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The Official Obama Hit Piece

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The Obama train pulled out of Super Tuesday with a head full of steam, and proceeded to make the case for Democrat frontrunner status with Saturday and Tuesday's primary sweeps. The Democrats hottest property is winning voters in rural areas and the south, and giving Hillary Clinton a serious run for specifically her own money.

Senator Obama has been able to impress the voting public with a very powerful message, a promise to "build a coalition for change that stretches through Red States and Blue States," and to basically cure every ill that ails us. However, the more policy minded among us have not been swept off our feet.

In many of my previous writings, such as "Dishonest Dems," "The Obnoxious American Loves Hillary," and "The Real Debate,"  where I attack the underlying policies of the left, people who disagree with what I've written tend to refer to the articles as hit pieces or claim the arguments used are "straw men." (Other, more salacious nouns have been used to describe me as well). Everything and anything has been thrown in my direction to avoid actually debating the points raised. So I figured I'd beat my detractors to the punch and titled this article as such.

But this isn't really a hit piece. The media, the Democrats, and even independents and Republicans have given Obama a free pass on talking about his policy. After 8 years of Bush, Americans are so blown away by the idea of a president that can actually speak, that all other considerations have been dashed, at least for now.

Obama is a star but is he worthy to be our president?As far as the common complaints about Obama, let me say that I don't care about his race, or whether Hillary made racist remarks about him (or not), or whether he is black enough, or experienced enough or anything unquantifiable like that. This article is based entirely on Obama's own statements and policies taken from his website. This isn't an attempt to trash anyone, especially not a person who might become the next President of this great country. But I do have some serious reservations with the policies put forth by both Democrat candidates and especially those of Mr. Obama. The candidate's stance on the issues have not been widely discussed so this article will dissect Obama's positions.

On Changing the State of Politics

The one word many associate with Obama's candidacy is that he would truly be the "change" candidate. We've all heard that he would approach Washington politics in a new way, stop partisanship, reach across the aisle, and so on. But all of this is pretty clearly a lot of election talk. Obama has a 95% rating from Americans for Democratic Reform, which ranks congressional members based on how liberal they are. The full support of Ted Kennedy adds to Obama's liberal creds.

It's not just about the support of one of the most liberal members in the history of the Senate, nor a ranking from some left wing advocacy group. Obama's rhetoric and policies are a stretch for any right-leaning centrist like myself, not to mention a more dyed in the wool Republican. Obama has been able to smoothly sail from one primary victory to another selling the high level idea of change, of a new working paradigm to Democrats and surprisingly even some Republicans. Not delving too deeply into the details of his platform, and how he'd actually accomplish some of the change he talks about has worked very well for him thus far. However, once you actually do dig deeper, a treasure trove of liberalism is found, making it extremely hard to believe the sincerity of these claims to work in a more bipartisan fashion in Washington.

Given the large number of expected GOP retirees in this election cycle, resulting in likely gains for the Dems in both houses, perhaps Obama believes that when he does reach across the aisle, it will be another liberal there waiting to take his hand.

On the Economy

Obama's economic plan is steeped in the usual Democrat heavy-handedness. Income redistribution, protectionism, increased regulations – all of the anti-capitalist, economy crushing concepts are there.

"Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need. "

Obama is right that our system of taxes is unfair, but he is wrong about who it's unfair to. Americans who are in the top 50% of earners pay over 96% of all income taxes. This means that the bottom 50% of earners pay the remaining, which comes out to just over 3% of all income taxes. The top 1% alone are paying over 30% of all income taxes received by the government.

According to the Tax Foundation, over 43 million tax returns, which represent as many as 91 million individual Americans, will pay no federal income taxes at all, and a decent percentage of those people will even get money back from the government, money that they never paid, by way of programs such as EITC. As a percentage of the population, nearly 40% of tax filing Americans are not paying taxes, compared to around 18% of Americans back in the 80s.

If Obama is really looking to inject fairness in the tax code, then it's these types of things that need to be changed. Unfortunately, Obama is actually looking to make this situation even more lopsided. And to what end? Does increasing taxes on the rich really help the economy? Most economists and thoughtful Americans think not. Experience has shown higher taxes reduce spending by the people. Balancing the government's budget deficit is good business, but this has no meaningful impact on the nation's economy.

There are two real deficits we should be concerned about. First, is the trade deficit, and this is something the government cannot resolve without being protectionist and further hurting the economy. Second is the amount of credit to assets held by individuals and corporations. Increasing taxes reduces the amount of money available for individuals to pay off their debt, as well as to build savings, and only hurts the economy further.

Maddeningly, Obama also supports tax increases on the "rich" to pay for Social Security, which is a form of collective savings that is not solvent, and one we cannot rely on. So basically, forget about managing your own retirement comrade, let's let the Government do it for us.

Aside from the few extreme holdouts who believe that during the Clinton years, balancing the budget, the higher taxes and interest rates, and not the dot com boom, was the reason for the positive financial environment, it's clear to pretty much everyone else that money does a lot more for the people and the economy when the people are allowed to keep the money they earned, and are free to spend it, or save it as they choose.

In terms of real tax fairness, I come down on the side of a flat income tax, with no loopholes, and no excuses. For every $1000 earned, you pay your $150, or $200, or whatever, but everyone pays their share and it's the same share percentage wise. That's real fairness, and Obama's plan is anything but.

But regardless of what plan I happen to favor, can anyone honestly say that Obama's economic plans will do anything to improve the economy? Will they do anything to inject real fairness into the tax code? And most importantly, in terms of Obama being the "change" candidate willing to work across the aisle, how is this any kind of "change" from the usual class warfare engaged in by the extreme left?

On Iraq

A big part of Obama's position on Iraq deals with the fact that unlike Hillary and many other Democrats, he never supported the war in the first place. In countless debates and speeches, Obama touts his judgement during the precursor to the Iraq war as one of the main reasons he should be elected president.

But there is much more to having "Judgment You Can Trust" than simply being anti-war. And while everyone can agree that the execution of the war was terrible, most Americans did support taking Saddam out of power at the time – Obama's "judgement" was actually on the fringe when he took his stance. While nobody likes hippies, by mishandling the war, Bush bailed out the liberal, anti-war position just in time for the 2006 elections, and with plenty of angst leftover for 2008. However, had the Iraq war effort been more successful, it's likely that wide support would have continued. So while bad management put Obama's position in the right place for this election cycle, the question remains whether he was executing wisdom beyond his years in the decision not to go to Iraq, or is he simply against any kind of military action, except in the most obvious self defense situations?

Much more importantly, while Obama may have held a position that turned out to be in line with the views of most Americans once the war effort went sour, that does not mean he would be any good at resolving the issues we now face in Iraq. Obama's main "Plan for Ending the War in Iraq" is withdrawal. His website details how he'd accomplish the withdrawal:

Obama will immediately begin to remove our troops from Iraq. He will remove one to two combat brigades each month, and have all of our combat brigades out of Iraq within 16 months. Obama will make it clear that we will not build any permanent bases in Iraq. He will keep some troops in Iraq to protect our embassy and diplomats; if al Qaeda attempts to build a base within Iraq, he will keep troops in Iraq or elsewhere in the region to carry out targeted strikes on al Qaeda.

The above is nothing more than what Kerry was pushing during his failed 2004 presidential bid. The only difference seems to be in terms of the person saying it. While Obama has none of the "pro-war" baggage of Clinton or Kerry, claiming the moral highground for never having supported the war in the first place, his plan is essentially the same as Kerry, Edwards and Clinton.

Moreover, if the plan in Iraq is to withdraw, why take 16 months to do it? Once we've elected Obama, all of the people causing trouble in Iraq will simply wait out the withdrawl. In the meantime, soldiers will be getting killed while waiting to retreat. This withdrawl plan as it is makes no actual sense in terms of saving American lives in Iraq, and of course does nothing to save Iraqis who share our interest in establishing a real country there.

A more nuanced position might be to argue that withdrawing is no plan for "ending the war in Iraq" as Obama's website claims. In fact, all this would accomplish is ensuring that the US is no longer part of that war. But the war itself would clearly continue. Considering that we started the war, I cannot imagine the kind of diplomacy hit our already tarnished name would take. And in terms of reaching across the aisle, it's worth pointing out that this position is a non-starter for a majority of Republicans.

Obama's Iraq policy has more to it than withdrawl, such as "pressing Iraq's leaders to reconcile," "Regional Diplomacy," and "Humanitarian Initiatives." These plans sound great but it's laughable to suggest that we could accomplish any bit of it after pulling our troops out, and inviting the instability that would follow shortly thereafter.

And then there are those pesky current events to consider. The surge has helped to turn things around. Sure, the gains there have been tenuous, sure, this could all go very bad or even worse, at the cost of even more tragic loss of American and Iraqi life. But in the America that I grew up in, we didn't give up so easily, especially in the face of actual positive results.

No discussion on Iraq would be complete without talking about Obama's repeated refrain that the war in Iraq under the current scheme would last forever, or as he likes to quote his likely GOP opponent, lasting 100 years. McCain did say that troops would be in Iraq for 100 years, but also mentioned that troops have been in Japan and Germany for 60 years. There is a difference between the active war we have in Iraq and troop presence in countries with established diplomatic relations. Obviously McCain's outlook for the future in Iraq is that eventually, and hopefully soon, our relations with Iraq will be similar to that of Germany or Japan. I suppose hoping for a better Iraq is just a little too much audacity for Obama. And it's kind of disappointing that Obama, who is supposed to be above the political fray, would stoop to such obvious misdirection and gimmickry.

Once again, Obama's position is long on extreme liberal views, and short on anything resembling real change or bipartisanship.

On the Larger War on Terror

Consider Obama's vote this week, which was in favor of prosecuting communications companies that assisted the government in wiretapping terrorists.

Sure, the regulars will come out and claim that this was a vote in favor of our personal rights. But let's be sensible, enabling a whole new suite of lawsuits against American companies who are assisting the government in national security efforts does NOTHING to protect my rights. It may make a few lawyers richer, it might make things easier for terrorists, but my rights will still be the same.

Need I remind everyone that our country is fighting a war, actually two war fronts and one more conceptual war. Historically, Americans have given up some liberties in times of war. Of course, this must be a temporary, and rare thing, and only done out of absolute necessity. We all know the old saying about those willing to give up freedom for security deserve neither. However, I just don't see the freedoms we are giving up, but as a New Yorker who was here during 9/11, I do see a real security issue.

Lets face facts here.  Americans are not being rounded up and put into internment camps because of the PATRIOT Act. People reading books in the library are not being prosecuted for their choices (although if they are reading Al Franken, perhaps they should be). There simply hasn't been the abuse of power that so many have claimed would happen. And last I checked, no matter who might be wiretapping my phone in an effort to look for terrorists, if the government wanted to actually use something I said against me in a court of law, they would still need to provide the required warrants, otherwise the evidence is thrown right out of court.

Obama has reiterated the point on many occassions that he would meet with our enemies without precondition. This sounds reasonable, but as the Wall Street Journal pointed out yesterday, noting (along with many other fruitless war time relationships) that Franklin Roosevelt often spoke with Joseph Stalin during WWII, this doesn't always make a whole lot of difference. Ultimately any real relations require a motivated partner. Without that, talking is pretty much just that.

That's not to say I am against the idea of talking with our enemies, but I think there is a bit of disingenuousness to this premise. Does anyone really believe that the problem that the US has with Iran's or North Korea's nuclear programs stem from us simply not talking to them? Or that the resolution to these conflicts merely lay in a heart to heart with Kim? The fact is that there is a dialogue between the US and Iran and North Korea. Just not the naive sort.

But back to Mr. Obama's views on the War on Terror.  Well his website doesn't even mention it. It does have a section entitled "Homeland Security," which starts out by saying that America's problem is that we are unprepared for terrorist attacks. This is laughable in the face of almost 7 years without any repeats of 9/11, and considering the countless failed attempts by terrorists on our own shores since that terrible day. But let's forget about that for a second. The main points of his plan (I encourage you to read it, especially if you plan to vote for Obama), not all of which are bad ideas, do not even begin to address the threat posed by Islamic fundamentalists or other brands or terrorist.

It's almost as if Obama is more concerned about leaky nuclear reactors and Katrina families than the actual threat of a terrorist attack. And these are all fine and good concerns, but not under the guise of HomeLand Security. Not even close. Is continuing the Democratic Party's constant denial that there is an real threat of terrorism any kind of "real change?" Sounds like the same stuff I've been hearing from the left all along.

Immigration

Since immigration seems so puzzlingly important to so many this election cycle, even though it is one of the founding principles of this country, I will briefly talk about it here. I think all of the candidates on both sides are full of a lot of hot air on this issue. No one wants these people kicked out, and no one really thinks that it is smart to stop the influx of people who want to become Americans. Sure, there are immigrants who consume public services or commit crimes, and these people should be dealt with accordingly. But I have a feeling most people making the arduous journey to come to America illegally do so for many more reasons than a government handout. Perhaps the American dream?

Obama's immigration platform is similar to the rest of the candidates. Some combination of securing the border and documenting those that are here already. He also has some bits about "cracking down" on those pesky employers who hire illegals. But it's when you read Obama's economic policies, specifically the protectionist parts (i.e. ammend NAFTA) where the true views on immigration come into play.

The reality is that our economic problems of late have nothing whatsoever to do with NAFTA or free trade. Furthermore, the very pro-labor, pro-union, protectionist rhetoric from Obama is precisely the reason why the United States is no longer a viable manufacturer of goods. The price of union labor is too high, especially when compared with the costs of goods in other developing nations. Unions did have their place, but these days they do much more damage than good in the US. Don't believe me? Look at Michigan's (host to the big three automakers, and the most pro-union state in the country) economic numbers as compared to the rest of this nation.

No man is an island, and the answer isn't to bury our heads in the sand or tariff the heck out of cheaper goods from overseas, all in an effort to save jobs here that are no longer viable. The answer is to approach these changing economic times with an eye for what we do well, looking for opportunities with the assets we do have, and there are many. Just not in manufacturing.

Obama's immigration reform is far from the kind of change he parades about in his speeches. And his protectionism, considered ill-advised by Alan Greenspan, is not only more of the same from the Democratic party, but no Republican will consider any of his position to be bipartisan.

Let's Not Waste Time on Soft Issues

As in prior articles, I only talk about the hard issues. First, if the issues above are not handled properly, the soft issues will very quickly not matter. Moreover, I don't believe the governmnet should be governing on issues like Abortion or Gay Marriage. The government's job is to protect our constitutional right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Nowhere in there does it talk about income redistribution or helping the needy. Certainly helping the needy is a fine goal, and I think this country does a great job of doing that now. Or at least as good as a large government can. I don't think a new suite of entitlement programs, as proposed by both Clinton and Obama are the answer to a country in a time when so much about our future is up in the air.

Conclusion

In a time when there are so many issues that could hurt the future of this great country, it's a wonder that this election has been about anything but the actual policies of the candidates, especially in the case of Obama. I hope that this article helps get the discussion back on track about what the candidates are saying they'd actually do, rather than simply how they make us feel when they give a speech. Now that would be a real change.

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About The Obnoxious American

  • dee

    This is gonna be fun… I marvel at the people who do not realize that America is changing, we are becoming more liberal.. whether some like it or not, its inevitable… Since Reagan and the so called conservative movement, the Republicans have been exposed for what they are and what they really want to do… They want to hate gays for no good reason, they will tell you what to say and what to beleive, they will use fear as a way to push through agendas that benefit themselves only, they cater to the rich, they inject religion into almost everything, they are blindly pro business, they in short have failed to keep up with most Americans… The problem is that Republicans have lost touch.. Once most people have seen the real Republican agenda, they decided that they did not like it and I can’t blame the people for that… Most current Republicans are a dying breed in this country and they have brought it on themselves, they do not represent most Americans… Let’s see on taxes, THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE THE MOST MONEY ALREADY, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE BEST OFF IN THE SYSTEM, do not under any circumstance need additional help in the form of tax cuts.. period.. Obama’s position on rolling back the corrupt Bush tax cuts, let me remind you for the first time in history, a tax cut in a time of war, is exactly what should happen.. the rich do not need more help, I don’t care how you try to spin it… give those cuts to the poor and middle class, they are the ones who need more money to spend… And as far as the rich paying the most taxes as you claim, ask Warren Buffett or ask a Hedge fund manager how much he pays in taxes and they will explain to you that they pay a lower percentage then people who make significantlly less then themselves… Its hard to beleive your claim when you have a billionare such as Buffett, an honest man, who decided to not get in line with the rest of the rich and screw everyone over, who exposes the real inequality with the tax code… when Republicans makes moves such as giving tax cuts to people who do not need them or deserve them then yes we will have class warfare… On Iraq, yes judgment is important, you may not think so, but a president needs good judgment, Bush does not have good judgment and you see where we have been taken over the last seven plus years… Not only was exection of the war obscene but the lies that got us into war was equally obscene, the mindset that got us into war needs to change… Saddam was NOT a threat yet Bushco made them out to be a threat, I beleive intentionally, in order to aid business and to privatize the army, which have both occurred on some level now.. Most Americans supported taking Saddam out of power because we were told he was a threat, that turned out to be untrue so to say that the American people supported taking him out of power, absent of a immediate threat, is a lie… How long do we stay in Iraq? Seven years now we have been there, how much money have we spent there? Tax payer money I remind you, this war, a war that has been funded on credit, has decreased the value of our currency and is hurting our economy… all the money we have wasted in Iraq and no one can say when we will get out… No one knows what will happen if we pull out, its a typical Republican move to scare the people that if we pull out it will be chaos, but no one really knows, I say we have been there long enough, spent enough money, lost enough American lives, that it is time to leave… otherwise be more specific.. when you don’t do this you get what’s gonna happen once Barack gets elected, we will pull out… You are right about one thing, the American name is tarnished, your worried about further damage, wake up the damage is already done… comparing Iraq to Germany and Japan is laughable… I cannot even comment on the audacity of that comparison… Colluson between the government and big business has a name, its called Fascism, let’s be honest here… I don’t want the government and business wiretapping my conversations with anyone.. I doesn’t matter whether we are at war or not.. these companies knowingly broke the law and they should be subject to lawsuits… Just as Nixon wanted to take over Steel plants during vietnam, except now we have big business who have ties to the government and they see a win win situation for both if they work together… There was already an exisiting law if the president wanted to wiretap americans, the secret FISA court, but Bush decided that that took too long, so he acted like a monarch fascist and colluded with big business to compial data on citizens who are not terrorits.. a very dangerous circumstance in any free society… I don’t see a problem with talking to our enemies, why not… ignoring them definately does not help, so why not talk to them, that would be better than no talking to them and just bullying them into submission, or if that doesn’t work I suppose we can just invade and occupy like a good colonial power… There is a real terrorist threat out there I’m not naive to think there isn’t, why didn’t we invade Saudi Arabia after 9-11? Almost all the hijackers where from there, hmmmm i wonder why we havn’t caught Bin Laden too? He’s supposed to be enemy # 1, when you say one thing and then do other things that make no sense, like invading and occupying a country that posed no threat to us, then don’t be surprised if people are suspect of your claims and your fear mongering surrounding the terrorist threat posed to this country… People aren’t as dumb, or scared, as you would like them to be… Trade and immigrants, I want to round up all the ILLEGAL immigrants, why can’t we do it? We should protect the people who came into this country the correct way and if you fail to offer any consequences for doing illegal actions that is not a good message to send to people.. if nothing happens to illegals then you are saying f*ck the law… NAFTA has hurt our economy, it is common sense, if big business can pay people less money someone else, such as China or Mexico, its common sense they will act on it, it will make their bottom line, and themselves more money… its not that hard of a concept… Free trade is a disaster for this country… I want to protect American workers, I don’t want to lower the wage of the American worker which NAFTA ultimately does… again its business vs. the will of the people… Trade is good, free trade does not help America… Poverty gives us terrorists so to simply dismiss this as a soft issue is to simply be out of touch with reality, if we are serious about defeating hate and terror we need to address poverty… Obama’s policies are exactly what we need and are closer to what the majority of Americans are seeking whether you like it or want to admit it or not… that’s why he is so popular… I think that you, along with many if office, have lost touch with the people… the people are sick of pro business policies and are sick of old school foreign policy… the time for change is here, the time for change is now, vote for Obama

  • The Obnoxious American

    Dee,

    For the sake of reading your posts, I would ask that you make use of paragraphs.

    As far as the country becoming more liberal, I don’t see where you can say that. The GOP controlled both houses back in 2000, and won the presidency. and Bush was re-elected in 2004. Sure, the dems made some gains in 2006, but that’s the ONLY gain that they made during one of the most contentious presidencies in my lifetime. The fact of the matter is that the dems are not a lock for the presidency in 2008, and the fact that my post illicited a large blurb from you proves that. The only reason why Dems stand a good chance this year is because of widespread dissatisfaction of Bush and anything associated. But there has been no widespread rejection of the GOPs core principles. In fact, the largest gripe most people have about the GOP these days is that they cannot trust them to carry out the GOP platform (as the GOP failed to do when they controlled both houses, etc).

    I really don’t see how you can seriously claim an ongoing decline of republicanism, and you’ve not done anything to prove it in your post other than to make the claim.

    As far as tax cuts, you’d be right if there were only very rich people and very poor people. But there aren’t. The IRS considers people rich even if they are middle class. Most people living in larger cities such as New York know exactly what I am talking about. What would be considered a “rich” salary in Idaho is barely getting by in NYC. Yet the IRS does not make such differenciations. So when Obama is talking about taxing the rich, he isn’t talking about millionaires, he is talking about working class families in larger cities too. And these people do vote.

    As far as Iraq, you didn’t really read what I was saying about judgement.

    And I think we do know what will happen if we leave Iraq. Since comparisons between Iraq and Vietnam abound on the left, after we retreated from Vietnam, 2 million died. You can choose not to acknowledge that, or not care and that’s fine. Withdrawal is certainly an option that should be debated on it’s merits (although i think we’ve had the debate before). However, Obama was not being honest when he suggested that we would end the war there by simply leaving.

    Lest I remind you, in the years following WWII, many thought that it was audacious to suggest we could ever be on good terms with Germany or Japan, and many thought that they would never recover. These days Germany is the 3rd largest economy in the world, with Japan in 2nd to the US in first place. For someone who follows a leader proposing the audacity of hope, you sure seem to be lacking both.

    As far as attacking saudi arabia, come on now, you are just being silly. Even more silly considering your anti iraq stance. Would you really support a war against SA, one of our allies, even though they are one of our best allies in the war on terror? You are starting to show a lack of knowledge.

    And NAFTA hasn’t hurt American jobs. The growing global economy has changed the playing field. NAFTA tried to acknowledge this. You can debate this all you like, but bear in mind Democratic President Clinton supported NAFTA, and rightfully so. I would suggest clicking the link to the alan greenspan article and giving that a serious read.

    As far as people being sick of pro-business policies, I don’t think I buy that, most people with JOBS appreciate pro-business policies. And given the unemployment rates, most people in this country have jobs.

    You may not like pro-business ideas, but that would put you in a decidedly anti-american position. I hope other readers see your posts for what they are.

  • The Obnoxious American

    One more thing Dee:

    ” if we are serious about defeating hate and terror we need to address poverty”

    This is the biggest load of horse**** i’ve ever heard.

    For one, poverty has always existing in the middle east, yet the history of terror attacks is relatively new.

    For another, who we elect President won’t change the type of despotic regimes in the middle east, and it’s these people who are the cause of poverty in the middle east.

    But most importantly of all, I’d like you to show me ONE INSTANCE where government, and not business, ever helped anyone out of poverty.

    This country is one of the richest in the world, and even our poor are rich by global standards. This wasn’t by luck, and it’s not because of government. It’s precisely because of our capitalism based society that allows and promotes people to try and make something of themselves, which in turn has a positive impact on the rest of society. The great economic cycle, etc.

    Some of these concepts you suggest makes me wonder whether you’ve read or respect the constitution that this great country is based on.

    Actually, I don’t have to wonder.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    As you point out, you are unlikely to agree with the policies of any liberal Democrat. So I’m not sure what the purpose of this long-winded piece actually is.

    If a Democrat or a genuine political independent [you don’t qualify, sorry; name the last 3 Dems you voted for for anything] wrote an essay about Obama’s policies, that would be worth discussing and debating. You’re just preaching to the choir, off-key though you may be.

    And PS – the reason that I and others often avoid “debating” you on here is that you don’t debate at all. You just restate your position, endlessly, in circles. Conversations like that are just meaningless – certainly no one’s mind is going to be changed or enriched by them.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “As you point out, you are unlikely to agree with the policies of any liberal Democrat. So I’m not sure what the purpose of this long-winded piece actually is”

    It’s not really that long, but clearly too long for you to read given the question of the purpose of this article. Here is an excerpt from the article:

    The candidate’s stance on the issues have not been widely discussed so this article will dissect Obama’s positions.

    and another:

    I hope that this article helps get the discussion back on track about what the candidates are saying they’d actually do, rather than simply how they make us feel when they give a speech. Now that would be a real change.

    You are doing yourself a disservice by responding to articles you haven’t bothered to read.

    “If a Democrat or a genuine political independent [you don’t qualify, sorry; name the last 3 Dems you voted for for anything]”

    Voted for Clinton and Gore in 2000…

    “wrote an essay about Obama’s policies, that would be worth discussing and debating. You’re just preaching to the choir, off-key though you may be.”

    Off-key how exactly? Why exactly isn’t Obama’s policies not worth debating?

    “And PS – the reason that I and others often avoid “debating” you on here is that you don’t debate at all. You just restate your position, endlessly, in circles. Conversations like that are just meaningless – certainly no one’s mind is going to be changed or enriched by them.”

    What does me have to do with your doing anything? Do you deny the points in the article, do you deny that Obama is an extreme liberal posing as a moderate?

    I’ve never stopped you from making your case in response. Blaming me for your inability to refute these valid points that I raise is putting your position on a very slim reed indeed. And I am just some blogger on some website. If your support of Obama can’t withstand the scrutiny of some guy like the Obnoxious American, how do you expect hang in the general? By calling out your opponents voting records?

    We have Dee in here on the one hand arguing about the need to resolve poverty and at the same time against free trade – a total paradox in views belying a lack of understanding of them, and you chastising me instead of the points I made. I guess my article on Obama has some merit afterall.

  • dee

    I don’t like paragraphs dude, so read it if you want or don’t… i don’t care… I don’t expect you to realize that the country is becomming more liberal, as I said, people like you and most republicans are so out of touch they can’t see the winds changing, but it is no doubt… You can’t understand why people are supporting such a tax and spend liberal (as you call him) like Obama, it is simply because they like his policies, his liberal policies, better than the conservative alternative… Its not only about his speeches, but they help… I again disagree, if you think old man McCain will beat the Democrat in the election, short of the electronic voting machines being rigged, you are in for a big suprise… no way in hell a republican is going to be elected the next president… The only people complaining about the GOP not carrying out their so called platform and the social conservatives.. and let’s be honest, these people are crazy… pretty much everyone else is fed up with Republican rule, republicans included.. its not to say they like Democrats either, most people are becoming independents, realizing that both parties are bought off by corporate lobbyists that do not represent the will of the people… I’m not going to offer any proof to this claim but simply will say, I told you so… I would again disagree, we are moving towards a rich poor society… I see this, you do not… the tax cuts went primarily to people making over $150K a year, i don’t care where you live, Idaho, New York, California, people who make that much money are living comfortably… I acknowledg that 2 million died in Vietname after we left, but it was inevitable, we interferred in a civil war, there has to be a winner whether we delay it for 13 years or not… I care about American lives, and too many were lost in Vietnam for nothing, and too many are being lost in Iraq again for nothing… History lesson, we were aware that the Versailles treaty helped in creating WWII, therefore we didn’t make that mistake again after WWII, we decided that we would help these countries get back on their feet instead of making them pay for the war… to try to compare WWII to Iraq is absolutely insane… Saudi Arabia, all I’m saying is let’s attack the people who attacked us, you can’t deny the fact that most of the hijackers were form there… maybe if that is the type of ally you want, you enjoy them, I can’t see how they can be viewed as an ally if there citizens attacked us… you can try to ignore that all you want… I know president Clinton gave us NAFTA, that’s one reason why I don’t want his wife to be president, because NAFTA has hurt American workers… you may beleive the global economy is an unstoppable force I disagree with that assessment… I have a job and I hate pro business policies so there… Low unemployment is great, but there comes a time to deal with wages, a job with a low wage is as shitty as being unemployed, which gets back to the global economy and NAFTA, you know those things that you claim are good for the American worker… And finally, I love American, what I hate is what the Republicans are doing to the country and what their policies and values are doing to the American people… to claim because I’m not pro business that I must be anti-american is again to show how out of touch you really are…

  • The Obnoxious American

    Dee

    You can’t be anti capitalism and still love America. I mean perhaps you love the land this country sits on, and thats great, but the principles of this country are built on the concept of freedom, and freedom only works hand in hand with capitalism.

    I’d like to see you provide a single example of a truly free people who have no poverty, and all of the opportunities we have, in an environment that is anti business. It simply does not exist.

    You bring up the tired special interest argument that Obama loves to talk about. His favorite, the lobbyists, who write their checks to help Exxon, who then banks record profits… yeah I’ve heard the whole rigamarole. Isn’t moveon.org a special interest? Isn’t huffingtonpost.com a lobbyist? This is how our government works, and it makes sense that people lobby politicians. That’s not to say we shouldn’t clean out the bad lobbying, and the resulting earmarking and other nonsense. We should. But don’t pretend for a second the problem is that we have lobbyist. That’s a nonsensical sound byte of an argument if I ever heard one.

    As far as attacking SA, yes, most of the hijackers were from Saudi Arabia as was Osama bin Laden. Did you know that OBL and Al Qaeda hate the Saudis? Back when Saddam was threatening all of it’s neighbors before the Gulf War, the Saudi’s rejected Osama’s request to assemble his jihadist warriors against Saddam. The Saudis chose the US to help them instead, which prompted the creation of US bases there. OBL was outraged that the Saudis would work with the infidel Americans and has ever since been plotting the Saudi Royal Fam overthrow.

    And we should attack the Saudis why? I am not saying they are a pefect ally, they are far from it. Among many problems with them, they teach anti-semetic views in school, which bothers me greatly because I am Jewish.

    Interestingly, this turn’s Obama’s claim of the bush admin not talking to it’s enemies on it’s head. This is an example of the Bush admin actually talking to enemies and getting the most out of them. Obviously, the Sauds are much more willing to be open to our requests than the Iranians, and thus we talk to them. The same offer is on the table for Iran or North Korea, and they know this.

    I think it’s yet another paradox to suggest we go to war against the Sauds, but it’s bad to go against Iraq. Another paradox, to suggest we should talk with our enemies, but then chastise us because of relations with the Sauds. How do you respond to these contradictions?

    As far as this country becoming more liberal, perhaps, but there is a pattern in American politics of people becoming more of one, then another. It’s a pendulum. Perhaps it is swinging in the liberal direction. But that’s not going to stop me from publishing articles such as this exposing the platforms of these candidates for what they are – orthodox liberalism.

  • Aaron Burr V. Mexico

    You can be pro capitalism and still find UNREGULATED capitalism anti american.

    Or have you actually READ “The Wealth of Nations”?

    Capitalism requires liberal democracy to function.

  • The Obnoxious American

    And the other way around. I am not saying we should have completely unregulated capitalism. Certainly anti-trust and monopoly regulation have been invaluable, as have been labor laws, and a myriad of other government regulations.

    But what Obama is suggesting turns the idea of capitalism on it’s head. The government is here to support business, not the other way around. The “Government” is really us. And what do we need? Jobs so we can have homes and food and raise families and have the cycle repeat with better results in each incarnation. This has worked great for hundreds of years in this country and will continue, unless we decide that business and jobs are secondary to the operations of the government (as Obama is proposing in not so few words).

    Give a man a fish he eats for a day, teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime. Obama is just talking about handouts, at the expense of people who do work and work hard to get to where they are. Take away the benefit of working hard, and we are living in soviet era russia.

  • The Obnoxious American

    And BTW, Aaron, I find you despicable, if at least a very good shot…

  • dee

    I can be anti capitalist and still love America because that is exactly what I am… so you can think that that’s not possible but I am a living example of it… its funny to me that you can’t even bring yourself to beleive that someone may be like that… to claim freedom is somehow entrenched with capitalism is insane… people can be free without capitalism… I never claimed that poverty and free people do not exist together, I’m speaking out against poverty, poverty is a huge moral disgrace for the richest country in the world, you are obviously pro business which is fine, I am not, I think poverty should be addressed before pro business ideals… I’m not sure what you are talking about with that one… to me it makes no sense that pro business people lobby politicians, they lobby for things that go against the will of the people, and in short benefit themselves and the ones accepting the money only, all lobbyist should be destroyed and banned from corrupting the government… You may be content with a government that acts like this, I am not, I don’t think that it is a system that cannot be changed with of course the will of the people… Let’s talk American foreign policy shall we, we supported Saddam against Iran, we funded OSBL against the Russians, how far do you want to go back… our foreign policy makes absolutely no sense, we are all over the place, why? because we are only worried about oil… don’t pretend like we give a shit about anyone in the Middle East, anyone will be a ally of ours if they succum to what we want.. our foreign policy is f*cked up and needs an overhaul badly… I don’t think we should act like God’s gift to the world and claim that the only way we will talk to you is if you do what we want, it is an old school way of thinking, a way of thinking that needs to be changed… All I’m saying is that if we are serious about addressing the so called terrorist threat why not attack the people who attacked us? Iraq didn’t attack us now did they? Why havn’t we caught Osama? Your free to publish whatever you want, that’s the beauty of a free country, Freedom of the Press… I don’t want to stop you from laying out your case at all but I also have the freedom to respond to your negative attacks on Liberal positions and or liberal candidates… A liberal America is on its way once Barack gets elected so get ready…

  • The Obnoxious American

    Dee,

    You are sliding off the deep end my friend. I’m not saying it’s not possible to hold conflicting viewpoints. My point is that they are conflicting. You love America and hate business. OK I believe that’s true. But that means you don’t really understand America, or what you love about America is not it’s founding principles of freedom. Which is why I suggested perhaps you love the land America sits on. Bottom line, you absolutely have a right to hold a position at odds with it self as well as a position that makes no sense. And I have the right to point it out.

    It’s funny how you talk badly about our being an ally with Saddam back in the eighties or once supporting OBL, then chastise Bush for not having more direct relations with our enemies in Iran or North Korea. I’m confused, do you support negotiations with our enemies or not?

    Believe it or not, things change over time, people who are friends sometimes become enemies and vice versa. Are you suggesting that our foriegn policy not reflect the real situation in the world?

    And sorry to inform you but the verdict is long in, in terms of being gods gift. I agree that we should not conduct this country from a position of hubris, but when it comes to what’s right, I’d much rather the US, and no one else, be in the position of super power.

    Dee, I’ve never said you can’t respond. I am happy you responded and welcome your thoughts. To be quite honest, you are providing quite the fodder for me to show the faults in the common liberal mind set. I can only hope that some will read this and gain some enlightenment.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Between the loghorrea [bloghorrea?] of Dee and TOA, this thread will surely set some kind of record for number of words per post. Not a record to envy.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Handyguy,

    Here are the stats thus far:

    Posts complaining about the lack of brevity: 2
    Posts talking about the points raised in the article: 0

    Total posts: 2

    :>

  • bliffle

    Capitalism isn’t anyplace in the founding of the US constitution, and in fact was invented in the 19th century. The founders were inventors, farmers and small entrepeneurs, not amassers of capital.

    The Constitution DOES contain protections for private property, extending to about the reach of your arm, but the excessive notions of modern Capitalism are foreign to the ideas of The founders. And modern capitalists are as abusive of private property as any communist, witness the seizure of private property through imminent domain for private uses.

    Offhand, I’d guess that The Foundrs would be shocked at modern notions of the rights of Capitalism, including the peculiar notion of Cporporate Personage which is so easily and obviously abused for bribing public officials. YMMV.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Bliffle,

    You are vastly understating the framers position. The right to own and protect your own property is one of the main and undisputed rights. The constitutional’s lack of spelling out our rights is because it’s supposed to be inclusive, not exclusive. Meaning, the assumption starts with the right, and what’s written can only modify that right. Hence Hamilton’s exception to the creation of the bill of rights – here is a quote from wikipedia on the topic:

    “The idea of adding a bill of rights to the constitution was originally controversial because the constitution, as written, did not specifically enumerate or protect the rights of the people, rather it listed the powers of the government and left all that remained to the states and the people. Alexander Hamilton, the author of Federalist No. 84, feared that such an enumeration, once written down explicitly, would later be interpreted as a list of the only rights that people had”

    Freedom without capitalism is like eating without food. And no one has responded to my challenge to identify one nation, where the people are free and prosperous, and where capitalism is shunned.

  • The Obnoxious American

    I wanted to just point out two things:

    How clearly Hamilton saw things from the vantage point of two decades ago is nothing short of amazing. Federalist #10 could not be more about the state of the country today.

    And one other obvious point, to suggest capitalism was “invented in the 19th century” is quite possibly the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard. Ever heard of the bartering cavemen? I’m willing to offer you a mulligan on that one just because I like you bliffle…

  • The Obnoxious American

    a couple of corrections, centuries, not decades, and it was early man who bartered, not sure if that’s the same as cavemen, but you get the point.

  • Jamminsue

    Obnoxious; you said:
    Balancing the government’s budget deficit is good business, but this has no meaningful impact on the nation’s economy.
    My response: Not true. The US government has to borrow that money, which put them in competition with citizens and, affects the interest rate. The interest rate is based on supply and demand, just like everything else. So, with how ever many trillion of government debt is that many trillion of credit that would be available to citizens. And, the the cost of interest on that debt is a fair slice of the federal budget every year that we would not have to pay in taxes.

    That does not address the worst part of the issue which is the fact of where the money comes from to borrow: Who has that kind of money to lend on long-term basis in todays’ world? You should be able figure that out.

  • Dan Miller

    There are glimmers of honesty and compassion in Sen. Obama which flare much more brightly than in Sen. Clinton. He seems far more likely to attempt to work by consensus than she does, and he seems more likely to diminish the racial divide in the U.S. Nor, unlike Sen. Clinton, does he inspire high levels of fear and hatred.

    Substantive policies aside — and his somewhat diaphanous policies as thus far articulated don’t seem so very different from those of Sen. Clinton — it seems to me that he would be a better president than she would. Substantive policies chosen for debate during election periods tend to be ephemeral anyway and to be covered in the press by short sound bites attractive to “one issue” voters. Of course, some of those policies will remain important long after the election but many will not; there will be new problems to face, largely unanticipated now or even in November. To face them, one must look to character and ability to build a policy consensus. At the moment, Sen. Obama seems to have a better chance than does Sen. Clinton.

    Will I vote for Sen. Obama? I don’t know. I have voted against several Democrats, but never for one. I have voted for many Republicans but never against one. This time, much depends on who is Sen. Obama’s running mate and who is the Republican VP candidate. Like many people, I find the thought of Sen. Clinton as president (or president – in – waiting) abhorrent and very, very frightening. I don’t feel — and feel is the proper adjective here — that way about Obama.

    In the final analysis, I suspect that most voters go more on feel than on a very difficult rational analysis.

    Dan

  • troll

    as they say in the old country – Es ist schmutzig Arbeit, aber jemand muss es tun :

    ‘noxious – you say: *…to suggest capitalism was “invented in the 19th century” is quite possibly the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard. Ever heard of the bartering cavemen?*

    and this has to be the most idiotic thing I’ve read in days – ! – by equating capitalism with barter you’ve stripped the concept of all significant meaning

    and here: *You can’t be anti capitalism mercantile and still love America.* … fixed it for ya

  • The Obnoxious American

    Jamminsue,

    I never said that the government’s budget deficit isn’t important or that it didn’t have impacts. It does. However, only in a small way. Investment inducing, or savings inducing tax cuts might on the face look like a reduction in income for the government, but if they help the economy overall, they can have a very positive effect on taxes collected by the government.

    Yes, I am suggesting that cutting taxes increases government revenue, and helps the economy, all at the same time. That’s if it’s done right of course. The tax cuts Obama is suggesting are not actually tax cuts if the people receiving them are not paying taxes in the first place. That’s actually called a handout, and all that does is increase dependency on government assistance, see my comments earlier about teaching a man to fish…

    The bottom line – the economy won’t be any better because of a balanced budget and in my opinion, it would suffer under the policies of Obama.

    Dan,

    I thought your post was interesting and thoughtful. I am not sure who would be a better choice for president. I am really not fond of her health care plan (as noted in previous articles), but she does have the benefit of a husband with 8 years of experience. And despite the “party line” of experience not meaning a whole lot – I disagree, it does mean a lot. In fact, the more I look at Obama’s platform, the more I am realizing just how much experience matters.

    That said, let’s not forget the choice isnt between Hillary or Obama, McCain is in there too. I’ve made no secret of my support of McCain. People may think he is the long shot, but they were saying that about him winning the primary back in December. Remember all those articles about how broke he was? He had to take out a bank loan…

    If we really are talking about a true change candidate, and someone willing to reach across the aisle in a bipartisan fashion, then by every metric I can think of, that’s McCain and not Obama. Not at all.

    And I know the media can’t stop talking about the GOP divide on McCain. It’s yet another left wing paradox that the GOP is supposedly divided on their candidate, even though he has the delegates pretty much in the bag. Meanwhile the harmonious dems are in a 50/50 bitter split between an egomaniac and a nube who gives great speech. Interesting times.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Troll,

    Here’s a quote from wiki on Capitalism:

    “Capitalist economic practices became institutionalized in Europe between the 16th and 19th centuries, although some features of capitalist organization existed in the ancient world, and early forms of merchant capitalism flourished during the Middle Ages.[3][4] ”

    I mean if you want to pretend that I am wrong that’s all fine and good. I really don’t care.

  • troll

    ya – but you’ve sidestepped my point…not that I care either

  • The Obnoxious American

    Did I? Not at all. This guy says capitalism was “invented” which by itself is wrong. He said it was invented in the 19th century which is wrong.

    Is bartering the same kind of capitalism that we have today? I don’t think I was ever saying that, but it’s a system of good or services in exchange for other goods and services.

    See, when people suggest that something is an invention, there is a suggestion that it’s unnatural. To me, the idea of buying and selling goods and services is something that comes naturally to man. It’s part of the inherent sense of fairness. They’ve done tests on certain primates that show they too have a sense of the exchange of one item of value for another. That early man bartered proves much more about what systems naturally work best for man. Capitalism is just an extension of those early days of bartering. But bartering was one of the early basis’ of capitalism.

    If you want to get into a debate of words with me about the differences of bartering systems and capitalism, that’s your business. I think anyone reading this understands that bartering represents a subset of the full suite of what we call capitalism today.

    On the other hand, what is not natural to man is communism or to a lesser degree, socialism. Why? Because when there is no incentive to work, work does not get done. And when you have a communist or socialist society, the people running the society (someone needs to be in charge) invariably take advantage of their position. You can see both of these problems manifest themselves to some degree in every failed socialism and capitalism.

    At the end of the day, we are not worker bees. We are individual people, we yearn to be free, and to truly be free, we need to be able to engage in enterprises of our choosing, and bring to those enterprises a new view, or an additional value. Our worth in society should be based on what we bring to it. This, and not the Bush Tax Cuts, is what makes people rich. We shouldn’t be in the practice of letting the value a person brings to society turn into a burden for that person.

  • Dan Miller

    “Obnoxious. . . ” You wrote,

    “she does have the benefit of a husband with 8 years of experience. And despite the “party line” of experience not meaning a whole lot – I disagree, it does mean a lot. In fact, the more I look at Obama’s platform, the more I am realizing just how much experience matters.”

    Obviously, as you also point out, the choice will be between Sen. Clinton OR Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain. That’s a given. However, right now the important question is whether the Democrat candidate will be Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama. Once that is known, we will be in a better position to decide between the Democrat candidate and Sen. McCain.

    As to experience, I tend to agree with those who credit her with lots of experience, most of it the wrong kind and much of it linked to the reasons so many people despise her and her husband. As to the “benefit” of a husband who was president for eight years — what an eight years. Greed, corruption, untruth, lust for power and a whole lot of other disagreeable things.

    President Truman, whom I admire more than any other president during my lifetime had lots of experience in politics and in the Senate. He grew up with the Democrat machine and, ultimately, pretty much turned on it. At the end of his presidency, with an approval rating in the low twenties, he would have been envious of President Bush’s current popularity.

    The presidency is a very different experience from any other. As I recall, Vice President Truman had one (1) meeting alone with President Roosevelt between the 1944 election and President Roosevelt’s death; he was kept unaware of the Manhattan project until he became president. His useful experience in the White House was nonexistent. He was shunned by President Roosevelt’s inner circle (and managed to get rid of most of them after he assumed office). He was there, like Sen. Clinton, but was not involved in the dirty work and cover ups as she was. As commented above, I don’t credit much of Sen. Clinton’s experience. On balance, President Truman did a very good job in very difficult circumstances. After WWII, through his Secretary of War (or was it then of Defense — I don’t remember) Johnson, he cut defense spending to the bone and then some, leaving us in bad shape for the Korean Conflict. BUT — he recognized his mistake and did his best to correct it.

    Recognizing and acknowledging mistakes is not one of Sen. Clinton’s strong points. Nor, do I think, is her vicarious experience through her husband, President Clinton.

    Dan

  • troll

    so ‘noxious – any *system of good or services in exchange for other goods and services* is capitalism as you use the word…hardly any point in continuing to use it then

    and it’s ridiculous propaganda to claim that capitalism is the ‘natural’ result of economic interaction imo

  • The Obnoxious American

    Troll,

    Are you serious? Do you want me to reiterate again that bartering is a subset of what capitalism is today?

    Look, I guess you are right, and wikipedia and everyone else who disagrees with you is somehow mysteriously wrong.

    Dan,

    I never said I would vote for Clinton. I agree that the Clinton years were fraught with issues, but overall the country came out of it OK. This is because while Bill Clinton was a victim of his own compulsion, he also didn’t try to change this country into a socialism. Well he did initially, but when everyone (including dems) smacked down hillary care, he wised up.

    Economically, President Clinton received kudos from Alan Greenspan, with Mr. Greenspan saying that he was the best conservative president that he worked with.

    On foreign policy, he tried. I disagreed with the whole yassir arafat coddling, but at the end of that process, he wised up then too.

    I am by no means defending the Clinton presidency. But the fact is Clinton did not represent a real threat to the ideals this country is based on – at the end of his term of these very important issues, he did alright.

    Reading Obama’s populist platform is kind of scary for someone who believes in the underlying concepts of this country. Hillary too. Both candidates are leaning extreme left. Difference being Obama is truly a liberal, while Hillary just plays one on TV. All this said, I am voting McCain in November.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Dan,

    One other thing, I do agree with your point, no one is every truly experienced. I think from term to term, the experience, the skills needed change. How can you possibly have the experience necessary for that? I don’t think you can.

    But I am really talking about a different kind of experience, almost a worldly wisdom. For example, Obama’s change rhetoric sounds refreshing. But I can guaruntee that it drives hillary mad, because Obama probably reminds her of a younger, more idealistic version of herself, but with a much better talking game. And it’s this type of experience that I’m talking about. Idealism, naivete, and a lot of power is a very bad combination, and that’s the combination we end up with with a President Obama.

  • troll

    *Do you want me to reiterate again that bartering is a subset of what capitalism is today?* – and it is a subset of every economic system of exchange to date and it will be a subset of communism come the revolution…your bartering cavemen were not engaged in some sort of proto-capitalism despite your creation myth

  • The Obnoxious American

    There is no trade in a true communism. Everything is owned by everyone, and by the same token, no one. But ok sure, whatever you say…

  • troll

    once again showing your poor grip on this subject

    unless you think that communism is going to do away with consumption it will have to involve exchange as ownership and possession are not the same thing by necessity…but then your argument is that all exchange is capitalism so communism is just a jub jub bird to scare the children with

    but as you say: “ok sure, whatever you say…”

  • Dan Miller

    Obnoxious,

    I think we agree more than we disagree.

    My focus in these posts has been on Sen. Clinton vs. Sen. Obama. When we know who the Democrat candidate is (and conceivably it may be neither, not likely but possible, I suppose) I will decide between him or her and Sen. McCain.

    The Republic has survived some pretty horrible presidents. I think it could survive either Sen. Obama or Sen. McCain and probably even Sen. Clinton. However, survival is not quite enough. The country is already excessively polarized, and with Sen. Clinton in office that problem would only get worse.

    Based on recent polls (reliable polls is an oxymoron), I get the sense that Sen. McCain doesn’t have a chance against Sen. Obama and only a slightly better chance against Sen. Clinton. Unfortunately, we have to consider the possibility that either Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama will win the election. As between the two, I much prefer Sen Obama, warts and all, to Sen. Clinton.

    If you ever get down south, to the mountains of the Republic of Panama, come for a visit. We will toast whomever gets elected with some great Panamanian rum.

    Dan

  • Dan Miller

    Obnoxious,

    Just one more point on experience:

    Look at how the campaigns for Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama have been run. Despite her “experience,” Sen. Clinton has run a pretty miserable campaign. Despite his inexperience, Sen. Obama has run a pretty successful campaign. From an upstart with no chance, he now has more delegates than Senator Clinton. The inevitable winner, Sen. Clinton, seems to be less and less the choice of the party.

    Much of a president’s success in office depends upon whom he selects as his advisers, from Cabinet members down — and, of course on his personal charisma. Sen. Clinton, thus far and despite her “experience,” has done poorly. Is there any reason to anticipate that she will pick better advisers or demonstrate more charisma as president? I rather doubt it.

    Dan

  • http://www.google.com Rob

    Ah, who cares about policies? I just want me some HOPE and CHANGE!

  • Propogandist

    Exactly! We can always ‘Hope’ terrorism goes away and the budget balances itself and Iraq won’t go into chaos and just ‘Change’ Iran and N. Korea’s minds about the nuclear issues.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    Obama is right that our system of taxes is unfair, but he is wrong about who it’s unfair to. Americans who are in the top 50% of earners pay over 96% of all income taxes.

    This figure is correct. But you, too, are wrong about to whom the tax system is unfair.

    The top 10% of American earners control 90% of all the wealth in this country.

    Thus the problem isn’t that the top 50 percent pay too much in taxes…it’s that the top 10 percent pay too little.

    If you reshuffled the numbers so that the top 10 percent of earners paid 90 percent of the taxes, then the next 40 percent of earners paid 6 percent of the taxes, why, then, the 96% of the taxes that that 50% of the earners paid, would be absolutely fair.

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

    The top 10% of American earners control 90% of all the wealth in this country.

    There’s a flaw in your reasoning, Michael. We don’t tax WEALTH, we tax INCOME. If we tax wealth we tax the same assets over and over and over again which is grossly unfair.

    I agree that taxation should be proportional to earnings. Obviously the top earners should pay a LOT more taxes than those who earn less. But they should not pay more out of each dollar they earn just because they earn more.

    Dave

  • REMF

    “Idealism, naivete, and a lot of power is a very bad combination, and that’s the combination we end up with with a President Obama.”
    – Obnoxious American

    So is that worse than GW Bush’s combination of Desertion, lying (WMDs) and a lot of power?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Dee writes: There is a real terrorist threat out there I’m not naive to think there isn’t, why didn’t we invade Saudi Arabia after 9-11? Almost all the hijackers where from there, hmmmm i wonder why we havn’t caught Bin Laden too? He’s supposed to be enemy # 1, when you say one thing and then do other things that make no sense, like invading and occupying a country that posed no threat to us, then don’t be surprised if people are suspect of your claims and your fear mongering surrounding the terrorist threat posed to this country…

    OA answers: As far as attacking saudi arabia, come on now, you are just being silly. Even more silly considering your anti iraq stance. Would you really support a war against SA, one of our allies, even though they are one of our best allies in the war on terror? You are starting to show a lack of knowledge.

    Dee, you need to use paragraphs – not because you are writing to entertain yourself, but because, whether you realize it or not, you’re writing here to persuade people. On your blog or diary, if you don’t ant to use paragraphs, others are free to walk away. This place is a bit different….

    Having said that, you are the one with the intelligent point here. OA, you show your own lack of knowledge. The Saudis regard America as an enemy for the same reason that they regard all non-Moslems as enemies. They are not Moslems.

    WAKE UP, DUDE!!!

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    There’s a flaw in your reasoning, Michael. We don’t tax WEALTH, we tax INCOME.

    Yes, Dave, but wealth derives from income. If I have wealth, I have to have received it from somewhere – via some form of income.

  • Lee Richards

    1.) I can’t decide to vote for McCain until I know who his running mate will be, because of the chance that’s who we’ll wind up with sometime in the future.

    2.) Bush has lots of experience; what good has it been to us?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Rhetoric and bad habit can get in the way even for smart, reasonable people trying to discuss taxes. I’ll repeat here a quote from a wonderful NY Times article from last fall called “Plain Truth About Taxes and Cuts” [just read it, it’s not a partisan argument]. The cold water of facts sometimes helps in a discussion like this.

    A family in that top 1 percent of earners paid a total federal tax rate — including everything from payroll taxes to income taxes to capital gains taxes — of 30 percent in 2004. That was down from 41 percent a decade before. Since the 1950s, tax rates on high-income families have generally been falling.

    The top earners pay a bigger share of the government tab than in the past because their incomes have risen so sharply — even more sharply than their tax bills.

  • Baronius

    I agree with Dan Miller that Obama seems more bipartisan than Clinton. Clinton could say that the sky is blue and get 40 votes against it in the Senate. But if Obama and Clinton have the same agenda, does it matter which one is more divisive?

    Obama is running an ad in which he says that he will make health care affordable for everyone by bringing together Democrats and Republicans. Sorry, but you’re not going to bring me together for that. Not for higher taxes, retreat, or abortion either. Obama’s bipartisanship is the type that says “let’s you and I agree I’m right”.

  • http://cqpinion.blogspot.com Krutic

    I do agree with #14 about Obama seeming more bipartisan than Clinton. However the reason he ‘seems’ that way is because he hasn’t done anything of substance in the Senate. He has played it safe, avoided confrontation and hasn’t introduced any major legislation or cast a controversial vote on a bill that would cause rift with Republicans. Hell, he even avoided confrontation in the heavily Democratic IL Senate by casting numerous ‘present’ votes instead of Yes/No.
    Not that I’m a big fan of the Clintons but I have to agree with Bill Clinton when he said that the Illinois senator was promoting a position that it’s “actually an advantage to not have any experience because you’ve not made anybody mad.”
    So of course Obama seems bipartisan!

  • Dan

    Handyguy, if rich people are paying more of my share of the tax burden, then I don’t begrudge them having sharply higher earnings.

    This was an anticipated effect of the tax cuts.

    One other striking feature of the NY Times article was the treatment of corporate taxes by the author. He seems to think corporate taxes should be higher, and that there are too many loopholes in paying them.

    Corporate taxes are just an add on. It’s passed on to the consumer, just as surely as a sales tax is. The corporations don’t actually pay it, they collect it for the government.

    Liberals pretend to not understand this. But if you were to argue to them that poor people who rent housing don’t pay property taxes, they are quick to point out that the landlord must collect the property tax as an add on to the rent. So obviously they’re just being dishonest.

    Warren Buffett is likewise misleading when he claims he payed a lesser rate of income tax than his secretary.

    Buffett’s “income” was from capital gains on investment. Like shares of stock. His corporation doesn’t pay him a dime. So he doesn’t pay income tax. If his secretary wanted to take some of her earned money and risk it in the market, she would get that same rate.

    Obama wants to almost double capital gains tax to 28%.

    This article is about the best analysis of Obama policies I’ve seen so far. Good work obnoxious.

  • http://musical-guru.blogspot.com Michael J. West

    But if Obama and Clinton have the same agenda, does it matter which one is more divisive?

    Depends on if you like the agenda.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Dan should read more carefully: The Times article said we should have lower corporate taxes with fewer loopholes, instead of higher rates with lotsa loopholes as we have now.

    It also didn’t say people made more money because of tax cuts. It said sharply higher incomes led to a higher proportion of total tax revenue from the wealthiest segment of the population. So it’s misleading of Obnoxious to complain that the rich are paying too much tax because of higher rates – the rates are lower but the incomes are higher.

    It also points out that after the Bush Senior and Clinton tax increases, the 90s were still a long period of economic growth, just as there has been growth since the Bush tax cuts. Meaning the tax hikes and cuts may not be the main thing driving growth or the lack thereof, even though Republicans accept this as unquestioned gospel.

    The cause and effect of tax cuts and hikes are not as straightforward as the author of this piece and others would like to believe.

    It’s also worth remembering that although John McCain gives other reasons now, at the time he said the Bush tax cuts were too slanted toward the rich [as well as an irresponsible reversal of the budget surplus]. And he was right the first time.

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

    Yes, Dave, but wealth derives from income. If I have wealth, I have to have received it from somewhere – via some form of income.

    Income also derives from wealth, and wealth certainly doesn’t always come from earned income. Wealth can be transferred directly through inheritance or other forms of capital exchange. Wealth can be built directly through investment. It can be created through entrepreneurism and pure hard work which creates an asset which can then be sold. Most large amounts of wealth certainly DO NOT come from simple income.

    Dave

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    The media, the Democrats, and even independents and Republicans have given Obama a free pass on talking about his policy…The candidate’s stance on the issues have not been widely discussed so this article will dissect Obama’s positions.

    This isn’t true. So the whole premise of the article is false. Mr. Obnoxious is not the first to note that Obama’s campaign is about inspiration rather than policy wonkishness. Hillary Clinton, for one, and nearly all the media, despite OA’s claim otherwise, have brought this up several times a day every day since Super Tuesday, and many times before that as well.

    One of the reasons for Obama’s lack of emphasis on policy specifics is the lack of strong policy differences with HRC herself. Because they are largely in agreement, there isn’t much policy to debate. There will be more focus on policy in the general election campaign.

    Simply saying: “He’s a liberal; I don’t like liberals; so he’s not going to change me; if he can’t change me, he can’t change politics or the country” first of all puts too much importance on your own opinions and worldview, and second and most importantly, misses the point:

    Obama’s ability to inspire people has more to do with appealing to their better nature. He really reaches people. Don’t underestimate the genuine power of this – not just to get votes, but to change the country. Certainly there are no guarantees, certainly not in government or politics. But there is excitement in seeing people genuinely moved by a positive message. We can react cynically, or we can hope it leads somewhere good.

    You seem to think that in order to accomplish this, Obama has to change his views and become more conservative. A counterexample would be Ronald Reagan: Asked about his individual policies, a majority of Americans often disagreed with them; but they liked him and found him inspirational, and so they went along with the policies. They hadn’t suddenly become rabid right-wingers; they were following a strong leader.

    The same thing could happen this time with Obama. You won’t like it if it does, just as I cringed to see people loving Ronald Reagan. But that won’t keep it from happening.

    Finally, you ignore the single most important aspect of “Change” in this election:
    Either of the leading Democrats will be a sharp change from the current president, eh?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Here are more specific rebuttals to the foreign-policy issues Mr. Obnoxious brings up. Some of this is similar to other comments I’ve made on Blogcritics, because, well, I was right then too. =)

    On Iraq

    In the fall, when McCain says he wants to keep combat troops in Iraq, indefinitely, he will be on the losing side of public opinion. When Obama says he will withdraw the troops, he will be on the winning side of public opinion. No, you’re not going to agree with him; doesn’t matter. Yes, there are serious complications to be considered whether the troops stay or go; but the only equation that counts is Whoever will get us out = wins.

    On the Larger War on Terror

    First, a smaller point on the wiretapping controversy: the phone companies are being immunized against prosecution, because they broke the law, not just against lawsuits.

    And this canard is offensive, and false:
    Historically, Americans have given up some liberties in times of war.

    I happen to believe that the “War on Terror” is not a war at all; it is a propaganda campaign. Using it as an excuse to subvert the Constitution ought to disturb you if you love this country as much as you say.

    And in fact, John McCain is not nearly as keen on curbing Americans’ personal liberties or ignoring the rights of non-Americans as you seem to be. He’s on record as being strongly anti-torture, and wants to close Guantanamo. No matter who wins in the fall, the next government will have better policies on detainees and Americans’ liberties than we have now under Bush.

    What the Bush administration has done overall is to alienate moderate Islam [the vast majority] through sins of both omission and commission. If we made a genuine effort to win the hearts and minds of the Islamic world, instead of living up to the worst caricatures of our behavior and policies, there might actually be hope for this.

    Think of Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, the Iraq invasion itself, the USA Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, wireless wiretapping, our continued, uncritical ‘friendships’ with Egypt and Saudi Arabia, and yes, certainly, our one-sided attitude in the Palestinian situation. When moderates in Iran sent an olive branch [pre-Ahmadinejad], Bush ignored it.

    If we don’t seriously attempt to refute and prove wrong the propaganda of the Islamists, their propaganda will of course win. Obama is more likely to be able to do this successfully than John McCain.

    So 9/11 was what, an aberration? Dumb luck?

    Not provable or disprovable. But it’s beginning to look more and more like that’s a possibility, yes. Most of the plots since then have been smaller in scale, only tenuously connected to each other if at all, often incompetent [e.g. Glasgow airport], or in fact mostly imaginary [this includes most of the guys arrested inside the US, like that pitiful crew in Miami].

    This did not stop the government from wasting taxpayer money in prosecuting them, or from patting itself on the back for thus “keeping us safe.” Pretty nauseating, really.

    There is not one convincing case of another US-based plot, one that would ever have succeeded at any rate. If you believe this is because Bush’s team are brilliant at law enforcement…well, I have a nice bridge for sale in Brooklyn you’ll want to come look at.

    Yes, there are fanatics in the world who are willing to do unspeakable, unthinkable things. The question is whether we can actually prevent them from these acts, or whether it makes more sense to reduce the appeal of the fanatics’ message and increase the appeal of our own.

    By always responding to threats with more threats and with violence and with restriction of civil rights, and by invading countries without good cause, we increase the numbers of alienated young men who hate us and who are open to the ideas of fanatics. We make the world more dangerous, not safer.

    I know that you and your fellow militarists and right-wingers will never buy it, but I believe the diplomacy of Obama will make us safer than the militarism of McCain.

  • bliffle

    Historically, Americans have given up some liberties in times of war.

    Well now, that’s a dangerous syllogism. It might lead an unscrupulous person desiring dictatorial power to use any means, lying, cheating, dissembling, etc., to create a war just to gain power.

    Say, you don’t suppose…

  • http://cqpinion.blogspot.com Krutic

    Handyguy,
    On your point about Iraq, if you really believe any Democrat will withdraw troops right away as they promise to do – you’ll be in for a rude awakening. It would be political suicide to do so as well as serious threats to the security of Iraq and hence the broader middle east.

    I have a great article for you to read by David Brooks of the New York Times. Search for the article on NYtimes.com (titled ‘When Reality Bites’ dated Feb 08,2008).

    To quote an important point from that article:

    But if either (Clinton or Obama) of them actually did that (withdraw troops), he or she would instantly make Iraq the consuming partisan fight of their presidency.

    There would be private but powerful opposition from Arab leaders, who would fear a return to 2006 chaos. There would be irate opposition from important sections of the military, who would feel that the U.S. was squandering the gains of the previous year.

    A Democratic president with few military credentials would confront outraged and highly photogenic colonels screaming betrayal.

    There would be furious opposition from Republicans and many independents. They would argue that you can’t evacuate troops just as Iraqis are about to hold national elections and tensions are at their highest.

    They would point out that it’s insanity to end local reconstruction and Iraqi training efforts just when they are producing results. They would accuse the new administration of reverse-Rumsfeldism, of ignoring postsurge realities and of imposing an ideological solution on a complex situation.

    All dreams of changing the tone in Washington would be gone. All of Obama’s unity hopes would evaporate. And if the situation did deteriorate after a quick withdrawal, as the National Intelligence Estimate warns, the bloodshed would be on the new president’s head.

    And as for your point on the war on terror, it is dangerously naive and idealistic (much like Obama).

    Until you and Obama convince Osama and Hezbollah and others to give up their arms I would like their phones and emails monitored.

    I’d also like Iran to know that the military option is on the table and I would like ‘the fluke’ (as you claim it is) of us not having been attacked in more than 6 years to continue.

    I don’t know about you but I just feel safer that way.

  • Dan

    “Dan should read more carefully: The Times article said we should have lower corporate taxes with fewer loopholes, instead of higher rates with lotsa loopholes as we have now.”

    Actually, I stated this interpretation in my comment.

    After explaining why corporate taxes are an add on passed down to the consumer, I didn’t think further comment was necessary.

    “Loopholes” is just a word to mislead readers to believe corporations are sneaking income past tax collecters, when really it is usually just a common and justifiable write off for research, expansion, and developement. Good things that increase employment, lower costs, and improve products.

    The Times article is bogus.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Your saying that a thoughtful, fact-filled, non-partisan article is bogus just exposes your own bias.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Krutic:
    I read the David Brooks article and it makes a good point, although assuming that this is exactly what will happen requires a degree of clairvoyance that you, I and Mr. Brooks all lack.

    My point was that Obama’s position on Iraq is the most likely to win votes in the fall election.

    And calling my position on terrorism naive is the easy way out. Where are the terrorist plots inside the US? Why have the ones that have been “prevented” turned out to be so puny or even just fantasies? Why isn’t it a good idea to try addressing the reasons so many others in the world [not just Muslims] fear and despise us? Maybe insisting on militarism at the expense of good sense is the real naivete.

  • Dan

    Handyguy, I read the article, found fault with it, and explained why.

    If that makes me biased, then I prefer to remain that way until my criticism’s are countered.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    You only repeated an opinion you had already set in concrete, in your completely non-open mind, about corporate taxes, which is maybe a fifth or less of the article [written by David Leonhardt, who has been writing excellent pieces on economics in the Times for 8 years]. You do not directly refute anything in the article. You just call the whole thing bogus. Then you pretend to be surprised that anyone would call you on it.

    I have watched you pull this “I’m just being reasonable and logical” bit before, when the subject was gay marriage. Then as now, the real subject is your own narrow range of knowledge and opinion, and your utter intolerance for anything outside that range.

  • CindyD

    What the F are you yacking about OA? Put something resembling a point in the first page for god’s sake. I have better things to do than read more than one full page of nonsense!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Yay, CindyD is back! Although you have been more eloquent in the past. Is this the same Cindy?

  • bliffle

    HEY!!!!

    (looking around)

    Is this the “Official Obama Hit Piece” site? I gotta couple good ones:

    “I went to an Obama rally and it was just like a religious revival meeting! But this is the first time that Jesus himself spoke!”

    BA DING

    “We have two democratic candidates for president. On is from New York and was born in Illinois, the other is from Illinois and was born in a manger”.

    BA DA BING

  • Dan

    “I have watched you pull this “I’m just being reasonable and logical” bit before, when the subject was gay marriage. Then as now, the real subject is your own narrow range of knowledge and opinion, and your utter intolerance for anything outside that range.”

    The subject then wasn’t just “gay marriage” anymore than the subject now is just taxes.

    If you can’t counter the arguments, or even seperate the issues, then your charge of my “intolerance” or “narrow range of knowledge” has little impact.

  • The Obnoxious American

    HandyGuy:

    “the candidate’s stance on the issues have not been widely discussed so this article will dissect Obama’s positions.

    This isn’t true. So the whole premise of the article is false. ”

    Handyguy, if you are going to suggest that Obama’s policies have been a focus over the last weeks or even days, you are not dealing with reality. This is one of the first if not the first article on BC that talks exclusively about Obama’s policies. That alone goes to my point. But the sheer fact that Obama is viewed as a “bi-partisan” candidate goes further to the issue of his policies not really being known by the public.

    You need to do more than make a statement with nothing to back it up. Further to wit:

    “Simply saying: “He’s a liberal; I don’t like liberals; so he’s not going to change me; if he can’t change me, he can’t change politics or the country” first of all puts too much importance on your own opinions and worldview, and second and most importantly, misses the point:”

    Did I simply say that? Please. This 5 page article goes into depth about why he is a liberal, and picks apart each stance he’s taken. I’ve quoted Obama, I’ve linked to each issue on his website. If that to you equals me “simply saying: he’s a liberal” then let’s just stop conversing now.

    “Obama’s ability to inspire people has more to do with appealing to their better nature. He really reaches people. Don’t underestimate the genuine power of this”

    This isn’t about his ability to inspire (which I acknowledge in the first few paragraphs anyway). This is about the free pass he’s gotten on the issues. It’s important for people who are inspired by this guy to understand his platform. That’s the point of this article. Hitler inspired people too, not that Obama is comparable from a policy standpoint :>.

    “You seem to think that in order to accomplish this, Obama has to change his views and become more conservative.”

    No, I think that for a guy running under the banner of change and bi-partisanship, people don’t realize just how liberal this guy really is. It’s not just his voting history that’s liberal, it’s the very stances he is running on in 08. I don’t expect Obama to change, but I do expect voters, once given a glimpse of his platforms, to change who they are voting for.

    “Finally, you ignore the single most important aspect of “Change” in this election:
    Either of the leading Democrats will be a sharp change from the current president, eh?”

    I hardly think I missed it. In fact, your comments bely a missing of the point. Not just a change from the current president, but also a change to the long held values of this country that focus on free enterprise, and capitalism, in lieu of some socialism posing as change, from a candidate with scant experience. It’s this that I object to. Perhaps he will be elected, perhaps people will love him. I don’t question or predict either. THIS ARTICLE IS ABOUT POLICIES.

    “but the only equation that counts is Whoever will get us out = wins.”

    OK, that’s your position. But you are in the minority. Most Americans do want the war to end, but most Americans also do not want us to just up and leave, and most Americans don’t want us leave Iraq a failed state.

    Moreover, military experts disagree with YOU whole heartedly. So you and Obama can enjoy your shared views with the rest of the extreme liberal orthodoxy. But don’t pretend that your personal axe grinding of Bush and “his” war in Iraq is the same as a real way forward for this country. Nor have you answered the complex issues I raised regarding such a withdrawal, other than to allude to them.

    “First, a smaller point on the wiretapping controversy: the phone companies are being immunized against prosecution, because they broke the law, not just against lawsuits.

    And this canard is offensive, and false:
    Historically, Americans have given up some liberties in times of war.”

    Right, so the presidential directive of telecom to work with the CIA and NSA in the face of a terrorist threat is plainly against the law? Not really, in fact the president has special wartime powers. I know, I know most dems have forgotten about these powers as a result of Bush Derangement Syndrome, and this isn’t a real war anyway right? Continuing on your piece:

    “I happen to believe that the “War on Terror” is not a war at all; it is a propaganda campaign. ”

    Seemed pretty real to me when I looked south and saw the twin towers on fire. This is the most important thing you can say, that you don’t believe in the war on terror.

    I think that’s what seperates you and I, I see a real threat, I want to deal with it. You pretend the threat isn’t real, and the Dem talking points chutzpah knows no bounds to suggest that it is me who is operating from a position of fear (see politics of fear). To me, it’s not the guy who tries to fight battles that operates from a position of fear, it’s the guys who bury their heads in the sand when faced with a threat, and pretend it does not exist…

    “Using it as an excuse to subvert the Constitution ought to disturb you if you love this country as much as you say. ”

    It does, and I mention that in the article. Did you read it? Can you provide a few examples where ordinary American’s rights were systematically trashed in the name of the WOT?

    “And in fact, John McCain is not nearly as keen on curbing Americans’ personal liberties or ignoring the rights of non-Americans as you seem to be.”

    As I seem to be? Re-read the section. I support McCain, and one of the things I like about him is that he truly is a bi-partisan, as opposed to Obama’s faux bi-partisanship. Interesting that you talk about McCain so much, perhaps you should be casting your vote for him in November.

    Here is where you really start to lose me:

    “What the Bush administration has done overall is to alienate moderate Islam [the vast majority] through sins of both omission and commission.”

    Look, I won’t continue arguing with someone who thinks the US is at root for the whole jihadist mentality of OBL and his ilk. I’m not in the business of making excuses for murderous gangs and criminals. Sure, we’ve allied where we were not supposed to, sure we’ve done things that we should not be proud of. So has every single country on this planet. No excuse to blow people up on a bus or fly a plane into a building of civillians.

    Fact is, the biggest enemy to moderate Islam is the leaders of these middle eastern countries themselves. And even in cases where the populace was allowed to vote, they chose these very terrorist regimes, belying a whole lot of misinformation. Of course that misinformation rules the day in a developing nation is not a surprise to me. What is surprising is how much misinformation rules the day here in this fully developed nation (your points to wit).

    “Most of the plots since then have been smaller in scale, only tenuously connected to each other if at all, often incompetent [e.g. Glasgow airport], or in fact mostly imaginary [this includes most of the guys arrested inside the US, like that pitiful crew in Miami].”

    Foolishness to suggest that this issue isn’t important because some of the attacks that WE KNOW ABOUT were crude in nature. Some that we know about were not crude. And as 911 proved, even a crude attack, with razor blades and seatbelt extensions, can cause a whole lot of damage to a society. It will only take a few crude attacks to cause massive problems in our society.

    “I know that you and your fellow militarists and right-wingers will never buy it, but I believe the diplomacy of Obama will make us safer than the militarism of McCain”

    Based on what exactly? McCain’s sober reading of the situation on the ground in Iraq, versus Obama’s fantasy that the war in Iraq will “End” once we withdraw?

    Cindy,

    Love that you couldn’t be bothered to read this. I’m sure the lack of knowledge won’t stop you from voting Obama. Enjoy that.

    Ruvy,

    You are very disappointing to me. Dee is right? Sure.

    I really hope for the sake of Israel, that Obama does not get elected President. But if he does get elected, as his foreign policy plays out, I will gain a measure of pleasure knowing that you supported him. Wake up dude.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Quick answer for you, Obnoxious. Fooliahness apparently becomes you. For Jews who support Israel, THERE IS NO DECENT CHOICE AMONG THE GOYISHER PRINCES. Full Stop.

    Each and every one of the pricks running for president in your country will follow an anti-Israel agenda, the agenda dictated by the CFR. Each of them will clothe it differently, but the bottom line will be to destroy slowly the Jewish entity here. This is the policy of the sitting “prick-in-chief” the grandson of an active supporter of Adolf Hitler, and the headwaiter of the ibn Sauds.

    That you cannot see that the Wahhabis are enemies of your country, you are as blind as the “rabbi” who heads up the Reform back-stabbers in your country, Eric Yoffie.

    Saddam Hussein was nothing but a thug who spawned rapists, but he was a loyal thug. The asshole stayed bought. It was the United States that double-crossed him in 1990 when it pretended to give him the go-ahead to occupy Kuweit and then turned around, played with the satellite photos of Iraqi positions in Kuweit, and parlayed those lies into an American troop presence in Saudi Arabia.

    I leave you to figure out why.

    Again, I repeat my advice to Jews in America. Turn the page and boycott these elections. Vote for everybody but the president. There is nobody running who will not double-cross you.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “That you cannot see that the Wahhabis are enemies of your country, you are as blind as the “rabbi” who heads up the Reform back-stabbers in your country, Eric Yoffie.”

    Firstly, I never said the Saudis were our friends. In fact, if you read my response fully, you’d see that what I was saying is that our diplomacy with them is proof that Bush does talk to our enemies. Not all enemies are created equal, and different policies need to be applied accordingly.

    Here is the full comment for your edification:

    “And we should attack the Saudis why? I am not saying they are a pefect ally, they are far from it. Among many problems with them, they teach anti-semetic views in school, which bothers me greatly because I am Jewish.

    Interestingly, this turn’s Obama’s claim of the bush admin not talking to it’s enemies on it’s head. This is an example of the Bush admin actually talking to enemies and getting the most out of them. Obviously, the Sauds are much more willing to be open to our requests than the Iranians, and thus we talk to them. The same offer is on the table for Iran or North Korea, and they know this.”

    And I have to say, your hatred for fellow Jews who happen to follow a different, but still peaceful, still respectable version of Judaism is perplexing to say the least, but also outright self hating and prejudice.

    I happened to have grown up around orthodox Judaism, but the idea of hating other Jews for following a less strict version of Judaism is just silly. And considering the vast amount of anti-semitism out there, plain stupid.

    There are simply not enough Jews in this world to hate any one of them. You should be ashamed!

  • The Obnoxious American

    Just so everyone is clear on the Jew that Ruvy is trashing, here is an excerpt from Yoffie when meeting with the Islamic Society of North America:

    “And what can we do, American Muslims and Jews? Three things, I believe.

    First, while the terms of a settlement must be negotiated by the two parties, an American role in achieving such a settlement will be essential. Therefore, we must urge our government to commit itself to active, high-level engagement, in order to move the parties toward peace.

    Second, if the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is seen in religious rather than political terms, resolving it becomes impossible. If Israel is portrayed as “a dagger pushed into the heart of Islam,” rather than a nation-state disputing matters of land and water with the Palestinians, we are lost. As religious Jews and religious Muslims, let us do everything in our power to prevent a political battle from being transformed into a holy war.

    And finally, to all those who desecrate God’s name by using religion to justify killing and terror, let us say together: enough.

    No cause in the world, and surely no religious cause, can ever justify murdering the innocent or targeting the uninvolved. You cannot honor a religion of peace through violence; you cannot honor God if you do not honor the image of God in every human being; and you cannot get to heaven by creating hell on earth. If we can agree on nothing else, let us agree on this, and let us remain united on this point, come what may.”

    I take issue with Yoffie’s apparent softness on the issue of Islamic terror and his willingness to give a benefit of the doubt. However, to refer to this man, this Jew, this Rabbi, as a “reform back-stabber” is plainly disgusting.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    “And we should attack the Saudis. Why? I am not saying they are a perfect ally, they are far from it. Among many problems with them, they teach anti-Semitic views in school, which bothers me greatly because I am Jewish.”

    Interestingly, this turns Obama’s claim of the Bush admin not talking to its enemies on its head. This is an example of the Bush admin actually talking to enemies and getting the most out of them.

    I fixed your spelling – you’re welcome.

    Like most American Jews, you are an expert at lying to yourself. If you want to lie to yourself, you only endanger yourself, but when you expect others to believe those lies, you endanger them. George Bush is not “talking to the enemy” in talking to the ibn Sauds – HE IS TALKING TO HIS EMPLOYER!!! The big reason that no Saudis were ever arrested over 9/11 is that George Bush would have been pissing on his boss’ shoes! That is why all the attention was focused away from the Wahhabis in Riyadh, to the black sheep of the bin-Laden family, Obama Osama. The whole Wahhabi movewment is designed to undermine the United States and all other countries in the Dar al-harb, as well as all Moslems who are not Wahhabi. Your basic ignorance of this reality colors your perceptions, and allows you to lie to yourself about the intentions of the Bush administration regarding a whole host of things, including the ultimate fate of your homeland – ISRAEL.

    You additionally lie to yourself in thinking that because Jews haven’t been waterboarded by Catholic priests in an inquisition, or burned at the stake, or driven out of their homes in pogroms, that America is better than Israel, and that you do not need Israel. You are not alone in following this delusion and in wrapping yourself in the Stars and Stripes. Millions of Jews are just like you, regard Israel as a mere hobby at best, and you will all suffer for this in the not too distant future, when the American economy tanks and your non-Jewish neighbors turn on you in a fury of blame. I do not hate you for this. I honestly pity you; and not just you. I pity my sister, my nephews, their children, and if they have them, their children as well. I pity my cousins who resolutely refuse to come here even for a visit. So what I write is not written out of hatred. It is written out of pain and sorrow. New York is not Jerusalem and neither is Las Vegas or Atlantic City. But only in sorrow will you learn this, if you ever learn this at all.

    As for the back-stabber who heads the Reform movement, he is a traitor to the Jewish people for saying that he will support “concessions” over Jerusalem. He has no right to intervene in the politics of this country and put my sons, who will have to wear a uniform to defend this country, in any danger at all with his irresponsible babbling. If I pursue this further, I’ll pursue this in my own article. The goal is not to hijack yours.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Ruvy,

    Why are we talking about Bush? This article is about Obama. We in the US are going to have an election to pick the next president, not the current one.

    McCain, linked in the left wing mainstream media to Bush, and linked in extreme GOP circles to Hillary, is clearly not continuing the policies of Bush. And given that both the extreme left and right seem to have issue with him, he must be doing something right.

    Contrast that with Obama who by all accounts (at least those that have knowledge of his platform) is an extreme liberal. Notice the Obama defenders in this thread, not a moderate Democrat among them. I’d even defend Mr. Obama if he was as moderate – he isn’t.

    You talk badly about Jews, rabbi’s no less, offering concessions on Jerusalem, yet you chastise me when I take Obama to task. This makes no sense at all. Do you think the American liberal ideology, and Obama’s ideology specifically would support Israel to your standards of no concessions? Do you really think that Obama’s policy to have open negotiations with our enemies would help protect Jerusalem as much as McCain’s more hawkish positions on foreign policy and support on Israel?

    It’s worth reiterating that both Obama and McCain are supporters of Israel, but Obama’s leftist ties and commitment to open negotiations with enemies makes me question just how much he’d support Israel when the chips are down, or when the bargaining point is something like a specific town such as Jerusalem. At the very least, Obama’s position at the start hampers his ability to support more hawkish actions taken by the Israelies.

    So much hate in you, so much hate directed towards other Jews. It makes me wonder whether you are real, or whether you are a charicature made up by people who actually hate Israel and use your persona to convince others to feel the same.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Let’s return one last time to this issue before I work on my own article.

    1. I’m not talking about Bush, I’m talking about the fact that you are lying to yourself. It’s worth reiterating that both Obama and McCain are supporters of Israel, Say what?! No supporter of this country will support the expulsion of over a quarter million Jews from their homes, and that is what what both Barack Obama and John McCain support. Is that “support of Israel” because these idiots do not support the total destruction of the Jewish entity here?

    That’s called self-delusion, OB. So long at you do not put it out for the rest of the world to read, you endanger yourself alone. The minute you do, you endanger others.

    2. Previously, you yourself have stated “I support a Palestinian state” – your words, not mine. From where you sit, if you want to support a twenty-third Arab state on Jewish land, get your damned ass over here and stay in S’derot for a few months, so you comprehend what yet another Arab state means!! To put it bluntly, you have no comprehension of what you are talking about. Put you ass where your mouth is, like I do!!

    3. Neither you not any other Jew has the right to endanger those of us who have come home to live in our country from the “comforts” of exile. And you have no right to peddle your bullshit anywhere in the name of Jews, American or otherwise. That goes double for that loud mouthed son of a bitch, Eric Yoffie, who uses his position and power to undermine my safety and that of my children. When you get here and put your own life on the line to defend this nation, then you can open your mouth – not before!!

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Finally, to repeat what I said earlier – there is no good choice for Jews in this election THAT MEANS THAT OBAMA IS GARBAGE, McCAIN IS GARBAGE AND CLINTON IS GARBAGE. That is why I suggest repeatedly to Jews in America – “turn the page, vote for everybody but the president; do that and the politicians will notice; they count votes seven ways from Sunday and will want to know why they can’t snow snow Jews anymore with their bullshit on Israel.”

  • The Obnoxious American

    Ruvy,

    I welcome your article. In the meantime:

    1) You’re wrong about McCain. He backed the lebanese action (as did Obama), and he is a staunch supporter of Israel. Comparitively, Obama may have a hard time being as hawkish given his liberal credentials. McCain won’t and that’s why he would be better for Israel.

    2) Yes, I have said that, and I still stand by it. I don’t support the “right to return” don’t support concessions on Jerusalem. But if you want to try and demonize me and turn me into some anti jewish monster because I also happen to believe that the 1.5 million or so Palestinians should also have an actual state to call their own then so be it.

    You know, you can support palestinian statehood and still be a staunch supporter of Israel. In fact, I think it’s a bit hypocritical, given the fact that a mere 60 years or so ago that it was the Jews who were asking for the same thing.

    3) I’d like you to provide even one shred, one hint, one ioda of evidence that there has been anything I’ve done to endanger Jews. Your antics here have done more than enough damage to Jews.

    4) In a general election between two candidates, Obama and McCain, one will win. If you want to ask American Jews to choose “none of the above,” then you are advocating that they squelch their own voices on the matter. Realize someone will win regardless of whether Jews, a scant 2.2% of the entire populace votes.

    So the question you should ask yourself, do you want American Jews voting for a liberal, who is anti-war but voices support for Israel, versus a decorated war veteran, who made public comments in support of Israel’s war against Lebanon, and is the most hawkish candidate amongst the three in front of us now?

    “None of the above” may be a great choice for Monty Brewster, but that was a movie. This is real life. In what will be one of the most tightest elections in history, everyone should be casting a vote for one of the two candidates, based on their policies. To do otherwise is a waste.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Obnoxious conveniently ignores the most direct rebuttal to his argument I put forward, comparing Obama to Reagan. If Obama wins, it will be a left version of what happened in 1980 and 1984: people who were not necessarily convinced by policy positions were still convinced we needed change and charismatic leadership, so they voted outside their previous comfort zone.

    Thus the term “Reagan Democrats”; and thus the possibility of “Obama Republicans,” of whom the most prominent Blogcritics example is Clavos, and about whom Obama did a very funny comedy routine [“Why are we whispering?”] the other day.

    I was unhappy about those two 80s elections. It’s possible Obnoxious and Friends will be unhappy this November. I’d say they’ve earned it.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Look, I won’t continue arguing with someone who thinks the US is at root for the whole jihadist mentality of OBL and his ilk.
    Foolishness to suggest that this issue isn’t important because some of the attacks that WE KNOW ABOUT were crude in nature. Some that we know about were not crude.

    Of course I think this issue is important, and it’s offensive and simplistic of you to say otherwise. I just think the current administration has bungled the response to terror very badly. Most of the world was on our side as of Sept. 12, 2001, the day after the attacks. Much of the world despises us now.

    Maybe that doesn’t matter to you, but possibly, just possibly, we could have responded to the terrorist threat in ways that didn’t alienate more than half the rest of the earth’s population. It will take decades to undo that very real damage.

    It’s as if we set out to infuriate as many young Muslim men and create as many new and committed terrorists as we could: Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, the subversion of the very freedoms we claim to fight for.

    I’m not making excuses for 9/11, I’m talking about the harm we’ve done since – harm that has made the world a much more dangerous place to live in.

    Six years ago we could have started changing peoples’ minds. Instead we chose to say “We don’t care what the rest of the world thinks; and if that makes you angry, screw you.”

    You imply that there are more convincing examples of terrorist plots, but we just don’t know about them. And you actually call me naive? Go ahead, believe every nightmare bedtime story Dick Cheney tells you. I think the administration has used fear, shamelessly, to win votes. And you repeat a lot of the same empty rhetoric. I hope, pray, and believe it’s losing its power.

    And yes, I do believe Barack Obama offers a very real alternative, and is potentially a great president.

  • Clavos

    “and about whom Obama did a very funny comedy routine [“Why are we whispering?”] the other day.”

    Wasn’t the punch line actually, “Thank you”?

    It’s much funnier that way…

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

    Obama did a comedy routine about Clavos??!

  • Clavos

    And you thought I was only a used boat salesman in Miami…

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

    That was the joke, wasn’t it?

    “There was this used boat salesman in Miami…”

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

    Or was it, “Barack Obama, a Republican and a used boat salesman walk into a bar…”?

  • Clavos

    “Barack Obama, a Republican and a used boat salesman walk into a bar…”

    Grok the change in meaning with the addition of just one letter:

    “Barack Obama, a Republican and a used boat salesman walks into a bar…”

  • Clavos

    Eats Shoots and Leaves.

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

    Great book.

    I wonder when the movie’s coming out?

  • STM

    “Eats Shoots and Leaves”.

    AKA in Australia … a wombat.

  • Clavos

    She’s also got one called Talk To The Hand”which discusses the generalized rudeness prevalent in our culture today.

    Haven’t read it yet, but the blurb on Amazon has piqued my interest.

  • Clavos

    ‘Night guys.

    Much as I enjoy gabbing with both of you (and I really do), it’s 2 Ayem here, and I have to be at least semi-conscious tomorrow.

    TTFN…

  • STM

    OA: “For one, poverty has always existing in the middle east, yet the history of terror attacks is relatively new.”

    Not true mate … muslims have been launching terror attacks on non-muslims across the globe for 1200 years.

    The global nature of air travel, the internet and telecommunications just makes it easier.

    But it’s nothing new. Americans just haven’t been the targets until recently.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Six years ago we could have started changing peoples’ minds. Instead we chose to say “We don’t care what the rest of the world thinks; and if that makes you angry, screw you.”

    Unfortunately, Handyguy, that precise attitude is the only one that is respected in this part of the world. I’m not defending the specific actions of the Bush administration per se. Heaven forfend!

    The whole idea of shoving democracy down peoples throats like hot oatmeal peppered with gunpowder was a stupid one. The idea of occupying Iraq permanently (and murdering thousands of innocent Iraqis in the process) was a stupid one. NOT attacking and dsestroying the root of “Moslem” terrorism, the Wahhabi thugdom in Arabia, was a dangerous mistake. NOT attacking Iran when the very first evidence of attempts at developing a nuclear weapons arsenal was another big mistake. Not putting down Syria in 2003-4 (a sharp missile raid on Damesek killing off Assad and the Alawi circle around him would have been enough) was another big mistake.

    In short, the specifics of American policy since 12 September 2001, have been altogether fucked up.

    But the basic attitude, “We don’t care what the rest of the world thinks; and if that makes you angry, screw you;” is the precise attitude to take. It is the only attitude respected in the Arab world.

  • Laissez-unfaire

    Well the almighty press said the biggest concern of the people who showed up at the caucuses (concerned citizens I think they are called) was the economy. Yes, thats right, the ECONOMY. Not Saddam, or Arafat, or health care, or Woozles whose names are Peanut: the E-C-O-N-O-M-Y. If you’re republican, get somebody to read that last word to you. I kid the republicans.

    I don’t know why they say Hillary has baggage from her hubby’s NAFTA prosletyzing–it helped get him elected in the first place. The question is will it get her elected?

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Hillary is just an old hag with a lot of baggage, Obama is an attractive and well scripted fake, and McCain is last decade’s mashed potatoes covered with “death warmed over” gravy.

    The people who have “emerged” from your “electoral process” are three piles of dog manure fit for flies to feast on!!

    Have fun, kids!!

  • http://www.booklinker.blogspot.com Deano

    I for one will just be immensely pleased to have the US election done with. The sheer volume of self-righteous sanctimonious windy rhetoric from all sides is staggering…..

  • The Obnoxious American

    STM,

    I do agree with you that there have always been terror attacks in the (not just muslim) world – think IRA and countless others.

    But the concept of a jihad against the west, the wide acceptance of it, the willingness of muslims to have their kids blow themselves up in the fight against the great satan, is a relatively new development – growing within the last 30 years.

    For most of Islam’s followers, it is a religion of peace, not one of mutually assured destruction or a virgin quest. It’s been a failure of US foreign policy to not have exploited the varied nature of Islam to build consensus against jihad – I will readily admit that.

    Deano, Laissez,

    Agreed!

    Ruvy,

    I agree with you completely. Someone said (Cheney I think) that the middle east follows the strong horse. Which brings me back to

    HandyGuy:

    It’s the endless bickering back here in the states, the handwringing over whether to stay or go, and not these manufactured and political “insults” such as Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo.

    It is really annoying to hear endlessly about how bad we were regarding these two situations.

    Remember, we prosecuted all involved in Abu Ghraib. I’m sure that’s not good enough for you because like most liberals, you probably think Bush himself is directly responsible, even though no such link is provable, and even though the situation was remediated.

    As far as Guantanamo, well what are we supposed to do with these several hundred terrorists?

    In terms of our enemy on the other hand, how many insults have they hurled our way? Nothing short of the American mainstay of free speech is under siege and it’s the polite warriors such as yourself that are handing out the victories.

    Remember David Pearl? That was before Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib, as was 9/11 and the USS Cole bombing, and the first WTC attacks, etc etc ad nauseum. To suggest that it’s Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo that is the source of our issues is ignorant of the realities on the ground, as well as the enemy we face.

    On the larger question of our standing in the world, let us remember not to throw stones from glass houses. The UN could have helped avoid the war in Iraq as well by taking the sanctions seriously and actually having a sane inspections regime.

    I wonder whether your opinion of other nations is as tarnished as theirs is supposedly of ours, given the Oil for Food scandal. I actually don’t wonder your opinion on that, I’m sure you don’t view that in the same category as such tragedies as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, even though the OFF scandal assisted in continuing a despotic regime that oppressed 25 million Iraqis and has the deaths of over a million on their hands – not to mention adding fodder to the case for the US to war.

  • The Obnoxious American

    STM,

    I do agree with you that there have always been terror attacks in the (not just muslim) world – think IRA and countless others.

    But the concept of a jihad against the west, the wide acceptance of it, the willingness of muslims to have their kids blow themselves up in the fight against the great satan, is a relatively new development – growing within the last 30 years.

    For most of Islam’s followers, it is a religion of peace, not one of mutually assured destruction or a virgin quest. It’s been a failure of US foreign policy to not have exploited the varied nature of Islam to build consensus against jihad – I will readily admit that.

    Deano, Laissez,

    Agreed!

    Ruvy,

    I agree with you completely. Someone said (Cheney I think) that the middle east follows the strong horse. Which brings me back to

    HandyGuy:

    It’s the endless bickering back here in the states, the handwringing over whether to stay or go, and not these manufactured and political “insults” such as Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo.

    It is really annoying to hear endlessly about how bad we were regarding these two situations.

    Remember, we prosecuted all involved in Abu Ghraib. I’m sure that’s not good enough for you because like most liberals, you probably think Bush himself is directly responsible, even though no such link is provable, and even though the situation was remediated.

    As far as Guantanamo, well what are we supposed to do with these several hundred terrorists?

    In terms of our enemy on the other hand, how many insults have they hurled our way? Nothing short of the American mainstay of free speech is under siege and it’s the polite warriors such as yourself that are handing out the victories.

    Remember David Pearl? That was before Guantanamo, and Abu Ghraib, as was 9/11 and the USS Cole bombing, and the first WTC attacks, etc etc ad nauseum. To suggest that it’s Abu Ghraib or Guantanamo that is the source of our issues is ignorant of the realities on the ground, as well as the enemy we face.

    On the larger question of our standing in the world, let us remember not to throw stones from glass houses. The UN could have helped avoid the war in Iraq as well by taking the sanctions seriously and actually having a sane inspections regime.

    I wonder whether your opinion of other nations is as tarnished as theirs is supposedly of ours, given the Oil for Food scandal. I actually don’t wonder your opinion on that, I’m sure you don’t view that in the same category as such tragedies as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, even though the OFF scandal assisted in continuing a despotic regime that oppressed 25 million Iraqis and has the deaths of over a million on their hands – not to mention adding fodder to the case for the US to war.

    HandyGuy, you hold views of the typical pacifist and I gotta tell you, agreeing with the views of Ruvy and others – pacifism is great on a college campus, but our enemies don’t view this stuff as anything other than weakness.

    One last point:

    You say

    “Most of the plots since then have been smaller in scale, only tenuously connected to each other if at all, often incompetent [e.g. Glasgow airport], or in fact mostly imaginary [this includes most of the guys arrested inside the US, like that pitiful crew in Miami].”

    Then you say

    “Of course I think this issue is important, and it’s offensive and simplistic of you to say otherwise.”

    Is it really offensive if you really think that the attacks we do face are laughable or crude in nature?

    I think blaming the US for every aspect of the problems we face with extremist Islam is offensive. Did the Jyllands-Posten deserve the treatment they got for simply publishing cartoons? Was the murder of Theo Van Gogh justified because of his supposed insults to Islam? What about the numerous plots to kill Islam critic (and past follower) Ayaan Hirsi Ali?

    It isn’t the US who is saying “We don’t care what the rest of the world thinks; and if that makes you angry, screw you.”, we face an enemy that does not believe we have the same rights as they do.

    As evidenced by the accomodations made in Europe for the vast, unintegrated muslim communities that have sprouted there, it really doesn’t matter how nice we are. Whether we put them in one prison or another does not matter. And even when we do treat them with the respect they should have as POWs, the more extreme elements will manufacture lies to bolster their supposed moral high ground. And judging by foolish Americans willing to take the bait (such as you) it clearly works every time.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Many innocent people were imprisoned at Guantanamo, turned in by tribal leaders in Afghanistan [and later in Iraq] for money. Quite a few of them have been released, without official explanation or apology. 99% of the remaining prisoners will never be tried. You [and I and everyone else] cannot possibly know which of the remaining prisoners are terrorists and which are not. Perhaps these tiny details don’t matter to you.

    I was not suggesting that we have an etiquette contest with the jihadists [and I am certainly not “taking their bait” – you really are obnoxious].

    Instead, I was suggesting that before blindly implementing policies [like invading countries or imprisoning people with no intention of charging or trying them], we just might possibly look at the potential consequences. Many of the policies of the Bush administration have served as fantastically effective recruiting posters for Al Qaeda; is this a good thing? Would it perhaps have been worth avoiding wherever possible?

    And our reputation among the non-Muslims of Europe has suffered immensely too. I happen to think this is important for the future of our country and the world. You just like to call liberals names and pretend you’re being reasonable.

    PS I’m assuming you are referring to Daniel Pearl. Also, the bombing of the USS Cole took place about a year before 9/11. Pearl’s murder, the Cole bombing, and the 9/11 attacks were all horrifying crimes. It is our country’s response to jihadist crimes I find so appalling.

    Make the world safer. Vote the assholes out of power. Yes we can!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Finally, one more brief endorsement of the Oscar-nominated documentary Taxi to the Dark Side. It is an amazing and deeply disturbing look at the real story of detainees in Afghanistan and at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.

    People such as Obnoxious may be the least likely to bother to see it [although it is playing now in NYC], but he and others would benefit from having to confront the consequences of the policies and rhetoric they defend so…defensively.

  • Clavos

    “Finally, one more brief endorsement of the Oscar-nominated documentary Taxi to the Dark Side. It is an amazing and deeply disturbing look at the real story of detainees in Afghanistan and at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo.”

    What evidence do you have that it is in fact, the “real story?”

    Just askin’…

  • Corn Law Pete

    Ruvy said:

    “Each and every one of the pricks running for president in your country will follow an anti-Israel agenda.”

    America hasn’t backed away from an ally in all of history. Even if Obama was elected do you think he would suddenly make ditching Israel a priority?

    I don’t know why you think the presidential candidates are bad choices. Together represent a pretty wide political spectrum: on the left wing Obama, on the center left Clinton, and on the center right McCain. The only spot left is a very right wing candidate like Ron Paul, and candidates like him didn’t caucus very well (do you recall 5-10%?). So I don’t know what your complaining about. You don’t see that type of political variety in any other country. I would like to know who you think should run right right now. A Libertarian? They’re on almost every ballot. How do they usually turn out?

    Capitalism is the best system on earth. But imagine tomorrow that every regulation, standard, and tax was removed on business and investment. Would it result in higher pay, more jobs, productivity, and economic stability? Or would it result in congealing trusts and monopolies that would muck up the economy?

    Lets see some articles on regulation consarn it!

  • The Obnoxious American

    Corn Law Pete,

    Very thoughtful post. I agree that some regulation is necessary. I think it’s best when government takes a true, “hippocratic oath” approach to the economy – i.e. first do no harm.

    What I object to is this needless class warfare, talking about CEO salaries as if that should be something a presidential candidate should be talking about, negatively no less. Or tax increases for the rich, etc etc. This is akin to the race baiting of the 80s and early nineties, but with much more deleterious effects on this country.

    HandyGuy,

    Thanks for assuming what I’d do. I actually watch all types of movies, saw f911 watch Bill Maher and Keith Olbermann (although I try not to watch Olbermann), read the NY Times edit page when I can etc. I am open to other points of view. My opinions are not some blind following of some talking points somewhere. These are deep seated beliefs, ideals that I grew up with.

    As far as your comments, a few rebuttal’s:

    1) Sure, there are people in Gitmo or were in AG that were innocent. In fact, there are people in American prisons who are innocent. It’s a tragedy when that happens for sure. I’d support some sort of compensation for those wrongly imprisoned. But do these false imprisonments represent the majority, or even a substantial majority? Or are we talking about the same level as we see in any prison system. I’ve not seen any numbers (probably don’t exist) that prove this either way.

    At the end of the day, I really don’t think the US government is out there just trying to imprison Iraqis in Gitmo. I do think that they might err on the side of caution. Can’t say I am against that frankly if it will help protect us from additional terror attacks. And as you noted, many falsely imprisoned people were let go.

    I do think that the Gitmo detainees should not be held indefinitely. There should be some legal proceeding that can affirm their fate, rather than have them in endless limbo. That said, the US justice system is not the place for that, unless you want to see terrorists go free on technicalities that shouldn’t even apply to terrorists captured outside of our borders. To suggest that these people are tried in a regular US court of law is one of the most insane, navel gazing, and self defeating things we could do in teh WOT. (Not saying that you HandyGuy support that).

    “nstead, I was suggesting that before blindly implementing policies [like invading countries or imprisoning people with no intention of charging or trying them], we just might possibly look at the potential consequences.”

    This is a rather annoying point. Who is to say that this was some blind action? Who is to say that the pros and cons were not weighed?

    Given the choice between trying to please the churlish international community, many of whom have not a single leg to stand on in terms of their own civil rights, and the choice of locking up suspected terrorists to keep our society functioning and growing I say to hell with the dysfunctional international community.

    But even on that point of the supposed angry international community, you are wrong. We have many allies in Europe. Recently elected, pro-American politicians from France (Sarkozy) to Germany (Merkel). The UK is actually an ally in the war they have troops on the ground. These people have a huge amount of respect for America and constantly work with Bush on all matters from economy to defense. So in terms of this angry, non-muslim europe who is angry with us, whom are you referring to exactly, Spain? Who cares. Russia? China? Those guys hate us because of NOTHING to do with Gitmo or AG.

    Your old rap about the peed off international community is a bit dated my friend, might have been true back in 2003-2004, but people have moved on. One thing that will piss off the international community, Obama’s plan for retreat in Iraq.

    “It is our country’s response to jihadist crimes I find so appalling.”

    Well this just means you are a decent human being. Who isn’t appalled, disgusted by the mere thought of war. There is no question we have to hold our noses with this one, and even moreso, given the many missteps in the handling of the war. But still no reason to give up – that would be an even worse stinker IMO.

  • Silver Surfer

    OA, seriously … muslim fanatics have been attacking us at random for nearly 1200 years.

    That’s the truth. It’s only recently, however, that America has become the target.

    Before that it was the British and French, etc. Even the muslim Ottoman Turks were targeted in their own empire by muslim fanatics.

    And the British fought a war in Iraq in the 1920s and 30s very similar – almost identical in fact – to that being fought by the US and its allies today, with constant running battles just to stay in control. In the end, they did stay in control but after a long time … but the shit hit the fan again almost as soon as their physical presence on the ground was gone.

    Not much changes. Global terrorism is the problem today.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    America hasn’t backed away from an ally in all of history.

    Where did you learn your history – shucking corn?

    I don’t have the time to list all the allies the US has backed away from and back-stabbed, but let’s start with an interesting one – Iraq.

    Saddam Hussein was a scum the US groomed and supported all through the ’80’s, paying for his war against Iran that cost thousands, if not millions of lives. In 1990, he asked America permission to round off the country’s borders and take control of Kuwait, which the British had separated from the Ottoman Empire over a century ago. The American ambassador gave Saddam Hussein an unclear answer that didn’t indicate that she opposed his seizure of Kuwait. Remember, the thug asked American permission first.

    When he did invade, all of a sudden George HW Bush
    bitched and moaned like a bound cow stuck with a pitchfork up her butt.

    He sent Defense Sec’ty Cheney to Arabia with doctored satellite photos to convince his employers, the Sauds, to allow American soldiers on “holy” Arab land. Then he started ” Desert Storm” while the American media alloed itself to be manipulated into demonizing Saddam Hussein.

    The rest, as they say, was history.

    I could go on, but I don’t have all night…

  • The Obnoxious American

    It’s worth noting that all three candidates have voiced support for Israel. Of the three, McCain’s support seems to me at least, the most sincere. I think his support for Israel is on an ideological level, which is a good thing.

    Clinton has had her moments that have raised questions about her true support. And her husband’s willingness to bend over backwards for Yassir adds to the general question mark on the issue.

    Obama, well he’s made very strong statements in support of Israel, and I have no reason to doubt his intentions. But to paraphrase and alightly change a wise man’s comments, you need a big stick in order to speak softly. Obama can sure speak softly, but I don’t see any sticks…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    It’s worth noting that all three candidates have voiced support for Israel.

    Please don’t make me gag with your self-delusions, OB.

    McCain supports Olmert – a man who is a traitor of the worst kind. Clinton is just an ass-kisser for the CFR, and will support the same emasculating policies her husband did eight years ago. Obama has all sorts of anti-Israel folks all around him guiding his hand.

    What you call “support” is the worst kind of imperial ruination. Better that you have a president who hates Jews and is open about it, like Chavez. At least we’d see the enemy up front, and you couldn’t make excuses for the bastards. In fact, if you had any brains, you’d be running for your life….

  • The Obnoxious American

    HandyGuy,

    I wanted to respond to this:

    “Thus the term “Reagan Democrats”; and thus the possibility of “Obama Republicans,” of whom the most prominent Blogcritics example is Clavos, and about whom Obama did a very funny comedy routine [“Why are we whispering?”] the other day.

    I was unhappy about those two 80s elections. It’s possible Obnoxious and Friends will be unhappy this November. I’d say they’ve earned it.”

    I’ve heard more than a few so called Republicans suggest that they would vote for Obama.

    I would submit that if a Republican votes for Obama, then either he is not really a Republican, or he is ignorant to Obama’s policies and is simply swooned by speech writing. I can’t see any other possible explanation for such a phenomenom. If you believe in the GOP platform, either partially of wholly, then you can’t also support Obama.

    On the other hand, I could see the idea of McCain Democrats, in fact I think there are already a few. Weren’t they talking about asking McCain about being Kerry’s running mate in 2004? I seem to remember McCain steadfastedly stating that he was a Republican and would support the GOP candidate on one or more meet the press episodes.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Ruvy,

    I’m not trying to make you gag. Just making the obvious statement that all three candidates have made clear that they would support Israel. I don’t for a second believe that US support of any ally is permanent or unchangeable. My biggest concern about this country is that with the election of someone like Obama or Clinton, many things we take for granted as basic US positions might change, with very negative impacts. Softness on Israel is just one of my many concerns.

    But let’s forget about that for a second. Consider your own post, the worst thing you can say about McCain is:

    “McCain supports Olmert – a man who is a traitor of the worst kind. “

    Now Ruvy, I totally understand your hatred of Olmert. I think most Israelis agree, isn’t his approval rating somewhere in the mud?

    But to your point, who is McCain going to otherwise support? Some unelected Israeli leader? Of course he will support Olmert, as he supported Sharon, and as he will support the next leader of Israel. I’m not sure what kind of stance from an American candidate would satisfy you, short of them calling for the removal of Olmert, which is really the business of Israel’s electorate, not the US.

    Compare McCain’s support of the current Israeli leader, who regardless of your feelings is the representative of your country until he is removed from office, to the gripes you have against Obama and Clinton.

    I’m not going to argue that all three suck, I happen to think only two suck. But let’s assume you are right that they all are crap. Of the three, McCain is still the best candidate for Israel. He may support Olmert now. But when you and your friends bring in the next PM, McCain will support him as well. Choose wisely!

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I don’t have time to look up the link to Ha’aretz, but McCain was asked what he would do to deal with the “peace process” here. He said he would send in he best guys he could find – one of them being James “fuck the Jews” Baker.

    That is a sure sign of support, OB. Yessiree Bob.

    Like I said, you make me gag with your self delusion.

  • The Obnoxious American

    So then who would be your choice? And I don’t want to hear “None of the above” because that means Obama. Ante up buddy.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Clavos, re Taxi to the Dark Side:

    Well, I can’t prove it’s “the real story,” but let’s just say it’s very convincing, and it doesn’t come across as a partisan diatribe, a la Michael Moore. It is as riveting as a spy thriller, but deeply disturbing and upsetting. It builds its case as quietly and devastatingly as anything I’ve ever seen, even using an interview with Dick Cheney to great effect [in fact, the VP helps supply the title of the movie].

    It is nominated for Best Documentary Feature in Sunday’s Academy Awards. You can read my Blogcritics review here.

    I saw it last spring at the Tribeca Film Festival.

  • Clavos

    “Well, I can’t prove it’s “the real story,” but let’s just say it’s very convincing, and it doesn’t come across as a partisan diatribe, a la Michael Moore.”

    Fair enough, handy.

    Perhaps it would be more appropriate to present it that way, as “convincing,” rather than as “the real story.”

  • REMF

    “But to paraphrase and alightly change a wise man’s comments, you need a big stick in order to speak softly. Obama can sure speak softly, but I don’t see any sticks…”
    – Obnoxious American

    Promoting others to fight your battles for you also makes you stickless…

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    So then who would be your choice? And I don’t want to hear “None of the above” because that means Obama. Ante up buddy.

    From where I sit in Ma’ale Levona, in Samaria, there is no good choice. All three of the candidates would follow policies that, if they were successful, would leave me homeless. When I was 31, I could handle homelessness. But at 57, older and somewhat sicker, married with two kids, I don’t think I could hack it. There is nobody to vote for in America, and it is not worth my energy to register to vote in your elections, something I have the right to do as an American citizen.

    If that conclusion means in your eyes, Obama, oh, bummer. Too bad.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Loll, firstly I don’t think you have too much to worry about either way. Thankfully, US support for Israel is not going to change.

    What I find amusing is your “oh well” position on Obama. Perhaps living in Israel, you are not aware of the various platforms here. I’ll give you a quick synopsis.

    Liberals are generally anti war. In my experience, when there is a conflict, they engage in navel gazing asking what they could have done to have avoided the conflict. As evidenced by some of the viewpoints expressed in this thread, in foreign conflicts, the aggressor is rarely to blame, there was always some underlying transgression of the victim that was to blame for the conflict.

    Obama is a liberal. Does that mean he will follow the typical liberal response? I won’t go there. What I do know is that he is aligned in such a way, that for him to support the type of aggression that is sometimes needed in war, he will have to go against the grain of his own base. Not a comfortable position for a politician.

    The GOP tends to be more hawkish. They understand the idea of carrying a big stick. Bush was perhaps too much carrying of the big stick, with not enough soft speaking. But (and I will catch hell on this board for saying this) it is sometimes arguably better to err on the side of a strong offense when dealing with enemies or engaging in war.

    McCain is a Republican. He has voiced support for Israel in their efforts to ensure peace via security, for the wall, for checkpoints, for the actions in Lebanon. It really doesn’t matter who he appoints, that appointee will have to carry out McCain’s adgenda, not the other way around.

    Simple party affiliations are not a predictor for future behavior. That said, I think we all can agree that politicians do what is politically expedient, what is politically easy. They tend to choose the path of least resistance. And yes, Obama is a politician.

    Obama’s expedient choices for Israel would be in terms of concessions and restraint in responses to aggression. That’s just his path of least resistance, given his base. He could choose to stand up for Israel, against the wishes of his base, but one has to wonder to what degree and for how long?

    On the other hand, McCain could stand by Israel in any conflict and that would be politically expedient, politically easy for him to do. It’s partially what he is running on. He wouldn’t have a base that was alienated by his support of Israel in a conflict.

    If that just means “oh well” to you, then you aren’t listening.

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

    The big reason that no Saudis were ever arrested over 9/11 is that George Bush would have been pissing on his boss’ shoes!

    No. The big reason no Saudis were arrested is that most of the actual Saudis involved died in the attacks. The surviving organizers of the attack were a Yemeni, a Kuwaiti citizen born in Pakistan, a UAE citizen and ONE Saudi citizen of Yemeni extraction whose Saudi citizenship had been revoked. All but one of these leaders are now in custody. I think we all know who the one uncaptured organizer is.

    Dave

  • http://pointlessannointed.blogspot.com Colin

    “and freedom only works hand in hand with capitalism.”

    Absolute. Crapulous. Bollocks.

  • The Obnoxious American

    What’s bullocks Colin, is to make a statement and have nothing but your outrage to back it up. Explain why it’s bullocks, or don’t waste our time.

    I can provide many examples of countries that shun capitalism, and their people are invariably not free. Even countries where the government arbits capitalism on behalf of it’s people (i.e. china), the people are not truly free. On the other hand, the US is a capitalism (sure, not a pure one but close enough), it’s people are the most free in the developed world.

    Extreme lefties hate hearing this because it is at odds with their socialist cum communist ideal world view. But the reality is, you take away a man’s ability to earn for himself and he is no longer free. No two ways about it. All the feigned outrage in the world won’t change it either.

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

    It is self-evidently bollocks, Obnox, which is probably why Colin didn’t see the need to elaborate.

    The problem is that capitalism is so ubiquitous in today’s world that it’s very difficult, if not impossible, to find an example of a contemporary non-capitalist society that’s free.

    A monastic community could, I suppose, be considered an example of such, in the sense that its members have chosen of their own free will to live their lives by its rules.

    I can also float a couple of historical examples, although again they do rather depend on your definition of freedom.

    The culture of the Plains Indians was not in any way capitalistic. Their societies operated with a great deal of freedom, although their lives were dictated somewhat by natural forces which required a band, for example, to be in a certain location when the buffalo passed through.

    Democratic Athens was also free – if you were male, anyway – and didn’t operate capitalistically as we moderns would view it.

    But I’m guessing – I’m 99.999…% certain I’m correct! – that you mean personal freedom as framed in the US Bill of Rights and its precursor documents – not “FREEDOOOOOM!” as espoused by the likes of William Wallace (the movie version of him, anyway!), for whom it simply meant a society free of foreign interference. I would look at this the other way around: that such freedom allows capitalism to operate – if a society’s members so desire. It can’t be asserted that this will always be the case.

    (BTW, Obnox, the term is “bollocks”, not “bullocks” – although that is a variant!)

  • The Obnoxious American

    Doc,

    It’s a very good point that one man’s freedom is another’s imprisonment. And for all of our freedoms in the US, we are not totally free. I’ve been toying with the idea of writing an article on the different types of things that we consider freedoms, expect to see it sometime in the future.

    For me, the definition of freedom has to do with the ability to own ones future. Sure not everything is within our control, but in this country, if I want to become a doctor or open a business, there is nothing other than myself stopping me from doing it.

    Many of the ideas eminating from the left, such as even more investment into social programs at the cost of higher taxes, winds up meaning a sacrifice that may impinge on others freedoms.

    The notion of class warfare by the left, that the rich should somehow be made to pay for their success, is an example of this leftist, rightist conflict on what I would term individual rights. So yes, in effect, HillaryCare is an impingment on my personal right to pursue happiness if it winds up raising my taxes to the point where I can’t follow my own goals. I don’t have to tell you this Doc, but for others rabidly drooling at my post, there is a difference between being happy, being content, and having freedom to pursue either, which is really just a play on those original words, the right to life liberty and pursuit of happiness.

    I happen to work with many from the UK. I am fond of reminding them that I also won’t use an s instead of a z for certain words, and football isn’t soccer, it’s the NFL. God Bless the Giants!

  • STM

    OA: “For me, the definition of freedom has to do with the ability to own ones future. Sure not everything is within our control, but in this country, if I want to become a doctor or open a business, there is nothing other than myself stopping me from doing it.”

    That’s the case in most western countries, OA, even those like mine with what Americans would call “socialised” programs such as universal health care and welfare programs designed to help people through the education process.

    America is a good place all right, and we know that in theory anyone can do what you suggest – even become President – but the reality of the wide gulf between poverty and wealth often condemns people to live out their lives in ways we wouldn’t exactly consider fruitful.

    The myth of American exceptionalism is just that, but I do agree with your premise that in the world we live in today, captalism is not the ogre too many on the left think and it actually does provide many of our freedoms.

    I would consider myself left-leaning in Australia, which in the US would place me a fair way to the left, but it’s good that the Labor Party, the party of the left in this country and now in power, has worked out that everything that needs to be done to improve the welfare of the average worker can only be done in accord with private industry.

    Simply, private industry, small business, whatever, can no longer be culled out of the process in the leftist agenda.

    Otherwise you end up with Castro’s Cuba.

    And I’ll add: there’s a huge difference between socialism and programs designed to foster community.

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

    BTW, Obnox, sorry I didn’t get to this article sooner after I’d been waxing all enthusiastic about it. The bases seem to have all been covered pretty well in the article and the preceding 112 comments though, so I won’t chip in my 601 Zimbabwean dollars’ worth.

    I do have reservations, though, about your title ‘The Official Obama Hit Piece’. Have you really, truly been endorsed by the Committee for Finding Things About Obama That Aren’t Very Nice? They, as you know, hold the exclusive global rights. Now then, show me the affidavit or I may have to do you for false advertising!

    ;-)

  • bliffle

    Paula Poundstone: ” I can’t even break a dollar anymore because I’m afraid to ask for ‘change'”!

    “If I hear that guy use that word one more time I’m going to want everything to remain exactly the same!”

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Obnoxious,

    Your not really obnoxious, though you like the moniker. You’re just blind and dense. We’ll put this in bold print for you to read again.

    From where I sit in Ma’ale Levona, in Samaria, there is no good choice. All three of the candidates would follow policies that, if they were successful, would leave me homeless.

    Do you need that capitalized, too? I charge for retyping….

    What YOU call support, is for me and at least 300,000 other Israelis, expulsion.

    Now, maybe you can explain to me how being expelled from one’s home is support. Ante up, dude. How does supporting a 23rd Arab state on JEWISH LAND, THE SECOND ARAB STATE ALREADY ON JEWISH LAND support for Israel? Unlike, Olmert or Peres, you haven’t been bought up by EU or American politicians. So explain yourself.

    Let’s help you a bit, so you comprehend fully what is going on. A fellow I know was a salesman managed to get himself invited to the home of PLO members a number of years back, I think in the eighties. They knew he was an American, but they didn’t know he was Jewish. He asked all sorts of stupid questions like, “why don’t you just kill Hussein (of Jordan) and proclaim a Palestinian state there?”

    They laughed at his naivite and proceeded to explain to him the onion peeling program of getting concessions for a mini-state in Judea, Samaria and Gaza, and then, once they had that, the plan to confederate with Jordan, and then to invite Arabs in the Negev and the Galilee to demand to be part of this Arab confederation. That is what you get from a “Palestine”. Olmert knows this, as does Peres, but they don’t care. I do.

    Now that you understand that this is the plan, explain how supporting yet a terror state in Judea and Samaria is “support” for Israel and how forcing this down our throats here is “support”.

    I gotta see your reasoning.

  • The Obnoxious American

    errr, whatever ruvy. OK, you know a guy who went to dinner with PLO members and suggested that they take out the King of Jordan. That sure sounds stupid. What does that have to do with me? I’ll tell you – NOTHING.

    I never said I supported a Palestinian state WHERE YOU LIVE. I support a Palestinian state. In the lands they already have. I don’t support concessions for Israel, the establishment of a Palestinian state is a concession.

    I’ve went through all the issues on Israel before. I am about as pro-Israel as you can expect from an American or a Jew. You want to keep making nonsensicle rants, and cast false aspersions about me, thats fine. I really don’t care. And it’s worth noting that your indiffernece to who gets elected in the US for 2008 is the biggest exposure of niavete in this thread. Compare that to my solution-oriented suggestions, which most of your countrymen agree with.

    STM,

    Totally agree. I wish more on the left in the US felt the same. As someone who is in their prime earning years, all this anti-capitalism talk from the left in the US gives me (specifically me) the extreme willies. If people want to destroy our financial system, I’d like them to do that AFTER I’ve had my run and hopefully before my kids have theirs. Or better yet, not at all :>

    Doc,

    Lolll! Even after several hundred comments, I’d always be happy to hear your POV. But you’re right – it has been discussed pretty well by this point.

    Actually, yes, this artice was certified as official by the 2008 Olympics in Beijing:>.

    Bliffle,

    never thought I’d agree with Paula on anything! Lollll!.

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

    Blogcritic of the Day, eh, Obnox?

    Chalk another one up for the Politics section. Woo-hoo!!!

    :-D

  • The Obnoxious American

    I’d like to thank all of the slightly less obnoxious people out there, without whom I’d just be “The American.”

    Seriously, though, I am proud to represent for the Politics section, hope I’m worthy!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    A film I mentioned above, Taxi to the Dark Side, was the surprise winner of the Oscar for Best Documentary on Sunday.

    Again, I urge anyone interested in Guantanamo and related issues, particularly our friends on the rightist side, to see this as soon as possible. You may have some misconceptions shattered in the process.

  • Propagandist

    Approval from Hollywood isnt exactly what will convince people to watch it. If anything it will turn people off.
    I had to look this up but the winner’s acceptance speech was:
    “Let’s hope we can turn this country around, move away from the dark side and back to the light”

    I assume the country he wants turned around is the US?
    Not exactly what will get ‘our friends on the rightist side’ to watch his movie..

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    OK, my friend, as John McCain might say.

    I have seen the film. You have not. I consider it an amazing and important piece of work. Your negative opinion is based on…what exactly? It’s awfully easy to throw out smug sarcasm and piss on other people’s parades.

    The Oscar will give it more publicity and I think that’s a good thing. It will be the rare person who sees the film without being moved both to anger and to tears. It’s extraordinarily powerful.

    The same director made the equally excellent Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. His acceptance remarks are well founded. Like many others, including me, he thinks Guantanamo is a dark blot on our Constitution. His movie makes an excellent case for that point of view, without resorting to partisan rhetoric. We do need to turn away from the point of view represented by Guantanamo, toward the light of affirming our own vision of democracy, rather than spitting on it.

    Your own views of Hollywood liberalism are a complete red herring in this context. People who use that as an excuse to avoid the film are only revealing their own prejudice.

  • Propagandist

    I just dont have such negative adverse views of America as you. I don’t think its the root of all world problems and I don’t think its in the ‘dark side’ whatever that is.
    I am actually okay with Guantanamo. I’d rather have those people there than in my state prison. And Gitmo will eventually close – the number of inmates is much lower than when it was opened.

    Having said all that..I do plan to watch the movie…just can’t promise I’ll be angry and tearful as you were!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I have a very high opinion of America, and a great love for democracy and the Constitution.

    I have a very low opinion of the politicians who are currently running the executive branch and controlling a series of appalling foreign policy decisions.

    If I disliked the US, or if I were indifferent, I wouldn’t feel anger and sadness about the awful mistakes of the last 6+ years.

  • The Obnoxious American

    “If I disliked the US, or if I were indifferent, I wouldn’t feel anger and sadness about the awful mistakes of the last 6+ years.”

    Sure you would. I am not suggesting that you do dislike the US. But many liberals do. How else to explain support for things like Kyoto, which wouldn’t reduce greenhouse gases, but would limit the output of gasses by developed countries, while allowing it in developing countries. Or the urge to simply withdraw from Iraq, regardless of whether we are actually making gains there. There are countless examples like this of hating the US. Im sure that you will deny this, and say that there are good reasons for these positions, but there really is no other explanation to cut ones nose to spite ones face.

    In terms of gitmo, I have to side with propagandist. Shouldn’t be a surprise that liberals hate guantanamo. Liberals blame guns and not murderers for crime, they blame ADD and not parenting for poorly behaved kids, they blame the rich for the poor. Why not blame guantanamo for terrorists?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    See the movie, then we’ll talk.

    And your candidate McCain is just as likely to close Guantanamo as Obama, who certainly will. Even Bush says he wants to.

    Objecting to wrongheaded policies is not the same as supporting our enemies. Stop equating them.

    Your final paragraph is not real argument, it’s disgusting nonsense. They ought to take back your BC of the Day citation if you keep writing thoughtless bilge like that.

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

    99% of the remaining prisoners will never be tried.

    Just to be an annoying quibbler, by my calculation almost 3% of them have already been granted a trial of some sort or are scheduled to have one shortly.

    Dave

  • Propagandist

    And most Americans aren’t loosing sleep over terrorists not getting a trial.
    Ah the injustice of not letting known terrorists get their due process for a few years..America sure is moving to the ‘dark side’.

    I can live with that.

  • The Obnoxious American

    HandyGuy,

    Are you really trying to sell the idea that there wouldn’t be any real difference between how McCain would handle the war on terror and how Obama would handle it? Or that their handling of captured terrorists would be the same? They wouldn’t be.

    Lawyers for Gitmo Detainees put their support behind Obama. I wonder why. Oh wait, I don’t:

    “Senator Obama worked with us to count the votes, and he personally lobbied colleagues who worried about the political ramifications of voting to preserve habeas corpus for the men held at Guantanamo.”

    Wha-wha-WHAT??!?!?!? Habeas Corpus for captured terrorists? Sure, let’s make sure to send CSI into the war zone to see if they can find fingerprints and DNA samples. Then we can get Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro to defend them, with a consult from Ron Kuby. (I know Cochran is dead, you get my point).

    I really don’t think the framers intended Habeas Corpus (translated, “We command that you have the body”) for foriegn actors who are trying to commit acts of terrorism on our shores, or against our soldiers overseas. And in fact there have been bi-partisan laws passed which limit federal habeas corpus for terrorists (AEDPA).

    The concept that we’d hold normal trials for terrorists captured in a theater of war is preposterous, and means that many would be set free – remember that the military isn’t law enforcement, they are not trained in collecting evidence in the fashion that is the norm in US law enforcement. And that not considering the reality that collecting evidence in a war zone isn’t always feasible. And that’s not even getting into the concept of evidenciary discovery, which itself is offensive when talking about trying terrorists who are part of a larger conspiracy.

    As far as my last paragraph being “disgusting nonsense,” I’d like you to explain how so.

    Do you deny that the left, and especially the extreme left, views gun makers as the enemy, while also often looking to soften sentencing guidelines and improve prison conditions for criminals? Then explain the countless frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers, almost always brought by and supported by left wing attorneys and politicians. And the simultaneous fight for softer sentencing guidelines and prisoner rights?

    Why would the left promote the idea of protectionism and tax increases for the rich, when by every non-partisan account these very platforms hurt the economy? If the left wing were really friends of the working man, they’d actually have some platforms that would be good, not just for the poor at the cost of everyone else, but with an eye towards the future of the country’s economics (i.e. globalization). They wouldn’t perpetuate the idea that a company paying unskilled labor a skilled wage would still be competitive. Or that manufacturing is somehow sustainable at American, unionized labor wages. Of as evidenced in last nights debate, a pissing contest over who can blame NAFTA more.

    Why would the left promote multilateralism in the exchange for a real self serving foreign policy? Yes, self serving. Nothing wrong with that. I’m not saying that we should be unilateralists, but there are times when we have to make decisions in our best interest, and we need leaders with the courage to make that call. Every other country does it, especially our opponents. Yet no one seems to care about that.

    Bush certainly flubbed the handling of Iraq, but the UN certainly flubbed the lead up to the war in Iraq and by their incompetence helped ensure we went to war in the first place. We had to be somewhat unilateral (note, we did and still do have many allies, so the term unilateral is actually inaccurate, we didn’t have UN Sec Counsel support). Why is China’s and Russia’s opinion on our foreign policy so important to the left?

    Why would the left feign outrage at Gitmo and Abu Ghraib while simultaneously calling us be more sensitive to why we are somehow “inciting” these terror attacks? Why would the left be so closed to the idea that yes, we do have enemies, and no, we didn’t create them (which any sober reading of the terrorists history and adgenda makes clear).

    Why wouldn’t the left be more honest about the stakes involved in leaving Iraq? You know, even if things were going swimmingly in Iraq, there would always be a legitimate question on whether it’s in our nation’s best interest to be there or stay there. Why not have that debate? Why instead does the left make the topic taboo, call it Bush’s war, when any honest reading of the situation agrees that withdrawal will cause Iraq and our own foriegn policies great damage, for republican or democratic administrations to come?

    Why would the left support environmentalism to the degree where no solution is acceptable short of everyone living in a adobe hut and cycling everywhere? I’m a proponent of having a good and clean environment (and cycling), but not in such a way that would cause recessions. We have a multitude of ways to get ourselves off of foreign oil now, such as offshore drilling, ANWR, etc. Oil spills could be better controlled through the use of double hulled or better boats. But greens don’t support any of this because it would be tacit approval for any kind of possible environmental harm. Apparently that’s only acceptable when it’s a developing nation that is doing it (see Kyoto protocol). And of course, the majority of the Dem party won’t ever put themselves at odds with the extreme environmentalist in their midst.

    At a recent get together with some friends, some of whom are raging liberals, I actually heard one of the more intelligent ones suggest that Obama should be president, “because most of the Muslim world thinks Barack Hussein Obama is a Muslim,” what utter pandering nonsense. Talk about disgusting.

    Just judging by some of the commentary by lefties in this thread on the topic of capitalism proves my point (Dee’s and other’s admittedly anti capitalism stance). Dems may love the area America sits on, but they have decidedly wrong headed views on the freedoms and rights that this country was founded on. And you may deny this all you want but the very platforms that the two dem candidates are running on, views laid down by the moveon’s and other extreme liberal special interests, bely a wish for the big bad USA to finally get some cumuppance. Sorry, I won’t ever support that view.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I repeat, haul yourself down to the Village East cinema in Manhattan and see Taxi to the Dark Side. It makes this case more eloquently than I could hope to.

    But to make one important point, briefly:
    Those of us who rail against the detainee policy are concerned about the innocent people almost surely snared in this surrealistic, yes, Kafkaesque system. The US shows little interest in admitting they made any mistakes in arresting them, or in distinguishing between the falsely accused and real terrorists, and would gladly avoid trials altogether if they believed they could get away with it.

    How many of the original detainees in Guantanamo were actually terrorists? Possibly as few as 10%. Dispute this if you like. But prove it wrong, don’t take the government’s word. Similar statistics apply to the detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq. Most were not even captured by US personnel – they were turned over by Afghans and Iraqis for cash rewards or to curry favor.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I object to your false generalizations about liberals. They don’t apply to most individuals you would call liberals. You just recite a list of caricatured, cartoon beliefs and behaviors. If you would stop trying to argue using these whoppers, your posts would make more sense. As they are, they’re based more on name-calling than actual point-for-point argument.

    In other words, you don’t allow that people you disagree with might have a point or be even partly right. You rail against all the horrible things that “all liberals” believe. And that is hogwash.

    You say you voted for Clinton and Gore in 2000? Do you mean Hillary Clinton and Al Gore? What happened – the scales fell from your eyes, and the Real Truth was revealed to you?

    You call yourself a centrist, but you constantly speak in the wild-eyed, loud, unreasonable voice of an extremist.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    I’ve rather enjoyed today’s back-and-forth between McCain and Obama about Al Qaeda and Iraq, and I look forward to more of the same. I’m more and more impressed by Barack. I am more and more convinced he will be our next prez, too.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    If this is an example of Barack Obama’s “support” for Israel, you can take the son of a bitch and shove him where the sun don’t shine.

    He’s just drek, as I have been telling you over and over again.

    If you want this pile of shit for your president, Barbara, you are welcome to the asshole. Just keep the son of a bitch away from here, lest some of us decide his fate for him.

    A sample of the shit shining in the sun speaking in Cleveland.

    …according to Obama, backing the Jews’ biblical, historical and legal claim to all of the land in question “can’t be the measure of our friendship with Israel.”

    Nor can supporting the view that only by defeating its Islamic foes can Israel enjoy any semblance of peace and security, continued the Democratic frontrunner.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    My opinions of “O’bumma” extend to Clinton and to McCain. They are all garbage and all all trash, fit only for flies to lay eggs in. Any Jew who votes for any of them is a fool.

  • Bennett

    Yeah well Ruvy. Israel’s leaders are certainly setting the high mark these days. What with the rape charges being brought against President Moshe Katsav.

    Plus, as the CNN article notes: “A previous Israeli president and several prime ministers have been suspected of financial misdeeds and a former defense minister was convicted of sexual harassment. But the charges facing Katsav are the most serious criminal counts brought against a serving Israeli official.”

    You see, you are casting some pretty damn big stones against Obama, and it’s really none of your damn business. As the world can see, you have plenty of assholes right in your own back yard.

    Fix that up, and then get back to me.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Bennett,

    If it were up to me, all the assholes here would either be in jail or executed by people’s courts. And my definition of these asshole extends a lot farther than you realize. But the pricks in the States and the EU who corrupted them originally would still be at large on your territory, out of reach of the justice of the Jewish people.

    You fix that up and get back to me.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Oh, by the way, Bennett,

    I’m an American citizen. So who is the chief piece of shit running your country IS my damned business.

  • Anon

    Didnt think I’d come to his defense, but I must say Israel shouldn’t be supported because it has a ‘biblical, historical and legal claim’ on its land. That’s a scary precedent.
    How would you like if Palestinians or others started exerting their Koranical and historical rights to some land somewhere.

    Moreover Israel has nothing to worry from the US. It is a staunch ally and will stay so.

    Obama offered a slightly different view of support for Israel. Just because he did not say I support Israel in all its activities does not make him an enemy of Israel.
    You can be sure the US will always support Israel. Its just a pillar of this country’s foreign policy and rightly so.

    Yes there are concerns about his views toward Israel and those are legitimate questions. He probably would not support Israel completely the way Bush did during the recent Israel Hezbollah conflict. That is a valid argument to make.

    But just because Obama did not offer blanket support to Israel no matter what does not make him a ‘drek’ or whatever else you called him.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    How would you like if Palestinians or others started exerting their Koranical and historical rights to some land somewhere.

    Anon,

    So much for what you know about the Qur’an. The Qur’an gives US, the Children of Israel, the permanent right to rule in this land. The “Palestinians” don’t count for jack shit and are a humanitarian refugee problem. They have no rights whatever in this country.

  • Anon

    I wasnt talking specifics..I was talking precedent. Once you let some group exert their ‘biblical’, ‘historical’ rights , it opens the door for others to do so.

    I’m a big supporter of Israel but palenstinians are your (israel’s) problem..like it or not. They arent going anywhere..thats just the nature of the beast.
    Learn to live with ‘em peacefully or exterminate ‘em..those are the only real alternatives.
    Or continue to fight each other for another hundred years.

  • Bennett

    “But the pricks in the States and the EU who corrupted them originally would still be at large on your territory, out of reach of the justice of the Jewish people.

    What? You, as a citizen of the US, living in Israel, want to blame people (“them”) in other countries for ‘making’ your President commit sex crimes?

    How’s that again?

    You say of the three people likely to lead the USA in the years to come (McCain, Clinton, Obama) “They are all garbage and all all trash, fit only for flies to lay eggs in. Any Jew who votes for any of them is a fool.”

    So the “non-fool” Jew is going to vote for…

    I’m waiting.

  • The Obnoxious American

    HandyGuy,

    It’s not a charicature of liberals, it’s taken from their very words in this forum in many cases. I live in the NYC area, I am surrounded by YOU PEOPLE (:>) upper east side limo liberals, lower east side hippie liberals, well to do self hating liberals, poor hardworking guys who happen to follow what their union says, etc. If I was in idaho, you could claim that I was mischaracterizing but I’m not. Family members are liberal, we can’t talk politics at family get togethers.

    They invariably are more motivated by their hatred of Bush and a repudiation of his policies more than anything else. That’s how we never privatized social security, even though before Bush, Democrats supported the idea. Just one of many examples of letting BDS and not good sense rule the day. You cannot deny that liberals get a crazy glint in their eye whenever the B word is used.

    As far as my voting history, as I said, I am a centrist. I tend to agree with Republicans on national security and the economy, and I tend to agree with Democrats on social issues such as abortion and gay rights. I liked President Clinton. He certainly had his warts, didn’t like his Israel policy (that’s for you Ruvy) among other things. But you can’t take away the fact that he had a very successful presidency.

    And Clinton was fairly centrist, in fact, wasn’t that his platform? Supported free trade, revamped welfare, good fiscal policy, tough stance on Saddam and semi decent handling of various conflicts. Overall he wasn’t so bad. To quote Alan Greenspan, “he was the best conservative president [he] ever worked for.”

    Given the choice of his VP and Bush, I was more inclined to vote Gore. Yes, I am not a huge fan of Bush. Despite the ignorant claims by those who don’t actually read my writings, I’ve been critical of Bush in many areas. But unlike most lefties, I also give him credit where it’s due (and he deserves some in a variety of places).

    What the Democrats have done to Bush over the last 7 years, the partisanship that they have shown is plainly unforgiveable. That liberals still whine about the 2000 elections is the hieghts of sillyness. Lose like a winner ferchrissakes.

    Watching the antics of the left, the way they handled the war in Iraq, the demonization of the wealthy in this country, the lurch towards socialism, has proven to me that this incarnation of the Democratic party is not worthy to hold the country’s most important office.

    It’s one thing to be anti war, it’s one thing to support social programs, it’s one thing to want to help the environment. But the Democratic party in the last decade has been taken over by the most virulent, shrill, extreme and frankly stupid wing of the party. Just look at who they are offering up in the general, the most liberal member of the senate.

    Contrast that with the GOP, bringing a man with experience, one who has served this country nobly for decades, and who is way more of a centrist than the supposed change candidate claims to be. There is no contest.

    If the Democrats do lose this year, this will be precisely the reason why. I just hope Americans are smart enough to see through the BS message of change for what it really is – a full adoption of the most extreme left wing views.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Anon,

    I do agree with what you are saying. At this point it is Israel’s problem. While there is definitely a strong basis around suggesting that these people should have been taken in by Jordan and other neighbors, that never happened.

    I think Israel should have long ago reversed the PR game that the Palestinians have played so effectively against them. Build some palestinian housing, some schools, win the hearts and minds of the moderate palestinians. Israel is successful enough to afford this without even blinking. And when there are terrorists acting up, slam them HARD. But only doing the slamming, and not the other stuff, has helped the palestinians promote the idea that Israel is an occupier. And it’s encouraged moderates to be more extreme. The simple fact that Israel just does not do PR well is a very large part of it’s problem.

  • STM

    Propagandist: “And most Americans aren’t loosing sleep over terrorists not getting a trial.”

    The problem with that is that it chips away at the justice system … a bit here, a bit there.

    Of all the English-speaking countries that inherited their system of law from England, the US is the only one to have suspended Habeas Corpus in that situation.

    The others have instituted anti-terror legislation that allows terror suspects to be held only for short and finite periods of time while investigations continue, but they still must be brought before the courts and it is the courts who will rule on those finite periods.

    If authorities cannot produce enough evidence to keep these people in custody, they must be freed. This is as it should be.

    These detainees still have the right to petition for the writ of Habeus Corpus, (and yes, this worth reading from beginning to end) and are treated thus. In the US, despite the ruling on the military commissions, that is simply not the case.

    The US is flouting international law (much of which has been instituted at thwe urging of the US in the first place) and going against the spirit of its own justice system by holding people indefinitely and without proper trial and the right to trial by jury. It is also forbidden by the constitution of the United States. Making up little loopholes to get around it doesn’t change that fact.

    That’s why the British agitated to get three of their citizens out of Guantanamo (and they were freed ultimately), and partly why Australia pushed the US to try David Hicks and worked out a deal to have him serve a sentence in Australia.

    Simply, the law and every part of it, and particularly in regard to the writ of Habeus Corpus, is one of the key pillars of the English-inherited law that has kept all our societies functioning as open, representative democracies all these many centuries.

    Habeus Corpus and due process date back 800 years or more in English law, which forms the basis of all US law and the laws of countries like Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and were designed to put the brakes on the power of the state – originally the Monarch, but now applying collectively to all our heads of state and government.

    In the US, that means George Bush and his administration. Any chipping away of this stuff means that government is taking power away from the people, where it belongs.

    Which means despite the delusions of some Americans (some), that makes the US most definitely not the bastion of freedom right now that it likes to think it is.

    No one objects to terrorists getting their come-uppance. They deserve it. But the laws that have evolved for us over 1000 years have kept us all safe, and that’s what should be used to decide the truth or not of these cases.

    Those laws exist because it’s understood that if a person in power starts making sh.t up and applying it only to one group of people, the writing could very easily be on the wall for the next group of people.

    It’s interesting that many on the Right who gibber on about their constitutional rights don’t understand that these rights apply to everyone being tried under US law citizens or not, and that any attempt to weaken that also weakens the constitution of the US and turns its good intent into a sham.

    The courts in the US have also told the Bush administration this.

  • The Obnoxious American

    STM,

    I think you make some good points and some not so good ones. I agree that Habeas Corpus is not something to be taken lightly, it’s the basis of our judicial system. And it should be provided for our citizenry and all people who are here who are not citizens.

    But this isn’t crime we are talking about. Terrorism, especially the terrorist threat we face from Al Qaeda, is war. If these people gain citizenship, in an effort to undermine this country via terrorism, they are not citizens, they don’t deserve the suite of rights for wearing the badge of citizenry as a ruse. The founding fathers would not have wanted the full suite of civilian criminal rights to apply to a Brit who was posing as an American during the revolutionary war.

    That said, I tend to think that this example, which is based off of your reference to the rights of the citizenry, is spurious anyway. The vast majority of people in Gitmo were captured during war, in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. And I certainly don’t think our civilian criminal rights should apply to such a situation. To suggest it’s a constitutional crisis is to me a form of navel gazing.

    I do think we should process them, offer them a trial, but not at on some timetable that would undermine our ability to stop them from attacking again. If that makes me wrong I don’t want to be right. This whole issue, just like so many others, is another politization by the left, without really considering what’s best for this country’s national security. That ought to come before partisan politics in this American’s opinion.

  • Propagandist

    When Habeas Corpus laws were written or even the Geneva convention for that matter, there were no lawless, countryless suicidal fanatics.
    So terrorists that move from Pakistan to Afghanistan to Chechnya should not be treated the same as a soldier that represents some army of a country.
    If it were the official Afghan army soldiers at Gitmo, then I’d say give them their Habeas Corpus rights right away. But they arent – these are countryless maniacal militants.
    So I am okay if they rot in prison for a few years before they meet a lawyer.
    Also, I don’t buy into the slippery slope argument here that doing this to gitmo detainees will eventually lead to Americans not getting their due process or something.
    This is an exception in an exceptional war with an invisible exceptional enemy.

  • STM

    Propagandist: “When Habeas Corpus laws were written or even the Geneva convention for that matter, there were no lawless, countryless suicidal fanatics.”

    Well, that’s not strictly right. Habeus Corpus renmains virtually unchanged from the time of King John and the Magna Carta (that’s the best part of 1000 years back). There were INDEED countryless, lawless bands of suicidal fanatics roaming the English countryside.

    It’s worth noting that the Crusades were being fought at the time, which pitted jihadist muslims against Christians.

    Those from opposing camps who weren’t killed immediately tended to be tried under the laws of whatever country or religious belief the combatants belonged too.

    Many of the jihadists captured by the English crusaders did indeed have the right of Habeas Corpus.

    And is case you think that Habeus Corpus is any different today in the US than it’s been all these centuries, check out the writ issued in England by Queen Victoria in the 1800s and the one issued more recently by The United States of America, Second Judicial Circuit, Southern District of New York. The wording is identical.

    These are laws that kept us safe for 1000 years.

    No government should tamper with them.

  • STM

    The problem is OA, no war has been declared.

    For the Geneva Convention to apply under international law (and US law), war has to be declared.

    If not, these are simply criminal actions. If they are deemed susbequently to be crimes committed against US citizens, US criminal law must be applied under the Constitution of the US.

    Simply, and without debating the semantics of whether they deserve what they get (personally, I couldn’t care less if they spend the rest of their lives in jail), it is unconstitutional – which is also the conclusion that better people than you or I on this, namely the highest US courts, have also ruled upon.

    As an American, you are surely either for the constitution in its entirety or against it.

    It’s a bit like being a little bit pregnant.

    You either are or you aren’t. There are no half measures.

  • STM

    OA: “The founding fathers would not have wanted the full suite of civilian criminal rights to apply to a Brit who was posing as an American during the revolutionary war”.

    Actually, they did. I can recall off the top of my head the case of one British officer who was on a spying mission at the American lines who was captured in civilian clothes on the way back to his camp, jailed and tried.

    He was hanged (at the insistence of Washington, despite representations made by American officers on his behalf), but at least he got a trial, and a quick and fair one (although granted, that last aspect of it all depends on which side you’re on).

  • Propagandist

    The problem is OA, no war has been declared
    Are you kidding? Have you heard any tapes from Bin Laden or his followers? They constantly declare Jihad (holy war) against the US and Israel. So not only a war has been declared..its a holy war thats been declared!

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

    Yes, Propa, but bin Laden’s not the one holding prisoners at Guantanamo.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com/ handyguy

    Propagandist and Obnoxious continue to lump all the Guantanamo prisoners in one group as “terrorists” – but because there has been no public disclosure of evidence, how do you know?

    You don’t.

    If there were 99 terrorists and one innocent man in a detention camp, maybe you can argue it’s justified.

    What if there are 50 terrorists and 50 non-terrorists? And all are held for years without charges or trials?

    What if there were 75 terrorists, but they were all low-level foot soldiers, no planners and leaders?

    What if there were 10 terrorists and 90 innocent guys “in the wrong place at the wrong time”?

    What if 10 of those 90 non-terrorists died in custody?

    Are all those situations the same? Do the nuances not matter to you at all?

    This is the sort of examination a film like Taxi to the Dark Side forces you to make. It’s the type of thinking often sidestepped by the glib loudmouths on here and elsewhere.

  • STM

    Propa, since this discussion is entirely about a legal issue rather than what we personally think about terrorists (my view: they are prize arseholes), you might not realise that an official declaration of war by one country to another is issued under international law as a legal declaration. OBL has no right to issue such a declaration as he represents nothing that can be (positively) legally defined.

    No official declaration of war has taken place. Please mate, try to get your head around the real issue here.

    It’s not whether we think terrorists should be hung up by the bollocks and left to rot, it’s whether we think that it is worth going against the Habeas Corpus laws of our respective countries that have kept our citizens safe through a writ written into law nearly 1000 years ago and which forms one of the key pillars of our collective system of rule of law.

    That’s the issue mate. I’m arguing simply that in the case of the US, suspension of habeas corpus for acts of violence committed against the US without official declaration of war (in the legal sense) means that these cases must be dealt with under the CONSTITUTION of the US as simple criminal cases, ie: “You are charged with 3000 counts of murder for orgaining the bombing of the WTC on September 11, 2001″.

    What the Bush administration has done is illegal under US and international law (to which the US is a prime signatory).

    Which means it is unconstitutional. There is no other possible argument in this case. Anything else is purely semantics.

  • Pablo

    Obnoxious, you said in post 147:

    “The vast majority of people in Gitmo were captured during war, in Afghanistan, Iraq, etc. And I certainly don’t think our civilian criminal rights should apply to such a situation. To suggest it’s a constitutional crisis is to me a form of navel gazing.”

    Your characterization of people ‘captured during war’ I found to be not only vague but misleading from what is now known public information regarding how these people ended up in Guantanamo.

    In fact a very high percentage of these people as in the range of 90% were not captured on the field of battle, that is in a combat situation. Most of them were sold as bounty by the Northern Alliance, and as such; regarding the remuneration factor, is highly suspect as regards to many of these people being actual enemies of the USA.

    If you cared to look a bit more deeply (as I doubt you will) it soon becomes obvious even to the most elementary of researchers, that the Taliban was for the most part created and nurtured by the Pakistani Intelligence Agency. A cute little fact so often overlooked by those of you that claim we are at war with Islamic Jihadism.

    I for one feel very secure knowing that Unocal came to the rescue in Afghanistan, and sooner or later we will get that damned pipeline built!
    With Rice at State, and Kharzai in Kabul its a slam dunk.

    Back to the point at hand, surely “Obnoxious” being the “American” that you are, even someone such as yourself would want to make sure that those that deserve no due process and/or habeus corpus are in fact enemies. This was never done by any stretch of the imagination.

    The one thing that separates US from them, (whoever “they” may be) is our humanity, not our bleeding heart, but our ability to remain to a code of human conduct that the enemy does not share.

    Do you really believe Obnoxious that we are over there, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, to in any way really promote freedom and a republican form of government? Surely you dont. I suggest if you want to really beat the Taliban talk to Musharraf, as he may be able to shed some light on the situation.

    Oh and Obnoxious? I have a very lovely oasis in southern Jordan, that you may be interested in.
    A fresh spring, some excellent dates, and nubiles aplenty.

  • STM

    And OA, we should pay more heed to Ruvy.

    Last year, after discussing the fact that Australia had been officially in drought for 6 years (but uofficially for longer if you count little rain rather than just no rain), I asked that he send a few prayers off on our behalf asking for much-needed rain on this sun-baked, parched continent.

    Which he did.

    That was about five months ago.

    About two weeks later, it started raining … and it’s been literally pissing down ever since.

    In fact, there’s been so much rain we’ve since had floods all over the place :)

  • Clavos

    “Do you really believe Obnoxious that we are over there, whether in Afghanistan or Iraq, to in any way really promote freedom and a republican form of government?”

    Hell, I certainly hope not. What the hell does the USA know about either of those concepts?

  • The Obnoxious American

    Lollll so much to cover, so little time….

    First, we are in a war. We’ve declared war, after war was declared on us. Moreover, we suffered an ACT of war on 9/11 by these people, who claimed to be fighting a holy war.

    I think many of the points made here, especially on the legal issues, are really productive and interesting. But claiming that there is no war going on is just sillyness, or naive. I don’t believe that anyone is really trying to be silly or naive, I know it’s the left mandate to deny that any such war exists, but it does. Pretending otherwise just lowers the quality of the discourse.

    Before I respond to the many comments, I wanted to go back to something HandyGuy was asking about my voting record. He wondered what happened between 2000 and now that turned me from voting Gore to supporting McCain in 2008. I think my response (comment #144) was on point. But interestingly, there is an article in today’s Wall Street Journal by Daniel Henninger, “Hillary’s Close Up.” This article echos my comments about the liberalization of the left, and hits very close to the discussion here:

    “The first revision came at the hand of Howard Dean. The Vermont governor’s quixotic 2004 presidential run did one big thing: It let the netroots out. It empowered the Democratic Left. Web-based “progressives” proved they could raise lots of political money and bring pressure, especially when allied with labor unions.

    They didn’t defeat centrist Joe Lieberman in 2006, but they drove him out of the party. They pushed the party’s Iraq policy under Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi into total, rejectionist opposition. In this world, the Petraeus surge is a failure, period. Thus, Obama calmly gives the surge little or no credit. Also in this world, trade and Nafta are anathema, as seen in the House refusal to pass the trade agreement with Colombia, the U.S.’s strongest ally in South America.

    What the netroots has done is bunch up the party ideologically. While the Republican Party slices conservative ideology as thinly as aged prosciutto, the Democrats, in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail, are all swinging a populist anvil — with the left hand.

    I couldn’t say it any more eloquently. Henninger echoes exactly what’s changed in the Democratic party in the last 8 years. Perhaps I am in the minority and the rest of the nation has moved left. I suppose we shall see come November. But I can’t abide by these values espoused by the left. Frankly, I am as disgusted with the left now, as I was with those on the right that attacked Clinton (out of concern for the children) over the whole blue dress affair. It was wrong when the GOP did it, and it’s wrong now.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Guantanamo’s former chief prosecutor is about to become a witness for the defense.

    From today’s NY Times:

    Until four months ago, Col. Morris D. Davis was the chief prosecutor at Guantánamo Bay and the most colorful champion of the Bush administration’s military commission system. He once said sympathy for detainees was nauseating and compared putting them on trial to dragging “Dracula out into the sunlight.”

    Then in October he had a dispute with his boss, a general. Ever since, he has been one of those critics who will not go away: a former top insider, with broad shoulders and a well-pressed uniform, willing to turn on the system he helped run.

    Still in the military, he has irritated the administration, saying in articles and interviews that Pentagon officials interfered with prosecutors, exerted political pressure and approved the use of evidence obtained by torture.

    Now, Colonel Davis has taken his most provocative step, completing his transformation from Guantánamo’s chief prosecutor to its new chief critic. He has agreed to testify at Guantánamo on behalf of one of the detainees, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a driver for Osama bin Laden.

    Colonel Davis, a career military lawyer nearing retirement at 49, said that he would never argue that Mr. Hamdan was innocent, but that he was ready to try to put the commission system itself on trial by questioning its fairness. He said that there “is a potential for rigged outcomes” and that he had “significant doubts about whether it will deliver full, fair and open hearings.”

    But he said he still believed that a military commission system could work. “It’s gotten so tarnished that if we’re going to convince the world that this isn’t some rigged process we have to bend over backwards,” he said. He said the solutions were simple — giving control to military officials. But he suggested darkly that there are “people at key points in the process, that I just don’t know what their allegiance is.”

    He told one newspaper that top defense officials discussed the “strategic political value” of putting prominent detainees on trial before the 2008 presidential election. He told another that he had been pressed to hold hearings in closed courtrooms. He wrote op-ed pieces saying General Hartmann had reversed his policy of refusing to use evidence derived through torture.

    He told The Nation that the general counsel of the Pentagon, William J. Haynes II, informed him “we can’t have acquittals” at Guantánamo.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Back to the topics at hand:

    STM:

    “Actually, they did. I can recall off the top of my head the case of one British officer who was on a spying mission at the American lines who was captured in civilian clothes on the way back to his camp, jailed and tried.”

    I think that there is a big difference between a spy and a suicide terrorist. I think most of these comparisons of terrorism to crime is naive.

    Criminals try to get away with crimes in an effort to enrich themselves. They generally try to harm as few people as possible, because the more people they harm the more law enforcement will be looking.

    Terrorists are not really interested in covering their tracks, they usually plan on dying as part of the attack. The goal is to do as much destruction as possible to everyone and everything around them. Another goal is to raise awareness for their cause, and illicit a response with which they can judge the strength of their enemy.

    Terrorism, at least the Al Qaeda flavor of terrorism, isn’t at all like crime. But it is a lot like war. To suggest that it is treated like a crime just doesn’t make sense and isn’t in our best interest.

    “These are laws that kept us safe for 1000 years.”

    This is a strange argument. Certainly these laws didn’t keep Daniel Pearl and other victims of Al Qaeda safe. The residents of the WTC certainly took no refuge in Habeas Corpus.

    Are you suggesting that formal nations might change the way they treat US citizens that commit regular crimes because of our treatment of terrorists in Gitmo? I can see the double standard you are pointing out, will even admit it, but I agree with propagandist that this is hardly a slippery slope. And if it does become one, I will stand side by side with you brother. In the meantime, let’s keep these gitmo prisoners off the streets.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Pablo

    “Back to the point at hand, surely “Obnoxious” being the “American” that you are, even someone such as yourself would want to make sure that those that deserve no due process and/or habeus corpus are in fact enemies. This was never done by any stretch of the imagination.”

    First, you don’t know how vetted these prisoners are. Second, I have faith in my fellow countrymen that they share my values and that those fighting the war on terrorism on all of our behalfs are doing the right thing.

    Yes, faith in Americans. Yes, I said it faith. I know faith in other Americans is a dirty word on the left side, especially because Bush is president and clearly everyone working for him is evil and trying to oppress poor mohammad.

    HandyGuy,

    I actually think what Davis is doing could be a good thing. His comments seem to agree that these people don’t belong in a criminal court, yet he is not happy with the process that currently exists. Now consider what I just said about faith in fellow Americans above.

    But before you get all righteous, one point about the reporting of this article:

    “Still in the military, he has irritated the administration, saying in articles and interviews that Pentagon officials interfered with prosecutors, exerted political pressure and approved the use of evidence obtained by torture.”

    This is exactly the type of baseless, fact less reporting that the NY Times engages in. The newspaper of record? HA. What an allegation to make, that the pentagon has interfered with justice. Would the NY Times care to elaborate on such a charge and give some details about those situations where the Pentagon brass interfered or exerted pressure? Were they dealing with a left wing liberal government worker (most are) who also suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome? Or was it just a case of military generals run amok with their fevered expressions of power? I suspect it’s just a lot of baseless heresay by a newspaper with more of a political slant than Fox News times 10.

    The devil is in the details. And if the NY Times feels that they should print this bit of news, they should also print the details behind it. Otherwise, it’s just heresay.

  • The Obnoxious American

    STM,

    One last point regarding Ruvy, I think I’ve been showing Ruvy way more regard than I’ve gotten from him in return. I don’t care, his poor behavior towards me is his bad, and won’t change the way I treat people.

    I did think it was interesting how Ruvy changed his tune on Obama somewhere around comment #135/136. The power of the pen (keyboard) baby!

    Ruvy (and others), I’m telling you, it’s always a choice of lesser evils. All things considered, economy, foreign policy, credibility and experience, no question McCain is the least evil out of the three potential candidates. He might even be a good person, imagine that!

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    It’s an article about Col. Davis, and therefore the things he has said are relevant. The Times doesn’t report these as facts, but as the subject matter of Col. Davis’s statements to other members of the press. The Pentagon is remaining pretty cautious about calling him a liar, too.

    And you should be more cautious throwing around baseless criticism of the very fine journalists at the Times, a favorite punching bag of glib loudmouths who rarely or never back up their accusations with facts. This has been called the right-wing Noise Machine, and you are a full-fledged participant: obscure the facts by complaining loudly about the messenger.

  • Clavos

    Would Jayson Blair be one of those “…very fine journalists at the Times…”

    How about Judith Miller?

    Lynette Holloway?

    Rick Bragg?

    Susan Sachs?

    Nancy Siesel?

    “All the news that fits”

  • The Obnoxious American

    HandyGuy,

    I don’t think I’ve obscured anything, in fact, didn’t I agree with what Davis was doing? Did you get up on the wrong side of the tax increase today?

    The NY Times can certainly quote Davis, but if they are quoting an allegation that’s being made of illegal behavior by the pentagon, they should at least try and report a different view, or leave that bit out. Just because they are quoting someone does not absolve them of any journalistic responsibility for what they print. What if the subject had been racial in nature about Obama, don’t you think those “fine” journalists would at least try and refute such a quote when printed?

    You can try and defend the NY Times all you like, and maybe you’ll convince yourself. I can admit that Fox News is slanted, just like I can admit that the NY Times is slanted. Why can’t you be as honest about these things?

  • Pablo

    Obnoxious you said in post 159:
    “First, we are in a war. We’ve declared war,”

    I see you are well versed in the art of Newspeak, however that only works for the muddled masses. The AUMF (Authorization to Use Military Force in Iraq), is just that; a RESOLUTION of Congress. This can hardly be construed to be an Act of Congress as required by Article 1, section 8 of the constitution.

    This is from a legal dictionary on the meaning of “resolution”:

    “These bodies use resolutions for two purposes. First, resolutions express their consensus on matters of public policy: lawmakers routinely deliver criticism or support on a broad range of social issues, legal rights, court opinions, and even decisions by the Executive Branch. Second, they pass resolutions for internal, administrative purposes. Resolutions are not laws; they differ fundamentally in their purpose.”

    The fact is, Obnoxious that this war is unconstitutional on its face, and therefore illegal. I suggest to you if you do want to change or alter the constitution, you go about it CONSTITUTIONALLY, as in the amendment, or convention process.

    As to your cute answer regarding vetting people that were captured by the Northern Alliance and sold to us for bounty; surely you jest. I do not condone treating human beings as cattle, or worse.
    The fact that today 7 years later there has only been a literal handful, probably under 5 convictions of these prisoners. So let me see if I follow your logic correctly Obnoxious. The USA invades another country, bombs most of it into oblivion, then buys for bounty 600 plus human beings from the notorious Northern Alliance, then puts these humans in cages, tortures them, keeps them in captivity for 7 years, and there is only a couple of convictions. Hmmm this sounds perty american to me, how bout you Obnoxious??

  • The Obnoxious American

    I’m pretty sure that the soldiers fighting in the Iraq War are pretty sure its a war, with real bullets flying by and sometimes hitting. The AUMF was agreement to go to war, constitutional or not. Judging from your position on this I’ll take a guess that you support Clinton?

    It’s just silly to sit there and claim that because of the constitution this isn’t a war. But you go ahead and enjoy that position.

    I won’t even respond to the last paragraph. I hope you don’t live in the US. That’s not a threat, it’s just obvious you have a very low opinion of this country and it would be a shame for you to have to stomach living in such an evil place.

  • Pablo

    Obnoxious said in the post above:

    “constitutional or not.”

    Thus in one short phrase Obnoxious you point out so clearly the main difference between us. You openly condone unlawful, illegal warmongering, while I maintain that if you are going to have a war, to to it lawfully and constitutionally. You on the other hand have no respect for the constitution and supreme law of the land. For you to suggest that you somehow are more “american” than me is not only ironic, but highly amusing to me.

    As to the last paragraph that you dont dare respond to in my last post, I hardly find that surprising as well. I would not at all be suprised to find you in agreement with former Justice Department counselor John Yoo, who said that it was legal to torture children in front of their parents.

    What I do have a ‘low’ opinion of Obnoxious, is people such as yourself, that have no compunction about treating other human beings as animals, particularly when the conviction rate stands at about 1%, as to Guantanamo prisoners.

    Your openly calling for engaging in unlawful, inhuman, and degrading treatment of other human beings is as un-american as is possible.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Look, I think Obnox is totally unreasonable about liberals and about the NY Times.

    He thinks I am totally unreasonable about, apparently, everything. Never admits even the remotest possibility that my arguments might contain the faintest glimmer of truth.

    Thus our discussions go exactly nowhere, and we just have to agree to disagree. His obnoxious tone brings out the worst in me also, which is not great.

    I think Clavos’s recitation of a few controversial and/or bad-egg Times reporters is a cheap shot, to which he rarely stoops. Sorry to see it. It proves little or nothing, just a gotcha. Fine. Name a favorite journalistic source of yours that has never run a correction or had an egoist reporter who went too far? Which papers are blameless? On the other hand, name a US paper that comes close to the Times in the breadth and depth of its coverage.

    If Clav and Obnox let their [foolish, unproven] belief that the Times is biased leftward keep them from reading the paper, then that’s too bad – they’re the ones missing out. Because it’s a great paper, and many, many people [not nearly all of them “liberal”] agree that it is. Perfect? No. But damn good.

    On the other hand, if I decide not to watch Fox News [actually I do, once in a while, especially Chris Wallace on Sundays], I’m not missing much, eh? [PS I also read the Wall St Journal’s hard-right editorial page nearly every day. It’s important to know what the other side is saying…I just have to remember to take my blood pressure medicine first.]

    Pretending that the Col. Davis piece is biased or unfair based on the excerpts I ran here is just a joke. For the record, they did try to get a comment from the Pentagon about Davis’s allegations [which are not the Times’s own allegations, quite a difference]:

    Pentagon officials have steamed about the extraordinary role Colonel Davis has staked out. Some people with Pentagon ties say the unusual story started as a power struggle between Colonel Davis and a Pentagon official who has broad powers over the Guantánamo legal system, Brig. Gen. Thomas W. Hartmann, who has declined to comment.

    Brig. Gen. Thomas L. Hemingway, a retired military official who once supervised Colonel Davis at the Office of Military Commissions, said this week that he was surprised Colonel Davis was attacking the system he had once championed.

    “That’s not whistle-blowing you hear,” General Hemingway said. “It’s a whine.”

    In a statement Wednesday a Pentagon official would say only, “We disagree with the assertions made by Colonel Davis.”

  • The Obnoxious American

    One at a time please: Pablo:

    “Thus in one short phrase Obnoxious you point out so clearly the main difference between us. You openly condone unlawful, illegal warmongering,”

    First off, I never condoned any of that, but was stating the obvious (obvious to most people that is) that for the troops on the ground, this is a war. You can get into the technicalities but I can swear every family of every fallen soldier will disagree with you.

    Moreover, if it’s so illegal, why hasn’t the Democratically controlled congress and senate bring President Bush up on charges? Are you seriously trying to suggest that they don’t have the power to do that? Or perhaps it’s because they understand the AUMF for what it was?

    Call me of low compunction all you like. You are the one talking about conviction rates for war criminals and we are still fighting a war. Do you even listen to the drivel coming out of your mouth? I’m pretty sure you aren’t listening to a thing I’ve said, some of which are in favor of these prisoners. You just like it better with me as your republican foil. Well I can’t stop you from doing that, but impartial readers see your position for what it is.

    As far as not responding to that last paragraph of utter, anti american hatred (comment 167) you have us blowing Iraq into oblivion (hasn’t happened), essentially slave trading and torturing helpless, and presumably innocent human beings.

    You may think Americans are evil. I happen to think we are doing what we need to do to protect ourselves from terrorists. That’s the real difference between you and I.

  • The Obnoxious American

    HandyGuy,

    “He thinks I am totally unreasonable about, apparently, everything. Never admits even the remotest possibility that my arguments might contain the faintest glimmer of truth.”

    Here was my response to your NY Times article:

    “I actually think what Davis is doing could be a good thing. His comments seem to agree that these people don’t belong in a criminal court, yet he is not happy with the process that currently exists. Now consider what I just said about faith in fellow Americans above.”

    I think that was a pretty clear agreement with your comments, perhaps you missed that. But if you want to get specific, you’ve made some really silly claims in this thread, and yes, I disagree with you completely on them.

    1) That there would be such a thing as Obama Republicans (your comment #72, my response 101)

    2) That one of the causes of terror was slights from Abu Ghraib and Gitmo (Your #73, my responses throughout)

    3) That Obama’s platform has been discussed in detail by the media (your 50, my response 63)

    I could go on and on. Just because I disagree with you does not make me wrong (or possibly you for that matter).

    As far as insulting your precious NY Times, I have certainly hit a nerve haven’t I.

    Believe it or not I do read the times. As I mentioned way up in this thread, I read all sorts of media. My comments about the times are not baseless, the publisher is a strong left wing advocate and possible communist. The editors pretty much follow a clear left wing adgenda. If you want to deny this and believe that the NY Times is completely unbiased, then so be it. I’m sure you’ve never leveled a similar complaint about fox news right?

    Quote from Wikipedia:

    “In summer 2004, the newspaper’s then public editor (ombudsman), Daniel Okrent, wrote a piece in which he concluded that the Times did have a liberal bias in coverage of certain social issues, gay marriage being the example he used. He claimed that this bias reflected the paper’s cosmopolitanism, which arose naturally from its roots as a hometown paper of New York City. [30] Okrent did not comment at length on the issue of bias in coverage of “hard news,” such as fiscal policy, foreign policy, or civil liberties. Okrent noted that the paper’s coverage of the Iraq war was, among other things, insufficiently critical of the George W. Bush administration.”

    That’s the NY Times’ own ombudsman. You have a problem with what I am saying, take it up with him. I am not suggesting that the NY Times is some evil corporation, or that the jayson blairs are representative of most of their reporting staff. But as someone who reads the NY Times, I see plenty of situations where they cover a story, and leave something out that would have provided a more full picture. The quote you posted to wit, if they are going to post someone making an allegation of pentagon obstruction of justice, they should delve into it deeper and get a reaction from the pentagon, or leave that bit out. This is jounralism 101.

    Perhaps later on, “in the fold” they get pentagon reaction. And that’s great, then they should have left that forward bit out and only mentioned it near the reaction part.

    Glad to hear you read the journal edit page. Perhaps one day something they write will bring you over to the right way of thinking :>

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The op-ed page of the Wall St Journal last week carried a prominent piece by Stephen Hayes, a conservative Republican, on the very subject of comparing Obama and Reagan: how they both appeal to people who disagree with them on the issues, enough to get votes even. This doesn’t prove me right or you wrong, but it does describe a real phenomenon, not a liberal fantasy.

    “More than anything else, I want my candidacy to unify our country, to renew the American spirit and sense of purpose. I want to carry our message to every American, regardless of party affiliation, who is a member of this community of shared values . . . For those who have abandoned hope, we’ll restore hope and we’ll welcome them into a great national crusade to make America great again!”

    So Ronald Reagan proclaimed on July 17, 1980, as he accepted his party’s nomination for president at the Republican National Convention in Detroit, Mich.

    Throughout his campaign, Reagan fought off charges that his candidacy was built more on optimism than policies. The charges came from reporters and opponents. John Anderson, a rival in the Republican primary who ran as an independent in the general election, complained that Reagan offered little more than “old platitudes and old generalities.”

    Conservatives understood that this Reagan-as-a-simpleton view was a caricature (something made even clearer in several recent books, particularly Reagan’s own diaries). That his opponents never got this is what led to their undoing. Those critics who giggled about his turn alongside a chimp were considerably less delighted when Reagan won 44 states and 489 electoral votes in November.

    One Reagan adviser had predicted such a win shortly after Reagan had become the de facto nominee the previous spring. In a memo about the coming general election contest with Jimmy Carter, Richard Whalen wrote Reagan’s “secret weapon” was that “Democrats fail to take him very seriously.”

    Are Republicans making the same mistake with Barack Obama?

    Mr. Obama has the unique ability to offer doctrinaire liberal positions in a way that avoids the stridency of many recent Democratic candidates.

    In the end, Mr. Obama is simply campaigning for office in the same way he says he would operate if he were elected. “We’re not looking for a chief operating officer when we select a president,” he said during a question and answer session at Google headquarters back in December.

    “What we’re looking for is somebody who will chart a course and say: Here is where America needs to go — here is how to solve our energy crisis, here’s how we need to revamp our education system — and then gather the talent together and then mobilize that talent to achieve that goal. And to inspire a sense of hope and possibility.”

    Like Ronald Reagan did.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Okrent did not comment at length on the issue of bias in coverage of “hard news,” such as fiscal policy, foreign policy, or civil liberties. Okrent noted that the paper’s coverage of the Iraq war was, among other things, insufficiently critical of the George W. Bush administration.”

    This doesn’t exactly support your point, eh?

    Most people who claim the media have a liberal bias mean that they would prefer to see reporting with a conservative bias. The lack of a conservative bias is not the same thing as having a leftist bias.

    Maybe on social issues the paper leans in the direction of its “hometown,” as Okrent suggested. That’s fine with me, and possibly with you too, since social issues are not where you sound off the loudest.

    But I maintain that the Times takes a centrist, establishment view on most issues and tries to give opposing viewpoints space within each article. I agree they were insufficiently critical of Bush during the lead-up and first years of the Iraq war. Isn’t that the opposite of leftist/liberal bias?

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    One more, and then I’ll shut up for a while.

    The Times editorial page is certainly left of center yes. That’s quite different from the reporting pages. [Although the op-ed pages do include conservative columns, such as those by William Kristol.]

    Likewise, the WSJ’s very right-wing editorial page, which much less frequently gives lefties an op-ed voice, is different from its news pages, which meet the NY Times in the middle.

    Both papers do solid, centrist journalism. Of course, reporting the facts often shows up right-wingers as being loud-mouths who get a lot of facts wrong. [And yes, some left-wingnuts too, occasionally.] Being correct is not being biased.

  • REMF

    “First, we are in a war. We’ve declared war, after war was declared on us. Moreover, we suffered an ACT of war on 9/11 by these people, who claimed to be fighting a holy war.”
    – Obnoxious American

    Two things:

    1) Please refrian from using the word “we” when referring to those brave enough to actually enlist and serve in the war;

    and 2) 9/11 had absolutely nothing to do with Iraq. 15 of the terrorist were Saudis, 2 were United Arab emirates, 1 was from Eqypt and 1 from Lebanon.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    at comment #143 Bennett wrote,

    What? You, as a citizen of the US, living in Israel, want to blame people (“them”) in other countries for ‘making’ your President commit sex crimes?

    Ah, Bennett, you have me there. Katzav’s wrongs, while no where near the wrongs committed by the likes of Dayan and others in Israel, were not caused by the EU or the Americans – his own libido dragged Katzav down.

    I wasn’t referring to Katzav, or even Dayan’s famously loose zipper (two Moshe’s with similar peter problems); I was referring to how most of Israel’s OTHER politicians manage to get themselves in financial trouble (usually with the help of Americans or Europeans) and then how the Americans (or Europeans) use little pups like Shimon Peres or Menny Mazuz to squeeze their balls to do their bidding – like Netanyahu’s handover of Hebron, Barak’s pullout from Lebanon or Sharon’s traitorous treatment of the Jews of Gush Qatif. Each of these actions were disasters for this country.

    So the “non-fool” Jew is going to vote for… YOU on a write in ballot!

    Seriously, the non-fool Jew will vote for everybody on the ballot, from the U.S. senator down to the schmuck at the bottom of the ballot who makes sure the shit flow downhill AND LEAVE THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT BLANK!. Politicians count votes six ways from Sunday and will want to know why everybody but the POTUS got a tickie on the ballots. That is about the only way you can leave a message for the irresponsible bastards that they will pay attention to.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I liked President Clinton. He certainly had his warts, didn’t like his Israel policy (that’s for you Ruvy) among other things. But you can’t take away the fact that he had a very successful presidency.

    And Clinton was fairly centrist, in fact, wasn’t that his platform? Supported free trade, revamped welfare, good fiscal policy, tough stance on Saddam and semi decent handling of various conflicts. Overall he wasn’t so bad.

    Actually, Obnoxious, you are not obnoxious at all, just a tad dense and deluded about my neck of the woods. But, except for NAFTA, you and I agree on the above italicized points.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    I’m a big supporter of Israel but palenstinians are your (israel’s) problem..like it or not. They arent going anywhere..thats just the nature of the beast. Learn to live with ‘em peacefully or exterminate ‘em..those are the only real alternatives.

    No, Anon, not at all. Read the concepts in this link from the Israel Initiative. They’ll never happen, but they make lots more sense than any “solutions” being proposed now. And they do not involve extermination or murder, solve a humanitarian problem, and get the damned UN out of our hair at the same time!

  • STM

    BTW, folks, whilst arguing that the internments without trial in Guantanamo are unconstitutional, I won’t argue that either of the conflicts in Iraq or Afghanistan are illegal or haven’t been worth doing.

    In the case of Iraq, removing a dictator who, while more than likely not having any connection whatsoever with 9/11, had as his favourite party trick feeding innocent people feet first into industrial paper shredders, is probably not a bad thing. Stalinists have had their day.

    It wasn’t the conduct of a war designed to break that dictator that was the problem … the Iraqi people were glad to be rid of him. I know this because I lived there as a kid and still have contact with Iraqis and I can tell you straight from the horse’s mouth that the US and its allies were regarded early doors as liberators.

    And on a sliding scale of how wars are won, given the propensity even of Saddam’s so-called crack troops to surrender en masse (most of the Iraqi army didn’t want to fight for him because they hated him), it was probably accomplished with the least amount of bloodshed possible.

    The big problem has been the conduct of the “peace”. No plans in place in regard to jobs and infrastructure, security breaking down because Iraq was disarmed en masse. Had the police and military been allowed to remain in control, overseen by the coalition, I believe that things would be different.

    Two things had an effect on Iraqis and how they felt about the liberation: the first was the US soldier, who against very specific orders climbed the statue of Saddam on the roundabout at the mosque on Fardus Square and tied a US flag around Saddam’s head. You can see the reaction immediately. Iraqis wanted their flag up there, not the Stars and Stripes. The other: the pictures from Abu Ghraib.

    Whoever tasked a bunch of reservist police from Doodad County, many of whom had never even travelled out of their own State, with one of the most sensitive jobs of possibly the most sensitive conflict ever waged should be hung out to dry up or at least lose their government pension.

    That was the point where it really went pear-shaped in the eyes of Iraqis. Having no power or running water for long periods was another issue, and people who supported the coalition were left to fend for themselves – no work, no wage – and somehow put food on the table.

    So the US fell down badly in the wash-up, which is partly what gave rise to the secular nationalists who joined the religious nuts in the uprising.

    What the British were thinking is beyond me. They were there in the 1920s and ’30s experiencing the exact same thing the coalition is experiencing today … an insurgency pushing them into a running war just to stay in control.

    Downing St should have had a good look at its own history books and its casualty lists and passed that info on to the White House.

    Perhaps neither of them cared, in reality. Is it about oil? Partly. Iraq has the world’s second largest reserves of crude oil, so you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to work out the truth.

    As for Afghanistan: getting rid of a murderous bunch of lunatics was the right thing to do. Remember, these are people who want to take us back to the middle ages with an evil and corrupt ideology that in truth is less about religion than about power and control. Even other muslims don’t like them, or al-Qaeda for that matter.

    If Americans have any doubt about whether they did the right thing in Afghanistan, just remember those jets full of Americans being flown into skyscrapers full of Americans. I haven’t forgtten and nor should you.

    I won’t forget the 80 Australians who were blown to bits by Jemaah Islamiyah, al-Qaeda’s Asian offshoot, in the Bali bombings in 2002.

    But that still doesn’t mean that we collectively have to throw away everything that our rule of law has given us this past 1000 years by doing away with one of its great safeguards: Habeas Corpus.

    These people aren’t warriors. They are just murdering scum.

    Criminals in other words, and that’s how they should be treated.

    And it’s true what some of the other posters have said. Some people locked up in Guantanamo probably don’t deserve to be there and certainly don’t deserve to be tried in a Kangaroo Court, which is really what the Military Commissions represent.

    That’s the problem … everyone, guilty or innocent, is entitled to full protection under those laws that mark the point of difference between us in the English-speaking countries and murderers like al-Qaeda and JI.

  • Clavos

    “I think Clavos’s recitation of a few controversial and/or bad-egg Times reporters is a cheap shot, to which he rarely stoops. Sorry to see it. It proves little or nothing, just a gotcha.”

    A “gotcha” perhaps, but I see it as a valid response to your characterization of contemporary NYT journalists as “distinguished.”

    I see the paper (which I DO read, frequently) and its journalists as sad, pathetic shadows of their former selves, while some of them (those I cited, especially) are downright unworthy of the profession. The paper, once the standard for such things, even makes many more grammatical and spelling mistakes than it used to.

    And apparently I’m far from alone in that view; according to Rasmussen, a much greater percentage of Americans have a favorable opinion of George Bush’s job performance (35%) than they do of the NYT (24%).

  • STM

    The New York Times is boring, hasn’t moved with the times (pardon the pun) and has a layout that was already old-fashioned by the turn of the 20th century. In short, in design terms at least (which are of paramount importance when it comes to readership), it’s doing nothing to attract readers and everything it can to turn them off.

    Add to that an obvious liberal agenda (the op-ed pages are the true pointer to a paper’s direction politically, and despite what handy thinks, WILL be reflected throughout the paper), which wouldn’t be at all bad if they were more even-handed, and reporting/editing practises that have made many of the stories virtually unreadable (they have a policy of rewriting and fact checking every detail because they’ve been stung by their own staff in the past).

    It all adds up to a very boring read and the downfall of a paper that should be America’s brightest. Why that’s not the case is beyond me.

    It’s always been a tad boring, but it at least was once the newspaper of record in America and worth reading for that alone.

    Now it doesn’t even have that, and if I’m not wrong, these factors will be represented by considerable falls in sales over the past few decades.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    As a child, I grew up reading the New York Times when it had eight tiny columns, and a banner headline on that paper was indeed news.

    Nevertheless, I learned the hard way that the Grey Lady had feet of clay: I first started noticing its misrepresentations of fact when it reported on the Nigerian Civil War of the late 1960’s. It continued in this vein and has only gotten worse with the years.

    Now it’s just “all the news that’s shit to print….”

  • The Obnoxious American

    STM,

    I cannot argue with a single thing in your post #180. Well said.

    Handyguy,

    “Okrent did not comment at length on the issue of bias in coverage of “hard news,” such as fiscal policy, foreign policy, or civil liberties. Okrent noted that the paper’s coverage of the Iraq war was, among other things, insufficiently critical of the George W. Bush administration.”

    This doesn’t exactly support your point, eh?”

    Are you kidding me? Lolllll. You have the ombudsman rationalizing the NY Times leftist cast of the news (we are oh so cosmopolitan, so what do you expect?), but since he didn’t “comment at length” on hard news, you think that’s some sort of vindication?

    That point about the paper being more left because they are “cosmopolitan” is actually a vieled insult to the rest of us – so I suppose those of use in the New York Metropolitan area that happen to lean right have missed the boat on being wordly?

    That the ombudsman would even acknowledge the slightest glimmer of partisanship in what is supposed to be the paper of record is inexcusable, no matter what kind of flimsy excuse he parades around. And yet you think this would be some sort of defense? What a joke!

    And I echo all of the comments made in 181, 182, 183

  • bliffle

    OA sez:

    “Glad to hear you read the journal (WSJ) edit page. Perhaps one day something they write will bring you over to the right way of thinking :>”

    IMO this defies OAs pronouncements of his own fairness.

  • The Obnoxious American

    Note the smily face bliffle, I was commenting in jest. Boy you orthodox lefties are a humorless bunch.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    OA doesn’t even bother to address the issue of whether the Times leaned towards Bush’s position in the lead-up to the war in 2002-3, which would be a counter-argument to his own claims of leftward bias [so self-evident, I guess, that he sees no need to present actual evidence]. This would spoil his delight in sending missiles of partisan spittle all over the place.

    Name a better newspaper than the Times. I’m not claiming it’s above reproach or criticism, just that it’s also obviously a very important journalistic enterprise…nothing else like it in the US. If there is, please enlighten us. People? USA Today? Fox 5 local news in NYC? My Weekly Reader? These are possibly more your speed.

    As for a sense of humor, OA’s own is not often evident. My own posts show some occasional wit, even of the self-deprecating kind. [And, unlike OA, I can actually write. And spell/type coherently.]

  • The Obnoxious American

    I still see no indication of a single bone of funniness in your body HandyGuy.

    As far as support for the Iraq war, yes, they were not overly critical, perhaps they should have been. Instead they followed the masses, rather than lead, and chose not to air an unpopular position, until of course it became en vogue to be anti war. Is this something I should be celebrating? I think not.

    Further, I think the NY Times treatment of Bush and the war in Iraq since they’ve changed their tune is shameful and so incredibly biased as to take away any credibility they might have had after not excersizing dilligence in the reporting of the run up to war.

    All told, nothing redeeming about a newspaper that is under critical, then overly partisan.

    In terms of what is a better paper? I think the Journal runs circles around the times in terms of fair treatment and relevant coverage. But in this day and age, the true paper of record does not exist. Given that you also read the Journal, I’m sure you will agree that the only way to get a true reading of the news is to read news from all sorts of outlets. If you are interested in knowing, I get my media and commentary from the Times, WSJ, Washington Post, Washington Times, NY Press, Drudge, Tucker Carlson, Chris Matthews, Meet the press, McLaughlin Group, and a few others. Occassionally I will even read some of the left wing blogs (huff post, politico, etc), and sites like debka file.

  • The Obnoxious American

    btw, ignoring your personal attack about what’s “my speed” but (sarcasm) thanks for keeping the discussion above board (end sarcasm)

  • Clavos

    “My own posts show some occasional wit, even of the self-deprecating kind. [And, unlike OA, I can actually write. And spell/type coherently.]”

    How disappointing.

    I had assumed you to be above blowing your own horn, handy.

  • STM

    Yeah, handy’s a pretty good humourist/author/writer/speller/grammaticist.

    If you’re in any doubt, just ask him …

    I, too, am shocked handy, at your giving yourself a good blast on your own bugle.

  • bliffle

    I have it on good authority that another Chicagoan has attempted to order a ‘hit’ on Obama! Yes, it’s true, but fortunately the Chicago Police, true to their well-earned reputation for probity, were able to ‘sting’ the villain by substituting a police officer for the Hitman. What follows is a fragment of the tape, as reported by Second City:

    Mysterious Middle-aged Woman With Oddly Familiar Voice in Dark Glasses:

    “I want you to kill Obama”

    Man:

    “But I can’t”

    Woman:

    “Why?”

    Man:

    “I’m in love with him!”

    Woman:

    “But he’s a terrible person. He used to smoke, he tried cocaine, and he even wore a turban once!”

    Man:

    “haven’t you ever loved a man so much you were willling to forgive his failings?”

    The rest of the tape is just scuffling noises as the police attempt to arrest the miscreant, but with uncharacteristic ineptness they allow her to escape.