Complete with quotes from JFK
September 22, 2010 5:59 PM   Subscribe

We make this pledge bearing true faith and allegiance to the people we represent, and we invite fellow citizens and patriots to join us in forming a new governing agenda for America.

It has been 16 years since 1994's Contract with America was released approaching the 1994 midterm elections, where Republicans gained 54 seats in the House of Representatives and first control of the House since 1954.

Scribd version
posted by Mister Fabulous (466 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
Do they have t-shirts in any other color than brown?
posted by Danf at 6:04 PM on September 22, 2010 [32 favorites]


"An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites..."

I'm not sure I can make it past the first page. It's impossible to read this crap without wanting to do something crazy. They're not even trying for rational debate, they're just throwing out ridiculous falsehoods with abandon. I know it's not new, but.... argh.
posted by wildcrdj at 6:05 PM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down long-standing laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people.

Are we going to go through 2000-2008 again? I didn't particularly enjoy that era the first time around.
posted by Doktor Zed at 6:06 PM on September 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


It should go without saying, but the pie chart labeled "Federal Assistance Programs" on page 12 measures the number of programs per agency, not their size. There's nothing a Department of Commerce "assistance program" can buy that equals the price of one fighter jet.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 6:11 PM on September 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Oh, good Christ on cracker, not another one of their moronic manifestii. Was does anyone even take these fools seriously?!
posted by OneMonkeysUncle at 6:12 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


They forgot to add that Tomorrow Belongs to Me.
posted by Countess Elena at 6:12 PM on September 22, 2010 [13 favorites]


Rising joblessness, crushing debt, and a polarizing political environment are fraying the bonds among our people and blurring our sense of national purpose.

I know, right? Thanks Bush era!
posted by dersins at 6:13 PM on September 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


The C.O.A. was an empty, grandstanding PR stunt: one of many from the GOP. But you knew that. Related: Clinton: 'It’ll be Newt Gingrich all over again'.
posted by existential hobo at 6:17 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I thought it was better in the original German.
posted by rdone at 6:18 PM on September 22, 2010 [58 favorites]


The hubris.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 6:18 PM on September 22, 2010


Oh, good Christ on cracker, not another one of their moronic manifestii.

I know, right? Why can't anybody write a decent manifesto anymore?
posted by steambadger at 6:19 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


It amuses me how brashly the GOP is trying to portray this as a "change election" when we pretty clearly had one less than two years ago after nearly a decade of Bush.

It disturbs me the extent to which they are succeeding.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:22 PM on September 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


Mock all you want, but I was at an international oil trading conference today, and people (very conservative, pro-business people) outside the USA are scared shitless about the possibility of a Palin presidency and are taking the possibility very seriously.

We haven't had to deal with out outright fascism here in a long, long time, and our USAian collective memories are, unfortunately, notoriously short.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:22 PM on September 22, 2010 [14 favorites]


You know what would set the elites straight? Farm work. Let's level the playing field! Clear out the universities and put everyone to work in the fields.
posted by zerobyproxy at 6:25 PM on September 22, 2010 [17 favorites]


Related: Clinton: 'It’ll be Newt Gingrich all over again'.

Except this time when Obama tries to "triangulate" it will split the Dems, plus after Clinton there really isn't any room left. Maybe Obama can pledge to "end Social Security as we know it", but surely even he realizes that isn't going to win him any friends or votes...
posted by ennui.bz at 6:26 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


On page 16, there's a map entitled "Your New Health Care System," which shows how the new system is bloated and complicated and has so many different interconnected parts that it's hard to see how anyone can even keep track of them. (This kind of visual can persuasive -- Senator Bob Dole showed a similar chart back in 1994, which helped to kill Clinton's health-care reform.)

So, I'm sure if we were to go back to 2009 and see "Your Health Care System: A Map" for the system as it was before health-care reform passed, it'd be really small and simple, right? ...

Oh.
posted by John Cohen at 6:27 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


'It’ll be Newt Gingrich all over again'.

But at warp speed; expect a Government Shutdown in the first quarter of 2011 and Darrell Issa's Judiciary Committee should have Obama's articles of impeachment written by June (what for? does it matter anymore?)
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:28 PM on September 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


The do realise that decreasing the size of government kills jobs by the truckload, right?

With 1.8 million workers the federal government is the largest employer in the US. Why do they insist on job-killing tax cuts?
posted by Talez at 6:30 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Palin and the extreme-right of the Warmongering Neoliberal Party are fucking crazy.

I'd better get out there right now and vote for Obama's centrist wing of the Warmongering Neoliberal Party to stop those other lunatics!
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 6:31 PM on September 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


Interesting that there's no author implied or explicit in this PDF. Say I want to follow up and get in touch with the author? It's either this guy Brian Wild listed in the metadata or whoever at CNN with this weird username "gop".
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 6:34 PM on September 22, 2010


Gotta love the junky chart on page 13, where the bar to the right looks like it's twice as large as the bar on the left, but since the bottom of the chart starts at 17% and not 0% like it should, it's simply a misleading graphic.
posted by hippybear at 6:35 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


But in all seriousness, where are the politicians who are talking about the vast, unchecked expansion of our already massive security apparatus? What about the politicians who question the wisdom of running two simultaneous wars and calling for spending cuts to social services instead of the sacred cow that is the Department of "Defense"?

Let me know when there's a party that plans to unwind our failing empire. Until then, the US is effectively ruled by one party, with two wings who don't diverge at all on the most critical issues facing this country.
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 6:40 PM on September 22, 2010 [14 favorites]


Eyeballing it, around a quarter of the document consists of listing all the ways the "Democrat" tax hikes will cost middle class families.

Tax hikes which will only occur if no action is taken to extend the soon-to-expire Bush tax cuts.

A lack of action which no one is proposing, and which will only occur if Republicans successfully filibuster legislation extending middle-class tax cuts in their hold-out tantrum to cut taxes for the wealthy, too.

Tax cuts which will balloon the deficit.

The deficit, reduction of which is one of their claimed top priorities.

It's like a daisy chain of fail.
posted by Rhaomi at 6:42 PM on September 22, 2010 [14 favorites]


I also like their "adhere to the Constitution" bit, complete with requiring every bill to somehow have a specific citation from the Constitution as to why it's permissible for Congress to vote on it...

Further down the same page, they talk about the "martial law" procedures in the House.

Surely, if the Senate had to be run by strict Constitutional rules, the ability for the threat of filibuster to completely halt the legislative process would disappear? (I would welcome that, actually.)
posted by hippybear at 6:42 PM on September 22, 2010


It amuses me how brashly the GOP is trying to portray this as a "change election" when we pretty clearly had one less than two years ago after nearly a decade of Bush. It disturbs me the extent to which they are succeeding.

Indeed...

You know what I love about this country? Its amazingly short memory. We're a nation of amnesiacs. We forget everything. Where we came from. What we did to get here. History is last week's People magazine Michael. So don't pretend to cry for Randy Towers --- no one really cares.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:43 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Gotta hand it to them; they know how to spin some bullshit.

If only there was some even semi-rational political party that could bullshit so well.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:43 PM on September 22, 2010


So these Republicans, they gonna get me a job and decent health care, that's their pledge?

Oh, only if I join the Army and fight in AfghanIraqIran?
posted by orthogonality at 6:46 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


The amount of passive-aggressive violent phraseology in this is making it unreadable, and I really want to read it and maybe believe they've got some ideas that can be debated, incorporated and compromised on. But I'm only on page six and I've lost track of how many times I've seen "job-killing," slashed, mocked, arrogant, elite and more. How do you reasonably work with any individual or group so angry and petulant?

These people aren't mature, not working in good faith and can't put together a cohesive and intelligent argument. It's just polished vitriol. It makes me sick and I'm not naive about this stuff, I'm 40 and saw the Clinton years. These people are frigging hopeless. And that's not even a comment on their ideas, which I'd like to find and would probably agree to some of, but the rhetoric gets in the way of the substance-ish stuff.

But what should I expect from people who mock the idea of hope, and finding value in intellect and critical thinking.

Also, as a DFW fan, I'd love few footnotes providing some tactics and plans behind their nebulous proposals. But I get the somewhat liberal, politically knowledgeable, critically-reading audience isn't their demo.

Also also: I know its a PDF but I'm still reading it through my browser so that makes it a Web document and when you can't clicky the underlined parts to get more meat it's really frustrating. I know Republicans can't do the Tubes but it doesn't help their case. You'd think they could hire somebody with a clue.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 6:48 PM on September 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


digitalprimate: I don't think Palin wants to be president. She is a deeply, deeply stupid and vile woman, but lucky for us, she's also completely self-absorbed and greedy. She could give a fuck about public service; she's in it for the cash money. I think she may run just to keep her profile up and get her douchetrain followers in a frenzy, but then she'll drop out after the first primary. Then she can make a few million more on another poorly ghost-written book: Rogue on the Road: My Life on the 2012 Presidential Campaign: Sacrifice, Family, and Patriotism: An American's Story.
posted by Saxon Kane at 6:51 PM on September 22, 2010 [21 favorites]


Anyone who thinks the election of George Bush or any other Republican, for that matter, has made any difference to the world is a fool. After all, Al Gore would have invaded Iraq, right? Al Gore would have turned 1/3 of the federal civil service into patronage jobs, right? Al Gore would have let New Orleans drown, right? Al Gore would have hired mercenaries and set them loose on American citizens, right? Al Gore would have run the government on debt while handing billions in non-bid contracts to his cronies, right? Al Gore would have muzzled government scientists talking about global warming, right? Al Gore would have banned stem cell research, right? Al Gore would have eviscerated the FDA, right?

Really, when all is said and done, there's really no way to really distinguish between one American elitist politician and another, really. They're all exactly the same.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 6:51 PM on September 22, 2010 [39 favorites]


Steaming lake of horse puckey.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:52 PM on September 22, 2010


They could have had Britney Spears write this for all the difference it would make.

Few will be voting for the Republicans. Most will be voting "Not the guys in charge of everything while there's 16.7% real unemployment".
posted by Joe Beese at 6:52 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


It should go without saying, but the pie chart labeled "Federal Assistance Programs" on page 12 measures the number of programs per agency, not their size.

Holy shit I just saw that one too. It's a completely useless graph, like the one a few pages later that crams all the government offices onto a postcard to show "dooiiiyyyyy.... government is complicated."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:54 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


@Jimmy Havok And thinking like that is exactly why we got Bush the Younger as our president. Thanks.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:55 PM on September 22, 2010


And thinking like that is exactly why we got Bush the Younger as our president.

Funny, I thought it was the machinations of Katherine Harris in Florida, coupled with the bad move of the Democrats to try to only recount a few of the voting districts in that state when the confusing butterfly ballot cards were revealed to be truly faulty, which allowed the SCOTUS to declare the election in favor of Bush.

Or did I miss something somewhere?
posted by hippybear at 6:59 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm not sure I like this "DRAFT" subliminal message they're trying to push...
posted by hermitosis at 7:01 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


TIME TO BLOW MY FUCKING BRAINS OUT

later, guys.
posted by TrialByMedia at 7:03 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


"An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary..."

Ironic complaints from the people who got Prop 8 passed and just blocked the DADT repeal.
posted by hermitosis at 7:03 PM on September 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


I admire its use of a legible font and how they broke it up into short sequences for easy reading.

I can't help but wonder if the "Draft" watermark was meant to suggest that there will be future re-writes or if it was meant to suggest that they plan to reintroduce the draft so they can have enough warm bodies to invade Iran.
posted by Joey Michaels at 7:03 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


And thinking like that is exactly why we got Bush the Younger as our president.

I'm sorry, but that is just complete nonsense.

The reason we got Bush is because the Democrats were too goddamn cowardly to stand up for democracy and the thugs that the Bush campaign sent down to Florida, and the majority of American citizens were too apathetic to give a shit.

In almost any other developed, democratic country, there would have been a general strike, riots on the fucking street and millions of people protesting the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. The Democrats could have told their supporters to take action, but they didn't.

But Democratic Party needed a scapegoat to cover their own cowardice and the fact that they acquiesced to Bush - and they had the audacity to blame Nader and third-party voters instead of looking in the mirror.
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 7:09 PM on September 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


After all, Al Gore would have invaded Iraq...

If I had told you, just before you cast your first vote for Obama, that he would keep Bush's miltary advisers in place to supervise his tripling of ground forces in Afghanistan, that he would claim state secret privilege to deny justice to a torture victim, that he would escalate drone attacks on an ally's civilians as they fled a historic-level natural catastrophe, and, for the amusement of his $30,000 a plate audience, joke about his base's disappointment at his failure to keep a major campaign promise... heh heh... you'd have said I was crazy.

If Al Gore strides through your counterhistorical fantasies like Aragorn, that's swell. My mileage varies.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:10 PM on September 22, 2010 [19 favorites]


On my way to lunch today, I saw an older kitten, a beautiful dark gray/black half-longhair, that had been killed by a car. It was lying in the road, I had to steer around it.

I turned around and parked and got out, poked its paw to see if it could possibly be alive, but it wasn't. I checked for a collar, in case it had an owner I could give the sad news to, but there wasn't one, so I guess it lived its short life as a stray. A short life with no kibble, and no one to love it.

Its eyes were rolled up under half-closed lids, and it had what looked like a little grimace of pain on its face. Other than that, and some barely noticeable blood, and some dark fluid from its voided bowels, it might have been sleeping. Except that it was dead, it might have been any kitten sleeping in the sun, legs stretched out before it. And then the wind rippled its whiskers and long fur, making it seem almost alive. Which made me sadder.

When I got back from lunch, it was gone. I saw some road workers, and I guess they put it into a bag or something. I wished I'd had a shovel to bury it. I felt sad again, to think of its corpse just unceremoniously tossed in a landfill.

This Republican mendacity makes me sad too, but not exactly in the same way.
posted by orthogonality at 7:11 PM on September 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


shorter GOP: There's a BLACK GUY in the white house!
posted by shmegegge at 7:12 PM on September 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


"Representative" Democracies, they scale up about as well as large industries can deregulate...
posted by Fupped Duck at 7:15 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


But Democratic Party needed a scapegoat to cover their own cowardice and the fact that they acquiesced to Bush - and they had the audacity to blame Nader and third-party voters instead of looking in the mirror.

I'm sorry, but lying through your teeth about math is both bad form and embarrassingly obvious to anyone who knows what they're talking about. There are civic duties that come with being a voter in the most powerful country in the history of the world. Being able to count to 270 is one of them.
posted by thesmophoron at 7:23 PM on September 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


If Al Gore strides through your counterhistorical fantasies like Aragorn, that's swell. My mileage varies.


Your counter-historical fantasy and its related mileage has been noted for the record. Failing to show up and vote (at minimum) against the Republican candidates in November will also be noted, for the record. Ideological purity = 1, all of the policy goals you claim to stand for = 0. Bravo.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:31 PM on September 22, 2010 [10 favorites]


I find it funny that we lamely acknowledge the failure of democracy in America over and over without actually doing anything. I guess smug satisfaction is its own reward (I am as guilty of this as anyone).

I didn't vote for Obama because frankly it was obvious that Change was a lie. One specific pre-election moment comes to mind, the vote for telecom immunity.

So here we are today. I will continue to vote but feel my vote is damn near worthless when the science of mass manipulation (advertising) controls the public discourse.

What kind of action can preserve representative democracy while wresting control from the corporate elite? We live in an era of significant importance -- technological advances in media have always brought massive societal change and the internet is at least as important as Gutenberg's press. Is it not our moral obligation to fight tooth and nail for liberty, freedom, and justice for all?
posted by polyhedron at 7:32 PM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


But Democratic Party needed a scapegoat to cover their own cowardice and the fact that they acquiesced to Bush - and they had the audacity to blame Nader and third-party voters instead of looking in the mirror.

Dude, I was part of Nader Nation in 2000. I was wrong. Elections have consequences and there is a difference between the two major parties and their candidates and their policies. Sorry.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:33 PM on September 22, 2010 [14 favorites]


Being able to count to 270 is one of them.

Gore lost his home state. If he had won his home state, he wouldn't have needed Florida.

That's math.

Accept responsibility for fielding a loser instead of whining about Nader voters for the rest of your lives.

It's not Nader voters who are trying to cut Social Security. Know your goddamned enemy.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:34 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Accept responsibility for fielding a loser instead of whining about Nader voters for the rest of your lives.


Right, because your Green Party candidate from the state of Whatever would have captured the necessary electoral college votes to win a national election. How dare you lecture me (or us) about nominating quote-unquote losers? You would rather lose on principle, evidently. Again, if this is merely a game you might have a point. As it is not, you do not.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:36 PM on September 22, 2010


By the by, If I were Karl Rove I would be cutting some pretty fat checks every month to the Joe Beeses of the world to keep spewing their rhetoric. Just something to think about. Divide and conquer, etc.

DO NOT LET THE PERFECT BE THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD (unless this is just some arm-chair tactical game to you, in that case: you are part of the problem).
posted by joe lisboa at 7:39 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


There are civic duties that come with being a voter

Well, speaking of counting votes, we could start with better, much better, vote-counting skills on the part of those tasked with actually counting the votes (i.e. we could finally have voting reform).
posted by existential hobo at 7:40 PM on September 22, 2010


Is it not our moral obligation to fight tooth and nail for liberty, freedom, and justice for all?

Solzhenitsyn, in The Gulag Archipelago, indicting those responsible for the horrors of Stalinism, did not omit the bystanders who "didn't love freedom enough" to fight for it from the beginning.

If some future Claude Lanzmann asks me what I did while my country became a surveillance state, I can tell him I bitched a lot on the Internet.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:46 PM on September 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Put differently - before I sign off for the night to work another 12-hour day for barely sustainable pay - I do not have the luxury of living in Utopia-land given the current political climate in these United States. The election of Obama over McCain means me and my mine still have jobs (and arguably health insurance) but keep moving those pieces on your ideological Warcraft gameboard. As much as I loathe centrist Democrats and their apparently craven politics, I have two choices this November: hope for the future or complete ruin. I will vote accordingly. I urge you all to do the same.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:46 PM on September 22, 2010 [17 favorites]


Wow. sounds like Joe and joe need to get a room. It's like the kind of banter from early episodes of Moonlighting or something.
posted by hippybear at 7:47 PM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wow, a Nader derail.
posted by peeedro at 7:48 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Haha, well put, hippybear. Good night, you guys.
posted by joe lisboa at 7:48 PM on September 22, 2010


They must be stopped.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:50 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't believe that people are still defending that asshole Nador at this point. Bush wasn't bad enough convince you people that there are actually difference between the two major US parties? How bad would the last decade have to be to prove that? If you still really think Gore would have been as bad as Bush, I'm not sure what to say.
posted by octothorpe at 7:51 PM on September 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


I remember the first contract with America, sponsored by Newt Gingrich and heavy on spending cuts for things like school lunches. It was years later when someone finally got around to reporting that his district in Georgia received most of its income from federal defense contracts.

Ever since Reagan tapped the borrowing well dry for the outdated B-1 bomber (even after it was canceled by Carter) and for his useless pet behemoth battleships (ridiculing smaller ships with a twisted smile that would later be identified with his rapidly declining mental health), Republicans have been fighting over the tax dollar pie.

The dizzy-expensive Raptor F-22 jet fighter is still assembled in Marietta, Georgia (Newt's home district) and is already deemed outmoded by some analysts, but the smaller and smarter destroyers have finally been ordered in spite of Reagan's ridiculing (and Nancy's astrologer).
posted by Brian B. at 7:51 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Your place for hot Joe-on-joe action.
posted by Rangeboy at 7:54 PM on September 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


Twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.
posted by padraigin at 7:56 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


By the by, If I were Karl Rove I would be cutting some pretty fat checks every month to the Joe Beeses of the world to keep spewing their rhetoric. Just something to think about. Divide and conquer, etc.

DO NOT LET THE PERFECT BE THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD (unless this is just some arm-chair tactical game to you, in that case: you are part of the problem).


I see your logic. If by "good," you mean, a Democrat in the White House, than yeah. If your sole criteria is the letter next to the president's name, then I can see how you are overjoyed to have swapped arugula and iPads for Bud Lite and cowboy hats. If we go by (carefully managed) image alone, than the 2008 election was certainly a great success.

But for some Obama supporters, it was actually about more than superificialities- it was about the good of the country. It was about upholding the Constitution. It was about really ending both wars, not empty rhetoric about "combat operations." Those people saw Obama as a means to accomplish good, and a defacto good in himself, and they are very disappointed. They're not helping Karl Rove. They just care about their country.
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:56 PM on September 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


*not* a defacto good in himself
posted by drjimmy11 at 7:58 PM on September 22, 2010


The election of Obama over McCain means me and my mine still have jobs (and arguably health insurance)

How does this work, exactly? Do the people without jobs and health insurance — there are many more of them now than when Obama came to office, if you want to talk about how "elections have consequences" — get to blame Obama for that? Or is it only the positive consequences of his policies that are his responsibility? Those of us who will be (or would have been) collecting Social Security a few decades down the line are going to be feeling some electoral consequences good and hard when the current "reform" commission is through with us.

(And no, McCain would not have been able to push the same policies through, because people like you would have fought him tooth and nail instead of looking the other way because Obama's "one of us." You can accuse us of playing theoretical games, but we're the ones talking about policy, not "our team" and "their team" and how it's OK that Joe Lieberman gets to treat the rest of the Democratic Party like his own personal whipping boy and suffers no consequences because it means that "our" do-nothing 60-vote majority remains intact at some theoretical, scorekeeping level.)
posted by enn at 7:58 PM on September 22, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can't believe that people are still defending that asshole Nador at this point.

There's a difference between a) defending Nader, and b) defending the argument that Nader did not cost Gore the 2000 election, Gore cost Gore the 2000 election.
posted by existential hobo at 8:01 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


oh.. DRAFT, I read DAFT
posted by the noob at 8:04 PM on September 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


YouCut is government for the America's Got Talent age.

It is more cheap populism from the party that made "but the health care bill is over 1,000 pages long!" a talking point.

Text your vote to 1-800-GOP-RULZ
posted by munchingzombie at 8:06 PM on September 22, 2010


I didn't vote for Obama because frankly it was obvious that Change was a lie.

Speaking of lies... What kind of revisionist-history-inducing dope are you smoking? Has your buddy Puff the Magic Dragon convinced you that a universal healthcare mandate wasn't passed, that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wasn't created, that sweeping finance reform wasn't passed? Obama's term isn't even half over and very significant leftist policy objectives have been made law.

You have an obligation to tell the truth when discussing policies that affect the fate of the world. You ought to be ashamed of yourself for shirking that responsibility, and I suggest you fix whatever the hell your issue is pretty damn ricky tick.
posted by thesmophoron at 8:07 PM on September 22, 2010 [25 favorites]


Gore cost Gore the 2000 election

As did people who argued, and people who bought the argument, that there was no substantial difference between the two major party candidates.
posted by found missing at 8:09 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


What kind of revisionist-history-inducing dope are you smoking? Has your buddy Puff the Magic Dragon convinced you that a universal healthcare mandate wasn't passed, that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau wasn't created, that sweeping finance reform wasn't passed? Obama's term isn't even half over and very significant leftist policy objectives have been made law.

NOT ENOUGH WHERE THE FUCK IS MY JET PACK PONY
posted by Joey Michaels at 8:10 PM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


then I can see how you are overjoyed to have swapped arugula and iPads for Bud Lite and cowboy hats.

Whut. Did you just embrace the Bush-era imagery and talking points? THIS POINT APPLIES TO enn TOO, since I do not want to waste any more text on this: the current President literally rescued THE major industry in this entire multi-state region in a away that his opponent (on the record, and without dispute) made quite clear he would oppose no matter what, if elected.

You likely do not get this. That is fine, and I understand - no condescension intended. But you nonetheless fail to understand: if the opponent of our President had won the election in 2008, the Midwest would have been left to implode in grand style, to the point where even the otherwise well-to-do family members and friends (and fellow citizens) would be totally and thoroughly fucked. But, again, if you do not live on the poverty line, you likely do not get this. Again, this is not evaluative, but descriptive. This shit means something. Good night. Again.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:10 PM on September 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


Fuck these fucking fuckers.
posted by Ratio at 8:11 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


didn't vote for Obama because frankly it was obvious that Change was a lie.

Then STFU; thx.
posted by goethean at 8:12 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It was about really ending both wars, not empty rhetoric about "combat operations."

Oh for crying out blessed loud!

Tell you what. Go to your local Marine recruiter tomorrow and tell them you want to enlist, active duty, right now. Tell them you will go to a physical tomorrow and swear in that same day at MEPS, and ship out to boot camp ASAP, if they'll give you an active duty infantry position.

You know what they will tell you? That they aren't taking on active duty Marines right now, except coming straight out of high school. If you think the wind-down of combat operations is "empty rhetoric"... no, never mind. There's no possible way you can think that. There is no rational course of thought that starts with premises rooted in fact and applies non-fallacious logic to reach that conclusion. No such thinking could possibly exist, because it just ain't true.

You're content to sit here on the Internet and bash everyone who doesn't tote YOUR party line that the Democrats aren't left enough. You value ideological purity over facts, and that makes you just another Palin.
posted by thesmophoron at 8:13 PM on September 22, 2010 [7 favorites]


You can accuse us of playing theoretical games, but we're the ones talking about policy,

No offense, enn, but until you can win a national election, you remain the ones talking about policy amongst a self-selected preaching-to-the-choir-choir. You may well be talking policy, but if it is in a basement with your two best friends, how the fuck does that impact the life of the least among us? I say this as an ally.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:14 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


I found the first draft:

---------------------------------
America is more than a country.

Unless you're gay. In which case, it's more like a country club. A really exclusive one that doesn't allow gays.

America is an idea – an idea that free people can govern themselves, that government’s powers are derived from the consent of the governed, that each of us is endowed by their Creator with the unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. America is the belief that any man or woman can – given economic, political, and religious liberty – advance themselves, their families, and the common good.

Unless you're gay.

America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny.

Except for the gays.

Whenever the agenda of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to institute a new governing agenda and set a different course.

The right of the people, yes. But not the gay ones.

These first principles were proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence, enshrined in the Constitution, and have endured through hard sacrifice and commitment by generations of Americans.

Well, except gay Americans.

posted by Ratio at 8:17 PM on September 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


If some future Claude Lanzmann asks me what I did while my country became a surveillance state, I can tell him I bitched a lot on the Internet.

Useless hyperbole.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:18 PM on September 22, 2010


The repeated phrase "new governing agenda" doesn't seem entirely consistent with the self-governing leitmotif. So America will be self-governing, which I guess is distinct from regular governing in some ingenious way, but self-governing within the context of a predetermined governing agenda?
posted by clockzero at 8:20 PM on September 22, 2010


Wow. Actually reading this, it doesn't say anything. Sound and fury, signifying nothing. it bothers me that this kind of showmanship works on so many people.
posted by padraigin at 8:21 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


"self-governing" sounds like self-service gas stations. Inconvenience, exposure to toxic materials, lost jobs, but hey, I saved 5 cents a gallon (while the oil company's profit went up by 10 cents).
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:31 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Democrats need their own Pledge it goes like this.

America is the greatest nation on the planet if not the galaxy. We proposed a congressional resolution to this effect, but the Republicans in the senate fillibustered it. As a result we've had to settle for an executive order; which has been challenged in court by a coalition of right wing billionaires who havn't paid taxes since the Clinton Administration and are afraid they might have to fire their pets second nanny (an illegal immigrant who is working for 12 cents and hour and for whom they have failed to file Fica 3 years in a row)

If elected we promise to tax the rich, help the unemployed find better jobs and fix the deficit before we run out of cash. Our Republican friends have pledged to bankrupt the country and they got pretty close the last time; so don't be an idiot, Vote Democrat in November, you ungrateful bastards. -- Signed Rahm Emanuael. PS: I promise to leave the White House and try to only screw up Chicago after the election.
posted by humanfont at 8:32 PM on September 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


What does Gore's having lost his home state have to do with anything? Tenn. had become redder and redder since he became VP, many conservative southerners tend to turn on their own who go even slightly to the left on anything (Carter, Clinton) and adopt people who'd otherwise be called "outsiders" or "carpetbaggers" (if they came around often enough) as their own (a la Palin or Reagan, whose portrait hung in the SC State House's GOP-conrolled House of Reps. chamber when I took a tour there a few years back), etc. The Tenn. vote does not lend credence to any argument you're making.
posted by raysmj at 8:34 PM on September 22, 2010 [5 favorites]


Man, Republicans love that JFK quotation. Here's a little more context and debate.

Let's follow President Kennedy's recipe for economic success and return the top marginal tax rate to the level that he worked to achieve: 71% for households earning over $400,000.
posted by peeedro at 8:34 PM on September 22, 2010 [9 favorites]


humanfont, if that were really from Rahm Emanuel, I think it would have to have more bad swears.
posted by padraigin at 8:34 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


But for some Obama supporters, it was actually about more than superificialities- it was about the good of the country. It was about upholding the Constitution. It was about really ending both wars, not empty rhetoric about "combat operations." Those people saw Obama as a means to accomplish good, and a defacto good in himself, and they are very disappointed. They're not helping Karl Rove. They just care about their country.

Those people did not take Obama at his word. They figured he was lying to the people when he said he would fight in Afghanistan and enact the programs he said he would. In short, they saw him as their very own George Bush, who would lie to the people and turn around and somehow enact single-payer, despite saying he wouldn't. Now they are disappopinted that he told the truth. And they would prefer to make us pay for his failure to lie with our jobs, with our freedoms, with rights for gays, with stopping oligarchy. Better they get their revenge for Obama failing to lie than the country be spared facism. Better that the GOP take control.

I say no to that. I say we use our votes to protect the hard-won gains, health care reform, financial reform and the chance to restore sanity to the tax code.

In short, we only stand to lose if we listen to the Glenn Greenwalds and theier cynical ilk, who would prefer to rule over the hulk of a wasted and powerless progressive movement rather than see some good done.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:34 PM on September 22, 2010 [17 favorites]


Guys, can we keep the Nader derail alive? I haven't gotten my weekly fix yet.
posted by indubitable at 8:36 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


No offense, enn, but until you can win a national election, you remain the ones talking about policy amongst a self-selected preaching-to-the-choir-choir. You may well be talking policy, but if it is in a basement with your two best friends, how the fuck does that impact the life of the least among us? I say this as an ally.

I'm not sure what your point is, unless you're actually David Axelrod or someone. There is no shortage of organizing work to do outside of electoral politics, as you surely know. I voted for Obama and I'll vote for him again next time — shit, I even went to my last local Democratic Party meeting — but the role of the party these days seems mostly to be to absorb the efforts of well-meaning people where they can't actually have any impact. Beyond my vote, I think what little money and time I have to spare are more effectively spent on groups that are working to effect their agendas through other means than the support of national elected officials, because that one doesn't seem to be working.

And, unrelatedly, I don't see how you can be so triumphalist about the auto industry in the midwest; with the administration's insistence that the UAW be defanged as a condition of the rescue, it eliminated the last real obstacle to moving the jobs that remain to Tennessee at $7 an hour or the third world at $7 a day. I am not at all optimistic that the industry will remain a presence in the midwest for much longer.
posted by enn at 8:36 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


So nothing new? Same old shit? Got it, GOP. Keep at it. We'll obsolesce you soon enough.
posted by spiderskull at 8:37 PM on September 22, 2010


In short, we only stand to lose if we listen to the Glenn Greenwalds...
As a matter of policy, I never trust someone who went to Wachtell to be a litigator.

posted by thesmophoron at 8:39 PM on September 22, 2010


Sotomayor and Kagan are alone worth it compared to whoever McCain would have put up there. But please, continue to attack Obama for failing the purity test. I've been disappointed too, but then I remember Sotomayor and Kagan.
posted by norm at 8:41 PM on September 22, 2010 [17 favorites]


Joe the Plumber doesn't understand graphs, and certainly doesn't buy any specific proposals by candidates in an election year. What Joe the Plumber believes is right there on the first page:
America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny...

In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent.
An unchecked executive, a compliant legislature, and an overreaching judiciary have combined to thwart the will of the people and overturn their votes and their values, striking down long-standing laws and institutions and scorning the deepest beliefs of the American people....

An arrogant and out-of-touch government of self-appointed elites makes decisions, issues mandates, and enacts laws without accepting or requesting the input of the many...
Like free peoples of the past, our citizens refuse to accommodate a government that believes it can replace the will of the people...
Did you hear that Joe? This so-called "government" that was supposedly "elected" -- You didn't vote for them now did you, Joe? You don't have to sit down and listen to what they say. These aren't your laws that are being passed. Remember Joe, if it's not your team that won the big game, it's not really your America now is it? Your first allegiance is to The Party, above all else.

Don't worry Joe, those Elites'll get what's comin' to 'em, all in good time, Joe, all in good time...
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 8:50 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


And, unrelatedly, I don't see how you can be so triumphalist about the auto industry in the midwest; with the administration's insistence that the UAW be defanged as a condition of the rescue,

... again, you may very well be right, but in the short-to-midterm this is not Political Theory 101 to those of us in Detroit: this is life or death. I get your principles and I largely share them, but do not forget the working class you (no offense intended: you, in the general sense) claim to speak on behalf of in your pursuit of ideological gains, again, which I largely share.
posted by joe lisboa at 8:51 PM on September 22, 2010


Wow, this thing is even getting a bad reviews from known Wingnut Erick Erickson.

To avoid actually linking to RedState, I quote:

Title: "Perhaps the Most Ridiculous Thing to Come Out of Washington Since George McClellan"

"the Contract with America was 869 words and this is 21 pages."

"These 21 pages tell you lots of things, some contradictory things, but mostly this: it is a serious(SIC) of compromises and milquetoast rhetorical flourishes in search of unanimity among House Republicans because the House GOP does not have the fortitude to lead boldly in opposition to Barack Obama."

"Yes, yes, it is full of mom tested, kid approved pablum that will make certain hearts on the right sing in solidarity. But like a diet full of sugar, it will actually do nothing but keep making Washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high.

It is dreck."

"This document proves the GOP is more focused on the acquisition of power than the advocacy of long term sound public policy. All the good stuff in it is stuff we expect them to do. What is not in it is more than a little telling that the House GOP has not learned much of anything from 2006."
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:55 PM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


JOEMENTUM!

I know, I missed it.

Perhaps the MeFite community could proceed with diluting this demagoguery down to asserted facts, giving the context without being shitty about it, and sending it out to friends, family, and blogs? Pretty please?
posted by notion at 8:55 PM on September 22, 2010


They figured he was lying to the people when he said he would fight in Afghanistan...

True, we goofed there. It turned out that it was the public option and "fierce advocacy" for LGBTs that he was lying about.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:58 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


Perhaps the MeFite community could proceed with diluting this demagoguery down to asserted facts, giving the context without being shitty about it, and sending it out to friends, family, and blogs? Pretty please?

Notion, this I what I DO with family and friends. I expect better from Mefites. ;)
posted by joe lisboa at 9:07 PM on September 22, 2010


True, we goofed there. It turned out that it was the public option and "fierce advocacy" for LGBTs that he was lying about.

Please stop trying to act like Obama is the absolute dictator of the country. You guys never did have the damn votes. And you blame Obama. This is the real world. You need the votes. And the votes weren't there. Its like you think Obama has some magic wand where he can just rule by diktat. You refuse to acknowledge the real difficulties that exist in getting a giant program passed and then call him a liar.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:17 PM on September 22, 2010 [11 favorites]


In a self-governing society, the only bulwark against the power of the state is the consent of the governed, and regarding the policies of the current government, the governed do not consent.

no - the majority of us in the last election DID consent, by voting for the winners in a free, fair and democratic election

furthermore, the rest of you, the minority DID consent by participating in this election with the understanding that those who won office would govern us

and even furthermore, you continue to consent by offering us candidates in the next free, fair and democratic election, that you believe are an alternative to the current government policies, in the belief that they will be able to govern if victorious, just as the people we voted for are able to govern

this is how our government, a democratic republic, is supposed to work

if you think it is supposed to work another way, then obviously you do not believe in a democratic republic, and there is not a chance in hell i'm ever voting or supporting you, as your consent, your PATRIOTISM, only exists when the people you like are in office

that is NOT the american way of government
posted by pyramid termite at 9:17 PM on September 22, 2010 [16 favorites]


Please stop trying to act like Obama is the absolute dictator of the country. You guys never did have the damn votes. And you blame Obama. This is the real world. You need the votes. And the votes weren't there. Its like you think Obama has some magic wand where he can just rule by diktat. You refuse to acknowledge the real difficulties that exist in getting a giant program passed and then call him a liar.

I don't call him a liar because he didn't get 60 votes.

I call him a liar because he said he wanted to see a public option when he really didn't.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:33 PM on September 22, 2010 [6 favorites]


> In short, we only stand to lose if we listen to the Glenn Greenwalds and theier cynical ilk, who would prefer to rule over the hulk of a wasted and powerless progressive movement rather than see some good done.

You keep up with the same crappy argument every, every, every time this comes up. You act as if we only ever get one election, that it's the next election, that the world will fall if we lose it, and thus we cannot do the slightest thing to disturb the delicate Democrats, because if they win they might conceivably do something good for us.

We have two political parties. In one case, we lose 10 points when they are elected - in the other case we lose 1 point. Your argument is always that it's better to lose 1 point than 10 and that we can't even try to change the game.

Well, if we can't get out of the game, we are going to lose. We can't keep adding negative numbers to make a positive.

And the Democrats are going to keep losing. That -1 point score isn't attractive to anyone at all. Their entire platform is and has been for years, "We are not the Republicans."

No matter who you are, it's hard to deny that the Democrats fucked over the very people who were their most enthusiastic supporters - they don't even pretend to respect us, they just hurl abuse at us while sucking up to the creepy Republicans every chance they get.

If this country is going to survive, we need to put pressure on them! We need to put their feet to the fire. We need them to actually believe that we won't vote for them unless they actually make progress, or at the very least, give signs of attempting to make progress.

And yes, in order to do this we might have to take the risk that the Democrats do somewhat less well on this next small election. You can read this as "ruling over the hulk of a wasted and powerless progressive movement" if you like - I prefer to think of it as "finally showing a spine after decades of mockery and abuse."

But I don't think this is going to happen. Mr. Obama's dramatic move to the right has pushed the Republicans even further to the right, and the original link (which I confess I read one of page of and decided that my mental health was already suffering) shows how far toward madness they have gone. The Democrats will always take that same spineless argument we see above and only ever offer us "not-Republicans". Both parties will be united against any possibility of a third party, SUVs at the ready to squash any upstarts.

I see this going on until there's a Really Big Collapse. I expected that 9/11 would be a wake-up call for America; I expected Katrina to be a wake-up call; not only did that not happen, it seems to have pushed the country to start sprinting for the edge of the cliff.

We are in a fucked state. We need to make serious changes. We need to stop the endless foreign wars. We need to stop the endless theft from the Treasury. We need to stop the collapse of the middle class.

And this is not going to happen on its own and it isn't going to happen with baby steps - because we get a few baby steps in the right direction and then the crazies get us again and start running toward the cliff as fast as they can.

I'm not entirely sure what to do as an individual - if there is really anything we can do at all - but certainly if there is anything at all that can help, applying the strongest possible pressure we can on our political leaders is it. And yes, this might include eventually withholding our votes - because if there is no possibility of the Democrats losing our votes, they'll continue to treat us in the same way you'd treat the town slut, having their way with us on election night and then mocking us the rest of the time.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 9:34 PM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


pyramid termite: "no - the majority of us in the last election DID consent, by voting for the winners in a free, fair and democratic election"

something something ACORN something something amnesty voters something something Rasmussen polls suggest something something SHINY OBJECT

Also, I wonder where literally unprecedented levels of obstruction of a victorious party's agenda fit in to the whole "consent of the governed" dealie.
posted by Rhaomi at 9:36 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


oh my
posted by clavdivs at 9:37 PM on September 22, 2010


Last time around, they had something going for them: They hadn't just spent four years very openly doing everything they could to make government as dysfunctional as possible.
posted by wierdo at 9:37 PM on September 22, 2010


yonderboy - n. - a person who, if handed a Jed Bartlett Presidency, would never cease to rail about the fact that the President discouraged abortions and therefore is a Stalinist dictator who will sell you to the highest bidder and that HE wrote in Toby Ziegler
posted by thesmophoron at 9:54 PM on September 22, 2010


it's hard to deny that the Democrats fucked over the very people who were their most enthusiastic supporters - they don't even pretend to respect us, they just hurl abuse at us while sucking up to the creepy Republicans every chance they get.

I deny all of that. How is it that the people who jump ship are the "most enthusiastic" supporters? I donated hundreds of dollars and 14 hours of attorney time as a poll watcher on election day and I'm still with the Democratic Party. I've been a registered Democrat for 22 years. I've been in the trenches. I am the most enthusiastic supporter.

Here's the thing Obama keeps saying: "I never said it would be easy." And he's right. At the first sign of you not getting everything you want, you jump ship. My first vote for President was Michael Dukakis. So a bunch of kids come around and think this is An American President? It all gets worked out in two hours? This is a long never-ending slog. This is the price of democracy. You must always fight to make it work. The expectations are so out of line with the possible. Obama passed HCR. FDR, Truman, Kennedy. LBJ, Carter and Clinton all failed. All failed. Obama suceeded. He's been President, what, 450 days? Those Presidents rule a combined 40 years and failed at a time when every major industrialized country added HCR. Despite two wars and the greatest recession since the Great Depression, and complete GOP intrangisence, Barak H. Obama got it done in the first 450 days of his Presidency.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:02 PM on September 22, 2010 [32 favorites]


Came for the Joementum, rode it right back out.
posted by davejay at 10:07 PM on September 22, 2010


This is a long never-ending slog. This is the price of democracy. You must always fight to make it work.

Yes. It all happens by increments. The revolution will not be televised because there will be no revolution, no matter how romantic it sounds.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:08 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


lupus_yonderboy: "I'm not entirely sure what to do as an individual - if there is really anything we can do at all - but certainly if there is anything at all that can help, applying the strongest possible pressure we can on our political leaders is it. And yes, this might include eventually withholding our votes - because if there is no possibility of the Democrats losing our votes, they'll continue to treat us in the same way you'd treat the town slut, having their way with us on election night and then mocking us the rest of the time."

The most sensible answer is to oppose crappy Democrats in the primaries by donating, campaigning, and voting for better candidates. Not by opposing crappy Democrats in the general election and by doing so delivering power to the virtually guaranteed-to-be-even-crappier Republicans. You target the asshats in your party when the candidacy is up for grabs, but once that's settled they are your (wo)man until the next primary season rolls around.

And it's not some impossible task. The Tea Party proved that you can unseat the status quo candidate even when the party establishment disapproves. Obama wouldn't be president today if progressives hadn't marshaled in opposition to the DLC and the "inevitable" Clinton juggernaut. If that same movement had poured the same effort into selecting and campaigning for better candidates at all levels of government -- and had continued applying that pressure long after the election instead of collapsing on their laurels -- the Congress might have acted differently the last two years. And maybe some of that Tea Party anger could have been directed towards constructive causes instead of xenophobia and demagoguery.

But instead we get endless snark and infighting among the left, and any imperfect movement forward is attacked as a monstrous betrayal. So now the momentum has been ceded, and the corporate-backed astroturf on the other side is capitalizing on the pendulum swing by installing their ideal candidates. If we're lucky, they'll make the same mistake, and come 2011 the "Tea Party" will consume itself in a tumult of doubt, suspicion, and unrealistically high standards. But in the meantime, people like Angle, Rubio, Toomey, and Paul will more likely than not be in power, doing everything possible to roll back the modest gains we've made and destroying the possibility of making anymore. And right on the heels of that is the 2012 election. I wonder how much traction the "don't bother voting, Obama the gay-hating, warmongering liar is exactly the same as Palin/Gingrich/Romney/Jindal/etc." meme will have by then.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:10 PM on September 22, 2010 [8 favorites]


What he got done was deliver tens of millions of involuntary new customers to his corporate benefactors. I wouldn't brag about it.

Doesn't seem like many Democratic candidates are bragging about it either.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:11 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pure demagoguery.

Also, they fail at statistics.

I read to about page 17 and was like, "Fuck this."
posted by ralenys at 10:11 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's either this guy Brian Wild listed in the metadata or whoever at CNN with this weird username "gop".

This Brian Wild works for John Boehner. So probably him and other lackeys.
posted by zsazsa at 10:44 PM on September 22, 2010


I read to about page 17

You're a braver man than I am.
posted by blucevalo at 10:59 PM on September 22, 2010


Joe Beese: "What he got done was deliver tens of millions of involuntary new customers to his corporate benefactors. "

Involuntary? The problem with insurance today is that people can't get it when they need it. You can solve that problem by banning rescission, pre-existing conditions, and other fucked-up barriers to entry, but you have to balance that by requiring everyone to buy in. If you don't, then people only purchase insurance once they get sick, the system pays out as much or more than it takes in, prices skyrocket, and it all collapses.

You can do an end run around the insurance game with a single-payer system, but that never had the votes to pass Congress. Maybe if more activists had spent more time in years past working to elect more progressive candidates and/or not acquiescing to Republican victories because the Democrat wasn't exciting enough (hello, Scott Brown), then there would have been enough support for it to be possible, or at least to shift the Overton Window. But there wasn't.

Oh, but the public option! Yeah, that would have helped a lot. It would have provided an alternative to the insurance companies and helped hold down costs. And it failed. Hence what I said about "imperfect movement forward."

Given a partial win like that, you can celebrate what was achieved (No more rescission! No more pre-existing conditions! More funding for local health systems! Deficit reduction! Fewer uninsured Americans!) and use it as a foot in the door for further improvements. Perhaps even a public option, once the slander has been disproven, the virtues of the policy have been highlighted by supporters, and an election cycle has been spent taking down those legislators who stood in the way. Hooray!

Or you can assume the worst of everyone involved, bitch and moan and malign what was accomplished instead of cherishing it, loudly dismiss those responsible every day to everyone within earshot, and wait for the inevitable Republican backlash to not only repal or defund what was accomplished, but use the backlash as an excuse to never attempt anything like it for the next dozen or two years.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:01 PM on September 22, 2010 [14 favorites]


Joe Beese: "You know what I love about this country? Its amazingly short memory. We're a nation of amnesiacs. We forget everything. Where we came from. What we did to get here. History is last week's People magazine Michael. So don't pretend to cry for Randy Towers --- no one really cares."

I would actually argue that's quite not the case here. We have a bunch of people who seem to think we're still living in the Cold War.

That Communism is still one of the biggest threats to American Freedom®

That we have to prove we've still got it and our dicks aren't limp after we never proceeded to finish with the money shot in 'Nam.

We didn't forget. We never forget. We remember. And we keep holding that grudge til it eats us alive. I kinda wish we would forget and maybe we could start over without all this baggage from the past trying to repeat itself as a goddamned farce. They say if we don't remember history, we will be doomed to repeat it, but I'm starting to wonder if maybe, just maybe remembering history is part of the problem.

Then again, it's not History proper that's the problem it's the ideological lens through which we distort it as we ... how did Terence McKenna put it?

Yes, here...
"McLuhan called it "driving with the rear-view mirror" and the only thing good about it is it's better than driving with no mirror at all. "
I don't think I'd call it Amnesia, I'm more and more of the opinion that what we are dealing with now is an utterly complete Willful Ignorance. And ultimately, I despair because I don't see any solution on the horizon that can really deal with this viral infection in our cultural sphere. The hope as I see it has to be long term, because I sadly don't have any for the short term.

SWEET DREAMS EVERYONE!
posted by symbioid at 11:19 PM on September 22, 2010 [4 favorites]


Rhaomi: "And it's not some impossible task. The Tea Party proved that you can unseat the status quo candidate even when the party establishment disapproves. Obama wouldn't be president today if progressives hadn't marshaled in opposition to the DLC and the "inevitable" Clinton juggernaut. If that same movement had poured the same effort into selecting and campaigning for better candidates at all levels of government -- and had continued applying that pressure long after the election instead of collapsing on their laurels -- the Congress might have acted differently the last two years. And maybe some of that Tea Party anger could have been directed towards constructive causes instead of xenophobia and demagoguery."

1) Well, maybe if we'd seen an effort of actual real leadership by the supposedly "anti-DLC" candidate (who loved to, the minute he was elected, put in his economic team... wait, who? Oh yeah! Summers... And don't forget Rubin. Change, yeah. I'm glad he kept Goolsbee, and threw in Volcker, but they were shut out of the conversation until WAY too late). If he was really for the Public Option he sure as hell didn't go make a case for it, and let's get real here: he will gladly get out in the public eye and make a case for something if he wants to. He could have, behind closed doors, really pushed and pulled. Instead, he starts offering concessions before the game is even played. NOT the mighty dealer we were told he was.

2) "Collapsing on their laurels" I will absolutely grant you that. Look at the anti-war demos. They were freaking HUGE. No media coverage hardly at all, true, but it's not about the media, it's about the energy and passion. How much were we really ready to fight against the war? Once the war began, where the hell were the massive demonstrations? They didn't happen. Why? I don't know. And I am just as guilty and complicit as the rest.

I agree with Joe Beese in his conviction and in my heart I passionately believe in the need for true left-wing candidates. And I believe what we have is a shoddy shoddy mediocre "left". And I really really hate voting out of fear. I didn't vote for Obama, because he ended up being pretty much what I was afraid of him ending up being (even though I had "hope"d otherwise)... But... The demagoguery of the Tea Party ilk is something else. I mean, it was bad for a looooooong time, but something about this seems darker and more sinister than even the corporate drudgery of Republican Politicians. Do we merely try to mediate the most irrational elements and shift the Overton Window ever rightward? Do we go hard left to make up for their hard right? Do we ultimately just let it go overboard and fuck itself up so bad that in the end, we have to fix it? I'm with lupus on this. I thought 9/11 was gonna be it. I thought Katrina was it. Now, I don't know what IS it, and I don't know if I wanna know...

(wait, wasn't I going to bed?)
posted by symbioid at 11:35 PM on September 22, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's farcical that this "document" quotes Eisenhower, whom scholars have described as being so popular in the 1950s because he represented the "authentic American center" and was "close to the moderate center of American theological thinking." The man would be spit on and pounded into the dirt by rightwingers if he were alive today. Goldwater tore one of Eisenhower's former special assistants, Nelson Rockefeller, a new asshole by mocking him as an "apostle of the welfare state." Goldwater and his supporters hated Eisenhower and his liberal Eastern Seaboard allies, whatever platitudes of support they may have offered them in public.
posted by blucevalo at 11:45 PM on September 22, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, they're going for the stupid vote. Unfortunately, I think they may win it.
posted by klangklangston at 12:28 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


"At the first sign of you not getting everything you want, you jump ship."

I beg your pardon, but we're almost two years into this. This isn't "the first sign".

And, as I keep saying every time, it's not that we're "not getting everything we want" - it's that the country continues to move in the wrong direction and Mr. Obama is leading the charge.

As a single example, let's go back to the eternal wars. It seems obvious to me and a lot of other people that the reason that terrorists have murdered thousands of Americans is because Americans have murdered millions of foreigners during my lifetime alone.

There's the ethical question - "How can you live with so much blood on your hands?" - and this simply cannot be asked. Certainly, Mr. Obama has never shown any indication that the moral dimension of the war has the slightest bearing on his decisions - I think the continued drone attacks which routinely kill more innocents than targets is an excellent example.

But even the practical question, "How can you keep increasing the military budget while your country's economy is collapsing?" simply cannot be asked.

In fact, we know for sure that Mr. Obama considers military spending more important than any other. It's not just that his first two budgets both increased military spending, but that he proposed a moratorium on all new spending except the military.

(Note that they are already floating the idea of cutting Social Security - why else would Mr. Obama appoint a huge and outspoken fan of cutting Social Security to the head of the committee who is supposed to fix the deficit?)

The eternal war state is to me the biggest problem facing the US, both morally and financially, and Mr. Obama has worked tirelessly to increase that war state and to make sure that we never have to consider the moral dimensions of, you know, killing hundreds of thousands of innocent people for basically nothing.

But it's not even that he's doing completely the reverse of what I believe is the morally, ethically, practically and financially correct thing to do - it's that we don't even get to discuss these subjects, because the moment you do, people like Ironmouth accuse you of being childish, petulant because you aren't getting your own way - and simply never even address your actual issues.

(This is actually something that our much-reviled Glenn Greenwald has brought up repeatedly - that even though the "serious, sensible" people were completely wrong about absolutely everything in the last ten years and the "lunatic fringe" was completely right, the "serious, sensible" people are not in the slightest discredited by this, continue to the run the government and the media, and the people, the adults who accurately predicted the debacles we were getting into and presented mature, well-thought out solutions continue to be derided as cranks and crackpots.)

We're simply told that we are responsible for George W. Bush and that if we continue to attempt to press for an intelligent and moral solution to these issues, we'll have more of the same, that dissent will bring another Republican administration.

And so we continue to slip into the quicksand.

One more final example. Mr. Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay within a year. Yes, I understand the story that again, Mr. Obama was powerless to actually act or even try to act because of The Rules. I don't buy this myth of Presidential impotence - it didn't seem to stop Bush, did it? - but I know he doesn't just "wave a magic wand", thanks!

But a year after he was elected, to the very week, we got a little press release from the Administration pointing out that at least 50 men held there would never be tried or released - and that the Administration is presenting legal justifications and trying to set court precedents so that the US can continue to do this forever.

So I cannot support the Democrats any more. I will not have this blood on my hands. I cannot support these murderers at all. If my refusal to support one bloody-handed gang of thugs over another somewhat more effectively brutal gang of thugs results in the collapse of America, then I'd claim that that collapse would have happened regardless if your country is so flimsily constructed.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:40 AM on September 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


> Once the war began, where the hell were the massive demonstrations? They didn't happen. Why? I don't know.

Oh, I can tell you why. Because we were completely marginalized by the media, and a lot of us were brutalized and arrested.

Before the war, we had the largest rallies in the history of the planet - literally millions of people rallied against the impending Iraq war and yet it didn't register a blip on people's consciousness.

I stopped going when the mass arrests became common - I'm a legal immigrant, not a citizen, and my lawyer told me that if I were arrested at one of these, whether or not I was convicted of anything at all, I'd almost certainly be confined and then deported. For me, the very real chance of ruining my life and career, weighed against the certainty that the ruling party thought our demonstrations laughable and pathetic and that most Americans, had they the faintest idea we even existed, would have thought the same thing, meant I was out of there.

But there were still huge demonstrations for the first year or two. I honestly think people realized that they were getting nowhere with them and gave up.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 12:48 AM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


At the first sign of you not getting everything you want, you jump ship. My first vote for President was Michael Dukakis. So a bunch of kids come around and think this is An American President? It all gets worked out in two hours?
Yes, that's exactly correct! So why don't you give us everything we want?

Also, I don't know if you've noticed, but we haven't gotten anything that we want and things are significantly worse then they were under the bush administration. Since voting for the democrats doesn't accomplish anything, why bother?
posted by delmoi at 1:15 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Also, I don't know if you've noticed, but we haven't gotten anything that we want and things are significantly worse then they were under the bush administration."

Have I just missed some sarcasm in my brief skim down to the bottom of the thread or are you sincerely saying this crazy thing?
posted by klangklangston at 1:19 AM on September 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


You refuse to acknowledge the real difficulties that exist in getting a giant program passed and then call him a liar.

Ironmouth, you've argued this before and just like last time, it's just a simple fact that Obama promised to implement a public healthcare option and then reneged on that promise.

We're not talking the kind of small promise that politicians invariably make on the campaign trail that doesn't get followed up on, but an actual 180-degree reversal on a major component of his platform, which people (people like myself and several others in this thread) voted for him to enact.

There's not really any way around this plain-as-day fact, as ugly as that truth is.

This fact was true when I pointed this out to you then and you had nothing to say in response, and that fact is just as true now, when it is being repeated to you.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:31 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can we just give these people their own little country? They could all go live in Alaska, pay no taxes, drill for oil... all in their very own gated community! We can get all the caribou and bears out of there before they arrive. And under no circumstances will they be granted visas to enter the United States.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 1:48 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sitting up here in Canada, this is kind of maddening: it seems to me that there's a very stark divide between the Democrats, who are on a meandering trajectory towards better social services, sensible taxation, and at least a slowing of the growing disparity between rich and poor in America; and the Republicans, who are on a bullet-train trajectory towards completely destroying the entire social safety net that makes your country function.

The Democrats deliver improvements at about 50% of the rate you'd hope.

The Republicans want to eradicate your health care system, remove your freedom to do anything but bear arms and tithe to televangelists, and basically strip-mine your entire country to fuel the military complex.

And you still think there's no difference between the two. You're willing to sit on your thumbs because you're in a snit about not getting single-payer health care, and hand the entire country over to Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh. You're beyond cutting off your nose to spite your face; you're shoving your head into a goddamn woodchipper to spite your face.

Maybe it's because I'm in Quebec, so my choice is simple: vote for the kind of tepid Liberal party, which is more-or-less right of my politics in general, or vote for the Parti Québecois, who want to separate from Canada. Maybe I'm accustomed to looking at things with that kind of binary logic. I choose the federalist option, and throw my voice and weight behind social causes that, in turn, pressure the right-ish government into doing less right-ish things so that they don't lose to the more insane party. Not perfect, but... adequate.

Maybe there's some sort of batshit rationale behind this: if we let things get super super bad, you're thinking, people will magically form a third party and then unicorns! Maybe if we punish the Democrats and let the Republicans run the country so deep into the ground that it will take generations to recover, the Democrats will magically become the perfect political party and make everything better forever!

I tend towards thinking that things will just get super super bad. There will be no unicorns. The Democrats will not react to "punishment" by becoming more leftist; they'll try to get more of the votes that are cast for the winning party. Which means going more right.

A two-party system sucks. I get that. But you've got a two-party system for at least the next six months. A third party is not going to arise from the ashes between now and November and kiss everyone's boo-boos better. There's nothing that says you can't vote for the stopgap between a slightly-sane America and the Palin/Limbaugh Complex, and work towards structuring a better third option at the same time.
posted by Shepherd at 3:44 AM on September 23, 2010 [37 favorites]


Since voting for the democrats doesn't accomplish anything, why bother?

In my opinion, that attitude has been carefully cultivated by the republicans over the years, and it works.

Why does it work? One reason is the republicans vote in lockstep with their party. This is something the big tent democrats haven't managed for many years. End result is the dems can't scrape up a meaningful enough majority to get things done.

Here's another, more cynical view: I once read (maybe on MeFi) that republican party gains power, then when they see things going really badly they make it worse on their way out the door (think TARP). This sets up a scenario that makes it difficult for the newly elected democrats to recover from and the cycle starts all over again.

On my most cynical days I believe that it's all about the money. Getting elected to national office is so expensive that once in office, the payback is to the corporate interests rather than we the people. That applies to both democrats and republicans.

None of these views stops me from voting, and my vote is pragmatic. I cast my ballot for the person who I believe will come closest to the mark and is electable. There's no such thing as perfection in a politics.
posted by SteveInMaine at 3:57 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow. Obama get's elected, the Republicans go into full NO mode and you people blame Obama? Admittedly, he's been less than perfect, but your solution is to not vote?

That's sound incredibly naive, insane and petulant to me. You should be working to get more liberal or left leaning Democrats in office, not hand things to batshitinsane Tea Party candidates.

Ironmouth, you've argued this before and just like last time, it's just a simple fact that Obama promised to implement a public healthcare option and then reneged on that promise.


It didn't seem to have the votes in the Senate, as I recall, so it's hardly like he lied. You can argue that he didn't fight hard enough for it I suppose, but your seemingly unwillingness to face political realities is odd.
posted by nomadicink at 4:24 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


One thing that seems to have gotten lost in all the sturm-und-drang this cycle is that this election is more about redistricting on the state level than anything else. All states will be re-drawing their congressional districts next year. This will have very profound and long-lasting effects on the makeup of Congress. You may be throwing-up your hands and giving-up for this election, but not voting will, essentially, give the crazies Congress for the next 10 years.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:45 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


It didn't seem to have the votes in the Senate, as I recall, so it's hardly like he lied

People's memories are short. No one other than President Obama chose to discard the public option from the reform proposal. This choice was made before any votes, but after insurance company lobbyists and astroturfers poisoned the well. There was substantial public support at the time for an alternative to private insurance, and Obama went ahead and broke his promise, anyway, out of fear.

With his election there was a historical, once-in-our-lifetime opportunity to affect a fundamental and much-needed overhaul of a broken healthcare system. He had a Democratic majority in the House and Senate and support from the public. Above all else, he made the public option a major point of his campaign, and beyond the waste of this opportunity, his lie was a violation of his supporters' trust.

And that decision is no one's fault but his.

You can argue that he didn't fight hard enough for it I suppose, but your seemingly unwillingness to face political realities is odd.

I don't know; what exactly do folks like you want to hear from Obama supporters who are disappointed?

Last time I pointed out the record, I was told I was misrepresenting facts even though the quotes I pulled were directly from Obama's campaign materials, without any editing.

I suppose we should just STFU and vote Democratic without expecting officials to be accountable, right?

Why do we even bother to have a democracy in the first place, when certain people whose party we have voted for cannot allow any dissent, even to point out the factual record?

If this is the case, if our votes are to be taken for granted, I wish those people would just come out and say so.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:12 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know it sounds corny, but can't we all just get along?

I always feel a bit sad on Metafilter, watching articulate, passionate and informed people tear strips out of each other for not being left wing enough or left wing in the right way.

I'm sure that you all have much more in common with each other than with the Republicans. You all clearly care about this a lot. Can't you just... I don't know... be a bit nicer about disagreeing? Burn fewer bridges?
posted by lucien_reeve at 5:15 AM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Blazecock, I'd losing interest in discussing it with you because you're immediately jumping to extremes. No, I don't think you should shut up and just vote Democrat, why would you say that? Why does it always seem like these discussions have to go for the jugular even within the party.

People's memories are short. No one other than President Obama chose to discard the public option from the reform proposal.

Link please? The public option always faced some opposition

what exactly do folks like you want to hear from Obama supporters who are disappointed?

A little less doom and gloom and immediate jumping to HE LIED, HE LIED. If If wanted hysterical one track rants, I'd join the Tea Party. Could the health care thing gone better? Yes, no question and part of that is Obama's fault for not leading a fucking charge and battling against batshit insanity in the Summer of 09.

That's over with now, done. It happened. I think it's more productive and interesting to look ahead and see how we can turn that half a loaf into a whole loaf. The fight to get that was long, nasty and just barely succeeded. I can't understand why some Democrats are now in the mode of "Fuck it, I'm not voting." You're not going to get a public option by letting more Republicans get in.
posted by nomadicink at 5:24 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


There was this old Jules Feiffer cartoon about a guy who went to the Olympics and managed to tie the Russian in every single event. Same time in the 400-meter, same length in the long jump, same distance in the shot put. The punchline is that Olympic officials accuse him of not giving his all, and he replies "not giving my all? Do you know how HARD it is to run a mile in exactly 4:07, jump exactly 12.3 meters and throw a shot exactly 20.97 meters?"

I always think of that cartoon when I see the exact same people over and over again defend Obama's inactions by skipping straight to the strawman of "he's not all powerful." I know he's not. I do, however, find it amazing that he's influential and dynamic enough to win a sweeping election, motivate millions of people and execute one of the largest electoral increases for his party since World War II, but there's literally nothing he can say or do to even shape public perception of his own policies. That is some amazing accuracy in one's landing, isn't it?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:43 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sitting up here in Canada, this is kind of maddening: it seems to me that there's a very stark divide between the Democrats, who are on a meandering trajectory towards better social services, sensible taxation, and at least a slowing of the growing disparity between rich and poor in America; and the Republicans, who are on a bullet-train trajectory towards completely destroying the entire social safety net that makes your country function.

This. Listen to Shepherd. Listen to nomadicink. (Not that I think you will.)

Those of you who think that the Obama Administration are a "bloody-handed gang of thugs" and interchangeable with the Republicans, and insist that your pure vote will never again be cast for the horrible Democrats, will no doubt be joining hands and singing "Joy Unspeakable" when the House becomes John Boehner's fiefdom and the Senate becomes Mitch McConnell's playground, and tea partiers like Sharron Angle and Rand Paul are in a position to cast votes on legislation that is crucial to the future of the country and the world.

I'm not going to help enable that happening by withholding my vote, no matter how disappointed I am in various shortcomings of the Administration, and no matter how disgusted I am with the behavior of given Democratic congresspeople.

These Obama/Democratic Party discussions seem always to end the same way on the blue now, and it's sickening. The Red State/Power Line folks love this kind of bloodletting when it's happening to Democrats and not to Republicans. The circular firing squad is alive and well, as always.
posted by blucevalo at 5:44 AM on September 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


This is important - so we'll need to go over it one more time...

It is not that Obama tried and failed to get a public option. Or that he "could have tried harder".

It is that actively worked against it while claiming to support it.
...contrary to Obama's occasional public statements in support of a public option, the White House clearly intended from the start that the final health care reform bill would contain no such provision and was actively and privately participating in efforts to shape a final bill without it.  From the start, assuaging the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries was a central preoccupation of the White House -- hence the deal negotiated in strict secrecy with Pharma to ban bulk price negotiations and drug reimportation, a blatant violation of both Obama's campaign positions on those issues and his promise to conduct all negotiations out in the open (on C-SPAN).  Indeed, Democrats led the way yesterday in killing drug re-importation, which they endlessly claimed to support back when they couldn't pass it.  The administration wants not only to prevent industry money from funding an anti-health-care-reform campaign, but also wants to ensure that the Democratic Party -- rather than the GOP -- will continue to be the prime recipient of industry largesse.

...

Does anyone actually believe that Rahm Emanuel (who built his career on industry support for the Party and jamming "centrist" bills through Congress with the support of Blue Dogs) and Barack Obama (who attached himself to Joe Lieberman when arriving in the Senate, repeatedly proved himself receptive to "centrist" compromises, had a campaign funded by corporate interests, and is now the leader of a vast funding and political infrastructure) were the helpless victims of those same forces?  Engineering these sorts of "centrist," industry-serving compromises has been the modus operandi of both Obama and, especially, Emanuel.

...

... the idea that the White House did what it could to ensure the inclusion of progressive provisions -- or that they were powerless to do anything about it -- is absurd on its face.  Whatever else is true, the overwhelming evidence points to exactly what Sen. Feingold said yesterday:  "This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place."
In short: Obama lied to our faces - repeatedly, for months and months - about what he was working towards.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:48 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Has your buddy Puff the Magic Dragon convinced you that a universal healthcare mandate wasn't passed

I guess this got a lot of favorites because people liked the gung-ho "was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?" tone to it, but to say that the health care bill is "universal health care" is completely untrue. It's a mandate for those not provided insurance by their employers to purchase it themselves. Calling it universal healthcare is factually inaccurate. Even the administration itself acknowledges it's not that.

It helps when you're chastising progressives for being wildly idealistic to not being so wrong yourself and in such an obnoxious way.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:49 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I do, however, find it amazing that he's influential and dynamic enough to win a sweeping election, motivate millions of people and execute one of the largest electoral increases for his party since World War II, but there's literally nothing he can say or do to even shape public perception of his own policies. That is some amazing accuracy in one's landing, isn't it?

Not really. The majority in the Senate was built on two independents voting with the Democrats, along with conservative Democrats voting along with the liberals. It was always going to be a tight fight, with a virtual guarantee of comprising going on.

Finally, the tragedy of getting Obama elected is that people thought that was it. It wasn't, it was literally the very beginning, where we really had to get out and push and push FOR YEARS. I don't think people understood that and I don't think people understand that now, especially with the economy in the toilet.

In short: Obama lied to our faces - repeatedly, for months and months - about what he was working towards.

Let it go, move forward. Seriously. He's far from the first politician who promised one thing, while doing another. The public option is still possible, and I think we'll eventually get there, but in order for that to happen, everyone needs to get out and push. Standing around complaining because a wrong turn was taken a few miles that got us into this ditch isn't helping. Get out and push.

If you want to change things, not voting isn't going to help at all. AT ALL. You can argue wishes and theory but the cold hard facts are that Obama is currently the best the Democrats have. Keeping majorities or near majorities in Congress is important. I'm fine with holding his feet to the fire, but simply not voting isn't the way to do it.

We also need to realize that Obama isn't going to do everything we'd like like him to do and that's ok.
posted by nomadicink at 5:58 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'd sign up for cable if they had a tv show about a team of lawyers, who, every episode, would successfully prosecute lying politicians and cart them off to Guantanamo for "additional questioning."
posted by mecran01 at 6:01 AM on September 23, 2010


CSI: Lying Assholes Unit
posted by nomadicink at 6:12 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


In two years I haven't even managed to pay off a few thousand dollars of debt I owe, much less attempt anything with an army of petty millionaires actively conspiring to undermine and destroy anything I attempt, because any victory I have, no matter how slight, will undermine their ongoing efforts to amass as much power as possible, while my supposed partners in getting things done are corporate drones with vague ideas about doing good that are massively undermined by constant fears of losing their jobs and a tendency to acquiesce to the slightest bullying.

I don't know who could have gotten more done in these circumstances than Obama. He has, after all, passed more broad-reaching reforms than anyone since the last Depression, 90 years ago. And he's done it in an America where a large percentage of the citizens have actually turned into a sort of intensely selfish sort of anarchist, who want to see government destroyed, and who are supported by a party who wants to get elected under the promise of that destruction, while, in practice, we have seen what it actually looks like under Bush 2 -- massive debt, warmongering, suppression of dissent, government payouts to cony billionaires, and an amassing of power in the executive branch.

The thing that might destroy the GOP is that it has started to purify its ideology, as demonstrated by this document, and has started to turn on its own when they fail the purity test. It's an ideology that is pushing to an unreasonable extreme, where centrists who don't espouse Tenther dogma and Tea arty hostility to taxes are replaced by lunatics. And it's a party where keeping in lockstep with the party's decisions, even when you disagree, is the only way they have managed to maintain power -- if you think there aren't Republicans who have supported some of Omaba's changes, but have voted against them because they were told to do so, you haven't been paying attention -- they have voted against their own proposals when Obama has agreed to them.

And we may see the party tear itself apart as a result. They have and will continue to push unelectable candidates because they are ideologically approved. People like Michele Bachmann, who at one time could have been shunted into the madhouse that is the House of Representatives and left to babble her nonsense in a corner are now thinking they have shots at the presidency. The GOP candidate for Governor in Minnesota wants to slash state government by a third -- with no plan -- and will not acknowledge that we're facing a multi-billion dollar deficit that we've only managed to put off by deferring payments to things like education. His history of legislation as a state representative includes things like trying to pass laws saying that the state can ignore any federal mandate if the state's governor decides it's an overreach of the Constitution -- but not really, no, just the Tenth Amendment, which seems to be the only part of the Constitution that matters anymore, along with the right to bear arms. Candidates like Emmer are running nationwide. Most will lose, but some will win as sort of petty protest votes by people who think two years of Obama should have been enough to lift us out of the largest recession since the Great Depression (never mind that the Recession has actually already ended), just because a Recession that took four-plus years to get around to making things bad for them hasn't yet gotten around to making things better for them. And these Republicans will be embarrassments and disasters, because they're not savvy. They're the sort of people who will make sure it's clear that the issue with Obama is his race. They're the people who will turn out to have all sorts of skeletons in their closets that they've been able to hide because they're so small-scale, but come tumbling out as soon as they reach a higher office.

In two years, when Obama runs again, the economy will be greatly improved. Jobs will be on the uptick. People will be benefiting from newly being insured. He will have passed more meaningful legislation than any president in living history. And he will have done it in the face of absolute opposition by the minority party.

It should be his election to lose. But he could lose it. Because Democrats can be as blinkered as Republicans. They can institute their own ideological purity tests, which Obama, who was able to win the first time precisely because he is a religious, pro-business centrist, will fail. We could turn this country over the lunatics because Obama lied about the public option. And, at this moment, this would mean putting into power a party that has slipped almost completely into a uniquely American form of fascism.

Fascism doesn't rise from nowhere -- it almost always crawls out of the ashes of a failed democracy.
posted by Astro Zombie at 6:22 AM on September 23, 2010 [15 favorites]


I don't know; what exactly do folks like you want to hear from Obama supporters who are disappointed?

Right now, I want to hear that you (and Joe Beese) have looked at yourself in the mirror, looked yourself in the eyes, and said "I am disappointed with how the healthcare thing turned out, and now I want to hand the entire country over to Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck."

Slowly. Savouring every word.

Then, with careful enunciation,

"I am disappointed with how the healthcare thing turned out. I now think Rush Limbaugh has a much better vision for the future of America than Barack Obama."

Because that's what you (and Joe Beese) are proposing. Rather than accept that Obama has some failings, that he flinched and accepted some-good rather than push harder for absolute-good, you want to turn the country over to the Tea Party.

Do you hold your friends to these same standards? Your family members? Sweet mama, what were holidays like in the Beese and Pileon houses?

Saintly Mrs. Beese-Pileon: Son, I intend to get you a horse for Christmas.
Young Joecock: Sweet! I have always wanted a horse.

December 25...
Saintly Mrs. Beese-Pileon: Son, I blew it on the horse. But I got you this Shetland--
Young Joecock: FUCK YOU "MOM" THIS INSANE DRIFTER IS MY MOTHER NOW
Insane Drifter: stab no milk no milk stab hate radar banana

Dude promised something. He overpromised. He came through on other things. You can watch the entire country burn to satisfy your own hurt pride, or you can suck it up, hold your nose, and try to keep things from getting even worse.
posted by Shepherd at 6:22 AM on September 23, 2010 [16 favorites]


I get the disappointment, but would you have voted for McCain/Palin 08 instead of the Obama ticket if you knew how events would unfold? Especially since getting rational justices to the Supreme Court seems to be the most likely way towards progress with issues like gay marriage.
posted by ersatz at 6:34 AM on September 23, 2010


Palin and the extreme-right of the Warmongering Neoliberal Party are fucking crazy.

I'd better get out there right now and vote for Obama's centrist wing of the Warmongering Neoliberal Party to stop those other lunatics!


This is probably the best comment in the entire thread. Obama is really irrelevant to the larger issues that are currently bedeviling our Republic. There is really very little that a President can do in 4 years to enact the systemic changes necessary to salvage the American experiment. It is possible for the Senate and House to implement the necessary changes but unfortunately they only follow the money and nothing else. Here are some wise words from some wise dudes that explains our current problems perfectly. Note that these were written 223 years ago.

Safety from external danger is the most powerful director of national conduct. Even the ardent love of liberty will, after a time, give way to its dictates. The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free.

The institutions chiefly alluded to are standing armies and the correspondent appendages of military establishments. Standing armies, it is said, are not provided against in the new Constitution; and it is therefore inferred that they may exist under it. Their existence, however, from the very terms of the proposition, is, at most, problematical and uncertain. But standing armies, it may be replied, must inevitably result from a dissolution of the Confederacy. Frequent war and constant apprehension, which require a state of as constant preparation, will infallibly produce them. They would, at the same time, be necessitated to strengthen the executive arm of government, in doing which their constitutions would acquire a progressive direction toward monarchy. It is of the nature of war to increase the executive at the expense of the legislative authority.

Thus, we should, in a little time, see established in every part of this country the same engines of despotism which have been the scourge of the Old World. This, at least, would be the natural course of things; and our reasonings will be the more likely to be just, in proportion as they are accommodated to this standard.

These are not vague inferences drawn from supposed or speculative defects in a Constitution, the whole power of which is lodged in the hands of a people, or their representatives and delegates, but they are solid conclusions, drawn from the natural and necessary progress of human affairs.

If we are wise enough to preserve the Union we may for ages enjoy an advantage similar to that of an insulated situation. Europe is at a great distance from us. Her colonies in our vicinity will be likely to continue too much disproportioned in strength to be able to give us any dangerous annoyance. Extensive military establishments cannot, in this position, be necessary to our security. But if we should be disunited, and the integral parts should either remain separated, or, which is most probable, should be thrown together into two or three confederacies, we should be, in a short course of time, in the predicament of the continental powers of Europe --our liberties would be a prey to the means of defending ourselves against the ambition and jealousy of each other.

This is an idea not superficial or futile, but solid and weighty. It deserves the most serious and mature consideration of every prudent and honest man of whatever party. If such men will make a firm and solemn pause, and meditate dispassionately on the importance of this interesting idea; if they will contemplate it in all its attitudes, and trace it to all its consequences, they will not hesitate to part with trivial objections to a Constitution, the rejection of which would in all probability put a final period to the Union. The airy phantoms that flit before the distempered imaginations of some of its adversaries would quickly give place to the more substantial forms of dangers, real, certain, and formidable.


PUBLIUS(Alexander Hamilton) Federalist 8


How could a readiness for war in time of peace be safely prohibited, unless we could prohibit, in like manner, the preparations and establishments of every hostile nation? The means of security can only be regulated by the means and the danger of attack. They will, in fact, be ever determined by these rules, and by no others. It is in vain to oppose constitutional barriers to the impulse of self-preservation. It is worse than in vain; because it plants in the Constitution itself necessary usurpations of power, every precedent of which is a germ of unnecessary and multiplied repetitions. If one nation maintains constantly a disciplined army, ready for the service of ambition or revenge, it obliges the most pacific nations who may be within the reach of its enterprises to take corresponding precautions. The fifteenth century was the unhappy epoch of military establishments in the time of peace. They were introduced by Charles VII. of France. All Europe has followed, or been forced into, the example. Had the example not been followed by other nations, all Europe must long ago have worn the chains of a universal monarch. Were every nation except France now to disband its peace establishments, the same event might follow. The veteran legions of Rome were an overmatch for the undisciplined valor of all other nations and rendered her the mistress of the world.

Not the less true is it, that the liberties of Rome proved the final victim to her military triumphs; and that the liberties of Europe, as far as they ever existed, have, with few exceptions, been the price of her military establishments. A standing force, therefore, is a dangerous, at the same time that it may be a necessary, provision. On the smallest scale it has its inconveniences. On an extensive scale its consequences may be fatal. On any scale it is an object of laudable circumspection and precaution. A wise nation will combine all these considerations; and, whilst it does not rashly preclude itself from any resource which may become essential to its safety, will exert all its prudence in diminishing both the necessity and the danger of resorting to one which may be inauspicious to its liberties.


PUBLIUS(James Madison) Federalist 41
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:39 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


protip: Don't vote for republicans or democrats and expect anything substantial to change that will in any way upset the status quo.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:43 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Basically, this plan is put everything back precisely the way it was when Bush was President so that the uncomfortable ones can choose to forget that Obama was ever elected.
posted by jefficator at 6:50 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Republicans are going to win the House back, and possibly the Senate. We've got nowhere to go but down, and by God we're going there. Voting is well and good (and yes, I will vote), but it's fruitless this time--we all know it.

I pretty much hate everyone right now, and I have no outlet for this incandescent rage that would make a whit of difference. Wishing I could kill people with my brain only takes me so far, and then having to come back to the reality that I do not have that ability only makes me angrier.

We're so fucking screwed, and there's simply no way back, now. And if your response is "Well, we're screwed if people like you don't *do* anything," all I can tell you is that I have done. I've done for years and years. Canvassing. Phones. Donations. Heated debates with strangers in coffee shops who still believe that it's a good thing we didn't have a National Health System in the U.S., because Stephen Hawking would have died if we did--even after I explained that Stephen Hawking is English and has repeatedly said that his life was saved over and over by the NHS.

Nothing comes of it.

NB: I am not going to kill someone with my brain, or by any other method. I might see if I can't get a free "trial pass" to a gym, and punch a heavy bag for a while.
posted by tzikeh at 6:58 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


You act as if we only ever get one election, that it's the next election, that the world will fall if we lose it, and thus we cannot do the slightest thing to disturb the delicate Democrats, because if they win they might conceivably do something good for us.

Uh, this might have made sense in 2000. But where were you from 2000-2008? Hello, the Republicans do exist! A very substantial percentage of the country agrees with them! Last time they were in power they screwed the country left it in shambles, looted the treasury and killed something like half a million Iraqis just for the hell of it.

When, ever, a single time in history, has withholding votes ever helped a party in any future election? Ever? If they win, they get a platform and Obama will have to compromise with them because he has to run the country! And you will call him a sellout! When it was you who put him in that position!

Politics 101. When you aren't helping your side you are helping the other side. Because a party out of power will gravitate more to the other side. See Blair, Tony.

Your demands for the perfect over the good will have us lose, not gain better health care. When clinton lost healthcare in '93 it was 17 more years before anyone had the guts to try it again. How many thounsands of people died because they couldn't get care that they can get for the first time today, September 23, 2010. As of today, no lifetime limits on care. As of today, children with preexisting conditions may not be refused care. As of today, adults with pre-existing conditions can get health insurance. As a small business owner with epilepsy, this is so big to me.

But, no, nothing has been done, don't vote for dems because they didn't include my pet "single-payer lite" program in the health care bill.

If you do that, you throw away actual, real gains that will help us. That start today. Because the GOP, who you say doesn't exist, wants to repeal that bill. They hate it. The document at the center of this post vows to repeal it. You accuse me of saying it would be terrible. Damn straight it would be terrible!
posted by Ironmouth at 7:22 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does anyone really think that we can set our "domestic" house in order before setting our foreign policy in order. Before we can even begin to address the myriad of problems faced here at home we have to address the problem of our funding and tacit participation in the killing of innocents in far off places around the world. We spend more money on military expenditures than the rest of the world combined. That should tell you something.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:28 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


From the "pledge":

We pledge to advance policies that promote greater liberty, wider opportunity, a robust defense, and national economic prosperity.

We pledge to honor families, traditional marriage, life, and the private and faith-based organizations that form the core of our American values.



Same as it ever was. These two sentences are almost diametrically opposed - and they are right fucking next to each other. There's not even a paragraph between them where the writers could have lost their train of thought or something.

Yes, we believe in freedom and opportunity as bedrock values, but only as long as we get to define the terms. Oh yeah, we're also OK with theocracy, as long as it's good 'ol American Christian theocracy.

The GOP is philosophically bankrupt.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 7:29 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


If you do that, you throw away actual, real gains that will help us. That start today. Because the GOP, who you say doesn't exist, wants to repeal that bill. They hate it. The document at the center of this post vows to repeal it. You accuse me of saying it would be terrible. Damn straight it would be terrible!

Last time I checked politicians need to say certain things to the electorate in order to get voted in. For Republicans this is one of those things. Your view how our political system functions is very naive. The Republicans will never repeal the Healthcare act just like Obama will never repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2006 or the Patriot Act. Just like Obama will never pull out of Iraq or any other country currently occupied by our military.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:36 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Republicans are going to win the House back, and possibly the Senate. We've got nowhere to go but down, and by God we're going there. Voting is well and good (and yes, I will vote), but it's fruitless this time--we all know it.

They want you to believe that. Very much. They want you to be disheartened and quit.

But that's not true. I don't know if you watch polls. I sure as hell do. And guess what. The polls have been trending hard Dem for two weeks now. Four national polls in the last week have the Dems up 1 in the congressional generic. And Nate Silver on the NYT's 538 blog says that the congressional generic is underestimating Dem strength. Finally, according to Jeff Zeleny of the NYT, the GOP is short of cash. They do not have enough money to operate their expensive voter turnout operation which has aided them so much in past years.

We have a good chance of limiting the damage. No matter what happens, it is in our best interests to have as many seats as possible.

Don't give up the ship.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:39 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Your view how our political system functions is very naive.

Naïveté is in the eye of the beholder. You're quite naive if you think the GOP doesn't mean to do exactly what it intends to do and says it will do when it gets control of the House and Senate. Darrell Issa has a long list of investigations that will start forward motion on Day 1 and tie down Obama and his entire administration for the next 2 years.
posted by blucevalo at 7:42 AM on September 23, 2010


You're quite naive if you think the GOP doesn't mean to do exactly what it intends to do and says it will do when it gets control of the House and Senate.

You mean like Obama did what he said he would do when he pledged to pull out of Iraq and shut down Guantanamo? I am pretty sure that history is on my side as far as my interpretation of our political system. While it is possible I am wrong time will tell I guess.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:48 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is it possible to have a thread about anything political without it turning into the Joe Beese Is Disappointed In Obama show?
posted by shakespeherian at 7:57 AM on September 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


Imagine, if you will, that it is the year 2000. George W. Bush is debating Al Gore on television. After Gore heaves one of his weary sighs, Bush looks into the television camera and speaks:

If elected President, I will conduct drone bombing attacks on our ally Pakistan, killing hundreds of civilians and inflaming anti-American sentiment throughout the Muslim world. I will do this even if a natural disaster plunges them into a humanitarian crisis. I will also fuel proxy wars in Yemen and Somalia. And I will authorize the execution of an American citizen before charging him with a crime.

You would have called him a bloodthirsty madman. You would have said that we must keep him from power at all costs.

In other words: Please spare me your talk of "purity tests". Even Joseph fucking Stalin felt it necessary to have a kangaroo court deliver a finding of guilt before executing one of his citizens. This is where your decades of "lesser evil-ism" have brought us. Your strategy has proven itself a failure.

This is the point where the frustrated Democratic partisan usually fumes, "Well, what's your answer then?" Who said there's supposed to be an answer? It's not my job to offer you hope.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:08 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


shakespeherian, I've been wondering that same thing, and I'm pretty sure the answer is no.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:15 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's OK though, because Obama reads Metafilter and will correct his wayward policies once he sees Joe's insightful arguments.
posted by Aizkolari at 8:17 AM on September 23, 2010


Joe, your one track "Obama is bad and destroying everything" repetitions got tired and boring a long time ago. It's getting to the point where you're coming off as a joke. Not because you bring up negative points about Obama, but because your phrase them in the most inflammatory terms, such as equating him to George Bush. That sort of "logic" does your argument no good and makes it easy to dismiss you as a crank.

There probably isn't a single Obama supporter who isn't disappointed in his Presidency in several ways. I am most definitely one of them. Your constant one dimensional grousing is petty. It is not helpful. It offers no solutions. It encourages no debate. It is a non starter and I really wish you'd knock it off or at least articulate a better. What are you trying to accomplish by bleating the same thing in every political thread? What are you hoping to accomplish by yelling down the vast halls of the internet?

'Cause frankly, all you're doing is making me long for kill file on Metafilter.
posted by nomadicink at 8:19 AM on September 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


Read most of the comments and yes I did RTFA so I won't rehash a lot of that. Mrs. Bubba & I are pretty much life-long Democrats. We are long to the left tail and didn't think that Obama getting elected was going to give us anything but a centrist, which compared to the centrists of our youth, means that Obama is pretty much as much Democrat as Eisenhower was.

I can't help most of the nation out here on this upcoming vote. I got one national election and one state election. The congressional election is going to go D whether I vote or not--and I AM going to vote. The gubernatorial election will probably go to the R, in part because he has "executive qualities" and in part because his D opponent is a short-tempered, nasty man.

I was moaning to Mrs. Bubba about the Dems chances in the upcoming, and have vacillated between feeling like Joe Beese and joe lisboa. Mrs. Bubba says, with the wisdom of the ages: You know what the Democrats could do? They could try to lead.

I can't think of a better tandem for the fulfillment of the Peter principle than Reid & Pelosi. But I know that even with them, I don't have McConnell & Boehner in charge of the asylum. In short, friends don't let friends vote Republican.

See you all on the Washington Mall on October 30. We'll be there for the "million moderates" march.
posted by beelzbubba at 8:20 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


joe, your using stalin a
gain
posted by clavdivs at 8:21 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Is it possible to have a thread about anything political without it turning into the Joe Beese Is Disappointed In Obama show?

Is it possible to have a thread about anything political without it turning into an apology of the warcrimes and lies of the Obama administration? It's okay to ignore war crimes as long as we get our healthcare right? But yeah lesser of two evils I guess...sigh.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:27 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


You mean like Obama did what he said he would do when he pledged to pull out of Iraq and shut down Guantanamo?

Well, the last US combat brigade has pulled out of Iraq. Gunatanamo is trickier, but progress has, and continues to be, made.

So, yea, like that.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:27 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Last time I checked politicians need to say certain things to the electorate in order to get voted in. For Republicans this is one of those things. Your view how our political system functions is very naive. The Republicans will never repeal the Healthcare act

And I am the naïve one! Let's break this one down, shall we? The HCR Act is a complex web of enactments, the vast majority of which haven't taken effect yet. They will cut out most of that which offends their overlords. And most of that requires them to serve more people for less money than before. They will tear the guts out of that at the first chance they get. For certain.

The Road Warrior has been all over cable this week. And the idea that we should take the GOP at their word in this document when they say they are going to give us better health care reminds me of the scene where the bad guy Lord Humongous uses the PA to address the settlers, saying "there has been too much bloodshed. . ." Several of the settlers begin to cave "this Humongous is a reasonable man!" and "he promised us safe passage! He gave us his word!"

These clowns already drove us to the brink once. And they started the rampage the same way--with a "contract" that fooled a lot of people. Please don't kid yourselves trhat these people aren't a threat, that they won't go back and do the same thing again.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:30 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


"And I will authorize the execution of an American citizen before charging him with a crime."

Hey, could you take a moment and stop lying? Lies aren't cute coming from liberals any more than they are from rightists or Republicans. Obama authorized lethal force in the capture of an American citizen abroad, one who has given very good reasons to be sought — including working to orchestrate a terrorist attack on American soil. But it's not an execution order unless you want to argue that it's a tacit one, at which point every arrest warrant for every violent criminal in the US is an execution order. I mean, I know that's the sort of absurd bullshit you blurt out every now and then too, but if you could just use your rational brain instead of your crazy drama brain for a second, you might understand that your simplifications aren't particularly helpful and lying about what the order is doesn't do any good.
posted by klangklangston at 8:33 AM on September 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


I am pretty sure that history is on my side as far as my interpretation of our political system. While it is possible I am wrong time will tell I guess.

Yes, I'm pretty sure that history's on the side of false equivalences too.
posted by blucevalo at 8:34 AM on September 23, 2010


Metafilter: just use your rational brain instead of your crazy drama brain for a second
posted by Burhanistan at 8:35 AM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Is it possible to have a thread about anything political without it turning into an apology of the warcrimes and lies of the Obama administration?

It should be, because there is more to politics than the existence of Barack Obama. For example, this manifesto from the GOP which is reminiscent of the 16-year old Contract With America!
posted by shakespeherian at 8:37 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is it possible to have a thread about anything political without it turning into an apology of the warcrimes and lies of the Obama administration? It's okay to ignore war crimes as long as we get our healthcare right? But yeah lesser of two evils I guess...sigh.

Warcrimes? Lies? When? Where? What?

More importantly, why would you vote back in the greatest group of American warcriminals ever? Truly, American memory is short when Obama is a greater war criminal than the GOP 20 months after taking office from George W. Bush.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:38 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, the last US combat brigade has pulled out of Iraq. Gunatanamo is trickier, but progress has, and continues to be, made.

So, yea, like that.


So the 50,000 soldiers still in Iraq don't count I guess. The word Orwellian comes to mind.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:42 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh well, so much for the tax cut vote.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:47 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yes, I'm pretty sure that history's on the side of false equivalences too.

Ahh yes because innocent civilians killed under Bush's watch are not equivalent to innocent civilians killed under Obama's watch.

Warcrimes? Lies? When? Where? What? Truly, American memory is short when Obama is a greater war criminal than the GOP 20 months after taking office from George W. Bush.

Who is saying Obama is a greater war criminal than Bush was? I mean if you think that Bush was a war criminal than if you are going to be consistent you have to admit that Obama is also. As far as what warcrimes I am referencing I am referring to the secret wars currently going on in Yemen, Somalia, Ethiopia, and Pakistan. Of course they are not really a secret they just aren't official in the same way Iraq and Iran are so the American public can pretend that they aren't happening and that we aren't engaged in heinous crimes in those countries. As far as what lies I am referening well you can read the two I have posted up thread...pulling out of Iraq and closing Guantanamo. Just because Astro thinks there are no U.S. troops still in Iraq doesn't make it so. Oh right we changed the classification of our troops in Iraq so that makes it totally different and Obama really did pull all of our troops out of Iraq...sorry my bad.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:51 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Contradictions and divisions plague GOP's 'Pledge'.
posted by ericb at 8:53 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


More importantly, why would you vote back in the greatest group of American warcriminals ever? Truly, American memory is short when Obama is a greater war criminal than the GOP 20 months after taking office from George W. Bush.

Please stop filling entire threads complaining to people that we don't properly acknowledge the superior achievements of Barack Obama and then demand that we hold him to the same standard as George W. Bush. You simply aren't allowed to have it both ways and look like a rational person.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:55 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ahh yes because innocent civilians killed under Bush's watch are not equivalent to innocent civilians killed under Obama's watch.

Ahhhhhhhh yes as innocent civilians killed under the watch of Boehner/McConnell will not be equivalent to innocent civilians killed under the watch of Obama. We can go at this absurd game all day long.
posted by blucevalo at 8:57 AM on September 23, 2010


I look at things like the Federalist Papers, or any other such thing from that period, and while the language of the day was essentially quite elegant, the fact is, these were very weighty and meaty philosophical problems that these guys were dealing with. They were VERY heavy thinkers and they did the job, and they debated openly while attempting to push their arguments with clear and succinct arguments, without political mudslinging.

That isn't to say that in their campaigns they didn't run dirty tricks, etc...

But it still is such potent reminder of how far we've digressed. Where even the most intelligent person running a campaign is beholden to the modern mediascape. I think our current political climate is a reflection of the means of communication (going from Newspapers and the written word that allows for long drawn out treatises to the radio and spoken word which tends to reinforce the short soundbites of political ads, to television and appearance and the rest, as they say, is history (literally).

I weep that our culture seems to actively despise intelligence as some sort of elitism. I weep that future forms of communication are going to be even worse (I mean... TXTing? "LOL AHAHA, HAI I CAN HAZ PREZNIT??? VOTE 4ME!!!)
posted by symbioid at 8:57 AM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think I might register "The Joe Beese Is Disappointed In Obama Show" as a sockpuppet account.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:58 AM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think I might give five bucks to a candidate but then again I don't know enough about politics to realize that the important thing here is that the appropriate parties are blamed for our collective failure.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:02 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


all i know is that my current representative is a republican - seems to me that i have nothing to lose by voting for the democrat running against him, even though it's probably a lost cause
posted by pyramid termite at 9:02 AM on September 23, 2010


"As president, I will close Guantanamo, reject the Military Commissions Act and adhere to the Geneva Conventions." -- Candidate Obama Washington, D.C.
AUGUST 10, 2007


Hmmmm have they repealed the Military Comissions Act of 2006 yet? Have they closed Guantanamo? No? Ok well get back to me when that happens and I will concede the point but until then I think you need to do as Jesus says and pull the plank out of your own eye instead of pointing out the speck in your brother's.

Ahhhhhhhh yes as innocent civilians killed under the watch of Boehner/McConnell will not be equivalent to innocent civilians killed under the watch of Obama. We can go at this absurd game all day long.

What? I think you're missing the point. I am saying that yes innocent civilians being killed is wrong no matter who is in power and that we need to stop that before we can begin to fix our domestic problems.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:02 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


these were very weighty and meaty philosophical problems

They still are but instead of engaging in these issues people like to play the tired old Republican/Conservative vs. Democrat/Liberal game. Notice you're the first person to even acknowledge or comment on my response containing the quotes from the Federalist Papers.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:06 AM on September 23, 2010


> I am saying that yes innocent civilians being killed is wrong no matter who is in power and that we need to stop that before we can begin to fix our domestic problems.

I don't like killing civilians either, but it's a big country and you can work on the latter while the former is still unresolved. Political willpower and effort is not a zero-sum game.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:07 AM on September 23, 2010


"What? I think you're missing the point. I am saying that yes innocent civilians being killed is wrong no matter who is in power and that we need to stop that before we can begin to fix our domestic problems."

Uh, yeah, but no. All politics is local. The idea that the primary responsibility of a president or a government is foreign policy is simply wrong historically, practically, philosophically… Pretty much in every way possible to be wrong, it is.
posted by klangklangston at 9:11 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, could you take a moment and stop lying? Lies aren't cute coming from liberals any more than they are from rightists or Republicans. Obama authorized lethal force in the capture of an American citizen abroad...

Wrong.

The Obama administration has taken the extraordinary step of authorizing the targeted killing of an American citizen...

(emphasis added)

Do I really need to explain to you the difference between "authorization for the use of lethal force in capture" and "kill on sight"?

... the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair, told a House hearing in February that... “If we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that.”

Not "will involve the risk of killing an American in the course of capture". Just "will involve killing an American".

Please make a note of this.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:15 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


you can work on the latter while the former is still unresolved.</em

So basically screw those civilians we are killing as long as we have it good here in the old USofA. We can vote for war criminals as long as they promise to fix things here at home. See my problem isn't that it's a zero-sum game but rather that voting for war mongers and criminals is seen as an acceptable and even beneficial choice. I acknowledge that it's perfectly possible to try and address our social/domestic problems without quitting the empire game but when all is said and done that is a selfish and ultimately immoral perspective, in my opinion. Furthermore, it ignores the systemic problems inherent in our current system. The systemic flaws that lead to social/domestic problems are the very same ones that allow our politicians to wage wars in our name.

posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:18 AM on September 23, 2010


Hey you convinced me now can we talk about the actual topic of the post.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:18 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


The idea that the primary responsibility of a president or a government is foreign policy is simply wrong historically, practically, philosophically… Pretty much in every way possible to be wrong, it is.

I agree but you apparently haven't been paying attention since WWII.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:20 AM on September 23, 2010


Enough about how the republicans hate Obama, I want to hear more about how Joe Beese hates Obama.
posted by found missing at 9:22 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


So the 50,000 soldiers still in Iraq don't count I guess. The word Orwellian comes to mind.

We used to have 50,000 troops stationed in France. When you can demonstrate that the US troops in Iraq are there to wage war, Orwellian will fit. Until then, Obama isn't doing anything all that extraordinary, and hasn't violated his promise.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:23 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hey you convinced me now can we talk about the actual topic of the post.

Yeah well I think the topic of the post is how bad republicans are by promising to do things that their base wants. My response is that just like the democrats they will promise anything to get elected. People responded claiming that the Obama administration kept it's promises, several broken promises were pointed out and here we are. But yeah sorry if I derailed. Back to your regularly scheduled Republican/Conservative bash.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:25 AM on September 23, 2010


We used to have 50,000 troops stationed in France.

cough...cough...what was that about false equivalencies. The situations are most definately not equivalent. Germany had surrendered. In Iraq we are fighting and insurgency not a regular army. The fact that your are trying to pull this kinda makes me sad inside. Also we didn't invade France we were liberating it from the Nazis. Big difference.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:29 AM on September 23, 2010


> So basically screw those civilians we are killing as long as we have it good here in the old USofA.

No, basically not. You're tiresome. Have a nice day.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:30 AM on September 23, 2010


What? I think you're missing the point. I am saying that yes innocent civilians being killed is wrong no matter who is in power and that we need to stop that before we can begin to fix our domestic problems.

So we are to do nothing at all to help our own populace until our forces have found a way to fight effectively without ever killing a civilian in proximity the enemy? And you wonder why you can't get the votes.

Hmmmm have they repealed the Military Comissions Act of 2006 yet? Have they closed Guantanamo? No? Ok well get back to me when that happens and I will concede the point but until then I think you need to do as Jesus says and pull the plank out of your own eye instead of pointing out the speck in your brother's.

Obama can't personally repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2006. You do know he is not absolute dictator of the US right? You do know that they have to get 220 votes in the House and 60 in the Senate to repeal that, right? You do know that some people (not me) don't agree with you on that, right?

And Guantanamo--I know for a fact the President wants to close it. But he can't just close it now, can he? What happens to the prisoners? What is your plan for the prisoners? Because its turning out legally to be a lot harder than he thought it was.

God is Glenn Greenwald running you all? This is like his laundry list of stuff. You know what? He's an idiot. I'm a lawyer and I sent him a long E-mail regarding his absolutely stupid position that the United States is just supposed to stop defending lawsuits against itself by each and every person who is suing it under the war on terror. He came back with utter crap.

He calls himself a litigator. He's the worst kind of litigator, mendacious and disengenous. His arguments are lies and he exaggerates and uses Fox News style language to try and deceive his readers. He is the worst writer in the progressive movement today.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:32 AM on September 23, 2010 [8 favorites]


As a person who wouldn't exist if it weren't for the US troops we've kept permanently stationed in France, Germany and throughout Europe since WWII (since my dad was once one of them, leading to his briefly taking a German bride who gave birth to a son who went on to become me), I can attest to that.

(Also, Joe: I know this is talking a little out of school here, but it seems to me that from the Bush era through to the present day (as far back as I've known you), you've exhibited an intense, almost all-consuming drive to rail against whoever currently occupies the White House almost to the exclusion of all other concerns. Nearly all roads lead back to that one energizing impulse for you, it seems. Obama has become your new Bush, and I can understand everyone needs a hobby, but it's really starting to seem pathological. Just a thought here, but: maybe it's you.)
posted by saulgoodman at 9:36 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


My point is that combat operations have stopped in Iraq, which is what Obama promised. We never walk out of a country we have had troops in without leaving a non-combat force behind. Why did you expect this would be different? Was that what Obama promised? If so, can you point to that promise?
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:37 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


No, basically not. You're tiresome. Have a nice day.

Basically yes because you agree with Obama's domestic policy and therefore it's acceptable to vote for him and his party. If Bush was running for President but had the same domestic policy as Obama it would logically, your logic not mine, be ok to vote for him regardless of how many innocents he killed in a foreign land. I am sorry that you find me tiresome, but you can't have it both ways.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:37 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


People responded claiming that the Obama administration kept it's promises, several broken promises were pointed out and here we are

No. There were no "broken promises." Broken promises are when you say you will do something and then you turn around and don't do it.

Obama tried to get the things you wanted and failed. Two different situations all together. He is desperate to close Guantanamo, this I know because a very close friend sits on the committee trying to figure it out and it turned out to be way fucking harder than they though.

I never saw a promise for a public option. Not a one. The only thing that comes close is a confused pool report that said his plan had a program for public insurance for those who couldn't get insurance elsewhere. That's the only thing Beese has ever provided on the subject.

And he did say he wanted it. But he couldn't get it. You know why? He didn't have the votes. Again, he is not a dictator that can do whatever he pleases. He has to get a whole bunch of people to agree with him.

But it was one small part of the health plan. I know you all hoped that it was going to be "socialized medicine light" but it was never a component of his plan. But go ahead, give the GOP power simply because you couldn't get the votes for it.

But you continue to disengenously claim that his one failure and one work-in-progress constitute "broken promises." That is, plain and simple, a lie.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:40 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


> Basically yes because you agree with Obama's domestic policy and therefore it's acceptable to vote for him and his party.

Basically go choke on it. You've done nothing but make zero-sum equivalencies and projected your own frenetic argument into other people's statements here. Have it your way. You're right; everyone is wrong and there are no possible shades of gray.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:43 AM on September 23, 2010


(Also, Joe: I know this is talking a little out of school here, but it seems to me that from the Bush era through to the present day (as far back as I've known you), you've exhibited an intense, almost all-consuming drive to rail against whoever currently occupies the White House almost to the exclusion of all other concerns.

To be fair, he's only been here since after the 2008 election.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:44 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Seriously, if you want to talk about whether Obama has been keeping his campaign promises or not, why not actually look at the Obameter and find out the truth from people who are actually keeping accurate records on these things?
posted by hippybear at 9:44 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


He calls himself a litigator. He's the worst kind of litigator, mendacious and disengenous. His arguments are lies and he exaggerates and uses Fox News style language to try and deceive his readers. He is the worst writer in the progressive movement today.

I'd submit that if that's what he's doing, he's the best writer rather than the worst -- since, by your argument, he's playing the same game that FOX News is, and meeting them on their playing field, and convincing a lot of people to believe him.

Lies are the coin of the realm -- as this thread's devolution demonstrates. Here we are talking about nothing Obama and all of his sundry atrocities rather than the GOP pledge to ruin the country that the thread was supposed to be about. Conveniently, that's exactly what Greenwald and the FOX News crowd want to be talking about too.
posted by blucevalo at 9:46 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


So we are to do nothing at all to help our own populace until our forces have found a way to fight effectively without ever killing a civilian in proximity the enemy? And you wonder why you can't get the votes. Who is the enemy and why are we fighting them? Who can't get what votes? I am not a Republican.

Obama can't personally repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2006. You do know he is not absolute dictator of the US right? You do know that they have to get 220 votes in the House and 60 in the Senate to repeal that, right? You do know that some people (not me) don't agree with you on that, right? Sorry I was under the impression that the Obama administration hadn't made any moves to repeal the Military Commissions Act of 2006. Can you point me to a source showing some concrete action in that direction other than campaign style speeches because until you can I will continue thinking that Obama is blowing smoke up your ass.

God is Glenn Greenwald running you all? This is like his laundry list of stuff. You know what? He's an idiot. I'm a lawyer and I sent him a long E-mail regarding his absolutely stupid position that the United States is just supposed to stop defending lawsuits against itself by each and every person who is suing it under the war on terror. He came back with utter crap.

He calls himself a litigator. He's the worst kind of litigator, mendacious and disengenous. His arguments are lies and he exaggerates and uses Fox News style language to try and deceive his readers. He is the worst writer in the progressive movement today.


I don't see what Glenn Greenwald or the fact that you're a lawyer have to do with any of this.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:47 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth someone already mentioned this before but your Glenn Greenwald stuff is just getting annoying and juvenile. You've referred to him and your opponents' association with him twice already, exactly the way Palin and the right toss around "Saul Alinsky" like it's the name of Voldemort or something. Seriously, give it a fucking rest.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:49 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're right; everyone is wrong and there are no possible shades of gray.

I may very possibly be wrong and there are many shades of gray but killing civilians is not one of them. Sorry that I am making you so angry I am trying to engage in a conversation. My opinion is that we need to get our shit together and quit killing innocent civilians. You can keep saying zero sum all you want but is really subsidiary to what we are talking about. I think we need to fix our foreign policy first, that is my opinion. You are correct that we can fix our domestic problems first, but as I said I believe that to be a selfish point of view. Again these are just my opinions and there is no need to take things personally or get angry about things.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:54 AM on September 23, 2010


Really? I could have sworn I remembered seeing him around here mixing it up farther back than that, when the anti-Bush mood was reaching a fever pitch. Huh. Sorry Joe, I must be confusing you with someone else. Anyway. Gotta get back to work. I still think you devote an awful lot of mental/psychological energy to this one subject.

I think this draft GOP contract with America is flawed. It doesn't even have an arbitration clause! Send it back to legal. And why won't they say what they're going to do about the gays and illegals?

Ironmouth someone already mentioned this before but your Glenn Greenwald stuff is just getting annoying and juvenile

I'm sorry, but Greenwald is on the payroll for the Cato institute, launched by and sponsored by these guys. Witting or not, he's an appendage of the Kochtopous, and he gets no benefit of the doubt from me.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:56 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


You've referred to him and your opponents' association with him twice already, exactly the way Palin and the right toss around "Saul Alinsky" like it's the name of Voldemort or something.

Yes, that's so much more annoying than putting Obama in the company of Stalin.
posted by blucevalo at 9:57 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd submit that if that's what he's doing, he's the best writer rather than the worst -- since, by your argument, he's playing the same game that FOX News is, and meeting them on their playing field, and convincing a lot of people to believe him.

So we are better off listening to lies instead of the truth?
posted by Ironmouth at 9:57 AM on September 23, 2010


Is The GOP’s “Pledge To America” Good For Business?
posted by hippybear at 9:57 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


You've referred to him and your opponents' association with him twice already

I think you're confusing me with someone else.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:58 AM on September 23, 2010


We never walk out of a country we have had troops in without leaving a non-combat force behind.

There's considerable reason to believe that the troops remaining are intended for combat. This is why the Associated Press won't say that Combat Operations in Iraq are over in their articles.
posted by shmegegge at 10:00 AM on September 23, 2010


Or apparently I am confusing you confusing me with someone else...What?

As far as Obama's broken promises time will tell whether he pulls out of Iraq and closes guantanamo...really the only two promises I care about anyway.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:00 AM on September 23, 2010


You've referred to him and your opponents' association with him twice already, exactly the way Palin and the right toss around "Saul Alinsky" like it's the name of Voldemort or something.

I bring it up because there is a pattern. I often particpate in these threads on MeFi. And Beese often cites Greenwald for "facts." But Greenwald is such a liar. He turns "orders to arrest" into "assasination orders" and similar stuff. He is not a reliable reporter.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:03 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Again these are just my opinions and there is no need to take things personally or get angry about things.

Then I would suggest stop twisting people's comments by saying "basically, you're saying X and now here's the same thing I've repeated 10 times".
posted by Burhanistan at 10:05 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


America is an inspiration to those who yearn to be free and have the ability and the dignity to determine their own destiny ...

"That's inspiration, not destination, right Mexico? You can be inspired and determine your destiny right where you are."
posted by WPW at 10:10 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is important - so we'll need to go over it one more time...

It is not that Obama tried and failed to get a public option. Or that he "could have tried harder".

It is that actively worked against it while claiming to support it.
...contrary to Obama's occasional public statements in support of a public option, the White House clearly intended from the start that the final health care reform bill would contain no such provision and was actively and privately participating in efforts to shape a final bill without it. From the start, assuaging the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries was a central preoccupation of the White House -- hence the deal negotiated in strict secrecy with Pharma to ban bulk price negotiations and drug reimportation, a blatant violation of both Obama's campaign positions on those issues and his promise to conduct all negotiations out in the open (on C-SPAN). Indeed, Democrats led the way yesterday in killing drug re-importation, which they endlessly claimed to support back when they couldn't pass it. The administration wants not only to prevent industry money from funding an anti-health-care-reform campaign, but also wants to ensure that the Democratic Party -- rather than the GOP -- will continue to be the prime recipient of industry largesse.

...

Does anyone actually believe that Rahm Emanuel (who built his career on industry support for the Party and jamming "centrist" bills through Congress with the support of Blue Dogs) and Barack Obama (who attached himself to Joe Lieberman when arriving in the Senate, repeatedly proved himself receptive to "centrist" compromises, had a campaign funded by corporate interests, and is now the leader of a vast funding and political infrastructure) were the helpless victims of those same forces? Engineering these sorts of "centrist," industry-serving compromises has been the modus operandi of both Obama and, especially, Emanuel.

...

... the idea that the White House did what it could to ensure the inclusion of progressive provisions -- or that they were powerless to do anything about it -- is absurd on its face. Whatever else is true, the overwhelming evidence points to exactly what Sen. Feingold said yesterday: "This bill appears to be legislation that the president wanted in the first place."
In short: Obama lied to our faces - repeatedly, for months and months - about what he was working towards.


This is why I bring up Greenwald. Joe Beese cites as "proof" that Obama was "against the public option, a screed of Greenwald's, complete with made up dialouge. Greenwald, however, provides exactly zero evidence it was true. None.

We need less Fox Newses, not a Fox News of our own.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:10 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Then I would suggest stop twisting people's comments by saying "basically, you're saying X and now here's the same thing I've repeated 10 times".

Querey: If George Bush had prosecuted a domestic policy identical to Obama's would you say he was a good president or a bad president? And would you vote for him?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:21 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never saw a promise for a public option. Not a one.

Then I guess you didn't follow my earlier link.

President Obama has announced three bedrock requirements for real health insurance reform: ...

- Guarantee Choice - Every American must have the freedom to choose their plan and doctor - including the choice of a public insurance option


(emphasis added)

This is from the man's own web site. There's a screenshot and everything.

Want more?

- outlined his health care plan in a 2007 campaign speech, saying “Essentially . . we’re going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It will be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services.”

- promised in 2008 on his campaign’s website that “any American will have the opportunity to enroll in [a] new public plan.” [2008]

- signed on to the HCAN principles on October 6, 2008, which includes “a public insurance plan without a private insurer middleman that guarantees affordable coverage.”

- told the Washington Post that his health care plan “creates a new public health plan for those currently without coverage.”


Moving on...

...you've exhibited an intense, almost all-consuming drive to rail against whoever currently occupies the White House...

You mean how I bitched about Bush committing war crimes and now I'm bitching about Obama committing war crimes? That's because I dislike war crimes and the men who commit them. If those crimes are most often committed by American Presidents, don't blame me for it.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:23 AM on September 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


....and it's official, the Democrats have bailed on the middle class tax cut vote.

Oh well. It's nobody's fault.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:27 AM on September 23, 2010


Yeah well I think the topic of the post is how bad republicans are by promising to do things that their base wants.

By all means, except that apart from lockstep supporters like the National Review Online, the initial reactions to the GOP Pledge from the right wing's base of bloggers have not been entirely happy, to say the least.

The NY Times's conservative-in-residence Ross Douthart concludes, "Its most substantive promises — indeed, nearly all of its substantive promises — involve the rollback of the Obama agenda {...} But it doesn't inspire great confidence in the G.O.P.'s ability to tackle America's challenges in ways that don't just involve saying 'no' to Barack Obama."

Prominent conservative blogger Erick Erikson at Red State goes further:
These 21 pages tell you lots of things, some contradictory things, but mostly this: it is a serious {sic} of compromises and milquetoast rhetorical flourishes in search of unanimity among House Republicans because the House GOP does not have the fortitude to lead boldly in opposition to Barack Obama. {...} Yes, yes, it is full of mom tested, kid approved pablum that will make certain hearts on the right sing in solidarity. But like a diet full of sugar, it will actually do nothing but keep making Washington fatter before we crash from the sugar high.
And former Dubya speechwriter David Frum responds:
"Question for Erickson: What did he expect? {...} But if the document is unsurprising, it's also unsurprising that Erickson and those who think like him would find it enraging. The 'Pledge to America' is a repudiation of the central, foundational idea behind the Tea Party. Tea Party activists have been claiming all year that there exists in the United States a potential voting majority for radically more limited government. The Republican 'Pledge to America' declares: Sorry, we don’t believe that."
While the progressive left has to determine for themselves whether the record of Obama and the Democratic leadership has been satisfactory for a midterm election turnout, the Tea Party ought to examine the GOP Pledge closely and decide whether or not it truly deserves their votes. Their grassroots momentum will probably carry them over the November finish line without a pause for thought, though, and leave them with the same opportunity for buyer's remorse that the Contract with America held for the Gingrich would-be revolutionaries.
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:33 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


You mean how I bitched about Bush committing war crimes and now I'm bitching about Obama committing war crimes? That's because I dislike war crimes and the men who commit them. If those crimes are most often committed by American Presidents, don't blame me for it.

Awesome. Hey I dislike warcrimes too. Kind of a crazy coincidence, you know, since there are so many people who love warcrimes. Hell, I was in the barber shop on Monday and the guy was telling me about some nice warcrimes he had over for tea last week.

Tell you what, write up the brief and put it on pastebin and memail me the address. If you have a case I'll be happy to contribute whatever pro bono hours you need. Make sure and cite the specific provisions of international agreements he's cited, how he's bound by them, how they apply to specific cases, etc. It would probably help if you could throw in a policy argument about Just War theory. Don't spend too much research time on that last bit, for now it'll be enough to just flesh out about 5-10 pages of argument from whatever you remember from law school and your MPP/International Relations or Catholic Philosophy program.
posted by thesmophoron at 10:42 AM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Erick Erickson calling the "Pledge" milquetoast is the pot calling the kettle black.

It's fascinating that someone so frothingly anti-EU/One-World-domination-plot would use the Frenchified spelling of that word.
posted by blucevalo at 10:44 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


While the progressive left has to determine for themselves whether the record of Obama and the Democratic leadership has been satisfactory for a midterm election turnout

FOR FUCKS SAKE NO THEY DON'T. Why don't the ClapHarders understand that the "progressive left" aren't the people who aren't going to vote this time around? While you're wasting your time yelling at bloggers who are upset that Obama hasn't fulfilled some of his major promises, there are people on unemployment, people who were first time voters last time, people who aren't decidated political activists and those are the people staying home.

Of COURSE there is an "enthusiasm gap." Democrats continue to make headlines about how they DON'T DO THINGS. The leading two stories now, right before a fucking election, about the Democrats in Congress are going to be how 1. They failed to pass a repeal on a policiy that 60% of the country wants repealed, and 2. They decided not to bother voting to extend tax cuts for middle class Americans. Holy McFuck that is gonna get asses out of their seats!

Atrios has been pointing this out for a goddamn year now. If you want to scoff at it because it's more fun blaming people on the internet, fine. Enjoy that warm fuzzy.
I know I'm a broken record on this, but there is no great mystery why the Dems are looking at potentially major problems in November. The economy is truly atrocious and has been for a long time. I remember just before the '08 election - almost two years ago - betting a friend that unemployment would rise above 7.6%. At the time to many people 7.6% seemed to be a pretty crazy number, even in the middle of the unfolding crisis. Soon after the administration projected that unemployment would peak at 9% from Q1-Q3 2010, and then start declining without any stimulus. It's now been above 9% since May 2009, including 3 months where it was 10%+. If I had traveled back in time to warn them of this state of affairs, they would have been more likely to believe the time travel part.

There are areas of this country that are completed devastated, some due mostly to the collapse of the housing bubble and, increasingly, places which are being demolished by the recession even though they were largely untouched by the bubble.

Maybe an "I feel your pain" or "Message: I care" speech isn't going to do it, but jokes about the petulant base at $30,000 fundraisers aren't going to help either. Though, in truth, the petulant base - the assholes who don't cheerlead sufficiently on their blogs - are going to go out and vote. We vote. It's what we do. It's the people who are unemployed, union members wondering what happened to EFCA, immigrants and their families who know that we got a bunch of money to militarize the border and stepped up deportation but no progress on immigration reform, and women who might question the administration commitment to reproductive rights for good reasons.

Now I hope all of these people go out and vote. I certainly think keeping Team Blue in power is important and not just because the Republicans are stupid and crazy, but if they don't vote it isn't my fault.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 10:44 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


the initial reactions to the GOP Pledge from the right wing's base of bloggers have not been entirely happy, to say the least.

This says more about the state of the Republican Party than anything else. This doesn't change the fact that Repubs are promising things that they think will get them elected which was my original point.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:47 AM on September 23, 2010


Querey: If George Bush had prosecuted a domestic policy identical to Obama's would you say he was a good president or a bad president? And would you vote for him?

That's just it! Barack Obama and George W. Bush have not had the same foreign policy. Not anywhere close. George W. Bush invaded Iraq for no fucking reason. Obama openly and publically opposed the invasion of Iraq while running for Senate.

Nor has Obama invaded any other country. He has, as promised, stepped up operations in Afghanistan, where the 9/11 attacks were planned under state sponsorship, and where the concern is that radicals could do it again, especially if Pakistan falls to the Taliban.

Please stop drawing false equivalences.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:49 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


- told the Washington Post that his health care plan “creates a new public health plan for those currently without coverage.”

Attention ACE. It DOES! Its called the PCIP

The Public Option was for any person, not just for those without coverage. Get the facts straight. For once.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:51 AM on September 23, 2010


promised in 2008 on his campaign’s website that “any American will have the opportunity to enroll in [a] new public plan.” [2008]

Funny thing, Joe. I read that whole document you linked to. Nowhere is any public plan mentioned in it at all. If you want to convince us, please provide us with truth in the links you send. I even searched "public plan" in that document and it wasn't in there. Try the truth.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:56 AM on September 23, 2010


Of COURSE there is an "enthusiasm gap." Democrats continue to make headlines about how they DON'T DO THINGS. The leading two stories now, right before a fucking election, about the Democrats in Congress are going to be how 1. They failed to pass a repeal on a policiy that 60% of the country wants repealed, and 2. They decided not to bother voting to extend tax cuts for middle class Americans. Holy McFuck that is gonna get asses out of their seats!

That's not gonna get my ass out of my seat, granted.

What is gonna get my ass out of my seat is two-plus years of Orange Tan Ohio Man in control of the House and Droopy McDonnell in control of the Senate. Period.

It should get a lot of other folks out of their seats too, I'm thinking.
posted by blucevalo at 10:58 AM on September 23, 2010


- outlined his health care plan in a 2007 campaign speech, saying “Essentially . . we’re going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It will be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services.”

Its called PCIP. It is in the bill. You continually disengenously cite facts that aren't actually true. You cut and pasted all of that from Firedog Lake without even checking whether or not those cites actually said what they said they did. Guess what. They don't.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:00 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


the initial reactions to the GOP Pledge from the right wing's base of bloggers have not been entirely happy, to say the least.

This says more about the state of the Republican Party than anything else. This doesn't change the fact that Repubs are promising things that they think will get them elected which was my original point.


Are you reading their mind? Why won't you take them at their word that they are going to fuck everything up just like last time?
posted by Ironmouth at 11:01 AM on September 23, 2010


I disagree, Ironmouth, Obama has invaded other countries he just hasn't done it in the open. Under Obama's watch the prosecution of these shadow wars have accelerated. Just because you're willfully ignorant of something doesn't mean you can pretend it isn't happening. At least Bush had the guts to come out and in your face admit that he was prosecuting wars. Obama has not obviously prosecuted the exact same foreign policy because he is not president in the same linear time frame as Bush but he is sure as hell continuing the progom that Bush started. There is no false equivalence here unless you're grasping at straws. By your logic you can't draw comparisons between red wine and white wine because the white wine is a different color. The fact of the matter is they are both wine and they will both get you drunk if you drink enough.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:02 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's not gonna get my ass out of my seat, granted.

What is gonna get my ass out of my seat is
AAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGH
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:05 AM on September 23, 2010


Pirates will get your ass out of your seat?
posted by nomadicink at 11:09 AM on September 23, 2010


Are you reading their mind?

I am making an assumption based on the past behavior of all politicians, but you know what they say about assumptions...:) I have no doubt that the Republicans will try to fuck things up, but if I remember correctly the Democrats had a majority in the Congress during Bush's second term and have just as much to do with our economic problems as the Republicans do. Furthermore many of the problems that led to the recent economic meltdown were precipitated during the Clinton presidency and exacerbated during the Bush years. Your partisan blindness is stunning.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:13 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pirates will get your ass out of your seat?

If their cutlasses are sufficiently well-honed, sure.
posted by blucevalo at 11:16 AM on September 23, 2010


Democrats continue to make headlines about how they DON'T DO THINGS.

Listen, the Democrats may be wishy washy and easily bullied, but they have managed a number of accomplishments in the past two years, and they are worth revisiting. Why? Because the idea that the Democrats do nothing is only useful to the Republican party. They have slipped behind in what was a very narrow lead, and one of their primary tools has always been to foment disgust at how badly government does things. They don't mind alienating voters, because those voters tend to be Democrats. It's one of a thousand little tricks they use to push themselves ahead, and we should not be assisting them with it.

So, since the Dems took the majority in 2007, what have they done?


3.5% pay raise to veterans
Largest increase of Veterans Affairs Funding in History
$1.8 Billion for Veterans Health Care,5 Bil more than bush requested
Passing a Bill that would Implement 9/11 Commission Recommendations
Increased Fuel-Efficiency Standards for the first time since 1975
Health care reform
Extensive financial reform
Increased minimum wage
Credit Cardholders' Bill of Rights Act
Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

Etc. etc. etc. A little digging will show that a lot has been done -- and not small things, but big things. we can believe that the Dems in Congress are constitutionally incapable of producing anything of value, because they roll over the moment Repubs start bellyaching, but the past two and a half years have been defined more by accomplishment than acquiescence.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:16 AM on September 23, 2010 [6 favorites]


Are you reading their mind?

I am making an assumption based on the past behavior of all politicians, but you know what they say about assumptions...:) I have no doubt that the Republicans will try to fuck things up, but if I remember correctly the Democrats had a majority in the Congress during Bush's second term and have just as much to do with our economic problems as the Republicans do. Furthermore many of the problems that led to the recent economic meltdown were precipitated during the Clinton presidency and exacerbated during the Bush years. Your partisan blindness is stunning.


Republicans to use reconcilation to repeal health care.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:25 AM on September 23, 2010


Me: Democrats continue to make headlines about how they DON'T DO THINGS.

You: a shitload of things that win at Internet Argument and in no way changes that.

"A little digging?" Seriously? GOOGLE DEMOCRATS. Good lord. Which non-voter are you saying this to? Did you read the comment you're responding to? At all?

I give up. You either don't get it or don't want to. And I'm really sorry. I really am, for all of us. But we are not blogging our way out of fucked.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:28 AM on September 23, 2010


A little digging will show that a lot has been done -- and not small things, but big things.

I'd add the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act to that list.
posted by blucevalo at 11:31 AM on September 23, 2010


[[ “Essentially . . we’re going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It will be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services.” ]]

Its called PCIP. It is in the bill.


I'm afraid that you overlooked the "all persons" part.

Marc Young, state Insurance Department assistant commissioner, said the coverage will be capped at 1,500 people.

Also:

The Congressional Budget Office estimated (PDF) that with unlimited funding the PCIP would insure only 700,000 through 2013 at a cost of $15 billion.

Obama certainly doesn't seem to think it qualifies as "a public option":

Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get — to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed — oh, well, the public option wasn’t there.

But which is it? Did he never promise a public option - as you said two hours ago? Or did he promise and deliver it in the form of PCIP - as you're claiming now?
posted by Joe Beese at 11:36 AM on September 23, 2010


This says more about the state of the Republican Party than anything else. This doesn't change the fact that Repubs are promising things that they think will get them elected which was my original point.

The point is that elected GOP officials will promise things that will get them elected? A tautology isn't much of a platform, even when the Pledge is aimed squarely at their base and not the broader electorate. As Douthat points out - and hopefully others will notice - their only substantial promises are the ways they won't be Barack Obama. That's a pretty low bar for the GOP even in its current state.

At least Bush had the guts to come out and in your face admit that he was prosecuting wars.

And the GOP Pledge, while studiously avoiding the wars that Dubya was so "in your face" about prosecuting (although paying for them is another story), does promise in the case of Iran to "work to ensure the government aggressively and effectively implements the sanctions tools Congress has provided" - and nothing else. That sabre-rattingly "aggressively" is a pretty clear signal for what to expect from a GOP House's approach to foreign policy, but that doesn't take guts when it's all that the base - and only the base - wants to hear.
posted by Doktor Zed at 11:38 AM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: "God is Glenn Greenwald running you all? This is like his laundry list of stuff. You know what? He's an idiot. I'm a lawyer and I sent him a long E-mail regarding his absolutely stupid position that the United States is just supposed to stop defending lawsuits against itself by each and every person who is suing it under the war on terror. He came back with utter crap. He calls himself a litigator. He's the worst kind of litigator, mendacious and disengenous. His arguments are lies and he exaggerates and uses Fox News style language to try and deceive his readers. He is the worst writer in the progressive movement today."

XQUZYPHYR: "Ironmouth someone already mentioned this before but your Glenn Greenwald stuff is just getting annoying and juvenile. You've referred to him and your opponents' association with him twice already, exactly the way Palin and the right toss around "Saul Alinsky" like it's the name of Voldemort or something. Seriously, give it a fucking rest."

Since joining in late November 2008, Joe has mentioned or linked to Greenwald 41 times on the blue, including in three FPPs. In contrast, I've linked to FiveThirtyEight 32 times since it was founded in March 2008, and I consider myself a pretty eager evangelist of the site. It's not an unfair association to make, is what I'm saying. Especially when Greenwald's highly questionable arguments are being repeated uncritically and nearly verbatim.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:45 AM on September 23, 2010 [7 favorites]


At least Bush had the guts to come out and in your face admit that he was prosecuting wars.

How noble and straightforward he was.

Obama has not obviously prosecuted the exact same foreign policy because he is not president in the same linear time frame as Bush but he is sure as hell continuing the progom that Bush started.

I don't know if you mean "pogrom" or "program," but if "pogrom" is what you meant, that's right up there with the Obama=Stalin language.
posted by blucevalo at 11:46 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Republicans to use reconcilation to repeal health care.

Call me when it happens. I have no doubt that the Repubs will make a big show of doing something to repeal it, and they may even succeed at defunding parts like the IRS enforcement of fines if you don't get an insurance plan but the meat of the plan will remain intact. I'll believe a repeal when I see it.

The point is that elected GOP officials will promise things that will get them elected?

Is this really this difficult? Politicians make promises to people they think will vote for them. Politicians all ready in office make promises as part of a platform to help current candidates get elected. Some promises are kept most are not.

what to expect from a GOP House's approach to foreign policy

Pretty much what we would expect from the democrats approach...endless wars.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:52 AM on September 23, 2010


Since joining in late November 2008, Joe has mentioned or linked to Greenwald 41 times on the blue, including in three FPPs.

This is getting a little creepy.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:54 AM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


that's right up there with the Obama=Stalin language.

Let me be clear tyrant=tyrant. Names are really irrelevant. While American Presidents may be soft tyrants at home they are definately Tyrants with a capital t in the countries in which they prosecute wars.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:54 AM on September 23, 2010


What's creepy about pointing out the fact that you cite Greenwald a lot? Anybody who reads these political threads already knows it -- I was just backing up that claim with facts after somebody characterized it as baseless.
posted by Rhaomi at 12:00 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am not out to win an Internet fight. Perhaps I miss understood what you were attempting to say, although I may still be misunderstanding, as I seem to be coming away with the sense that you feel no real accomplishments have been made, which is what I was responding to. If this is due to my misreading, I apologize.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:01 PM on September 23, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar wrote: "For Republicans this is one of those things. Your view how our political system functions is very naive. The Republicans will never repeal the Healthcare act"

I take it you haven't noticed this Tea Party thing going on, have you?

Joe Beese wrote: "Not "will involve the risk of killing an American in the course of capture". Just "will involve killing an American".

Please make a note of this.
"

Yeah, that's not any more convincing than when Glenn Beck or Alex Jones does it.
posted by wierdo at 12:05 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Politicians make promises to people they think will vote for them.

If you don't want to examine that statement any further, then you're welcome to accept the Pledge at face value.

Let me be clear tyrant=tyrant.

And thus the tautology closes its loop. Epistemic closure, anyone?
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:06 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


[[ “Essentially . . we’re going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don’t have health insurance. It will be a plan that will provide all essential services, including reproductive services.” ]]

Its called PCIP. It is in the bill.

I'm afraid that you overlooked the "all persons" part.

Marc Young, state Insurance Department assistant commissioner, said the coverage will be capped at 1,500 people.

Also:

The Congressional Budget Office estimated (PDF) that with unlimited funding the PCIP would insure only 700,000 through 2013 at a cost of $15 billion.

Obama certainly doesn't seem to think it qualifies as "a public option":

Democrats, just congenitally, tend to get — to see the glass as half empty. (Laughter.) If we get an historic health care bill passed — oh, well, the public option wasn’t there.

But which is it? Did he never promise a public option - as you said two hours ago? Or did he promise and deliver it in the form of PCIP - as you're claiming now?


My argument is the same one you presented the last time you trotted out this canard, Joe. You are trying to equate his promise to give people PCIP with a public option. The public option was a government-run plan that any person could join on the exchange. Any person, not just those who couldn't get insurance, Joe. But because you cannot find a single actual quote from the President "promising" the public option, you continue to disengenously conflate his plan for PCIP with the "public option" you wanted so as to then be able to tell everyone he "promised" the public option, but did not deliver. But why doesn't everyone review the 2008 campaign document you said "promised" the public option and included, in quotes, next to it, a reference to a "public plan." Yet the linked document says none of that. I read it and then searched it. Not in there. This is the second time you trotted out that document for this purpose. It isn't in there Joe. Why not?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:08 PM on September 23, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar: Obama has invaded other countries he just hasn't done it in the open. Under Obama's watch the prosecution of these shadow wars have accelerated. Just because you're willfully ignorant of something doesn't mean you can pretend it isn't happening.

AElfwine Evenstar has invaded countries he just hasn't done it in the open. Shadow wars! Willfully ignorant! Pretend it isn't happening! KILLING PUPPIES! WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

Know the difference between your post and mine? Mine CITES the asininity of the target of its criticism.

XQUZYPHYR: It helps ... to not being [sic] so wrong yourself and in such an obnoxious way.

Oh, you mean like pretending I was talking about "health care" itself instead of the "healthcare mandate"? Because putting words in other people's mouths is pretty fucking obnoxious. How exactly do you propose Obama is to FORCE people to go to the doctor and FORCE medical students to be PCPs without violating the Constitution?
posted by thesmophoron at 12:10 PM on September 23, 2010


What's creepy about pointing out the fact that you cite Greenwald a lot? Anybody who reads these political threads already knows it -- I was just backing up that claim with facts after somebody characterized it as baseless.

Well, it DOES nearly border on the against-community-standards practice of quoting someone's comment from an unrelated thread in order to prove they somehow fail in their arguments in the current one. I'm watching all this from the sidelines and had a moment of "ewww" when I saw that.

I guess, keep with the current discussion (which is mostly a huge derail, but oh well), or take any meta-commenting concerns about someone to MeTa. That would be my preference, but as I said, I'm watching from the sidelines.
posted by hippybear at 12:13 PM on September 23, 2010


Obama is to FORCE people to go to the doctor

Explain how the Affordable Care Act "forces people to go to the doctor"
posted by Ironmouth at 12:22 PM on September 23, 2010


Explain how the Affordable Care Act "forces people to go to the doctor"

It doesn't. That's the point. Please read the entire comment and discussion surrounding it before replying next time. You're usually a really great poster.
posted by thesmophoron at 12:25 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well, it DOES nearly border on the against-community-standards practice of quoting someone's comment from an unrelated thread in order to prove they somehow fail in their arguments in the current one. I'm watching all this from the sidelines and had a moment of "ewww" when I saw that.

Dude cited Greenwald in this thread.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:29 PM on September 23, 2010


Calmer than you are, Dude.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:31 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Explain how the Affordable Care Act "forces people to go to the doctor"

It doesn't. That's the point. Please read the entire comment and discussion surrounding it before replying next time. You're usually a really great poster.


I am massively confused. I looked it all over and I'm not sure what you are saying. Are you calling someone else out? I looked at the previous comment and I don't really get what you were saying.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:31 PM on September 23, 2010


If you don't want to examine that statement any further, then you're welcome to accept the Pledge at face value.

Zed I think I am misunderstanding what you are saying or you are misunderstanding what I am saying. What exactly is your point?

And thus the tautology closes its loop.

I don't understand your point. So Obama isn't a tyrant to the innocent Pakistanis, Afghanis, Somalis, Yemenis, Ethiopians, and or Iraqis that die as direct result of his prosecution of the so called GWOT? A war which by the way Obama fully supports and ascribes to even though he has poo pooed the use of the phrase. Is Obama a Tyrant to all the prisoners currently being held at our black sites around the world? These prisoners outnumber the ones held in Guantanamo. I guess you've never heard of these prisoners so they must not exist.

In what sense are you using "tautology"? In the sense that my definition of Obama as a tyrant is redundant or in the sense that I am trying to frame my statement so that it is true in all possible combinations? If you are using it in the latter sense I don't think tautology means what you think it means. As far as the first sense if I am being redundant well I apologize but I was being asked a question about my use of the term progrom so I responded in a way that would make my use of the term clear.

Either way, we can engage in rhetorical flourishes till we're blue in the face but that will not change the fact that Obama is a Tyrant to the innocent civilians that are slaughtered as a direct result of his executive power as President of the United States.

I'm using Tyrant in the classical sense as a person who has taken power over another person or persons by means of force rather than by legitimate means. (ie tribal, hereditary, and or constitutional means)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:37 PM on September 23, 2010


I think we're officially in the circular fiting squad right now.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:40 PM on September 23, 2010


Circular Fitting Squad? Hey would you zip me up?
posted by Mister_A at 12:41 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Republicans are going to win the House back, and possibly the Senate.

I think if that were true, relatively sane Republicans like Charlie Crist would be dropping out or sucking up to the Tea Party instead of running as independents or write-ins.

Is it possible to have a thread about anything political without it turning into the Joe Beese Is Disappointed In Obama show?

You'd think the axe would be sharp by now but no.
posted by kirkaracha at 12:42 PM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


I don't understand your point. So Obama isn't a tyrant to the innocent Pakistanis, Afghanis, Somalis, Yemenis, Ethiopians, and or Iraqis that die as direct result of his prosecution of the so called GWOT? A war which by the way Obama fully supports and ascribes to even though he has poo pooed the use of the phrase. Is Obama a Tyrant to all the prisoners currently being held at our black sites around the world? These prisoners outnumber the ones held in Guantanamo. I guess you've never heard of these prisoners so they must not exist.

If you are saying he should wage no war, ever, lest it harm a civilian in any way, then we part ways. There can be no war without some civilian casualties. And yes, there are parties out there who would kill Americans. He is attempting to break down their networks by killing their leaders as best he can without killing others. Bush's method was to invade entire countries that had nothing to do with it.

Which prisoners at which black sites? There is only one site that could even reasonably be called "black" at Bagram. There are a few temporary sites where they are held for transit there.

And these prisoners, they are not prisoners of war in the Afghan battle? Who are they? And what do you know of them aside from Greenwald's rantings? I reviewed a lot of Greenwald's claims regarding the sites. He potrayed the temporary sites as permanent prisons. He portrayed refusing to let prisoners starve themselves to death as torture.

What is your plan for Afghanistan? What is the plan you think we ought to pursue to stop terrorist attacks on US soil? What is your plan to defend the country?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:47 PM on September 23, 2010


Ironmouth:

XQUZYPHYR made the following allegations:

(1) that I said that the Office of the President and a Congress controlled by the party led by the President (both entities referred to collectively hereinafter as "Obama") enacted "universal health care" (XQUZYPHYR's words)

(2) that a statement that Obama enacted universal health care would be false, because a universal health-care insurance-buying mandate does not address the problem that some people will not see a primary care provider. Specifically, XQUZYPHYR linked to a Wikipedia article lamenting the fact that "[t]he United States' [sic] ... health care system still has an acute shortage in primary health care due to the vast majority of medical students choosing to specialize...."

I respond as follows:

(1) I very clearly referred to the mandate, a legislative accomplishment, as an achievement of the Obama administration. I did not say that the social goal had been achieved. It has not. Even in an ideal world where legislative accomplishments perfectly ("universally") achieve their social goals, the legislation in question does not take full effect until 2014.

(2) Clinging to the distinction between universal healthcare insurance mandates and universal healthcare per se, in a context of criticizing the inaction of the President, indicates a belief that it is within the power of Obama to effect universal healthcare per se, in the very narrowly defined meaning of ensuring that everyone receives healthcare from a primary care provider. This is impossible without (a) ensuring that everyone seeks healthcare from a primary care provider and (b) ensuring that the supply of primary care providers is such that scarcity is not a problem. Since, by criticizing Obama's failure to enact universal health care per se, defined in such a way, XQUZYPHYR implicitly claims that the goal is the responsibility of Obama and that Obama has the power to meet that goal. Since (a) and (b) are logically necessary for the achievement of that goal, it follows that Obama must have responsibility and power duly appropriate to ensure (a) and (b). As I noted above, Obama does not have the Constitutionally vested power to impinge on individual liberty in such a way; therefore "universal healthcare" in such a pedantically narrow definition is not within Obama's power; therefore his failure to achieve it is hardly to his detriment; therefore criticism for him for not achieving it is a non-starter; therefore drawing that distinction in order to criticize him adds nothing to the conversation.
posted by thesmophoron at 12:55 PM on September 23, 2010


But because you cannot find a single actual quote from the President "promising" the public option

Ironmouth, no one should take what you say seriously. You accuse people of being misleading about Obama's statements when they are taken directly from the man himself. You argue in bad faith.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:58 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


My god you guys are boring.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:00 PM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


In any case, the boosters for the Democratic Party in this thread are like the Republicans in one key aspect: they want to rule by fear. But instead of fear of Muslims and gays, it is fear of Republicans taking over. Any reasonable dissent from this party is met with accusations of supporting and voting for Republicans. Unbelievable.

Bullying and making people afraid might motivate some people to vote for the Democrats but it's motivating me less and less.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:03 PM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


But because you cannot find a single actual quote from the President "promising" the public option

Ironmouth, no one should take what you say seriously. You accuse people of being misleading about Obama's statements when they are taken directly from the man himself. You argue in bad faith.


Please cite to the quote. I looked over Joe's quotes and none of them said anything of the sort.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:04 PM on September 23, 2010


Ironmouth:

XQUZYPHYR made the following allegations:

(1) that I said that the Office of the President and a Congress controlled by the party led by the President (both entities referred to collectively hereinafter as "Obama") enacted "universal health care" (XQUZYPHYR's words)

(2) that a statement that Obama enacted universal health care would be false, because a universal health-care insurance-buying mandate does not address the problem that some people will not see a primary care provider. Specifically, XQUZYPHYR linked to a Wikipedia article lamenting the fact that "[t]he United States' [sic] ... health care system still has an acute shortage in primary health care due to the vast majority of medical students choosing to specialize...."

I respond as follows:

(1) I very clearly referred to the mandate, a legislative accomplishment, as an achievement of the Obama administration. I did not say that the social goal had been achieved. It has not. Even in an ideal world where legislative accomplishments perfectly ("universally") achieve their social goals, the legislation in question does not take full effect until 2014.

(2) Clinging to the distinction between universal healthcare insurance mandates and universal healthcare per se, in a context of criticizing the inaction of the President, indicates a belief that it is within the power of Obama to effect universal healthcare per se, in the very narrowly defined meaning of ensuring that everyone receives healthcare from a primary care provider. This is impossible without (a) ensuring that everyone seeks healthcare from a primary care provider and (b) ensuring that the supply of primary care providers is such that scarcity is not a problem. Since, by criticizing Obama's failure to enact universal health care per se, defined in such a way, XQUZYPHYR implicitly claims that the goal is the responsibility of Obama and that Obama has the power to meet that goal. Since (a) and (b) are logically necessary for the achievement of that goal, it follows that Obama must have responsibility and power duly appropriate to ensure (a) and (b). As I noted above, Obama does not have the Constitutionally vested power to impinge on individual liberty in such a way; therefore "universal healthcare" in such a pedantically narrow definition is not within Obama's power; therefore his failure to achieve it is hardly to his detriment; therefore criticism for him for not achieving it is a non-starter; therefore drawing that distinction in order to criticize him adds nothing to the conversation.


Got you--it was rhetorical, and you weren't saying he could force anyone to go to the doctor. Criticism withdrawn gladly!

Sorry.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:06 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


In any case, the boosters for the Democratic Party in this thread are like the Republicans in one key aspect: they want to rule by fear. But instead of fear of Muslims and gays, it is fear of Republicans taking over. Any reasonable dissent from this party is met with accusations of supporting and voting for Republicans. Unbelievable.

Bullying and making people afraid might motivate some people to vote for the Democrats but it's motivating me less and less.


Disagreeing with you is not bullying. And you can say you are disappointed and wish more got done. But christ, don't lie, say he "promised" to do things and then call him a liar, a war criminal and all sorts of other things. And don't blame him for the fact that not enough people voted for the public option. And don't say he's done nothing, 450 days into his presidency. That's not telling the truth.

As for making you fear the Republicans, they should be feared, Deeply. Look at what they've done.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:16 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar has invaded countries he just hasn't done it in the open. Shadow wars! Willfully ignorant! Pretend it isn't happening! KILLING PUPPIES! WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

Know the difference between your post and mine? Mine CITES the asininity of the target of its criticism.


I guess some people just can't use google.

In roughly a dozen countries — from the deserts of North Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan, to former Soviet republics crippled by ethnic and religious strife — the United States has significantly increased military and intelligence operations, pursuing the enemy using robotic drones and commando teams, paying contractors to spy and training local operatives to chase terrorists....While the stealth war began in the Bush administration, it has expanded under President Obama, who rose to prominence in part for his early opposition to the invasion of Iraq. Virtually none of the newly aggressive steps undertaken by the United States government have been publicly acknowledged.....

Here's another:

The top American commander in the Middle East has ordered a broad expansion of clandestine military activity in an effort to disrupt militant groups or counter threats in Iran, Saudi Arabia, Somalia and other countries in the region, according to defense officials and military documents.


Here's two from the Asian Times:

The shadow war in Balochistan

Balochistan is the ultimate prize

And another:

A convergence between the CIA — operating increasingly as a paramilitary organization — and the Pentagon — conducting more and more clandestine operations — has produced an American killing machine that operates with minimal political and legal oversight. As the Times says: “the American military campaign in Yemen began without notice in December and has never been officially confirmed.”

Hey here are some more:


Military Escalation and Obama's "War on Terrorism": US Officials "Rediscover" ISI-Taliban Nexus

Covert U.S. operations authorized in secret order

US orders escalation in secret operations in Middle East
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:20 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's an ideology that is pushing to an unreasonable extreme, where centrists who don't espouse Tenther dogma and Tea arty hostility to taxes are replaced by lunatics.

GOP ‘Pledge’ Embraces Radical ‘Tenther’ View of Constitution.
posted by ericb at 1:24 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Disagreeing with you is not bullying.

Firing shitty, lazy ad hominems and accusations of calling Obama a war criminal and supporting the Repubilcans and the Tea Party - all at people who disagree with you while voting Democratic - is all a pattern of bullying. You've done this several times in this thread alone.

But christ, don't lie, say he "promised" to do things and then call him a liar

As has been pointed out to you twice, now, that promise was on his campaign site, ffs.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:24 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Does anyone here like Van Halen?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:26 PM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


DAVID LEE ROTH IS A TYRANT WHO TORTURES BABIES AND KILL PUPPIES. SAMMY HAGAR WAS EVEN WORSE. DON'T EVEN GET ME STARTED ON GARY CHERONE.
posted by dersins at 1:33 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


But because you cannot find a single actual quote from the President "promising" the public option, you continue to disengenously conflate his plan for PCIP with the "public option" you wanted so as to then be able to tell everyone he "promised" the public option, but did not deliver. But why doesn't everyone review the 2008 campaign document you said "promised" the public option and included, in quotes, next to it, a reference to a "public plan." Yet the linked document says none of that. I read it and then searched it. Not in there. This is the second time you trotted out that document for this purpose. It isn't in there Joe. Why not?

I have presented 5 pieces of data in support of my claim that Obama campaigned on a public option.

1. This screenshot from his web site that includes "the choice of a public insurance option" as one of three "bedrock requirements" for "real health insurance reform". [Naturally, this language has been memory-holed out of the current version of the page.]

2. A link to a Daily Kos diary - one that received 359 "favorites" - titled "Candidate Obama DID Campaign On The Public Option! ". It includes a video of a 2007 speech to Planned Parenthood where he says "we're going to set up a public plan that all persons and all women can access if they don't have health insurance". [There's also video of a 2007 interview with the Des Moines register, a 2008 campaign video, etc.]

3. A PDF of a 2008 campaign document. Upon review, you are correct that Firedoglake incorrectly attributes to it the words "public plan". Withdrawn from evidence.

4. A "statement of common purpose" from Health Care for America Now that says "Our government’s responsibility is to guarantee quality affordable health care for everyone in America and it must play a central role in regulating, financing, and providing health coverage by establishing... A choice of a private insurance plan, including keeping the insurance you have if you like it, or a public insurance plan without a private insurer middleman that guarantees affordable coverage." Elsewhere it is reported "Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) has signed on to the progressive Health Care for America Now campaign’s principles..."

5. An interview with The Washington Post where he says "My plan builds on and improves our current insurance system, which most Americans continue to rely upon, and creates a new public health plan for those currently without coverage. Under my plan, Americans will be able to choose to maintain their current coverage if they choose to. For those without health insurance I will establish a new public insurance program, and provide subsides to afford care for those who need them."

With point 3 withdrawn, let's summarize what language is found is points 1, 2, 4, and 5:

"public insurance option"
"public plan"
"public insurance plan"
"public health plan"
"public insurance program"

Earlier you said: I never saw a promise for a public option. Not a one.

Do you now concede that an Obama voter might have reasonable cause to believe that Obama would work for a public option? Or do you intend to lawyer us to death with arguments about what "promise" and "public" mean?

Or is it now time for you change tactics again and say that Obama did try his best for a public option (the one he never promised, according to you) but gosh darn it just couldn't find the votes? And I'm not allowed to cite Greenwald in disagreement, because you didn't like that reply he sent you that time?

Well, how about this?

The administration is to blame for the public option's exclusion from healthcare legislation, former Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Monday.

I'll let you have the last word - in which you can explain why Howard Dean's opinion doesn't count either - because I am sincerely tired of this.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:33 PM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


Van Hagar RULES!!!
posted by nomadicink at 1:33 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. Just... wow. Did you really just say that black ops constitute invasion? A team of Deltas smaller than the evidence unit at Podunk PD is not an invasion. If you have a problem with black ops, then fucking say so and provide a reason for why you think they're bad. But stop lying about "shadow war invasions."
posted by thesmophoron at 1:34 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think if Batman had to join one band, it would be Van Halen.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:37 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's either this guy Brian Wild listed in the metadata or whoever at CNN with this weird username "gop".

This Brian Wild works for John Boehner. So probably him and other lackeys.


Yep.

GOP 'Pledge To America' Director [Brian Wild] Lobbied For AIG, Exxon, Pfizer, Chamber.
"The Republican Party's 21-page blueprint, 'Pledge to America,' was put together with oversight by a House staffer who, up till April 2010, served as a lobbyist for some of the nation's most powerful oil, pharmaceutical, and insurance companies.

... Until early this year, [Brain] Wild ['who is on House Minority Leader John Boehner's payroll'] was a fairly active lobbyist on behalf of the firm the Nickles Group, the lobbying shop set up by the former Republican Senator from Oklahoma, Don Nickles. During his five years at the firm, Wild, among others, was paid $740,000 in lobbying contracts from AIG, the former insurance company at the heart of the financial collapse; $800,000 from energy giant Andarko Petroleum; more than $1.1 million from Comcast, more than $1.3 million from Exxon Mobil; and $625,000 from the pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc."
The Missing Page from the GOP's Pledge: "We Would Like to Thank Our Sponsors."
posted by ericb at 1:37 PM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Blazecock Pileon wrote: "accusations of calling Obama a war criminal"

Um, AElfwine Evenstar has done just that. (And not only on this particular thread, it's a thing of his/hers)
posted by wierdo at 1:42 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think if Batman had to join one band, it would be Van Halen.

Nah, they have too much, Bats needs something more serious. He'd totally be one of those crazy classical musicians, getting bent out shape if you decided to transpose a note half an octave higher.
posted by nomadicink at 1:51 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


He'd throw you in a dumpster if you screwed up counting rests.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:57 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


If you are saying he should wage no war, ever, lest it harm a civilian in any way, then we part ways. There can be no war without some civilian casualties. And yes, there are parties out there who would kill Americans. He is attempting to break down their networks by killing their leaders as best he can without killing others. Bush's method was to invade entire countries that had nothing to do with it.

There are parties in our own country that "would kill Americans" and they do. I don't see us waging war against those people. Who are we fighting? Why are we fighting them? What existential threat do we face that justifies the spending of billions of dollars and killing of millions of innocent people? A small group of people supposedly planned the 9-11 attacks in Afghanistan and that justifies the collective punishment of an entire country/countries?

Which prisoners at which black sites? There is only one site that could even reasonably be called "black" at Bagram. There are a few temporary sites where they are held for transit there.

And these prisoners, they are not prisoners of war in the Afghan battle? Who are they? And what do you know of them aside from Greenwald's rantings? I reviewed a lot of Greenwald's claims regarding the sites. He potrayed the temporary sites as permanent prisons. He portrayed refusing to let prisoners starve themselves to death as torture.


Well yes Bagram and Diego Garcia comes to mind. There was also a fleet of 17 prison ships that were used as "temporary" sites to end round the red cross. Obama has issued an executive order to "close as expeditiously as possible any detention facilities that it currently operates and shall not operate any such detention facility in the future." That was in January and I haven't heard anything since. I hope they have been closed but somehow I doubt it. Here is a good article from The Nation and an interview from Democracy Now of its author Anand Gopal detailing some of the horrors of our black prisons.

What is your plan for Afghanistan? What is the plan you think we ought to pursue to stop terrorist attacks on US soil? What is your plan to defend the country?

Well for Afghanistan we should pull out and let them sort out their own problems without our interference. Following our withdrawal we should pay reparations for the destruction we have wrought their. Of course these reparations should have the stipulation of only being paid out if the Afghanis can independently pull together a working state.

My plan to defend the country from terrorism does not include "fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here". What it does include is letting the FBI and intelligence agencies operate as they should. Again I do not think that terrorism is an existential threat. If you think it is than "we part ways" there.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:01 PM on September 23, 2010


Hey I'm talking about Batman over here.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:05 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, why didn't ya'll say you were single issue voters?

He'd throw you in a dumpster if you screwed up counting rests.

Better than what supes would do to you.
posted by nomadicink at 2:05 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Pshaw, Supes would stammer in his aw-shucks-Kansas-farmboy way and say 'According to my super-hearing, I believe you may have missed playing appropriately' and then apologize profusely and turn bright red out of embarrassment.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:08 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Circular Fitting Squad? Hey would you zip me up?

Err. Umm. In my mental image I'm thinking it's: "Hey, would you unzip me?
posted by ericb at 2:10 PM on September 23, 2010


Still better than how Galactus would handle it.
posted by nomadicink at 2:12 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Eh, I was never a Marvel guy.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:14 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. Just... wow. Did you really just say that black ops constitute invasion? A team of Deltas smaller than the evidence unit at Podunk PD is not an invasion. If you have a problem with black ops, then fucking say so and provide a reason for why you think they're bad. But stop lying about "shadow war invasions."

This is not just a few 4 man seal teams roving around in the African Horn it is the prosecution a low intensity warfare by several different parallel institutions. The DOD, The CIA, and the USSOCOM are all in on this. This also involves the use of proxies analogous to the situation in Cambodia, Laos, and Burma during the Vietnam war. Maybe the use of the term invasion is not appropriate here. I guess I would view invasion in the context of sending large scale infantry and armor movements into another country with the intention of holding territory. So I chose my words poorly in this case. But the fact remains that we are signatories to several legally binding international agreements obliging us to respect the sovereignty of other nations and to respect the human rights of the populations of other countries. Covert action, low intensity conflict, proxy war, shadow war or what ever you choose to call it is a violation of our legally binding agreements not to mention a violation of human rights. That this is accepted and supported by a large segment of our citizenry is a symptom of the sickness that afflicts our nation.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:18 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


That reminds me, is Ryan Reynolds going to completely fuck up Green Lantern?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:20 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't it already fucked up? I mean, seriously a superhero defeated by the color yellow? Shouldn't they have fixed that in Ring Version 2.1?
posted by nomadicink at 2:25 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Okay yeah the yellow thing is pretty shitty. But an intergalactic band of superheroes, one of whom is a planet, that has a badass pledge and shit? I can get behind that.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:29 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Have fun voting Democrat guys. Do your part to save America. :(
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:29 PM on September 23, 2010


What the hell are you talking about?

Is it The Flash?
posted by shakespeherian at 2:30 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


What the hell are you talking about?

I think it's some limited series, supposed to be crossover of some sorts. Evidently superheroes are running for office.
posted by nomadicink at 2:33 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Caucus on Infinite Earths.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:35 PM on September 23, 2010 [3 favorites]


More and more it seems the US will end in another Civil War. There is just too broad a gap between your perceived realities.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:39 PM on September 23, 2010


More and more it seems the US will end in another Civil War. There is just too broad a gap between your perceived realities.

And I'm not even a Republican. On some issues I'm liberal(abortion, gay right) and on some I'm conservative (gun rights) but on the issue of military action I usually find myself in a very lonely place. :(
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:48 PM on September 23, 2010


More and more it seems the US will end in another Civil War.

You shut your foreign pie hole, eh?
posted by nomadicink at 2:51 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Civil War is Marvel, anyways. (sorry, I really am trying to avoid derailing the derail)
posted by symbioid at 3:05 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


FFF - I think this is what I was referring to earlier in, I think, this thread... or another one... last night. That I'm kind of afraid at what we need for a solution.

There's so much goddamned tension that's been bubbling over for a looooooooooong time. And maybe I'm wrong, but I feel like the bubbles are now rising above the surface into the very air we're breathing. These farty sorts of methane swamp bubbles, exploding in a populist frenzy as they rise to power. Louder and stronger than they've been before.

Or maybe. Maybe I'm wrong.

Sometimes I think we really really want to believe the Republicans aren't nearly as bad as we all think and/or fear. "Oh, 10 years ago, they weren't this bad" but is this true? Sometimes I feel like, this is sort of the trend, and I'm not sure if it really IS any worse than it's been for the past two decades.

I'm so so confused, help??? *goes back to cowering in the corner and crying*
posted by symbioid at 3:13 PM on September 23, 2010


I was always partial to the Age of Apocalypse. But I was a marvel guy...except for Batman that is.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:15 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is the most hilarious/impressive derail I've seen in a while. Thanks you metafilter, I've been reading this all day.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 3:44 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Farty populism. Sounds like a plan!
posted by blucevalo at 4:21 PM on September 23, 2010


Wasn't Farty Populism a Captain America villain?
posted by shakespeherian at 5:00 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wasn't Farty Populism a Captain America villain?
Sounds more like an image imprint to me.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 5:03 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stephen Hawking is English

Then why doesn't he have an English accent?
posted by Jimmy Havok at 5:52 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


it is in our best interests to have as many seats as possible.

Exactly. The greater the majority we have in either house, the less leverage someone like Lieberman or Nelson will have to extract favors for their votes. When we had only 60 Senators, every one of them had the leverage to sink any bill for any reason. Every time we add another Senator to our side, we can afford to lose another vote and still pass legislation, so those who want to use their leverage to extract favors will have to bid against each other. If we had had 62 Senators, there's a good chance the public option would have been in the health care bill.

Of course, it was the Republicans' lockstep that gave the Democratic holdouts that power, since if even one of them had actually objected to Ben Nelson's sweetheart deal, he could have derailed it simply by shifting his vote.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 6:07 PM on September 23, 2010


On topic, we do face an existential crisis but it does not involve terrorism, republicans, or a DC vs. Marvel debate. Our founding fathers accurately predicted this existential crisis and the particular form it would take. I hope people take the time to read the quotes from the Federalist Papers that I posted up thread. If you are still interested go here and read more. Via this wonderful site.



The veteran legions of Rome were an overmatch for the undisciplined valor of all other nations and rendered her the mistress of the world. Not the less true is it, that the liberties of Rome proved the final victim to her military triumphs; and that the liberties of Europe, as far as they ever existed, have, with few exceptions, been the price of her military establishments. A standing force, therefore, is a dangerous, at the same time that it may be a necessary, provision. On the smallest scale it has its inconveniences. On an extensive scale its consequences may be fatal. On any scale it is an object of laudable circumspection and precaution.

Publius (James Madison), The Federalist No. 41
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:09 PM on September 23, 2010


Obama authorized lethal force in the capture of an American citizen abroad

Given that the lethal force is most likely going to be a drone missile, I doubt that "capture" will really be an option. This is a case where we really do need to pressure Obama to step back from the brink.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:39 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


what people seem to forget is tht the same people who were screaming HILLAAAAAAAARYYYYY! are the same people screaming HIPPPY BASHER! SELL OUT! GRAAAAAR! Glenn Greenwald, Hamsher, Madrak, none of them wanted to Obama. None of them want them now.
posted by liza at 7:49 PM on September 23, 2010


correction: none of them want him now.

am so tired of that whole lot.
from day 1 they've been raising money to scream NOT ENOUGH CHANGE.
day fucking one.
ask Greenwald why is he making 40+ grand a year extra out of PACs?
that's why the screaming mimi charade.

fuck'em.
posted by liza at 7:52 PM on September 23, 2010


This is a case where we really do need to pressure Obama to step back from the brink.

What? Why? What makes this guy so special that we need to tell el Presidente to step back from the brink and not kill his ass? He's American is that it? It seems to me that Obama took a running leap off the brink as soon as he entered the White House and hasn't looked back. I'm just judging from the number of people killed in drone strikes since he took office.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:23 PM on September 23, 2010 [1 favorite]


ask Greenwald why is he making 40+ grand a year extra out of PACs? that's why the screaming mimi charade.

I don't give a shit if Rupert Murdoch is funneling child pornography proceeds into his Cayman Islands bank account. Either his criticisms of Obama for continuing Bush-era abuses are valid or they aren't.

That you've been reduced to this kind of sleazy ad hominem tells me you have no legitimate defense of Obama to offer.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:30 PM on September 23, 2010 [4 favorites]


Clinton's cruise missiles are now Obama's drones. I get it.
posted by wierdo at 9:33 PM on September 23, 2010


Van Hagar RULES!!!

Nah, man, breaks down like this:

Sammy Hagar solo: intermittently good.
Van Halen with David Lee Roth (Mark 1*): RAWWKK!!
David Lee Roth solo: intermittently amusing.
Van Halen with Sammy Hagar: intermittently good.

* Somehow I missed the 2003-2005 reunion with Sammy Hagar and the 2006-2008 reunion with David Lee Roth.
posted by kirkaracha at 9:41 PM on September 23, 2010


em>Clinton's cruise missiles are now Obama's drones. I get it.

What does Clinton have to do with this? What is the point you are trying to make here?

That you've been reduced to this kind of sleazy ad hominem tells me you have no legitimate defense of Obama to offer.

They have nothing. Haven't seen anything convincing. I love it how the first cracks are when they start to analyze you and what your possible reasons are for condemning the killing of innocents.

MeFite #1: He must have some kind of deep seeded authority issues. It seems that every time someone in authority uses that authority to senselessly butcher innocent peasants he consistently gets all worked up and says it's wrong. Yep must be some kind of Psychological issues.

Mefite #2: That and he keeps citing that Greenwald character....GOD I HATE THAT GLEN GREENWALD!!!!!ONE!!ELEVEN!!!

Mefite #1: I know, he's cited him like 42 times in his posting history. What a tool. He doesn't realize that the Democrats love us and just want to take care of us. Not like those fucking Republicans they're all fascist not at all like us. We're patriotic Americans.

*rant on*
Is that all you have guys? Obama isn't a war criminal because Joe Beese is out to get Obama and he cites Glen Greenwald too much? Care to address anything substantial like all the dead innocent civilians? Or Obama's prosecution of low intensity warfare across two continents and over a dozen countries? No? What about the philosophical issues raised by the Federalist papers concerning a military complex run amok? Quit being a Debbie Downer you say? Not until you quit being cheerleaders for the goddamn status quo monkeys that run our fucking country.
*rant off*
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:47 PM on September 23, 2010 [2 favorites]


Off-topic.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:54 AM on September 24, 2010


Aelfwine, as I said before, you sound like a single issues voter. Obama's duties range across a number of issues and I find that sticking to one or two just doesn't make sense. Overrall, he's done god, IMO, definitely better than if John McCain was President*. There are dead innocnet civilians all the time, what's your point? There's nothing inherently wrong with low intensity warfare, it all depends on what's being done and why. Yes, the military complex is run amok. It's been run amok since Eisenhower at least. It's not the only issue in the world and to treat it as such strikes me as naive.

Joe Beese can't be taken seriously because he comes off like a crank, obsessed with a single issue or two and doesn't even to give those issues deep thought.

Off-topic.

'nuff said!
posted by nomadicink at 5:14 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Aelfwine, as I said before, you sound like a single issues voter. Obama's duties range across a number of issues and I find that sticking to one or two just doesn't make sense.

"Let's not bicker and argue over who killed who... this is supposed to be a happy occasion!"
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:25 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Let's not bicker and argue over who killed who... this is supposed to be a happy occasion!"

Not at all. We just see things different. I have no problem agreeing that the issues Aelfwine brought up are issues and they need addressing. But in the context of the overall Obama presidency, they're low on my radar at this moment and will probably remain so.
posted by nomadicink at 5:35 AM on September 24, 2010


Ooops, forgot to include the asterisk comment from above

* It would be interesting to see how Palin would have done as Vice President. One of the benefits of not being VP was that she was able to fail and thrash around on a smaller stage, which gave her the option of quitting and going on to be a commentator. Had she been VP, her antics would have played out on a larger stage where she wasn't the star, with little to no chance of quitting. Would she have learned to take the back seat? Would her gans got tired of her? What sort of mistakes would she made? Would have been real interesting to watch, albeit from another country.
posted by nomadicink at 6:16 AM on September 24, 2010


>> ask Greenwald why is he making 40+ grand a year extra out of PACs? that's why the screaming mimi charade.

> That you've been reduced to this kind of sleazy ad hominem tells me you have no legitimate defense of Obama to offer.


Please, for the love of God, never use that term again until you look up what it means. Someone's conflicts of interest are entirely valid in an argument about their trustworthiness; and trustworthiness is entirely valid in an argument about whether to treat their statements as authority.

An ad hominem fallacy is an argument that takes the form of "You have [impliedly] bad characteristic X, so therefore you must be wrong about unrelated issue Y." E.g., "Mitt Romney is a Mormon, so he's not fit to be President"; "Barack Obama is a Muslim Socialist Kenyan anti-colonialist, so I don't trust anything he says." That is emphatically NOT what is being done here.
posted by thesmophoron at 6:24 AM on September 24, 2010


Is that all you have guys? Obama isn't a war criminal because Joe Beese is out to get Obama and he cites Glen Greenwald too much?

No. Obama isn't a war criminal because in the world of civilized adults, people aren't criminals until proven to be so by an application of publicly-legitimated law to facts in evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. We over here in civilized adult land think that's a good rule. Why don't you come over and join us? The water's pretty warm.
posted by thesmophoron at 6:33 AM on September 24, 2010


Goddamn it, who peed in the pool?!
posted by nomadicink at 6:35 AM on September 24, 2010


Care to address anything substantial like all the dead innocent civilians?

If one is going to assume that there are guilty parties out there that must die, then innocent civilian deaths are random accidents if best practices are followed and no moral quandary exists unless we're too lazy to improve our aim. If one would rather assume that nobody should die for any reason, even the so-called bad ones, then just say so and get it over with.

The problem with the religious left is that they don't expose their flawed idealism soon enough, and we later find ourselves being morally accused for being far better than the alternative. But if they want to measure political performance from their idea of perfection, then they would do better on the side that debates what God thinks, rather than arguing for secular liberal purity.
posted by Brian B. at 6:55 AM on September 24, 2010


And what does God think?
posted by blucevalo at 7:05 AM on September 24, 2010


God thinks Wolverine is a shitty Batman knock-off.
posted by shakespeherian at 7:10 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


The problem with the religious left is that they don't expose their flawed idealism soon enough, and we later find ourselves being morally accused for being far better than the alternative. But if they want to measure political performance from their idea of perfection, then they would do better on the side that debates what God thinks, rather than arguing for secular liberal purity.

You have no idea what you're talking about. You don't have a monopoly on getting to decide what liberalism is. Hint: at root, liberalism is INTENSELY religious.
posted by thesmophoron at 7:11 AM on September 24, 2010


I hit my favorite limit for the day on this thread. Thanks guys.

Also, can we PLEASE get back to farty populism?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:11 AM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, John Stewart reacts to the Pledge to America:
Rep. John Boehner, R-OH (9/23/2010): On the point we make in this preamble to our pledge, is that we are not going to be any different than what we've been.

John Stewart: I believe that is a promise you can keep. So two years ago, just to get this straight, two years ago America broke up with you, because you had badly mistreated her. And so you disappear, do some soul-searching, get your head together, and you come back rapping on our door, hat in hand, and you say, "Baby, I know you love me. But if we get back together, I pledge to you, I promise you, I will still try to fuck your sister every chance I get. It's who I am, baby! It's who I am! Now, make up your mind, because I'm not going to ask you twice!"
"Fresh new ideas that sound exactly like their old ones" indeed.
posted by Doktor Zed at 7:14 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


what people seem to forget is tht the same people who were screaming HILLAAAAAAAARYYYYY! are the same people screaming HIPPPY BASHER!

Liberal blogger directly confronts David Axelrod, accuses White House of "hippie punching".
posted by ericb at 7:25 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


If it's ok to criticize the President, it's ok to do a bit of reality smacking to those lost in their granola dreams.
posted by nomadicink at 7:46 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know who else was an anti-colonialist?

The motherfuckers that wrote and signed the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. Seriously, Newt can claim to be an old-school Constitution-loving patriot and then use "anti-colonialist" as an INSULT and get away with it? What the fuck, people?
posted by Mister_A at 7:55 AM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


JON Stewart. JON.

John Stewart was someone else entirely.
posted by hippybear at 8:14 AM on September 24, 2010


JON Stewart. JON.

Oh dammit all, that's the second time I've misspelled a proper name in this thread, and that also involved a superfluous consonant.

In any case Jon Stewart's team masterfully spliced videos of House Republications supporting the Pledge with rehashed talking points, down to exactly the same language, from 1994, 1998, 2001, 2002, 2004. At the very least, it's damning evidence of the poverty of GOP ideological rhetoric. "This thing's not even a sequel, it's like a shot-by-shot remake!"
posted by Doktor Zed at 8:37 AM on September 24, 2010


No. Obama isn't a war criminal because in the world of civilized adults, people aren't criminals until proven to be so by an application of publicly-legitimated law to facts in evidence beyond a reasonable doubt. We over here in civilized adult land think that's a good rule. Why don't you come over and join us? The water's pretty warm.

According to your logic Hitler wasn't a war criminal because he wasn't ever convicted of any crimes. Hirohito is another war criminal who was never convicted of war crimes. Just because a person is not convicted of war crimes in a court of law does not preclude them from being war criminals. Your reasoning is horrible.

If one is going to assume that there are guilty parties out there that must die, then innocent civilian deaths are random accidents if best practices are followed and no moral quandary exists unless we're too lazy to improve our aim. If one would rather assume that nobody should die for any reason, even the so-called bad ones, then just say so and get it over with.

Who is assuming their are guilty parties that have to die? What crimes have been committed by the poor Afghan or Pakistani peasant who is fighting against the occupation of his homeland by a foreign army?

I have no problem agreeing that the issues Aelfwine brought up are issues and they need addressing. But in the context of the overall Obama presidency, they're low on my radar at this moment and will probably remain so.

Wow some sanity in this thread. Nomad I am a single issue voter in the sense that I am a not going to vote for or support a party and/or president who are committing heinous crimes. I am of the opinion that if we voted sane people into public office our domestic policies would sort themselves out. Unfortunately we have the habit of electing patsies who are beholden to interests which are not our own. Hence the endless wars and looting of the national treasury. I will give Obama credit that he was able to get some form of health care passed. Although I do not agree with some parts of the bill on the whole I think it is a good start. But just because a mass murder does a good deed once in a while does not excuse all the murders. Again this is just my opinion and thank you for engaging on an honest and rational level; unlike most of the partisans in this thread who can't see past the tips of their blue tinted party issued glasses.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:06 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who are we fighting in Afghanistan that had any connection to 9-11? The people we are fighting are poor peasants who are only defending their homes and tribes from a ruthless army that has a bad habit of bombing funerals and weddings. At face value Bush's wmd justification was a much better justification for prosecuting a war than our current one: "9 years ago a small group of nutcases planned the 9-11 attacks so now we have to keep fighting this war here even though no one we are currently fighting is any sort of threat to America or has remotely any connection to 9-11." You know they call Afghanistan the graveyard of empires for a reason.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:17 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please, for the love of God, never use that term again until you look up what it means.

(sigh)

Ad hominem circumstantial constitutes an attack on the bias of a source. This is fallacious because a disposition to make a certain argument does not make the argument false...

Maybe this skit will help:

Greenwald: Obama imposed the death sentence on an American citizen without trial.

liza: Greenwald is paid by PACs to make Obama look bad.

Me: But that's what Obama did. It was reported in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Telegraph, and Newsweek. The ACLU has filed suit in court to stop it.

liza: Greenwald hates Obama because he wanted Hillary to be President.

Me: But what Greenwald wrote is true. Obama really did that.

Ironmouth: Greenwald is a mendacious litigator! His reply to an e-mail I sent him was utter crap!

Me: Did Obama order the killing of an American citizen not convicted of a crime?

Ironmouth: Greenwald would prefer to rule over the hulk of a wasted and powerless progressive movement rather than see some good done!

Followed by others chiming in "You should be shitting your pants with terror at the thought of President Palin!", "Still sulking over not getting your pony?", "Beese sucks", and other gambits designed to avoid the difficulty of defending the indefensible.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:20 AM on September 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hitler was a war criminal because Captain America punched him in the fucking jaw. Captain America has also come out against the Tea Party.

I rest my case.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:21 AM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Captain America is gay? Well, he certainly does dress flamboyantly.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:23 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Captain America was never convicted of a crime, but that doesn't mean he's innocent of killing fashion.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:26 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Captain America loves gay people. LOVES them.
posted by nomadicink at 9:31 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Captain America loves gay people all night long.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:33 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Please, for the love of God, never use that term again until you look up what it means. Someone's conflicts of interest are entirely valid in an argument about their trustworthiness; and trustworthiness is entirely valid in an argument about whether to treat their statements as authority.

An ad hominem fallacy is an argument that takes the form of "You have [impliedly] bad characteristic X, so therefore you must be wrong about unrelated issue Y." E.g., "Mitt Romney is a Mormon, so he's not fit to be President"; "Barack Obama is a Muslim Socialist Kenyan anti-colonialist, so I don't trust anything he says." That is emphatically NOT what is being done here.


I think you are the one who needs to break out the logic textbook. Argumentum ad hominem is not necessarily a fallacious argument. The argument being presented against Greenwald is most certainly a form of argumentum ad hominem. Whether it is fallacious or not I don't know as nobody has provided any documentation of their claims.

Argumentum ad Hominem (abusive and circumstantial): the fallacy of attacking the character or circumstances of an individual who is advancing a statement or an argument instead of trying to disprove the truth of the statement or the soundness of the argument...ad hominem considerations can show motives and can sometimes provide explanation. However, these considerations do not demonstrate the truth or falsity of the ideas.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:35 AM on September 24, 2010


Can you imagine Batman in a philosophy class, debating?
posted by nomadicink at 9:39 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


'NO, goddammit, epistemology is NOT to predict what will be found in nature! FEAR ME!'

Then he breaks your fingers.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:43 AM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


"Everything I learned about epistemology I learned in dirty alley as parents died, you punk"

THen he'd bread your fingers.
posted by nomadicink at 9:45 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


and after breading them, he'd fry for a few minutes, then eat'em with a hot mustard sauce.

Batman does NOT do sweet and sour.
posted by nomadicink at 9:52 AM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


You were weak, Clark. For all your strength, you were weak. When Brainiac had his hand in the fryer, you pulled it out-- 'Justice is kind,' you said-- and now look where that's gotten you. But-- *crunch* -- Jonathan Crane won't be terrorizing Gotham anytime soon. And that makes me strong, Clark. Stronger than you can ever be.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:57 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I believe in Harvey Dent's barbecue sauce."
posted by nomadicink at 10:02 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


According to your logic Hitler wasn't a war criminal...

Godwin fail. And yeah, by the way, surviving Nazis were put on trial afterward. Just FYI. I guess you were sick for that entire six months of high school.
posted by thesmophoron at 11:20 AM on September 24, 2010


What a bunch of sophomoric bullshit from *both* sides in this thread. Most useless so-called discussion ever. Hitler.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:29 AM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think you are the one who needs to break out the logic textbook. Argumentum ad hominem is not necessarily a fallacious argument. The argument being presented against Greenwald is most certainly a form of argumentum ad hominem.

I never said that argument ad hominem was always a fallacious argument. When someone is arguing from authority, as JB is when he cites Greenwald's speculation about Obama's motives as fact, a dilemma form argument in response is valid: (a) you are arguing from authority, which is fallacious; and (b) the authority you cite to is actually not as authoritative as you think in any case. It was this latter tack, (b), which has been taken in this thread.

I also never said that the argument against Greenwald was not in some form that you describe as argumentum ad hominem. I denied that it was a "sleazy ad hominem" and that it was an "ad hominem fallacy."

Perhaps next time you should actually read what you're responding to. Your cognitive laziness isn't for others to clean up.
posted by thesmophoron at 11:31 AM on September 24, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar wrote: "What does Clinton have to do with this? What is the point you are trying to make here?"

My point is: Same old shit, different decade.
posted by wierdo at 11:57 AM on September 24, 2010


Your cognitive laziness isn't for others to clean up.

That's amusing coming from someone who wrote "trustworthiness is entirely valid in an argument about whether to treat their statements as authority".

I'm not taking Greenwald as the authority on whether Obama imposed the death sentence on an American citizen without trial. I'm taking as the authority the agreeing reports of multiple major news outlets - and the lawyers of the ACLU, who presumably have better things to do than file injunctions against non-existent things.

Sorry for the interruption. Please resume sneering.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:17 PM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


My point is: Same old shit, different decade.

Well ain't that the truth.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:21 PM on September 24, 2010


Sorry for the interruption.
posted by Joe Beese


OH MY GOD IT HAPPENED
posted by shakespeherian at 12:30 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


What, WHAT?! Batman and Wolverine hooked up?!
posted by nomadicink at 12:47 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, the free market/fiscal conservative Club for Growth calls the Pledge "weak": "I want to endorse it, but it's so milquetoast that it proves to me that these guys just aren't ready to lead. {...} This new Pledge was silent on both {banning earmarks and balanced budget amendment}. Therefore, the Pledge has no teeth. Voters have no reliable assurances that House Republicans will behave appropriately." Given that the Club has just chipped in $1.5 million in TV ads in five Senate races, one would think that House Republicans would also want to keep them at least nominally on their side.
posted by Doktor Zed at 12:56 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh god I can just see Logan's claws turning Bruce's back to ribbons as he moans with passion and agony, then beats Logan's face to a bloody pulp.
posted by shakespeherian at 12:57 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


But Logan heals, so they'd get into deep S&M games.
posted by nomadicink at 1:04 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Informal Structure of ad Hominem
Person L says argument A.
Person L's circumstance or character is not satisfactory.
Argument A is not a good argument.


He calls himself a litigator. He's the worst kind of litigator, mendacious and disengenous. His arguments are lies and he exaggerates and uses Fox News style language to try and deceive his readers. He is the worst writer in the progressive movement today.


This seems to fit the above formula.

I'm sorry, but Greenwald is on the payroll for the Cato institute, launched by and sponsored by these guys. Witting or not, he's an appendage of the Kochtopous, and he gets no benefit of the doubt from me.

Again this seem to fit the above formula.

ad hominem considerations can show motives and can sometimes provide explanation. However, these considerations do not demonstrate the truth or falsity of the ideas.

You said: "I denied that it was a "sleazy ad hominem" and that it was an "ad hominem fallacy."

I'm no logician but these both seem to be ad hominem fallacies to me. I guess we can agree to disagree.

Speaking of fallacies, you said:

Obama isn't a war criminal because in the world of civilized adults, people aren't criminals until proven to be so by an application of publicly-legitimated law to facts in evidence beyond a reasonable doubt.

Technically your position is a non-fallacious use of ad ignoratiam, but that still doesn't speak to the fact of whether Obama is committing war crimes or not. Via the link above.

Non-fallacious uses of the ad ignorantiam: in science, the law courts, and some specific other situations, one must, for practical reasons, assume that something is false unless it is proved true and vice-versa. E.g., "the assumption of innocence until proved guilty" is a practical, not a logical, process. Obviously, someone can be legally innocent, but actually guilty of a crime.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:05 PM on September 24, 2010


OH MY GOD SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP ALL OF YOU
posted by dersins at 1:08 PM on September 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


I could give two shits about what Obama's real position on health care is or was. Either way I think that Joe Beese pretty much proved his point with this post. I haven't seen any attempts to rebut. Therefore I will consider the matter settled and move on. I could also give two shits about whether Glen Greenwald is an authoritative source or not as he doesn't seem to figure into the linked to post in which Beese pretty much makes his case.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:12 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


OH MY GOD SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP ALL OF YOU

LOL...You know you don't have to keep reading. :)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:13 PM on September 24, 2010


OH MY GOD SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP ALL OF YOU

The Batman and Wolverine fan fiction made it move, huh? It's ok, just go with the flow.
posted by nomadicink at 1:15 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know you don't have to keep reading. :)

I suppose I could just find a different thread... but, y'know, I thought I had.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:22 PM on September 24, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sorry for the interruption.

That's okay. Who you are is not what you've done.
posted by thesmophoron at 1:28 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can I go on the VMAs now too please?
posted by thesmophoron at 1:33 PM on September 24, 2010


Who you are is not what you've done.

Some would argue the opposite. :)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:11 PM on September 24, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Who you aren't is what you haven't done"?
posted by dersins at 2:13 PM on September 24, 2010


Well if you believe in free will than our choices define who we are. I am still on the fence about the whole fee will thing.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:53 PM on September 24, 2010


Might as well believe in free will-- if we have it, you're right; if we don't, it doesn't matter and it wasn't your fault you believed it in the first place..
posted by dersins at 3:09 PM on September 24, 2010 [3 favorites]


Republicans Ludicrously Assert That Their ‘Pledge’ Will Lead To Smaller Deficits And Less Federal Debt.
posted by ericb at 7:58 PM on September 24, 2010


Desperate For Support, Republicans Tout Colbert’s Fake Endorsement Of ‘Pledge To America’.
posted by ericb at 7:58 PM on September 24, 2010


Might as well believe in free will-- if we have it, you're right; if we don't, it doesn't matter and it wasn't your fault you believed it in the first place..

Ah yes I see your point, but I'm not talking about a sin/guilt or justification issue. I was merely talking about free will in the sense of agency and/or being.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:20 AM on September 25, 2010


More importantly, why would you vote back in the greatest group of American warcriminals ever? Truly, American memory is short when Obama is a greater war criminal than the GOP 20 months after taking office from George W. Bush.

Speaking of whom: Rumsfeld, Bush and the Supreme War Crime
posted by homunculus at 9:25 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


You have no idea what you're talking about. You don't have a monopoly on getting to decide what liberalism is. Hint: at root, liberalism is INTENSELY religious.

For me there is no religious root or subjective ego trip to it, and many excesses are avoided that way. For some of us, liberalism is a civic reasoning, often expressed as progress from past traditional influences and from religious domination. I would further suggest that liberalism is not at an academic or logical disadvantage here, as if requiring some leap of faith to accept it. Conservative theory fails at freedom, justice and equality, because that's not their true goal in the first place. It is never the case that liberalism needs an emotional sidecar to deliver the goods as charity because that would be "their" solution.
posted by Brian B. at 9:32 AM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I desperately wanna bring this thread back to where it needs to be: a miniseries called "fatty populism" and batman/wolverine fanfic.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:40 AM on September 25, 2010


If only Juan Cole were Secretary of State...or at least our envoy to the Middle East. Hey a boy can dream can't he.

Brian B. I totally agree with that construction of liberalism and would totally get behind a political party with it as its ethos. Unfortunately, in my opinion, the Democratic party is nothing more than a less fascist wing of what I see as the Corporatist/Oligarchist party. In the last three presidential elections I have voted for Ralph Nader, and I could have just as well flushed my vote down a toilet. Every time I have voted for Nader my vote has been placed in an unsealed container. I have protested every time and on two occasions been escorted off the premises by a police officer. To me this is very depressing. We need a viable third party in this country and until we do the Democrats and Republicans are both going to continue to take us for a proverbial ride.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:36 AM on September 25, 2010


The thing I don't understand is why no one protests when you refer to Bush as a war criminal no one really protests to much, but if you refer to Obama as a war criminal you need to duck and cover. This is rank hypocrisy in my opinion. How many mefites are going to jump to Bush's defense over the article homunculus just posted? I'm gonna guess zero. Maybe that's because most of you think that he is in fact guilty of war crimes which I would agree with. The fact that a large majority of people hold this opinion about Bush but not Obama is a testament to the persuasive power of the mass media and its ability to mold public opinion.

I will admit that I could be horribly wrong and that Obama has not committed war crimes and that the U.S. is not prosecuting illegal low intensity warfare on 2 continents and 12 countries. It is entirely possible that I am insane and that you should probably just disregard everything that I say. I obviously do not think that this is the case.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:46 AM on September 25, 2010


no one protests when you refer to Bush as a war criminal no one really protests to much

oops redundant post is redundant.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:48 AM on September 25, 2010


The thing I don't understand is why no one protests when you refer to Bush as a war criminal no one really protests to much, but if you refer to Obama as a war criminal you need to duck and cover.

Obama didn't start the Iraq War. The Afghanistan war at least made some sense. Iraq made not fucking sense, was sold to the public on flimsy lies and then run so badly, there are probably text books written now on how not to go to war, all the while racking up close to trillion dollars in debt, 4500 American soldiers dead, 40-60K wounded, god knows how many Iraqis dead.

Your insistence on equating Obama and Bush as war criminals is just not understandable to me. Those are two vastly different scales and your repeated insistence on juxtaposing the two smacks of a lack of...somthing, I'm not sure what.
posted by nomadicink at 12:34 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


It smacks of a lack of Batman on Wolverine slash fiction.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:14 PM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


What Spider-Man? You know he has to be doing something with all that webbing. I bet Iron Man would like a young, smart superhero to pal around with.
posted by nomadicink at 1:20 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I feel like Spider-Man looses a lot of his essence once Peter Parker loses his virginity.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:25 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


What about The Thing and Hulk? You know you want to see that.
posted by nomadicink at 1:27 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


You had me at Hulk smash.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:37 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


AElfwine, I would agree to more parties, but we're locked in a structure that doesn't afford it. We don't have parties gain shares within a region, but instead we have winner take all in a geographical boundary. When one movement grows large and eventually offers two candidates at the polls, support is divided, both losing to the minority party (the so-called spoiler candidate).

I propose that we allow individual vote splitting, the candidate with the most marks wins. (Technically this is allowed under one-person, one-vote, if we use half-votes to tally up two sub-winners first, but the result is the same regardless). The justification is simple: we can vote for our preferred candidate, and for any party candidate needed to preserve victory. It would eliminate moral indecision and provide better polling data. It also doesn't lead to the less sound methods of approval voting or ranked voting, since neither demands that a voter make hard decisions about issues.

By the way, this is essentially what California recently mandated, with an initial state vote for the field, followed by a single runoff between first and second place. That is a type of split vote, but on a time line. I would prefer parties get more involved initially and have only one state vote, like now.
posted by Brian B. at 1:39 PM on September 25, 2010


Even without his virginity, Peter Parker is still a socially clueless Aspergian dweeb. His self-centered sexually manipulative supermodel wife (did they fix that stupid retcon yet?) is the perfect complement to his self-centered social maladaptivity.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:48 PM on September 25, 2010


Do we know for a fact that he's actually slept with her?
posted by shakespeherian at 1:54 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


There were pictures, yes.
posted by nomadicink at 2:38 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Obama isn't really finishing the Iraq War either he is just renaming it and the troops there as non-combat. So now wars are moral if they "make sense"? I totally disagree with this conclusion but I'll play ball anyways. Why exactly does the Afghan war make sense? Who are we fighting and killing there that is in any way a threat to the U.S.A.? Why are we fighting them? How is the "homeland' safer as a result of this war? So I guess Obama isn't racking up billions of dollars of debt. And I guess no innocent civilians are now being killed. Furthermore, the war we are discussing isn't limited to just Afghanistan and Iraq; as documented above it now spans two continents and 12 countries. Your partisan blindness is stunning.

Your insistence on equating Obama and Bush as war criminals is just not understandable to me. Those are two vastly different scales and your repeated insistence on juxtaposing the two smacks of a lack of...somthing, I'm not sure what.

How are the scales different? What criteria are you using to make that judgement? I also wasn't aware that the scale matters(maybe it should matter when being sentenced) when judging whether someone has committed a war crime or not. For example it doesn't matter if a soldier rapes 1 woman or 100 women he is still guilty of committing a war crime. The fact that you can't understand why I would think that Obama is a war criminal when he has killed at least 700 innocent civilians in Pakistan alone is again a testament to your partisan blindness.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:59 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I didn't link this article about Obama killing an estimated 700 civilians in 2009 alone, while only kill 5 militant leaders in the process.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:02 PM on September 25, 2010


Please stop derailing the conversation, AElfwine Evenstar,
posted by shakespeherian at 3:05 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


I totally disagree with this conclusion...

I'm ok with that. You seem to want to argue and argue, when there's a perfectly fine discussion the possible sex antics of superheroes. I got two words for you: Multiple Man. Isn't that somebody's dream right there, maybe a porno director?

Tell me you've never wondered what other...gadgets Batman has in that utility belt. It's ok, admit it, we all have. You're amongst internet friends, we won't judge, at least not here. Maybe a blog post later, but you understand, right?

Oh, the war thing? We can't have decent conversation about that if you want to equate Bush with Obama. That's such a non starter, like imagining a romantic scene between the Vulture and Dr. Octopus. I'm not sure why you're having problems with this. Maybe you're upset over Wildstorm closing, I don't know.

Your partisan blindness is stunning

I think DC comics are fine, just prefer Marvel, WTF are you talking about?!
posted by nomadicink at 3:43 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


LOL. I missed this the first time around. Really, thesmophoron, pro bono. Somehow I don't think you are being serious. Since I'm not a lawyer I will refrain from attempting to write a brief, but if you are really serious about this look here. It pertains not to Obama or Bush II, but to the war crimes committed in Iraq by Bush I. And that was what I was able to find with my googlefu and couple of hours scouring the internet. I'm sure with your law degree and legal knowhow you could probably dig up a lot more evidence. As far as international law is concerned see protocol II, art. 14 of the Geneva Conventions.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:56 PM on September 25, 2010


Maybe you're upset over Wildstorm closing, I don't know.

Not so much, but I was upset when TopCow cancelled Codename: Strykeforce and Cyberforce. After that it was back to the X-books which jacked up my comic costs by like seven books. That was back in the day when they had: X-men, Uncanny X-men, X-force, X-factor, Excalibur, Generation X, X-man, Cable, and Wolverine. :(
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:07 PM on September 25, 2010


Brian B., if only we could implement something like for federal elections I would be very excited. Unfortunately I don't see that happening in the near future.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:10 PM on September 25, 2010


Rob Liefeld is a war criminal.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:20 PM on September 25, 2010


X-men, Uncanny X-men, X-force, X-factor, Excalibur, Generation X, X-man, Cable, and Wolverine

And you accuse me of partisan blindness?!

Oh alright, we can play:

For example it doesn't matter if a soldier rapes 1 woman or 100 women he is still guilty of committing a war crime.

Surely you see the difference between the 1 and the 100, yes? The different scales and the gulf between them?
posted by nomadicink at 4:21 PM on September 25, 2010


Surely you see the difference between the 1 and the 100, yes? The different scales and the gulf between them?

Yes definitely they are of different scales. I would agree that Obama's war crimes are of a lesser scale than Bush's but he has only had less than 2 years. Given a few more years he will be right up there with Bush. Either way he is still guilty of war crimes just as the soldier who rapes one woman is guilty of war crimes.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:56 PM on September 25, 2010


Tony Stark is a war criminal. But he changed his mind, so now he's cool. amidoinitrite?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 4:58 PM on September 25, 2010


Given a few more years he will be right up there with Bush.

Man, you are in love with that meme, Obama=Bush. It really does kill your argument, you've got to find some other way of making your point.

Either way he is still guilty of war crimes just as the soldier who rapes one woman is guilty of war crimes.

It's a lot easier to prosecute a single soldier than it is the President. There are also vast differences n their scope of responsibility. Weighing the lives of 700 or 7,000 civilians against American lives is pretty much a no brainer for any President.
posted by nomadicink at 5:46 PM on September 25, 2010


Guys, guys, guys, guys, guys:

Shut up.
posted by shakespeherian at 5:59 PM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Guys, guys, guys, guys, guys

Fooled you.
posted by nomadicink at 6:25 PM on September 25, 2010


Weighing the lives of 700 or 7,000 civilians against American lives is pretty much a no brainer for any President.

How do African and Central Asian peasants threaten American lives? If you would please take the time to elaborate on this one point.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:38 PM on September 25, 2010


Hmm? I thought we were talking about the 700 civilians killed in drone attacks that trying for enemy leaders?
posted by nomadicink at 7:02 PM on September 25, 2010


You said that American presidents have to weigh foreign civilian lives against American lives so I am asking you how the people we are fighting in Africa and Central Asia threaten American lives which is the supposed justification for us being there killing said civilians.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:08 PM on September 25, 2010


They were killed during drone attacks that were searching for enemy leaders. It's not like they were hunted down for being civilians, just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Yes, that's terrible, ugly fact. More than likely a country is going to be ok with accidentally killing some civilians if they can also kill enemy leaders, particularly if the leaders are high level.

Are we even talking about the same thing.
posted by nomadicink at 8:14 PM on September 25, 2010


> Fooled you.

You're totally a dude.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 PM on September 25, 2010


Are we even talking about the same thing.

I don't think anyone even cares.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:37 PM on September 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Are we even talking about the same thing.

Yes, you just know there isn't any justification for us being there killing civilians so you won't answer the question: How do African and Central Asian peasants threaten American lives?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:41 PM on September 25, 2010


There isn't any justification for this stupid fucking conversation, such as it is.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:57 PM on September 25, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar wrote: "So now wars are moral if they "make sense"?"

Wars sometimes "make sense" in moral terms. You know, like defending yourself against an aggressor. Our foray into Afghanistan stopped making sense in those terms some while back after the debacle at Tora Bora, though.

I'm not ready to buy in to your broad-brushed war crimes accusations, though. Regarding that, I think that there must be specific intent. Collateral damage is something that's going to happen in war. It should be minimized as best as is possible, but it's unrealistic to expect that nobody's going to accidentally kill a civilian when they are in the midst of a firefight. I simply can't accept a world where, if I am attacked, I cannot defend against that attack. That's essentially what lowering the bar of war crimes does.

That's not to say we haven't done things that should be called war crimes in our decade of adventure (torture comes to mind), but for whatever reason I choose to believe that those are the exception, rather than the rule. In any event, it's pretty hard to say that you unintentionally tortured somebody.

I think a better tack to take here, if your goal is harm minimization, is to point out that we already got the guy who masterminded the 9/11 attacks, so what the fuck are we still doing with soldiers scattered around the globe still blowing shit up? Afghanistan was fucked when we went in there, and it's still fucked today, and it will still be fucked 20 years hence no matter what we do, so staying there is useless.

The Iraqis have been asking us for years to please GTFO, so why are we still there? We would do more good dumping a quarter of what we're spending on our occupations on Iraq and Afghanistan in direct financial aid than we are doing things the way we're doing them. In fact, why the hell didn't we just buy Hussein off? It would have been a lot cheaper to give him $50 billion to go live quietly in Alaska or somewhere else we could keep an eye on him than it was to invade and occupy.
posted by wierdo at 9:00 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


why the hell didn't we just buy Hussein off?

He was shifting his dollar reserves to euros, and making noises about only taking euros for oil. Not a good thing for the dollar.

Also, buying him off wouldn't have made any money for Bush and Cheney's various cronies.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:22 PM on September 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


There isn't any justification for this stupid fucking conversation, such as it is.

Seconded. Where did the fanfic go?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 9:24 PM on September 25, 2010


Wars sometimes "make sense" in moral terms.

I agree but, in my opinion, this war is not and has never been one of those situations.

We've had this conversation before about Bush I and II and I think for the most part you agree with me except for when it comes to the specific attribution of war crimes to the president himself. We have to agree to disagree, but at least you can logically articulate your position.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:08 PM on September 25, 2010


Yes, you just know there isn't any justification for us being there killing civilians

I hope Professor X doesn't find out you're using your telepathic powers like this.

... so you won't answer the question: How do African and Central Asian peasants threaten American lives?

There's a whole range of answers to this, most of them boring and not really worth the effort of typing because the question itself is you framing what's happening with the drone attacks in way that appeases your moral compass and makes anyone who disagrees look like a monster.

If you had asked "But is the Obama administration really accomplishing its stated goals with these drone attacks if they wind up killing more civilians that actual military targets?" that would be a much more interesting question that would at least invite discuss as opposed the snarky responses designed to goad you I've been trying to avoid, such "Dude, they're just peasants, the red shirts of the world, who cares?"
posted by nomadicink at 4:40 AM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


AElfwine Evenstar wrote: "the specific attribution of war crimes to the president himself"

In the case where it can be proven that a President specifically ordered that our soldiers commit war crimes, I don't even have a problem calling it what it is. Again, the torture memos come to mind here. In that case, there was specific intent to commit war crimes right up to the top.
posted by wierdo at 12:57 PM on September 26, 2010


anyone who disagrees look like a monster.

Just because you disagree with me doesn't make you a monster. You are not killing innocent people. I am just trying to understand how people are able to justify this in their head. That's why I want to know how these people living in a far away land threaten our country and american lives.

There's a whole range of answers to this,

Please enlighten me. Because really until you can give me an answer on this point we are really just talking past each other and not really addressing the main issue which is justification for taking human lives.

In the case where it can be proven that a President specifically ordered that our soldiers commit war crimes, I don't even have a problem calling it what it is. Again, the torture memos come to mind here. In that case, there was specific intent to commit war crimes right up to the top.

This is exactly the point on which we disagree. In my opinion intent is not really important here. During the Vietnam war we used various defoliants of which the most well know is agent orange. I don't think that Presidents Johnson and Nixon were intending to kill and deform a whole generation of Vietnamese, but that was the ultimate effect of Operation Ranch Hand. In this case I believe that both presidents were guilty of a horrendous war crime. The fact that they were unaware of the long term consequences really doesn't matter to me.

I don't think Obama wants to be doing what he is doing but like most U.S. Presidents they become war criminals by inheriting the ongoing war crimes of their predecessor. This all goes back to my original point that our problem is a systemic problem. This problem was predicted by our founders.

The violent destruction of life and property incident to war, the continual effort and alarm attendant on a state of continual danger, will compel nations the most attached to liberty to resort for repose and security to institutions which have a tendency to destroy their civil and political rights. To be more safe, they at length become willing to run the risk of being less free. The institutions chiefly alluded to are standing armies and the correspondent appendages of military establishments.

So while the systemic problem is not the direct responsibility of any one American president that is not really an justification for not holding them directly responsible for the policies the prosecute. This was a standard established at Nuremberg. So I guess that while I see your point I must still respectfully disagree.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:06 PM on September 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Justice Dept: Assassinations Up to President, Not Courts, to Decide

Obama argues his assassination program is a "state secret"

US Helicopters Attack Pakistan, Killing More Than 50

At Least 15 Killed in Series of US Drone Strikes on Pakistan
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:46 AM on September 27, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pakistan Lodges Official Protest Over US Incursion

US: Pakistan Incursion Was ‘Self Defense’
US Claims 'Inherent Right' to Launch Attacks Inside Pakistan


Who Attacked al-Shabab? The Rebel Leader Speaks

Obama, Bush, and the Judicious Use of Hellfire Missiles

Barack Obama, Leon Panetta and Robert Gates: Hit men vs. the Constitution
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:32 AM on September 28, 2010


Who would win? Batman vs. Wolverine

If Wolverine was the Batman

Spider-man finally to lose virginity
posted by shakespeherian at 10:35 AM on September 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Uganda: a pawn in the US's proxy African war on terror

Reports: US Drone Strike Killed ‘Al-Qaeda Leader’

CIA Dramatically Escalating Drone Strikes Against Pakistan

Five die in NATO shelling on Pak-Afghan border town

US drone strike kills four in Wana

White House agrees to share covert operations information with more members of Congress

Obama Argues for Continuation of Afghan War

Obama: 'We need to make clear to people that the cancer is in Pakistan'

Clinton Demands Pakistan Tax Hikes

Pentagon Plans $2.4bn Arms Sales to Iraq

And still no one has come forward with an explanation of how this is all justified. I will ask the question again. How do African and Central Asian peasants threaten American lives?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:17 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


And still no one has come forward with an explanation of how this is all justified.

The Beyonder made it so.
posted by nomadicink at 6:47 AM on September 29, 2010 [1 favorite]


> And still no one has come forward with an explanation of how this is all justified. I will ask the question again. How do African and Central Asian peasants threaten American lives?

Are you seriously laboring under the assumption that you're the only one on this website who knows about these things or is bothered by them?
posted by Burhanistan at 7:14 AM on September 29, 2010


Nope. Just curious as to how supporters of the current President think that our actions are justified. So far no takers.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:35 AM on September 29, 2010


If I get you to say Mxyzptlk backwards, will you go away?
posted by shakespeherian at 8:40 AM on September 29, 2010


No, I'll come closer.
posted by nomadicink at 8:46 AM on September 29, 2010


NATO Kills Four Children in Afghan Attack

As Pakistan Complains, US Vows Drone Strikes Will Continue

Study: Wars could cost $4 trillion to $6 trillion
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:19 AM on September 30, 2010


New Muslim comic book hero.
posted by nomadicink at 5:30 AM on September 30, 2010


"And still no one has come forward with an explanation of how this is all justified. I will ask the question again. How do African and Central Asian peasants threaten American lives?"

Oh, fuck your rhetorical question tub-thumping. How can Central Asian "peasants" threaten American lives? Well, they pretty fucking well managed to crash a couple planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon (and a field in Pennsylvania). And if you're going to backtrack by trying some sort of horseshit equivocation over "peasant," that I'm gonna give you a preemptive fuck off before you move those goalposts.
posted by klangklangston at 7:28 PM on September 30, 2010


You do know that most of the hijackers were from middle class to upper middle class families. Not only that but absolutely none of them were central Asian. They were Mostly Saudis. The people we are fighting and killing in Afghanistan and the 11 other countries we are currently running military operations in had nothing to do with 9-11.

All to easy. Motions to switch on the wall.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:03 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hey, remember what I mentioned about goalpost moving and "peasant"? Waleed Al-Sherhi was certainly a peasant, and trained for the attacks in Afghanistan. But to claim that there's no connection between 9-11 and the invasion of Afghanistan takes a rhetorical self-delusion that is purely unconquerable, and to trot out rhetorical questions that imply that there is no risk from poor fundamentalists to American lives is not just stupid but offensive on multiple levels.
posted by klangklangston at 8:27 PM on September 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never claimed there wasn't a connection between 9-11 and the invasion of Afghanistan. What I have consistently claimed, which you would know if you have read the thread, is that it is a war of choice, not a war of necessity. I will agree that the argument can be made that there was a justification for the initial invasion, but as wierdo has pointed out up thread that justification ended after Tora Bora.

As for Waleed Al-Sherhi I can only say you have no idea what you are talking about. Have you ever been to Saudi Arabia? Do you know what the social structure is like there? Do you know that there are no "peasants" in Saudi Arabia? Yes to be sure there are poor families but the state takes care of everybody and gives everybody an education. I have a friend from Saudi Arabia. His father was born in a mud hut. He was born in a mud hut. Then oil was discovered. That kinda changed everything. Saudis don't do peasant anymore. The only peasants in Saudi Arabia are Bangladeshi and Indian. If you had ever lived on the Arabian Peninsula for any extended period of time you would know this. Disclosure: I worked in Yemen and Oman in the late 1990's and early 2000's. So while Waleed may have been trained as a terrorist in Afghanistan he was not a peasant on any level approaching what the term peasant means in Afghanistan or cenntral Asia in general. So please don't accuse me of shifting goalposts when you don't even know what you are talking about.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:38 AM on October 1, 2010


Gates: US Military Not Ever Leaving Afghanistan

U.S. tax money goes to Taliban

Rise in Af-Pak Cross-Border Attacks Spurs Backlash

Pakistan Blocks NATO Supplies in Protest After Three Soldiers Killed in Attack

AU Troops Shell Mogadishu Market Again, Killing 11 Civilians
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:52 AM on October 1, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar wrote: "They were Mostly Saudis."

Mostly Saudis who trained in Afghanistan with the support of the "rulers" of that nation.
posted by wierdo at 6:28 AM on October 1, 2010


Person continues to argue in empty internet

'Walls of links prove I am smarter,' boasts lonely human
posted by shakespeherian at 7:26 AM on October 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


"As for Waleed Al-Sherhi I can only say you have no idea what you are talking about. Have you ever been to Saudi Arabia? Do you know what the social structure is like there? Do you know that there are no "peasants" in Saudi Arabia?"

Poverty is one of the immediate manifestations of unemployment. In Saudi Arabia, poverty is reflected in high population growth, in poor housing and inadequate social services. To dramatize the problem of poverty in Saudi Arabia, Crown Prince Abdallah toured homes of poor people in Riyadh for an hour and a half. He called on the wealthy people of Saudi Arabia to do more for the poor, which, as will be discussed later, is the Saudi way of addressing urgent social issues. A striking manifestation of poverty is the large and growing number of street beggars. According to published data, the number of arrested Saudi street beggars, both male and female has been on the increase. Most alarming is the number of beggars who are children. A Saudi journalist complains about “convoys of human beings who arrive every day… who could be a source of danger to the citizen and the security of the land.” The author, Salwa abu Mideen, complains that beggars search the garbage cans, which cause “the spread of bad odors, flies and mosquitoes.”(24)

Sorry, dude, but you're totally full of shit on this one.
posted by klangklangston at 7:40 AM on October 1, 2010


Sorry, dude, but you're totally full of shit on this one.

How many peasants do you know that were educated? Everyone of those street beggars has been or had the opportunity to be educated. Not the same situation as Afghanistan. There is definitely poverty in Saudi Arabia but not uneducated peasants who have lived their whole lives in a state of poverty as it is manifested in Afghanistan. I have spent time in Saudi Arabia and comparing Saudis to Afghanis in the context of opportunities or monetary wealth is not an accurate assessment. You can continue to compare Afghanis who have lived in a country that has basically been in a state of constant war since 1979 with Saudis who live in one of the most well educated and modern Arab states in the world but as I said it isn't an accurate comparison. But this is really getting away from the discussion which is why are we fighting this war? What is the justification? How are the people we are fighting a threat to the United States? And I will grant you that extremism is a danger, but existential WWII style threat that if not confronted will end our country as we know it; hardly. This is a war of choice in my opinion. You are welcome to hold a different opinion. So we can agree to disagree? Deal?

Mostly Saudis who trained in Afghanistan with the support of the "rulers" of that nation.

True but that is not who we are currently fighting, as you have stated upthread that ship sailed after Tora Bora.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:02 AM on October 1, 2010


But this is really getting away from the discussion

BLAR
posted by shakespeherian at 8:07 AM on October 1, 2010


Just to clarify something klangklangston I don't think that peasant means what you think it means. Last time I checked thier wasn't much agriculture in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia also isn't considered a pre-industrial society. These two conditions(preindustrial/agricultural) have usually been associated with the use of the term peasant and that is the way that I am in fact using it in relation to Afghani peasants. Who, unlike Waleed, are in fact peasants.

Also on the education front:

Today, Saudi Arabia's nationwide public educational system comprises twenty eight (28) universities, more than 24,000 schools, and a large number of colleges and other educational and training institutions. The system provides students with free education, books and health services and is open to every Saudi. Over 25% of the annual State budget is for education including vocational training. The Kingdom has also worked on scholarship programs to send students overseas to the United States, Canada, France, the United Kingdom, Australia, Japan, Malaysia and other nations. Currently thousands of students are being sent to higher-educations programs every year.

As you can see you are mistaken to try and compare Saudi and Afghani culture in this respect. But as I said before that is really getting away from my main point which is that we are fighting a war of choice against what amounts to an uneducated peasantry. Why are we doing this? What are our goals? How is this justified? You stated:

...and to trot out rhetorical questions that imply that there is no risk from poor fundamentalists to American lives is not just stupid but offensive on multiple levels.

I have never implied that there is zero risk what I have implied and indeed said is that this minimal risk is not a moral or financial justification to prosecute this war which in my opinion actually makes the threat and possibilty of terrorism more than if we just left them alone. Again you are free to disagree with me I won't take it personally so I guess we will just have to agree to disagree on this point.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:39 AM on October 1, 2010


So there I was in "Recent Activity", marvelling at the figure "231 since your most recent comment", and I was thinking "Wow, when did I comment in some shouty thread about the 9/11 hijackers?" So I check it out and I really wish I hadn't. Holy shit, people.
posted by WPW at 3:04 AM on October 2, 2010


Last time I checked thier wasn't much agriculture in Saudi Arabia.

perhaps you should check again
posted by pyramid termite at 9:18 AM on October 2, 2010


I didn't say there wasn't any. You didn't read this part:

In regard to self- sufficiency, the kingdom produced a sufficient surplus to export limited quantities of food. However, if the entire production process were considered, the import of fertilizers, equipment, and labor have made the kingdom even more dependent on foreign inputs to bring food to the average Saudi household.

So to characterize Saudi Arabia as an "agricultural society" is kinda disingenuous. But you can continue to nitpick if you want. I would also point out as does the wikipedia article that the modernization efforts since the 1950's and 60's "created novel land relations and spurred the dissolution of the beduin way of life." I was referring to the amount of agriculture in relation to klangklangstons claim that there is a saudi peasantry comparable to the Afghani peasantry. As you can see the last "peasants", the beduin, actually had their way of life destroyed by the modernization of the Saudi state. The new efforts to modernize agriculture "undermined the primitive services that the beduin offered the rest of the economy." So while yes you are right in asserting that there is some agriculture in Saudi Arabia my point still stands within the context with which it was made.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:47 AM on October 2, 2010


Pakistan Warns NATO Against Future Attacks

U.S. drone strikes kill 18 militants in Pakistan

Poll: Pakistani Tribesmen Strongly Oppose US Drone Strikes

Dozens of NATO oil tankers attacked in Pakistan

Violence in Mogadishu Swells Number of Displaced Somalis
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:52 AM on October 2, 2010


What the fuck do you even imagine you're talking about?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:55 AM on October 2, 2010


I'm trying to prove to you guys that Superman, not the Hulk, would win in a 1v1 match up.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:59 AM on October 2, 2010


See the thing is, there isn't only one single way to look at that issue, so trying to prove your opinion is a lot less interesting and fun for everyone else than having a conversation about it.

FUN:
'I imagine Superman would beat the Hulk.'
'That's interesting, because I think Bruce Banner's laboratory skills would allow him to create kryptonite.'
'Hmm, an interesting idea. But I'm not sure that kryptonite can be synthesized.'


NOT FUN:
'Superman would beat the Hulk. I know because I've read every Superman comic book.'
'Well I've read every Hulk comic.'
'I'll bet you haven't! There's a Hulk comic that was only published in Sweden in the 80s which I have a copy of, so you're wrong, and it's time to admit it!'
'I don't see what that has to do with--'
'Look you can nitpick all you want but the fact is that you were wrong. Also I don't think "comic" means what you think it means.'
posted by shakespeherian at 10:08 AM on October 2, 2010


Except that I've been using the term peasant pretty consistently the entire thread. klangklangston tried to illustrate that you can equate the saudi highjackers with afghani peasants. I disagree and I've illustrated why I disagree. You can disagree with my disagreement that is your perogative.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:14 AM on October 2, 2010


I don't care. I don't know why you think I care. My point is that you are not conversing, you are arguing, and for the most part that seems to be all you're interested in, which I think is a damn shame. You seem pretty intelligent and well-spoken, but you need to seriously calm down and have some more fun.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:40 AM on October 2, 2010


Can you guys come over to my ship? I've got deck chairs that need rearranging.
signed Captain Edward Smith, SS Titanic
posted by beelzbubba at 10:54 AM on October 2, 2010


AElfwine: The Pakistanis aren't going to get a lot of sympathy from me. They've been providing safe harbor Afghani militants for years and refuse to clamp down on it themselves. If we have to pursue people who attack us into Pakistan, so be it. If they don't like it, perhaps they should patrol their border with Afghanistan more effectively.

I'd rather such attacks not be necessary, but they are. I see no other alternative as long as we're committed to remaining in Afghanistan.
posted by wierdo at 11:03 AM on October 2, 2010


I agree wierdo that if we are committed to stay in Afghanistan that our actions in Pakistan are a logical outcome of that decision. I just happen to disagree with our decision to stay in Afghanistan and therefore our actions in Pakistan. Another interesting factor is that we are in fact indirectly funding the very people we are fighting through the ISI as evidenced by the recent wikileaks document dump. It's all very confusing.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:52 AM on October 2, 2010


As you can see the last "peasants", the beduin, actually had their way of life destroyed by the modernization of the Saudi state.

do you always argue at such length over colloquialisms used to describe the poor? - and did you really just say that nomads are peasants? - in any case, i've established that there were in fact agricultural people in arabia's past

i do not believe klangklangston's usage of the word "peasant" was worth intelligent debate

fortunately, that didn't happen
posted by pyramid termite at 3:35 PM on October 2, 2010


and did you really just say that nomads are peasants?

Not all bedouins are nomads. You would know this if you knew any bedouin. I lived with a bedouin family for six weeks in Yemen in 2001. I lived with them in their permanent residence. They had about 12 goats and 1 cow; they also grew a small crop to help feed their livestock. They were peasants along the lines of what existed in Saudi Arabia before the oil boom.

do you always argue at such length over colloquialisms used to describe the poor?

no

in any case, i've established that there were in fact agricultural people in arabia's past

Yes you have, but I don't remember denying the fact. What I said was:

Last time I checked thier wasn't much agriculture in Saudi Arabia.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:53 PM on October 2, 2010


After re-reading my last comment I realize I came on a bit strong and was an asshole. You are right there is agriculture in Saudi Arabia and from my comment I can see how you would have arrived at the conclusion that I was claiming there was none. Listen, pyramid termite, as I said before I have lived and worked on the Arabian peninsula and I know its people and culture intimately. Trust me when I tell you that the peasantry insofar as it existed in Saudi Arabia before the oil boom is gone, long gone. To try and compare a saudi citizen to an Afghani peasant is just not correct in my opinion and that is my only point. I am sorry for being an ass.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:11 PM on October 2, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar wrote: "I just happen to disagree with our decision to stay in Afghanistan and therefore our actions in Pakistan."

I would also be 100% against staying there if we weren't in the midst of changing tack at least somewhat. Were we to keep going with the complete neglect Afghanistan merited under Bush, we'd be better off leaving. It's worth giving a new plan a shot. There is a chance it could kinda sorta close to work, so a foregone conclusion that it's not just throwing good money after bad, IMO.

If it turns out not to be working at all after a year or so more, I think we should GTFO.

We need to work more on the institutions in Afghanistan, though, and not just killing "insurgents" or whomever it is we're killing. We need the Afghani people to decide they are in favor of civil government. If that's not what they want, fine, but in that case we should leave, while making it clear that if they once again harbor those who seek to do us harm we will once again be on their ass, but this time with a smaller, more targeted force.

On the one hand, I'm at least slightly sympathetic to the goal of bringing freedom and self-determination to those in the world who lack it. On the other hand, I'm also sympathetic to the idea that we should focus on leading by example (which we have been utterly failing at lately) and let other people do whatever it is they want to so long as it's not harming us and they aren't committing genocide. We can't police the entire world, as much as we like to think so.

We can't bring freedom to a people who aren't willing to stand up for it and make it happen on their own. We can assist them in that end, as the French assisted us against Britain, but that's really all we can reasonably do.
posted by wierdo at 5:30 PM on October 2, 2010


AFAICT there are two types of people in Afghanistan: those that want to continue the millennia-old tribal structures, and those who don't.

We're busy trying to exterminate the former—a continuation of a long and disturbing history of the West killing tribal peoples.

I think most of the latter have already settled in the larger cities; they need more help getting electoral systems and city/provincial/national laws and infrastructure in place.

And then there's the continuing threat of the more aggressive factions attempting to lay hands on Pakistan's nukes…
posted by five fresh fish at 11:33 PM on October 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


the continuing threat of the more aggressive factions attempting to lay hands on Pakistan's nukes…

cite...and clarify what you mean by "aggressive factions"
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:44 PM on October 2, 2010


wierdo I appreciate your viewpoint and input but I just don't think our government is operating under the same value system as you lay out. A value system which I agree with. I agree in principle we should be doing these things for the reasons you state, but that is not why we are doing them and the damage we are doing is only creating a generation of young people with a concrete reason to hate us. This makes the threat of terrorism greater; not less. We are not, in my opinion, there for the altruistic reasons as you describe them. Even if we were in Afghanistan for altruistic reasons I am still not sure I would support it as in the long run I think it is better to let people fend for themselves. You can't hand people freedom on a platter and expect them to know what to do with it. They have to earn it for themselves. You can't take what amounts to a medieval peasantry and expect them to be able to understand or appreciate freedom. As you stated, "we can't bring freedom to a people who aren't willing to stand up for it and make it happen on their own."
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:57 PM on October 2, 2010


I don't think it really matters what value system our government is operating under. Bad people can do good things and good people can do bad things. I don't need my government to "think" (do governments think?) like me, so long as it is doing (largely) the things I want it to do.

I agree that at this point it looks like we're generating more enemies than friends, but at the same time, we broke it, so we should at least give a serious effort to fixing it. It's unfortunate that we wasted six or seven years focusing on Iraq. If we hadn't, we would have already done the things we are doing in our attempts to fix what we..broke. (I hesitate to say broke, because the place was broken before we got there..and we made it worse)

That's pretty much the only reason I'm not incensed that we're not leaving there yesterday.

What's ridiculous is that the Bush Administration was so lacking in attention span that they couldn't bother to have any kind of actual plan for Afghanistan once they decided to invade Iraq. Obama has been slightly better on this, and with "combat operations" ended in Iraq, one hopes that we can give Afghanistan the attention it deserves.

If, at Obama's stated goal of beginning the withdrawal, the situation is basically the same and he decides to delay in ending our presence there*, I'll be upset.

* or at least drastically reducing it. I don't mind having honest-to-god advisors helping to train the Afghanis as we do with many countries around the world, so long as they're not advisors in name only.
posted by wierdo at 12:23 AM on October 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


We're busy trying to exterminate the [tribal societies in Afghanistan]

I think that's an exaggeration. The tribal groups provide natural cover for the Taliban/Al Qaeda, but I don't think we're going around flattening every rural village.

On the other hand, we seem to be letting some bad actors run wild over there (Dostum comes to mind as a representative example) and the Taliban gained its legitimacy at least in part by opposing his type. The cause of stabilizing Afghanistan would be better served if we'd shoot the warlords instead of giving them more guns, root out corruption in the police and army, and help the tribal areas grow economically via infrastructure projects.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:00 PM on October 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah wierdo I can understand your position. Personally I am still of the opinion that we should just pull out immediately. You do make a compelling case, though, for at least trying to make it better.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:42 AM on October 4, 2010


Afghan violence kills 13 civilians

NATO Kills Afghan Children in Several Incidents

3 killed in Pakistan following US missile strikes

At Least Six Killed in Pakistan NATO Tanker Attacks
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:54 AM on October 4, 2010


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