Monday, June 30, 2008

So Many Ways Obama Could Use Jiu Jitsu...

The LA Times recently presented an unusually insightful editorial about ”Obamacain” -- relating to the few - but noteworthy - areas in which the two candidates overlap or share important views.

“It has been a refrain during the exhausting battle for the Democratic presidential nomination that once Hillary Rodham Clinton or Barack Obama emerged as the party's choice, we could finally dispense with the personality battles and get down to nitty-gritty policy differences. Indeed, now that Obama seems to have the position locked up, he and presumptive Republican nominee John McCain will have plenty to argue about. But some might be surprised at the breadth of issues on which they largely agree.”

consensus-fox,jpgThe editorial goes on to cite surprising consensus in areas of National Security, Immigration, environment and social issues. The Times suggests that the thought of consensus, instead of Fox-style reflexive opposition, ought to be attractive, now and then.

Alas, the Times essay stops short - way short - of taking this notion to its logical conclusion. If a majority of voters in both major parties have already pledged general allegiancve to one of two presumptive nominees, haven’t we already voted, many months before the general election, to trust their wisdom enough to listen... tentatively... to areas where they both agree change is needed?

One of the very worst immaturities to be foisted on America by the culture warriors has been the oversimplification of reflext opposition. If your side likes something I must be against it. If you open your eggs at the small end, I must open mine at the big end. The biggest actual result of this wretched reflex has been to ensure that very little gets done. We’re doing fine, vetoing each others agendas. But to actually move ahead, we’ll have to re-learn how to negotiate, sometimes compromise, or else let your opponents have the part of their agenda you object to least... in exchange for them doing the same for you.

Above all, where ae actually agree, should it not be politically safe to actually say so?

I go into this in some detail in an essay that I have recycled during each of the live FIVE presidential elections... Why The Candidates Should "Stipulate"...

... proposing that a contest between two mature and intelligent adults does not have to be entirely about a battle of opposites. America and the world might benefit most by hearning where they have discussed a certain matter, and reached a consensus - a stipulation - that it is time to stop the rigor mortis inaction that arises from rigid opposition, and to start talking about how -- rather than whether -- to act on a major problem.

“One of the chief flaws of our electoral system is that real candor is punished. Both sides may rail against each other, but they'll never aim bad news at us. Even if both nominees believe in their hearts that the public needs to face some hard truth, neither will dare be first to say it, lest the other side take advantage.... only now consider this. There is no political cost to telling voters what you really believe... if your opponent has agreed, in advance, to say the same thing.

“The process is called stipulation... as when the attorneys representing opposite sides in a trial agree to agree about a set of points. By stipulating these points, they help move the trial forward, focusing on areas where they disagree. Consider this year. For all of his faults, McCain has done this sort of thing before. So has Senator Obama. In fact, the only ones to object would be those at the extremes, in both parties.”

I go on to cite the greatest-ever example of this kind of bipartisan maturity, in the 1940 Roosevelt-Wilkie election, in which both candidates agreed to support aid to Britain, instantly undercutting the isolationists in both parties. Of course this suggestion was pure fantasy during the poisonous atmosphere of the last eight years, while one of the major candidates represented nothing but stupidity, lunacy, compulsive deceit and rabid partisanship. But if we really are returning to an era (as in the Clinton-Dole contest) when grownups might argue sensibly, then this idea really needs another look. So please do...and possibly spread the word!

And while we’re at it, see another -- somewhat related -- idea: Honoring the Losing Majority --  that might also restore civility, consensus, negotiation and mutual respect back into the lexicon of American political life. In fact, this idea is - at one level - simply common courtesy and would score points to whichever candidate made the pledge that I suggest.

“Originally, the Constitution awarded a prize for second place -- the Vice Presidency. If little else, at least the electoral runner-up got a bully pulpit. But after near-disaster in the flawed election of 1804, the system was amended to make the Vice President more of a deputy, chosen by the winning party. Nevertheless, this precedent does show what the founders had in mind. They always intended for the losing side to get something. Might there be some way to acknowledge the losing minority in a presidential election, without grinding their face in humiliation, making them determined to do the same thing, when their turn comes around?”

Check out an original suggestion for how this miracle might be accomplished -- in a way that might also make your side’s candidate seem vastly more statesmanlike and mature.
---- From the Transparency Front ---

The US & EU will let security agencies to obtain private information — like credit card transactions, travel histories and Internet browsing habits — about people on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The potential agreement, as outlined in an internal report obtained by The New York Times, would represent a diplomatic breakthrough for American counterterrorism officials, who have clashed with the European Union over demands for personal data. Europe generally has more stringent laws restricting how governments and businesses can collect and transfer such information.


Here’s a news item that I have re-written in the form of “what if Clinton had done this?” -- as part of my continuing series offering you bait for that “decent conservative” or Ostrich, who might yet be lured out of that hole of denial, rousing him or her to recall that he or she is an American first, and a Republican second. See also: Ostrich Hunting : The Bill Clinton Gambit.

“Imagine how a Republican might feel if - late in the Clinton Administration - the Justice Department's own Inspector General reported that Clinton's White House staff had meddled with nearly all Justice Department hiring decisions, ending the traditional practice of hiring and promoting on advice from neutral commissions and instead applying blatant political tests, transforming the U.S.J.D. into a massive, private law firm serving one political party... relentlessly ignoring crimes by their "side" and pursuing vendettas against the other.”

If this happened under Bill Clinton, and only fiercely partisan liberal Democratswere allowed inside Justice, would you have called it a scandal? But the Inspector General says that this did NOT happen under Clinton. It happened under Bush and the Republicans. So where's your righteous sense of anger?

While you’re at it... try rephrasing the following items the same why! “What if Clinton and the liberals had...?”

A BBC investigation estimates that around $23bn (£11.75bn) may have been lost, stolen or just not properly accounted for in Iraq. “For the first time, the extent to which some private contractors have profited from the conflict and rebuilding has been researched by the BBC's Panorama using US and Iraqi government sources. ...A US gagging order is preventing discussion of the allegations..... And example cited in the article: “In the run-up to the invasion one of the most senior officials in charge of procurement in the Pentagon objected to a contract potentially worth seven billion that was given to Halliburton, a Texan company, which used to be run by Dick Cheney before he became vice-president. Unusually only Halliburton got to bid - and won.”

Now look back at how thr far-right howled over the UN’s “Oil for Food” program and some possible graft that might have added up, over a decade, to a billion dollars. Where is the same indignation over theft that directly betrayed our troops in the field, amounting to tens and even hundreds of times as much?

While we’re at conspiracy explanations for the , go see this intervirew with Vanity Fair editor Craig Unger on the Bush family feud, neoconservatives and the Christian right. Unger is author of House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties, which traces the intense links between those two royal families, which helps to explain why the Saudis and the Iranians are the only real winners to emerge from the neconservative era. Unger’s latest book The Fall of the House of Bush: The Untold Story of How a Band of True Believers Seized the Executive Branch, Started the Iraq War and Still Imperils America's Future tracks the civil war between Bush Sr.’s moderate republican circle and the neocons who (metaphorically) hijacked his son. See an interview with Unger that, except for some flickers of Israeli conspiracy fetishism, are deeply informative, fascinating and rather scary.

And what would Timothy McVeigh have said? That is... if liberals did this? The Senate’s subcommittee on the Constitution held a hearing on “Secret Law and the Threat to Democratic and Accountable Government,” chaired by Sen. Russell Feingold, D-Wis. Growing use of secret law “is implicated in fundamental political controversies over domestic surveillance, torture and many other issues directly affecting the lives and interests of Americans. ... Secret law excludes the public from the deliberative process, promotes arbitrary and deviant government behavior, and shields official malefactors from accountability.” At this very Senate hearing, John R. Elwood, the Office of Legal Counsel’s Deputy Assistant Attorney General, provided a startling example of the Bush administration’s justification for the imperious essence of secret law. As reported in the May 1 New York Times, Elwood “disclosed a previously unpublicized method to cloak government activities.” The Bush administration believes, he said, “that the president could ignore or modify existing executive orders that he and other presidents have issued without disclosing the new interpretation.”

Next time... why Obama should do several more “jiu jitsu moves”... including a bold statement in favor of “states rights.” Now it’s blue-staters who want relief from an overbearing central government that takes their taxes, returns little, and quashes every attempt to make progress at the state level.

The ul;timate irony will come when liberals add gun ownership to states rights, as positions that suddenly make sense from THEIR perspective... while the far right consinues being hereded toward defense of authoritarianism.

But then, ironies are generally overlooked till theyhit people on the head…


The latest Armageddon Buffet is out! See some wonderfully inflamatory (and yet twistedly wise) articles that leap out from the rest.


opit said...

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opit said...

Whoops. Cut off /HENTOFF

Anonymous said...

Rude of me, I posted once here for the first time without any introduction. I'm Italian, university librarian by trade and with an history of having been political involvement on the Left from the '70s, my university years.

I'm also a devoted sci-fi reader, and a fan of Earth and Uplift, among others, so you understand how I ended up on this blog.
Strange as it may seem, I'd to comment about the ostriches.

I attend a discussion list on current politics that was spawned from a S.M. Stirling fan list after 9/11, with plenty of hardcore US rightists, who would vote McCain as lesser evil or hoped in a HRC victory in order to shatter the GOP and create a rightist/populist party from its ashes. And you can imagine their attitude to Obama, the kindest term was "The red Oreo".
Now, seen from outside, the whole "Ostrich/decent conservatives" seems not well grounded in reality.

My list friends may be a unrepresentative sample, but they've got a sophisticated political culture/ideology...pity that it's well outside the Enlightenement values: they're influenced by guys like John O'Reilly and his philosophy of history based on an updated Spengler, or by attitudes more similar to the nationalist right of pre-WW1 Europe (I graduated with the leading Italian historian of fascism, so I know well that field) than to Hamilton or Madison.

The ideological mix among those views, rabid hate of "tranzies" and "élitists", populism and the "Western/American identity is based on Christianity, even I personally don't believe, but religion is good for the masses" thing looks very impenetrable to any "ostrich" argument.

I would make a suggestion from my own country's experience:
a political theorist wrote some weeks ago that "a very moderate left (the post-Communist Italian one) has nurtured a very hardline reactionary right".

It refers to our current PM and his merry band, but, expecially on many issues about labor rights or welfare and healthcare, or on secularism and public role of religion, the average US Dems look a lot more moderate than any European Social Democrat, and even than conservatives like Ms. Merkel, and Obama is viewed by the Right all the same as a new Lenin or Chavez and some of my rightist friends fear a Madrid 1937/Santiago 1973 scenario in November.

JuhnDonn said...

Marino said...

Yeah, the U.S. left is actually rather centrist, compared to the rest of the world. The far right (wing nuts in some groups) has managed to drag the entire country, at least on the surface, to the right overall.

Of course, this is all just window dressing for a group of Elites (Bush senior, amazed at grocery checkout with price scanner) rearranging world order to be more favorable to authoritarian rule.

There was a radio talk show host; Bob Lassiter, who did his best to cut through the entire left/right thought process. He'd rant at his listeners that it's all about class and that yes, we still have class in America. And it's structured so that most folks will never even realize they're outsider/lower class, even as they live in their million dollar houses. This was back in the 80's and I really wish he was still around (died in '06). He really got it.

Runaway Serfer... said...

Hello! Great post -- I highly recommend the "jiu jitsu" approach to throw off the "gotcha" political debates.

You mention your candidate stipulation article at length but don't link to the article at your website:

Thanks for the Armageddon Buffet mention!

Anonymous said...

Is world war III on the horizon?

Anonymous said...


You make some good observations, but they don't seem to have that much to do with the sort of people that Dr. Brin is talking about. It sounds like the people you were dealing with are partisans of the American Right, not philosophical conservatives or classical liberals. Consistent philosophical conservatives (like Andrew Sullivan) and classical liberals (like Will Wilkinson) have seen the problems with the Republican party for years and generally don't partake in that sort of rhetoric. Right-partisans, on the other hand, don't care- they are supporters of a "political team", and given to all the irrationalism that such an orientation suggests.

The partisans of the "left" are generally no different, mind you. However, it would be foolish to attribute this to any "black and white" tendency that is specially favored in the psychology of Americans, or to any corrupt illuminati forcing American voters into embracing self-contradictory philosophies. No, the real reason is one of the basic principles you learn in Comparative Politics 101- the number of viable parties in a political system is equal to n+1, where n is equal to the number of winners in an individual district in a legislative election. Thus, the upper bound for the American system is two viable parties, whereas, under, say, the Japanese system, the upper bound is six (the top five vote-getters in each district are seated); or even higher, as in the directly proportional systems used in Israel and Switzerland.

(Note: Japan may seem like an exception to the rule, as there is one dominant party, the LDP. However, political scientists disagree, as the LDP tends to operate as a super-party with five distinct ideological factions that rise and fall in power; the largest minority party, the Komeito, rounds out the six)

So I don't think Brin is wrong to target moderate and philosophical conservatives, but you're never going to win over a "GO TEAM!" partisan of the right, and most moderates, libertarians and phi cons already washed their hands of the GOP several years ago. I would say, however, that the Obama "movement" may be in danger of scaring them back into the waiting arms of the seemingly more mature and sober McCain. Obama is going to have to learn to temper the messianic tendencies of his campaign if he wants to prevent his future administration from becoming as divisive as the last two have been. (Note: I say this all as an Obama supporter!)

Nicholas MacDonald (coming soon!)

Dave Rickey said...

@Marino: I know exactly the kind you're speaking of, it's a common thread through the fan base of Stirling, Drake, and others, hard-core members of what I refer to as "Team America" patriots, who are drawn to the "futuristic war porn" attributes of their writing.

For the most part, they're unreachable, Bush is an agressive militarist, McCain's a war hero, and they think any strategy that centers around stacking up bodies can fail only because it doesn't stack up *enough* bodies. They don't do negotiation or even realpolitik, and think anyone who does is a wimp, worthy only of contempt.

Travc said...

Since we are on the topic, I'd like to once more encourage people to read Bob Altemeyer's The Authoritarians

Altemeyer is a social scientist of the empirical sort who has developed some really good metrics and has lots and lots of interesting data. Marino (and others) may find it interesting that the modern study of Authoritarianism comes from a "can it happen here?" reaction to fascism. The answer, of course, is yes.

Sorry for repeatedly posting this link... well, no, I'm not really sorry. I really do think it is quite informative and important. Though I acknowledge and appreciate the indulgence of my repetition.

I'll add the link to The Separate Realities of Bush and Kerry Supporters again too...

In short, there are masses of people who really don't know what the hell is going on and provide the majority of the authoritarian base of support which criminals and really sick (borderline sociopathic IMO) people can easily exploit. Pretty scary actually.

Anonymous said...

@Dave Rickey

Stirling wrote his Draka novel as a cautionary tale, and a lot of his earlier fanbase moved away while he shifter, broadly speaking to the Left with his late works. (Maybe marketing reasons...)
If you need sci-fi writers pandering to the extreme rightist attitude look for some Baen authors.
Tom Kratman or John Ringo, frex.
(if you check their wikipedia entries you'll find links to free downloads, I'm not wasting any money on them and either they're boring or make you puke


This YouTube film sums Them, and us, all-up.


sociotard said...

WRT the justice department hiring issue:

One of the reasons given for change in hiring practices was that the repubs percieved an already existing liberal bias in the department and wanted to try to balance it out. And even when they did hire with ideological bias they didn't wholey exclude democrats, they just hired twice as many republicans. link 18 to 41

In a way, they're concerns with an existing liberal bias in the justice department may even kinda-sorta have some merit. The article said there were originally 61 Democrat applicants and 46 republican applicants. Even assuming there was no biased hiring during the Clinton administration, thats still 1/3 as many democrats being hired as republicans, just because the sample group (elite universities, highly educated people, etc.) tends to be more liberal.

Which would explain why the current administration saw an existing bias and decided to do something illegal to try to correct it.

I'm not defending Bush or his little friends mind you. I'm just trying to understand them for the sake of enlightened conversation. Similarly, Attorney General Michael Mukasey, a longtime republican, called the recent violations "impermissible and unacceptable". I understand that Dr. Brin wants a total wipeout of republcans in government, and this is why I disagree with him. Not all the Republicans in government supported this. I maintain that who a citizen supports in an election should be based soley on his opinion of that candidate, not on the letter next to the candidates name.

Boot said...

Because we do want the Republican Party destroyed. If you took your head out of the ground, you’d see they are BAD for many members of the party; certainly the country as a whole.

Take the values of people who vote R. Most of the values belong on the table due to the number of people that believe in them. I welcome conservative and religious-moral opinions to the table. I do NOT welcome the secrecy, theft, and hypocrisy that IS the Republican Intuition.

Only when I see a large number of Republicans leading the charge to restore responsibility and accountability, will I say they should continue to exist. Mostly I’m seeing from them… Hold the Line, Look at the Evil Ds.

David Brin said...

In fairness to "Baen authors", the heir of Baen's helm at Baen's UNIVERSE Magazine (highly recommended) is Eric Flint, whose 1632 Series is a big hit among the Baen/Drake fan communities. Yet, Flint himself is a died in the wool labor democrat. In an early scene (in 1632) when some guys from a West Virginia town save a beautiful woman from ravaging mercenaries with muskets, the hero says "Relax Ma'am, you are under the protection of the United Mine Workers of America."

Sociotard, I do not aim for elimination of all republicans from government. I aim for such a massive repudiation at the polls that the survivors accept a fundamental lesson, that the first Republican president was right. You cannot keep living as utter thieves and parasites, counting on fooling all the people, all the time.

Boot is right. Let them spend years in the wilderness, deciding what they stand for. I'll believe the party has changed when they decide to help us cull the liars, kleptos and bona fide traitors who have saddled conservatism like a horse and spurred it down paths of rape and pillage.

It's a tragedy, since a non-mutant conservatism -- one that actually likes small business, competition, efficiency, honesty, accountability, prudence, and other genuine values -- would be a tonic for America and the world.

JuhnDonn said...

Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff: Send. More. Troops!

"I don't have troops I can reach for, brigades I can reach to send into Afghanistan until I have a reduced requirement in Iraq," Mullen said. "Afghanistan remains an economy of force campaign, which by definition means we need more forces there. We have the ability in almost every single case to win from the combat standpoint, but we don't have enough troops there to hold. That is key to the future of being able to succeed in Afghanistan."

Sigh, the meat grinder is still open. And what sucks is that we could have done much better in Afghanistan, if we'd stayed focused on it. Wonder what the takes are by the alt-history writers? How would things be different if we'd done the job right?

Dave Rickey said...

Actually, I enjoy a lot of Ringo's writing, and I've actually hung out with him and his crew (including Kratman) at a few conventions. Yeah, they're a particularly pure strain of the breed.

Military themes appear in a lot more of Stirling's work than just the Draka series, however, I'd say the majority of his bibliography has military action either at the forefront, or as a secondary theme.

I *understand* where they're coming from, but I also recognize it as a horribly limited and self-stunting POV. There are a lot of complex problems that lend themselves to the alexandrian solution. There are a lot that do not, and once you commit yourself to using military force as the solution to all problems, you can't stop halfway.

The flip side of their position, the idea that every problem can be negotiated, is equally false, however. Trying to negotiate with those for whom "compromise" is a dirty word, something you accept only because you lack the strength to impose your will, does not get you anywhere.

David Brin said...

Last Chance fotr Gettysburg re-enactment tickets on July6!!!!

Seriously. At this point all you have to pay is the fedex!

Anybody know anybody who lives in that area?

What a pity....

Anonymous said...

Blogger David Brin said...

In fairness to "Baen authors", the heir of Baen's helm at Baen's UNIVERSE Magazine (highly recommended) is Eric Flint, whose 1632 Series is a big hit among the Baen/Drake fan communities.

Yet, Flint himself is a died in the wool labor democrat.
I'm honored to get answered by a writer I'm fond. Anyway,I daresay comrade Flint is a bit more on the left than "labor democrat" (one reason why I like him and his novels; the other is his support for free ebooks).

But the political subtext of some novels is scary: did you read Watch on the Rhine? where the only defence Europe has against the Posleen hordes are rejuvenated SS?

And, more scarier, it appeals at _American_ readers... maybe I'm reading too much from a too small and biased sample, but it looks like that the Culture Wars have succeeded in driving a wedge between your Right and the Enlightenment values.

Just a comparison with Italian politics: we had a leading journalist named Montanelli, who was a stalwart conservative, an "ostrich" and ended up supporting the Left against Berlusconi (who's shamelessy copying Rovean propaganda tactics and kleptocratic raids), but even with his prestige and authority, he didn't swing enough votes.

Anonymous said...

As long as we have a system that boils down to two contenders for the final race, negative campaigning will be profitable. When three or more credible candidates are on the ballot, the candidate with the most positives wins. The candidate who goes negative against another helps the candidate off to the side.

Note that putting more candidates on the ballot does not produce more than two credible candidates. We have a two-party system because we have plurality-take-all elections. When people get a choice of shrink-the-government candidates (Perot/Bush), the liberal wins. When they get a choice between liberal candidates (Nader/Gore) the conservative wins.

Range Voting would allow the voters to rationally choose between more than two alternatives. Range voting in Congress might reduce the need for many of the parliamentary rules which favor the ruling party and seniority.

Tyler August said...

About John Ringo:
I'm a Canadian social democrat (always vote NDP or Green, and look how well he portrayed greens in the book) but I loved Ringo's "Watch on the Rhine"
-- I didn't think the message, was, fundamentally, anti-enlightenment at its core. One line I remember is where Ringo points out that the Nazi fanatic and the green fanatic had essentially the same position.
To me, Ringo was exploring the more Nietzschean element of the Poulseen invasion==careful not to fight monsters, lest you become one. In one respect, it was monsters fighting monsters-- but the human monsters were entirely human, as of course the SS were. I liked the book.
The Poulseen are a problem which can't be solved with any solution but the Alexandrian. As were the Nazis. Such problems, do from time on time, crop up. Ringo and his ilk might actually do a service reminding us of that.
Full disclosure: my grandfather-in-law fought on the Eastern Front, I don't know how much that primed my perspective to enjoying the book. Since I never met the man before he passed away, and my father-in-law thinks I'm a socialist Satan, probably not much.

Re: n+1
Canada uses the first-past-the-post system: each district gets one MP, and we don't even elect an upper house. Yet there are 3 viable parties (politically on the left, center-left, and center-right), and several independents in parliament. Not much of an exception to your n+1 rule: only the 2 main parties have ever formed a government.
Re: negative campaigning versus #candidates
Races here are still between at least 3 (usually more) candidates, but there still gets to be a bit of mudslinging, especially in the more contested races. Not quite Rovian, but the Conservative Party (which is only a tad more Conservative than the Republicans in the US) have been accused of trying to bring in such tactics.
That's my two cents, anyway.

David Brin said...

I doubt any of the Drake/MilitarySF guys are "ostriches" in the sense that they need only a tug to lift their heads and see. Many are well-and-truly lost to the Enlightenment that they claim to defend. They are indignation junkies who see themselves as individualist and anti-authoritarian... while supporting the worst authoritarian attempted putsch against individualism and freedom in the history of the US republic.

Of course much of this can be blamed on liberals, for refusing to build bridges to the better side of conservatism, leaving that movement to be saddled, bridled and spurred by monsters. And, of course, true lefties (not to be confused with liberals) really do deserve some of the umbrage these MilSF guys stoke up. (Though lefties never threatened the republic the way it currently is, threatened by the insane right.)

Should anyone even bother approaching the milSF guys?

Emotionally I WANT to, because I actually share a lot of territory with them. I practice forms of survivalism, through CERT, Boy Scouts and lots of other activities. I have fired a weapon or two in my time and stripped/rebuilt an M-1 Garand blindfolded. I believe in the better side of Pax Americana (PA). And the better half did FAR more good for the world than the dark side of PA ever did harm.

The world should have stayed "unipolar" for another decade. We -- the planet and civilization -- would have been a lot better off.

Which is why I find it so frustrating that - drenched in the drug high of righteous indignation - these guys will not and cannot see what is blatantly obvious to the rest of us. That their "side" has betrayed both Pax Americana and America herself, to such a degree that the most plausible theory is that George W. Bush and Dick Cheney are utterly and 100% controlled by the Wahhabi clerics of Riyadh.

What? Implausible? Even paranoid? What irony! The same guys who would concoct convoluted conspiracy theories about Bill Clinton, NONE of which ever wound up supported by even a scintilla of real proof, cannot even begin to correlate:

The demolition of our alliances and US popularity (a key element behind Pax Americana -- and only drooling imbeciles would say otherwise)...

The near-utter destruction of the US Army, to the point where not even ONE brigade is trained and ready to actually defend our country. (ALL were ready under Clinton)...

The destruction of the reserves and Guard...

The fact that the one country that sent most of the hijackers, that supplies nearly all Jihadist mullahs and doctrines, and that has universally benefited from every Bushite position, happens also to be the top employer of every Bushite official who retires and then accepts a p[romised big payout for having sold us during his time in office... (led by a prince whose hand Bush holds and whom he calls uncle)...

But heck, what's the point? I'd refer these fellows to my "ostrich" manifesto and try to get them to ask themselves "what would I have said if Bill Clinton had..."

...and then showed them more than a hundred Bushite actions that could ONLY be explained by high treason... that is, if Bill Clinton had done 1% of it! Instead of their "side."

Like :

"What if Clinton had used taxpayer funds to lure hundreds of top noncoms OUT of a struggling US Army, into a private, secret, commercial armed force of mercenaries who answer only to a top radical-socialist-commie supporter of Bill Clinton, while signing documents to excuse that secret armed force from accountability to any US laws? Would that have triggered some paranoia? Now add Bill Clinton sending 12 billion dollars in RAW CASH into a war zone and conveniently "losing" most of it in places where the secret-leftwing army could just happen to pick it up?"

"If all that happened under Clinton... while Clinton's supporters got rich and the rest of America got poor, and the US Army and reserves went straight to hell, and we pushed away all our allies and destroyed US science and tore the country apart with "culture war".... would that have irked you? If Bill Clinton had done it?"

Oh, they'll get the point. But then dismiss it as a rant by some kind of pinko. Alas, since there ARE hardly any pinkos anymore, that is, outside of San Francisco and every literature department.

The sad part is that - despite their being fans of imaginative fiction, they will turn their heads away from the cognitive dissonance of realizing that the Bushites did ALL of these things, and vastly, vastly more.

They will turn their heads because human nature makes our brains veer. ALL of us, of all political stripes! (You too... and me.) Veering away from facts we find unpleasant. VERY FEW of us can turn our eyes toward dissonant realizations that we were wrong.

Instead, we concentrate all our creativity toward denial, justifying deeper and deeper commitments to the discredited path that has our emotional, irrational loyalty. Hey, it's what the commies did, long after adults should have realized Marxism did not work. The USSR kept going on sheer will power, beyond any logic or reason. Because of the power of denial. Like these guys.

Still, it's a pity. Pax Americana really was better than any other imperial pax. Arguably, it saved the world, and was needed for some time to come. The world wasn't ready, yet, to do without it, and we are all going to suffer, a lot, because the Pax was killed by an insane, rapacious, kleptocratic and treasonous right-wing putsch.

These fellows, who claim to support the American Peace, are actually part of the disease that killed it.

Unknown said...

>>while supporting the worst authoritarian attempted putsch against individualism and freedom in the history of the US republic.<<

You mean Clinton? or Obama?

Full Infinity Flame said...

t, he's talking about Bush, and you aren't being clever.

David Brin said...

No, but he is being consistent. We have been ruled by schoolyard bully-putzes who gave wedgies to all us smart guys, protected by their daddies' money and the impervious logic of "Nyah!"

Point out to them that the Bushites have ruthlessly controlled the FBI & Justice and the Courts and Congress for all the 21st Century... and a BILLION dollars wasted on anti-Clinton witch hunts... yet never managed to put EVEN ONE Clinton era official in jail for actual malfeasance in office?


Point out that despite controlling Justice, politicizing the US prosecutors & FBI controlling the news and courts, Bushite officials are dropping like flies? Does that mean anything?


Point out that Scores and scores of Bushite officials who were put in charge of defending the US left office to IMMEDIATELY take lavish bonus-"consultancies" for Saudi Arabia?


Ask them to name one Bush policy that EVER went against the interests of the one nation that financed and provided most of the 9/11 hijackers... and who now hold us by the throat over oil?

Yup. It's Nyah!

For the first time in US history, the rich have refused to help pay for a war that their guy fomented. Well, Bush's rich. The internet rich are saying "tax us! If we're at war, ask us all to sacrifice to win! Stop throwing our kids into debt!"

The correlations are so extreme, you'd think SOME of the right-nutters would notice basic facts. Like the demonstrable and absolutely huge fact that the economy, stock market, small businesses, startups, competition, technological advancement and security all do vastly better under democrats. So do the budget, trade, and government efficiency.

They can Nyah! till the stars go out. But it won't change those facts. Yet they fume and foam at Al Gore, despite the fact that he's the only man since the Great Depression who actually reduced the federal non-defense payroll,omon reducing the size of government... which they supposedly want.

When you get right down to it, I am fed up. I write pretty good action SF and I've done ROTC. I came THIS close to being one of Rickover's boys - the elite of all elites. I never actually served, but I've proved my loyalty to those who do and I defy any of those armchair galactic warriors to call me anything but a patriot.

But this phase of the Enlightenment needs brains and flexibility and common sense, not blustering overcompensation for small cojones. George Marshall laid down the plan that defeated Stalinism and it WASN'T bluster.

It was brains. Flexibility, perception, agility and taking the moral high ground. But, above all, brains.

Anonymous said...

Funny thing is, the far right HATES McCain - "too liberal", "too willing to cooperate with Dems", "too Green", "soft on illegal immigration", etc. They're barely willing to vote for him.

I suspect the only reason they aren't actively opposing him, is that they figure that he'll lose, and they can scapegoat him as "too liberal" in order to regain control of the party in 2012.

David Brin said...

Note the pattern guys. Every single indictment that I have just hurled at the neocons is in terms that a conservative ought to agree with. Almost none of it was touchy-feely or liberal. Even morality was only raised in practical terms, since an America that is perceived as moral and that is well-liked winds up being more influential and, yes, powerful.

This is how you get in the faces of these guys.

Here's another.

Presidents have been undergoing colonoscopies, like the rest of us over-fifty guys, for the last three or four decades. Only George W. Bush was such a wimp that he asked to be put out! Under general anesthesia. Rather than face the discomfort. And don't underplay it. The white House didn't, when they made a big deal of handing power over to Dick Cheney.

Mr. Macho... riiiiiight.

Sorry. It's immature, but so are the guys we're talking to! They want it to be based on nyah? Okay, I can out-nyah them any day. And design better weapons, too. Bunch of overcompensating camo-wearing wussies.

It's by their own standards that they fall apart. And I have no pity. They have aided and abetted high treason.

Unknown said...

Oh the Irony.

'Indignation Junky', that is such an appropriate term.

Ill give you that shrub, and his cohorts, suck. That they havent been friendly to the individual rights of anyone. But in a few months they are history.

But the 'Cult of Obama' is just as bad.

Those on the left claim that those that disagree are the worse thing since Hitler, or Stalin. Same for those on the right.

Ostriches to the Right, Ostriches to the Left.

Both sides have their heads shoved into something, I am pretty sure it is not sand though.

The Bi-partisan screwing the Constitution has received in the last couple of decades should have us angry at both sides. But both sides have played their hands well. They win. We lose.

So what are we left with?

McCain, a man with a core, who doesnt know what he is doing.

Obama, a man without a core, who KNOWS what he is doing.

Which is worse?

David McCabe said...

> Okay, I can out-nyah them any day.

I can't. I have yet to manage to get through more than four what-ifs with a single ostrich, and I haven't thought of a good reply to 'nyah'. I think I've mentioned it before and it's good to see you've noticed the 'nyah' problem with your strategy. Any pointers? How to conjure up one of those amazing fits of rage you're capable of?

David Brin said...

Notice what "t" does. He has absolutely no evidence. He simply makes an outrageous and totally untrue generalization about liberals and leftists (conflating these TOTALLY different creatures) and expects the Big Lie to mean "both sides suck."

Only dig it. Bush et al do not simply "suck". They have totally, relentlessly and perhaps deliberately destroyed Pax Americana, our economy, our military readiness, our trust in our institutions, while skyrocketing secrecy, trashing the economy and igniting us in culture war. Oh, and commited repeated outright treason.

Clinton did NONE of these things, not even remotely.

Nor is there a scintilla of evidence that Obama would.

"They're all the same" is a last refuge of denial. Get over it.

Dig it, I know very little about Obama. I have questions. And when I ask them I am NEVER called "Hitler." If you have, then you are either asking digbats (all sides have them) or else asking really nasty questions.

I have questions about Obama. But I'll tell you two things:

1) There is nothing bad in plain sight, other than wretched vicious and baseless rumors


2) All we really need is an administration that will appoint 5,000 adults to positions that the neocons filled with crooks! Dig it, I don't need ambitious legislation from him. What I need is for the Civil Service, the FBI and the Justice Dept and the US military Officer Corps to be allowed to do their jobs!

No. Denial and Nyah don't work. I don't sing Obama hosannahs and he ain't the 2nd coming. But he is American and honest and the men and women (dems and goppers) who follow him into office will be adults. amen.

Anonymous said...

David Brin said...

Many (of the Drake/MilitarySF guys)nk are well-and-truly lost to the Enlightenment that they claim to defend.

the real issue is that they don't claim to defend the Enlightenment: they see it as the root of the "secular transnazional progressivism" evil they hate like in 1984 Party members hated Emmanuel Goldstein.
I had to dispute (ain't it funny?) with guys (polite, articulate and with whom we exchange Xmas cards) who support that the real roots of the US are in the First Great Awakening and the Enlightenment of the Framers was just a thin veneer added just because of fashion. (and the guy isn't RR)

and D. said :
They are indignation junkies who see themselves as individualist and anti-authoritarian...

IMHO those elements have been morphed into something else, Borg-like: the shape is Picard, the software is Locutus.
Now, I don't want to beat Zorgon *grin* for post lenght, but somehow this "fringe" creates memes and what Gramsci called "common sense", the blogosphere amplifies it until it's taken by mainstream media and said anti-Enlightenment discourse becomes hegemonic in the whole Right, making the "ostrich" strategy somewhat difficult.

Unknown said...

>>Only dig it. Bush et al do not simply "suck". They have totally, relentlessly and perhaps deliberately destroyed Pax Americana, our economy, our military readiness, our trust in our institutions, while skyrocketing secrecy, trashing the economy and igniting us in culture war. Oh, and commited repeated outright treason.

Clinton did NONE of these things, not even remotely.<<

Clinton's retreats, and his 'send a few impotent missiles' did just as much to destroy the budding pax Americana, as bush's idiocy and ineptitude.

Clinton instituted policy's that lead to Enron, to the dot-com bubble. Bush perpetuated it.

The vaunted 'budget surplus' is as much a product of Newt as it was Bill.

Clinton made huge cuts in the military. Bush has failed to change the course of the military and has seriously damaged the core of it, something that will take years to recover from.

Clinton's Justice Department waged war on the FBI (Reno and Freeh), and vice versa. Bush has so destroyed sections of the Constitution (with the aid of both parties in congress I will add) that they are probably gone forever.

Clinton's presidency created huge numbers of secrets, which are still held secret by the present administration. Huge sections are redacted out of the Clinton records in his library. Bush has refused to remove the 'executive privilege' over those documents, and has even increased the time limits that those documents (and his) will be held in secret.

Bush being worse, does not mean that Clinton wasnt bad.

A Pox on both their houses.

But that does not matter, all that is history, or will be very soon.


I didnt say people were being called 'hitler' for asking questions (even though I am sure there are people that will). I was using a bit of hyperbole, based on your description of the bush administration as the "the worst authoritarian attempted putsch against individualism and freedom in the history of the US republic." My 'hitler/stalin' comments were directed at the comity, or lack there of, of the discourse between the left and the right. Each side sees the other as the devil incarnate. You know what? They might both correct.

As for Obama.

Be wary, for if he finds you a discomfort to his ambition he might toss you under the bus, same as he did his dear old Grandma, Rev Wright, Wesley Clark (ok ok, from personal experience he probably needed to be tossed under a bus), etc.

And for Mr Obama's honesty and things being in plain sight, I just look at what he has said in the past week on:

free trade
gun control

And compare it to what he has said in the past 6 months, or 6 years.

I will say it this way, from what little I can gleam of Obama's core (from his legislative history in both Illinois and the US Senate, not the idiocy that floats around the internet) he is not a liberal.

Liberals, those that believe in liberty, and as you put it Enlightenment, are a dying breed in the government.

As to conflating of leftists and liberals, where did I refer to liberals?

I originally posted a small jab, because I found your post decrying 'indignation junkies' to be ironic. Struck me as a discussion between the pot and the kettle.

Sorry if I struck a nerve.

BTW- DR Brin, I agree with this:

>>But this phase of the Enlightenment needs brains and flexibility and common sense, not blustering overcompensation for small cojones. George Marshall laid down the plan that defeated Stalinism and it WASN'T bluster.

It was brains. Flexibility, perception, agility and taking the moral high ground. But, above all, brains.<<

So we are closer than you imagine.

On the day we celebrate a time when enlightenment won over the darkness, I wish you a Happy 4th.

"A republic, if you can keep it." -Ben Franklin

Boot said...

I find it a little refreshing that you credit Newt rather than the Republican Party for the Balanced Budget. The Republican Party has consistently proven to be growers of National Government & National Debt over the last 30 years. They are absolutely horrible for the country. At least you are trying to give credit to one man rather than the party. I do not support you in this, but it shows some basis in a potential reality.

Cuts in the Military Spending during the Clinton years were only natural with the fall of the Soviet Union.

You acquire Liberty by Economic Success not by lack of Government. The wolves will bring you down in small nibbles without its projection.

Anonymous said...

Happy 4th of July all. Oh, except Marino I suppose, might be the 5th in Italy pretty quick.

Marino, I do not think you will see "squadrismo" in the US (correct term?). With a few deranged McVeigh exceptions we conservatives respect the institutions too much.

Don't equate O'Reilly and company with real conservative thought. They are essentially performing monkeys, who will imitate higher sapient behavior or throw feces, whichever gains them more monkey snacks.

"t", I think you are new here. Keep the posts shorter if you can.

Regards MilSciFi, I have picked up several of the books mentioned, read a few of them. Its sort of a guilty pleasure. Most are not well done, a few are. Like Twinkies, a steady diet of them would not be good for you.

Now, everybody down to the beach or out to the barbeque. We can all be partisan tomorrow.


David Brin said...

“t” continues to make assertions that are astonishingly counterfactual.

“Clinton's retreats, and his 'send a few impotent missiles' did just as much to destroy the budding pax Americana, as bush's idiocy and ineptitude. “

Except, of course, that the Balkans intervention was the most “perfect war” we have ever fought. Applying the Powell Doctrine and excruciating diplomacy, we patiently waited for the Europeans to get their act together, then built a consensus behind us and applied overwheling if surgical force, achieving all goals swiftly (a Europe at peace for the 1st time in 4,000 years) at low colateral cost and ZERO US LIVES LOST, then following a swift exit strategy... ending with American prestige and leadership enhanced, our budget and readiness and morale untouched, and a reputation for invincibility that is worth divisions.

All of these doctrines were followed in Afghanistan because the Afgh operation was entirely planned by Clinton’s Pentagon. Bush only had time to say “go!” to plans already in place. Proof: Osama bin Laden knew of the plans. He had seen our special forces on the ground, meeting with Massoud, the Uzbeks, the Tadjiks. bin Laden assassinated Massoud the day before 9/11 in order to weaken the coiled and ready response.

But the real proof is simple. The doctrines used in Afgh were diametrically opposite to everything Rumsfeld did in Iraq. Evry single aspect, down to relentless meddling in military matters by clueless, draft-dodging politicians... something senior officers have NEVER accused Bill Clinton of doing.

“t’ writhes and rationalizes, on and on and never cites a single datum, ever. NOT ONE Clinton official is ever indicted for malfeasance of office, despit a billion dollar witch hunt? Nyah! A huge fact, canceled by an ASSERTION that the Clintonites were just as bad as Bushes. * An ASSERTION of a war against the FBI. (My friends in the agency laugh at this and are all voting Obama.) * An ASSERTION of Clintonite secrecy, even though the GAO statistically showed that he cut secrecy in half, while Bushites sent it skyrocketing.

Oh, the writhing! Wes Clark has been “thrown under a bus” because Obama says “I disagreed with that”.... ooog... I am NOT gonna talk to this guy anymore....

"t" you seem a bright guy and share values with us and are DEFINITELY welcome here. But get a sense of scale. GW Bush did more "character revealing" actions in his brutal and vicious fraternity pranks than you will find across the entire span of Obama's life.

Unknown said...

Unfortunately for t, this forum isn't a sinkhole of name-calling like, where blog topics like "Modern Liberalism Kills A Baby Boy" represent the mild end of the rhetorical spectrum. On this forum, you're going to have to provide evidence to back up your claims if you want to be taken seriously.

T claims "...the 'Cult of Obama' is just as bad." Please provide evidence that anyone in the Obama campaign has said anything comparable to New Gingrich's 1999 claim:

"I want to say to the elite of this country - the elite news media,the liberal academic elite, the liberal political elite: I accuse you in Littleton, and I accuse you in Kosovo of being afraid to talk about the mess you have made, and being afraid to take responsibility for things you have done, and instead foisting upon the rest of us pathetic banalities because you don't have the courage to look at the world you have created."
-- Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich

The left equivalent would be something like this:

I want to say to the Fortune 500 of this country -- the wealthy elite, the economic elite, the conservative political elite: I accuse you in the serial killings of the BTK Killer, and I accuse you in the TImothy McVeigh bombing of the Murraugh Federal Building of being afraid to talk about the mess you have made, and being afraid to take responsibility for things you have done, and instead foisting upon the rest of us pathetic free-market banalities because you don't have the courage to look at the world you have created."

Please provide evidence, t, showing that any liberal anywhere (much less any member of the Obama campaign) has ever made that kind of claim about any conservative, or you will stand revealed as a liar and a character assassin.

Since t claims that "the `Cult of Obama' is just as bad" as the worst excesses of the right over the past few years, please provide evidence that anyone in the Obama campaign has suggested murdering conservatives, as Ann Coulter suggested liberals be murdered, in order to intimidate them:

"We need to execute people like John Walker in order to physically intimidate liberals, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors." -- Ann Coulter

The left equivalent would be something like this:

"We need to execute people like William Kristol in order to physically intimidate conservatives, by making them realize that they can be killed, too. Otherwise, they will turn out to be outright traitors."

Please provide evidence, t, showing that any liberal anywhere (much less any member of the Obama campaign) has ever made that kind of claim about any conservative, or you will stand revealed as a liar and a character assassin.

Since t claims that "the `Cult of Obama' is just as bad" as the cult of people like Rush Limbaugh and Michelle Malkin, please provide evidence that any liberal has suggested we should identify liberal opponents of warrantless surveillance and/or Arab-Americans and lock them up in internment camps, as we did to Japanese-American citizens during WW II.

The left equivalent would be something like this:

"We need to get the average man on the street to identify conservatives so we can isolate them in concentration camps. What FDR did to Japanese-Americans during WW II was a good thing, and we need to do it to Arab-Americans and conservatives today."

Please provide evidence, t, showing that any liberal anywhere (much less any member of the Obama campaign) has ever made that kind of claim about any conservative, or you will stand revealed as a liar and a character assassin.

Moving on, t claimed "Those on the left claim that those that disagree are the worse thing since Hitler, or Stalin."

Instapundit darling Dean Esmay has publicly called for the execution by hanging of the New York Times reporters who broke the story about this maladministration's warantless wiretaps:

When I say "treason" I don't mean it in an insulting or hyperbolic way. I mean in a literal way: we need to find these 21st century Julius Rosenbergs, these modern day reincarnations of Alger Hiss, put them on trial before a jury of their peers, with defense counsel. When they are found guilty, we should then hang them by the neck until the are dead, dead, dead.
No sympathy. No mercy. Am I angry? You bet I am. But not in an explosive way. Just in the same seething way I was angry on 9/11.
These people have endangered American lives and American security. They need to be found, tried, and executed. -- Dean Esmay

The left equivalent would be something like this:

When I say "treason" I don't mean it in any insulting or hyperbolic way. I mean [sic] in a literal way: we need to find these 21st century Eichmanns among the conservative movement, these modern day reincarnations of Patrick Henry who work at the Wall Street Journal, put them on trial before a jury of their peers, with defense counsel. When they are found guilty, we should then hand them by the neck until the [sic] are dead, dead, dead.
No sympathy. No mercy. Am I angry? You bet I am. But not in an explosive way. Just in the same seething way I was angry when I read about the Nuremberg Trials.
These conservative reporters in the Wall Street Journal and the National Standard have endangered American liberties and the American constitution. They need to be found, tried, and executed."

Please provide evidence, t, showing that any liberal anywhere (much less any member of the Obama campaign) has ever made that kind of claim about any conservative, or you will stand revealed as a liar and a character assassin.

The fact remains, t, that while people on the left despise what the current maladministration have done to the constitution and the American people, people on the left don't run around publicly calling for the murder of their political opponents. But people on the right do.

The fact remains that while people on the left are angry about what the money stolen and the U.S. military lives squandered by the criminals in the White House in the process of enriching their corrupt cronies, people on the left don't publicly rhapsodize about crushing their political opponents with an armored D9 Caterpiller bulldozer. People on the left don't have pizza-thons to celebrate the deaths of their political opponents. They don't proclaim "it's a pity...[she] can only be crushed to death once."
But people on the right do.

Please provide evidence showing that members of the Obama campaign have held pizza-thons to celebrate the deaths of people with whom they politically disagree, or you will stand revealed as a liar and a character assassin.

This blog article by Digby sums up the difference between the right wing hate speech and the mild statements made by left wing commentators.

Digby asks "How How many hateful liberal books accusing Republicans of treason...are there out there?" THe remarkable fact remains that I can't name a single one. Not one.

Right wingers regularly call their political opponents traitors and publicly clamor for their execution, often by excrutiatingly painful torture -- for example, on comment thread on Little Green Footballs (a far right hate site) for the murder of liberals by sawing their heads off with a bowie knife, shortly after the Daniel Pearl video hit the internet, as commentators gleefully suggested on Pam Atlas' right-wing hate blog.

...The market for accusing political opposition of capital crimes, indulging in fantasies about their extinction and musing about how someone should be killed as a way of sending a message to others has leaned heavily on the right wing side of the equation for decades.
Which liberal radio stars are given 250 million dollar contracts to talk every day about how liberals are in cahoots with al Qaeda or indulge in hate-filled rants about hurricane victims and gays? None? Right.
Which liberal TV News nework features an exclusive line-up of outwardly liberal pundits who publicly accuse conservatives of giving aid and comfort to the enemy? None? Check. -- Digby

There is some intense rhetoric from the left...but it doesn't revolve around fantasies of murdering conservatives. It involves calls for an end to public hate speech by the right wing, as in this classic, Cries from the lake of fire from daily kos.

If you don't realize that there's a clear provable difference between the constant screams of "traitor" and continual calls for murdering their political opponents by right wing commentators, and the mild criticisms offered by people on the left, you're not paying attention, t. Re-read the daily kos article again, then compare it with Rush Limbaugh gloating over the news that liberals have been taken prisoner by Muslim insurgents, or Ann Coulter's public calls for supreme court justices with whom she disagrees to be murdered by rat poison.

T goes on to assert:

So what are we left with?
McCain, a man with a core, who doesnt know what he is doing.
Obama, a man without a core, who KNOWS what he is doing.
Which is worse?

So McCain is "a man with a core"? Which core is that, t?

Do you mean McCain's lifelong opposition to Roe v. Wade? Or are you talking about McCain's repeated public statements that he was "pro-life" in 1999 and "did not support the repeal of Roe v Wade"?

Which of McCain's "core" beliefs are to talking about, t? His "core" belief in 2008 that we must repeal Roe v Wade....or his "core" belief in 1999 that we must not repeal Roe v Wade?

I'm really curious about which of McCain's position you consider his "core," t, because I'm confused here -- I'm can't tell whether the John McCain who said in 2002 that Pat Robertson was "an agent of intolerance," or the 2008 John McCain who has cozied up to Pat Robertson and publicly lauds him?

When you say McCain has a "core," t, which core is that, exactly? Is McCain's "core" his assertion that "we should spend more on defense" in a November 2007 issue of Foreign Affairs magazine, or McCain's claim in 2008 that we must cut defense spending to balance the budget?

Which position is McCain's "core," t? Is it his public tongue-lashing of right-wing wealthy campaign contributors Sam and Charles Wyly as "corrupt"? Or is McCain's "core" his plea for Sam dn Charles Wyly to give money to his 2008 campaign?
"In 2000, McCain accused Texas businessmen Sam and Charles Wyly of being corrupt, spending “dirty money” to help finance Bush’s presidential campaign. McCain not only filed a complaint against the Wylys for allegedly violating campaign finance law, he also lashed out at them publicly. In April, McCain reached out to the Wylys for support."

As Steven Benen points out:

Now is the time to begin characterizing McCain — accurately — as a man with no principle beliefs. Dems should not only criticize McCain’s constantly evolving opinions on nearly everything, they should openly mock him for it now, so that the storyline becomes second nature (like the GOP did with “serial exaggerator” Al Gore).

Meanwhile, t claims that "Obama...[is] a man without a core."


As the first black president of the Harvard Law Review, Obama had his pick of top law firms. He chose Miner's Chicago civil rights firm, where he represented community organizers, discrimination victims and black voters trying to force a redrawing of city ward boundaries.

Please provide evidence, t, that taking a low-paid civil rights job instead of a cushy 6-figure-starting-salary corporate law job straight out of Harvard Law School shows us that Obama is a "a man without a core," or stand revealed as a liar and a character assassin.

Okay. Let's summarize:

T's claims that liberal hate speech is even remotely comparable to the repeated calls for torture and murder and execution of liberals by conservatives are provably false;

T's claims that "the Obama camp is just as bad" as the sociopathic behavior of the right-wing is provably false;

T's claims that McCain is "a man with a core" are provably false;

T's claim that Obama is "a man without a core" is provably false.

So what's left?

Has t made even a single claim that holds up under the briefest scrutiny?

Of course not.

T has no evidence, no facts, no logic, no history, no reality-based grounds to back up any of his vacuous claims. Instead, like most conservatives, he has indulged in baseless finger-pointing, empty name-calling, hysterical guilt by association, and frenzied efforts to muddy the waters.

That's not going to get you anywhere on a forum like this, t. This isn't or Little Green Footballs. When you make a claim on this forum, you must provide logic and evidence to back 'em up, or everyone will simply laugh at you and stop paying attention.

Unknown said...

Let's start off with the good news:

The masses clamor for mass transit.
The people are way ahead of the politicians on this...

Yes, Virginia, the free market actually does work. Look for lots more funding of public transit soon as the $100 fill-up shocks gas-guzzling SUV owners.

And now some spectacular new developments in nanotechnology:

Nanopaper made of gently processed natural cellulose nanofibers is found to have remarkable strength; it has a tensile strength almost equaling that of structural steel.
Lars Berglund from the Swedish Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden found that the mechanical processes used to pulp wood damages the natural fibers, weakening them. Berglund developed a process to extract the fibers, keeping their properties intact.
The secret to the nanopaper's performance is not only the strength of the undamaged cellulose fibres, but also they way they are arranged into networks. Although strongly bound together, they are still able to slip and slide over each other to dissipate strains and stresses.


Sounds like an ideal superstrong yet superlight and ultra-cheap construction material, eh? Perhaps for these solar- and biofuel-powered airships...?

And in other nanotech news, UC Berkeley Center for Nanomaterials scientists have created a fully functional radio out of a single carbon nanotube.

We have constructed a fully functional, fully integrated radio receiver, orders-of-magnitude smaller than any previous radio, from a single carbon nanotube. The single nanotube serves, at once, as all major components of a radio: antenna, tuner, amplifier, and demodulator. Moreover, the antenna and tuner are implemented in a radically different manner than traditional radios, receiving signals via high frequency mechanical vibrations of the nanotube rather than through traditional electrical means. We have already used the nanotube radio to receive and play music from FM radio transmissions such as Layla by Eric Clapton (Derek and the Dominos) and the Beach Boy's Good Vibrations. The nanotube radio's extremely small size could enable radical new applications such as radio controlled devices small enough to exist in the human bloodstream, or simply smaller, cheaper, and more efficient wireless devices such as cellular phones.

Marino's experience with the fringe lunatic right proves discouraging, but remember that these people remain the most visible because they shriek the loudest. There exist plenty of sane sensible conservatives intent on rescuing their movement from the sociopaths who've hijacked it. For example, the conservative author of this article calling for a wholesale transformation of conservative journalism.

Poorest citizens in India must pay bribes to get basic services like running water, electricity or police protection.

Spoiled wealthy people in the first world (and if you own a TV and a car, you're wealthy compared to the third world) wail and moan about how tough their lives have become now that oil prices have risen and the economy has taken a downturn. Well, guess again, buckaroos. No matter how bad things have gotten for you in America, you still don't need to bribe the local waterworks to keep your tap running.

If you read that absurdly overblown article from the Vancouver Sun, you'll discover that "the collapse...of civilization's golden era" more cheap vacation flights to Bermuda. And no more gas-guzzling trips to Yosemite. Excuse me, this is the end of civilization? Get a grip, people.

"The science fiction movie Holy Grail has appeared: the missing sections of Fritz Lang's Metropolis turned up in Buenos Aires. We can finally see what the classic gynoid-led worker uprising movie is really about. Up to a quarter of the movie has been missing since it was butchered for its early screenings in 1927, leaving huge gaps in the movie's storyline and logical jumps that make no sense."

Mathematicians team up with epidemiologists to use network theory together with ubicomp surveillance to more effectively combat pandemics.

Researchers are now proposing a new strategy for targeting shots that could, at least in theory, stop a pandemic from spreading along the network of social interactions.Vaccinating selected people is essentially equivalent to cutting out nodes of the social network. As far as the pandemic is concerned, it’s as if those people no longer exist. The team’s idea is to single out people so that immunizing them breaks up the network into smaller parts of roughly equal sizes. Computer simulations show that this strategy could block a pandemic using 5 to 50 percent fewer doses than existing strategies, the researchers write in an upcoming Physical Review Letters.

New viral research sparks hope for a herpes cure.

And cognitive researchers come up witha neurobiological explanation for intuition that may help improve learning.

And now for the not-so-good news...

Wild hubris from the idiots who run the U.S. military:

``They will not close it,'' Lieutenant Nate Christensen said in a telephone interview today from Bahrain, where the fleet is based. ``The Strait of Hormuz is vital international waters.'' Vice Admiral Kevin Cosgriff, Fifth Fleet commander, made similar remarks to reporters in Bahrain today, Christensen said."


Military analysts Martin Van Creveld and William S. Lind have noted that the dominant theme of the early 21st century is the disintegration of the nation-state and the rise of a new medievalism. Van Creveld and Lind have called this "the new medievalism," pointing out that as nations have lost the confidence of their own citizens, they have progressively lost their legitimacy and are now breaking up into smaller political, economic and social units. We see this process at work both abroad and at home. It's become especially visible in Iraq as the so-called "coalition" (read: puppet American) government in the Green Zone has completely lost the confidence of the Iraqi people, it has consequently lost its legitmacy altogether, with the result that Iraq is now fracturing into three smaller political units -- the independent Kurds in the north, who have in effect created their own state in all but name (it's illegal by law to fly the Iraqi flag in Kurdistan, since the Kurds don't even recognize it as legitimate), the embattled Sunnis, and the Shia who are now taking control of Baghdad and the southern half of Iraq. War Nerd Gary Brecher offers an excellent discussion of developments in Iraq in this recent article. Meanwhile, America is rapidly losing the confidence of its own citizens:

Austin's police chief has a new idea to draw your blood if you refuse a Breathalyzer test.
Austin Police Department Chief Art Acevedo is hoping to start the program this year with a federal grant. It would train his DWI officers to take you to jail and get a search warrant for your blood.
"My intent in the future is to make it so there is no such thing as a refusal. You can refuse all you want, but we are going to aggressively seek search warrants," said Acevedo.
The search warrant would give an officer the right to stick a needle in your arm to get a blood alcohol level, replacing the job of a jail nurse.


Why not just dress the police in high leather boots and peaked KGB caps and break down the doors of citizens who drink too much and throw 'em in gulags without a trial? If America is going to act like the Soviet Union, they might as well go all the way.

The 10 most awesomely bad moments of the Bush Presidency. Raising the question...exactly what is the United States government good for?

It doesn't clean up after natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, it no longer funds basic science research, its much-vaunted army can't even defeat a bunch of 15-year-old boys armed with AK-47s in a third world hellhole, it certainly can't reduce drug usage among its own citiznery, to the point where states are now rebelling outright against the insane federal "war on drugs" (AKA war on the bill of rights), the U.S. government can't even keep its interstate highways from crumbling and prevent its bridges from collapsing...or, for that matter, even protect its own citizens Mexican Army killers hired by the Mexican drug cartels.

So what is the federal government good for?

Apparently, only sending DEA SWAT teams to handcuff terminal cancer patients who toke weed while confined to their wheelchairs. When that's all your government does for you, you don't need it.

When something becomes useless, people tend to ignore it. That's what's happening to the federal government in America, with results spelled out by Jim Kunstler, who calls it "The Long Emergency," and the Canadians (who are now pointing out that if you want the American Dream, you have to move to Canada).

The ultima thule toward which these trends converge has been explicated by Dr. Phil WIlliams of the Strategic Studies Institute in his pithy book From the New Middle Ages To A New Dark Age: The Decline Of the State and U.S. Strategy.

Frederick Kagan summarizes the catastrophic failure misnamed the U.S. military:

From the standpoint of establishing a good peace it matters a great deal how, exactly, one defeats the enemy and what the enemy’s country looks like at the moment the bullets stop flying. The U.S. has developed and implemented a method of warfare that can produce stunning military victories but does not necessarily accomplish the political goals for which the war was fought.
If these two wars represented merely isolated cases or aberrations from the mainstream of military and political developments in the U.S., then the study of this problem would be of primarily academic interest. That is not the case. The entire thrust of the current program of military transformation of the U.S. armed forces, on the contrary, aims at the implementation and perfection of this sort of target-set mentality. Unless the direction and nature of military transformation change dramatically, the American public should expect to see in the future many more wars in which U.S. armed forces triumph but the American political vision fails.
(..) In sum, Army transformation has taken the same path as the rest of defense transformation, focusing on the rapid identification and destruction of targets from great distances at the expense of the capabilities needed to mingle with the local population and enemy military forces safely and effectively in a complex peacekeeping or transitional environment. The rest of the transformation program is developing in such a way as to value stand-off weapons over the employment of any ground forces at all. The flaws in Army transformation may thus become irrelevant because of the larger flaws inherent in defense transformation overall.


Dr. Brin has described our top military leaders and smart and well-educated. Judging by their work product, the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Review, I think it's fair to say that our top military are demented, brain-damaged, a group of ignorant imbeciles, or simply insane.

Here are the goals identified for the U.S. military by the 2006 QDR:

# Shifting from responsive actions toward early, preventive measures and increasing the speed of action to stop problems from becoming confl icts or crises.
TRANSLATION: More unprovoked wars of aggression by the United States. There's a word to describe this military policy: INSANE.

# Increasing the freedom of action of the United States and its allies and partners in meeting the security challenges of the 21st century.
TRANSLATION: Ignore all recognized international law.

# Minimizing costs to the United States while imposing costs on adversaries, in particular by sustaining America’s scientifi c and technological advantage over potential competitors.
TRANSLATION: More superweapons, fewer troops.

To operationalize the strategy, the Department’s senior civilian and military leaders identified four priorities as the focus of the QDR:

* Defeating terrorist networks.

TRANSLATION: Make America the world's policeman -- for an unlimited and ever-expanding list of bogus non-crimes. U.S. customs goons already illegally confiscate laptops at the border for alleged "pornography," so the mission creep has already slid downhill from stopping terrorists to patrolling peoples' hard drives for porno.

"I was assured that my laptop would be given back to me in 10 or 15 days," said Udy, who continues to fly into and out of the United States. She said the federal agent copied her log-on and password, and asked her to show him a recent document and how she gains access to Microsoft Word. She was asked to pull up her e-mail but could not because of lack of Internet access. With ACTE's help, she pressed for relief. More than a year later, Udy has received neither her laptop nor an explanation.

Soon, we'll have U.S. soldiers conducting urban assault sweeps with armored personnel carriers and 20 mm gatling guns to confiscate junk food that's overly fattening...

* Defending the homeland in depth.
TRANSLATION: Turn the united states into a militarized martial-law police state.

* Shaping the choices of countries at strategic crossroads.
TRANSLATION: Assassinate foreign leaders, and invade foreign countries if we don't like their foreign policy.

* Preventing hostile states and non-state actors from acquiring or using WMD.
TRANSLATION: Waste our time trying to prevent the spread of technology. If there was ever a futile doomed mission, this is it -- especially when you realize that "weapons of mass destruction" includes things like DNA sequencing technology.

Even a superficial study of the 2006 Quadrennial Defense Reviews results in the conclusion that the Pentagon brass who authored this document must be either insane or drunk or brain-damaged. It's a recipe for the destruction of American society, the bankrupting of the American economy, and the collapse of America's standing throughout the world.

Of course our top military people are not idiots nor are they demented, they've just scented a huge gravy train, and they're salivating to poke their snouts in the public trough. The staggering size of America's current military expenditures has twisted our entire society out of shape, and the money gusher continues to spurt -- 1.3 trillion dollars on cumulative U.S. military spending this year alone.

David Brin said...

--- Russ Daggatt wrote: ''[Osama bin Laden] said at one point that he wants> oil to be $144 a barrel'' -- about six times what it> sells for now.>

Alas, I still think many people miss the core sequence of events from 9/11, so I am going to offer a quirky, off-angle perspective here. It isn't comprehensive. But it points out some under-appreciated factors.

1. Almost immediately upon entering office, President Bush re-assigns federal resources away from terrorism into finding the smoking gun for crimes committed by the Clinton White House. Given that no such crimes related to actual malfeasance of office were ever found, even once, and given what the diverted resources might have prevented (the 9/11 attacks), this is a severely under-reported scandal.

2. The attacks occur and, while Americans are forbidden to fly, all rish and well-connected co-nationals of the hijackers are whisked out of the country in luxury, without ever being questioned. Again, seldom mentioned.

3. What did Osama hope to achieve? Consider, his salad/glory days were spent humbling one superpower in the mountains of Afghanistan (suckled by U.S. arms and a rabid neocon movement.) He surely knew we would counter-attack against the Taliban regime. Under, Clinton, US Special Forces were spotted all over the country, setting up liaisons and connections with Tadjik and Uzbek leaders. Indeed, OBL arranged for the Northern Alliance leader, Massoud, to be assassinated the very day before 9/11. Psychologically, it is trivial to see that the core aim of the 9/11 hijacking was to draw America into the killing grounds of the Kush, where Al Qaeda had helped make the Soviets howl.

Only, then something amazing happened. Maerica followed OBL into the Kush... and, for the first time since Alexander, an arriving foreign power did NOT howl in pain. The Afgh operation was skilled, surgical, overwhelming, professional, following all the same doctrines as were used in the Balkans. The Bush crew deserves no credit for this, since the operation was already on the shelf. (All Bush had time to say was "go!") The Afghanistan Operation was a success for the Clinton team.

The world was stunned and impressed. Still fizzing with sympathy with America over 9/11, and recalling how we had saved the Bosnians and Kosovars, we even saw our popularity rise in Islamic nations. Certainly awe for the apparent invincibility of American arms was at an all time high (and such reputations deter more than divisions.)

But Bush could have stopped there, having crushed the foreign national government that had attacked us and created an object lesson. Saddam was wetting his pants and begged to negotiate. Heck, so did the Iranians.

4. "The Afghanistan Operation was a success for the Clinton team?" This is demonstrated by what happened next. Instead of arm-twisting both the Iraqis and Iranians into eager concessions, Bush simply screamed, lied and attacked Iraq. The overall stated objective wasn't bad -- duh, he had to convince the public. But why do it in the stupidest, most expensive way, demolishing the US Army, the Reserves and National Guard, our budget, our alliances, our national cohesion, and that hardwon reputation for invincibility? (Now, alas, dust.)

And, by distracting and starving the Afghanistan Operation, we have managed to turn a staggering victory into the Quagmire OBL wanted, all along.

Most Americans do not think of it this way, but the members of the US Military Officer Corps can see, plainly, that the Afghanistan and Iraq operations followed DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSITE MILITARY AND STRATEGIC DOCTRINES. While Clinton merged diplomacy and strategy with Armed coercion in ways that paid close heed to military advice, the last six years have featured "clueless, draft dodging politicians meddling in military details" to a shocking degree. In ways that always benefit neither Iraqis nor our troops...

... but always, always benefit Halliburton and the Saudis.

I have gone on too long. (As always? ;-) But I wanted to share some perspectives that -- while just as savagely critical of the Bushites -- take a very different angle of hard-nosed pragmatism. Because I believe all of this points to the NUMBER ONE CRIME of the Bushites. And above all, the one crime we can use to dislodge our (reasonable-version) conservative friends.

The Bushites have systematically destroyed the one thing that the neoconservative philosophers all said they wanted to enhance!

Pax Americana. A unipolar world, led by an overwhelmingly and unquestionably powerful (though gentle and popular) USA. This thing that the Straussians claimed to desire above all EXISTED under Bill Clinton and reached its pinnacle. What brought it crashing down was every move made by the Bushite Cabal.

Almost (dig it) as if that had been the intention, all along.