Sunday, November 02, 2008

Penultimate Ammo (an interim/misc posting)

Fresh back from an exhausting trip east (to speak at MIT and IBM about the future of information technologies), I have only time to toss in a little last-minute "ostrich bait."

I do hope to get in one last philosophical musing before the American People -- led by a new and potent and truly impressive generation -- decide to reclaim the nation and resume America's mission as leader of the Enlightenment.

For now, however, let me reiterate one point that occurred to me recently -- that obstinate ostriches now seem reduced to relating scary anecdotes or "Just-So Stories."

Sure, some of the stories -- if proved -- might be worrisome... if there were a scintilla of any reason to believe them. From "he's a muslim" to "socialist" to anything your paranoid little heart chooses to cling to, in order to rationalize justifying the outrageously unjustifiable. But, since the neoconservative/fundie scary story machine has been at it since 1994 without ever proving a single one, the rest of us can be forgiven for reacting with a yawn, and a look of utter pity in our eyes.

Meanwhile, the other side -- it happens to be the democrats -- has every conceivable statistic... from fiscal responsibility to small business startups to performance of the stock market to GDP to military readiness to worldwide willingness to accept American leadership... any conceivable measure of national health including every conceivable measurement that reflects sane, old-fashioned conservative values, comes down in favor of the democrats.

If you exclude Eisenhower and two of Reagan's eight years, there would be no statistical basis for ever trusting the GOP with anything more powerful than a burnt match, ever!

So, what do you say to obstinate aunts and uncles? Those cousins who aren't fundies or nation-raping kleptos, and yet somehow cling to a loyalty that is based entirely on illusions, and no facts at all? After all the energy and thought I have poured into "ostrich arguments," I am left to fall back upon my main profession. Clearly, these folks are the kind who like fantasy stories.

I hope President Obama will somehow find a way to convert them to realistic, pragmatic and rational science fiction.

-----

Some addenda:


Russ Daggatt offers his own version of ostrich bait at:
http://daggatt.blogspot.com/2008/10/for-your-wavering-republican-friends.html

Some details:

Forget the tax rates; did you even HAVE any capital gains?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average went up from 3253 to 10,587 under Clinton (325%). As of yesterday’s close, it has gone DOWN to 8175 under Bush (-22.8%).
The S&P 500 went up from 447 to 1342 under Clinton (300%). It has gone DOWN to 848 under Bush (-36.8%).
The NASDAQ went up from 700 to 2770 under Clinton (395%). It has gone DOWN to 1505 under Bush (-46.7%)

Let’s take the broadest measure of the market, the S&P 500: Would you rather pay a 20% tax on a gain of 300% or enjoy the benefit of a lower 15% tax rate on a … LOSS of 46%?
Any genuine fiscal conservative who calls Obama a socialist - knowing that his top economic advisors are Warren Buffett and Paul Volcker - would have to be a a completely hypocritical loon... someone who would prefer the discredited Phil Gramm and Alan Greenspan.

(Though in an ultimate irony, even Greenspan vastly preferred Clinton over Bush.)

If your friend is a genuine right-wing hawk, but still listening, skim down to where Daggatt quotes a right-wing hawk - Kenneth Adelman - who is unrepentant in countless ways, but is still voting for Obama simpy because Obama is steady and calm and McCain gives Adelman the creeping heebie jeebies.


Oh and Dave McCabe offers this chart re what the Blue States may have to resent:
http://democraticactionteam.org/redstatesocialism/index.html

...

In fact, what I have found most amazing is the look on some ostriches' -- and especially the non-ostrich True Righters' -- faces when they realize how ANGRY blue americans are, right now. They blink in surprise, as if we have somehow usurped their God-given license to wallow in selfrighteous indignation and culture war, amazed that our habitual, long-suffering patience and smarty-pants intellectual attempts to use reason have given way to a state of barely-contained rage. A fury that is fundamentally-based upon a patriotism that used to be far more restrained and genteel than theirs, and superfically less fervid -- till now -- but that is based far more deeply upon a love of what America really stands for...

...than the insipid, frenetically flag-waving, dionysian-masturbatory kind of "patriotism" evinced by good-old-boys who -- if you scratch the surface -- would much rather the South had won the Civil War and who would (if they ever got their hands on a sci fi time machine) leap back in an instant to provide Claymore mines and AK47s to Nathan Bedford Forest.

The kind who will never give President Obama -- the freely and lawfully elected chief executive of their nation -- the benefit of the doubt, or the grudging cooperation that democrats almost always gave Ronald Reagan and both Bushes. The kind who will immediately fly into paranoid rumor-suckling and even McVeigh-admiring, just because the innings have changed and they are too immature to let the other team have its at-bat or a chance to clean up the mess without undue obstruction or even outright rebellion. (Exactly the way the South responded, when Abraham Lincoln was elected.)

But no... I will hope for the best. We can pray that God grants Barack Obama eloquence and skill sufficient to soothe away culture war and restore to American hearts a pragmatic, modernist, future-oriented and confident willingness to negotiate solutions to problems.

And... well... when the GOP has its own civil war, we can root for the sane wing and wish them well. Maybe...

But let's keep our options open. And meanwhile? Proceed to tally what companies advertise on Fox and Limbaugh and start making clear that with which we'll no longer put. We have a right to patronize companies that do not subsidize monsters.

And if (God forbid) cheating prospers on Tuesday. Then dust off great grandpa's blue uniform.

The world cares deeply about America and wants us back.

We won't let them down.

42 comments:

Sociotard said...

Here's a "scary annecdote":

Just watched a speech of his in which he said that McCain was not a Maverick, but a sidekick (to Bush). And illustrated this by saying "Like Kato was to the Green Lantern."

Obama:
Wrong on Green Lantern and Green Hornet,
Wrong for America!


;)

Sociotard said...

The reference for the above:

http://firstread.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2008/11/02/1627518.aspx

Stefan Jones said...

Well, there goes the election.

Without the comic book dweeb vote Obama doesn't have a chance.

Sociotard said...

Not to mention the Bruce-Lee-Fan vote.

Matt DeBlass said...

David Brin wrote: "In fact, what I have found most amazing is the look on some ostriches' -- and especially the non-ostrich True Righters' -- faces when they realize how ANGRY blue americans are, right now."


Well, they've been telling each other for years that "Liberals" (meaning anyone from the far left to the center-right) hate America, and are limp-wristed whiners.

We have every right to be angry, each and every one of us, from the true-blue Democrats to the growing numbers of conservatives who have had enough of their party being run by a bunch of frat boys. We the People, have had enough, plain and simple.

Jon said...

I know that this is silly, but I keep wanting to see a David Brin/Orson Scott Card debate on the election.

David Brin said...

Um... why should I bother? Scott's side has been proved to be the side of drivel and loonies.

The secular humanists have revived...

...and have allied themselves with those who believe in a God who's capable of quantum mechanics and who's not a Book of Revelation psychopath...

...and with those who believe in competitive free enterprise, instead of creeping feudal aristocratism...

...and with those who actually took the damage on 9/11 -- who stood atop the rubble and refused to panic... and those who actually pay the taxes and who do the science and who have all the skills and who raise children who (statistically) are smarter and far more moral than those poor kids who are raised by knownothing goodolboys....

...and joining forces especially with a vast majority of that newer, smarter generation...

....and countless others, all combining in righteous and rightful determination to take back this blessed country from frootloops and kleptos and psychotics and outright traitors, and the millions of flaming fools who gave the keys to our country to monsters.

Let Scott wave his arms about and screech his just-so stories. The anecdotes and rumors and rants are devoid of factual basis or statistics or reason or ever, ever, ever anything remotely like proof, as they have been for 14 long, manic, neurotic years.

Moreover, anybody who pays heed to facts -- or any of that "reality-based" stuff -- will never trust the GOP, ever again, with any kind of responsibility beyond being banker in a game of monopoly.

And even then, heckfire, count each transaction. And especially every four years, whenever we pass "Go".

Jon said...

Fair enough, I guess I just wanted to hear/see his "Bush is honorable, Mcain is just and Obama is ..blah blah" screeed right next to sources proving it wrong. What bothers me so much about him is that (at least going by some of his words in the early Ender books) he seemed to be a progressive at one point. I can pretty much dimiss Limbaugh, Coulter, Weiner (why use his self appointed name "savage") as modern day Father Coughlins (while occasionally wondering how they can live with themselves) but it's disheartening to see someone who I once thought was "on my side" go so far to the other extreme. It makes me wonder what makes a person abandon what I thought were very noble ideas.

Then again, unlike the author of this blog, I didn't like the Clinton years (though they were golden compared to the last eight) and was upset with his reversals on China's human rights record and similar actions. I also volunteered for the Obama campaign in California (during the primary) and couldn't support him anymore because of his votes on FISA and offshore drilling. I expect a similar set of letdowns if he takes office, but I still vastly prefer him to McCain.

David Brin said...

We can no longer afford an era when we assume every Senate vote or presidential decision is a matter of total moral on-off redolence. Clinton and Obama are pragmatic politicians. I will judge by the overall trend. In Clinton's case, it was toward more openness and accountability.

I fully expect Obama will "betray" me some of the time. He'll also spread light, reduce secrecy, unleash the civil service, negotiate with many interests and try hard to juggle it all fairly.

Glenn said...

Yes!
Don't let us down citizens of America! I am a Filipino and has no say on your elections. Nevertheless I hope that Barack Obama wins!

ps Dr. Brin, im a longtime lurker in your blog and an avid fan of your books. :).

David Brin said...

Welcome, Glenn. And have faith.

Parantar said...

good day guys! belated happy halloween! :)nfe

gmknobl said...

Living in "The South" I'd like to believe your words are offensive. Indeed, many who say educated northeastern liberals are a scourge because the automatically judge them, arrogantly, as uneducated hicks, have a point every now and then. I do see this horrible prejudice thrown right in their faces. There was a nice episode of Studio 60 that showed this arrogance to a tee with John Goodman playing the part of the offended "good ol' boy" judge. It's a stereo type that is often played up and played to and it is seen when you look at how some people talk to "country folk" in Floyd, VA for instance.

But here's the crux of the issue. Sometimes these same people who are offended by the "liberal elistists" are themselves, unsurprisingly, practicing prejudice for everyone to see also. It's not necessarily against African Americans, in fact these days it's most visibly (or aurally) spoken against non-protestant religions, but more to anyone who makes an assumption about them, regardless of whether the assumption is correct or not. Much like the people in Studio 60 making an assumption that John Goodman's character was actually the hick he was deliberately playing. You make an assumption and you get hatred thrown right at you. The funny thing is, as I said, the assumption is correct on occasions. So, you end up with a vicious circle. I assume your a foolish, prejudiced redneck because you act like one. Then you hate me because I assumed you're a foolish, prejudiced redneck. But then you go out and yell Obama is socialist muslim terrorist and vote for McCain. Well, now you've proven I was right. You are indeed and foolish, prejudiced redneck and are ignorant on top of it.

So who's better for it? I don't know. I wish everyone would stop making assumptions but have to laugh when I see those assumptions are proven right, on either side.

It saddens me that there's even an issue here but there is and as long as the remnants of the civil war exist, where Southern elitists played poor whites off against poor blacks AND moreover because so many carpetbaggers played "the city-folk" off against "the country folk" we'll have this. The only thing that can stop this is education. Let's hope someone will finally "spread the wealth" of the high income areas out to the lower income areas for in schooling. It's really time this was done on a national level instead of letting the rich people get the best education and the other get what's left.

Note: I am a redneck too because I work outside during the summer an awful lot, worked on farms bailing hay, cutting wood, and you name it. That pretty much makes me a redneck. But I use the term because it is a prejudice-filled term that is used as an insult and a compliment around here!

NoOne said...

It is amazing to see two major SF authors - Brin and Card - disagree on just about everything. Take a look at Card's recent essay on the election. From my progressive/libertarian perspective, it is so over the top that I couldn't help laughing. (On the other hand, it was a pretty mainstream perspective in early 2003.)

B. Dewhirst said...

... if you live in a safe state, such as I do...

Remember Obama opposes gay marriage.

Remember he doesn't wish to withdraw all our troops from Iraq, ever. (50000>0)

Remember he wishes to continue to bomb our ally, Pakistan.

Remember his vote on FISA.

Remember his vote on the bailout.

Remember he voted to brand nonviolent protesters as terrorists.

He is an economic neoliberal, a hawk, and a very tepid social liberal. If you are in a safe state, demand better.

Gilmoure said...

gmknobl said: I am a redneck too because I work outside during the summer an awful lot, worked on farms bailing hay, cutting wood, and you name it. That pretty much makes me a redneck. But I use the term because it is a prejudice-filled term that is used as an insult and a compliment around here!

Hey, another redneck here. I grew up in central Florida ranch country and yeah, back in the '70's, you'd still see cross burnings at times. But yeah, know what you mean about assumptions. 'Course, I then look at my family and see the ones that have been in and out of jail and are so freakin' ignorant, I don't like to have them come around and yeah, gotta' shake my head. Luckily, they're the ones that will never vote. On the upside, my Mom (matriarch of family) made it her mission to get the rest of the family registered and most of them have now voted early. Except for the one cousin that's actually graduated college (in law school now!), we're all construction and military but just about everyone realizes that, as little people, the G.O.P. is really not working for us anymore. Time for a change.

Jumper said...

Re.: rednecks: I've lived in the South so long I'm used to it, but Southerners have an awful habit of liking to act stupider than they are. I blame Andy Griffith for this. (I like him and still see his reruns sometimes.) I documented this phenomenon here:
http://jumpersbloghouse.blogspot.com/2007/10/stupid-is-as-stupid-does.html

As far as the election goes, it's all over but the counting. Which is what worries me. Brin, how do you rate the vote-count-fraud issues?

Also, do you prefer Mr. Brin, or Dr. Brin?

p.s. Thanks for Daggett link, yet again, because I finally bookmarked it.

Joshua said...

B. Dewhirst:

Remember he doesn't wish to withdraw all our troops from Iraq, ever. (50000>0)

Remember he voted to brand nonviolent protesters as terrorists.


[CITATION NEEDED]

As for the others...I don't agree with your characterization in all cases, but that's really a side issue.

The main issue is this: for whom would you suggest that one ought to vote instead? Name a name. Then come up with an argument that voting for that person would actually have a useful effect...contrary to recent historical evidence.

Look, I'm a big fan of breaking the two-party hammerlock. But I've come to believe that the voting booth is not the place to fight that particular fight. I'll support efforts to get Approval or Condorcet (not IRV, thank you) voting systems in place, and support third-party candidates on the same basis as any other candidate at other times.

Obama is not perfect, and I have other objections to his issues than the ones you listed. But I don't know of a _better_ candidate in this election.

B. Dewhirst said...

As for 50000>0, you're responsible for knowing your own candidate's platform, but the following should be a start:

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&rlz=1C1GGLS_enUS291&q=obama+iraq+50000+combat+terrorism&btnG=Search

as for protest=terrorism:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Enterprise_Terrorism_Act

...


Then come up with an argument that voting for that person would actually have a useful effect...contrary to recent historical evidence.

I happen to support Cynthia McKinney. As I live in Massachusetts, my vote for PotUS will not matter no matter what, so of course I can't meet your burden.

I'd have thought that the merits of not voting for a war criminal (yes, calling for bombing Pakistan is a war crime according to the principles established at the Nuremburg trial.)

B. Dewhirst said...

rest of that thought:

... were obvious.

Belton said...

Look for many more people like b. dewhirst after the election.

The thing that might make Obama unable to govern is that he will be pinched in the middle. The right wing is going to be screaming that he and ACORN stole the election no matter how much he wins by. At the same time, the left wing is going to go after him for his ideological heresies (approving war in some cases, not indicting Bush cronies for war crimes, supporting faith-based initiatives, working with Republicans instead of trying to destroy their party, etc.).

My hope, and it may be a naive one, is that people will give him a chance. I believe that Obama is a pragmatist who will look for realistic and achievable solutions to problems. He is not an ideologue. Get used to it. I think most people are going to like his way of governing if they give him an opportunity.

B. Dewhirst said...

Belton, I am old enough to remember the Clinton Presidency...

Democrats don't have a spine, and have no interest in the little guy. It is a sham. Just watch... they'll have a majority in the House and Senate, and -still- you won't see them magically producing liberty and freedom.

Just more corporate bailouts, more war to secure resources...

The only way Obama is going to follow through on hopes such as yours is if his feet are held to the fire, as FDRs were.

... and here I thought the principle that bombing children was wrong would be relatively uncontroversial... I guess war crimes are just unfortunate to you, huh?

Robert said...

@B. Dewhirst: The thing to remember about Senator Obama is this - he is willing to listen to viewpoints that are contrary to his own and acknowledge when those views are in fact correct. He will then adjust his own worldview in order to acknowledge that information. Senator Obama is not so proud as to refuse to admit when he is wrong, and not so stiff-necked as to do nothing about it.

This willingness to change (which some might call "flipflopping" though it seems more based on relevant information than just due to the political winds) is one of the best reasons to vote for Senator Obama and hope he becomes President. We have had far too many Presidents who refuse to bend and as a result stay the course, even when it's not advisable to do so.

As you live in "safe" Massachusetts (where I keep seeing a lot of McCain signs but very few for Obama), feel free to vote for who you want (preferably third party ^^). But think on this. Would you want Senator McCain, who has proven prideful, unwilling to admit when he's wrong, and likely to indulge in whims rather than rational policy, to be President?

Robert A. Howard, Tangents Reviews

B. Dewhirst said...

Robert, would you care to give an example of where Obama has listened and changed his viewpoint on an issue of foreign policy, civil liberties, or economics?

I seem to recall a statement issued explaining his FISA vote which would seem to contradict your statement.

gmknobl said...

Just a note about OSC. I find it amusing that he calls himself a Democrat. I think, despite being a nice person when a casual scifi reader chats with him, he actually practices things which aren't that nice. No, that borders on libel so I'll frame it with a point to the somewhat silly argument on his Ender books being about Hitler and showing what a nice dude he actually was.

Now that I've drifted from my original point and buried my lead, I'll finally get around to the point. Perhaps OSC is actually trying one of Dr. Brin's tactics (and suggested by Al Franken too on the radio, I believe) and registering as a Dem to shift the party to the right? This would be effective if enough people did this BUT it's too late as that's already occurred slowly over the last several decades.

Now, Obama, despite his votes being more centrist than liberal, actually stands a good chance of doing what the country needs and attempting to do this by using his brain and a cadre of smart advisers. Time enough to move the country into a more logical path, call it liberal or progressive, once he is actually in office.

So, I actually do have reason to vote for him, despite not having the same viewpoints as me on several important issues (FISA chief among them). Of course, my vote is also a clear-headed vote against everything that has occurred in the last 30+ years with Nixon, Reagan and Bush and Bush (with a little Carter and Clinton stuff thrown in). Y'know, I just haven't paid that much attention to Ford; maybe I should.

David Brin said...

gmknobl, I can well understand your worry that I am displaying a nasty prejudice of my own, by expressing fierce militancy about the "American Civil War Part III." (ACW-III) Certainly there are many in Red America who nurse resentment and a belief that they have been the ones under cultural siege but snooty liberal elites. And I have frequently spoken of the segment of lefty-flake liberalism that has certainly contributed to this problem.

Nevertheless, there can be no doubt who "started it" when it comes to Culture War on a truly massive and relentless and vicious scale. The proof is in the demographic changes within the Republican Party, which, 20 years ago, boasted that it had a year or two more average education than average democrats. That advantage has utterly reversed, despite the dems still representing the poor. The reason is plain. The GOP's knownothing fetish has driven away most people who know a damned thing about anything, whatsoever.

Note: I was slow and reluctant -- like most blues -- to conclude that we were in ACW-III and I will welcome peace. My positions are not leftist and I might surprise some of you over how I voted on a few social issues, this round. This is not about left/right at all. And only towering hypocrites would say so, after perpetrating the most massive act of socialism ever.

It is about future vs past and knowledge vs proud ignorance.

=====

BD... I respect your point and the way you put it. Certainly there is a legitimate "left" position to take and BHO would thus seem disappointing. I do think we need his Popular Vote total to be high, to make a statement. But "safe state" votes for Nader or the LP (I cannot recommend that nasty piece of work Barr) are legitimate.

STill, dig it. The poor did BETTER under Clinton, despite a lack of major (lefty) initiatives, because the country simply ran well. If Obama simply delivers that, and diverts us from left-right bullshit onto a path of curiosity and ambition toward the future, then dayenu.

Jumper, the Blue Collar Comedy Tour - Foxworthy and Engvald and Larry the Cable Guy have helped spread an already rife style of humor that is superficially extremely charming and enticing... a degree of self-effacing "shucks" hilarity that can seem humble and deeply disarming... till you realize that it layers over a massive resentment and deep loathing of all the cousins and siblings who moved away to universities and big cities. These guys are going to face a civil war of their own, when they realize they want nothing to do with the McVeighs in their midst. That's when Engvald will admit he actually reads books.

Mr... Dr.... David... all's good. Just stay sweet!

Belton said...

Love the straw man, BD. I don't hear anyone coming out in favor of "bombing children."

You try to simplify a very difficult foreign affairs problem through inflamatory name-calling ("war crimes"). Terrorists like Al Queada hide in places where governments are either complicit or are unable to police their own borders. Pakistan has just such a problem. I do not think Obama will come into office saying: "hmm, I think I will commit a war crime today." He will try to come up with a reasonable balance between trying to get at terrorist cells that attack American interests, and respect for Pakistani sovereignty.

I remember the Clinton years too, and think that they were pretty good, especially compared to what we have now. He nominated good people and strengthened the USA both at home and abroad. He got out of the way of the economy so we could make it work. A scorched-earth Republican leadership combined with his own personal failings make him seem less effective than he was.

I don't think I enumerated any hopes other than that people (obviously not you) will give him a chance to govern and put the adults back in charge.

Cliff said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Cliff said...

Man, I tried to read that OSC essay and I barely got through it. It took me several tries. That guy's a Democrat like I'm a UFC fighter (which is to say not at all).
I mean, when someone starts to pull out the hoary old "liberals stabbed us in the back in Vietnam" chestnut, you know it's time to mosey on.
And this?
On top of this, Obama is already planning to finance his massive increases in social spending by canceling the weapons programs that will be essential if we are to retain the ability to protect the world peace that makes possible our system of global free trade. He calls them "fancy new weapons."

Flat out wrong. So far as I've seen, Obama has said he won't cut a dime from the military budget. Which is also one of the things I dislike about his centrist stance, and one of the things that makes me curse OSC.

And this?
But he's [McCain] proven that he knows how to listen to the people who do understand [the economy].

Maddeningly wrong.
............

On the last thread, I saw a comment by someone bemoaning how the Republicans are gathering around Palin.
I see this as a plus. To everyone who is not a raving lunatic, Palin is an unimaginably awful candidate. So, when the GOP tries to get closer to her, it becomes more radicalized, and this is occurring in a nation that knows intimately the failures of the Right.
In short, she's an anchor around their necks, and they're adding links to the chains as fast as they can.

B. Dewhirst said...

Belton: So I was right. War crimes are just "unfortunate."

If what you're looking forward to is another 8 years of Clinton (or, potentially, a full 8 years of Kennedy), it looks like you're going to get your wish.

Just don't forget who was in charge of the Fed then when you echo praise for how well the economy was doing, eh?

Jester said...

Third Parties deserve a vote when they get seriously about building their own credibility by forgetting about Presidential races that turn them into a laughing stock and start devoting their resources to achieving the achievable.

Imagine if every dime and drop of sweat expended by the Green Party this year, nationwide, and gone to taking Pelosi's Seat and putting a Green in the house.

Imagine if all the Libertarian effort had gone into trying to take Idahos congressional seat.

They would at least be worthy of some respect.

B. Dewhirst said...

Jester, they'd have to buy Fox News first.

Bernie Sanders is great and all... but "Socialist Senator" doesn't draw a lot of press because the game is rigged.

David Brin said...

Cliff thanks for the description of OSC's screed.

Again, it's all "just-so" stories. A frenzied belief that assertions become true if you simply yell them loud and often enough. They don't even try to bend statistics or put forward culled or massaged "facts" anymore, since there are virtually no statistics or facts that even remotely serve their ends.

But of course, the examples you gave are also rank-smelly with the stinkiest hypocrisy. rightwingers used to rant about how Vietnam was lost because of "venal meddling in military affairs by clueless, draft-dodging politicians."

For the most part, neocons stopped using that phrasing, once it became clear that the entire US Officer Corps wanted to strangle them, for committing that precise sin, ten times worse than McNamara ever did in Vietnam.

Oh, but the utter gall! Clinton left a military in which all brigades were fully combat ready, with a reputation for both overwhelming and surgically capable effectiveness, unmatched in all of history.

Bush systematically (and, it can be argued, deliberately) destroyed the US Army that he inherited, till not a single brigade is combat ready, nearly all have been converted into veritable urban SWAT teams that could not repel an equivalent unit from China or even Mexico, recruitment standards have sunk into the toilet, Blackwater has been subsidized to steal hundreds of skilled noncoms out of the service, the reserves have been betrayed as have military families...

...and today's Army could not even remotely accomplish the same "shock and awe" mission that Bush sent Clinton's Army to do, in 2002-3.
Indeed, one of Obama's first missions -- already laid out by Admiral Mullen and by SecDef Gates (who Obama plans to RETAIN for as much as a year) will be to "save the Army."

Dig it, the generals and admirals are the ones who know what's going on. They are the ones who rebelled, quietly, two years ago and SAVED America by prying Bush's hands off the Defense Department. I can tell you with great assurance, that the flag officers have never hated a US administration even 1% as much as they deeply loathe this one. And they are quietly becoming democrats at an unprecedented pace.

THAT is just one example of the difference between OSC offering a rant-assertion and actually looking at facts. Mostly, he is simply spouting partisan-racist-culturewar drivel, and I'll defend his right to do that -- even though this pod-person alien replacement for the really cool "secular humanist revival" dude of the 1980s would never defend MY rights.

But I chose the military thing to focus on in particular because it is deeply offensive and simply monstrous. Monstrous to a degree that borders on simultaneous psychosis and treason.

Cliff said...

Well, the last thing I'd read from OSC was a post on Real Clear Politics (or maybe it was Politico, I can try to Google up a link if desired but I got it from a poster here), before the 2006 midterms, raving about how our only hope for victory over Islam was Bush and how we daren't vote for Democrats.
So I was curious about whether or not the next two years had moderated his views.

Nope! At a time when many conservatives are fleeing from McCain as fast as they can, OSC holds fast to the GOP.

It would be interesting to present him with his old 2006 column and see what he says about his predictions.

Anonymous said...

I'd have thought that the merits of not voting for a war criminal (yes, calling for bombing Pakistan is a war crime according to the principles established at the Nuremburg trial.)

You know, by that standard you've had more than a couple of US presidents who are war criminals.

Francis said...

OSC is a man I feel sorry for. When I read early works by OSC, I find very touching portrates of affection for men, and some openmindedness. When I read later works (if I can't avoid it) I find utterly bloodless marriages. To me that reads like a gay man who has been suppressed or broken by his community. And is now pushing the party line as hard as he can. If this is the case then I really do pity him.

Matt DeBlass said...

A few more hours and most of America will be voting and the rest of the world will be praying ;-)

B. Dewhirst said...

Anonymous, yes, I have rather a hard time thinking of recent US Presidents who aren't war criminals by that standard.

But... if not by the standard selected by the US Supreme Court Justice and Chief Prosecutor of that momentous war crimes tribunal, then by what standard should US militarism be judged?

David Brin said...

Anyone notice how the Jihadist War has dropped from the right wing radar? Simple. They require a certain level of paranoid xenophobia like a cow needs grass. After the Cold War they were uncomfortable, so they picked China.

Then they were happy for a long time because they had Bill Clinton! Or rather, his strawman image, since they never proved a single damn correlation with reality.

Clinton goes away and they spend 6 months desperately searching every federal govt filing cabinet for the smoking guns to prove Clinton's people were corrupt, even (treasonously) diverting FBI agents from duties protecting us, into the utterly and completely futile search for even a single Clintonian crime of office. They were starting to get VERY antsy!

Then came 9/11. Perfect timing! Let paranoia bloom! Those who were SAFE from terrorism screeching panic at a calm Blue America that was in the cross-hairs, but who wanted to react rationally.

Of course Iraq was REALLY an excuse for "emergency" overrides of no-bid contract rules. But okay, I hated Saddam so fine, I was a moderate on whether (as opposed to how) to go. But fact is, the whole Jihadist thing started looking REALLY LAME as one CIA report after another called all the panic overblown. WAY overblown.

And not once do they ever look at Bushite bed-buddy revolving-door, MANCHURIAN-level bending over for the Saudiroil house.

Then came the Return of Russia. The Georgia thing. And Barack Obama. And suddenly, these guys are getting their fix off other images than fanatics with turbans.

No, the pattern is clear and perfect. We have been ruled and pummeled by a movement filled with idiots and maniacs who are genuinely stark raving insane. They have driven away almost every American who KNOWS anything at all. and Barry Goldwater is spinning in his gave.

Stefan Jones said...

Mood lightener:

"There's no one as Irish as Barack O'Bama!

P.S. The random-word letter jumble I'm being asked to enter is "mutsocke." Which is a rather neat word.

Google turned up no entries.

We need to find a meaning for it.

Jumper said...

Whew. Quite a screed by OS Card. All the talking points were in it. At the end he compares his links to TV news - but no print media! For crying out loud, if someone gets their politics solely from TV and bloggers, they are idiots. There are other things to read. Articles about subjects that are not by nature partisan. You know, facts.

Either conservative blogs, or TV news? That's it? Card is insane.

Oh, and happy wishes to all.

daveawayfromhome said...

"If what you're looking forward to is another 8 years of Clinton (or, potentially, a full 8 years of Kennedy), it looks like you're going to get your wish."

Oh, um... good!