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Pay No Attention To That Man Behind the Curtain

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In the middle of the last century, stories were told of poets in the then USSR commanding audiences of tens of thousands for readings. America was astounded. Poetry? Not rock and roll? Granted, the Soviet Union backed those poets and rock stars were, of course, not allowed to tour. But, I think it is apocryphal. People will gather any time there is something interesting to see.

The news media’s continuing description of Barack Obama as a rock star presidential candidate is grossly misleading and deprecating. To my knowledge, no single rock star in recent history has commanded 75,000 people in an audience in this country or 200,000 abroad. Woodstock, with its “half a million strong” was a three-day event with dozens of musical guests and the added allure of the heady mixture of sex and drugs with a semi-political agenda thrown in.

But the million people who marched on Washington in the late sixties were there to end the war. The 500,000 people I marched on Washington with (before my claustrophobia prevented such participation) were there to fight for equal rights. The Million Man March was not a musical event.

So I submit that those yearning to catch a glimpse of and listen to Barack Obama were not there because he is handsome and wears expensive suits well. Nor were they there simply because he is an eloquent speaker. They were there to take part in yet another historic moment in politics: to be part of an event that could, possibly, maybe, change the course of country. They were there to show support for something new, for a deviation from the path that this country has been on for nearly eight years. They were there, yes, for hope.

Not because he resembled in any way Britney Spears or Bono. Not because he was another Springsteen or Crosby, Stills and Nash.

And yet, once again, our mainstream television media reported the trip overseas and the huge crowds that greeted Barack (waving American flags for the first time in recent history) as though it were, yawn, just some sort of star turn. Too, part of the way they reported the trip made it look as though they were covering some sort of celebrity, just for the hell of it. Barack lands here, Barack gets on a plane there, Barack rides in a car with a king, bla bla bla.

Then, the very same media criticized itself for covering him too much, reporting that John McCain was jealous and unhappy. They have a lot to answer for. Especially with a new report out Tuesday that shows clear evidence of a bias against favorable reportage of Barack Obama by the three major television networks: CBS, NBC, and ABC.

Basically, the Center for Media and Public Affairs at George Mason University found that the three networks “were rougher on Obama than on Republican John McCain during the first six weeks of the general-election campaign.”

Conservatives are furiously screaming now, even though Robert Lichter, the head of the center, had been popular with them previously. Lichter is quoted as saying "This information should blow away this silly assumption that more coverage is always better coverage." Wonder how McCain feels about being called silly, as he and his camp spent most of the last week whining about Obama's press. And now, of course, since the evidence is against what they think it is, they’re yelling foul.

McCain is yelling very loudly and very nastily with a new attack ad you can see here. Beware, its ugly. But it does include additional commentary and fact checking by Keith Olbermann and an interview with Republican Senator Chuck Hagel who denounces the ad.

It's not so clear whether other television stations took as much time to dissect the ad, either before or after running it, as it has allegedly played well in swing states, and many voters on the fence seem to be buying it, according to pundits on last night's Rachel Maddow Show on Air America. Once again, Rick Shenkman is right: the American public will swallow anything, including the clear myth that Obama is an unknown.

If one goes to Obama’s website, reads a paper or two, and checks into the facts presented by commentators (for example, liberal radio host Randi Rhodes offers the research materials she consults for her shows for perusal by her listeners and admonishes them to “not believe anything I say” without checking her facts) there is plenty to read about Barack Obama. As for his lack of experience: he has more than Bush did when he was elected. Remember, before Bush became President he did not even own a passport and had never been out of the country, despite being a rich man's son.

The conservative commentators get their talking points from the White House, as revealed, to no surprise to this writer, by Scott McClellan, author of the recent bestseller about his time as press secretary under President Bush, What Happened: Inside the Bush White House and Washington’s Culture of Deception.

And when was the last time anyone heard O’Reilly, Sanity, or the Dittohead himself reveal where he got his information or back it up with facts as opposed to just shouting?

In addition, McCain keeps attacking Obama on his position on the surge, with McCain insisting that the surge is working and that we are “winning” the war. But what are we winning? Is there even the semblance of peace in Iraq? Aren’t the Sunnis and Shiites still fighting each other? The New York Times reported today on an increase of women suicide bombers. American soldiers are still getting killed, and McCain won’t even discuss a timetable for withdrawal, and was quoted today as saying “it all depends on conditions on the ground.”

Every time Obama supporters try to bring up the fact that Obama never supported the war in the first place, the Republican talking heads insist that that isn’t the issue.

Yet, whose record is worse on supporting our soldiers after they return home? McCain’s.  It may make you weep for our troops.

Apparently, though, a good portion of the American public still hasn’t made up their minds. The facts about both candidates are out there, for the reading and the checking. Anyone who hasn’t made up his or her mind by now just isn’t paying attention.

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About Lisa Solod

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Lisa,

    I know the “rock star” reference is not altogether apt, but, then, what is? I wouldn’t as yet equate any Obama appearances to the March on Washington. The crowd in Berlin was largely people who were, in fact, just curious. Most had no idea what Obama was saying. It was an “event.”

    However, I do agree with you that most of the people who have gathered to see and hear him in the U.S. are looking for something new, looking for hope. Whether Obama can deliver is another question. Many doubt that he can. Some fear that he will. I simply hope we get the chance to find out.

    Baritone

  • Clavos

    The race is narrowing. The latest USA Today/Gallup national poll, published by RCP, has McCain up by four points. Although it’s the only one in the latest round with McCain actually ahead, the spread in most of the others is narrowing.

    “USA Today/Gallup 07/25 – 07/27 791 LV [Obama]45 [McCain]49 McCain +4.0″

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    As far as American voters are concerned, Obama’s trip abroad had more of a negative effect than positive. McCain’s ads and statements worked to the extent that it put Obama’s perceived arrogance and supposed lack of understanding of things military into play.

    Obviously, I hate to see such poll figures, but they ultimately may serve to bolster the Obama camp into a more strident posture. They can’t assume that Obama’s elegance and eloquence will win this campaign. They are going to have to work for it. As I heard some pundit say this morning, Democratic arrogance has cost them several elections in the past. It could happen again. Given the Bush record, Obama and the Democrats should be a shoo-in (did I get that right?) this time around, but so far, that is not proving to be the case.

    Frankly, while I most certainly want Obama to win, I hope McCain gives him a run for his money to the end. I want to see Obama fight tooth and nail and finish the damn deal.

    B

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    The latest USA Today/Gallup national poll, published by RCP, has McCain up by four points.

    Perhaps, Clav. But you can’t read too much into national polls. I pay much closer attention to this site and also this one, which track the numbers that really count – the individual state polls, and thereby the projected electoral vote.

    Both these sites still predict that Obama will be applying much vigorous Doc Marten to the McCainian buttocks. I’ve been following both* since ’04: they had Kerry ahead at this stage then as well, but not by anything like as huge a margin.

    Once the conventions are over and done with and the campaigning (and polling) starts in earnest, their accuracy increases. They’ve both predicted the last two elections to within a couple of electoral votes (or seats, depending on what was being predicted), so they seem to have their fingers on a pretty good pulse.

    BTW, the webmaster of Electoral Vote leans Democratic and the guy who runs Election Projection is GOP to the core. That both their predictions correlate fairly well says a lot for the soundness and impartiality of their methodologies.**

    * Websites, not buttocks.
    ** That was a bit of a mouthful, sorry. Deduct 10 style points.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Lisa,

    If Obama was actually accomplishing something, then it would be history. But he is a candidate, not a leader. That’s the point. To suggest that people go to be a part of history is to exaggerate a bit, people are going because Obamamania is a cult of personality.

    Perhaps once the man gets elected, and gives a historic speech (no, Berlin, nor the race speech was it), then it will be as you describe. Until then, it’s just a show.

    Clav,

    If McCain is now leading in the polls, I would be amazed. He’s run perhaps the worst campaign I’ve ever experienced. He’s allowed himself to be defined, he’s accepted charges of old age, and has even proven such charges as potentially accurate. It’s clear to me we will have at least 4 if not 8 years of Obama, along with a democratic house and senate to boot. Hide your wallets and fetus’!

  • Clavos

    But you can’t read too much into national polls.

    Agreed, Doc, and especially not this early; hence, my disclaimer.

    Interesting, though, given the “enthusiasm” supposedly, for Obama…

  • The Obnoxious American

    I wanted to add, that I was thinking of writing a piece with almost the same title. But in my story, it was Obama who was the man behind the curtain.

    After all, who is this guy? What is his position on anything? Is he all smoke and mirrors? Is he a mere vessel for peoples hopes, without getting too specific on purpose? It sure seems that way to me. Perhaps that is what the public wants, someone they can believe in, who doesn’t confuse them with complicated policy. You have Obama the persona, then Obama the man standing behind the curtain.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    After all, who is this guy? What is his position on anything?

    You of all people should know, Obnox. You, who wrote ‘The Official Obama Hit Piece’ and have been one of his few critics to have actually examined his policies rather than claiming that he doesn’t have any.

  • The Obnoxious American

    That was before the “changeup switchup” that he induldged in. Having analyzed his positions in the past, I can say with some certainty, that no one, even Obama’s most ardent fans, really knows what he will do, what policies he will favor, once he gets into office.

    If we get the pro-trade, pro-gun, pro-tax cut Obama of late, then I probably have a lot in common with his platforms. If, on the other hand, it’s the NAFTA bashing, gun-banning, anti-rich rhetoric Obama that shows up to the white house, then not so much.

  • Arch Conservative

    Lisa:

    Is it possible for you to climb any further up Obama’s ass?

    I mean I know he performed the miracle fo turning water into kool aid but aisde from that what else has he ever accomplished.

    He’s a one term Senator with no real political accomplishments who gives good teleprompted speech and I’m supposed to fall in love with him and vote for him?

    Don’t think so. He’s just a run of the mill liberal with a meesiah complex that the media has spuninto something he’s not.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Interesting comments, all. But mostly I beg to differ. McCain isn’t a candidate at all; he’s a tool and not a very good one. He can’t stay on topic, he can’t think on his feet, and he can’t figure out what he means about anything. Conservatives don’t like him, liberals are afraid he’ll give us four more years of Bush war and neglect…. I can’t figure out WHO he represents or why anyone is for him. He’s changes his positions so many times (Please read his record) and is such a hypocrite when it comes to the troops,it’s really horrifying, which is why, increasingly, soldiers’ groups are supporting Obama.
    Obama is, yes, just a candidate, not God or anyone like him. But I beg to differ; if you can’t find substantive information about him then you aren’t looking. Sure, he is trying to get elected, but then so is anyone running. The thing is that Obama seems to be 1) articulate, 2)intelligent, 3) thoughtful 4)educated and 5)willing to learn (which is what the trip was about in the first place). None of which describes McCain.

    And, Arch Conservative, your remark qualifies as a personal attack, as far as I’m concerned. Does EVERYONE who supports Obama have his or her head up his or her ass? So much for political discourse…..

  • Clavos

    McCain isn’t a candidate at all; he’s a tool and not a very good one. He can’t stay on topic, he can’t think on his feet, and he can’t figure out what he means about anything. Conservatives don’t like him, liberals are afraid he’ll give us four more years of Bush war and neglect…. I can’t figure out WHO he represents or why anyone is for him.

    And yet, millions of people support him…must be that great unwashed, semi-literate middle group, the stupid Americans.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Indeed, Clavos. Tell me why:)

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan Miller

    Lisa,

    You say that a principal purpose of Senator Obama’s recent trip was to learn. From what I have read, his purpose seems to have been to talk rather than to listen, with an adoring cast of hundreds of thousands of well wishers — not including the press. Perhaps I may have missed reading about something he learned, beyond that he got suckered by a youthful German reporter while working out. What else, pray tell, do you think he learned?

    In a comment (#39) last month on another thread, I suggested:

    I think he should go to Iraq, and meet with General Petraeus and others, including some of the line officers and troops because, if he is to make intelligent decisions, both in the general election campaign and thereafter as president, he should have something better than the smattering of information he seems to be getting. He needs to know, firsthand, about the recent consequences of the surge and how Iraq is shaping up — are we wasting lives and money there, or is it somehow worthwhile. Without this knowledge, how can he possibly have a reasonable basis for making decisions about what to do? And how can we, the people who will vote for or against him, have a reasonable basis for doing so?

    I also commented, in response to a suggestion that Senator Obama had “questioned” Geneal Petraeus, (Comment #40),

    [T]he hearing was nearly two months ago. A lot has happened since then, and much of it has been for the better. Don’t you really think that Senator Obama — probably our next president — would glean enough real information to make such a trip useful? I don’t mean photo opportunities, I mean a fact-finding based trip, including discussions not only with General Petraeus but with his staff and with line officers and troops. Perhaps even some of Iraq’s leaders? (emphasis added)

    I would very much like to have seen meaningful dialogue of this sort. I didn’t.

    Dan

  • The Obnoxious American

    “Obama is, yes, just a candidate, not God or anyone like him. But I beg to differ; if you can’t find substantive information about him then you aren’t looking. Sure, he is trying to get elected, but then so is anyone running. The thing is that Obama seems to be 1) articulate, 2)intelligent, 3) thoughtful 4)educated and 5)willing to learn (which is what the trip was about in the first place). None of which describes McCain.”

    That’s what we in the business call “rationalizing.” Both candidates have these attributes, each is unique. I’m not thrilled with McCain’s campaign, but let’s not be churlish and suggest that he isn’t a great American. He is just not as good of a politician and Obama. He has better more thought out and nuanced views on most as well.

    By the same token, while Obama is better at politicking, he does not seem to have very good judgement and no experience. He is a wonderful speaker, and his meeting with Bernake was pure genius from a campaign standpoint. All the dems will love the idea of Obama setting Bernanke straight.

    I know the point of your article is a straight anti-GOP piece, but let’s truly be post partisan as your man fancies and actually put down the rhetoric for a second. Just like McCain won’t steal food out of the mouths of the poor, Obama won’t be able to fix the planet or cure all that ails either.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Actually the article was not an anti GOP piece at all….but rather a discussion of the way the media presented the trip and the way misleading information gets disseminated and helps people make up their minds, erroneously. If you read it that way, then so be it. Check out other posts on other sites and you will see the same critiques, especially the one about who is getting positive press.

    No McCain won’t steal food but he will make it much esier for the rich to get even richer. And he is taking a LOT from vets but not voting for any increase in their benefits. No doubt about that.

    As for Obama fixing the planet….I never even implied that. I am a political sophisticate and know full well that whoever inherits the White Hosue will have problems galore, many of which cannot be fixed immediately, some of which may not even be fixed in two terms, and a few of which we will just have to live with.

    It’s the vision thing. Obama has it. McCain does not.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Dan,
    From what I read and heard, Obama met with eight leaders in one day. I assume he did as much listening as talking. I don’t assume we will get a full report on all he learned. That is for him to assimilate and use for decision making.
    He also met with Petraeus and from the reports got along famously. I think he also got a good look at what is going on there. Which, despite the GOP propaganda, ain’t good. The surge may have worked militarily, but even Maliki (spelling?) in an interview I heard yesterday said that it had not worked socially or politically. In other words, the surge quelled violence for a time, but no inroads into true peace have been made. Which is why they want us out and why we need to get out. And why, of course, we never should have been there in the first place.
    If the American public has now been convinced that the war was wrong, deceptive, and dangerous, why would they vote for a hawk like McCain? I just don’t get it.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan Miller

    Lisa,

    “Obama met with eight leaders in one day. I assume he did as much listening as talking.” (emphasis added) That’s an interesting assumption but is not the sense that I got; even if he in fact did as “much listening as talking,” when consulting with eight leaders in one day, I would submit that that’s too much talking and too little listening for someone legitimately interested in learning from folks who presumably know substantially more than he does about what’s happening in Iraq. Assuming a twelve hour day, with half an hour for photo opportunities per leader, that’s eight hours of discussion; according to your assumption, and further assuming simultaneous translations during discussions with non-English speaking “leaders,” that means thirty minutes of listening per leader. Do you really think that is adequate?

    Still, it will be interesting to see whether and how he will “assimilate and use for decision making” whatever he may have learned. I haven’t seen any sign of it yet, but then the elections are not immediately upon us so there is still time.

    Dan

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Dan, You expect far too much. What Obama has done is heads and tails above what McCain has done. And he is only a candidate. This was a first pass…to meet people who were eager to meet him and for each to get a sense of each other and his concerns. To expect concrete policy is completely unrealistic. It was fact-finding and intelligence gathering and that is what, I believe, it accomplished as much as it could. As soon as he is elected, if indeed he is, I assume there will be far more substantive meetings to figure out how to achieve what it is Barack and others wish to achieve re world cooperation and peace. Please don’t forget the damage Bush has done to our relationships with foreign countries, real damage. Barack was trying to help repair that. He did that. Amerians who don’t see it as a positive are putting their heads in the sand. This is a smaller world than we know and we simply must have allies and partners. Bush has done as much as possible to discourage that. And I don’t see McCain changing that policy for now.

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan Miller

    Lisa,

    With all due respect, it came off pretty much as I had expected it would. I had hoped it might be different, and better, particularly from a candidate who claims to offer change we can believe in.

    Between now and the general election, I shall have to decide — and quite likely many others will as well — against which candidate to vote. I need all the help I can get from both of them, and Senator Obama is not being all that helpful.

    Dan

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Well, Dan. I think you can choose right now if you look at their value systems and the way they both treat others and run their campaigns. But….it’s your call, of course:)

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Dan, I agree with Lisa in that I don’t know what you would expect to hear from Obama at this point. Actually, for Obama to have done much more than essentially touching base with all of those leaders would have been presumptive of him. He is, afterall, still just a candidate. He was certainly in no position to lay down anything substantive as regards international policy. As a candidate he has not been privy to the kind of briefings and other information that only a sitting president has available.

    Give the guy some props. His trip was not widely seen as a positive by a number of voters – thus the slip in his poll numbers. I’m sure he and his inner sanctum knew that was a possibility. Yet, I do believe that the trip may prove to be more useful to a new president than to a candidate seeking votes. Most of the criticism aimed at Obama regarding the trip really come from a jingoistic viewpoint.

    Hell, I heard tell that a number of people in foreign countries with an interest in our election feel that they should be able to vote in it owing to the influence and impact American policies have on them and their respective countries.

    B

  • Baronius

    I’m still reeling from the line “fact checking by Keith Olbermann”.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Baronious
    Clever but not funny. if you follow the link you will see that at the least Olbermann had the chutzpah to check the veracity of a mean-spirited ugly ad….and found it very lacking. Other media sources just ran with it. Which is why McCain gets away with what he does. You may not like Olbermann but in that case he was behaving like a journalist and not like a mouthpiece.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Baronius,

    Youy hit it on the head. Keith is about as far from being a real journalist as can be. I’m sure he can check facts against his own views, but not necessarily against other facts :>

    Lisa,

    “Actually the article was not an anti GOP piece at all….but rather a discussion of the way the media presented the trip and the way misleading information gets disseminated and helps people make up their minds, erroneously. If you read it that way, then so be it. Check out other posts on other sites and you will see the same critiques, especially the one about who is getting positive press.”

    Perhaps it’s the comments you made about McCain that make me feel that way. However, the point that Obama is somehow treated with more critisism is a bit disingenuous. Obama gets more news coverage period. Something in the area of about 3 to 1. Some of it is critical, but given how little is known about Obama, I would hope that this is the case.

    I am willing to bet that there are at least a few Americans who probably don’t even know the name of the GOP candidate. And the media has done nothing but further the notion that McCain is old, or that his health is in question. Earlier this week, the media line was about Obama’s strain from playing basketball, and McCain’s mole removal. You tell me which type of media coverage you’d rather get.

    “No McCain won’t steal food but he will make it much esier for the rich to get even richer. And he is taking a LOT from vets but not voting for any increase in their benefits. No doubt about that.”

    More disingenuity: The rich get richer because they work for it. Successful Americans should be rewarded and celebrated, not demonized as you’ve done.

    Moreover, as has been universally agreed on this board, wealth isn’t a zero sum game. Rich people getting richer is a good thing for everybody. I know that hard core lefties still think that the U.S.S.R. had it right, and can’t agree that capitalism is a good thing. Yet it’s this very concept that enabled you to buy a computer and have time to spend arguing politics on some board.

    Do you really think this country would be better off if we stole from the rich to give to the poor? Think about that one for a minute. Even Obama has somewhat backed away from that position.

    “I am a political sophisticate “

    And a humble one at that.

    “and know full well that whoever inherits the White Hosue will have problems galore, many of which cannot be fixed immediately, some of which may not even be fixed in two terms, and a few of which we will just have to live with.”

    This is more disingenuity. Basically you are saying that bush messed everything up and Obama will need to fix it. How about things are just messed up. period. I agree Bush has screwed the pooch on a few occassions, and I am just annoyed with his total lack of support of his own and mccain’s platforms in recent times. That said, the reality is that not all problems are Bush’s fault. The decision to go to Iraq, Bush’s fault. The way the war was initially handled, Bush’s fault. But now, it’s on all of us to responsibly end the war in Iraq, meaning not leaving it on a timetable, not just doing what is expedient. Mortgage crisis? Decades in the making. 9/11 – same deal. Energy prices are more a result of left wing political correctness and environmentalist pandering than anything else. we can keep going on and on, but I’m not convinced that Obama can do much to resolve any of these issues. He does talk a good game though.

    “It’s the vision thing. Obama has it. McCain does not.”

    More accurate for you to say you share a vision with Obama. Both have their own visions, just because you don’t agree with McCain’s, you don’t have to suggest that McCain doesn’t have one.

    “From what I read and heard, Obama met with eight leaders in one day. I assume he did as much listening as talking. “

    Wow, eight leaders in one day? Can he leap tall buildings in a single bound too?

    All hype aside, who cares how many leaders he can pack in a day. It’s just not about that. It’s amazing to me the total shallowness of the success criteria of Obama. He gets props for looking presidential, even though he really hasn’t ever taken a hard stand on an issue. He is lauded for his reception by leaders OVERSEAS. He amazes with the sheer number of leaders he can meet with over a day. None of this is impressive. Leading is impressive. Passing tough legislation is impressive. I am not impressed with Obama.

    “He also met with Petraeus and from the reports got along famously. I think he also got a good look at what is going on there. Which, despite the GOP propaganda, ain’t good. The surge may have worked militarily, but even Maliki (spelling?) in an interview I heard yesterday said that it had not worked socially or politically. “

    Not quite. His policy of withdrawing based on time is in direct contrast with Patreus. And the good general made that clear.

    In terms of political reconcilliation, that’s on the Iraqis. And they are making progress. It seems that only Dems have a problem seeing this. Is it perfect? No. but if you agree the situation on the ground isn’t that great, why would we leave? So that full on genocide can take place? Time to read up on the current situation.

    “If the American public has now been convinced that the war was wrong, deceptive, and dangerous, why would they vote for a hawk like McCain? I just don’t get it.

    First, while the American public thinks the reason to go to war was wrong, they also overwhelmingly want us to win there as well. Let’s not confuse the decision to go to war, with the situation we have there now. They are two seperate issues.

    I agree that the decision to go was suspect, although you should also acknowledge that removing Saddam was a policy started by Bill Clinton. Was the war handled correctly? Yes, initially. But who cares? We already made those decisions. Now we have to deal with the situation that is there today. You can gripe endlessly about how deceptive the decision to go to war was made, but it’s irrelevant.

    McCain showed more judgement than Obama in spearheading the effort to bring the surge. Obama to this day cannot bring himself to admit that the surge has made a tremendous difference in the number of troop deaths (reduction of 80%?). Has the surge fixed everything? No, of course not. But it’s a great start. I don’t get dems who say, well it’s helped but there are still issues. This is such a defeatist argument, coming from people who purport to have an audacious hope. Pulleeeeeeze.

    Despite the hyperbole, McCain offers a way to go forward in Iraq without simply leaving after 16 months. And he was right on the surge. Obama just wants to get us out in 16 months. Why would I vote for someone whose whole plan consists of leaving without ensuring that the whole place doesn’t go to heck in a wicker basket? We don’t need yet another “killing fields.”

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Hell, I heard tell that a number of people in foreign countries with an interest in our election feel that they should be able to vote in it owing to the influence and impact American policies have on them and their respective countries.

    I remember seeing a poll on just that topic in 2004. People in a selection of countries were asked who they would vote for in the US election if they could. The results suggested that Bush wouldn’t have stood a salmon’s chance in a sushi kitchen of being re-elected. As I recall, he was viewed more or less favorably in Africa, India and parts of South America, and generally loathed everywhere else.

    This Pew survey stops short of asking the direct question, but still shows pretty clearly who the rest of the world would prefer to see installed in the White House come next January.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Doc,

    I remmeber that poll as well. I think it’s hilarious when Americans pay heed to these insane polls. We too have our druthers regarding foriegn leaders (i.e. Jong Il, Ahmadinejad, Putin, etc) but that rarely makes a difference.

    What self hating Americans need to keep in mind is, sure our election effects other countries, just like their elections effect our lives as well. That doesn’t mean that they should have a say in the way we govern.

    Until we become a global utopia, let’s consider our (America’s) interests in context of America’s interests, and do away with this nonsense of considering someone else’s opinion when they have their own adgenda.

  • zingzing

    “He is lauded for his reception by leaders OVERSEAS.”

    i’m one to think that having political leaders of other countries who seem to like the direction you are heading is a good thing for foreign policy. they don’t have to like you (not that that’s a bad thing), but they do have to be willing to work with you. currently, many, many other nation’s leaders don’t even respect our government or its foreign policy. they seem to respect obama. and respect is a damn good first step.

    “I am willing to bet that there are at least a few Americans who probably don’t even know the name of the GOP candidate.”

    that’s probably true, but it’s probably true the other way around as well. did you know that during the late 1800’s, some residents of central london didn’t know that they lived in london, or that they lived in england? there’s a lot of ignorance out there.

    “I know that hard core lefties still think that the U.S.S.R. had it right, and can’t agree that capitalism is a good thing.”

    yep, they’re called “socialists.” there is that fringe. there’s also a fringe on the right called “white supremacists,” but no one is going around saying that “i know that hard core righties still think that black people have no rights,” etc, etc. i think some “socialist” programs are alright, but full on u.s.s.r. style communism just doesn’t work, no matter how naively wonderful the idea is.

    “The Iraqis […] are making progress. It seems that only Dems have a problem seeing this. Is it perfect? No. but if you agree the situation on the ground isn’t that great, why would we leave? So that full on genocide can take place?”

    it’s gotten so much better that us leaving will result in “full on genocide?” well, that’s an improvement. somewhere along the line, you’ve lost the reality of the situation.

    “you should also acknowledge that removing Saddam was a policy started by Bill Clinton.”

    really? i’m being serious in asking why you would say that. you mean with sanctions? i’m not going to look it up now, out of sheer laziness, but i would think that stuff was started under the first bush. not really sure. enlighten me.

    “Was the war handled correctly? Yes, initially.”

    that’s arguable. it was entered into under very poor intelligence and a total lack of understanding for what was going to happen. many people cried out, “but what do you do after you’ve dismantled their government infrastructure?” well before any troops were on the ground. it was fucked up from the start.

    “Why would I vote for someone whose whole plan consists of leaving without ensuring that the whole place doesn’t go to heck in a wicker basket? We don’t need yet another “killing fields.””

    did you vote for bush? because the whole place has gone to “heck in a wicker basket.” it is a “killing fields.” we’re not helping the situation over there. a steady decrease in troops will alleviate some of the pressures that are causing this. if iraq sees that we aren’t going to be there, and that they had better figure something out before two summers from now, well, they just might set about figuring something out. it’s their country, not ours, so they’re the ones that have to get it done, in the end.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Well Obnoxious American, I like your moniker….

    You really believe the rich get rich because they work for it? All of them? Get serious. Some do, some don’t. Some middle class Americans work their asses off and don’t get rich. Same for the poor. 18 million dollar bonuses for destroying a company or depleting a pension fund.

    And I notice you said nothing about McCain’s continued and horrific voting record against veterans benefits. He wants to keep them fighting? Then help them out when they return.

    And, by the by. We do plenty to get rid of foreign leaders who don’t suit us. Allende, Noriega, Pinochet (after they served their usefulness) and lately, Saddam. No one asked us to go in and take him down. We did it because he was a horrible man. But there a dozens of awful leaders in the world who to awful things to their people. Want to take them all out?

  • The Obnoxious American

    “We too have our druthers regarding foriegn leaders (i.e. Jong Il, Ahmadinejad, Putin, etc) but that rarely makes a difference. “

    Further to this point, when we weigh in on who should lead a foriegn country, (some) Dems claim that we are being imperialist. Yet they are willing to take direction from Europe. And based on what exactly? Their higher quality of life (chuckle), their superior diplomatic or military strenght? (double chuckle). Economy? (hardihar har).

    Anyone who furthers such a view that the populace of other countries should have a say or that their opinion of our leaders is somehow important really needs to go back to school. God help this great land if we are truly led by people following this wrong headed philosophy.

    Bottom line, it is only Americans who can represent American interests. Sometimes that means making a choice that other people in the world don’t agree with. As soon as they have to pay taxes here is when I will care.

  • zingzing

    “What self hating Americans need to keep in mind is, sure our election effects other countries, just like their elections effect our lives as well. That doesn’t mean that they should have a say in the way we govern.”

    what’s self-hating about paying attention to another’s person’s opinion of you? it may be a little insecure, but trying to improve yourself based on criticism from another does not equate to self-hate. you think us lefties hate ourselves (or our american selves, i guess)? ha. we just don’t believe that we’re automatically the best, just because we’re american. not saying you do either, but at least one side is ready to admit its faults.

    “Until we become a global utopia, let’s consider our (America’s) interests in context of America’s interests, and do away with this nonsense of considering someone else’s opinion when they have their own adgenda.”

    and what part of trying to get along with the rest of the globe really interferes with “america’s interests?” i think that it would be quite a nice thing not to be the butt of jokes and bombs made out of airplanes. don’t you?

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing:

    “Was the war handled correctly? Yes, initially.”

    Note, that’s a typo, I meant to type “Incorrectly”

    “yep, they’re called “socialists.” there is that fringe. there’s also a fringe on the right called “white supremacists,” but no one is going around saying that “i know that hard core righties still think that black people have no rights,”

    I think that the number of people on the left spouting socialistic values is much higher than the number of right wing white supremists. Just look at the author of this article. Just look at Obama’s platform of higher taxes and government healthcare. By the WSJ’s analysis, Obama will mean a tax rate of 62% for some Americans. Some will be earning just 37 cents on each dollar. This isn’t capitalism my friend.

    “we’re not helping the situation over there. a steady decrease in troops will alleviate some of the pressures that are causing this.”

    We can agree to disagree here. I think the surge has proven this point wrong.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    why do Americans who criticize this country’s policies have to be labeled self-hating? Is love it or leave it the only way? Surely not. Oh, yes, love it or leave it would be anti-intelligent and anti-informed, for sure. NOW I get it.

  • zingzing

    “By the WSJ’s analysis, Obama will mean a tax rate of 62% for some Americans. Some will be earning just 37 cents on each dollar. This isn’t capitalism my friend.”

    yeah, that’ll happen. welcome to america, ever been here? no way in hell any such thing happens.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Dear sweet Lisa, Whenever people’s arguments don’t stand up to facts, they always bring my moniker into the equation.

    “You really believe the rich get rich because they work for it? All of them? Get serious. Some do, some don’t. Some middle class Americans work their asses off and don’t get rich. Same for the poor. 18 million dollar bonuses for destroying a company or depleting a pension fund.”

    You’re blurring being rich with being a criminal. Sorry if you are a middle class American working your ass off, but that doesn’t mean you should have a say in what a particular company compensates it’s employees. No one is saying it’s ok to deplete a pension fund.

    What’s so entertaining about this line of reasoning is, back in the enron days, all my lefty friends swore to me that no one would go to jail, as they were all in cahootz with Bush. Guess what, they are in jail now. Wonder of wonders.

    If someone breaks the law, they should go to jail. But if someone is successful, we shouldn’t tax them into submission. I think that’s a reasonable position. And the fact is, rich people are doing something to get there. There simply isn’t a class of royalty out there. Poor people become rich, rich become poor. It’s not nearly as static as you suggest. But raise taxes to be penalizing, and it might very well become much more static.

    Bottom line, raising taxes does NOTHING to help the economy.

    “And I notice you said nothing about McCain’s continued and horrific voting record against veterans benefits. He wants to keep them fighting? Then help them out when they return.”

    This point is laughable and shows your lack of experience on the issue. I won’t even address it. My advice, read up on John McCain, his platform, history and legislation. Don’t be a sheep and take everything the dem talking points hand you.

    “And, by the by. We do plenty to get rid of foreign leaders who don’t suit us. Allende, Noriega, Pinochet (after they served their usefulness) and lately, Saddam. No one asked us to go in and take him down. We did it because he was a horrible man. But there a dozens of awful leaders in the world who to awful things to their people. Want to take them all out?”

    If they threaten us and/or our interests, then perhaps. What’s the alternative, just live with it? What’s Obama’s alternative exactly? I don’t think there really is one. On the one hand he wants to leave Iraq, but then go into Afghanistan. Not very consistent.

    And BTW, we won in afghanistan before, we will again, it won’t take leaving Iraq to do it either – it’s not an either or choice. That said, going to war with Iran is.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    With Obama at the helm and democratic houses, it’s a real possibility. It is after all the platform that the left runs on. Why would I expect this not to happen? I am just listening to Obama and other democrats stated position. And it’s scary.

    To your and Lisa’s points about listening to other countries, I am not saying we should reflexively act against the wishes of the rest of the world. But we should not be beholden to them either.

    Look at the Kyoto protocol. We dissented and caught massive flack about it. But in the end, Bush was right. Even the Kyoto signing nations couldn’t hold up their end of the deal, and the premise of Kyoto has been proven not to help the environment very much. And didnt the G8 or some world group agree recently that India and China need to be regulated the same as everyone else? Had we signed on to this, it would have been bad.

    This is just one example, there are others. Sometimes we have to make choices in our interest. I agree that Bush has made these situations more difficult than tthey could have been. But spasming to the extreme opposite side of things isn’t a good idea either.

    In terms of hating America, neither of you can deny that there is a large contingent of Democrats who hate Bush, and feel that by extension this country needs a comuppance. I know many of these people (I live in liberal NYC remember?). Perhaps I was too strong on the rhetoric, but Obama’s trip, gladhanding foreign leaders smacks of euro appeasement, as does his primary platform. So there is at least some truth in my characterization.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “Oh, yes, love it or leave it would be anti-intelligent and anti-informed, for sure. NOW I get it.”

    And lisa, please don’t put any words in my mouth, or engage in such drivel. If you want to challenge a statement I made, then challenge it. This is just a crappy way to debate.

  • zingzing

    “With Obama at the helm and democratic houses, it’s a real possibility. It is after all the platform that the left runs on. Why would I expect this not to happen? I am just listening to Obama and other democrats stated position. And it’s scary.”

    yeah, but it’s not true, and it never will be, and you know this. it’s not a possibility at all. do you have a link to this wsj article?

    “In terms of hating America, neither of you can deny that there is a large contingent of Democrats who hate Bush, and feel that by extension this country needs a comuppance.”

    hating bush does not equal hating america. i know that’s not what you said, but it’s nowhere even close to a logical extension. this country doesn’t need to get spanked in the ass for how stupid we can be, we just need a change in direction. no one is calling out for the destruction of america. we want this country to change because we love it. if we hated it, we’d revel in its quick descent, and wouldn’t say a word on the way down.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    Then don’t call me a socialist without my permission or knowing anything about me….

    and please, OA, please, look up McCain’s record on voting for, or rather against, veterans benefits. I DID NOT take it from Democratic talking points, my dear, never do. I do the research. I check my facts.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Poor people become rich, rich become poor. It’s not nearly as static as you suggest.

    And it sure as hell isn’t as fluid as you infer.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Zing,

    So Democrats didn’t relish in the troubles relating to “Bush’s War” in Iraq? Democrats don’t, to this day, deny that any progress has been made? Or that at this point it might be worth trying to actually finish the job and not just leave?

    Iraq is a prime example of Dems wanting to undermine this country. We all know what leaving Iraq pre-surge would have meant for this country’s future.

    To this day, democrats keep talking about our standing in the world, but the reality is our standing is pretty good. Sarkozy, Merkel, Brown, are all for us, Putin, Jong Il, Ahmadinejad and Chavez not so much. All is as it should be.

    Aside from being adored in berlin, what do you really think an Obama presidency and it’s pro-euro policies would actually do to benefit this country? Be specific.

    In terms of taxing, I agree, Obama wouldn’t mean socialism. But he would lean there. Maybe in 20 to 30 years of high taxation, and the bad economic condition taht comes along with that, socialism would have more appeal, it would make more sense.

    You see, Dem positions are a walk down the road in that direction. I am still over here excited about opportunity, and as Americans you should share my excitement, not sell if for government healthcare. (BTW, for all those that felt the Government failed in Katrina, how do you at the same time support the idea of Government Healthcare? Hmmmmm)

    BTW, WSJ article here.

    Lisa,

    See above in terms of my comments on socialism, especially the WSJ link. Your own comments bely a hatred of capitalism, distrust of companies. I call it as I see it. I think if a company wants to pay a CEO 18 mill then that’s their business. It’s up to the shareholders to continue to invest. Why would the government get involved? They shouldn’t. Remember, it’s a free country.

    The government has no place dictating to business whom they should hire and for what pay. It’s up to business to decide that based on the market. Democrats support more regulation on business, and higher taxes. They support more government involvement. All of this leads eventually down the road to socialism.

    I don’t agree with more government involvement. Government is not the answer. Obama is not the answer. We are the answer, we have to grow up and stop asking Uncle Sam to fix everything for us. Only we as a people can do that. Change we should be believing in is an end to the nanny state.

    Jordan,

    I’d ask you to consider your own situation. Not knowing anything about you, I’m sure in your twenties, you were living kind of poor, and as you got older, your earning power and lifestyle improved. When you were just starting out, you would have been poor, are you richer now?

    For most people it is very fluid. I started out not paying rent, being evicted and having utilities turned off. Now I eat steaks at nice restaurants. Perhaps it won’t always be this way. To suggest my condition is stagnant is lying. There are many people just like me.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Oh, and Lisa, again, way off the mark on McCain supporting Vets. Perhaps he didn’t vote for a Democratic sponsored bill, and perhaps there was a very good reason for that. To suggest he hates vets, just makes you sound silly.

    I would suggest you read up on the various bills and why McCain voted the way he did before throwing out such inflammatory and baseless statements. Otherwise, it’s your own integrity that is in question.

  • http://www.idiotwars.com Dave Nalle

    Lisa:

    You might want to look up McCain’s voting record and statements on veterans issues. McCain has only voted against three veterans related bills in his current term, and all of those were bills which basically disguised massive tax increases as veterans programs. The program improvements themselves largely survived without the tax increases, as part of the Defense Appropraitions Bill for that year, which McCain supported.

    Saying that he voted against Veterans is incredibly deceptive, when the bills he voted against were unnecessary, highly partisan, violated the Senate’s established budget rules and had no chance of passing, and when he has supported the largest increase in veterans benefits and soldier pay in our history under the Bush administration.

    Dave

  • Clavos

    And it sure as hell isn’t as fluid as you infer.

    How do you know what he infers?

  • Jordan Richardson

    I’d ask you to consider your own situation. Not knowing anything about you, I’m sure in your twenties, you were living kind of poor, and as you got older, your earning power and lifestyle improved. When you were just starting out, you would have been poor, are you richer now?

    It’s pretty much been the same all along, really. My economic situation hasn’t changed all that much. Of course, I got married and “left the nest” in one swoop of it, so having two incomes right off the bat certainly helped matters.

    For most people it is very fluid. I started out not paying rent, being evicted and having utilities turned off. Now I eat steaks at nice restaurants. Perhaps it won’t always be this way. To suggest my condition is stagnant is lying. There are many people just like me.

    And there are many people who will never know your “steaks at nice restaurants.” Besides which, it seems to me that your definition of “rich” is a little interesting. How would you define “rich?” Clarifying this point may help clarifying your actual philosophy, as in taxation of the very wealthy, we’re talking people in the “hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and more” bracket. To me, that’s rich. Simply eating steaks in nice restaurants doesn’t necessarily mean someone is rich.

    How do you know what he infers?

    Lucky guess?

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    OA, the word is spelled belie, and it means to picture falsely– so if my comments belie a hatred of capitalism, well then that means just the opposite of what I think you meant.

    I don’t hate corporations at all. When they do right by their workers and don’t lie, cheat and steal, then they do good things and good for the country. When, like Countrywide, for one example, they get greedy and stupid, and cause a huge market disruption, then, no, they aren’t doing any good. Or like Bear Stearns, who got a GOVERNMENT bailout, well, what does that say? I believe that if companies were well regulated and were subject to respectable business practices, then we would all be better off. States can do it if you would rather; I have no problem with that. But someone needs to pay attention. It would be lovely if people were good and kind and played by the rules (like my father, a super capitalist who never took advantage of the people who worked for him and so never needed a union to tell him how to behave –surprise, surprise!–but who also has voted as a Democrat his whole life) but too many people don’t. I have no problem with people making money, lots of it, if they do good work and don’t take advantage of those who help them do the work, but the huge discrepancy between the bosses with their gold parachutes and the workers whose pension funds get looted or who lose their jobs because of corporate malfeasance….shouldn’t we as a country guarantee that people at least try and play fair?
    Sure, some of the bad guys are now in jail, but how fair is it that they get a couple of years in a country club prison while a drug USER gets ten to twenty in maximum security. I believe that one can be a free market capitalist and still invest in fair business practices, fair law enforcement, and fair opportunity for all. I also believe that giving people benefits like health insurance is a no-brainer, and that just because someone does not work for a big corporation they should not have to forgo healthcare. It is much cheaper to pay for wellness than it is for sickness, much cheaper in the long run to take care of kids while they are babies, then pay for what happens to them later. I believe in just and kind capitalism.

    But we are a long way from the topic I wrote about, which was the way in which the press viewed Obama’s trip and what it meant.

    And as for McCain and the vets. Never said he hated them. But the institutional support for the men and women fighting and being wounded by this unfounded war is just not there. I personally know of several soldiers who are on their third tour and I also listen to those who have returned wounded of heart and mind, as well as body, and it breaks my heart. His recent vote against increased veterans benefits made no sense.

  • Clavos

    How do you know what he infers?

    Lucky guess?

    Wrong answer. You don’t know what he infers; he hasn’t said.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Obnox., I’m wondering how you feel about corporate bailouts from the federal government. Surely there is value for the government to keep the mega-corporations afloat and, as such, government intervention can be good for the overall economy. The federal government, therefore, relies on the taxpayers to supply support for the company via allocated federal taxes or foreign debt or whatever, giving Joe and Jim American the opportunity to support their favourite company and prevent it from going on.

    This type of governmental intervention happens all the time and it falls under the subjective precedent that to allow these giants to fall would lead to economic turmoil. So, essentially, we need to keep the rich wealthy and, in fact, loosen things up to allow them to get wealthier.

    Surely you oppose this type of thing and would rather companies have the ability to stand on their own two feet without taxpayer help with fortunes simply built by “hard work” and not tax breaks or bailouts or legal manipulation. A good company should be able to succeed, “get rich,” and continue to acquire wealth without violating federal law, without needing federal handouts, without federal loans, without bailouts, without breaking environmental regulations, and without taking shortcuts that betray the public trust. But that’s not how it works with the majority of American corporations. Changing their status to that of a “person” was the beginning of such a process. So there’s a reason that rich corporations continue to get rich and it isn’t necessarily because they’ve all worked hard to get there. You say there’s no problem if a company wants to pay its CEO billions, but isn’t there a problem if those billions come as a result of breaking the law, using shortcuts, and using government assistance?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Alright Clav, I don’t know what he inferred. I apologize.

  • Lisa Solod Warren

    5/2008: McCain voted AGAINST the Webb GI Bill.
    9/2007: McCain voted AGAINST bill to minimize periods of time between deployment of units sent to Iraq.
    5/2006: McCain voted AGAINST $20 Million to VA for health care facilities.
    4/2006: McCain voted AGAINST $430,000,000 to VA for Medical Services.
    3/2006: McCain voted AGAINST increasing Vet-medical services $1.5 billion in FY2007.
    3/2004: McCain voted AGAINST increasing Vet-medical care by $1.8 billion.
    10/2003: McCain voted to TABLE an amendment for $322,000,000 for safety equipment for USforces. “Table”= vote never hits floor.
    10/2003: McCain voted to TABLE a vote for $1 Billion for National Guard and Reserve Equipment in Iraq dueto:shortage of helmets, tents, bullet-proof inserts, & tactical vests.

  • Condor

    Okay Lisa a bit of history.

    Watkins Glen in 1972 with The Grateful Dead, Allman Brothers, and The Band had the largest recorded crowd in the history of rock events. Over 600,000. That was the biggest. And perhaps the last of it’s kind.

    What killed the large concert crowds was logistics, as in sound systems, facilities, medical, police etc… and crowd control. The Dead still brought in fairly large numbers into the early 90’s but scaled back over time due to the enormous pressure the band felt towards the vast problems associated with mega audiences and the need to ensure that terrible accidents didn’t occur and these venues.

  • http://www.idiotwars.com Dave Nalle

    Lisa, the way those URLs are formatted BC probably wouldn’t block them, since they aren’t set up as proper links and don’t work and screw up the page format.

    [Lisa, for the convenience of our readers I amalgamated the URLs Dave is talking about into a single comment and converted them into clickable links. You might want to properly format your URLs thus in future. If you don’t know how to do that, try this little tutorial.

    Sorry to interrupt, Dave. Carry on.

    ASSISTANT COMMENTS EDITOR]

    And while I appreciate the effort to post the links, but I already looked at most of them, and the votes are hardly the whole story. Did you READ the actual bills? Did you look at who sponsored them and what they actually did in addition to the stated purpose – which you can never really trust? Get the facts and don’t believe the smears.

    “The sacrifices made by veterans deserve to be memorialized in something more lasting than marble or bronze or in the fleeting effect of a politician’s speeches. Your valor and devotion to duty have earned your country’s abiding concern for your welfare. And when our government forgets to honor our debts to you, it is a stain upon America’s honor…. As President, I will do everything in my power to ensure that those who serve today and those who have served in the past have access to the highest quality health, mental health and rehabilitative care in the world.”
    John McCain, May 26, 2008

    Dave

  • zingzing

    “So Democrats didn’t relish in the troubles relating to “Bush’s War” in Iraq? Democrats don’t, to this day, deny that any progress has been made? Or that at this point it might be worth trying to actually finish the job and not just leave?”

    no, we didn’t enjoy watching fellow americans dying for your side’s stupidity. of course progess has been made, but short of civil war, where the fuck was this thing going? we’re still creating new terrorists that hate us and new problems for iraq. the damn place is a mess. yes, it is worth it to “finish the job,” but maybe the best thing is to back away and let them actually get to work. if you had someone serving you dinner every night, would you ever learn how to cook? for fuck’s sake.

    “Iraq is a prime example of Dems wanting to undermine this country. We all know what leaving Iraq pre-surge would have meant for this country’s future.”

    iraq is a prime example of republicans undermining this country. you fucked iraq up, you fucked up america’s economy by blowing shitloads of cash over there and you fucked up america’s image overseas by letting us become fucking warmongers. jesus. leaving iraq pre-surge wouldn’t have mattered diddly-fuck if we had never fucking gone there in the first place.

    “To this day, democrats keep talking about our standing in the world, but the reality is our standing is pretty good. Sarkozy, Merkel, Brown, are all for us, Putin, Jong Il, Ahmadinejad and Chavez not so much. All is as it should be.”

    yeah, right, right, right. look at it. a lot of people who should be on our side (and not just grudgingly because their economies are linked to ours) are not, because we have a totally fucked foreign policy. things are NOT as they should be. take a look at the world.

    “Aside from being adored in berlin, what do you really think an Obama presidency and it’s pro-euro policies would actually do to benefit this country? Be specific.”

    i don’t fucking know what’s going to happen in the future. i think europe would be a lot happier with us and would support us in what will probably be policies that they can agree with. they’d be a whole lot more likely to sit at the table and not snicker. what’s really all that wrong with having europe on our side. they are a powerful ally.

    “In terms of taxing, I agree, Obama wouldn’t mean socialism. But he would lean there. Maybe in 20 to 30 years of high taxation, and the bad economic condition taht comes along with that, socialism would have more appeal, it would make more sense. ”

    yeah, but 62%? we’re in a bad economic situation now. it’s certainly looking grim. and this after bush’s tax cuts. i’m not for high taxes either. i hate the amount of taxes that are taken out of my paycheck already. but you know what? that doesn’t change much under either side. i’ve never noticed a bit of difference in my time earning a wage and paying taxes. the government is going to pay for itself, and in ridiculous terms. do you think reagan’s arms buildup came cheaply? how’d he get the money?

    “You see, Dem positions are a walk down the road in that direction. I am still over here excited about opportunity, and as Americans you should share my excitement, not sell if for government healthcare. (BTW, for all those that felt the Government failed in Katrina, how do you at the same time support the idea of Government Healthcare? Hmmmmm)”

    a walk down what road? the same shit-covered path we’re on now? our economy is tanking, our military is stretched too thin, our rights are being shaved off… shit. what opportunity do you see down the current path? really?

    the government failed in louisiana because bush appointed his drinking buddies to high paying positions and ignored all the warning signs. i don’t particularly trust the government to do a good job with health insurance either, but when you pay $180/month for shitty, shitty health insurance, you really stop and think, “how can it be worse?”

    “BTW, WSJ article here.”

    i’ll check it out.

    peace.

  • Clavos

    Well said, Dave.

    There have been good and sufficient reasons for each and every one of McCain’s perceived “anti” vet/military votes, but you do have to dig down to find them.

    For example, his most recent vote “against” was cast to prevent benefits so enticing they would encourage service people not to re-enlist, a critical consideration when you have an all-volunteer military.

    The practice we should be following is the one we had in the Vietnam era, when substantial re-enlistment bonuses were offered to those with critical skills.

    And I say this as a vet who has received VA benefits and health care for more than 30 years.

  • zingzing

    hey clavos, how come you took off after i pointed out that you don’t want guns for the reasons the 2nd amendment was written? hmm?

  • Clavos

    Mere coincidence, son. The whole thing began to bore me, and I went to get something to eat, then sat down to read for a bit.

    Just today, a storekeeper here in Miami blew away a putative holdup artist in his store with a 9MM. The storekeeper, who isn’t even an American, made a point of telling the news reporter interviewing him that he was glad for the right to be armed in his store, and will cheerfully blow away the next guy who tries to hold him up.

    It occurs to me that the bad guys should put chalk marks on the stores, indicating to each other which ones are likely to result in their being holed, sort of like the system the hobos had of marking the houses they panhandled in days of yore.

    But most bad guys are too stupid for that.

  • zingzing

    yeah, you ignored the 40+ murders that happened today, but latched onto the guy who killed a man for trying to take some of his money. good job, mr. storekeeper! hope you sleep well!

  • zingzing

    and don’t call me son, pappy.

    oh, pappy… you can call me son.

  • Jordan Richardson

    It’s good to see that the world hasn’t gone completely senseless and that individuals aren’t completely desensitized to violent acts that there are still some that see the gleeful shooting of a robber as, at the very least, problematic.

    I can tell you this, and you’ll probably find me pretty fucking strange, but should someone enter my house and present no threat to me physically but rather simply want my large television, I won’t be trying to kill him or her. To me, call me self-righteous because Jesus knows I am, there’s simply no situation beyond self-defense, defense of my wife and future children, or defense of the innocent that will provoke me to use a firearm on another human being. No amount of money, chocolate bars, or flatscreens will change my mind about that.

    Sorry!

  • Clavos

    good job, mr. storekeeper! hope you sleep well!

    I’m sure he will, as would I, secure in the knowledge that he gets to sleep in his bed tonight, instead of lying on a slab in a morgue.

    Would you prefer he stand meekly by and let them rob him? Possibly be killed in the process? Talk about fucked up!

    Also today in Miami, another (unarmed) store clerk was killed during a robbery, and a cab driver (also unarmed) was also killed during a robbery. So, three holdups, three dead; two of them innocent, law abiding citizens. The only survivor was the armed good guy.

    As for the 40+ murders: the vast majority of those are bad guy on bad guy, and will happen even if by some miracle, you could take all their guns away (like the gangbangers and drug dealers are going to let you).

  • zingzing

    if the vast majority of them are bad guy on bad guy, why did two good guys get killed today in one relatively mid-sized american city?

  • Clavos

    Because they were unarmed.

    What part of “majority” don’t you understand?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Clavos, I can be shot walking down my street to get the mail. I can be shot walking my dog. I can be shot going to the movies. I can be shot eating dinner out. I can be shot going to the mall. I can be shot going to visit my parents. I could have been shot at school. I could have been shot at church.

    Is the lesson here that the reason I could be shot is because I’m unarmed? Should I, therefore for my own safety, always be armed, gun under my pillow and all that crap? Moreover, are you always armed? Does it make you feel safer if you are or does it simply make you feel like something always could happen?

  • Clavos

    No, I’m not always armed; in fact all my weapons are long guns, I don’t even own a pistol or revolver. If I were a shopkeeper or cab driver (or other high risk worker), I probably would, and yes, would probably have it within reach at all times while working.

    Is the lesson here that the reason I could be shot is because I’m unarmed?

    In the context of the two zing was asking about: yes.

    What’s your point?

  • Jordan Richardson

    Point is simply a curiosity, Clavos.

    I do think that it’s a little erroneous to say that the reason they were shot is because they were unarmed. The reason they were shot is because someone shot them. They could have gotten shot even if they were armed and more people could have gotten shot or killed had a full-scale gunfight erupted.

    It’s interesting. Today in Canada we had a guy stabbed and decapitated on a Greyhound bus in Manitoba. It makes me wonder how someone having a gun on the bus would have altered that situation.

  • zingzing

    “Because they were unarmed. What part of “majority” don’t you understand?”

    ahh, but see, that’s not the point. and even if a majority of murders are gang-related, there’s still 2 dead people in miami who were innocent. they didn’t die because they were unarmed, they died because SOMEONE SHOT THEM.

    i’m sure there are a lot of gang-related murders. but there are also a lot of other murders. many, many more than there should be.

    are you armed all the time?

  • Clavos

    The reason they were shot is because someone shot them.

    That’s circular, and a fallacy.

    The reason they were shot was because they were in possession of something (money) which their armed assailants wanted. Had they been armed, it’s true that a gunfight might have erupted and innocent bystanders killed or injured, but maybe not. We don’t know the circumstances; if these were one-on-one crimes (likely, especially in the case of the cab driver), the outcomes could have been resolved with only the perps dead, as was the case in the third incident in Miami yesterday.

    Today in Canada we had a guy stabbed and decapitated on a Greyhound bus in Manitoba.

    Oh my. A homicide with no gun involved.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Clavos, you’re awfully defensive. I didn’t post the link or discuss the story for the purposes of making a point. I’m asking questions because I’m legitimately interested in the answers. I know that’s hard to believe, but I’m trying to learn from this discussion, not just simply make a point.

    And explain to me how it’s not equally circular and fallacious to infer that the reason the individuals were shot is because they were unarmed? How is that more logically justified in your mind? You say yourself “we don’t know the circumstances,” so isn’t it actually more logically sound to suggest that they were shot because someone shot them rather than to suggest they were shot because they didn’t were unarmed?

    Again, not trying to make a point. Simply trying to understand.

  • Jordan Richardson

    didn’t were unarmed

    Woops! That should simply read “were unarmed.”

    Also, I’ll repeat my curiosity: I’m wondering how the Greyhound situation would have changed had someone on the bus been carrying a gun. Certainly any answers would be highly speculative, but would the situation have been safer? Could it have been avoided altogether? It’s interesting to ponder how people act in the “heat of the moment,” so to speak.

  • Clavos

    I take your point about the circularity of saying they were shot because they were unarmed; they were shot, as I said before, because their assailants wanted something (probably money) that they had.

    Disarming the entire American population will not happen. Even if the 2nd Amendment is repealed, keeping anything away from Americans is impossible, as we learned during Prohibition; in large part because of the freedoms we enjoy, which curtail the authorities’ ability to seek out and confiscate property.

    Perhaps it’s our Wild West heritage, I don’t know, but we are a violent people, the statistics bear this out. The easy availability of guns makes them the preferred weapon, but as your incident in Manitoba suggests, the lack of a gun at hand will not prevent violence and death.

    So, my contention is that prohibition, besides being unconstitutional, will not work. I believe, if we want to control the US homicide rate, we will have to come up with an alternative solution to the problem of gun homicide; one possibility is more draconian punishments for homicides, especially those that occur during the commission of another crime, or while armed.

    We could try life sentences without parole. That won’t stop the killers, but eventually, at least, they will be contained, and will only be able to prey on each other.

  • Jordan Richardson

    I wouldn’t imagine taking guns away from Americans or anyone else for that matter. It is an inherent right that has been relentlessly abused by a populace so crippled with fear, paranoia, and conceptions of flawed heroism that it is relatively easy to argue the purpose of such a right in modern America. It is likely true that the Founding Fathers would deplore the heights to which the Right to Bear Arms has been taken, though. Most people would, at the very least, have to concede that things have gotten way out of hand in that respect.

    I guess it all comes back to the question of whether violence leads to more violence or whether violence stops more violence from occurring. Is a heavily armed society safer than a society in which a few are armed? Does the constant saturation of a “gun culture” create less violent imagery or does it contribute to more violent imagery? And should a country with an obviously violent history and an obviously violent present have the “freedom” to own handguns and military-grade weaponry? Or should they have their toys taken away for while they learn to behave?

    In a land where Hollywood movies have influenced the idea of self-defense to suggest that the average citizen can, heavily armed, overtake any threat he or she should come across in a blaze of glory, should guns really be so readily available or should we take care to note that the tightest of regulations are applied to gun ownership?

    I’m tired of hearing about America’s love affair with guns, hearing jokes about how Canadians are “unarmed Americans with health care,” and hearing about people desperately holding on to their Second Amendment rights while forsaking all the others. When will America take a leadership role and acknowledge its violent history and violent present with action that makes a difference? It’s about changing a violent culture, sure, but is celebrating the freedom of being able to carry a gun in a public park really something remarkable?

  • zingzing

    hmm. here’s a question. a couple actually. are bullets that hard to make? what if we just stopped making bullets? people who have little reason to fire their guns would still have bullets, while those who use guns for the wrong reasons (or very often) would run out very quickly.

    make the bullets illegal to ship or move across international borders.

    you couldn’t go hunting very often (which would save cute fuzzies), and you couldn’t go to the range too often (whatever), and criminals would have to think long and hard about using guns for crime.

    i’m sure there’s going to be major problems with this.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Or just go with Chris Rock’s advice.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    I guess it all comes back to the question of whether violence leads to more violence or whether violence stops more violence from occurring.

    This is the basic problem in your reasoning which makes all that follows pure nonsense.

    Guns are not violence. Guns do not create violence. Guns are merely a tool which can be used in the commission of a violent act or to prevent a violent act. The violence originates with the people and the gun can be used in either a positive or a negative way.

    And if criminals have guns – and we have no way to stop them from getting them – then the only way to counter that is with private gun ownership for self-protection.

    As for the founding fathers, many of them made specific statements on private gun ownership which indicate clearly that they would NOT be troubled by the current level of private gun ownership, but would see it as an appropriate response to the current level of crime.

    Dave

  • zingzing

    dave: “Guns do not create violence.”

  • Jordan Richardson

    Dave,

    I’m not talking about guns being violence nor am I talking about guns creating violence on their own. Nobody would be so absurd.

    The basic problem with your assessment is that you transplanted the word guns where I said violence, which is probably very telling in and of itself. My “reasoning” is as old as time, Dave. People have long studied the impact violence has on societies around the world and have long pondered the question of whether violence continues to breed more violence. It’s not unreasonable to assert that question in the least and, to the contrary, it’s quite unreasonable to assume that violent acts do not create more violent acts. It’s the old argument of escalation.

    So no, guns alone are not the sole problem plaguing American culture and its violent imagery. But had you honestly addressed the remaining questions in my post, you might see that, like you, I believe the issue goes far beyond guns. It’s just that I’m hard-pressed to see how more guns helps anything come to a resolution and how that helps American society become less violent and bloodthirsty.

    So, if you would be so kind, could you explain to me how that works?

  • Baronius

    I think our Founding Fathers would be most troubled at our moral decay. Some would be shocked by the diminishment of religion; others, by the failure of universal education to raise the human spirit. I agree with Jordan to this extent: the number of people who decide to resort to violence is alarming.

    Then again, some Founders would be upset by the presence of Hindoos, Negroes, and others of Dark Skin.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Except for Jefferson, who’d just want to shag ‘em.

  • Clavos

    Zing,

    are bullets that hard to make?

    Not at all. One of my dad’s hobbies when I was a kid was making his own pistol, rifle and shotgun loads.

    Once in a while, my friends and I would steal some of his gunpowder and go down onto some nearby uninhabited gullies (barrancas, in Spanish), and have a ball blowing up rocks and what not.

  • Arch Conservative

    I think our Founding Fathers would be most troubled at our moral decay.

    If the trend continues can you imagine how people will be acting two hundred years from now. What would we think of their behavior?

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