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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.

About The Obnoxious American

  • 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!

  • Dr Dreadful

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

  • 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.

  • 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:


    “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


    “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.


    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


    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!

  • 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


    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.

  • 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


    “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 :>

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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) 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


    I cannot argue with a single thing in your post #180. Well said.


    “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.

  • 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”


    “But I can’t”




    “I’m in love with him!”


    “But he’s a terrible person. He used to smoke, he tried cocaine, and he even wore a turban once!”


    “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.