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Shlock and Craw

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When Obama won the presidency last November, I wasn't happy. I voted against him. But he won, and I was determined to give him a fair chance. He is, after all, my president, even if he isn't of my political orientation. A little over three weeks in and I am finding less and less to like about President Obama.

I disagreed with the idea of removing waterboarding from our arsenal. This wasn't a widespread practice, we used waterboarding in a total of three very specific and crucial instances which yielded information that demonstrably saved lives. By any objective measure, waterboarding isn't real torture — we waterboard our own soldiers as part of special ops training. I'll acknowledge that perhaps I am not on the side of the angels here, though can any country at war always be on the side of the angels? But fine, I can't argue that it is a morally questionable practice, even if it's nowhere near the scale of behavior our enemies have used on captured Americans. Then again, beheading isn't torture either.

Then I heard that Obama wanted to reverse Don't Ask Don't Tell. Really, Obama, really? The economy is sinking, we are facing two wars, and you're worried about soldiers in a foxhole expressing their sexuality openly and freely? What about the actual job that the military has to do? I'm not saying that this Clinton era compromise was the greatest legislation ever, Don't Ask Don't Tell was absolute crap. But it silenced an issue that we really shouldn't have been talking about and Clinton understood that. America understood it and accepted it, for the most part. After all, our military is there for one thing, to protect American freedom and interests overseas. I for one don't want anyone on active duty expressing their sexuality, hetero or otherwise. If you think I'm way off here, just remember that somewhere in Iran, there are soldiers laughing at our gay military. And that's precisely the problem with this feel good nonsense.

Next up, let's close Gitmo and halt any current proceedings, Supreme Court sanctioned proceedings mind you, to bring justice to Americans hurt by 9/11. And no plan for what to do with the terrorists we were storing there. Do we really put them in a regular U.S. jail, even a supermax, where they can be idolized by the criminal population, while simultaneously turning the jail into an instant terrorist target? And who besides Jack Murtha's minimum security prison is willing to take these despicable creatures? And what exactly was so wrong with Gitmo in the first place? Not to mention the obvious issues with trying them in our regular justice system.

All three of these actions after meeting with Cheney, just days earlier, and pledging to understand what the Bush administration was doing before making drastic changes. I guess he used the easy button.

I've already talked about my views on Obama's executive pay caps. I don't disagree that companies getting a government bailout should have to abide by government's rules, they should. The problem there is that President Obama and team aren't just talking about bailout companies, but executive compensation in general for all companies. His words, not mine.

However, I reached the pinnacle of my disgust watching the press conference last night, and the two campaign stops in Elkhart and Ft. Myers. Shocked by the utter disingenuousness of the President's own words. Awed by the near devotion and lockstep of his followers in the audience and in the media. Generally disappointed that the President thinks he is still campaigning, or that going back on the trail will solve the problems he needs to deal with in Washington.

Specifically, there were quite a few major issues with the way the President addressed the nation last night. Yes, his presentation was terrible, he stuttered and stammered his way through incredibly long and boring answers, he seemed defensive, angry, out of his league. He said "uh" about 5000 times. But these are superficial things, and not nearly as important as the content itself, which was even worse than the presentation.

First off, to suggest that because there are no earmarks in the stimulus bill, there can't possibly be any pork is about as disrespectful to my intelligence as can be. One thinks about Obama's comment during the election, saying that McCain's focus on earmarks was silly, as earmarks only represent a small fraction of spending. Now I get it. I guess a rose by any other name doesn't smell as sweet after all.

Obama falsely cast the position of opponents of the bill as a straw man choice between his stimulus plan, pork and all, or doing nothing at all. But this is verifiably untrue — the GOP did forward a plan, as well as tried to contribute ideas to the original stimulus; ideas that were more or less completely dismissed by the Democrats. Obama suggested that the problem with the GOP supporting his bill was due to "a lot of bad habits built up here in Washington, and it's going to take time to break down some of those bad habits." So disagreeing with Obama is a "bad habit" and agreeing with him is "post partisanship?" Got it.

Obama actually brought up Japan's "lost decade" as a reason to vote for the stimulus. Never mind that Japan's problems stemmed from being highly overextended in terms of credit, which is exactly where we will be if this bull, I mean bill, passes. Then Obama suggested that the premise of the New Deal being a good thing was settled long ago. I agree, it was settled that the New Deal was not a good thing and was actually terrible for America. I've only recently started hearing this bit of revisionist history that the New Deal was positive. Interestingly, Obama also asked Republicans "to not engage in some revisionist history."

Obama repeatedly blamed Bush for the problems he is dealing with. Didn't he run because he wanted to resolve the country's issues? Now he's complaining about being in this situation? I've never heard a president act this way, and let me say that it is entirely unbecoming. I'm pretty sure Hillary Clinton or John McCain would be happy to relieve Obama of his responsibilities if they become too much.

I don't have much experience being President, but I am pretty sure it's not a good idea to make fun of your own Vice President, even if he is the "gafftastic" Joe Biden. Biden is a joke, a total joke, which is why there was a collective groan that could be felt as far as Nepal when the world heard Biden was the VP choice. But for Obama to poke fun just raises the question of his own judgment. If it's "not surprising" that Obama wasn't really listening to Biden, then why did he pick the guy to be his running mate? This is just one more slap in the face of Hillary Clinton and the American people who put Obama/Biden in office.

The media meanwhile, thought that Obama did just great. Not just OK, but fawning praise. Commentators on CNN seemed to feel that he had a strong message and delivery. Politico's "Arena" was lighting up with comment after comment of sheer jubilation at having a president that "could speak in full sentences" and "keep more than one thought in his head." I must be getting old, or out of touch with this world, or both.

Today, watching Obama in his post election Florida campaign stop, one questioner, after having a near orgasm for being able to speak with the President, said that he was a student and also had worked at McDonald's for four years. He asked whether Obama would do anything about people who work in a company that long without a promotion. Obama's response was that he was going to have government provide health care and reduce education costs.

No mention to the questioner about the obvious. If he was at McDonald's for four years without a promotion, perhaps he wasn't doing a good enough job. Perhaps the questioner should stop looking for Government to solve his problems and look in the mirror for why his career at McDonald's is at a stand still. But President Obama didn't dare suggest anything like that. I guess this new era of hope and change doesn't include one iota of personal responsibility.

Unless, of course, you are rich.

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About The Obnoxious American

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

    “I must be getting old, or out of touch with this world, or both.”

    That amounts to the only thing I agree with in your article.

    Your perspective regarding Obama is so jaundiced as to be without merit.

    Given your proclivities it’s apparently impossible for you to consider that the media just may be correct in their judgement of Obama’s performance both in his speeches and in his actions.

    It is also obvious that the ONLY way in which the Republicans will consider joining the Dems in any bi-partisan effort is if the Dems and Obama bend over an kiss their anal retentive asses and adopt their agenda – that which brought us to this pass.

    As to the Biden quip: That’s all it was, a lite tap made in jest. I think Biden can handle it.

    B

  • Hope and Change?

    Why is everyone around King Barry looking more and more like a bunch of BUFFOONS!…

    He did throw Joey Hariplugs under the bus….he needed the feeble and stupid WHITE guy to get elected now he no longer has any use for him. This is just what he did to his own granny.

    Barry “Pork the other Dark Meat”

  • The Obnoxious American

    “Given your proclivities it’s apparently impossible for you to consider that the media just may be correct in their judgement of Obama’s performance both in his speeches and in his actions. “

    I am way past the point of letting the liberal media formulate my opinions for me, and I would advise you to try that approach for yourself, it’s quite refreshing. Or do you still really believe in an impartial and balanced mainstream media, especially on matters relating to Obama?

    Interestingly, all of the liberal elite media found only good things in his press conference, and most indies and conservatives felt otherwise. For a president who ran on the banner of change and post partisanship, this press conference, as well as Obama’s first three weeks didn’t have much of either and that’s the point of the article.

    What’s also interesting is your response is not your usual cordial self – it’s clear this post upsets you and you resorted to ad hominems and excuse making. I think that says a lot about how you really feel about the points I’ve raised, clearly deep down somewhere you know what I am saying is true.

  • Clavos

    Baritone’s tone (pun intended) began to change shortly after the election.

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

    Meaning I don’t believe that Obama is the second coming? Well, no you are certainly right about that.

    However, OA, I believe no such thing. That is “excuse making” and wishful thinking on your part – and perhaps Clav’s as well.

    Apparently, from your perspective unless Obama does in fact walk on water, he won’t live up to expectations and will, therefore, be accused as a failure.

    In your heart of hearts you want so bad for Obama to fail so as to vindicate your total dismissal of a man who has so far not disappointed me nor most of those who cast their ballots for him.

    Does hc really believe that he has successfully disguised his racism with his “pork” remark, or does he now just not give a damn?

    B

  • Baronius

    I didn’t see this particular speech/press conference. That said, I’m not overwhelmed with disappointment at Obama’s first few weeks. There’s nothing here that should surprise anyone. We knew that he was going to make a dovish, statist turn. He avoided specifics, but was clearly thinking of the war on terror in a legal (rather than a military) way.

    As for the financial plan, it’s no worse than I was expecting, which is to say it’s terrible. Maybe some believed his “post-partisan” rhetoric, but I never did. Obama assumes that the end of the debate comes when everyone agrees with him – or maybe I should put that in the past tense, as he thinks that all debate is over.

    Conservatives are going to have to put up with the Democrats until we get back in power. Then you know what happens? We’ll lose power again after a few years. It happens. Bruno keeps announcing the end of the era of Reaganism, but I’ve been hearing that since 1982. Neither side is going away.

  • Baronius

    I’ve never seen H&C disguise his racism.

  • The Obnoxious American

    In your heart of hearts you want so bad for Obama to fail so as to vindicate your total dismissal of a man who has so far not disappointed me nor most of those who cast their ballots for him.”

    Um, no. First off, as I have said several times, he is my president, even if I don’t agree with him. He fails and I fail. I want him to succeed.

    But realize, he sold himself as post partisan, centrist politician focused on changing washington. Friends of mine that hold center right views voted for the man on this basis. The point of the article is that he completely lied about the post partisan stuff. And in his press conference, he destroyed any possibility of bringing the two parties together with his left wing dissertation of “my way or the highway.” If you are not clear what I am talking about, try reading the article above – it goes into detail.

    And claiming that Biden could take some ribbing by the President, in his first press conference, in front of 50 million Americans during prime time is an absolute excuse. He shouldn’t have done it. And if he was going to poke a little fun, this was NOT the venue. That you are defending this position exposes your lack of objectivity for sure.

    What did other countries see when they heard Obama turning his 2nd in command into a laughing stock? Did it remind them of the power of America, or did it reinforce the idea, along with the rest of the foibles in the press conference, that America is being led by a man not prepared for the job ahead of him? This was a terrible showing, and you’d do yourself some good admitting it. I’ve admitted when my guy was in the wrong plenty of times.

    I don’t expect Obama to walk on water, but I do expect him to carry himself like a president and live up to all of the expectations he has set for himself. I don’t even know what that last sentence was asking. But try reading the article with an open mind, try to see if from my view before dismissing me as jaundiced.

  • pablo

    “This wasn’t a widespread practice, we used waterboarding in a total of three very specific and crucial instances which yielded information that demonstrably saved lives. By any objective measure, waterboarding isn’t real torture.”

    Now this is more like the blogcritics that I know and love so much!

    The last sentence says it all, by any “objective” measure, waterboarding isn’t real torture. It doesnt even dignify a response, since it is in fact real torture.

    The first sentence is rather revealing too, where the knowledgeable writer asserts that there has only been 3 instances, and claims it as an objective fact! Hilarious I tell ya. I wonder how you get the information on the total sum of these nefarious clandestine top secret incidents, I mean ALL of them Obnoxious, not the 3 that you mentioned. I tell ya some people will believe ANYTHING, as long as it is spoon fed to them through the proper channels. Did you get that one from an open session of a congressional hearing on C-Span pal?

    Perhaps you are privy too Obnoxious (boy I like saying your name) to how many extra-judicial (uhhh that means illegal or criminal) renditions that have been performed on human beings by my country around the planet.

    Here is a guy that openly endorses torture as defined by the treaties that this country has signed, and has in point of fact tried and convicted other personelle POW’S of exactly the same crime. Hypocrisy, ignorance, and hate knows no bounds in the world of the right wing, it never has.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Pablo,

    “Here is a guy that openly endorses torture ”

    Really, is that what I did? Try reading the article and actually responding to it and I’ll be happy to engage in a real conversation.

  • pablo

    Yes that is what you did, if you actually do want a conversation address the rest of my comment too, I can assure you that I will reply promptly.

  • The Obnoxious American

    What, your unsubstantiated comments telling me that I believe everything I am spoon fed?

    I gotta say that I just typically don’t argue with people who believe 9/11 was an inside job. For me, that pretty much disqualifies anything you have to say, especially when it is in the same veign, such as your “inside knowledge” of other cases of waterboarding (prove it, with actual evidence and not innuendo).

    As others who may hate conversing with me know, I am happy to engage in a debate, even and especially when the other person doesn’t agree. However, I do not debate with someone who deals with tin foil hattery.

  • The Obnoxious American

    While this isn’t directly in response to Pablo, I did want to address the point about rendition, which BTW wasn’t mentioned once in the article above.

    So let me get this straight. We capture a terrorist, non-uniformed, not fighting on behalf of a state, but an actual terrorist bent on hurting Americans, on the field of battle. The terrorist isn’t cooperative and thus we send them back to the country of their origin, or any country that will take them (because often the country of origin will not, or country of origin can’t be proved). Some people have a problem with this because the terrorist might get tortured, or killed in said country.

    OK, I get that, to a degree. Of course, nothing is stopping the terrorist from putting down his arms, and not trying to kill Americans. Nothing is stopping the terrorist from working with the US to keep Americans from getting killed. And what else are we supposed to do with the terrorist? Bring them to Gitmo? I’m guessing people like Pablo wouldn’t support that. Put them in a U.S. jail? Terrorists are not criminals, and they do not deserve the same rights as Americans who break the law. They do not deserve due process, and the field of war is no place to gather evidence.

    On a moral level, sure I can see the issue with rendition. But this is war and not a war we asked for. And at the end of the day, I will support my country, over the so called rights for terrorists espoused by 9/11 deniers, which were never actually codified or meant to be, in our constitution.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I am as appalled by this unfortunate piece of prose as the author was by the [actually quite amazingly excellent] news conference and town meetings on Monday and Tuesday.

    Much of the article is simply opinion: I don’t like this or that. And it’s not surprising that I am on the opposite side of OA on all these issues. We have yet to agree on anything that I am aware of.

    But the first three objections that come to his searching and inquiring mind are

    Waterboarding!?
    Closing Guantanamo?!
    Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell?!

    Anyone who would actually defend waterboarding has already demonstrated a great deal about the deficiencies of his morality and character. But the president and his attorney general made their intentions on this and on Guantanamo quite clear many months ago. How can you be surprised that they would actually do what they said they would?

    Both actions are, of course, a breath of much needed fresh air after the stink of Bush’s “excuse me, I have to shred our constitutional ideals in order to save them” mentality. The presidential directives on torture and detention are in fact Obama’s finest accomplishments in his first three weeks.

    Over 700 people have been imprisoned in Guantanamo. Most were not terrorists at all. Many have been released after being held for months or years without charges. [Some of them apparently have gone back to rejoin Islamist groups – a separate issue; but remember that we never charged them.]

    Virtually none have been openly and fairly accused. And none at all have been given anything approaching a fair trial. Some of the inmates may well be terrorists; others were probably at the wrong place at the wrong time. They deserve full and fair trials with real evidence presented. Until that happens, their continued detention is a stain on our democracy. Period. Paragraph.

    Do yourself and all of us a favor: rent and watch the documentary film Taxi to the Dark Side before you write one more offensive, ignorant word about Guantanamo. If we are to be a ‘democratic beacon’ to the rest of the world, that prison, as well as torture, can’t be part of our identity.

    As for Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, I can’t quite figure out your position. It’s a ridiculous law, but spending any time changing it is also ridiculous? Some gay activists would like to see it ended in the 1st 100 days, but mindful of what a ruckus it caused in Clinton’s first months, the Obama team would like to do it later in the year.

    Many, many officers and enlisted soldiers, as well as the public, are ready to make this change. It needn’t take a huge amount of time and energy.

    So why do you single it out? Is it just possibly your reflexive distaste for anything you determine to be ‘liberal’? Or is it that as far as you’re concerned, we faggots are just too minor an issue to be dealt with right now?

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

    I did in fact read your article. It has little to do with “objectivity.” It is your opinion.

    You have made a mountain out of the mole hill of Obama’s Biden comment.

    It was clear from the beginning that Obama made significant efforts toward making the stimulus legislation a bi-partisan effort. But it soon became clear that the only way that Republicans would sign on is if Obama and the Dems accepted their version – all or nothing. So who really failed the bi-partisan test?

    I find it interesting that after only 22 days in office (about 1.5% of his 4 year term,) most of you have declared Obama a liar and a failure.

    While I never liked Bush, I didn’t start railing against him until sometime after 9/11, and didn’t dismiss him totally until he invaded Iraq. You are all so ready to jump down Obama’s throat that you will take any damn thing and raise it to the level of abject failure. I at least let Bush hang himself by his gross mis-deeds in office rather than simply by a speech he gave. How many offensive, stupid asshole utterances did good ole W make during his tenure? I lost count years ago.

    Bar is correct of course. The pendulum will swing back. It always does. All you cons got your 8 years. Now its our turn. Don’t like it? Lump it.

    B

  • The Obnoxious American

    Handyguy

    Yes, this is an opinion piece.

    You can call my morality into question all you like. If you are gay (as you seem to indicate in your post), there are people who would call your morality into question as well (though I wouldn’t, for that reason at least). My views center around what’s in the best interest for this country.

    So playing up our actions, some of which I admitted in the article were questionable, meanwhile making excuses for terrorists is what I object to. If the people who are on the front lines fighting for this country believe that they need to water board to save American lives from a terrorist attack, then I will support them in that. See, I trust other Americans, and especially those actually in the fight to protect Americans (including the ones stupid enough to side with terrorists).

    This isn’t fear, and you can keep your Ben Franklin quote (I’m postive Franklin would agree with me). I support this questionable practice BECAUSE WE ARE AT WAR and we must prevail. Too many so called moralists forget the practical implications. And yet at the same time, not a word is uttered in outrage over the deaths of Americans like Daniel Pearl. Must have been Bush’s fault.

    Had you read the article, I made clear why I was against overturning don’t ask, don’t tell. It’s simple. The military isn’t about having sex, gay or otherwise. It’s about fighting for America. People who think gay rights in the military are an important issue may have forgotten what the military is for. It’s not for personal expression, or for rights. The military isn’t a social experiment or a place to make political statements. Soldiers take lives and they give their own lives in the fight for freedom. Sex doesn’t factor.

    My article is pretty clear about this. But go ahead and argue without reading my statements. And interestingly, you also didn’t respond to a single point I made about President Obama’s disingenuousness during the press conference. I’d guess that’s because either you didn’t read it, or you have nothing to say in response except for more, unqualified liberal praise.

  • The Obnoxious American

    B-Tone,

    You may not have attacked Bush till sometime after 9/11 (a whole 8.5 months in), but many liberals did. He stole the election, jeb was in on it, he’s not my president, yadda yadda yadda. If that wasn’t you, good, I applaud your open mindedness. But don’t act like Liberals as a whole gave Bush any kind of chance.

    Republicans failed the bi-partisan test? Can you pass some of what you are smoking?

  • Jordan Richardson

    What did Bush do to deserve the trust of the American people? Lose the popular vote? Steal the election? Run on weird family values and hypocritical ethics? Fake an accent and attitude to appear more like a man of the people than a privileged Texas establishment whore?

    Sensible people, left or right, shouldn’t have given that asshat any kind of chance.

  • Jordan Richardson

    By any objective measure, waterboarding isn’t real torture

    Really? I take it you’ve been waterboarded then? Fucking Christopher Hitchens, generally a right-wing zealot, was waterboarded and even he drunkenly said it was torture.

    Maybe you’d like to mildly adjust your any objective measure prelude.

  • pablo

    Oh and Obnoxious? If you are going to use a book from amazon.com about propaganda I would suggest the book of the same name written by the person that invented it for all intents and purposes. His name is (I believe he is still alive) Edward Bernaise and part and parcel of the very globalist cabal that I have been talking about for ages. Not only did he write the book on the subject, he worked for many of the major corporations, and even the CIA’s propaganda efforts in overthrowing Arbenz in Guatamala in the 50’s.

    He was also the person responsible for bringing Sigmund Freud to the USA, and was his cousin as well.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Jordan,

    I could ask the same question about Obama, and there wouldn’t be any better answers. But I won’t. Winning the election (which is done by electorial vote just FYI) is what should garner the trust of the American people.

    The point in this article is that in Obama’s press conference on Monday night, he lost my trust with the comments that I outline in the above article.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “If you are gay (as you seem to indicate in your post), there are people who would call your morality into question as well (though I wouldn’t, for that reason at least).”

    That’s a low blow and you know it.
    Nothing but an attempt to sound virtuous whereas in fact you’re anything but.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “That’s a low blow and you know it.
    Nothing but an attempt to sound virtuous whereas in fact you’re anything but. ”

    Can you say double standard?

  • Clavos

    Congratulations, OA, you’re batting 1.000! You’ve got all the lefties in an uproar (not hard to do, actually — simply disagree with them), plus pablo.

    It’s a Grand Slam!

    Props, Sir.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    No! Either hypocrisy or self-deception. Since I don’t know you, however, you take your pick.
    You shouldn’t be proud of either.

  • Clavos

    Great article, BTW. Well written.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Roger,

    So to recap, handy guy questions my morality outright, and that’s not a low blow. In response, I point out that anyone can question anyone else’s morality, right or wrong, and that IS a low blow? Got it. Thanks for the clarification on the rules of debate. Did you learn bi-partisanship from Obama?

    Clavos,

    Thanks for the props, and the support. I really do appreciate it. All these conspiracists have me pining for the good old days with MR…

  • Baronius

    Bar, “most” of us haven’t written off Obama. He’s definitely begun his administration with a large and controversial piece of legislation, and it’d be irresponsible for the Republicans to treat it as a “gimme”.

    Dennis Miller put it nicely on his show yesterday. Conservatives find themselves in the difficult position of hoping that everything they believe is wrong. That’s really where we are. I’m not going to root for a deepening recession, a loss of international clout, and social crisis. What do I expect? Yikes, you don’t want to know. I hope I’m wrong.

    I’d like to see Republicans fight Obama’s financial/budget agenda, and at least mitigate it. On social issues, there may be some decent bipartisan initiatives (immigration and education come to mind). Internationally, Obama’s agenda is something we can all live with, if it’s implemented well.

    The lousy thing is that Obama started out with the issue that most divides the parties, the size of government. Actually, that’s not true. One of the first things he did was to rescind the Mexico City policy on abortion, which seems to have surprised some pro-Obama Republicans. Viva post-partisanship.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    “So to recap, handy guy questions my morality outright, and that’s not a low blow. In response, I point out that anyone can question anyone else’s morality, right or wrong, and that IS a low blow?”

    I wasn’t aware of the first. But your response, then, you have to admit, is not going to get the two of you any closer to understanding.

  • The Obnoxious American

    I don’t know about that. I like Handyguy, I just don’t agree with him on several fronts. But yes, he did question my morality earlier in the thread. And maybe he is right to, I won’t judge, lest I be judged, and perhaps he shouldn’t either.

    I have my reasons for my views and I state them pretty clearly in this piece, which is an opinion piece. I expect people to read it, argue, agree or disagree. But hopefully my points inspire thought because what happened Monday night deserves more thought than the social programming on our main stream news networks.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    There you go. If the two of you made that kind of pact, I bet you the discussion would go way smoother. You know, both sides have reasonable concerns, which is why the issues you’re raising are still hotly debated.
    Perhaps if you were to address those concerns rather than bringing up the specific examples (which are like a red flag to a bull), some progress could be made.

    Just a suggestion.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “Really? I take it you’ve been waterboarded then? Fucking Christopher Hitchens, generally a right-wing zealot, was waterboarded and even he drunkenly said it was torture.

    Maybe you’d like to mildly adjust your any objective measure prelude”

    I wanted to respond to this. There is a big difference between coercive tactics like keeping someone awake for days at a time, blaring rock music, waterboarding and true torture, where a person is actually being harmed, disfigured, killed.

    Waterboarding may be among the most extreme coercive tactics we have, but you can’t die from it, you won’t get hurt from it. It’s actually a very efficient way for tricking the mind into thinking it’s going to die, which is extremely compelling – all without actually putting the suspect at any real risk.

    If you do consider waterboarding full on torture, then what about other non-lethal, or non-injurious coercive tactics? (Bear in mind even criminals in the US legal system face some elements of coercive tactics, though not as extreme as waterboarding).

    And if other coercive tactics are not torture, then where is that line exactly that sets waterboarding apart?

    But here is the real question: when the time comes where we capture a terrorist with information of a pending attack that we know will result in American deaths, do we really just sit there and do absolutely nothing? Are you suggesting that torture is so abhored that innocent Americans should be sacrificed in the name of upholding morals?

    See, people forget what is really at issue here. This isn’t about your view of morality or my opinion of what torture is. We are at war, lives are at risk. Do we do what we need to do to protect those lives and win the war, or do we give up everything while clinging to some sense of morality not shared by our enemies. And no, waterboarding does NOT make us like our enemies. Not by a long shot.

  • Cindy D

    By any objective measure, waterboarding isn’t real torture — we waterboard our own soldiers as part of special ops training.

    Tell that to Malcolm Nance. He is a counter-terrorism and terrorism intelligence consultant for US Special Operations. He has been waterboarded and has performed that on US military as a way of teaching them to deal with it if it ever were to happen to them. He says it should not be called “waterboarding” it should be called the “drowning torture”. It is not a simulation of drowning as is commonly thought, he says. It is drowning.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Most people who know more about this than either you or I say that information gathered via torture is more likely to be unreliable than reliable.

    Waterboarding doesn’t increase the quality of our intelligence. The fact that we have done things like torture [or if you prefer, “torture”] and imprison hundreds of people for months or years without charging them when some of them have almost certainly been innocent — the fact that we have done these things lowers our stature and our influence in the world, and in fact undermines the struggle against terrorism.

    My first comment was already so lengthy that I didn’t want to stretch it further by talking in detail about the news conference. You agree with Bill O’Reilly that the president was long-winded and boring. I [and many others] thought he was magnificent – and quite a contrast, in terms of how thoughtful and articulate he was, to the previous occupant of the White House – who held his first prime time news conference a month after 9/11 – nearly 9 months after his inauguration.

    You claim to have had an open mind and given Obama a fair shot. Every line, word and punctuation mark in this article gives the lie to that claim. Obama is such a loser/demon that you can’t find one point of agreement with him? You’re just another partisan blowhard. Deny it all you want.

  • Cindy D

    #11: My views center around what’s in the best interest for this country.

    Yeah, mine too. I would start with rounding up everyone like you and sending them to live at Gitmo. Not to be imprisoned, just to keep you far away from sane people.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    OA,

    Let’s just admit. People have a number of divergent opinions as to what constitutes the best interests of the country. And some are quite valid.

    So you cannot really insist on having the monopoly.

  • Cindy D

    lol oooops, that wasn’t re: #11 that was re#18

    (sorry pablo)

  • bliffle

    OAs article says: “By any objective measure, waterboarding isn’t real torture ”

    There’s an easy way for this to be settled. OA should tell us while he’s being waterboarded, perhaps by Cindy.

    Whatever he says will be his honest opinion since waterboarding is not torture.

  • Cindy D

    lol bliffle. egads, can’t we just send him to gitmo? I can’t even bear to watch someone getting blood taken by a nurse.

    maybe we can get handy to do it.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    How did you manage to squeeze the term “objective” in there, bliffle?

    I know I’m asking a rhetorical question here, because it’s not your practice to engage in a dialogue. I can’t help asking, though, because I think it’s hilarious.

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

    It’s interesting that we executed Japanese who waterboarded Americans during WWII. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

    OA – tell us about all the people whose lives were saved by waterboarding. What specific nefarious plots were stopped via waterboarding?

    How anyone can believe that torture – be it waterboarding or whatever – and significant ill treatment of prisoners results in getting reliable information just hasn’t been paying attention. Most of the analysis of the results of torture and other ill treatment shows that it rarely results in good information. How often we forget the old honey/vinegar tome.

    I’m actually beginning to believe that OA and others here actually have been watching Obama in a negative, parallel universe. They can’t be responding to anything that Obama has done in this, positive universe.

    B

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    They’ve been denizens of that universe for ages. But light always brings out the darkness.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    And why this perpetual obsession with the detainees?

    It would seem there is no other reason than to keep on justifying the same old failed policies!

  • The Obnoxious American

    “Most people who know more about this than either you or I say that information gathered via torture is more likely to be unreliable than reliable. “

    More likely to be unreliable. But sometimes it yeilds honest to goodness information. Again, no one answered my practical, real life question of what would you do if? and instead retreated to the safe world of the theoretical. Of course, because the ideas you espouse only work in theory.

    “Waterboarding doesn’t increase the quality of our intelligence. The fact that we have done things like torture [or if you prefer, “torture”] and imprison hundreds of people for months or years without charging them when some of them have almost certainly been innocent — the fact that we have done these things lowers our stature and our influence in the world, and in fact undermines the struggle against terrorism.”

    I don’t believe we waterboarded prior to 9/11 yet that didn’t seem to stem the tide of attacks from radical Islam. And come to think about it, our soldiers were tortured (real torture) in Vietnam and probably Korea and WWII, so who exactly is observing these Geneva conventions, the French?

    It’s possible that some in Gitmo are innocent, just like in any jail. The American legal system has probably put more than 100 times the number of innocents in jail than all of the people who have ever been in Gitmo, yet no one seems to really care about that too much. Any innocent that is unjustifiably jailed is a tragedy, but this isn’t an easy situation. The answer isn’t to just let everyone go as a result. And you still never answered the real question, what’s so wrong with Gitmo that it should be closed.

    In terms of undermining our war (not struggle or Jihad thank you) against terrorism, what really undermines our fight against terror is the constant drumbeat of liberal anti americanism. We are bad because of SWIFT, we are bad because of Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, we are bad because we waterboarded. We are bad because we support Israel and because we got involved in the middle east and dared to have bases in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait (by their request). Nothing about the countless times America has shed blood and come to the rescue of various Muslims in need. And SILENCE, pure silence on the absolute persecution of non-muslims in the Arab world, as well as the implicit threat (and sometimes manifestation) of violence that is causing the reduction of free speech in Europe. Talk about a self defeating double standard.

    “My first comment was already so lengthy that I didn’t want to stretch it further by talking in detail about the news conference. You agree with Bill O’Reilly that the president was long-winded and boring. I [and many others] thought he was magnificent – and quite a contrast, in terms of how thoughtful and articulate he was, to the previous occupant of the White House – who held his first prime time news conference a month after 9/11 – nearly 9 months after his inauguration.”

    Translation, Bush was an idiot and my opinion is like O’Rielly’s. Wow, now that’s discourse I can believe in.

    “You claim to have had an open mind and given Obama a fair shot. Every line, word and punctuation mark in this article gives the lie to that claim. Obama is such a loser/demon that you can’t find one point of agreement with him? You’re just another partisan blowhard. Deny it all you want.”

    Once again, instead of actually responding to the specific points in my article, you made generalizations. Face it, you read the first page, and decided that was enough for you. I never said Obama is a loser, or a demon, or anything else, and I don’t believe that’s true either. I actually think he is very smart, and an excellent politician, and that’s the problem. On several specific points, I disagreed with him, and explained why. On several other points, he was verifiably bullshitting the American people and I pointed that out too. I don’t see why that’s a problem or why my opinion has you so up in arms. As Roger thoughtfully mentions, no one has a monopoly on opinion, not even you.

    While you may be thrilled to have a president who speaks more eloquently than his predecessor, some of us care more about the substance of what was said than the style, and THAT is the point of all of this.

    To everyone else, just having Cindy posting to my article is torture enough. Thanks for suggesting that I should be tortured though. I find it very interesting that the very people who would fight to keep a terrorist from being tortured are chomping at the bit for this law abiding American to face the same fate, merely for expressing his opinion. I’d think that says a lot about your morality.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    OA,

    It’s not un-American for a person to disagree with their government. In fact, there is nothing more American than being able to exercise their right of so expressing their disagreement.

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “I was determined to give him a fair chance.”

    Looks like you failed if you think three weeks on the job is a fair chance.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Not much of a determination either.
    If if were of the same mind as OA, I’d choose my language more carefully. I know he can do it, because the writing is fluent. All OA needs to do is spend more time on analysis. And if you write from emotion, don’t betray yourself that easily.

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

    I haven’t been commenting recently, for various reasons. I have, however, been lurking every now and then (internet permitting). For what little if anything it may be worth, I find myself in substantial agreement with OA.

    One of the earlier comments, #35, states,

    I would start with rounding up everyone like you and sending them to live at Gitmo. Not to be imprisoned, just to keep you far away from sane people.

    I hope this was said in jest; unfortunately, it seems quite consistent with the serious view of many. This sort of comment makes me much more afraid for the United States and her freedoms than any of the more substantive comments, of which there are many, with which I also disagree.

    Dan(Miller)

  • bliffle

    #28 – Baronius

    “Dennis Miller put it nicely on his show yesterday. Conservatives find themselves in the difficult position of hoping that everything they believe is wrong.”

    But of course everything ‘they’ believe has proven to be wrong. So, perforce, what they believe must be wrong.

    And I still object to bums like Baronius and Miller arrogating to themselves the title “conservative”. They are not. They are radical rightists.

    They’re just trying to spread the blame and infamy, probably, in hopes of mitigating their own responsibilities for failures.

  • The Obnoxious American

    What I find absolutely stunning about this discussion thread following my article, the article isn’t about torture, that’s one out of like 9 different issues I raised and I even agreed in the article that the practice was morally questionable. Yet this has been the focus of the conversation.

    Rather than actually debate the serious points, of which there are many, in the article, most Obama supporters seized upon probably the easiest mark, waterboarding, set it up as a straw man, and proceeded to flog away at me.

    No one has really talked about the specifics that I raised, Obama suggesting only earmarks are pork, or characterizing the opposition as merely wanting to “do nothing.” Not one reference to where our president complained about inheriting these problems, as if he didn’t actively campaign for two years in order to have the privledge.

    Worst of all, not a single peep about the Floridian studen/McDonalds worker who expected Obama to get him a promotion, the fact that the president didn’t use the opportunity to point out the obvious, individual responsibility. No discussion of the larger implications that this mindset perpetrates. Perhaps Obama never actually promised free gas and to pay our mortgages, or that government would solve all of our ills, but it’s becoming clear that he never dispelled those expectations either. But hey, let’s argue with OA about waterboarding.

    I suspect these issues weren’t really broached, not because I don’t listen or I’m close minded or hostile or whatever attributes you’ve ascribed to me, but perhaps because these positions have no defense.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Will the true conservative voices (other than bums) speak out!

  • Cindy D

    …the very people who would fight to keep a terrorist from being tortured…

    Tell that to all the innocent people that were imprisoned there for years of their lives.

    grrrrrrr

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    OA (#50),

    Then perhaps you should have omitted such a hot issue as waterboarding, no?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA, on waterboarding –

    Did you not know of the opinion put forth by the Allied WWII interrogators? They said that they got FAR more reliable information by playing chess and ping-pong with their prisoners than by torturing them. To a man, these EXPERIENCED PROFESSIONALS from the worst war in human history stand against torture…including waterboarding. Don’t take my word for it – Google it for yourself.

    Ah, but I forget! Bush – who never left the country before his run for his presidency – and Cheney – who never served in the military at all…BOTH know better than the WWII interrogators. And they were willing to stain our national honor on the premise that they knew better than the WWII interrogators.

    And you know better than the WWII interrogators, too, huh?

    Here’s the key, guy – if you get the prisoners to LIKE you, to want to HELP you without being forced to do so, THAT is when you get your best intel in terms of quality AND quantity. So it was for the WWII interrogators, and so it is now.

    You are wrong in your support of waterboarding, which is by definition torture…and I suspect you’re starting to admit it to yourself – for I cannot imagine that you would really think you know better than the WWII interrogators.

    Or am I wrong about you?

  • Cindy D

    Glenn,

    That sounds similar to what Malcolm Nance (#33) would/has said.

  • Cindy D

    But, people like O.A. just have these presuppositions in their heads. It makes them look obscene to anyone who doesn’t automatically jump to the conclusion that things like torture are just dandy.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    And to stand with Roger, if you wanted to concentrate on those other topics and NOT waterboarding, then perhaps you shouldn’t have mentioned it…because the practice has stained the honor of America – MY country, which I honorably served for two decades.

    When I was on active duty, I would never have imagined the leaders of my country would publicly admit that we torture. The Soviets would do that, and the ChiComs, and the North Koreans…but America? Surely not! We are America…and the idea that TORTURE would be part of our government policy was…inconceivable!

    The support of torture has brought shame upon MY military, has stained the honor of MY country before the eyes of all the world…and I would dearly LOVE to see Bush and Cheney stand trial at the Hague where all war criminals should go.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Thanks, Glenn.

    I thought I was the lone ranger here. He does have a decent writing style; just needs to rethink his subject matter before putting it down on paper – like being determined for three long weeks to support Obama; then his determination fizzled out, I guess.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Glenn,

    Thank you for your service to our country.

    I totally agree that befriending suspects yeilds more information, it’s called Stockholm Syndrome and it’s real. But there isn’t always time for that, and that’s called the “Jack Bauer” exception. I personally believe that if the situation warrants we should do whatever we can to save American lives.

    I object to anyone telling me what I should say in my article, or excusing the utter lack of discussion about anything else because of my less than staunch support of waterboarding. Fact is, America is not safer because the liberal elite in the U.S. demonized their own country because of a rare occassion where morally questionable, arguably crucial actions were taken to avoid another attack. It’s not safer with President Obama apologizing for slights real or imagined, or disavowing (politicizing) waterboarding. And we are certainly not safer with one less tool in the kit regardless of whether it’s morally questionable or not.

    It should be known that I also didn’t agree with Reagan when he said we would not ever carry out assinations. In both cases, I understand, even appreciate the postion, hence my comments in the article about not being on the side of angels.

    But, I also say that sometimes you can’t be on the side of angels.

  • Jordan Richardson

    But there isn’t always time for that, and that’s called the “Jack Bauer” exception.

    Oh for Christ’s sake. Are you serious?

  • Clavos

    And they were willing to stain our national honor

    What “national honor?” You lost that condoning slavery.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    In that case, we might as well bury our heads in the sand.

  • Cindy D

    Or…simply look at the absurdity of the notion of “national honor”.

  • Clavos

    Or…simply look at the absurdity of the notion of “national honor”.

    Bingo!

    Once again, Cindy cuts right to the kernel.

    Props, lady.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    There goes the idea of American exceptionalism!

  • Clavos

    …An equally absurd concept.

  • Cindy D

    you can say that again…

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Which brings one to Thucydides. Ultimately, there’s no political theory that can argue against use or abuse of power.

    From the Athenian expedition against the island of Melos (The History of the Peloponnesian War).

  • Cindy D

    O.A.,

    Aside from my disapproval of torturing anyone. I am left wondering if you would have considered the plight of the innocent people who you might have approved of torturing?

    They were all brownish people weren’t they? Nothing to identify with there then?

    No one was coming after your white ass.

    The United States government has imprisoned nearly 800 men in Guantánamo Bay between 2002 and today. Many of these men were imprisoned because, in the chaos of war, they were turned over to the US military in response to the promises of rich bounties.

    Kiyemba v. Bush, Center for Constitutional Rights

  • Jordan Richardson

    Which brings one to Thucydides.

    But of course! Of course, in order to discuss Thucydides properly, one mustn’t forget his younger brother Timydides or his sister Paris.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Wow, a classicist too. Tell me about it. What do you mean?

  • Jordan Richardson

    I…don’t know.

    :)

  • Cindy D

    lol

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Well, an excellent collection of essays on Thucydides and his times is by David Grene, “Man in His Pride.”

  • bliffle

    OA said: “But there isn’t always time for that, and that’s called the “Jack Bauer” exception.”

    Are you aware that ‘Jack Bauer’ is a fictional person in a made-up story on TV?

  • The Obnoxious American

    “They were all brownish people weren’t they? Nothing to identify with there then?”

    Of course, that’s it. I’m a big racist. That’s why I voted McCain too. After all, anyone that didn’t vote Obama was racist right?

    Get over yourself sister. 25 million in Iraq. If we were indiscriminantly picking up whatever middle easterner type looking people while in Iraq and Afghanistan, I think we’d end up with a few more than 800. I can admit that some of the people in Gitmo (which btw right now is NOT 800) might have been wrongly imprisoned, why can’t you admit that a majority of them are probably guilty?

    I just love the bombast – I supported the use of waterboarding in three crucial situations, and some make me into a demon who thinks torture should be SOP for every interaction – I never suggested anything of the kind.

    I ask what’s wrong with Gitmo and am told that I don’t care about the detainees because their brown.

    This level of discourse is childish, and I can honestly say, nothing at all like “art” as one comicly described her posts.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “Are you aware that ‘Jack Bauer’ is a fictional person in a made-up story on TV?”

    No, really? Wow, thanks for that, I’ll have to TIVO it.

    Are you aware that we are actually still at war and there are people that are actively trying to kill Americans here? I’m pretty sure President Obama said as much a couple of weeks ago.

  • Cindy D

    O.A.

    Active racism is not necessary. It is the dismissal of, and failure to see value in other people who are different that makes your position possible and therefore a danger to everyone outside your group.

    It is much more troublesome than blatant racism, which can be clearly seen and put in its place.

    …why can’t you admit that a majority of them are probably guilty?

    Because, I usually get my information from outside my own imagination.

    Day 1: America’s prison for terrorists often held the wrong men

    An eight-month McClatchy investigation in 11 countries on three continents has found that Akhtiar was one of dozens of men — and, according to several officials, perhaps hundreds — whom the U.S. has wrongfully imprisoned in Afghanistan, Cuba and elsewhere on the basis of flimsy or fabricated evidence, old personal scores or bounty payments.

    McClatchy interviewed 66 released detainees, more than a dozen local officials — primarily in Afghanistan — and U.S. officials with intimate knowledge of the detention program. The investigation also reviewed thousands of pages of U.S. military tribunal documents and other records.

    Court Orders Release of 17 Innocent Guantanamo Detainees into U.S.

    October 7, 2008, New York – Today, for the first time, a federal court ordered the release into the United States of 17 innocent Uighur men who have been imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay for nearly seven years.

  • Jordan Richardson

    If we were indiscriminantly picking up whatever middle easterner type looking people while in Iraq and Afghanistan, I think we’d end up with a few more than 800.

    Ah, “logic.”

    I think the reason you’re being “bombasted” – is that a form of torture? – is that your support for waterboarding is generally linked to the fantasy scenario of the “ticking time bomb.” This scenario is inherently unrealistic for more than a few reasons, the least of which being that somebody that intent on killing massive amounts of citizens isn’t going to give up the ghost because you put him or her in a significant amount of pain. Do you think they aren’t prepared?

    But I’ll tell you what: come up with one REAL LIFE “ticking time bomb” scenario in which American torture saved countless lives. Tell me why I should believe YOU over the facts, the science, and the reality of what torture does and what it accomplishes. Tell me why your version of reality almost always creates more enemies and almost never provides any actual useful information.

    why can’t you admit that a majority of them are probably guilty?

    Probably guilty? Possibly innocent?

    You’re one for relating real scenarios to fictional ones, so let’s try this one: your father is imprisoned because he’s “possibly” or “probably” guilty of something. There’s no recourse, nothing he can do, no possibility of a trial on the horizon, his rights have been suspended, etc.

    Now be honest: how does that make you feel? No wishy-washy Eurotrash answer, either. How do you feel about the process? Does it work? Could it use some adjustments? Does your father deserve better?

    This level of discourse is childish

    You’re right about that.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Are you aware that we are actually still at war and there are people that are actively trying to kill Americans here?

    America lives in a perpetual state of war and conflict. This is not surprising, nor is it surprising that there are people who would want to kill Americans.

    Adding more fuel to the fire through your ignorance to see the other side and through your insistence that having the bigger guns and playing the dirtier games will actually help you “win” isn’t helping.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    Yes, they’re killing Americans there because the Americans are still there. But of course OA accepts with blind faith the eight-year old pronouncement that the reason why we fight the terrorists abroad so that we won’t have to fight them at home. He had bought the politics of fear concept without an iota of reservation.

    He would have been just as good German during the Nazi regime under the spell of Herr. Joseph Goebells and he is now under the influence of semi-literate Mr. Bush. At least the former was a PhD and the master of propaganda. But to be lured by the likes of George Dubya – now, that really
    something!

  • Cindy D

    I can imagine you on a jury O.A.

    You would be the one asking, “Why would s/he be arrested if she weren’t guilty?”

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    If waterboarding and Guantanamo were not the most important parts of your article, maybe you shouldn’t have included them so near the top.

    The level of discourse in the comments section has been variable, but many of the most puerile [and least grammatical and poorest-spelled] come from you. You are maintaining the low quality of the discourse, not lifting it.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    A few other nuggets:

    1. If you think I’m way off here, just remember that somewhere in Iran, there are soldiers laughing at our gay military. And that’s precisely the problem with this feel good nonsense.

    Are you aware that gay soldiers serve openly in the Israeli army? And in the UK army? That’s precisely the problem with dumb straight guys spouting off about gay issues.

    2. I’ve only recently started hearing this bit of revisionist history that the New Deal was positive.

    This is stuff and nonsense, and it just shows your lack of knowledge on the subject. There has been a great deal of back and forth about this, mostly along ideological lines, for decades. But it has certainly not been “decided” that the New Deal failed.

    In the first 4 years of the New Deal, unemployment decreased from about 25% to about 14% [and WPA jobs were not included in the calculation], and the GDP increased by 50%. Maybe this was just a coincidence? And the public gave FDR enough credit to re-elect him three times.

    3. Obama’s reminding us that he ‘inherited’ the economic crisis is possibly a reaction to Know-Nothings like Rush Limbaugh already referring to the current period as the Obama Recession/Depression. The recession began in Dec. 2007.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Finally, you seem particularly obsessed by the young man who asked the last question at the Florida town hall session.

    The young man was nervous, and probably not on the likely list to become a brain surgeon or a nuclear physicist. He couldn’t be more than 20, probably younger. He’s taking classes at a community college to try to improve his life.

    Yet you are ‘disgusted’ with the president because he didn’t convey your own disapproval of the young man’s lack of success; he should have lectured this guy about personal responsibility – do you mean he should have berated him? Obama said instead he would try to help people like the young man get health coverage and also help him stay in college. And this upset you….why?

    My heart went out to the guy…and I thought Obama successfully kept the moment from becoming embarrassing, because the fellow’s question really didn’t make much sense.

  • Clavos

    The young man was…probably not on the likely list to become a brain surgeon or a nuclear physicist.

    Certainly not, if he couldn’t get promoted at Mickey D’s.

    But then, somebody has to flip the burgers and vote democrat.

  • pablo

    #59 Obnoxious American

    “I totally agree that befriending suspects yeilds more information, it’s called Stockholm Syndrome and it’s real. But there isn’t always time for that, and that’s called the “Jack Bauer” exception”

    This is exactly the kind of thing that I have been referring to that Obnoxious denies so vehemently. Here we have the author of this lame article using a fictional brainwashing show by Fox called 24 to attempt to shore up his indefensible argument, talk about being SPOON FED
    propaganda, this is the epitome of it. On an interesting side note from this coinspiracist, the name Bauer as in Jack Bauer played by Kiefer Sutherland is the same name that the Rothschild family used before changing their name to Red Shield (Rothschild).
    The propaganda is incessant and enduring, and is made precisely for people such as Obnoxius who actually thinks that his ideas are his own, when in fact they have been injected into his pliable dogmatic mind with ease.

    Jack Bauer amazing Obnoxious, please keep em coming, you are after all entertaining me if nothing else. The Bush/Hitler information coming forthwith as requested. :)

  • http://www.maskedmoviesnobs.com El Bicho

    “I can imagine you on a jury, O.A.”

    Cindy, that would be Juror #3 from “12 Angry Men.”

  • Arch Conservative

    “The young man was nervous, and probably not on the likely list to become a brain surgeon or a nuclear physicist. He couldn’t be more than 20, probably younger. He’s taking classes at a community college to try to improve his life.”

    Am I the only one that got the impression from listening to him speak that he sufers from mild mental retardation?

  • Cindy D

    El Bicho,

    Amazing. Before I posted I looked up 12 angry men to see if I could figure out which juror. But, it took too long.

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

    Lee J. Cobb

  • Glenn Contrarian

    OA –

    You say that disavowing all torture is having “one less tool in the toolbox” of preserving America’s safety…

    …and I say that’s completely false. Why?

    Please read the following by a man who conducted over 300 interrogations in Iraq and supervised over a thousand more: “I learned in Iraq that the No. 1 reason foreign fighters flocked there to fight were the abuses carried out at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. Our policy of torture was directly and swiftly recruiting fighters for al-Qaeda in Iraq. The large majority of suicide bombings in Iraq are still carried out by these foreigners. They are also involved in most of the attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. It’s no exaggeration to say that at least half of our losses and casualties in that country have come at the hands of foreigners who joined the fray because of our program of detainee abuse. The number of U.S. soldiers who have died BECAUSE OF OUR TORTURE POLICY will never be definitively known, but it is fair to say that it is close to the number of lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001. How anyone can say that torture keeps Americans safe is beyond me — unless you don’t count American soldiers as Americans.” (caps and boldface mine)

    Torture has NOT made us safer. Our use of torture might have been at best a marginally useful tool in YOUR eyes…but in the eyes of the terrorists, it was the VERY BEST recruiting tool they had. The really sad thing is that our ONLY recourse is to disavow torture and wait for generations for it to fade in the memories of the families and the nations of the victims.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    But then, somebody has to flip the burgers and vote democrat.

    And you tell me I’m not funny? Insult Democrats, whatever, no big deal; but insult the guy because of the limitations of his job skills, shame on you.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    And, Arch, if indeed the young man is mentally impaired? [I think he was just inarticulate, overwhelmed by the situation.] In what way does that change how Obama should have reacted, or how we should view the town meeting?

    Conservatives seem to love to make fun of this guy. Yet they embraced the alleged significance of the words and wisdom of “Joe the Plumber,” despite the fact that his name was not Joe, he wasn’t a plumber, and had virtually nothing honest, spontaneous or interesting to say about anything.

  • pablo

    Obnoxius,

    I often wonder about people of your ilk, particularly in the area of torture. By that I mean suppose it was up to Obnoxious to make the determining factor as to what constitutes torture, where would you draw the line? Or would you draw a line at all? If you were to draw a line, I suspect given your avid blindness to your fervent nationalism, the line would be way down the line buddy, if you know what I mean.

    When one conjures up in ones mind the name nazi, one of the first mental pictures that come to most people’s minds is torture. The fact that you cannot see that taking a human being and force feeding water down his throat and windpipe is torture, speaks volumnes about YOU as a human being, in my book. I would even go so far to say, that you yourself would probably have no compunction about volunteering to be the water boarder! True or not?

    As I said in an earlier post on this thread I found your reference about Jack Bauer to be very revealing too, as the line between fiction (propaganda) and reality is very blurred by people such as yourself.

    As to the Prescott Bush nazi connection, here is a link to one of the more concise reports on it written by Chris Mulligan author of Fleshing Out Skull and Bones, a great read btw. Mulligan is an interesting fellow as his dad was in the agency, and he has a very unique vantage point on the CIA.

    Prescott Bush and Union Banking Corporation

  • pablo

    Correction on his name it is Kris Millegan.

  • Baronius

    Bliffle, if you think that all political questions have been settled in favor of the Democrats, you’re fooling yourself. Ideological disagreement isn’t “over”. It’s as big a mistake as OA giving up on this administration after a couple of weeks.

    OA, torture is wrong. We don’t do it. If we have, we shouldn’t have. If New York City could be saved by jamming a screwdriver in a prisoner’s arm, good bye NYC.

    What is the quality of information obtained by torture? I don’t care, not in the slightest. Where’s the dividing line between coersion and torture? I don’t know. I’ve never been waterboarded. I don’t think that a law can rightly classify such things. That way madness lies. That’s why Cheney opposed a legislative ban on torture, even as the administration had a ban on torture.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    #97 is a fair statement. I’m not certain I quite understand the last paragraph.

  • Baronius

    Pablo, the Prescott Bush conversation was on the “Mesmerized” thread. I asked a question over there, and I’d be interested in your reply. But please don’t blur the threads.

  • Clavos

    insult the guy because of the limitations of his job skills, shame on you.

    “Insult” him?? Exactly how, handy? Flipping burgers is what he does.

    Is flipping burgers an insult of a job?

  • pablo

    My apologies Baronius, either way I addressed your question.

    Also according to Richard Nixon, in his autobiography,it was Prescott Bush who got him started in politics. A group of guys one of who was Mr. Bush ran an ad in a local paper in Southern California looking for a guy to run for Congress, it was none other than Tricky Dick who answered the ad. Which to anyone who knows anything about politics means Nixon was in Bush’s pocket.

  • Baronius

    Roger, I was making two points. First, that if torture is unacceptable, I don’t see the need to debate its effectiveness. (I think we had a similar conversation about privatizing prisons in which you took the position that it’s immoral, and since I didn’t see it as necessarily immoral, I was willing to look at the specific results. The same principle applies here.)

    Second, while torture is wrong, coersion can be justified. As a practical matter, it would be impossible to codify what constitutes coersion and what constitutes torture. Legislating it wouldn’t clarify anything unless a thousand particular acts were classified – and agreed upon – as coersion or torture. So while I disagree with OA’s Bauer approach, I find the political debate to be little more than posturing.

    Posturing may have a benefit in this case. Obama is trying to persuade people that the US is a friend, so maybe an otherwise inconsequential ban on waterboarding will have real payoff.

  • Cindy D

    Baronius,

    Speaking about private prisons, some specific results have surfaced. They are in Jason’s last post on that thread. Very troubling.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    I think I see what you’re saying, Baronius, especially the first point.

    As regards the second, do you mean that legislation would be of no help here precisely because the moral issue regarding the practice has not been categorically resolved? If so, I agree there, too.

    As regards point #3 – is there a hint of resolution (via posturing) on the practical grounds?

  • Baronius

    Roger, I believe that the moral issues are unresolvable. Every interrogation can be broken down into a thousand separate actions. Is the music too loud? Is it too repetitious? How many times can a person hear the “Meow Mix” song before it becomes torture? (True story: that song has been used for interrogation purposes.) What is the intent, to produce psychic discomfort or psychic pain? Would an average person find it torture? Would an average person from that particular culture find it torture?

    There’s only one analogy I can think of, and it’s creepy, but I’m going to make it. Do you remember those college codes that required every aspect of every sexual advance to be explicitly approved? “May I move my hand from your knee to your thigh? May I move my hand from your thigh to your butt?” There’s got to be some sane middle ground between permitting rape and stifling intimacy. Likewise, there has to be a way of permitting interrogation without permitting torture. In both cases, rules cannot replace practical judgement.

    Like I said, icky analogy. Sorry.

  • Baronius

    Pablo, you didn’t address my question.

  • http://takeitorleaveit.typepad.com/ Roger Nowosielski

    It’s a complex issue, Baronius, well deserving a separate treatment. You might consider it.

    Additional complication is: there are significant cultural differences.

    On the other hand, within a given culture or society, there shouldn’t be a significant disagreement as to what constitutes, say, torture. And although the intent is crucial in determining what is what, sometimes an overt act itself (like setting a cat on fire) is sufficient indication without the necessity of delving into the intent. More or less, it speaks for itself.

    But I agree with you that the definition itself is the most tricky thing – especially when it’s part of interrogation techniques. And the specification of dos and don’t is of not much help here either. You cannot appeal to rules.

    Perhaps the most sensible thing to do is to abstain altogether – on analogy with the accepted rules of law in criminal or other types of cases – when the evidence that is obtained by means of coercion or in the course of duress is deemed unacceptable.

    What do you think? Dan Miller might have a valid response.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The Obama solution so far [endorsed by McCain as well, at least at one point] is to use the Army’s own interrogation rules as guidelines. The Bushies got into controversial territory by trying to push beyond those rules, and to say that if the president authorized it, that automatically made it legal and thus ok.

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    Good piece, I thought you conveyed your pessimism in a respectful way. There’s a lot of things troubling about the last few weeks, and for those who don’t have their rose colored glasses on, I think that most have been trying to give the guy a chance.

    But, troubling it is.

  • pablo

    106 Baronius

    What was the question Baronius?

  • Baronius

    Pablo, this is why I hate thread-crossing. The questions I had were on the “Mesmerizing” thread. You didn’t the questions I asked there.

  • Diogenes of Guayaquil

    I haven’t had a chance to read all the comments. For this I apologize. However, I would like to respond to the piece as a whole. I hope that is acceptable. That said:

    Waterboarding is embarrassingly stupid. Besides, it was used by the Japanese on our POW’s, and we condemned those who did it to years of hard labor (the one case I can cite off the top of my head from the Tokyo Tribunals, Yukio Asano, got 15 if I I recall correctly). They did it because they thought they could obtain information to defend their country, just as we did, and WE judged them fit to years of hard labor, so why, or rather, how, can we find any differently for ourselves today?

    I agree with the DADT reversal, except for one provision: why does it matter what the Iranian Army thinks of ours? Why is having a gay army in any way bad? I agree that, as a general rule, DADT in the armed forces is appropriate; these are the armed forces. But the rest is stupid.

    As for Gitmo… Gitmo represents a lot of bad things. It represents torture, it represents a shitload of guilty and innocent people lumped together (and, while demonstrably a lot of them are guilty, demonstrably a lot are not guilty, too), it represents a point in which we decided to torture people (which doesn’t work), parting both with American tradition and international law (which, to us, is LAW, as high as the Constitution itself). Oh, and that reminds me, it represents us parting with the Constitution in that Devil’s bargain Frankling warned us against, trading liberty for security. Even if it was useful, it should be closed for what it represents.

    The pay caps thing… I think you overestimate his liberalness. I think he’s just trying to pressure bankers to not risk nationalization and agree to sell their bad assets to the government for less than 100%. I think its a scare tactic, and the fact that so many Americans have stated they would be behind it is merely a bonus to the scare.

    I wholeheartedly agree with the pork in the stimulus bill. I like some of the projects, but they’re pork. And I understand that. And agree that they should go on other bills. But I doubt that a McCain bill (or even a Hillary bill) would be much better. Just more pork that you’d agree with.

    I would like to know what sort of ideas the GOP put out. Care to provide some examples?

    The New Deal was great for America. The revisionist history IS Republican. Ok, let me back that up. The New Deal took an unemployment rate of nearly 20%, that’s one in five Americans, with, in the worst places running up to 50%, and made it zero. We solved unemployment. Now, something that happens–as any historian will tell you–when we reach about 20% unemployment, is we start to see Americans withdrawing their consent to be governed. In the Great Depression, this came in the shape of a series of CIO strikes meant to bring in a Communist revolution, in the shape of the Corporate Plot, and in the shape of Huey Long (he is particularly scary). We’re nearing this level now, by any reasonable measure of unemployment (currently, Unemployment is a nicely padded number, by not counting 1) the underemployed, 2) the hopeless (job hunting for three months, or give up), 3) the cons, 4) the ex-cons, 5) the disabled, 6) those on temp rolls who aren’t working.) and both sides know (or should know) that to solve unemployment is step 1. Now, as for wasted money… laying down sewage, building sanitary outhouses, making levees, building strong buildings that still stand and are used today… Even acting and writing… Orson Welles stared in a WPA theater program, and John Steinbeck as a WPA writer. Both of them alone’s worth of tax money probably paid for their entire programs’ costs, and both of them are still making taxes for us. And the on-the-job training some 8-9 million Americans got generated better wages later. And the final bit… American G.I.s who fought harder cause they felt their country was worth fighting for, in part because of the WPA. So, yeah, it was good for America. Maybe something better could have been done. Me, I don’t agree. But it was good.

    Bush IS the cause of a lot of the problems. Not all, but a lot. Blaming him is about as fair as Republican’s blaming of Clinton for all the problems happening today. So I think its fair.

    I actually like Biden. He knows more about foreign policy than most Americans, including senators, governors and representatives. Besides, Palin was a funner pick, any day. But I’d have to see the nature of the making fun to be tell you whether I agree or not, and until then, will provisionally agree with you.

    As for personal responsibility… Personal responibility works wonderfully with perfect information. If you walk outside and get shot by a sniper who you had no way of knowing would be there, is it your fault? No way, no how. But if you had absolute knowledge that that sniper would be there, it becomes possible to blame you, maybe even reasonable. That’s an outlandish example, but it applies in this sense; we can’t blame people for what they don’t know. And today there are a SHITLOAD of things that could happen that you can’t know that would fuck up your life. Maybe you’re about to be fired despite a perfect record. Maybe you have a cancer growing inside of you that was undetectable on your last dutiful physical, but on the next one will be inoperable, leading to a slow, painful, and expensive death. Maybe you’re poor, and can’t even afford the physical that would TELL you you have a cancer in the first place. Maybe your primary breadwinner is gonna have a fatal car accident, leaving you with two children and an empty resume cause you were taken care of and, well, there was no reasonable need. So yeah, this person working at McDonalds shouldn’t expect jack–its fucking McDonalds. But maybe not expecting jack should still mean a decent standard of living. Maybe we can afford to give them that, as Americans, and maybe giving them that will better our lot, too.

  • pablo

    RE 112

    Yawn