Tuesday, August 22, 2006

More on Old Karl's Big Tent

The political lamp is lit..."

Time to finish my latest riff - about what the Democrats might do to counter the tremendously successful Big Tent” strategy of Karl Rove et al. - a political methodology that has given a narrow gang of thieves control over: one of the major American political parties, all three branches of government, most of the media, countless corporate boardrooms, most of the major lobbying centers, most gerrymandered state legislatures... and all of this despite suffering a huge disadvantage when it comes to public approval of actual policies!

If my own theory as to how this happened is wrong, then please offer another one! And please, don’t just say “those neocon bastards lie and cheat.” Of course they do. We know about corrupt and twisted and conspiratorially re-jiggered Diebold and ESS voting machines - produced (look it up!) by outright felons who refuse to allow external auditing and who would have long ago been investigated in a free country... that is just one example of outrageous cheating, out of a myriad horrors...

...and it no more than nibbles at the edges of an explanation! Sure, cheating helped to tip the last two squeaker presidential elections. George W. Bush is president because of rampant fraud. But.

But those elections should not have even been close!
Not on matters like policy, that should determine electoral outcomes in a true democracy. Not (especially) after the incredible, staggering, monumental success of American civilization throughout the nineteen nineties. The fact that a clade of draft-dodging preppie-cheerleaders and goggle-eyed fanatics could have taken over, after that, even with lavish support from the klepto wing of the billionaire caste, must be a result of more than just lies and cheating.

In fact, it is a towering indictment of the opposition.... if not democratic-liberal policies, then definitely their chosen suite of tactics.

Above all the absurd tactic of allowing the Roveans to define the terms “liberal” and “conservative”.

In an era when the vast American center is deeply unhappy and up for grabs, we can hear the same old failed melody. The lefties want us to “concentrate on our core values” instead of offering reassurance and hope to those vast millions in the middle -- a sense that they are appreciated and welcome and that their legitimate concerns will be heeded, when honest men and women retake power in this great land. They seem quite content to go along with Karl Rove’s Giggle. The lose-lose situation in which BOTH the far left and far right say:

“If you hold even one conservative view, that means you ARE a conservative...

...and thus, by self-identification, you will trend toward listening to Hannity and O’Reilly and take in even more of their big lies.”


A situation that radicals of both sides seem to like just fine. All right, that was my theory.

And some of you were perfectly right to insist that I modify it! (CITOKATE -- Criticism Is The Only Known Antidote To Error.)

Let me reiterate the correction that I offered in comments, earlier. Above all it is important to note that Karl Rove’s Big Conservative Tent is only for show!

In fact, very few of those American conservatives who have been lured inside ever received any actual policy benefit from the neocon revolution! Only a few small constituencies, the klepto-masters (of course), the crony no-bid contract parasites, some fundamentalist charities, and some loony Straussian warlords, have benefitted at all.

All the rest -- every other type of conservative -- from free-marketers to libertarians to efficiency freaks and budget balancers, all the way to nativist border-watchers -- all of them stew under Rove’s Big Tent, simmering and unhappy over a litany of betrayals, holding their noses against the stench, yet staying inside out of loyalty to that single word. “Conservative.”

That may be their fault, a flaw in personality, in courage, imagination and patriotism. Still, whose fault is it whenever some of them pokes their heads out, testing the wind... and the left helps to drive them back inside.

I know this hypothesis may anger some of you. But try the experiment I posed, on August 14. If there is even a chance I am right, then it leads not only to blame-casting, but also to some interesting possible tactics for our campaign to retake America from those who want to impose a new feudal age.

I will get to those suggestions in a minute.


But first, I just have to share the following from Russ Daggatt, who comments on the latest put-up “terrorist conspiracy” - having to do with a few pathetic losers aiming to smuggle volatile liquids onto planes:

”I can understand the existential threat posed by tweezers and corkscrews. But hand cream and lip stick? And WATER? We’re now supposed to be afraid of your basic H2O? But, then, I guess it is too bad Bush didn’t focus on the destructive threat from water earlier. After all, it was WATER that devastated New Orleans.

“Do you ever get the sense that our country is being run by General Jack Ripper?:


General Ripper:

Have you ever seen a commie drink a glass of water? Vodka. That's what they drink, isn't it? Never water? On no account will a commie ever drink water, and not without good reason.

…Water, Mandrake, water is the source of all life. Seven tenths of this earth's surface is water. Why, you realize that.. seventy percent of you is water. And as human beings, you and I need fresh, pure water to replenish our precious bodily fluids. Mandrake, have you never wondered why I drink only distilled water, or rain water, and only pure grain alcohol?

Have you ever heard of a thing called fluoridation? Fluoridation of water? Well do you know what it is? Do you realize that fluoridation is the most monstrously conceived and dangerous communist plot we have ever had to face? Do you realize that in addition to fluoridating water, why, there are studies underway to fluoridate salt, flour, fruit juices, soup, sugar, milk, ice cream? Ice cream, Mandrake? Children's ice cream!...You know when fluoridation began?...1946. 1946, Mandrake. How does that coincide with your post-war Commie conspiracy, huh?

I first became aware of it, Mandrake, during the physical act of love. Yes a profound sense of fatigue, a feeling of emptiness followed. Luckily I was able to interpret these feelings correctly: loss of essence. I can assure you it has not recurred, Mandrake. Women... women sense my power, and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence.
---Dr. Strangelove (1964):

“Do your part. Deny the terrorists your essence! “


The best movie every made, bar none. Oh, Stanley Kubrick, where are you when we need you?

56 comments:

Tony Fisk said...

I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence.

Do your part. Deny the terrorists your essence!

- 'Are there any *women* here?' (Life of Brian)

Presumably, Dr. Strangelove isn't the suggestion...

Andrew Smith said...

Hmm, sounds like abstinence-only education to me...

Tangent said...

And once again, I point out the alternative that must be taken to ensure that a balanced government comes into being.

We must create a Moderate Party. A political party that espouses the True Center instead of the faux-Center that Bush and his neocons have created, letting everyone take shelter under a leaky and mouldy canvas while gaining no other benefits.

Do you think these pretend-conservatives shelter there because they want to? No. They were driven there by the radical elements of the Democratic Party and then told by the Neocons and Roveans that they belong in that rotting unsafe flap of fabric.

Let's give them a real home. If we create a Moderate Party, one that will balance the Democrats and Republicans... even if it's a minority party that just has swing votes it can still help shape the face of America by voting for a Republican initiative when that is the best path... or a Democratic initiative when that is the best path.

In time the party will grow further until it has a third or more of the Senate and House. Who knows... eventually it might become the majority party... though I would rather it not. Once such a political party becomes the predominate one it risks becoming bloated and forgetful of what its true responsibilities are (much like our current political parties).

Rob H.

Rob Perkins said...

I never saw Strangelove, but what I did see of Kubrick (2001, and the A.I. homage which wiki tells me used his favorite structure) and read of his life suggests I wouldn't enjoy the way he usually presents abstract ideas.

(This is to say that I enjoyed Clarke's *book* much more than Kubrick's *movie*)

Should I rent Strangelove, with your confidence that that will change my opinions about him?

michael vassar said...

Yep. Strangelove is MUCH better than 2001, and really is a good candidate for the title "Best Movie Ever"

David Brin said...

All I can tell you is that my own personal and totally subjective statement is that Dr. Strangelove is THE greatest motion picture ever made. Hilarious and terrifying and sad. I adore the poignant sensation when watching the crew of the B-52, SIMULTANEOUSLY rooting for them and admiring them (as the ONLY admirable characters in the film) while also hoping they will die...

Also an added fact. DS belongs on the short list of SF stories that genuinely changed the world.

As for a centrist party, sorry RobH. But what you are doing is yet more of what Rove wants you to do... and what the lefties want, as well. LOOK AT YOURSELF AS AN EXAMPLE!

You dislike the neocon stench, but you swallow the notion that the democrats are as bad.

Um... how? Make an actual list of Democratic policy sins, please.

Here, please note that I labor to separate the Democratic Party and pragmatic-incremental liberalism from the loonies of the left. Because such a separation is still, currently valid. The left is angry BECAUSE they do not control the DP! Clintonites still do.

ANd if you are still lathering every morning in the Limbaugh soap of Clinton-hatred, shame on you. Open your eyes. Though they sting.

On the tenth anniversary of Welfare Reform, Clinton-Gingrich ought to be held up to the light and seen as the moderate party you desire. It came from something called adulthood. You'll still find some of that in the DP. There is none left at all in the lamented party of Goldwater and Eisenhower.

voxxy said...

I am really interested to see what you think of my theory. I believe that as we abandon conversation in our communities, our political parties will become ever more cartoonish as they manufacture the crises that determine the vote. The continuum of opinion disappears when the only people talking eschew sincerity for advocacy.

This is because of our media. They ramp up and drive down our priorities. But they always have. This was true when we fought the Spanish American war. It is easy to be ignorant, and I'm a little surprised to see a science fiction writer tending toward helplessness. We need a parable that reaffirms our responsibility as individuals to find truth to base our beliefs on.

I am not just saying that those neo-con bastards lie and cheat, but I do wonder when we got so complacent that we don't even bother to see if we're being cheated or lied to. As our decider says, "Fool me once..."

I refuse to allow the conversation to degenerate further. I am not cajoling people to be liberals when we don't need to be saved by politicians. We need to save ourselves from the politicians. A democracy's buck stops at the people and we have only ourselves to blame if we allow ours to wither.

http://www.yale.edu/lawweb/avalon/washing.htm

Rob Perkins said...

Pardon my ignorance, but Howard Dean is a Clintonite?

David Brin said...

All right. Dean was a sop to the ditzos... and that was a big mistake. He's done monumental harm.

But did you see how he was treated by Jon Stewart? Stewart had no use for the flake.

monkyboy said...

Dr. Brin,

The "Coalition of Opposites" that Rove has assembled reminds me of the exotic particles that can only exist in extreme lab conditions...but come apart in the real world.

I think "Wingnuttium" is already falling apart and we've past its half-life.

If the Democrats are going to regain some control, I think they'd be better off coming up with something more stable...

Mark said...

I'm not a big Howard Dean fan, but I feel the need to defend the guy a bit. He isn't a far left looney but actually a centrist. In fact, this was a typical conversation between the Deaniacs and Clark supporters during the last presidential primary:

Deaniac: You know, Dean is actually a centrist. He even earned an A+ from the NRA.

Clarkie: Yep. If you look at the actual positions, General Clark is actually more liberal than Dean.

Deaniac: I know. On most issues Clark is to the left of Dean. Don't you think that means Dean would do better in the general election?

Clarkie: But Dean is the worst of both worlds, further to the right but has the reputation of being further to the left. Clark is perfect, he has the reputation of being further to the right but is actually more liberal!

The main problem with Dean is he got caught up in the anti-war movement (though he was right on this) and thus gathered a huge, leftist base of support.

My biggest problem with Dean was he pushed Kerry and the others on their war vote so hard he made it more difficult for Kerry in the general. I still believe the vote to authorize the war was correct as a means of getting the weapon inspectors into Iraq. Basically, we gave Bush a loaded gun to point at Saddam's head. And it worked, the weapon inspectors were let into the country. But then a funny thing happened, they didn't find anything. And before they could finish the job Bush pulled them out to invade the country.

The vote to give Bush a loaded gun to provide a reasonable threat is quite different than Bush's decision to fire the gun. Dean made it very hard for Democrats to take the position. In fact, President Clinton is the only one I've heard who has even tried to make this point. Bush now outright lies and claims the inspectors were never let into Iraq, and the press let's him get away with it.

Mark said...

Sure enough, with the wonders of the modern world (YouTube) you can see the Howard Dean interview on the Daily Show David was talking about here. The door knocker was silly, but I really don't see "Stewart had no use for the flake." Dean is dead-on correct about the 50 state strategy.

Again, I never liked Dean much myself and I'm not really the person to defend him. He certainly has the demeanor of a flake and tends to rub me the wrong way, but he isn't dumb or a leftist or a wacko and I'm getting a little sick of him constantly being characterized that way. His rhetoric has little to do with Clinton (who's does?), but his policies aren't so far off and he probably would have made a fine president. After the war, Dean's main point of interest was the budget deficit, the hallmark of Clinton's presidency and something that used be considered fiscal conservatism.

But in many ways Dean is exactly the correct person to focus on when discussing David's argument. The reality isn't bad at all but the perception is. Why is that? Is it because liberals are far more likely to look inward for problems and thus often agree with conservative attacks, at least a little? Certainly the reverse never happens. Does that alone explain the problem, or is it something deeper. Quite honestly, I don't know.

Rob Perkins said...

Here's where I probably differ from people 10 years younger than I:

I don't care even a little bit about Jon Stewart, aside from being frustrated that the college set actually gets their news from him, third hand, and that he's good for a couple of laughs from time to time.. (I won't even ever begin to believe that "mainstream" news is firsthand in many cases.)

Whereas Dean *is* the chair of the Democratic Party. Pelosi *is* minority leader in the House. Reid shares my worldview, more or less, but would make more progress if he stopped the gadfly badmouthing, though it is entertaining to see him perform.

Reid might be a Clintonite, but that's one out of three, and it refutes your case that the Dems are being run by Clintonites. Electing Dean to be your chairman is not evidence that you're being controlled or run by Clintonites.

Mark said...

Ok, seriously. Could you explain what position Dean has that you strongly disagree with?

It seems to me that right now, at this time the Democrats are clearly the moderate party. I used to consider myself fiscally conservative and social liberal, but that was before 'fiscally conservative' meant fiscally irresponsible tax cuts, every time, every year, every election, for every reason.

Perhaps your moderate is different than mine. Perhaps you want the social stuff more to the right. Perhaps when I choose one from column A and one from column B you choose the opposite. Perhaps your moderate is exactly wrong, where mine is exactly right. (Or the other way around, of course.)

But right now I can't imagine a party more in synch with me on the issues then the current Democratic party, though I'm sure this is a short term thing; I doubt the stars align this perfectly any time in the future.

Nicholas Christian Walter said...

Electing Dean to be your chairman is not evidence that you're being controlled or run by Clintonites.

Not really, since the Democratic Chair is a glorified cheerleader. When Dean is in charge of policy, that may be a fair statement. The reality of the Democratic organization however gives Dean far less "control" than you seem to think.

The Chairman is a fundraiser and cheerleader. He has zero influence on state parties (and in fact the national Dems are irritated because he spends more time building the state parties than the national organization), and especially lacks influence on officeholding Dems.

Tangent said...

I wouldn't say I've bought into the Rovean theory of Divide Politics. Instead, I've looked at what he's done, looked at what you say he's doing, and look at those who huddle under the mouldy canvas of the neocon and pretend they are sheltered from the storm.

Many won't return to the Democratic party. They've found a measure of acceptance from the Neocons and that's what they want: acceptance. They look at the Democratic party and wonder "yeah, it might be better, maybe it's improved... but how long before they smack me again and yell at me because I don't believe in everything they do?"

What does a Centrist Party do? It gives those people a new start. It gives them something to believe in, something to flock to. It lets them realize "yeah, I don't believe in every liberal tenet... and that is a good thing. These others also don't believe in every tenet of liberalism... and they accept me."

This is what Rove has done. He's put a whitewash on this rotting cloth that the Neocons huddle under on the outskirts of the rich mansion his kleptocratic friends live in, and said "the Republican Party is the Party of Centrists" despite the fact that no one but the kleptocrats get their way. And the Centrists huddle under that stinking canvas and go "at least I'm accepted here."

Will they return to the Democratic party? Some will. Many won't. Pride is a powerful thing, and these people have had their pride stung. They look at the Democrats of Massachusetts who blindly continue their lemminglike march into the sea (I feel perfectly validated in that analogy seeing I lived there for over 30 years) and go "there, but for the grace of God, I could have gone."

More importantly, I feel the current political system of two strong parties controlling everything is ill-founded and intrinsically diseased. It has led to the gerrymandering that exists in Congress this day. What we need is several different political parties that work together, instead of one massive party vs. a second massive party, and whoever manipulates the districts the best wins the country.

What's more, a Moderate Party, pulling from elements of both political parties, doesn't have to have a lot of seats to have power. A dozen seats in the House of Representatives... three or four seats in the Senate... and all at once these Moderates are the swing vote that can push programs they feel work best for their constitutants and the country.

It would steal from the Roveans to enrich both sides, and the country as a whole. Better to get one's face wet a little as you stand out in the rain than to be smacked by the Democrats and told "you're not good enough" or shoved into a rotting tent by the Republicans and told "stay here, you'll be safe in the dark."

Rob H.

Rob Perkins said...

Ok, seriously. Could you explain what position Dean has that you strongly disagree with?

You can try to explain that Party Chairman is not really a position of leadership. I don't buy it for a second. Not for a camera magnet like Dean. That job is keeping him famous in an arena where fame is currency.

The positions hardly matter, as well. As a public figure, Dean misbehaved. He lit a powder-keg of demagoguery and continues to do so. That offends me. as much now as it did when it was being done in student body elections when I was in high school.

I expect better of a national leader. (And better of Bush, lest you knee-jerk *that*. He's no fave of mine either.)

Bear in mind, too, that we're comparing Dean to "Clintonites". Dean hasn't near the political cachet of Bill or Hillary, both of whom are brilliant political strategists. In comparison (and leaving *aside* the "I have a scream" speech) Dean is just a shouter, rousing young people who then don't bother to vote anyway.

Nate said...

Tangent: The main problem with any third party is structural. The way the US votes are set up, it's winner take all, majority rule. That defaults to two parties, because a third party would just split the vote on one side and let the other side win.

And seriously, what is up with all the people who keep insiting Dean's this crazy leftist who's hogging all the glory. He hasn't really been in the spotlight much at all since he got to be the chairman. What he's been doing is raising money and working on running challengers to Republicans in all 50 states. Which is what needs to happen.

And Dr. Brin, holding Gingrich up as any kind of laudable hero is really ridiculous. The man was a demagogue and the stuff he did directly lead to the kinds of tactics the Republicans use now. He's not some kind of moderate, even if he's not as stark raving mad as the people in charge now.

Gilmoure said...

Here's an interesting analysis of Heinlen's If This Goes On___

It is not a matter of coincidence that so many of the Founding Fathers were Freemasons or that Masonic symbolism worked its way into public documents (such as the Eye-and-pyramid symbol on paper currency). Just as America has preserved in some elements of its linguistic conventions a phonological "snapshot" of English diction circa 1620, so do traditional American socio-political values preserve a cultural "snapshot" of Enlightenment liberalism. These "classical liberal" values have been abandoned by the political left in the U.S. since about 1930, but anyone who became politically conscious before that time -as did Heinlein— will resonate to Freemasonry to some extent, if exposed to it.

Amazing he pegged things so far out.

Rob said...

This post of digby's from yesterday is germane. digby quoted extensively from an article on The New Republic Online by Chris Hayes which tried to analyze the 2004 election:


Undecided voters don't think in terms of issues. Perhaps the greatest myth about undecided voters is that they are undecided because of the "issues." That is, while they might favor Kerry on the economy, they favor Bush on terrorism; or while they are anti-gay marriage, they also support social welfare programs. Occasionally I did encounter undecided voters who were genuinely cross-pressured--a couple who was fiercely pro-life, antiwar, and pro-environment for example--but such cases were exceedingly rare. More often than not, when I asked undecided voters what issues they would pay attention to as they made up their minds I was met with a blank stare, as if I'd just asked them to name their favorite prime number.

[...]

But the very concept of the issue seemed to be almost completely alien to most of the undecided voters I spoke to... So I tried other ways of asking the same question: "Anything of particular concern to you? Are you anxious or worried about anything? Are you excited about what's been happening in the country in the last four years?"

These questions, too, more often than not yielded bewilderment. As far as I could tell, the problem wasn't the word "issue"; it was a fundamental lack of understanding of what constituted the broad category of the "political." The undecideds I spoke to didn't seem to have any intuitive grasp of what kinds of grievances qualify as political grievances. Often, once I would engage undecided voters, they would list concerns, such as the rising cost of health care; but when I would tell them that Kerry had a plan to lower health-care premiums, they would respond in disbelief--not in disbelief that he had a plan, but that the cost of health care was a political issue. It was as if you were telling them that Kerry was promising to extend summer into December.


Dr. Brin has talked before about elitist liberals who drive away moderates by denigrating their intelligence; but in the face of the constant, continual, choose your favorite adjective for neverending avalanche of anecdotal and empirical evidence that a very large percentage of Americans are ignorant of political arguments and/or could care less, how much longer can you continue to view calling them ignorant as elitist snobbery?

The answer isn't to create a Centrist Party. The Democratic Party is perfectly capable of being reformed in whatever ways need reforming; for that matter, so is the Republican Party! The key, which Dr. Brin has alluded to, is educating people. Yes, it's true that there are radical liberals who insist on ideological purity or they'll label you a fascist or worse. That's no different from radicals on the conservative side, however, and radical liberals generally aren't calling you a traitor and calling for your place of work to be bombed. I believe it was Goldwater who said "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice." He also said "moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue." I think there's ample room in the Democrtic tent for extremists and moderates alike.

The real problem is that the ignorant majority have been bamboozled by the Rovian tactics of attacking the messenger to defeat the message. Rovism said you couldn't support Gore in 2000 because he wasn't manly, he wasn't an electrifying speaker, he had lots of consultants, he lied about things like inventing the Internet and being the inspiration of Love Story and finding Love Canal and the money collected at the Buddhist temple. It wasn't about Gore's policies, which most people didn't care about anyway; it was about Gore as a person vs. Bush as a person, they smeared Gore interminably with the gleeful assistance of the media, and that's how the election got to be as close as it was. In 2004 it wasn't about Kerry's policy positions, not really; it was about Swift Boats and his wife's money and flip-flopping and Massachusetts. And since most Americans respond to those tactics because they don't know how they are voting against their own self-interest, the radical Republicans continue to win.

When I was in high school in 1983, my Civics class was taught by one of the football coaches. My best friend and I sat in the back of the class and played games while the coach was talking, aced his true/false tests, pocketed our A's and went on. It was not taught as a serious subject, there was no attempt to analyze government processes or see how government related to our daily lives. If that's the typical political education people get, I think it's no surprise they grow up with only the shallowest and most superficial political identities imaginable.

Education is where it's at. The Founding Fathers were among the most educated people in the country at the time. Their foresight and experience were codified into the Constitution, and three of the brightest lights of the age collaborated to write 80-odd anonymous essays to educate the people on why the new Constitution ought to be adopted. Today, the Federalist Papers are seen as a quaint relic of a bygone age, suitable only for academics and history buffs; how many people even know they exist? How many Americans know or care about de Tocqueville? In a nation of over 100 million voting age citizens, how many have actually read Ann Coulter or Al Franken's books? If even 10 million have done so, that's still only a paltry 10%!

Until we as a nation address our woeful political educations, we're not going to get anywhere in furthering the Great Experiment. It is drowning in a sea of willful ignorance and demagoguery; the "educated classes" are no longer numerous enough to keep things on track by themselves. The manipulators have at last figured out how to motivate the uneducated to vote against their own self-interests. Ending that ignorance is our greatest challenge.

Tangent said...

Well, there goes my plan for a voter initiative to strongly encourage people to vote... because if those people normally wouldn't vote without the incentive then do we honestly want them to vote?

The incentive, btw, was that anyone who came in to vote would be given a $5 check. You'd be paid to vote, and I know a lot of people who'd be willing to stand in line for an hour to vote if it got them $5.

Of course, the greater issue is this: people don't vote because it's inconvienant. While "paying" people for their time would help, it's better to work to eliminate the inconvienance, but doing so in a fashion that doesn't allow fraud to occur.

Rob H.

Mark said...

Check out this article on The Uninformed Bloc and the survey it links to. One out of three people don't even know which part is more conservative or which party runs the House or Senate.

Something that never occurred to me until the Democratic primaries in 2004 was how little attention the average voter was paying attention. You would assume in a debate you are trying to persuade the people watching the debate, but most of those already are 'fans' of one of the debaters. You are really trying to get a message out to those that hear about it later. Many swing voters don't even make their decision until they are in the voting booth and most, I believe, don't think much about it until the final week.

I've found everyone is an expert when it comes to determining what it would take for a party or candidate to say and do for that particular person to vote for him or her. But that doesn't necessarily translate to the true swing voter crowd who often isn't paying any attention at all.

This is where the Republicans have done a brilliant job in recent years. They've convinced large blocks of Christians that they are supposed to vote and it is always best to vote Republican. They have the overlap between uninformed voter and Christian voter wrapped up. (Note, I'm not claiming there is a correlation between these two, just an overlap like any vin diagram.)

Tony Fisk said...

I can't offer much insight on this. (The inner workings of american politics doesn't get much beyond the three mile limit)

It's interesting, though. I've always considered the purist 'he who is not with me...' mindset to be a property of the religious right. Yet, here we see Rove's strategy cashing in on its expression on the 'left'. I guess that comes from me hooking the purist doctrine to a biblical phrase. (must think 'stalinist purges' more often!)

I wonder whether groups have not been led as well as driven into the 'big tent' by Rove beating up any perceived lack of tolerance in the democrat platform?

(Incidentally, precisely what groups are we talking about?)

Nate, I think David has been referring to Gingrich in comparison to your current masters. It is a comparison that is likely to have more resonance with the conservative members of the audience than invoking Bill or Hilary.
(Have you read his redrafted Contract with America?)

Mark, while religious groups have always tended to be part of the big tent, a few have been going for walks in the sunshine recently.

(And, a wee sight o' Kate: it's 'Venn' diagram.)

Brother Doug said...

David I agree with your modifyed statement, and your love for that movie. The solution that is the esenstal part of this discussion. So far I am waiting for a good solution. There seems to be a lack of likeablilty for many Democratic candidates. To solve that problem I have been looking but am no closer to a answer than when I started.

Mark said...

No, I meant a "vin" diagram...

:-)

Oh, ok, you caught me. I have one of the world's truly horrendous memories and if it wasn't for spell-check software my spelling would basically be non-existent. I actually googled "vin diagram" just to be sure it was correct before I posted, but just because it's on the internet doesn't mean it is correct, eh? It turns out I'm not the only one who used the wrong spelling.

daveawayfromhome said...

Maybe you're going about this the wrong way. You dont need to change mass numbers of people, only about 3 million or so ought to do it (a mere 1%). You dont even have to get them to switch sides, just convince them that they can stay home for the next election because allowing the Democratic Party to win this next round or two wont destroy the country (as it must be becoming increasingly apparent to many of them that the current incarnation of the Republican Party just might).

So how about this solution: Whenever discussing the Republican party, be sure and emphasize that the Evil flows from the Party, not Conservatism itself.
You need conservatives to balance out the excesses of extremist Liberals, just as we obviously need liberals now to balance out the excesses of those who claim to be Conservatives (see how easy that was?).

Yes, it's nice to belong, and I'm sure that was a motive for some to join the "Big Tent". But it's also nice to know that when/if you discover that the crowd you're running with is a bunch of thugs, that you can then disassociate yourself from them and not be ostracized.
Democrats need to behave like the gentlemen that the conservatives are not. They also need to make sure that if/when they come back to power, they are not the piss-poor winners that the Republicans have been (though they shouldnt ever relax their guard until the Bush Cabal is safely behind bars, which they certainly deserve to be).

David Brin said...

Dave, if the GOP reforms itself, I will go back to opposing them with honor and respect. (And occasionally rooting for this or that issue.) But this ain't Barry Goldwater's party anymore.
Rob, Pointing to Dean & Pelosi just doesn’t cut it. First, what are their actual crimes. Can their WORST traits even be compared with the BEST traits of the Cheneykleps? Besides, the proof is not in party posts, but in actual policies.

The very most socialistic thing that is proposed -- proposed! -- by the Dems is to give the working poor their first minimum raise COLA adjustment in 15 years. Oooooooh, after those with power have given themselves raise after raise... the chairman of Exxon giving himself $400 million dollars...

No, there is no fire under the smoke. So what... exactly... is Hannity trying to make us afraid of?

Clinton trained the entire democratic government in exile, a cadre of vastly effective and professional people, including his defese secretary, the Republican William Cohen, who got the Pentagon running like a top. For the VERY first time in US history, the presidency changed parties and the new guys were unable to find a SINGLE member of the previous administration to prosecute, for ANYTHING at all!

(And do not think these guys didn’t try! They diverted scores of FBI agents from counter terror and other duties to looking for Clintonian faults.... during the run-up to 9/11. Oh, where’s an investigative reporter when you need one?)

Hannity and Limbaugh and O'Reilly and the controlled press cannot actually name policies - so they rant in generalities and stereotypes. Stereotypes that I (in my evenhandedness) have long held the left HELPS to maintain, even if the stereotypes do not actually apply to mainstream Democrats and liberals in general.

Dig it, the most hilarious thing is the stereotype of liberals as chiding grannies, constantly yettering that we should save and conserve and count our pennies... Omigawd, how did THAT happen? How did liberals become the true conservatives? Take a look at Cotton Mather and remove the nasty intolerance... doesn’t the remainder look like Paul Erhlich?

As for Newt G (a sci fi fan) I think he is treated VERY unfairly by the left. Yes, he fought hard and sometimes unfairly, but within the general ecosystem of American politics. He was hated as much for his brilliance and tactical wizardry (the Contract With America) as for anything he actually proposed. True, I wanted him to fail. I wish he had. Perhaps, right now, HE wishes he had. Because he opened the door to monsters.

Please see
http://www.davidbrin.com/contract.html
We are better off STUDYING guys like that, than simplistically demonizing them. The most despicable thing about the old conservatives, right now, is that they are cowering instead of standing up and denouncing what is being done in their movement’s name.

Oh, today I spoke with a US Army Colonel who says that the purge of the Officer Corps that I have been railing about is 100% true. In fact... shudder... it is worse than any of us imagined.

I’ll be out of touch at Worldcon. See youse all in betterdays.

Lenny Zimmermann said...

Of possible note to those pushing for more Democratic Party acceptance:

http://freedomdemocrats.org/node/812

It's a scorecard mapped on the Nolan chart for members of the house in 2006.

Fhydra said...

@ David Brin

Well, when it comes down to it, I really don't care about whether Jon has use for some Democrat. He doesn't officially speak for their party (yet).

Dean may be a flake, but his job is to reach the right people and get them to vote Democratic this year. I found an e-mail by Howard Dean on Kung Fu Monkey's site. Here it is:

"[A]s Iraq descends into civil war and becomes a new training ground for international terrorists, cargo coming into our country still isn't being inspected. While the Party of Bush scrambles to write its latest talking points calling anyone who opposes them "al Qaeda types", nuclear materials sit unguarded in the former Soviet Union.

While the administration organizes lawyers to try to salvage its illegal domestic spying program, Osama bin Laden continues to remain free roaming around northwest Pakistan making videotapes five years after the tragic events of September 11th. [...]

People have had enough. This administration cannot be trusted with our security. Democrats are going to reclaim American leadership with a tough, smart plan to transform failed policies in Iraq, the Middle East and around the world.

We will double the size of Special Forces to destroy Osama Bin Laden and terrorist networks like al Qaeda. We will implement the bipartisan 9/11 Commission proposal to secure America's borders and ports and screen every container. And we will fully man, train, and equip our National Guard and our police, firefighters and other first responders.

When it comes to national security, the Republicans have not led. We will.

---Gov. Howard Dean, M.D. [via email]

P.S. We are spending $8 billion a month in Iraq. That's $2 billion each week, $267 million each day, or $11 million each hour. For what we spend in three weeks, we could make needed improvements in order to properly secure our public transportation systems. For what we spend in five days, we could put radiation detectors in all of our ports. And for two days in Iraq, we could screen all air cargo."


That is the policy I want to vote for this fall. So how exactly is he harming the Democratic party again?

Stefan Jones said...

Thanks for posting that, Fhydra. You saved me the trouble.

Guy sure sounds like a dangerous isolationist flake, huh?

SIGH.

I really miss having a president who can talk without sounding like he's either repeating what he's hearing on an earpiece or has dain brammage.

I mess a president who can eat pretzels and breathe at the same time.

Stefan Jones said...

Yoiks!

Today on MSNBC, retired General John Batiste — former commander of the First Infantry division in Iraq — said that it was “outrageous” Rumsfeld was still in charge of the Pentagon. Batiste added, “He served up our great military a huge bowl of chicken feces, and ever since then, our military and our country have been trying to turn this bowl into chicken salad.”

Link to video posted on Think Progress.

Rob Perkins said...

Rob, Pointing to Dean & Pelosi just doesn’t cut it. First, what are their actual crimes. Can their WORST traits even be compared with the BEST traits of the Cheneykleps? Besides, the proof is not in party posts, but in actual policies

Widen your scope, David. It's one thing to say that the current power brokers are monstrous. That much is in evidence and not refutable.

It's quite another to say that that is true, therefore give the power to *those* monsters over there who can't stop breathing fire because their election loss turned on a point of law and a statistical uncertainty.

Redlining the criticism over differences of opinion in policy and interpretations of the powers clauses in the Constitution is not going to endear me to the other side, it's going to convince me that I'm trading Godzilla for several colonies of fire ants.

Whether or not the "Cheneykleps" have been worse, the misbehavior of leadership Democrats disqualifies them anyway. You don't hire someone as your bodyguard because he let only 1/10 the bullets through of the current bodyguard. You go looking for someone who can let 0% through!

KMO said...

I vote libertarian. Outside of elections I try, with too little success, not to think about politics. I agree with every plank in the Libertarian Party platform, and that bothers me. It seems too air-tight. I hate getting into a discussion in which everything I say will simply paraphrase some section of the already-exhaustively-articulated LP catechism.

I don't like one-size-fits-all belief systems. I don't like to think of myself as a ditto dude. So I try to avoid political discussions in favor of topics with less clearly worn rhetorical ruts.

I try to keep a lid on my raving, inner ideologue. He's boring. His rantings contain no unexpected content and thus no substantive information.

My DNC-supporting friends from my school years certainly consider me a "conservative," but I don't hold my nose and sit under Uncle Karl's big stinking tent. I wouldn't get within a stone's throw of that putrid palace.

But I won't throw in with the Democrats. I won't bother with any moral equivalence arguments. I don't take a balanced view. I blame the Democrats for the horrid excesses of the Drug War. This comes as a shock to some DNC supporters, but a Democrat-controlled congress under Tip O'Neal brought us the federal mandatory minimum sentencing that has filled our prisons and fueled a frenzy of new supermax construction.

Sure, the moral impetus may have originated with cultural conservatives, but the Democrats have gone to heroic lengths to not let the Republicans paint them as "soft on crime." No mainstream politician from either party can go wrong, at least in their own minds, by demonizing stereotyped dope fiends and giving blank checks to the panopticon singulitarians.

I could go on, but I won't. Suffice it to say, "That's my issue." Democrats and Republicans agree, at least in public discourse, that prohibition works, honors the Constitution, and must continue no matter what the cost. Untrammelled cognitive liberty remains just too dangerous. Until either party finds a shred of backbone and moral decency and stops the "orgy of imprisonment," I say, "A pox on both your houses."

You say that the Republicans stink worse than the Democrats. I don't dispute you. Dog shit smells worse than cat shit. Still, I'm not ordering any cat shit. And I'll be dipped in it before I vote for, much less finance, prohibitionist Democrats.

And yes, Dr. Strangelove rules, though I think Mandrake, as well as the bomber crew, counts as an "admirable character."

Andrew Smith said...

KMO: You should look a few posts back for an interesting discussion about libertarianism and the party.
-----
Diebold looses again!
-----
Dr Strangelove is one of my favorites, but I think the best part is the over-the-top enthusiasm of George C. Scott.

Mark said...

I found an interesting post to play with over at Blogs For Bush:

The Death of Science

Why did science stray from the path of truth? I think it is because we ceased educating the men of science with a knowledge of religion - a knowledge, that is, of genuine truth, genuine reason, and the relationship of man to creation, and his Creator.

I don't want to pin one blog post on the entire Republican Party, but this is certainly the kind of talk we've lately heard a great deal of from the right. If it was just the far right wackos I wouldn't care, but this seems to have become mainstream thought to many in the Republican coalition.

Very scary and very dangerous.

Rob Perkins said...

Just an update on something Stefan recommended a couple of weeks ago: I took the family rocketeering today, and received the people's ovation and fame forever for doing it.

Everyone had a blast, and all it was was a jury-rigged launcher circuit (safe, though! I haven't forgotten the standards) and $20 worth of beginner model rockets. they even had the fun of watching the last launch fail quite catastrophically; the chute deployment charge's energy exited the rocket out of a hole in the side and the thing came crashing down, burying itself nose first about four inches into the grass in the field.

So, thanks for the reminder, Stefan.

Tony Fisk said...

Getting back to denying terrorists your essence, Bruce Schneier has put it pretty bluntly here:
"...The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act..."
"And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want."
"...It's time we calm down and fight terror with antiterror...our job is to remain steadfast in the face of terror, to refuse to be terrorized."


(via WorldChanging)

I know it's a recurrent theme here, but it's good to hear it spoken of in a wider context.

Stefan Jones said...

While in some ways a loathsome movie, V for Vendetta does a good job of showing a society where the state uses terror to cow the populace.

Rob:

Estes' rocket motors these days tend to have very "hot" ejection charges. Smaller models don't last as long as they should!

If you want to try slightly more challenging, very high quality models:

http://www.semroc.com

Nate said...

But Rob, what examples can you give of the dangerous extreme liberal craziness of Dean? Everbody keeps saying these things, but not offering any examples.

And as for comments about the current crew making Gingrich look good, sure. The current crew makes Richard Nixon look like law-abiding and liberal.

Okay, y'know, one of the things that's puzzled me about the whole "OHNOES! TERRORISM!" angle. Why is it a lot of the people who try and tell us to be the most afraid of terrorists and immigrants and things are also the same people who like to make sure everyone knows they think America's Strong and Great? If we're Strong and Great, why should we be worried about immigrants "taking over" our culture? Why should we be afraid of terrorists? That's what they want. They want us to be terrorized. Which is it, guys, are we strong, or are we afraid? But I guess if we were really sure we were strong, we wouldn't need to make sure everybody, including us, knew how strong we are.

Rob Perkins said...

Nate, the entire "Bush Lied" mantra, which Deaniacs promulgate on a regular basis, is fallacy. So, too, with "quagmire" and "catastrophe" as regards Iraq.

It was a mistake to go there in the form and manner we did. It bothers me to no end to know that the President and the Congress chose a full shooting war over other options, before those other options were exhausted.

Even so, I can't conclude from the evidence that "Bush Lied", or, based on my own interviews with servicepeople close to the ground there, that the effort will end in total failure. What hinges on differences in foreign policy choice is instead characterized as rank and total villanous evil, which is a picture so absurd that I simply can't accept it.

In short, it comes to the Left's characterization of how Bush & Co. arrived at certain decisions. They ascribe the worst possible motives to Republicans. Since the hate-meter was pegged at redline fury months before 9/11, I assume that opportunists like Dean are stirring up outrage, rather than behaving like statesmen should.

At least David tries to paint it as the complex thing that it is, rather than something Hollywood-sinister. Mostly. I'm still not buyin' the "R-oil House" thing, which can easily be explained by free market theory as any conspiracy theory.

Rob Perkins said...

Stefan,

The rocket which failed was an $8 assemble-in-an-hour number, where the engine mount spring was attached to the outside of the body tube, rather than being in an assembly inside the tube. I'd assembled it improperly; the attachment hole was supposed to be filled with superglue and covered with a plastic o-ring.

I positioned the o-ring incorrectly. The hole started on launch number two. Number three blew it wide open. Stinks, too, because now I have a 1/2A-4-2 engine with no rocket to use it in. :-)

KMO said...

Thanks for the link, Andrew. I did follow it and read the discussion. I'm flexible on most issues, and I think an incrementalist approach could work at least as well as the sweeping reforms that the party platform calls for, but I see no advantage in taking an incrementalist approach to ending the Drug War. It's just got to stop, and I will not support any politician or political party that endorses eternal escalation. The only voices I hear calling for a drug peace (outside of the LP) come from the right. Show me the Democrat version of Gary Johnson and I'll return the idea of supporting the DNC to the realm of the conceivable. I don't plan to start voting Republican, but the idea doesn't approach the absurdity of my trying to put a prohibitionist Democrat on the throne.

BTW, I live in Arkansas, where we're about to elect former DEA cheif Asa Hutchison governor. Gag!

Mark said...

Ok, I now completely surrender to David's original point. If the Republicans are the party of ending the War on Drugs then they have this big tent concept mastered well beyond anything I could possibly imagine.

Rob, I understand your desire to assume honesty from our politicians, but if Bush really cared about WMDs we would have let the weapon inspectors finish their job. We didn't, Bush pulled them out when it became apparent they couldn't find anything.

Lately Bush has claimed he invaded because Iraq wouldn't let the inspectors in; that is pure lie.

To be evenhanded, it should be pointed out that no Democrat I know of made the point about the inspectors at the time, at least no Democrat that gave Bush the authority to invade, our threat to force the inspectors into Iraq in the first place.

Tony Fisk said...

Mark,
Documented lie. Refer to the Downing Street memo. Bush already had a fixed intention to invade before sending in the inspectors. It is even possible he had that intention from the day of his inauguration.

Stefan,
Batiste didn't mince his words about Rumsfeld in that interview. It's odd that not one other news service has yet picked up on his remarks.

Just prior (Aug 10), Batiste published this article in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle. Despite his attacks on Rumsfeld, it shows a concerned republican trying to hold his nose in the big tent.

Finally, a local reflection on the anniversary of Katrina. Read beyond the first page to get the real gist...

"When The Age visited the Lower Ninth Ward a while ago, a three-man FEMA crew was just beginning the laborious task of removing the car wrecks from the area, three or four cars a day. Given that up to 100,000 wrecks needed to be removed, the process could take years."

Helluva job!

Tony Fisk said...

Hehe!

Just found Louis Friedman doing a stint as 'Emily Post' at the Planetary Society blog while Ms. Lakdawalla is on maternity leave.

His essay on the state of space politics is a worrying read (*three* resignations from the NASA advisory council this month: two forced, one in protest).

Nate said...

But Rob, the thing is, Bush did lie. Repeatedly, to the entire country. First when campaigning and said he'd be a "uniter, not a divider".

But about the war specifically? "Mushroom clouds". About not having made up his mind. About WMD. His cronies and Fox news lied repeatedly aboud connections between Saddam and 9/11. I wish Mother Jones's searchable database was done, but it's not up yet. It's supposed to be full of links to original sources.

And then there's the Downing Street Memo, CIA guys reporting how the Administration cherry-picked data to make Iraq seem like a threat, and on and on and on.

As for Iraq not being a catastrophe? At least 40,000 Iraqi civilians are dead. Almost 3000 US troops dead, plus tens of thousands injured. Over $300,000,000,000 spent on the war, and large parts of Baghdad are still without reliable power and the country is still engaged in a low-grade civil war. Our moral authority has gone out the window. We're torturing and disappearing people. And it's made the US less safe, and tied the vast majority of our armed forces down and limited our options on the world diplmatic stage.

How is that NOT a catastrophe?

Rob Perkins said...

Because, a "catastrophe" resembles the aftermath of the Fat Man bomb over Japan. Or the Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Katrina finished with it.

In comparison, the efforts in Iraq don't rise to a level where that word is appropriate.

Nor, with the word "lie". I've seen the Downing Street Memo, which looks to me like Britain and the U.S. positioning themselves to do what they were going to do because they expected Saddam to do what he did.

He was *not* in compliance with U.N. resolutions, people!

First when campaigning and said he'd be a "uniter, not a divider".

Yup. But that's a problem on the same scale as the lie Clinton told about not raising my taxes in 1993. And it has to be seen in the context of the uncooperative spirit of a venomous Congressional minority.

I didn't say I liked him, I said the case against him is unsupportable, if we stick to those two hate-words.

As for Iraq being a "catastrophe", the numbers you cite, adjusted appropriately for time period and inflation, tell the story of one of the top five most *merciful* and *limited* military engagements of all time, considering the number of American troops on the ground. Or haven't you seen pictures of Dresden or Wurzburg after the Allies were done with them, all those years ago?

Those were catastrophes.

Don Quijote said...

Rob,

Here are a handfull of pictures from the non-catastrophe

Fallujah Photos

Fallujah One Year Later

Freedom Comes to Fallujah

Iraq convoy attack leaves more than 20 dead

Iraq war gallery

Put the words Google Iraq & Bombing in google and check out the images, then tell me it's not a fucking catastrophe.




Iraq floats on a sea of Oil and he who controls the Oil controls the Global Economy.

Bush lied us into a war, and tens of thousands if not hundred of thousands have died. These are the facts, deny them all you want but it will not change them.


The Republicans supported him in this endeavour, and the Democrats were to cowardly or stupid to vote against it. IMNSHO, if you are a democrat and you voted for this war, you deserve to lose your congressional seat.

Rob Perkins said...

Well, first of all, I usually only ask for this sort of thing once, but I'll point out that the use of vulgar colloquialisms telegraphs to me a desire more to shock than inform, and also might suggest an inability to make use of more appropriate words. Or better, more descriptive ones.

And the photographs of people with their heads blown off, unannotated, was absolutely uncalled for. Shame on you.

Further, the fact that you posted those also suggests that you haven't seen aftermath photographs of Dresden or Hiroshima, for comparison, with more dead in a weekend than in all the years since the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

I've denied no facts; I've called for a cessation of the overuse of inflammatory wording. Even if you're correct that the invasion was improper foreign policy (I didn't even want us to bomb Serbia, but you were probably in middle school that year, for all I know), overstating the scope of that mistake serves only to alienate you from people who could get Bush's team out of power.

To paraphrase you, swim in your ideologies if you want, but if you're gonna convince me that the current administration is more unmitigatingly evil than any past one, do better than posting links to shock photographs. I grew up watching Holocaust recovery films in my own middle school.

*That* was a catastrophe.

Nate said...

Rob, there's catastrophes and catastrophes. The death toll in Iraq might not be catastrophic when compared to Hiroshima or Dresden, but it's still 40,000 civilians dead. Not to mention all the houses destroyed and the people whose lives have been thrown into chaos. Which is most of the country.

There's catastrophe I referring to is the one you didn't address. It's a catastrophe to the credibility of the US, to the moral authority of the US, the flexibility of the US, the US's soft power, the US's ability to influence other governments. All of those have fallen catastrophically since Bush misled us into this war, authorized torture, didn't bother to secure any of the conventional weapons, and completely bungled the invasion and occupation.

As for Bush lying, he knowingly told us and the world things that were not true. He told us there were weapons of mass destruction (especially nukes) in Iraq, and there weren't. Which he was aware of, as they sent no military units to secure these phantom WMDs (or to secure the caches of conventional weapons and explosives). If there'd been evidence of weapons at all, wouldn't that have been the first target, if only for the propaganda value of repeatedly showing the film of their capture on TV everywhere?

He said there were weapons, but knew there weren't, and there weren't. How does this not fit the definition of a lie?

Rob Perkins said...

Nate, I was listening very carefully to Powell and Bush and Rumsfeld and the others during the buildup to the invasion. What they *said* was that there were WMD *programs*. What they *said* was that there were more reasons than just WMD's to invade.

And that invasion was executed with a confidence which perhaps only idealogues can muster, that in the deep suspicion of a tyrant who refused to say *where* he'd moved all the WMD's and WMD precursors previously documented, only basically to demand the trust of the world.

Bush did wrong, in my opinion, in ending inspections early. Then again, Iraq made no serious effort to meet the requirements of the U.N. resolutions. Not that repeating any of that is going to change Don Q's mind, or yours.

Like I've said before: It's much more complicated than "he lied". He, "they", really, entered into an invasion plan with the confidence of an algebraic logic problem: If x WMD's were present at time Y, and absent at time Z with no documentation of destruction, then they were not destroyed.

Not finding them later is not evidence that they were destroyed. They're elsewhere. Bush thought "in Iraq". He was mistaken.

Mistaken. Not "lying." And finding them is still gonna be tricky, even if my money is on Syria.

Re catastrophes, I heard it out of the mouths of MS Natguardsmen today: The devastation of Katrina, with thousands dead in a weekend was worse than what they saw in Iraq. The devastation of the carpetbombings and blitzkriegs of the TwenCen wars saw more dead in a week than in the last four years of rancor in Iraq. And, of course, that many died in seconds when the U.S. dropped Little Boy on Hiroshima.

Those are the things that I think of when someone says "catastrophe". Not the opinions of diplomats or foreign relations difficulties. Those things still operate in the disputation arenas of words. They can be regained with actions.

Those things are precursors to "catastrophe", which is an appropriate context for the word. But as far as I can tell, all these nations with all these disapproving people are still trading with the United States. Even France.

Nate said...

Rob, if Bush was so certain Iraq had WMDs, why didn't he send any troops to secure them or the areas they thought the WMDs were in? (Not that they'd have been there, but) Along the same lines, why didn't they secure the conventional weapons dumps?

The first tells me either the Bush administration knew there were no WMDs, didn't care if there were WMDs or not, or is so incompetent they didn't think to send anyone to secure them. The second reinforces either of the second two.

I'm really not sure which is more frightening, if they knew so well there were no weapons, and didn't bother, or if they didn't care. Of course, it could always be both, the were fairly sure thanks to the inspectors and the real intel that Iraq had no WMD (nukes), and didn't really care, since it gave them an excuse to invade Iraq, which they'd wanted to do since day 1. And they proved to be really bad at it.

And Mother Jone's war buildup timeline is up

Rob Perkins said...

The answers I've seen them give are a) They *did* go looking for WMD storage, and b) there were so many conventional weapons per capita in that country that there was no possible way to secure them all. Don't you remember the footage of troops destroying materiel as they found it?

It's plausible that they didn't assign people to secure areas where it was thought WMD's were being developed because Saddam knew exactly where those areas already were; the inspectors had been through them.

I'm really just tossing this stuff off the cuff, you know, never willing to atribute to malice and avarice that which can be explained by adherence to pure ideologies and a bit of stubborn blind faith. Bush has both those traits nearly cornered...

Don Quijote said...

Well, first of all, I usually only ask for this sort of thing once, but I'll point out that the use of vulgar colloquialisms telegraphs to me a desire more to shock than inform, and also might suggest an inability to make use of more appropriate words. Or better, more descriptive ones.

If the stack of dead bodies ( thirty to fifty thousand depending on who's doing the counting ) doesn't offend you, I don't know why the odd vulgarity should.

If I really wanted to shock, I would have gone with this Iraq - Torture

And the photographs of people with their heads blown off, unannotated, was absolutely uncalled for. Shame on you.

Why? I didn't shoot them and I didn't vote for the people who sent the soldiers there to shoot them.

I've denied no facts; I've called for a cessation of the overuse of inflammatory wording.

Calling Bush and his admistration Liars, Thiefs, Warmongerers, ChickenHawks and Fascist is not inflammatory wording, it's just an accurate description.

Mistaken. Not "lying." And finding them is still gonna be tricky, even if my money is on Syria.
Hope springs eternal

Rob Perkins said...

Don,

Don don don don don don don don don...

Repeating an assertion is not support for it. I haven't taken offense at the pictures or the language quite nearly as I've just shaken my head at simple lack of coherence.

Don Quijote said...

Rob,

Denial is not just a river in Egypt.


August 2002 - Vice President Cheney

Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction. There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us. And there is no doubt that his aggressive regional ambitions will lead him into future confrontations with his neighbors -- confrontations that will involve both the weapons he has today, and the ones he will continue to develop with his oil wealth.

just one lie amongst an unending list of lies...


And I seriously doubt that they are in Syria.