 2009


Accepting the Nobel Peace Prize and then justifying war felt really bad. I respect his forthrightness in addressing the dichotomy, but I found it cynical. I believe he's doing what must be done in Afghanistan, but I think the speech showed his true ambivalence about it.
posted by theora55 at 10:20 AM on December 10, 2009


But to attribute to President Obama a lack of courage and bravery because you disagree with him isn't argument. It is simple character assassination.

Look, you seem fighty about this, so I'll just say that it doesn't take much courage to give a "war is peace" speech. What was in the transcript is pretty much boilerplate, in that regard. To be brave would be for a leader to go off-script and acknowledge his country's significant role in prolonging and profiting from both sides of a conflict. It's not about my disagreement with his policy, it's that his script just reads as a collection of convenient rationalizations to preserve and indefinitely extend the status quo.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:22 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'll just say that it doesn't take much courage to give a "war is peace" speech.

At one's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize?
posted by Ironmouth at 10:26 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


That saying about it's a tiny margin of difference but in that tiny margin so many lives are lived.

Very true. I had a similar realization around the 2004 election. Kerry wasn't very much different than Bush--just a few degrees back towards the center in his foreign policy approach. But when you're talking US foreign policy those few degrees translate into thousands of fewer dead brown people each year.
posted by Burhanistan at 10:28 AM on December 10, 2009


leader to go off-script and acknowledge his country's significant role in prolonging and profiting from both sides of a conflict.

BP, could you put a citation here? I'm honestly curious about this, because I'm not familiar with Afghanistan being a For Profit war- Iraq, yeah I get that for sure, but Afghanistan?
posted by Think_Long at 10:28 AM on December 10, 2009


To begin with, I believe that all nations -- strong and weak alike -- must adhere to standards that govern the use of force. I -- like any head of state -- reserve the right to act unilaterally if necessary to defend my nation. Nevertheless, I am convinced that adhering to standards, international standards, strengthens those who do, and isolates and weakens those who don't.

This feels like a contradiction to me.
posted by aniola at 10:29 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


At one's acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize?

Honestly, what else could he possibly say? "I drink the blood of my conquests in order to quench my thirst"? "We're shutting down Lockheed Martin when I get back from my tour"?

He's escalating a war and he has to sell it to a crowd that, for reasons that still escape most people, gave him a Peace Prize. Do you understand that his speech is no less deliberately manipulative than the "axis of evil" technique employed by Bush? It may or may not be manipulation to an honorable end, depending on your views about why we're really in Afghanistan, but it's manipulation all the same.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:34 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think what the President is trying to say is this--we are not in a place where we can just drop our weapons and everyone will follow along. The human race is not yet in a position to just stop war forever--indeed he is saying that to unilaterally disarm the United States would create more war than it stops. I think that analysis is exactly right. To refuse to acknowledge this--to just hope beyond hope that if we drop our sword others will suddenly drop theirs is more than unrealistic--it is positively harmful. But he also says that we need to keep on struggling--that we can't just say, sorry, its human nature, so let's go on killing each other.

What he is saying is that like all things worthwhile, to get rid of war is going to be a difficult, long fight that requires effort and stick-to-itiveness and that the urge to stop trying to limit war and the urge to just unilaterally stop fighting are two sides of the same coin--a failure and a refusal to acknowledge the real hard work that is going to be required to make a world at peace.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:38 AM on December 10, 2009 [6 favorites]


This feels like a contradiction to me.

It doesn't seem like a huge contradiction. He's saying, "look, I -- and each head of state -- have the right to declare war if necessary, but we need to do it in a civilized and just manner."

It's decrying terrorism, torture, and abuse of civilians while still acknowledging that war is a reality.
posted by explosion at 10:44 AM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


BP, could you put a citation here? I'm honestly curious about this, because I'm not familiar with Afghanistan being a For Profit war- Iraq, yeah I get that for sure, but Afghanistan?

These are two separate assertions. Sorry about being unclear. I asserted here that the United States is the world's largest arms dealer. As one example of selling to "both sides", the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama sold billions of dollars of arms to India and Pakistan, nuclear powers which have a long-established, violent dispute over their shared borders. I also assert that President Obama is also escalating and prolonging its conflict with Afghanistan, which I think has been reported in the news fairly widely, but I can find a link to confirm that, as well.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:45 AM on December 10, 2009


I...uhh...am kind of done with Obama.
posted by Legomancer at 10:46 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I agree that it's unwise to just drop our weapons, but we should be doing the following:

1) No US arms sales to other countries or private companies. That includes everything from pistols to planes.

2) All arms manufacturers must be non-profits and may not engage in other types of business or have direct legal or financial ties to other non-arms-related businesses.

3) Contractors employed by the US armed forces may not under any circumstances bear arms.

I'd be happy with that. Oh, and ffs agree to the land mine ban.
posted by freecellwizard at 10:47 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you understand that his speech is no less deliberately manipulative than the "axis of evil" technique employed by Bush?

No. I do not "understand" this. You should argue against his policy rather than continuing to attack his "lack of courage" or "bravery" or "manipulation." Because it isn't manipulation in my mind. He is stating the hard truths of our existence. You and I knew the moment Bush gave that speech that it was wrong and manipulative. You and I knew that like these regimes or not, the likelihood that Iraq, North Korea or Iran was going to attack anyone was low, because the world through war or diplomacy had limited the threat those regiemes posed to their neighbors or the US.

But you and I also knew that Afghanistan provided, moral, military, financial and other support to a group of terrorists who, in the single-worst terrorist attack ever, ended a whole bunch of innocent lives and threatened to continue to make such attacks. Their attack was not the first time they had attempted and succeeded to make such an attack and it was highly probable, given the fact that they had done it three times now, that they would continue to use their Afghan base and their relationship with the putative govermnet of Afghanistan, to continue to launch attacks upon innocent people living in our country. The idea that somehow because George Bush said that Iraq and Afghanistan were the same thing makes it true is beyond me. Indeed to acknowledge this is to justify the Iraq war, not delegitimize the Afghan one.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:48 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


I...uhh...am kind of done with Obama.

Then you hand the government to the Republicans.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:49 AM on December 10, 2009


Much like Groucho Marx would never want to join a club that would have him, I think there are a large number of Metafilter users who will never approve of a person who is capable of being elected President of the United States.
posted by explosion at 10:50 AM on December 10, 2009 [18 favorites]


War, in one form or another, appeared with the first man.

I'd have to say that war didn't appear until the SECOND man.
posted by spicynuts at 10:54 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


What he is saying is that like all things worthwhile, to get rid of war is going to be a difficult, long fight that requires effort and stick-to-itiveness and that the urge to stop trying to limit war and the urge to just unilaterally stop fighting are two sides of the same coin--a failure and a refusal to acknowledge the real hard work that is going to be required to make a world at peace.

Parts of this sound almost identical, word for word, as what former President Bush and pretty much every world leader before them both has said when speaking about war. "We'll be deliberate", "we can't change the course", "we must never give in, we must persevere to conquer", etc. This is boilerplate, the stuffing of every speech from caesars to kings and onwards.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:55 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth: "Then you hand the government to the Republicans."

If the only argument the Democratic Party can give me to vote for them is that something terrible will happen to me if I don't [and at this point, it is], they're nothing more than a protection racket and can kindly go to hell.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:01 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Anyone who actually supports our continued presence in Afghanistan needs to enlist. Anything less is just more armchair militarism.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:05 AM on December 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


Arrgh. So tired. Chat bots could hash out these arguments with less repetition. On to the next theological debate, please.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:05 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth: "Then you hand the government to the Republicans."

If the only argument the Democratic Party can give me to vote for them is that something terrible will happen to me if I don't [and at this point, it is], they're nothing more than a protection racket and can kindly go to hell.


Democracy is hard. It turns out that there are no parties "just" for us. We have to compromise with others to get what we want done. It means that we have to vote for people who want to do things we don't want to do, especially if our views are different than many of the people out there.

But I think we've all seen that indeed, terrible things do happen if Republicans are elected. War, recession, downfall. These are the people who are for white christian dominance of our lives and wars of choice that kill thousands. The fact that it is going to take Obama some time to fix things and that these are actual difficult problems with no easy solutions are apparently an issue for many people here. But the man has been handled probably the most difficult situation of any president since Lincoln upon entering office.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:08 AM on December 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


I think Pres. Obama made his argument pretty well:

But we do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that the human condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reach for those ideals that will make it a better place. The non-violence practiced by men like Gandhi and King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love that they preached -- their fundamental faith in human progress -- that must always be the North Star that guides us on our journey.

For if we lose that faith -- if we dismiss it as silly or naïve; if we divorce it from the decisions that we make on issues of war and peace -- then we lose what's best about humanity. We lose our sense of possibility. We lose our moral compass.


Somewhere today, in the here and now, in the world as it is, a soldier sees he's outgunned, but stands firm to keep the peace. Somewhere today, in this world, a young protestor awaits the brutality of her government, but has the courage to march on. Somewhere today, a mother facing punishing poverty still takes the time to teach her child, scrapes together what few coins she has to send that child to school -- because she believes that a cruel world still has a place for that child's dreams.

Let us live by their example. We can acknowledge that oppression will always be with us, and still strive for justice. We can admit the intractability of deprivation, and still strive for dignity. Clear-eyed, we can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace. We can do that -- for that is the story of human progress; that's the hope of all the world; and at this moment of challenge, that must be our work here on Earth.

posted by jabberjaw at 11:08 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


My friend Jack's going to Afghanistan soon. I think he's an officer now, so hopefully he's safer than during his previous tour in Iraq. Believe me, if he gets killed, I'm going to be pissed. Just like I'm pissed about every civilian life lost in this piece of crap war. But I'm not going to be pissed at Obama.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:09 AM on December 10, 2009


I have rhetoric fatigue.

Bush compromised so many programs and made radical changes to our institutions without once uttering a coherent sentence.

I don't think McCain or Clinton would be faring any better, or doing much different, with all the crises of the past year, so I don't regret my vote for Obama at all. And yet I still want to see the brilliance of his speeches matched by brilliance in implementation of his policies.

The Iraq war is not over. Our allies in Afghanistan are corrupt. Right-wing nationalism is still strong in Israel, Egypt, Iran, and Palestine. None of us know what will happen tomorrow.

A could use a return of "speak softly and carry a big stick."
posted by kanewai at 11:09 AM on December 10, 2009


And I forgot to add: Using remote drones to bomb civilian targets is still unethical by most standards.
posted by kanewai at 11:12 AM on December 10, 2009


War, recession, downfall.

I can see absolutely nothing in Obama's policies that are correcting these problems. It is no exaggeration to say that he has given the Pentagon and Wall Street, the two most destructive forces to American long-term stability, pretty much everything they want.

take Obama some time to fix things and that these are actual difficult problems with no easy solutions

I'm not impatient or naive, but I also feel like Obama is all sizzle no steak: his model is Clintonism, and he seems to think we can return to that era. But it is precisely b/c of the problems we inherited from Bush that we need less "OMG Obama inherited a mess" apologetics and more actual changes.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:15 AM on December 10, 2009 [5 favorites]


How Obama's military strategy differs from Bush:

1. A timetable for withdrawal
2. Based on actual military intelligence, rather than stovepiped non-intelligence that is never vetted and acted directly upon because it supports a policy that self-deluded partisans prefer
3. Not a massive tax handout to cronies
4. Not attacking an unrelated country against whom he has a personal grudge
5. Based on providing the amount of troops experts say is required, rather than trying to win it all by the air and use minimal ground trooops

I'm sure there are other differences, but just these would so dramatically differ Obama's approach to war from Bush's as to be worth mentioning, for those who would argue that the Obama presidency is just a continuation of Bush's policies.

Also, people keep conparing this with past wars in Afghanistan. I'd like to point out some differences:

The Anglo-Afghan war: The United Kingdom was initially successful in its invasion of Afghanistan, with 21,000 troops. They got into trouble when they tried to remain on as an occupying army. Additionally, in the first war, the English made a major tactical mistake, stationing themselves in a cantonment that was difficult to defend. Again, in the second Anglo-Afghan war, the initial British invasion was successful, and the British withdrew after a treaty that protected their interests there -- a treaty that lasted almost 40 years.

Additionally, you have to remember in all this that Afghanistan was seen as a pawn in the Great Game between the UK and Russia, and the British worried about Afghanistan as a threat to British control in India. The third Anglo-Afghan was the result of this -- with the death of Amir Abdurrahman, who honored the treaty, control of the country fell to his son, who alternately sided with Britain and the Russia, depending on who paid him more. Neither the Afghanistanis nor the British were really ready for a third war -- the British, in particular, were still recoving from WWII. As a result, the British were udnerstaffed and undersupplied -- in the attack on Stonehenge Ridge, they actually ran out of ammo. The British also suffered massive defections from Khyber. Nonetheless, thanks to British airpower, the third war was, ostensibly, a tactical victory for the British: The Afhgani rebels were repulsed. However, it was a costly one for the British.

Now let's talk about the Soviets:

The Soviets entered what was functionally a civil war between the Communist PDPA and the mujahideen, at the request of the PDPA. So a huge factor in this war is that the United States was arming and training the anticommunist forces in Afghanistan; in fact, we had been arming and training them six months before the Soviets sent troops. The resault was a protracted occupation that was greatly complicated by the fact that the forces that opposed the occupation were alarmingly well funded, trained, and supplied. Nonetheless, the Soviet's influence did manage to stabilize the government, even after they withdrew, until internal betrayals in the PDPA caused it to collapse and allowed the US funded Taliban to take control. It's also worth pointing out what the mujahideen and Taliban dismantled when they took control: a growing economy, national health care, and a national education and law enforcement system.

This is a thumbnail history, and of course the details are considerably more complicated, but it's a lot more than the popular conception of the Afhganis as being some miraculous desert people who nobody can control. The truth is they have tended to be pawns in international gamesmanship, they struggle with a great deal of internal conflict. Additionally, decisive victories have been won against the Afghanis, rather easily and with relatively few forces, when they are not being backed by one of the world's two largest and most powerful militaries. And there is a history of these victories than leading to periods of relative calm and growth.

I'm fine with disagreeing with Obama's plans for Afghanistan. I don't know how I feel about it. But if it's based on the idea that Obama is somehow exactly like Bush, or that this war is precidely like the ones fought by the British or by the Russians -- well, that's not a reasoned or educated argument, and I am not sure where the idea came from the the Afghanis are some sort of magic people who cannot be engaged in battle without it being an inevitable loss for the opponents.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:16 AM on December 10, 2009 [24 favorites]


Parts of this sound almost identical, word for word, as what former President Bush and pretty much every world leader before them both has said when speaking about war. "We'll be deliberate", "we can't change the course", "we must never give in, we must persevere to conquer", etc. This is boilerplate, the stuffing of every speech from caesars to kings and onwards.

But Bush was right at that exact moment. he didn't declare war, which is what I wanted, but it was right to go into Afghanistan.

Anyone who actually supports our continued presence in Afghanistan needs to enlist. Anything less is just more armchair militarism.

That's a sorry carnard. If you have an actual argument against the war make it. But to just toss that out without an ounce of support that somehow, continuing to work to halt the Taliban from regaining control of Afghanistan and giving a terrorist group that attacked us four times finanicial, military, moral and operational support again is militarism shows no understanding of the definition of the word.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:16 AM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


More important than the dollar amount of weaponry sold is what's being sold and to whom it's being sold. For example, if we sell 6 Aegis-equipped destroyers to Taiwan for $5 billion, and Russia sells 100,000 $200 AK-47s to a conflict zone, there are two totally different outcomes.
posted by electroboy at 11:18 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


If the only argument [they] can give me [that they're a good idea] is that something terrible will happen to me if I don't [then] they're nothing more than a protection racket and can kindly go to hell

- Medical insurance
- Routine medical care
- Eating healthy
- Exercise
- Brushing your teeth
- Using condoms
- Deterrent criminal justice
- Breathing

I think you may need to rethink your definition of a "protection racket."
posted by jock@law at 11:20 AM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


I can see absolutely nothing in Obama's policies that are correcting these problems. It is no exaggeration to say that he has given the Pentagon and Wall Street, the two most destructive forces to American long-term stability, pretty much everything they want.

Really? What has he given Wall Street? He's going to pass financial reform, but uh, he's sort of working to pass something else right now. Its called health care reform. Nobody has ever done it. He is a few days away from making it a reality. He's pulling out of Iraq as fast as he can. The only reason Bush did is because he was forced to by the pressure of the Democrats, who were fast gaining power.

I'm amazed by the absolute insistence by some for total change on all fronts immediately. As if it could be done. As if it should be done immedately.

My issues with Obama are different. He's not appointing people fast enough and it is hurting the operations of the government in general.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:21 AM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


More important than the dollar amount of weaponry sold is what's being sold and to whom it's being sold. For example, if we sell 6 Aegis-equipped destroyers to Taiwan for $5 billion, and Russia sells 100,000 $200 AK-47s to a conflict zone, there are two totally different outcomes.

Yep, the AK-47s sold are likely to contribute to many, many more deaths--especially civillian deaths--than the 6 Aegis-equipped destroyers, which will sail around Taiwan a lot but never fire a shot. Ever.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:23 AM on December 10, 2009


That's a sorry carnard.

Canard, not carnard. And of course you think that: b/c supporting the war demands nothing of you personally, so you can continue to think of yourself as some savvy chess player. If we re-instated the draft, which we should, it would force the hand of the administration and make them think twice about continuing what is now eight years of engagement in Afghanistan.

continuing to work to halt the Taliban

We're literally paying the Taliban to keep from blowing up our supply routes. Our presence in the region acts like a lightning rod for extremists, and gives the wartime economy there all its muscle: there is no economic incentive or other reason for anyone to make peace so long as we're there.

giving a terrorist group

Now there's a canard. A global shadow army about which we know next to nothing, and that is capable of having cells anywhere on earth (Germany, Egypt, you name it), is best dealt with by a military occupation? Cumbersome, large scale and long term military occupations are the worst way to combat this threat, and are demonstrably counterproductive in that regard. Targeted police operations make more sense. Terrorism cannot be defeated militarily, and the fact that anyone after eight years of this nonsense thinks so is really disconcerting.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:30 AM on December 10, 2009


With the Nobels (not just the Peace Prize) it's traditionally called a lecture, not a speech.

Yep.

Nobel Lectures ("You will find links to the Nobel Lectures from the respective pages of the Nobel Laureates.").
posted by ericb at 11:42 AM on December 10, 2009


Now there's a canard. A global shadow army about which we know next to nothing, and that is capable of having cells anywhere on earth (Germany, Egypt, you name it), is best dealt with by a military occupation? Cumbersome, large scale and long term military occupations are the worst way to combat this threat, and are demonstrably counterproductive in that regard. Targeted police operations make more sense. Terrorism cannot be defeated militarily, and the fact that anyone after eight years of this nonsense thinks so is really disconcerting.

My spelling aside, what is your solution? If we do nothing, my estimation is that the Taliban will come right back. It sure seems that way. Now one could argue that if we had just left right away that wouldn't have happened--I don't agree. But that isn't the situation that is faced by Obama right now, is it? Nope. We have a resurgent Taliban who, in my estimation, would again provide safe havens for Al Qaeda. What makes me think that? Because they did before and the results are well known.

Having a home base where they can not only train their cells, but plan operations and more importantly train thousands of other terrorists for other organizations (read 9/11 report) is very important to a group like that. They must not be allowed to gain such a base. When they have such a base, we are all less secure.

As for the draft, I fully and wholeheartedly agree. I do believe that the idea of service is given short shrift these days. Just paying for our defense, the defense that protects both you and I and a lot of other people gives some persons the idea that we can just do nothing. If people did serve, they would not have foolish ideas that what we have is free, or that we can just do nothing and let people attack us. The real cost should be shared by all, even those who disagree with specific wars. Consciencious Objection is fine, but if you aren't willling to do that, you ought to pay the piper.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:43 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


But Bush was right at that exact moment. he didn't declare war, which is what I wanted, but it was right to go into Afghanistan.

There may have been a window of moral clarity that we could have used after 9/11 to actually invade Afghanistan, assuming the pretext of eliminating Al Qaeda or otherwise controlling fundamentalist terrorism was the genuine goal. A window of time and purpose opened up, maybe (assuming that we weren't primarily interested in establishing oil pipelines or protecting billions of dollars in opium revenue, and all the associated kickbacks with that).

But we colonized Iraq, instead. The fact that the war effort was focused on invading Iraq to the functional detriment of military operations in Afghanistan puts lie to all claims that we were genuinely motivated to invade that country as a means for dealing with Islamic terrorism or otherwise improving people's lives there.

If President Obama had been in power four years ago, this might have been a different discussion. It might have been easier to argue for military intervention there; we may have still been in that magic window of time. But after eight years of corrupt leadership, of illegal and unjustified colonial expansion into Iraq, after years and years of lies, torture and corruption, perhaps we lost our chance to "get some payback" without people daring to ask some questions.

If we want to talk about reality, Obama had to play the hand he was dealt by Bush: Double-digit unemployment in a country dependent on making and using its instruments of war. Afghanistan spiraling into a corrupt dictatorship. I don't envy him or his job, because I can see why he needs to keep the show going with rousing speeches and gravitas.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:44 AM on December 10, 2009


And of course you think that: b/c supporting the war demands nothing of you personally, so you can continue to think of yourself as some savvy chess player.

Also, please argue against my points instead of making baseless personal attacks regarding what my attitudes, thoughts or reasons for my thoughts are. You know nothing about me other than I disagree with you on this issue. You will convince a scarce few of the rightness of your positions when instead of reasoning with them, you attack your own vision of their motives.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:46 AM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Is the Obama D.O.J. actively condoning Bush-era torture?
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:47 AM on December 10, 2009


But after eight years of corrupt leadership, of illegal and unjustified colonial expansion into Iraq, after years and years of lies, torture and corruption, perhaps we lost our chance to "get some payback" without people daring to ask some questions.

Your argument is with Bush. Obama's trying to clean up the mess.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:48 AM on December 10, 2009


Is the Obama D.O.J. actively condoning Bush-era torture?

The writer of that piece does not know what the contents of the report will be.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:49 AM on December 10, 2009


baseless personal attacks

It's not about you. It's about keeping 19 year old American soldiers from dying in an unjust war. I can't look West Point cadets in the eyes and tell them there's something worth dying for in Afghanistan.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:50 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I can't look West Point cadets in the eyes and tell them there's something worth dying for in Afghanistan.

And that's why you'd never be elected president.
posted by mpbx at 11:51 AM on December 10, 2009


That's a sorry carnard.

No, these are sorry car nards.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:56 AM on December 10, 2009


Your argument is with Bush. Obama's trying to clean up the mess.

Respectfully, perhaps your definition of "clean up" differs from mine, and we may have to leave it at that.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:58 AM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's not about you. It's about keeping 19 year old American soldiers from dying in an unjust war. I can't look West Point cadets in the eyes and tell them there's something worth dying for in Afghanistan.

You attempted to tell me what my motivations were for believing what I believed in. You don't know me. You don't know my motivations. Hence you said:

And of course you think that: b/c supporting the war demands nothing of you personally, so you can continue to think of yourself as some savvy chess player.

Do you get my point now? Argue against my points instead of setting up false straw men regarding my motivations or beliefs, which you know nothing about. Good argumentation starts with being able to distinguish between fantasies about why people think things in your own mind and actual reality.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:00 PM on December 10, 2009


So this is what George Bush would've sounded like if he hadn't let cocaine and booze rot his brain... fascinating.
posted by codacorolla at 12:05 PM on December 10, 2009


I'm not sure we've actually colonized Iraq. Invaded, yes, occupied, yes, but one usually derives some benefit from colonization, whether it's taxes or natural resources. As far as I know, there hasn't been any of that.
posted by electroboy at 12:08 PM on December 10, 2009


And this is a sorry canard.
posted by bitteroldman at 12:09 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


And this is a sorry canard.

d'oh! I did it wrong.
posted by bitteroldman at 12:11 PM on December 10, 2009


also re: Torture.

I disagree with Obama and agree with Obama's policy. I believe that he is making a big mistake in saying that he will not go after the individuals who relied on advice and committed acts of torture. People should have refused. This focus on Yoo and Bybee is ridiculous. I can see saying Bybee isn't cut out for a federal judgeship, but as I actual practice in the area of Bivens law, there is simply no basis in US law to sue a government official for giving advice bad or otherwise, I disagree wholeheartedly with Yoo's analysis. But he is not the commnander. Yoo is not giving the orders. Those who gave the actual orders to commit specific acts of torture should be legally punished. For reasons of overall constitutional circumstance, I do not believe that Bush and Cheney should personally be prosecuted. But anyone below them from Rove on down should be. The purpose is to create an atmosphere of deterrence. If another Bush comes along and orders such actions, there should be mass resignations. It is the purpose of the law to deter.

I understand my position is complex and nuanced, but it is well-grounded in the law of Bivens and section 1983.

I do believe that persons such as Glenn Greenwald have done a great disservice, however, in equating the litigation decisions of individual lawyers for the DOJ with the Justice Department. I have some familiarity with the way these decisions are made and there is no basis for this. Greenwald was great when Bush was in there, but from the beginning, even during Bush's time, he was wrong in focusing on individual litigation decisions as state policy.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:12 PM on December 10, 2009


Columnist Fred Kaplan over at Slate: "Obama took a harder, subtler path, using the occasion to outline nothing less than a vision of moral realism for the conduct of war and peace in the modern era—as clear and complex a statement on the subject as any American president has delivered in nearly a half-century."
posted by GameDesignerBen at 12:14 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Ezra Klein on Obama--

"The first year of the Obama presidency has been a long tutorial on the difference between liberal ends and liberal means. If I told you America has a president determined to pass large amounts of Keynesian stimulus spending (that's particularly concentrated in impoverished areas), a near-universal health-care plan, and a bill addressing climate change, you'd say liberals had recaptured the White House. Ambitious liberals, even.

But though Obama's program is quite liberal, he doesn't seem to care much how it's achieved. A public option would be nice, but if it's not there, then that's fine, too. Full auction of permits is a good idea, but if most get given away to corporations, then that's how it goes. Infrastructure spending is good, but if tax cuts are the price of passage, then tax cuts there shall be. The best description of the administration's ideology probably came from Rahm Emanuel when he said, "The only nonnegotiable principle here is success."

You could imagine a lot of presidents more dogmatically liberal than Obama, but I wonder whether there are a lot of plausible hypotheticals in which they amass more liberal achievements than Obama. At the executive level, it might be the case that being too liberal is a liability to, well, liberalism.


It remains to be seen whether this pragmatic liberalism will be successful enough to justify the comprimises. I hope that eight years (please!) of it will be a good start. I don't think being too liberal is a liability, but I think going for everything at once might be.
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:30 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


I...uhh...am kind of done with Obama.

"Then you hand the government to the Republicans."

If the only argument the Democratic Party can give me to vote for them is that something terrible will happen to me if I don't [...] they're nothing more than a protection racket and can kindly go to hell.



America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They're nothing but hideous space reptiles!

It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us.

He's right, this is a two-party system.

Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate!

Go ahead! Throw your vote away!
posted by CynicalKnight at 12:31 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Every time that Simpsons episode gets evoked in these discussions, I just say to myself, "President Sarah Palin", and the laughter stops.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:33 PM on December 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


America, take a good look at your beloved candidates. They're nothing but hideous space reptiles!

It's true, we are aliens. But what are you going to do about it? It's a two-party system; you have to vote for one of us.

He's right, this is a two-party system.

Well, I believe I'll vote for a third-party candidate!

Go ahead! Throw your vote away!


This would be appropriate if true.

But our candidates are not hideous space reptiles. They are men and women with platforms and programs and ways of looking at things. They represent differing points of view. Neither will represent exactly what any of us, other than the two candidates, want.

but that is democracy--imperfect, not providing everything any one individual wants. But better than any other fucking system every day of the week and on Sundays too.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:39 PM on December 10, 2009


I would have thought the "both parties are the same" argument would have EASILY been destroyed by seeing Bush presidenting for eight years and then imagining what Gore would have done in his stead, but apparently people have no imagination.

And Gore wasn't even that liberal! He ran to the center and all, but come on! He would have invaded GLOBAL WARMING instead of IRAQ!
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:39 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


This would be appropriate if true.

(It was a Simpsons reference)
posted by Burhanistan at 12:40 PM on December 10, 2009


http://blogs.usatoday.com/onpolitics/2009/12/surprise-palin-likes-obamas-nobel-speech.html

You can read the URL and not miss much of the story (thanks USA Today!)
posted by codacorolla at 12:46 PM on December 10, 2009


http://blogs.usatoday.com/onpolitics/2009/12/surprise-palin-likes-obamas-nobel-speech.html

Her response would be funny, if it weren't so tragic.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:49 PM on December 10, 2009


"When I talked to the chairman, I told him that his speech was excellent, and that it almost convinced me that I deserved the award."
posted by Dumsnill at 12:51 PM on December 10, 2009


"The President's use of the word "the" was very interesting and surprising to me. It reminded me a lot of how I used that same word in my BESTSELLING BOOK, GOING ROGUE! (tm) I'm personally very close to the war in Afghanistan because it's right next to Russia, and my two sons Track and Field were both there shootin' some Al-Queders from a helicopter. You damn right betcha."
posted by haveanicesummer at 12:57 PM on December 10, 2009


Kucinich plans to force vote on US withdrawal from Afghanistan
posted by homunculus at 1:01 PM on December 10, 2009


Kucinich plans to force vote on US withdrawal from Afghanistan
posted by homunculus


Sigh. I wish the go-to guy on the left was someone better than Kucinich.
posted by haveanicesummer at 1:06 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Sigh. I wish the go-to guy on the left was someone better than Kucinich.

Kucinich is a magical elf - you can't get any better than that. The problem is that he's alone in a cave full of troglodytes and he doesn't have his Wand of Lightning Bolt.
posted by cimbrog at 1:25 PM on December 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


The best description of the administration's ideology probably came from Rahm Emanuel when he said, "The only nonnegotiable principle here is success."

The problem is that they appear to have defined success as "passing legislation, any legislation at all" rather than "getting what we want".
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:45 PM on December 10, 2009


[An extraterrestrial robot and spaceship has just landed on earth. The robot steps out of the spaceship...]
"I come in peace," it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, "take me to your Lizard."

Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the nonstop frenetic news reports on television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "nothing so simple. Nothing anything like to straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did," said Ford. "It is."

"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"

"What?"

"I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"

"I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."

Ford shrugged again.

"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."
posted by Sebmojo at 1:52 PM on December 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


The people who are "tiring of Obama" are getting tiresome, themselves.

Did anyone think a year ago that in just one year he would:

1) totally take us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, no matter the consequences

2) that we would easily pass every reform imaginable (health care, bank, tax, etc.)

3) the economy would be awesome, adding 10 million jobs a day, growing at 20% with -28% unemployment

4) reverse the years and years and years of neglect to our infrastructure, educational system, and personal moral values?

It takes a lot of time and effort to bring the U.S. from the brink of a Great Depression, wind down a war (Iraq), find a way to not totally screw up the other, and also pass sweeping legislation to fix some of the fundamental problems with the U.S.

So yeah, I have a few things that I wish he would do with the stroke of his pen (get rid of don't ask don't tell, really-for-real end torture, etc.), but dudes, give the guy some time. Look back in 2012 and see if we are much better off than the previous eight.
posted by imneuromancer at 1:54 PM on December 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Or amend the constitution for robot aliens to be eligible.

Another Schwarzenegger for Pres flunkie, eh??
posted by stenseng at 2:00 PM on December 10, 2009


Kills me to agree with Sarah Palin on anything to the slightest degree but

I am continually amazed at Obama's ability to talk about extraordinarily difficult subjects, for example race, with nuance, intelligence, and perception. Moreover, the great speeches he gives, while short on catch phrases and sound bites, continue to resonate with me much later. He is that extraordinarily rare person in politics, someone who thinks. Well.

I think this is another great speech, on another very difficult topic. I especially liked:

We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend. And we honor -- we honor those ideals by upholding them not when it's easy, but when it is hard.,

I don't know if the Afghanistan surge will work, though I share Ironmouth's views about the rights and wrongs of our engagement there. What I do know is that our President is acting from worthy motives, doing the best that he can with the information he has, in an effort to uphold our best ideals.
posted by bearwife at 2:04 PM on December 10, 2009 [2 favorites]


Another Schwarzenegger for Pres flunkie, eh??

It's not okay to call people names on Metafilter, and I think my joke went over your head. Do you know any other real-life executive-branch government people who are both (a) robots and (b) aliens? I don't think Jennifer Granholm has ever been a robot, in the movies or otherwise.
posted by jock@law at 2:19 PM on December 10, 2009


"Hello. I am not Bush. Thank you very much."
posted by qvantamon at 2:20 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


“Sorry about being unclear. I asserted here that the United States is the world's largest arms dealer. As one example of selling to "both sides", the United States under Presidents Bush and Obama sold billions of dollars of arms to India and Pakistan, nuclear powers which have a long-established, violent dispute over their shared borders.”

Can we assume there are interests within the United States that are at odds with any president’s/party’s/ etc. policies?
Can we further assume that some of these interests are powerful and well heeled?
What then should he do short of urging change and depending on congress (who are heavily influenced by many different powerful interests) to change the law? Seems to me that he is urging change and trying to get laws passed.

“ I also assert that President Obama is also escalating and prolonging its conflict with Afghanistan.”
Unless he does an about face on the time table, that’s completely wrong.

“1) No US arms sales to other countries or private companies. That includes everything from pistols to planes.”
Ah, so we’re going to completely socialize the arms industry. Good luck with getting that passed. Or did we just want to Gestapo in to their offices and kick over their tea wagons?

“2) All arms manufacturers must be non-profits and may not engage in other types of business or have direct legal or financial ties to other non-arms-related businesses.”
As sympathetic as I am to that, business law is pretty clear on this right now.

“3) Contractors employed by the US armed forces may not under any circumstances bear arms.”
Again, that’d be swell. But it’s going to have to be an incremental change. You can’t just go and knock over several key nodes in a complex and interdependent structure. You want to knock a building over downtown, maybe stop traffic for a minute. And yeah, maybe get the people out of it? Move some desks maybe first?

Any ban on land mines is going to be about as useful as the ban on crossbows was. Again, I’m not unsympathetic. But it seems like people get a passionate blind idealist fighting in vain for some lost cause, he blows it completely, they give that guy poetry and flowers. People get a pragmatist making tough compromises to actually move things forward towards the same goal – he’s a bastard.

“Anyone who actually supports our continued presence in Afghanistan needs to enlist. Anything less is just more armchair militarism.”
Good luck in the peace corps … no?

“A global shadow army about which we know next to nothing, and that is capable of having cells anywhere on earth (Germany, Egypt, you name it), is best dealt with by a military occupation?”
True. But the Taliban is dangerous. And what’s needed is not what we’re going to get. What we’re going to get, at best, is a more stable Afghanistan where the Base isn’t going to get a safe haven. As a result, hopefully, this will limit the Pakistani Taliban’s mobility and ability to fight at their leisure.
Best case scenario really. Given we’re ducking out. Which, really, we should given the bigger picture.

One of the few reasons I supported the Iraq war initially is not that Hussein would use the WMDs on us, but that he would use it to lock up the oil fields – his as well as others – that is, target resources to affect world affairs and use that as a chokehold.
(Let’s not kid ourselves, this is a guy who lit the oilfields on fire on his way out – this was his M.O. all the way)
It goes without saying I think we should be in alternative energy sources as a matter of course. And of course, it goes without saying - he did not have WMDs so any genuine interest or legitimacy we may have had goes out the window with any speculation what he might have done or what it might have meant strategically.

But, WMDs aside, it’s the same thing here except in reverse. The longer we spend expending resources in the field and not stabilizing our economy and paying attention to domestic affairs the more vulnerable we are to manipulation by foreign interests. Happened to the Romans a number of times (they pounded the crap out of Carthage, and it was, in the end, what 50,000 people?) and many other empires and governments.

It’s not just the Ben Franklin security/freedom thing, there’s a genuine military necessity for an ample supply chain and production ability. You need a healthy treasury as well as military ability in order to protect your interests.
As it is, we’re overextended. Mostly due to Bush. But our foreign policy has been leading us that direction anyway.

So either we split, or we get locked into a sort of death spiral where we can’t have discretionary wars in order to protect our interests or assert our foreign policy objectives – but we have to use straight military projection in order to get anything at all done because we don’t have any influence.

In poker – it’s where you pretty much have to go all in every hand no matter what your cards are because you have the least money on the table. You have no choice.
So we can stay or leave if we wish – now. But 20 years from now because we stayed, we don’t have options anymore.

Should we have gone in – yes, for the reasons and to achieve the objectives I outlined above. But there’s been a lot of wasted time and resources and none of that is Obama’s fault. And I’d be surprised if he wasn’t aware of all this. He strikes me as more butter than guns however hawkish he might be regarding any engagement. The forces arrayed against and around him - different story.
posted by Smedleyman at 2:23 PM on December 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


"I'm sure he has thought long and hard about invading Russia in winter. I mean he's so much better than the last guy that tried that."
posted by blue_beetle at 2:43 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do you know any other real-life executive-branch government people who are both (a) robots and (b) aliens?

I HAVE IT ON GOOD AUTHORITY THAT HENRY KISSINGER IS ACTUALLY A ROBUT ORIGINALLY ASSEMBLED BY WERNHER VON BRAUN TO TEST-PILOT PROTOTYPES OF A MANNED A-4.

ON GOOD AUTHORITY.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:45 PM on December 10, 2009


Oblahblahblahma.
posted by turgid dahlia at 3:09 PM on December 10, 2009


"I'm sure he has thought long and hard about invading Russia in winter. I mean he's so much better than the last guy that tried that."

Not to get all pedantic on you, but what are we talking about in terms of real historical analogy? Leaving aside the multi year Mongol invasion beginning in 1223, the two most recent invaders of Russia in winter are Napoleon and Hitler.

I'm hard pressed to see any way to say Hitler was better than Napoleon, much less any intelligent way to say Obama resembles either of them.
posted by bearwife at 3:14 PM on December 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Merely having a president now who does not just do the first thing that comes into his head, thereby committing untold numbers of human lives and sums of money on a whim, is a big plus.
posted by Danf at 3:20 PM on December 10, 2009


"Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, distinguished members of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, citizens of America, and citizens of the world:"


Wow. Best thing I have ever seen precede a colon.
posted by tehloki at 3:42 PM on December 10, 2009


Wow. Best thing I have ever seen precede a colon.

So... not a big fan of goatse, I assume...
posted by qvantamon at 4:03 PM on December 10, 2009 [3 favorites]


Calling the Norwegian royal families a bunch of assholes doesn't help your point, tehloki.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 4:08 PM on December 10, 2009


Oh cåntraiaire!
posted by Dumsnill at 4:22 PM on December 10, 2009


http://www1.nrk.no/nett-tv/indeks/194026

That's a link to the Norwegian State channel's video of Obama's speech. Perhaps the mods could insert it into the FPP?
posted by flippant at 4:28 PM on December 10, 2009


I wanted to include a full video of the speech/lecture from NRK in the OP, but the problems are (it seemed to me): You need windows media player, flash player, and you have to turn off your ad-blocker.

I think people would be unhappy with this. (I know I am.)
posted by Dumsnill at 4:46 PM on December 10, 2009


the US would never wage another war, ever again

The Constitution says something about how Congress has to have a Decleration of War for it to be a war. Hence Vietnam was 'a police action'.

So in some sense the US hasn't been at war from the 1940's.

The dude has from the beginning of his appearance on the national scene said the same damn thing over and over again--Afghanistan was a just war, Iraq a war of choice (and therefore wrong). He supported Afghanistan, and was against Iraq. Not sure how that could be percieved as being anything but straight up from the beginning.

Then the actor in the 15 second video from Oct 27th is doing a fine job.

"I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank. "

Or perhaps that really IS Obama and the banking crisis is why that promise can't be taken to the bank.

(I'm betting the 1st thing he did was go to a bunch of parties. Then he signed a bunch of executive orders - the ones that every President seems to sign. So getting the troops home wasn't going to be the first thing done.)
posted by rough ashlar at 4:49 PM on December 10, 2009


The dude has from the beginning of his appearance on the national scene said the same damn thing over and over again--Afghanistan was a just war, Iraq a war of choice (and therefore wrong). He supported Afghanistan, and was against Iraq. Not sure how that could be percieved as being anything but straight up from the beginning.

Then the actor in the 15 second video from Oct 27th is doing a fine job.

"I will promise you this, that if we have not gotten our troops out by the time I am president, it is the first thing I will do. I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank. "

Or perhaps that really IS Obama and the banking crisis is why that promise can't be taken to the bank.

(I'm betting the 1st thing he did was go to a bunch of parties. Then he signed a bunch of executive orders - the ones that every President seems to sign. So getting the troops home wasn't going to be the first thing done.)


The only person being disingenous here is you. He's referring to the Iraq war and you know it. Did you really think we would not notice?

Here are the facts:

Quote: Obama on Afghanistan
Posted on Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

By campaign2008

“It’s time to heed the call from General McKiernan and others for more troops. That’s why I’d send at least two or three additional combat brigades to Afghanistan. We also need more training for Afghan Security forces, more non-military assistance to help Afghans develop alternatives to poppy farming, more safeguards to prevent corruption, and a new effort to crack down on cross-border terrorism. Only a comprehensive strategy that prioritizes Afghanistan and the fight against al Qaeda will succeed, and that’s the change I’ll bring to the White House.”

–Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL), in a speech Wednesday in Richmond, Virginia on national security policy.


Nice try.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:02 PM on December 10, 2009


More:

That has returned Afghanistan to the center of the presidential campaign. Obama, the presumptive Democratic nominee, and McCain, his Republican counterpart, both recently outlined their visions for solving the crisis.

If elected, Obama says, he would immediately withdraw thousands of ground troops from Iraq and send them to Afghanistan to help undermanned US forces defeat the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

"It's time to refocus our attention on the war we have to win in Afghanistan," Obama said in a speech last week. "It is time to go after the Al Qaeda leadership where it actually exists."

The Illinois senator, whose opposition to the Iraq war is a campaign centerpiece, has concluded that the US presence there has fanned Islamic terrorism and diverted scarce military resources from taking on new terrorist camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where Al Qaeda operatives trained for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.


As I said before, nice try.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:04 PM on December 10, 2009


“Or perhaps that really IS Obama and the banking crisis is why that promise can't be taken to the bank.”

Well, really, yeah. Almost a trillion ... starting to be real money there. I mean Joe Local biz wasn’t going to make his payroll and if no one made any moves G.E. could have gotten knocked over, that’d be pretty bad yeah.
I mean if we’re going to compare apples to apples in terms of where we are getting things done in terms of recent presidents – Bush would just about be getting off his vacation around now.
I’d say, yeah, FDR was ahead of the curve domestically (on the other hand he had an unprecedented congressional response, Obama – not so much, even within his own party), but at the same point in his term FDR had – what? In terms of foreign policy?
In 1933 he was pretty much ignoring foreign policy issues and blew off a currency stabilization agreement abroad. Not that anyone would blame him.
But c’mon, Obama walked into a meat grinder on all fronts and the fact the country is not diving headlong into the ground is in and of itself amazing.
Especially since he’s not only has to deal with the opposition, he not only has to deal with the crusty Dems who have their own thing going on, but a lot of the people who voted for him are walking away because waaah he didn’t do my project first - while he was initiating health care legislation that Clinton, Carter, Johnson and Truman all failed to do – oh, and never mind it’s the biggest transformative change in the American social contract since the New Deal and reverses the Reagan neo-conservative thrust, it doesn’t have this minor detail that can be worked out in a few years that I want immediately! - so screw him - WHILE preventing a major depression (oh, but these details Smed! even though, while most economists quibble about the hows, few really dispute we would have taken a serious header into the floor otherwise and even the opposition admits that) and WHILE dealing with the wing beating shrieking albatross that was Bush’s unilateral militaristic arbitrary and bullying foreign policy around his neck – but never mind he’s reversed course towards not only Iraq but China, Russia, Iran and, oh, say, the entire Muslim world - he’s just not moving fast enough on the my pet something I want to see happen so I’m going to pull the plug on the whole damned thing and let the country go to hell.
Y’know tho, the only real test is if he can restore faith in the U.S. government and reengage people in the democratic congress. But I think too many folks have been too well trained for too damned long to look for a messiah or a scapegoat and forget to get their own backs.
(Too used to raging at the figurehead to notice he's a figurehead and blocking you - and when he's not blocking you, well why not invent one?)
On that inspirational thing - so far, he’s failing.
But I wonder if anything can get people off the couch. These issues are not about him. He’s just the president. It’s our country. He’s not supposed to do it for you. At best he’s there to help you.
And at that, I think he’s doing spectacularly well. That alone gets him the peace prize.
And he's doing far better than I thought he would do. The gates are wide open – especially compared to the absolute closed obstructionist vault Bushco had going.
If you can’t see that you’re crazy. And yes, the guy might have the biggest pail, the most water, but he can’t put out an entire block on fire himself. And just because he can’t, doesn’t mean he’s pro-burning people’s houses down.
People were getting kickbacks from war loooooong before Obama was born. And it will continue unless things are restructured. That takes decades of effort and attention if not generations.

Everything you want to see done is not going to happen all at once in your lifetime. Accept it. If you can’t then what the hell is the principle really worth to you? I mean, do you want it just to be right or do you want it because it IS right?
There's plenty wrong with the U.S. Plenty to bitch about. And there are plenty of people, organizations and interests looking to put their boot in you or their brand on you. Obama is not one of those. Ten years from now, hopefully, that won't be enough. Right now? I dunno, not having a president you know is colluding with so many other things we have to contend with looking to screw us over seems like a luxury.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:26 PM on December 10, 2009 [4 favorites]


Not sure how that could be percieved as being anything but straight up from the beginning.

The link is for video alledged to be from OCt 27, 2007. Seems rather 'beginning' to me.

The only person being disingenous here is you. He's referring to the Iraq war and you know it. Did you really think we would not notice?

The only thing I know is that video is labeled as being from from Oct 27, 2007 and I have quoted exactly what was said.

Why do you keep quoting 2008?

Nice try.
As I said before, nice try.


You do get a nice try award. You've done nothing to refute the validity of the video nor have you provided the context BEFORE the 15 sec snippet. Your response is a whole YEAR(ish) later.

You claimed 'straight up from the beginning' and yet the quote "I will get our troops home. We will bring an end to this war. You can take that to the bank." still exists.

Ironmouth - provide the context BEFORE the 15 sec snippet if you want your 'nice try' to actually stick. (I poked about and could not find the context, so if you got it, actually show it)
posted by rough ashlar at 7:37 PM on December 10, 2009


WHILE preventing a major depression

Cycles of contraction seem to be normal in most predator-prey systems. So why is a contraction not considered normal - does the present system not function like a predator-prey system?

That alone gets him the peace prize.

As I remember Kissenger and Arrifat got the prize also.

But c’mon, Obama walked into a meat grinder on all fronts

Yes he has. That clip was from 2007 and his public position could have changed from the early days to the post convention position.

Real politick has a role in the decision also.

And there are plenty of people, organizations and interests looking to put their boot in you or their brand on you. Obama is not one of those.

Him personally? Yea. I'm betting for him to give any kind of damn about me is I'd have to get past the SS and have pictures taken of me at some kind of washington event.

With the thousands of pages of Federal code along with the various interpertations of that code - its not like he can change all of that or identify what parts when changed would not 'make things worse'.

He is however the guy who signs the paperwork and is nominally in charge - so does not some blame go that way?

There's plenty wrong with the U.S. Plenty to bitch about.

I'd like to believe he'd do a better job than the other major choice. But the lesser of 2 evils is still evil. And working within a system of evil still leaves the evil system. And plenty of people make a nice living off the present system - thus Mr. Sinclair's "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it" applies and there won't be much in the change department.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:00 PM on December 10, 2009


"Shock'n Y'all" Country Singer Toby Keith to Perform at Nobel Peace Concert
This is the man whose artistic response to 9/11 was to pen a revenge anthem that included the lyric, "we'll put a boot in your ass, it's the American way."
posted by shii at 8:03 PM on December 10, 2009


Ironmouth - provide the context BEFORE the 15 sec snippet if you want your 'nice try' to actually stick. (I poked about and could not find the context, so if you got it, actually show it)

Nice try again, attempting to shift the burden of proof for a statment you put forward. That's your job. Obama has been consistent on this point.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:04 PM on December 10, 2009


"And working within a system of evil still leaves the evil system"
Good point. Back on the couch.
posted by Smedleyman at 9:11 PM on December 10, 2009


And working within a system of evil still leaves the evil system.

Absolute conviction is a luxury of those on the sidelines. Tell me: do the Holocaust survivors you've talked to condemn Oskar Schindler for making ammunition for the Nazis?
posted by jock@law at 5:30 AM on December 11, 2009 [2 favorites]


Let us reach for the world that ought to be -- that spark of the divine that still stirs within each of our souls.

This is the only part of the lecture that I liked, but I'll confess, I won't be happy until we all sit down and sing kumbaya.

WAR IS OVER, IF YOU WANT IT. OH, WHAT'S THAT? YOU DON'T WANT IT? WELL, UM, POOP.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 6:06 AM on December 11, 2009


[i]I...uhh...am kind of done with Obama.

Then you hand the government to the Republicans.[/i]

Oh no! I hope they don't expand the war in Afghanistan, continue beating the drum against Iran, continue to wiretap and withhold information from the public, not close Guantanimo Bay, not investigate wrongdoing in the Bush administration, do nothing about DOMA and DADT and let health insurance companies write their own "health care reform" act!
posted by Legomancer at 6:54 AM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hope they don't (1) expand the war in Afghanistan, (2) continue beating the drum against Iran, (3) continue to wiretap and withhold information from the public, (4) not close Guantanimo Bay, (5) not investigate wrongdoing in the Bush administration, (6) do nothing about DOMA and DADT and (7) let health insurance companies write their own "health care reform" act!

I think you mean:

(1) Be the sole political force actively pushing for a withdrawal strategy in Afghanistan while fulfilling a campaign promise to refocus America's military efforts on Afghanistan (which conservative pundits have been itching to try to turn into a weakness since long before we got to this point)

(2) Engaging in direct talks with Iran for the first time since the Iranian revolution, and offering them a nuclear materials production deal that, were they to accept it, would allow them to continue pursuing nuclear tech for peaceful purposes.

(3) Put a leading critic of Bush's warrant-less wire-tapping program into a key position at the Justice Department and released previously confidential memos detailing the scope of the Bush wiretapping and interrogation programs.

(4) Issued an executive order to close Guantanamo Bay and put an immediate end to the use of "enhanced interrogation techniques." Notably, Obama continues to insist that the base be closed as ordered even despite Congress' refusal to adequately fund the closure.

(5)Investigate wrongdoing in the Bush administration.

(6) Re-affirm his campaign pledge to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell before the end of his presidency.

(7) Fight against the extremely well-funded and politically connected health industry lobby to bring us to the brink of the first major health care reform package in the history of the United States, a plan that even without a public option prevents insurers from excluding the sick from coverage or from terminating or denying coverage on medical ground.

Sure, those are all things a McCain-Palin ticket would have done.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:46 AM on December 11, 2009 [8 favorites]


Investigate wrongdoing in the Bush administration.

The idea that any high-ranking members of the Bush administration will ever be held accountable is a joke.

Fight against the extremely well-funded and politically connected health industry lobby

Oh bullshit.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 10:28 AM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh bullshit.

Oh bullshit, "Oh bullshit."

What a great tactic for promoting constructive debate. Defiantly wave away any evidence that contradicts your pet position without explanation, then hurl a few choice expletives, pronounce the self-evident nature of your arguments, and split the scene, leaving it to others to clean up your mess. It's the American way.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:05 AM on December 11, 2009 [1 favorite]


any evidence that contradicts your pet position

That's rich. The "evidence" you proffer for what you're calling Obama's "fight...against the health industry lobby" is a single link to a May WaPo article about the insurance industry's PR against healthcare reform. It offers absolutely zero evidence of any "fight...against the health industry lobby," and furthermore does nto even mention the president's plan. If you weren't so busy cherry-picking pseudo-facts to defend Obama's record, you might have been forced to acknowledge the degree to which this very same lobby may have already won: how, with unprecedented access to the White House, that same lobby now stands nearly victorious in defeating the public option--and, by exploiting loophole after loophole, it has turned reform into a pyramid scheme.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:45 AM on December 11, 2009


So, to summarize:

Link 1 is an op-ed by a retired teacher in a smalltown newspaper that lists political donations to senators already opposed to any healthcare reform.

Link 2 doesn't really describe "unprecedented access", but the initial refusal to release the records is a little worrying.

Link 3 - Government to allow people over 55 to enroll in Medicare.

Link 4 - Government to tax high priced insurance plans.

Link 5 - Top urologists don't take any private insurance, therefore black market organs.

Well done.
posted by electroboy at 12:17 PM on December 11, 2009


Everything is not a piece of the vast conspiracy to discredit Obama.

True, but some things, like your comment, are.
posted by saysthis at 6:06 PM on December 11, 2009


Everything is not a piece of the vast conspiracy to discredit Obama.

True, but some things, like your comment, are.
posted by saysthis at 10:06 AM on December 12 [+] [!]


By which I mean hamburger. Meant to be a surreal humor troll. Now that I've read to the bottom, I take it back. Definitely not trying to start a fight, and I agree entirely with you.
posted by saysthis at 1:18 AM on December 12, 2009


blacecock: Do you understand that his speech is no less deliberately manipulative than the "axis of evil" technique employed by Bush?

naturally I can't speak for anyone else, but: I do not understand that, no.

strange and naive as this may sound, it seems to me to be nevertheless clearly true that not all politicians are lying every time they speak.
posted by lodurr at 10:25 AM on December 12, 2009 [1 favorite]


do the Holocaust survivors you've talked to condemn Oskar Schindler for making ammunition for the Nazis?

What bearing on being a survivor of the Turkish attack on Armenians have to do with Nazi's?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:44 AM on December 14, 2009


"And working within a system of evil still leaves the evil system"
Good point. Back on the couch.


Now if I had a system that was self-evident as not evil and was uncorruptable, I'd be off that couch. Glad you are back on the couch.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:46 AM on December 14, 2009


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