Daily Wisdom

April 28, 2009

100 Days - 100 Mistakes

In an effort to keep this simple, I have not provided any references, attributions or links. My apologies to those whom I've quoted without attribution. It's my fault, I waited until Day 98 to put this article together. The items listed here are in no particular order. I tried to group some items together on the basis of content (i.e., inaugural address, stimulus package, foreign policy, etc). There were more I could have thrown in, and had a tough time deciding which were the most offensive and/or well-known.

1-Obama said in his inaugural address that "44 Americans have now taken the presidential oath." The correct number is 43. Grover Cleveland served as both the 22nd and 24th President. As a "progressive", apparently Obama has no interest in or concern about history.

2-He angered the Chinese during his inaugural address with references to Communism. Chinese TV broke away from Obama on several occasions and deleted those sections from their "official" transcript.

3-He said in his inaugural address we must honor our troops and veterans, then was the first president to skip the 'Salute to Heroes' Inaugural Ball, which recognizes Medal of Honor recipients, angering vets. Over the past 56 years and 14 inaugurations, dating back to Dwight Eisenhower, no president has skipped this Inaugural Ball, until Obama.

4-He spent $49 million of taxpayer money on his inauguration -- triple the amount of Bush's first inauguration (for which Bush was highly criticized as being extravagent).

5-He waited until March 21st to repay Chicago for the $1.74 million cost of his November victory celebration in Grant Park. This, despite the fact that his city, like most cities, was struggling with the impact of the recession.

6-He ordered the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility without knowing how to deal with the terrorists being held there. The order led to a widespread NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) response from Senators and Congressmen, none of whom want the terrorists relocated to their state or district.

7-He suggested that the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay should be tried in U.S. courts, despite the fact that experts say there is no way to obtain battlefield evidence against enemy combatants. The trials could also result in the public dissemination of classified information.

8-He met with the military and ordered the withdrawal of troops from Iraq according to a timetable, thus allowing Iraq's enemies to wait out the U.S. troop withdrawal. If conditions on the ground deteriorate before the scheduled withdrawal date, Obama may have to reverse himself, and he will look foolish in the process.

9-He issued an executive order authorizing embryonic stem cell research which has been proven to be less promising than adult stem cell research. Embryonic stem cells are difficult to control and often mutate into cancer cells.

10-He signed a spending bill that contained more than 8,500 earmarks in it, costing taxpayers more than $7.7 billion, immediately after saying that the Democratic leadership was addressing earmark abuses but needed to do more. No kidding.

11-He insulted the British people by giving a set of 25 DVDs as a gift to British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Brown gave Obama a carved ornamental penholder from the wood of the anti-slavery ship HMS Gannet. Worse yet, the DVDs don't work in Europe because they require a different format.

12-One of his State Department officials, when asked by the Sunday Telegraph about the DVDs, said "There's nothing special about Britain. You're just the same as the other 190 countries in the world. You shouldn't expect special treatment," which angered the Brits even more.

13-He gave the Queen of England an iPod full of videos of his own speeches. Even if the Queen did indeed ask for the iPod as some have suggested, it was a still a sign of bad taste, made only worse by his self-centeredness.

14-After saying he wouldn't have lobbyists in his administration, Obama made 17 exceptions in his first two weeks in office.

15-He nominated Bill Richardson for Commerce Secretary, but the New Mexico governor was forced to withdraw his name amid a grand jury investigation into a state contract awarded to his political donors.

16-He nominated Timothy Geithner for Treasury Secretary to oversee the Internal Revenue Service, but who had only recently paid $34,000 in back income taxes. Geithner was finally confirmed by the Senate after days of controversy.

17-He nominated Tom Daschle for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) only to find out that Daschle was his second major appointee who failed to pay all their taxes. Daschle finally paid $128,203 in back taxes plus $11,964 in interest. Concerning the Daschle nomination, Obama went so far as to admit, "I screwed up."

18-He nominated Nancy Killefer for Chief Performance Officer and as a Deputy Director at the Office of Management and Budget. Like Daschle, she withdrew her name from consideration when it was reported that the D.C. government had filed a tax lien on her home in 2005 for failure to pay unemployment compensation tax on household help. She resolved the tax error five months after the lien was filed, but administration officials refused to say whether her tax problems extended beyond that one issue.

19-He nominated Judd Gregg for Secretary of Commerce, a New Hampshire Republican viewed by most as an adversary to Obama on the policy matters that he would be tasked with formulating. The Gregg nomination was a fight waiting to happen.

20-He listened to those on the Left who protested Judd Gregg's nomination because it might affect the 2010 United States Census. As a result, Obama announced that the White House would move the Census out of Gregg's jurisdiction. This public humiliation led Gregg to withdraw his name from consideration. Gregg said he could not in good conscience support some of Obama's key economic priorities.

21-He apparently could not find his way into the Oval Office on January 28th. He attempted to enter from the outside through a paned window rather than the door which was a few feet to his right.

22-He has appointed to key positions a wide array of "collectivists and statists" which has concerned many that Obama is putting America on a path to socialism.

23-He has appointed to key positions a lot of old-timers from the Clinton administration which is contrary to his message of "change", and is in direct opposition to his nomination acceptance speech where he said: "the greatest risk we can take is to try the same old politics with the same old players and expect a different result."

24-He offered the position of Surgeon General to Sanjay Gupta, CNN's chief medical correspondent, in January. In March 2009, Gupta withdrew his name from consideration for the post.

25-He nominated Hillary Clinton for Secretary of State who went to Russia with a "Reset" button that didn't actually say "Reset" but rather "Overcharge".

26-He appointed Larry Summers to Director of the White House National Economic Council, who fell asleep during a recent meeting with credit card executives, and who now predicts "the economy will continue to decline" for some time. Yipee!

27-He selected Robert Gibbs to be White House spokesperson, who is perhaps the worst speaker of all time. Gibbs stumbles and pauses, looking for the right words which is agonizing to listeners. One of his favorite lines is: "I'll have to get back to you on that."

28-He selected gaffe-prone Joe Biden to be his Vice President. Biden has embarrassed the Obama administration on numerous occasions, with such favorites as: "If we do everything right, if we do it with absolute certainty, if we stand up there and we really make the tough decisions, there's still a 30% chance we're going to get it wrong."

29-He appointed Samantha Power, who resigned from the Obama campaign after calling Hillary Rodham Clinton a "monster," to a position on the National Security Council.

30-His Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner nominated Annette Nazareth for Deputy Treasury Secretary, but she withdrew her name for undisclosed "personal reasons" after a monthlong probe into her taxes.

31-His Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner also nominated Caroline Atkinson, for Undersecretary of International Affairs in the Treasury Department, but she also withdrew her name blaming the long vetting process.

32-His Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner still has a skeleton crew at Treasury, with no one qualified -- or willing -- to take jobs there.

33-He selected Janet Napolitano to head the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) who issued a report defining right-wing extremists as people who object to abortion, illegal immigration, and favor states' rights over federal authority. The report warned law enforcement agencies across the country that returning vets could be the targets of recruitment activity by extremist organizations and should be monitored, again angering vets.

34-His DHS Secretary Napolitano also said "suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across a border, it's been across the Canadian border," implying that the 9/11 hijackers came across the Canadian border. But the 9/11 hijackers did not come across the Canadian border, angering Canadians.

35-He used scare tactics to try and get support for his stimulus package describing the economic situation as a "crisis" and "tragic". He said the economy is "sick" and a "failure", making people "fear" and "worry". His "doom-and-gloom" rhetoric was in direct opposition to his promise of "hope" and pushed the Dow below 7,000 a level from which it is only now recovering.

36-He forced passage of the $787 billion stimulus package literally in the "dark of night". The final wording of the nearly 1100 page document was not posted on the web until 10:45 PM on the night before it was voted on in the House at 2:24 PM. This was in direct opposition to Obama's promise of allowing all legislation to be available for public review for at least 5 days before any vote. The web posting was also not a "searchable" document that would allow interested parties to look for key words or phrases.

37-His stimulus package was approved by people who never read it, and who voted for it mainly along party lines (no Republicans voted for it in the House and only 3 voted for it in the Senate). He failed to work on the stimulus package with Republicans in a bi-partisan manner, breaking another campaign promise. He rejected Republican suggestions for the stimulus package, telling Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona, “I won” (a reference to the election). In doing so, Obama was effectively saying: "It's my way or the highway."

38-His stimulus package contained more than $200 billion that went directly to states and cities, but nearly 70% of that went to education and healthcare spending. Only 24% went to infrastructure spending. But the states and cities in the most trouble already spend too much on education and healthcare, pushing taxes up and sending private industry away. They don't spend nearly enough on infrastructure, which attracts the private sector and builds the real economy.

39-He rejected a Republican alternative to the stimulus package which analysis showed would have created 6 million jobs versus the 3 million jobs created by the Democratic plan. The analysis used a methodology employed by President Obama's own nominee for Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, Dr. Christina Romer.

40-His stimulus package contained very little immediate stimulus. According to the CBO, more than half of the proposed $787 billion will not get into the economy before 2011. The package was also loaded with pork projects that will do nothing to stimulate the economy.

41-He pushed Congress for weeks to pass the stimulus package, then when it was ready for signature, with the "Audacity of a Dope", he left town for a three-day vacation.

42-He claimed at a photo-op when visiting Caterpillar, Inc. that: "[Jim Owens, the CEO], said that if Congress passes our [stimulus] plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off." Jim Owens however retorted: "I think realistically... No. The truth is, we're going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again."

43-He angered our trading partners around the world with a "buy American" provision in the stimulus package that implied a new protectionist policy. Obama was forced to modify the "buy American" provision in response to world-wide pressure.

44-He signed Executive Order 13502, a special interest handout to organized labor that limits competition and raises construction costs by as much as 20 percent. This means that an estimated $30 billion of the proposed $150 billion in construction spending contained in the stimulus package will be wasted. Union-only project labor agreements (PLAs) drive up costs for American taxpayers while unfairly discriminating against the 84% of American construction workers who choose not to join a labor union.

45-He apologized to the Muslim world for past American behavior in his first formal TV interview, which he chose to conduct with the Al-Aribya network, saying: "To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect."

46-He bowed to King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia at the G-20 meeting in London, an act that American protocol has ruled out going back to perhaps the Revolutionary War against the King of England.

47-He said he is considering dropping a key demand on Iran, allowing it to keep its nuclear facilities open during negotiations.

48-He wrote a secret letter to Dmitri Medvedev, President of Russia, suggesting that the U.S. might drop plans for a missile shield in Europe in exchange for Russia's help to resolve the nuclear weapons issue with Iran. Medvedev not only made the letter public, but said he would not "haggle" on Iran and the missile shield, thus embarrassing Obama.

49-He apologized to Europeans for America saying, "In America, there is a failure to appreciate Europe's leading role in the world. Instead of celebrating your dynamic union and seeking to partner with you to meet common challenges, there have been times where America has shown arrogance and been dismissive, even derisive."

50-After trying to impress Europeans with his humble apologies, Obama made an impassioned plea for more troops in Afghanistan. Only the UK offered substantial help, most others refused.

51-He promised a strong response to the North Korean missile test but did nothing except support a "limp-wristed" UN resolution that accomplished nothing.

52-He considered dropping the embargo on Cuba without any preconditions. Cuba of course, is an oppressive communist country with major human rights violations, including the long-term imprisonment of political opponents. After preliminary signs of thawing relations from Raul Castro, Fidel Castro said Obama "misinterpreted" his brother's words, and that Cuba would not be willing to negotiate about human rights.

53-He directed the easing of restrictive measures against Cuba, including the lifting of all restrictions on the ability of individuals to visit relatives and to send cash remittances, despite the rebuff from Fidel.

54-He said at a press conference in Turkey, that although the United States has "a very large Christian population -- we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation..." This was news to the 62% of Americans who, in a recent poll (since Obama took office) said that America is indeed a Christian nation. A poll taken last year showed that 69% said America was a Christian nation. Another older survey showed that 86% of Americans consider themselves to be "Christian".

55-He sat at the Americas Summit and listened to a 50-minute rant by Daniel Ortega against the United States, who went so far as to call Obama the "president of an empire." Did Obama get up and leave the room embarrassed for himself and his country? No. Instead, he sat there listening to it all, and in reference to a comment about the Bay of Pigs he said, “I’m grateful that President Ortega did not blame me for things that happened when I was three months old.”

56-He acted, at the same summit, like he was the long-lost buddy of Hugo Chavez. There were handshakes and warm smiles all around. This, despite the fact that Hugo Chavez nationalized (i.e., stole) CITGO, an American corporation. This, despite the fact that the radical Colonel Chavez who, in 1992 (like Adolf Hitler), led a failed putsch against the elected government of Venezuela. Following the summit, Chavez said, "It would seem that the changes that started in Venezuela in the last decade of the 20th century have begun to reach North America." Of course the "changes" Chavez refers to are his moves towards socialism. I guess that's the "change" Obama was talking about during the campaign.

57-He proposed a $3.5 trillion budget that shocked almost everyone, including Democrats, with its huge deficit-spending programs. His budget included a $635 billion 'place-holder' for a universal health care system, even though there were no details about what such a program might look like.

58-He increased the FY-2009 budget deficit from $569 billion to $1.8 trillion. His programs create annual deficits that will never again fall below $500 billion and will increase dramatically after 2012.

59-He caused the nation-wide Tea Parties by frightening or angering a large portion of middle-class Americans with his reckless spending proposals, tax hike proposals, bail-outs, and moves towards socialism. Attendance at the April 15th "Tax Day" Tea Parties were estimated to range from a half-million to a million participants.

60-He said he didn't know about the Tea Parties on April 15th which made him look stupid, out-of-touch, or in a state of denial.

61-He insulted the intelligence of Americans by proposing to cut a mere $100 million from his $3.5 trillion budget, apparently in response to the Tax Day Tea Parties. The $100 million would represent a mere .0027% of the budget. Whoopee!

62-He changed the name of the "Global War on Terror" to "Overseas Contingency Operations". What does that mean? Are we fighting "terrorists" or "contingencies"?

63-He changed the term "acts of terrorism" to "man-made disasters". Give me a break.

64-He had the EPA issue a ruling that greenhouse gases "endanger public health and welfare", knowing full well that water vapor is the most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Not only that, but water vapor contributes 36-72% to the greenhouse effect, while CO2 contributes only 9-26%, methane 4-9%, and ozone 3-7%. I'm surprised that Obama didn't have EPA declare water as a danger to public health!

65-On Earth Day, he took (2) flights on Air Force One and (4) on Marine One to get to Iowa, burning more than 9,000 gallons of fuel in the process. So much for his "carbon footprint".

66-He worried the Chinese with his massive borrow-and-spend programs. The Chinese hinted that they do not intend to buy any more Treasury bills since they already own approximately $800 billion of American debt. They told the U.S. that they want America to protect China's investment.

67-He allowed the Federal Reserve to begin buying up U.S. Treasury bills. Since the Fed does not have any money to purchase the Treasuries, it must print money to purchase them thus devaluing the dollar. While this may prevent deflation in the short run by creating artificial inflation, it also creates a dangerous "Treasury Bill Bubble". Brokers now own record amounts of T-bills which could become worthless when the Fed decides to dump its holdings in Treasuries. If the Fed is unable to sell its T-bill holdings when the economy turns around, it could lead to massive inflation worse than that seen during the Carter administration.

68-He has worried countries around the world with the falling value of the American dollar. Some countries such as Russia and China have suggested that the world needs a new "reserve currency" other than the dollar. China recently said the global currency system, dominated by the dollar, is the root cause of the global financial crisis.

69-He is becoming known as the "teleprompter president" because he relies so strongly on the device whenever he gives a speech. He has had some teleprompter goof-ups including directing to his associates to "speed up", and starting to give a speech other than the one he was supposed to give.

70-He proposed a plan that would require veterans to obtain private insurance, where the carriers would reimburse the Department of Veterans Affairs for the treatment of troops injured in the line of duty. This once again angered veterans groups who say the government is morally obligated to pay for service-related medical care.

71-He laughed about the economy during a '60 Minutes' interview with Steve Kroft. Kroft said, "You're sitting here. And you're -- you are laughing. You are laughing about some of these problems... I mean: Explain. Are you punch-drunk?"

72-His administration, his Treasury Secretary, and the Democrats in Congress were fully aware that AIG was going to pay huge bonuses to its top executives, but they did not get indignant about it until there was a huge outcry from citizens across the country.

73-He has hinted to Congress that he could support taxing some employee health benefits to pay for health care reform, even though he blasted John McCain for suggesting such an idea during the campaign.

74-He directed Robert Gates to cut defense spending during a time of war. He wants to transfer the money from defense to domestic spending.

75-He directed defense officials to sign a pledge stating they will not share 2010 budget data with individuals outside the federal government.

76-He announced that he would cut our missile defense systems the day after the North Koreans launched a test missile showing that they had the capability of reaching parts of the United States.

77-His three candidates for ambassador to the Vatican -- including Caroline Kennedy -- were turned down by the Holy See because they support abortion.

78-He directed the Georgetown University administration to cover up all Christian signs and symbols (including the letters "IHS" in gold - a symbol for Jesus), before giving a speech there on April 14th.

79-He toured the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, taking off his shoes as tradition requires, showing more respect for the Muslim religion than he does for the Christian religion.

80-He repeated his pledge to students in Turkey that he intends to rebuild relations between the United States and the Muslim world. "I am personally committed to a new chapter in American engagement," Obama said. He again apologized for America saying that despite its flaws and past mistakes, the United States is poised for a fresh start with Muslims and the rest of the world.

81-His $15.4 billion government loan to GM.

82-His firing of Rick Wagoner as president of GM.

83-His directions to GM as to what kind of cars they should now build (i.e., "the next generation of clean cars").

84-His statement that "The United States government has no interest in running GM," followed almost immediately by his statement that "Your [GM] warranty will be safe. In fact, it will be safer than it's ever been, because starting today, the United States government will stand behind your warranty."

85-He said during his first State Of The Union address, "And I believe the nation that invented the automobile cannot walk away from it." Unfortunately, a German invented the automobile.

86-He entered into "direct negotiations" with Fiat to sell off Chrysler -- an American auto company -- to a foreign competitor.

87-He selected Eric Holder to be his Attorney General who said, "Though this nation has proudly thought of itself as an ethnic melting pot, in things racial we have always been and continue to be, in too many ways, essentially a nation of cowards."

88-He selected Adolfo Carrion to be Director of the White House Office of Urban Affairs. Carrion is serving under a cloud after allegations that he accepted thousands of dollars in cash from developers whose projects he approved.

89-He released the previously classified Bush "torture" memos, giving America's enemies (present and future) a good idea of exactly how far U.S. interrogations will go. Release of the memos also negatively impacted morale at the CIA according to Michael Haydin, former Director of the CIA, engendering fears of retribution for past actions.

90-He visited the CIA, thanked employees for their work and said they're invaluable to national security. He explained his decision to release the memos, then told everyone not to feel bad because he was now acknowledging that mistakes had been made. He was talking of course, about their mistakes and not his. "That's how we learn," Obama said, as if he were talking to toddlers.

91-He promised the CIA employees that his administration would not go after anyone for doing their jobs during the previous administration, then less than 48 hours later he flip-flopped (apparently under pressure from George Soros and MoveOn.org) saying that he would leave open the possibility of investigations by Congress or an independent "Truth Commission" and, based on their findings, let Attorney General Eric Holder decide whether to prosecute.

92-His release of the "torture" memos opens up American citizens to international tribunals. A UN lawyer said that the US is obliged to prosecute lawyers who drafted the memos or else violate the Geneva Conventions.

93-His release of the "torture" memos opens the door to potential witch hunts of Bush administration officials from lawyers who advised the administration on the legality of "Enhanced Interrogation Techniques", up to and including Bush and Cheney themselves. Some pundits have said this is "unprecedented" in American history and smacks of a "bannana republic" mentality where incoming regimes criminalize the outgoing regime.

94-His release of the "torture" memos endangers national security, and a Rasmussen poll says 58% of Americans concur with that sentiment. The poll also found that only 28% believe the release of the memos helps America’s image abroad. And only 28% think the Obama administration should do any further investigating of how the Bush administration treated terrorism suspects.

95-He forced banks that didn't want TARP money to take it, then added on stipulations about executive pay and government control after the fact. He secretly forced the Bank of America to buy Merrill Lynch, then allowed the bank to be criticized for overpaying. He is preventing profitable banks from paying back TARP funds. He wants to convert the shares of Preferred Stock the government acquired in the banks into Common Stock, which will give the U.S. government voting rights and thus management control.

96-He authorized "stress tests" on the banks, the results of which may cause a run on banks with the weakest grades, or alternatively, will allow the government to force more banks to take TARP money hence giving the government even greater control over the banking system of the United States.

97-He enrolled his daughters in a D.C. private school, but directed Education Secretary Arne Duncan not to admit any new students into the D.C. voucher program, which would allow low-income children to attend private schools (including the one his daughters attend). Even Juan Williams of NPR is baffled by Obama's move and says it hurts minority children.

98-He announced the need for comprehensive immigration reform during the middle of a major recession when American unemployment numbers are increasing monthly.

99-He remains in campaign mode rather than governing. He's still trying to blame things on Bush and divert attention from himself. It's time for him to grow up and move on.

100-He nominated Harold Koh for the position of Legal Adviser of the Department of State. Koh is a "transnationalist" who believes in the supremacy of international law over Constitutional law. He has argured that "concepts like liberty, equality and privacy are not exclusively American constitutional ideas but, rather, part and parcel of the global human rights movement." He believes that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands takes precedence over U.S. courts. He has consistently urged the U.S. to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), also located in the Netherlands. If the U.S. were to join, the ICC’s prosecutor could bring war crimes indictments against American soldiers. He has argued that the UN should have the final say over U.S. military decisions. He believes the will of the international community takes priority over American sovereignity.

These mistakes give us frightening insight into the man who is now the President of the United States. He is clearly a "rookie". He is partisan. He is duplicitous. He is a panderer. While claiming to be a "Christian" he disdains his own religion in favor of Islam. He snubs our traditional allies while sidling up to petty dictators and repressive thugs. He is arrogant and self-centered. He dismisses anything "before Obama". He is naive and believes his own personal charisma will transform people, opinions, foreign leaders and even enemies. [Failure to be transformed is your problem, not his.]

He is clearly a socialist, statist and globalist. He is easily manipulated by left-wing individuals and groups such as George Soros and MoveOn. He has little regard for the military or veterans. He has no regard the Constitution or American sovereignity. He basically does not like America, seeks to distance himself from its greatness, and feels the need to apologize for its behavior. He has a hidden agenda which seems to include nationalization of the banks and the auto industry. This man is frightening indeed.

71 Comments:

At 4/28/2009 6:44 PM , Anonymous mindknumbed kid said...

A certain person over on Scrappleface ridiculed the idea that Obama is paving the way to the coming one world love fest and governance. It is coming much faster than I would have imagined. I say if this guy doesn't turn out to be the antichrist, he will no doubt shake his hand. I now allow you to return to the Obama love-fest, brought to you by the (Godless) world.

 
At 4/28/2009 7:03 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

MKK,
Couldn't have said it better myself. I can't understand why so many people think our country is going in the right direction. I guess they're just clueless.

(:X) Best regards...

 
At 4/29/2009 4:17 AM , Blogger camojack said...

This 100 mistakes in 100 days seems to be a popular one on the Internets right now...

 
At 4/29/2009 9:24 AM , Blogger boberin said...

We've tried the "we're better than you" and the "think our way or don't think" approach for many, many years. Personally I don't like where those actions have brought us. There's lots that I don't like about this mans approach but it's outweighed by my desire to try something different. Early indications seem as promising as I could have hoped, surely willing to take this path farther to see where it leads. He could hardly have been expected to right the wrongs/raise our status back to where it used to be/should be (we had lost many, many places).
The "same ole, same ole" wasn't cutting it...let's give him 100 more eh?

 
At 4/29/2009 9:26 AM , Blogger boberin said...

whoops, couldn't raise us back up in 100 days...left that part out...apologies!

 
At 4/29/2009 9:34 AM , Blogger Ms RightWing's Ink said...

I can only shake my head in disbelief. I can't believe my generation went from the Weekly Reader to the Weekly Kos.

I hope the younger generation wakes up soon. Though the boomers "had" a lot to say, nobody is listening. We help create the wrong revolution, maybe the new generation will right our wrong.

Likely not .

 
At 4/29/2009 10:32 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Bob,
You said: He could hardly have been expected to right the wrongs/raise our status back to where it used to be/should be (we had lost many, many places).Not quite sure what you mean by "right the wrongs". What "wrongs"?

Also not quite sure what you mean by "our status". Our status with who? ...the Europeans? Like, who cares? And "used to be/should be"?

When have we ever had a great status with the Europeans? Maybe during WWII, or the Marshall Plan? Most of them are not very grateful.

(:I) Best regards...

 
At 4/29/2009 10:35 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Ms RW,
Me too. I hope the younger generation "wakes up", but I'm not holding my breath.

(:D) Best regards...

 
At 4/29/2009 10:36 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Camo,
Great minds think alike, eh?

(:D) Best regards...

 
At 4/29/2009 10:47 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Camo,
Yeah, I checked it out. Apparently all the fuss is over the NY Post article by the same name. I got 15,400 hits on that subject.

(:P) Best regards...

 
At 4/29/2009 10:48 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Camo,
Oh yeah... Eleventeenth!

(:D)

 
At 4/29/2009 11:37 AM , Blogger boberin said...

Wrongs?
Torture
Arrogance/almost willful ignorance
Invasions (w/o just cause)
Detentions (w/o just cause
Our way or the highway...just plain dumb that one...

Stuff like that did not raise our standing in the world community. And, it will take a while to demonstrate that we can behave otherwise.

 
At 4/29/2009 11:38 AM , Blogger boberin said...

Adn thus a while to raise our standing back to where it was/should still be but isn't

 
At 4/29/2009 11:56 AM , Blogger boberin said...

Almost forgot the "biggie"

Worldwide collapse of the financial sector and thus the economy in general.
That one's going to take the most effort of all. I can't begin to imagine how we'd go about making amends for that...

 
At 4/29/2009 4:57 PM , Anonymous mindknumbed kid said...

Perhaps you should rethink your position on "just cause" Bobby. Saddam Hussein refused to honor his agreement from the first round.
If those people at Club Gitmo were model citizens, why won't anyone let then come live with them in peace and harmony? Many are not even welcome in their own countries. Why?

If the safety and security of the nation was on your shoulders I'm not very sure it would be in good hands. It is way easier to critique when you never have to have any "skin in the game."

 
At 4/29/2009 8:10 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Bob,
C'mon buddy. Gimme a break.

Torture? A caterpillar in a cellar is torture? Water-boarding is torture? Standing around naked is torture? I mean, get real... if we impose such things on our own soldiers, how bad can it be?

Let's talk torture, shall we. Pulling out finger nails - now that's torture. Breaking fingers and bones - that's torture. Cutting out tongues - that's torture. Tying up prisoners' elbows behind their backs and raising them up off the floor (by the elbows) - that's torture. Electrical shocks, branding irons on bare skin, repeated beatings, whips and chains - now that's torture. We don't do torture friend. We do "training" exercises. If terrorists can't take what our own soldiers endure for "training", then they are "pathetic losers" and shouldn't be in the terrorist business.

As for "arrogance"... I think you are sadly mistaken, my friend. Was it our "arrogance" that caused Osama bin Laden to order the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans? No, it wasn't. But, if you answered "yes" to that question then you are stupid as well as naive. Osama bin Laden wanted to be a Muslim super-hero. He thought he could do that with the 9/11 attacks. He didn't anticipate that GWB would go after his sorry butt. Now he's the super-hero that's hiding out in a cave.

"Invasions w/o just cause"? Get real! It was Saddam Hussein that did the invasion w/o just cause thing. He invaded Kuwait... remember? When George H.W. Bush was dumb enough to let Saddam go because he wanted a "100-hour war", our ol' buddy Saddam went after the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south. And we just stood by and let it happen. Stupid us! That was a mistake. We should have went right back in, then and there, and "whooped his butt". But no... we had to wait for his son GWB to get the job done. It was about freakin' time.

"Detentions w/o just cause"? Says who? You? On what basis? Tell me "O powerful, all-seeing Bob"... do you know for a fact that the enemy combatants who killed Americans or tried to kill Americans on the battlefield were innocent? Unless you know for a fact that they were, don't make assumptions. If I had to make a choice between listening to you for advice or the CIA... I wouldn't pick you, OK? Let's just leave it at that.

"Our way or the highway... just plain dumb that one." What are you talking about... the Iraq war? On what basis do you make such a claim? Didn't GWB go the UN? Didn't he wait for months hoping the UN would get off its butt and do something? Didn't the UN pass enough resolutions? Was it 13 or 14 or what? Frankly, I applaud GWB for being a man of action. Those turds in the UN are pathetic pansies that can't get anything done except blow smoke up the world's butts.

"Stuff like that did not raise our standing in the world community." Yeah, well too freakin' bad. I'm sick and tired of having to suck up to the rest of the world. The U.S. is the only super-power in the world and shouldn't have to suck up to third-world mud-holes. The Europeans owe us plenty and they ain't paid us off yet for WWI, WWII, the Marshall Plan, and the Cold War. Only the UK has been a good friend. When the rest of Europe gets around to doing their fair share... then we can talk again. 'Til then, they can go suck a lemon.

"Worldwide collapse of the financial sector." Don't blame that on GWB... Blame that on your buddy George Soros. Who the hell do you think is pullin' Obama's strings? How do you think Obama came into power?

Consider: the timing of the stock market collapse couldn't have been better... right after the Republican convention when John and Sarah were on a roll. Only somebody with enough money and enough "audacity" could have pulled it off. Only somebody with enough market savvy like George Soros. You know, the guy who is like the 29th richest man in the world?

OK, call me a conspiracy theorist. I am. I believe that everybody who gets into power has an edge. I don't believe that Obama's edge was his 143 days in the Senate. Sorry...

 
At 4/29/2009 8:48 PM , Blogger Elroy said...

Is that it? Gee, y'all really are a big bunch of scardey-cats, ain't cha?

I would cheerfully argue each 'point' you raise but I've just noticed some paint drying in a most interesting way – suffice to say that Obama is not a socialist, he's just not a hard-right Republica – much of what you list are not mistakes per se but merely differences of opinion –

That's the problem with elections – it hurts when you lose them, and although the noisy minority thinks it's a silent majority, the polls show otherwise. We know what it's like to have what we consider to be an inexperienced idiot at the helm, and we thank you for backing that idiot up to the hilt until y'all threw him under the bus because now we know what behaviour is acceptable – agree with everything and then say 'Oh, y'know, he was never a real....(Enter name of political party here) – he should have been a lot more hardcore', thus blaming the opposition for his/her downfall.

Look, it's going to a long, hard 8 years for you guys but if you could resist the temptation to mount an armed insurrection, that'd be good – after all, you wouldn't want to live in a country where democracy comes down the barrel of a gun, would you? Um...

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 4/29/2009 9:35 PM , Blogger Barb said...

This is the absolute best "View From Above " you have ever done,Hawkeye. I was a little upset the booger nosed Trolls got on your site ,but in the end ,you put them in their place.
Smellin' that paint and sippin' that koolaid,while they and worship Soros's puppet,0bama, and lick his feet .

 
At 4/29/2009 10:20 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,
Like I said to "O powerful all-seeing Bob"... go suck a lemon.

(:D) Cheers

 
At 4/29/2009 11:01 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Barb,
Thanks. As you can probably tell, I am not in one of my most "empathetic" or "understanding" of moods tonight. To be honest, I am downright "ticked-off".

I'll probably cool off tomorrow, but guys like Bob don't realize how much GWB did to protect him. The world is an ugly place for sure. But it's not ugly because one man in the White House made tough decisions on how best to prevent another 9/11. It's ugly because guys like Osama bin Laden plot and plan about the best way to kill tens, hundreds, or thousands of innocent people.

As for Elroy, what can I say. He lives in Australia. So he is about as far away from terrorism as one can get. OBL ain't lookin' to fly no airplanes into Elroy as far as I can reckon.

But when you remember what is was like to see the World Trade Center every day, and then all of a sudden, it wasn't there any more... it means something. Or when your neighbor tells you how he watched the towers go down... it means something. Or when your daughter calls you on 9/11 to make sure you are not in your New York City office that day, and then tells you how she freaked out because she heard the Air Force jets flying overhead at low altitude, and thought it might be another hijacked plane... it means something. It means you can't forget. It means that this is something you don't want to happen again. It means that you can be grateful because it hasn't happened again. It means you you have to say 'Thanks' to the one man who helped prevent it from happening again.

Sorry, I'm rambling.

Thanks again.

 
At 4/29/2009 11:22 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,
You said: Obama is not a socialist.

Well, I beg to differ. In fact, I would go so far as to say he was, at one time, a "card-carrying" socialist. He was a member of the DSA (DEMOCRATIC SOCIALISTS OF AMERICA). The DSA described itself as "the principal U.S. affiliate of the Socialist International." Can't get much more socialist than that.

See HERE and HERE.

(:D) Cheers

 
At 4/30/2009 12:03 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘I mean, get real... if we impose such things on our own soldiers, how bad can it be? If terrorists can't take what our own soldiers endure for "training", then they are "pathetic losers" and shouldn't be in the terrorist business.’

I raise two points: One, there is a big difference when torture is being inflicted by your own people for ‘training’ purposes as opposed to those that don’t care if you die and two, maybe they are pathetic losers – maybe they’re not in the terrorist business. Maybe they are, like they have always said, innocent civilians scooped up by the Northern Alliance and sold?

‘As for "arrogance"... I think you are sadly mistaken, my friend. Was it our "arrogance" that caused Osama bin Laden to order the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans?’

Well, if we allow that it was Osama, I submit that he did it to get the US out of Saudi Arabia, and guess what – it worked! Rummy announced the US withdrawal from SA the day before ‘Mission Accomplished! and it was that, if anything, that stopped 9/11 from happening again. Who said the US won’t negotiate with terrorists? And who said negotiation doesn't work?

Anyhoo, for US arrogance look no further than: ‘I'm sick and tired of having to suck up to the rest of the world. The U.S. is the only super-power in the world and shouldn't have to suck up to third-world mud-holes.’ Now that, my friend, is arrogance1

‘He didn't anticipate that GWB would go after his sorry butt.’

Yeah, how’s that ‘gonna catch him dead or alive’ going? What did George say? ‘We don’t really think about him much anymore?’ Yup, really got his sorry butt.

‘Now he's the super-hero that's hiding out in a cave.’

Oh, is he? Is that a fact? Or just something you made up? Anyhoo, he was in a cave before 9/11 – maybe he just likes caves.

‘It was Saddam Hussein that did the invasion w/o just cause thing. He invaded Kuwait... remember?’

If the USA had ‘just cause’ to invade Iraq the Hussein had just cause to invade Kuwait – Kuwait was stealing Iraqi oil, and who gave him the green light to do it? The USA.

‘When George H.W. Bush was dumb enough to let Saddam go because he wanted a "100-hour war", our ol' buddy Saddam went after the Kurds in the north and the Shiites in the south. And we just stood by and let it happen. Stupid us! That was a mistake.’

Saddam went after the Kurds and Shiites because GHWB incites them to overthrow Saddam and then left them for dead because, as Cheney said, no one knew what would happen when Saddam was gone. Funny, isn’t it, that even knowing that Cheney went in anyway – maybe he had an ulterior motive?

‘But no... we had to wait for his son GWB to get the job done.’

Got the job done, did he? Could have fooled me..

"Detentions w/o just cause"? Says who? You? On what basis? Tell me "O powerful, all-seeing Bob"... do you know for a fact that the enemy combatants who killed Americans or tried to kill Americans on the battlefield were innocent? Unless you know for a fact that they were, don't make assumptions.’

Do you know for a fact that the enemy combatants who killed Americans or tried to kill Americans on the battlefield were guilty? Unless you know for a fact that they were, don't make assumptions. Habeas Corpus Hawkeye, Habeas Corpus.

‘Our way or the highway... just plain dumb that one." What are you talking about...’

Everything. The Washington Consensus. The active US intervention in foreign governments around the world. The US does like to recriminate against people who do not do what they’re told.

‘the Iraq war? On what basis do you make such a claim? Didn't GWB go the UN?’ Didn't he wait for months hoping the UN would get off its butt and do something? Didn't the UN pass enough resolutions? Was it 13 or 14 or what? Frankly, I applaud GWB for being a man of action. Those turds in the UN are pathetic pansies that can't get anything done except blow smoke up the world's butts.’



You seem miffed that the UN did not jump to attention and do exactly what it was told when the US said ‘Our way or the highway’, so you made the UN into the toothless tiger you accuse it now of being. Well done!

"Stuff like that did not raise our standing in the world community." Yeah, well too freakin' bad. I'm sick and tired of having to suck up to the rest of the world. The U.S. is the only super-power in the world and shouldn't have to suck up to third-world mud-holes.’

You might not recognize it but y’all need the world more than it needs you – you are broke, and as it’s up to the world as whether or not they will bail you out, you’d better start sucking. Hard.

‘The Europeans owe us plenty and they ain't paid us off yet for WWI, WWII, the Marshall Plan, and the Cold War.’

The Marshall Plan was a bargain – the US did extremely well out of it. Debt paid. And how exactly did Europe do well out of the Cold War? Why does it owe the US for it? The US owes Europe!

‘Only the UK has been a good friend. When the rest of Europe gets around to doing their fair share... then we can talk again.’

Hang on! Wasn’t WW1 & 2 payback for France bankrolling your revolution?

"Worldwide collapse of the financial sector." Don't blame that on GWB... Blame that on your buddy George Soros’

Boy, you’ve sure gone off the deep end this time! I thought it was only lefties that brewed up barking mad conspiracy theories! Look out! Behind you!
The collapse happened when it did because GWB et al brought it forward! Why? So that Paulson could enact his plan to loot the treasury! He couldn’t do it if he wasn’t there, could he? John and Sarah were doomed, everyone knew it, so the last act of piracy had to be activated. As an added bonus they got to leave Obama with a migrane registering 9.5 on the Richter scale which, if he fails to fix it, they can use to hammer him with 2012 and beyond when the memory of Bushco has faded.

Of course, if John and Sarah did happen to pull off the upset of the millennium and win in 2008 then no problem, business as usual, and with a few more top-bracket tax cuts and a lot more spending cuts thrown in, but hey – what can I say? The GOP hedged its bets.

But about Soros,what does a capitalist gain by bringing down capitalism? And wouldn’t the 29th richest man in world be getting angry calls from the 28 above him? Ultimately, can you prove it? Is there anything, anything at all, that might support your contention?

C’mom, Hawkeye…

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 4/30/2009 3:11 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

OK, Obama was a socialist and Palin was an Alaskan separatist. There. Happy?

But what on earth is wrong with wanting full employment, a shorter work week, and a guaranteed minimum income for all adults; a universal 'social wage' to include such basic benefits as health care, child care, vacation time, and lifelong access to education and training; a systematic phase-in of comparable worth and like programs to ensure gender equity and the democratization of your banking and financial system, including popular election of those charged with public stewardship of your banking system, worker-owner control over their pension assets, community-controlled alternative financial institution?

Seriously, what is the problem with these policies? The Scandinavian countries have similar things as normal, and on every indicator they beat the USA and Australia hands down. So, got anything?

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 4/30/2009 8:44 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,
Keep dreaming pal. You're living in Fantasyland... and not the one at Disney World. Do you actually believe that Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah were "innocent civilians scooped up by the Northern Alliance"? Sure, and I suppose Osama bin Laden is a "foreign diplomat"?

Do you know for a fact that the enemy combatants who killed Americans or tried to kill Americans on the battlefield were guilty? Yes, I know it for a fact because a whole bunch of the ones who were released went back into the terror trade... and we thought those were the least dangerous ones!

OBL didn't perpetrate 9/11 "to get the US out of Saudi Arabia". From his own lips, he vowed to kill any and all Americans long before 9/11... "To kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it." --Osama bin Laden,
In Fatwa entitled 'Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders World Islamic Front Statement', 28 February 1998

Who said the US won’t negotiate with terrorists? And who said negotiation doesn't work? I hereby appoint you Elroy to negotiate with al-Qaeda. Let me know how that works out OK?

If the USA had ‘just cause’ to invade Iraq the Hussein had just cause to invade Kuwait – Kuwait was stealing Iraqi oil, and who gave him the green light to do it? The USA. Where do you get your facts man? Kuwait was stealing Iraqi oil? The US gave Saddam the green light? Moral equivalence between "the butcher of Baghdad" and GWB? Dream on... or better yet, get off the drugs.

Saddam went after the Kurds and Shiites because GHWB incites them to overthrow Saddam and then left them for dead. I agree with you there. That was stupid. But it would have never happened if GHWB had gotten the job done in the first place instead of pulling out after 100 hours.

Got the job done, did he? Could have fooled me.. The job I was referring to was the deposing of Saddam Hussein. It's done. He's gone.

You seem miffed that the UN did not jump to attention and do exactly what it was told. I am miffed because the UN never does anything... except talk, equivocate, back-pedal, rape women in third world countries, accept bribes from the likes of Saddam, participate in corruption scandals, elevate petty dictators and human rights violators, or blame Israel for all the world's problems.

so you made the UN into the toothless tiger. Me personally? No, it wasn't me. If it were up to me I would give the UN an eviction notice and sell the UN building to real estate developers. The UN can go to France or Tehran for all I care.

The Marshall Plan was a bargain – the US did extremely well out of it. Debt paid. Oh really? How's that, pray tell? We got the honor of buying some Mercedes from Germany?

And how exactly did Europe do well out of the Cold War? Why does it owe the US for it? The US owes Europe! As I recall, it was the US troops, tanks and missiles in Europe that prevented Stalin, Khruschev, et al. from marching through Europe. Those military bases also provided a lot of cash flow into the local economy.

Hang on! Wasn’t WW1 & 2 payback for France bankrolling your revolution? WWI by far would have ended any debt we owed them.

Boy, you’ve sure gone off the deep end this time! Probably. I just don't like George Soros. He's made his money on other people's misfortunes. He was the investor who "broke the Bank of England" by short-selling the British pound. In a 2008 book, he predicted the current financial collapse referring to a "superbubble" in the economy. I'm sure he made plenty of money on the world's misfortunes this time around too. And worst of all, he's got a globalist agenda. Smart guys with lots of money and power are dangerous... I think you would agree to that.

(:D) Cheers

 
At 5/03/2009 5:54 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘Do you actually believe that Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah were "innocent civilians scooped up by the Northern Alliance"?’

We’ll never know now, will we? See the problem with torture is that people will say anything to make it stop. Did I orchestrate 9/11? Yes, whatever, just stop with the catteleprod already.

KSM owned up to crimes he was known not to have committed. AZ was known nutter – he had a previous head injury which everyone knew about – he was known to be unstable, and he fingered KSM before he was tortured but he was tortured anyway. The ‘intelligence’ gleaned from these two is worthless.

‘Yes, I know it for a fact because a whole bunch of the ones who were released went back into the terror trade... and we thought those were the least dangerous ones!’



That doesn’t mean that they were ‘terrorists’ before they went to Gitmo. What is shows to me is that Git’mo creates ‘terrorists’ – it radicalizes them by torturing them for ‘crimes’ that never happened. If you were scooped up in a sweep of NJ by an army marauding Taliban, shipped to Pakistan and tortured, the chances are you would be somewhat grumpy if and when you ever got out. If these people had committed any crimes they would have been charged, wouldn’t they? But they weren’t, so….

Consider the case of Australian David Hick who was scooped up in sweep in Afghanistan and did five years of Git’mo torture before he was released. What is he doing now? He works in a plant nursery. Here’s an idea – go to your video shop and hire two documentaries, Taxi To The Dark Side and The Ghosts Of Abu Grahib, and then we can chat about them.

‘OBL didn't perpetrate 9/11 "to get the US out of Saudi Arabia’

According to Dick Cheney, OBL didn’t perpetrate it at all.

We've never made the case, or argued the case that somehow Osama bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming."

—Dick Cheney, "Interview of the Vice President by Tony Snow", March 29, 2006

And according to OBL, OBL didn’t do it.

“ I would like to assure the world that I did not plan the recent attacks.”
—Usama bin Laden, CNN, "Bin Laden says he wasn't behind attacks," September 17, 2001. From, as you say, his own lips.

And according the FBI, OBL didn’t do it.

"9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page. He has not been formally indicted and charged in connection with 9/11 because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”
—FBI agent Rex Tomb, June 6, 2006

‘From his own lips, he vowed to kill any and all Americans long before 9/11... "To kill the Americans and their allies -- civilians and military -- is an individual duty for every Muslim who can do it in any country in which it is possible to do it." --Osama bin Laden,
In Fatwa entitled 'Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders World Islamic Front Statement', 28 February 1998’

Hardly ‘from his own lips’ – this letter has many authors and it was written, not spoken, but anyway…the interesting thing about this document is what it goes on to say after ‘…possible to do it…’ which is ‘in order to liberate the al-Aqsa Mosque and the holy mosque [Mecca] from their grip’ which, on the 29th of April, 2003, is exactly what happened.

Not that y’all were that interested in catching him anyway – "The goal has never been to get Bin Laden."
—General Richard Myers, chairman, US Joint Chiefs of Staff.

‘I don't know where he is. I just don't spend that much time on him.’ –GWB.

‘I hereby appoint you Elroy to negotiate with al-Qaeda. Let me know how that works out OK?
’

That job’s done, buddy – see above. And in an case, Al-qaeda is the least of your problems right now – the Taliban taking Pakistan, now THAT’S problem.

‘Where do you get your facts man? Kuwait was stealing Iraqi oil? The US gave Saddam the green light? Moral equivalence between "the butcher of Baghdad" and GWB? Dream on... or better yet, get off the drugs’



This isn’t a matter of moral equivalence, just the historical record. Saddam thought that Kuwait was ‘slant-drilling’ into Iraq’s share of the Rumaila oil field. Also, Saddam was mad that Kuwait kept increasing production instead decreasing it as Saddam wanted, which meant that Iraq had enormous financial woes following the Iraq-Iran war, for which Iraq owed Kuwait $40b.

Why Kuwait wanted to impoverish Iraq when Iraq owed it so money is not known to me, but Saddam suspected the USA was up to no good – “America is coordinating with Saudi Arabia and the UAE and Kuwait in a conspiracy against us. They are trying to reduce the price of oil to affect our military industries and our scientific research, to force us to reduce the size of our armed forces....You must expect from another direction an Israeli military air strike, or more than one, to destroy some of our important targets as part of this conspiracy”

It wouldn’t be the first time the US meddled behind the scenes, or the last, so I guess it’s possible, and Saddam was particularly upset when the emir of Kuwait, Al Sabah said that ‘he would not stop doing what he was doing until he turned every Iraqi woman into a $10 prostitute.’ Nice. So what was Kuwait up to?

As far as the green light goes, the Iraqi Ambassador, April Glaspie, said Washington was “inspired by the friendship and not by confrontation, [and] does not have an opinion” on the Iraq-Kuwait falling out. ‘We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts’ she said, and told Saddam that America did not want ‘to start an economic war against Iraq’. That, in diplomatic terms, means ‘Do whatever – we don’t care either way’.

‘I agree with you there. That was stupid.’

See? We can get along!

‘But it would have never happened if GHWB had gotten the job done in the first place instead of pulling out after 100 hours.’


They never wanted to remove Saddam, and Dick Cheney thought that taking Saddam down was fundamentally stupid. Read these quotes:

'I think that the proposition of going to Baghdad is also fallacious. I think if we we're going to remove Saddam Hussein we would have had to go all the way to Baghdad, we would have to commit a lot of force because I do not believe he would wait in the Presidential Palace for us to arrive.'

'I think we'd have had to hunt him down. And once we'd done that and we'd gotten rid of Saddam Hussein and his government, then we'd have had to put another government in its place. What kind of government? Should it be a Sunni government or Shi'i government or a Kurdish government or Ba'athist regime? Or maybe we want to bring in some of the Islamic fundamentalists?'

'How long would we have had to stay in Baghdad to keep that government in place? What would happen to the government once U.S. forces withdrew? How many casualties should the United States accept in that effort to try to create clarity and stability in a situation that is inherently unstable?'

'I think it is vitally important for a President to know when to use military force. I think it is also very important for him to know when not to commit U.S. military force. And it's my view that the President got it right both times, that it would have been a mistake for us to get bogged down in the quagmire inside Iraq'. – At the Washington Institute's Soref Symposium, April 29, 1991

‘And the question in my mind is how many additional American casualties is Saddam worth? And the answer is not very damned many. So I think we got it right, both when we decided to expel him from Kuwait, but also when the president made the decision that we'd achieved our objectives and we were not going to go get bogged down in the problems of trying to take over and govern Iraq....'

'Once we had rounded him up and gotten rid of his government, then the question is what do you put in its place? You know, you then have accepted the responsibility for governing Iraq.' – August 1992, at the Discovery Institute in Seattle

‘Because, if we'd gone to Baghdad, we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody with us. It would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq.... Once you got to Iraq, and took it over, and took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place?'

'If you take down the central government of Iraq, you can easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off. It's a quagmire if you go that far. The question for the President, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad and took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein was, How many additional dead Americans was Saddam worth. And our judgment was, Not very many, and I think we got it right.’– Cheney, on not pushing on to Baghdad during the first Gulf War; C-SPAN 4-14-94.

So, he changed his mind, huh?

‘The job I was referring to was the deposing of Saddam Hussein. It's done. He's gone.’

I thought that the job was getting the WMDs – no, hang on, wasn’t it creating Geneva on the Tigris? Oh well, whatever…

‘I am miffed because the UN never does anything... except talk, equivocate, back-pedal, rape women in third world countries, accept bribes from the likes of Saddam, participate in corruption scandals, elevate petty dictators and human rights violators, or blame Israel for all the world's problems.



Strong words. That’s actually not all it does, and it could do with some reform. But yes, it talks, and the idea is that countries listen, and act accordingly. Y‘see, that’s the thing with the ‘rule of law’ ¬– it has to be obeyed, so when the US and Israel ignore the UN whenever it feels like it, all the other petty dictators and human rights violators think they can do the same.

‘If it were up to me I would give the UN an eviction notice and sell the UN building to real estate developers. The UN can go to France or Tehran for all I care.’


I sure it can, but the USA needs the UN more than you might care to recognize.

‘Oh really? How's that, pray tell? We got the honor of buying some Mercedes from Germany?’



No,Europe got the pleasure of buying billions of dollars worth of goods from the US for decades. The Marshall Plan was really the Trojan Horse which the US used to achieve economic and cultural imperialism, and it also financed Europe’s foray’s into SE Asia.

America could have made cars as good as Mercs, but it chose not to – Grr! Stoopid free market!

‘As I recall, it was the US troops, tanks and missiles in Europe that prevented Stalin, Khruschev, et al. from marching through Europe.’

You reckon? Europe did have its own troops, tanks and missiles too, y’know. But did Russia really want to take over all of Western Europe? Could it afford to?

‘Those military bases also provided a lot of cash flow into the local economy.’



And for that the US gets world domination! Like I said, a bargain!

‘WWI by far would have ended any debt we owed them.’



America entered WW1 to protect the loans made to British by JP Morgan. It was touch and go whether the Americans were to go in on the Brit’s side or the Hun’s, as Morgan had substantial financial exposure to them too.

‘Probably. I just don't like George Soros. He's made his money on other people's misfortunes.’

Spoken like a true socialist!

‘He was the investor who "broke the Bank of England" by short-selling the British pound.’

Such is capitalism.

‘In a 2008 book, he predicted the current financial collapse referring to a "superbubble" in the economy.’

I predicted it in 2004.

‘I'm sure he made plenty of money on the world's misfortunes this time around too.’

I’m sure he has – that’s the way the system, voraciously defended by your elected representatives in the Republican Party, works. I think what irks you about Soros in not what he does – there are many people who do the same thing – but that he does not show sufficient gratitude to those that build the system that allows him to do it – he’s a class traitor.

Soros isn’t the only person speculating on currencies and generally hedge-funding away, but he is the only one that conservatives get mad with – the others you are quiet about. So is it the activities of hedge-fund managers that you object to? Or just liberal hedge-fund managers? Is it the system you don’t like? Or is your ire only raised when liberals avail themselves of it?

‘And worst of all, he's got a globalist agenda.’

What is a ‘globalist agenda’? Do you mean that he is favour of globalization? In that case he can line up behind the rest of the GOP.

‘Smart guys with lots of money and power are dangerous... I think you would agree to that.’

I sure do. Most of them use their power for evil – Soros is one of the few that use it for good. I would rather have no Soros and no capitalist system that allows what has happened to have happened, but if you institute such a system, don’t be surprised if it gets used –and at least the left have got some serious money behind them to even up the playing field a bit

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 5/04/2009 10:01 PM , Blogger Elroy said...

What's up, Hawkeye? Too much logic for one man? That's OK, you don't have to answer it all – be selective if you prefer.

Actually, I guess you'd have to be – some of my arguments are, indeed, unanswerable. You're not having second thoughts, are you? Not starting to come around to my more humane, logical, reasonable, rational and practical way of thinking? C'mon, let's see some fight...


Cheers

Elroy

 
At 5/05/2009 8:53 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,
First, I'm glad to see that you didn't argue with any of the mistakes Obama has made. So you must agree with me completely.

Second, you're not very concise. Therefore, I have to set aside a lot of time to deal with your foolishness. I haven't been able to dedicate that much time with my busy schedule. Will try to reply soon, O left-ward one.

(:D) Cheers...

 
At 5/06/2009 6:53 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘Elroy,
First, I'm glad to see that you didn't argue with any of the mistakes Obama has made. So you must agree with me completely.’



Not at all – mistake not silence for acquiescence! I just didn’t know where to start is all…

I was merely commenting on your wider point that Obama is a socialist – I would say that some of his behaviour to date shows him to be quite the opposite.

‘Second, you're not very concise.’

I’m not? But I’m thorough and comprehensive!

‘Therefore, I have to set aside a lot of time to deal with your foolishness.I haven't been able to dedicate that much time with my busy schedule. Will try to reply soon, O left-ward one.’

Fair enough – thanks! If it means anything, I truly do appreciate it!

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 5/10/2009 12:38 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,

‘Do you actually believe that Khalid Sheik Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah were "innocent civilians scooped up by the Northern Alliance"?’ We’ll never know now, will we? OOOOH! Too bad Elroy! That was a trick question. KSM and AZ were both arrested in Pakistan and not captured by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan. Both were wanted men prior to their arrests for previous crimes. KSM and AZ were held in foreign countries and not moved to Gitmo until September 2006 along with 9 other high value detainees, well after the Taliban were put there via Northern Alliance capture. Try playing again sometime for more fun and valuable prizes! But next time, try a bit harder will you?

The ‘intelligence’ gleaned from these two is worthless. OOOOH! Too bad Elroy! Wrong again! Interrogation of Abu Zubaydah led to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh. Interrogation of AZ also revealed KSM’s alias, “Mukhtar,” and led to the capture of Khalid Sheik Mohammed. AZ provided important details about the attacks of 9/11. AZ also revealed the identity of Jose Padilla to FBI agents. CIA director Michael Hayden said Abu Zubaydah’s interrogations “led to reliable information”, that Abu Zubaydah was a “prolific producer” of information, and that roughly 25 percent of the information on al Qaeda that came from human sources originated from Abu Zubaydah. Hayden also stated that Abu Zubaydah was one of three individuals “best positioned to know about impending terrorist atrocities.”

When Khalid Sheik Mohammed was captured, a computer hard drive seized during the raid contained: a) information about the four airplanes hijacked on 11 September 2001 including code names, airline company, flight number, target, pilot name and background information, and names of the hijackers, b) photographs of 19 individuals identified as the 11 September 2001 hijackers, c) a document that listed the pilot license fees for Mohammad Atta, and biographies for some of the 11 September 2001 hijackers, d) images of passports and an image of Mohammad Atta, e) transcripts of chat sessions belonging to at least one of the 11 September 2001 hijackers, f) three letters from Osama bin Laden, g) spreadsheets that describe money assistance to families of known al Qaeda members, h) a letter to the United Arab Emirates threatening attack if their government continued to help the United States, i) a document that summarized operational procedures and training requirements of an al Qaeda cell, and j) a list of killed and wounded al Qaeda militants.

The interrogation of KSM led to the break-up of a terror cell in Southeast Asia that was preparing for attacks. It led to the capture of the group's leader Riduan Isamuddin, aka "Hambali". Hambali was a close friend of KSM, and the military leader of the Indonesian terror organization 'Jemaah Islamiyah'. Hambali and JI were responsible for the 2002 Bali nightclub bombing in which 202 people died. Interrogation of KSM helped disrupt an al Qaeda operation that was developing anthrax for use in terrorist attacks. Interrogation of KSM helped stop a planned strike on a U.S. Marine camp in Djibouti; prevented a planned attack on the U.S. Consulate in Karachi; and foiled a plot to hijack passenger planes and fly them into Heathrow Airport and London's Canary Wharf. Interrogators said they tried everything on KSM, but he did not start talking until being waterboarded. Try playing again sometime for more fun and valuable prizes!

Well, I could go on like this all day, but it must be embarrassing, so I'll stop. But before I do, let me address one other statement of yours...

What i(t) shows to me is that Git’mo creates ‘terrorists’. [satire mode=ON] Yeah, I know what you mean Elroy. And poverty creates terrorists too. And Americans in Iraq create terrorists. And Americans in Afghanistan create terrorists. And Americans in Saudi Arabia create terrorists. And Americans in America create terrorists. And Danish cartoons create terrorists. And everything EXCEPT Islamic extremism creates terrorists, right? It's always SOMEBODY ELSE'S FAULT, isn't it? Liberals taught me that, and I've learned my lessons well. (:D)

And there are NEVER any bad Muslims, are there? There are NEVER any radical, Islamic jihadists, are there? And there is no such thing as "EVIL" in the world either, is there? That sounds too much like "religion", and we don't want to go there, do we? Religion is dangerous. "Religion is the opiate of the masses." Karl Marx taught me that, and I've learned my lessons well. (:D)

So if there is no "EVIL" in the world, then it must by something else that causes people to kill. You know, like "environment and upbringing". If OBL had just been raised in a rich family instead of a poor one, then he wouldn't have turned to a life of terrorism the way he did. It MUST be "environment and upbringing", because there is no such thing as "PSYCHOPATHS" either, is there? That might imply that some people are just "mentally ill", or they might have a "genetic proclivity" to criminal, anti-social behavior. And we can't have that now, can we? It's not POLITICALLY CORRECT to suggest that there might be some sort of physical or mental ailment in a person (or persons)? They're not "retarded" people, they are "mentally challenged". They're not short people, they are "vertically challenged". They're not psychopaths, they are just "conscience challenged". Liberals taught me that, and I've learned my lessons well. (:D)

And we cannot contemplate the idea that OBL simply relished having power, now can we? When OBL faught against the Russians in Afghanistan, he was important. He enjoyed the camaraderie of the freedom fighters. But when the Russians left Afganistan, OBL was unhappy. He needed to keep fighting somebody... anybody... to remain important. Who better to fight but the Americans, eh? I mean, the mujahideen had already disgraced Russia. What greater nation was left to disgrace but America -- the "Great Satan". (Ooops, sorry about the religious reference. We don't want to go there, do we?).

But if we suggest that OBL is nothing more than a power-hungry, self-centered, ego-maniac... you know, a "politician" like say, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid (albeit with a gun), then he would lose his allure as a "freedom fighter", wouldn't he? And we need OBL to keep that allure, don't we? I mean, OBL is the one guy who has embarrassed GWB for years, didn't he? That's a good thing! OBL is the one who shows us everything that's wrong with America. That's a good thing too! There's nothing more important in this world than America-bashing. And OBL is the gift that keeps on giving for the Left (until the next "man-made disaster", that is). Liberals taught me that, and I've learned my lessons well. (:D)

Let's forget all this nonsense, shall we? Islam is a "religion of peace". Ahhh, I feel better now. I think we all agree that some Muslims are perhaps a bit misguided, but they are certainly well-intentioned, aren't they? They are well-intentioned when they cut off heads and hands, or cut out tongues and eyes, aren't they? They are well-intentioned when they convince "mentally challenged" women to strap on a suicide belt so they can be detonated by remote control in the middle of a crowded market place, aren't they? They are certainly well-intentioned when they kill their daughters or wives who have been raped, in the name of 'honor', aren't they? Liberals taught me that, and I've learned my lessons well. (:D)

[satire mode=OFF]

Frankly Elroy, I am concerned for YOUR sanity, and the sanity of those who think like you. Your level of knowledge is certainly lacking as I was able to demonstrate above. Your interpretation of history and current events is stunningly distorted. Your ability to rationalize away hard facts is simply astounding. Your lack of respect for tradition and heritage is pitiable. Your typographical errors are indicative. Your arrogance is unwarranted. Your self-assessment is faulty.

Perhaps what really bothers me is your ability to sympathize with criminals and terrorists, but not with their victims. This is simply appalling to me. You, and those who think like you, will go to great lengths to protect the rights of the guilty while ignoring the rights of the innocent. You are against capital punishment for capital crimes, thus denying justice for the victims. You favor abortion rights, while denying the rights of our most defenseless and innocent citizen, the unborn child. Why, one would almost imagine that you, and those who think like you, are indeed guilty of some crime yourselves. You seem to have no problem with the concept of evading "punishment" even when punishment is due, and you strive to protect the guilty. I think I will have more to say about this in an upcoming article.

But it doesn't stop there. A brief review of your comments here will reveal a number of additional deficiencies. You imagine what others must be feeling and assume that it is the truth. You take isolated incidents out of context and assume they apply to other situations. You seem to specialize in misinterpretations, non sequiturs, exaggerations, false moral equivalencies, and ad-hominem attacks. You accuse those with whom you disagree of believing in propaganda and spouting talking points, while you do nothing less. That's hypocrisy if nothing else.

You argue that the mainstream media has a conservative tilt but you cannot prove it. You speak of one or two conservative media outlets as being "mainstream", while conservatives can easily point to a dozen or more liberally slanted outlets. This lop-sided situation in itself refutes your argument. You claim that "truth" has a "liberal bias", which is a complete absurdity. "Truth" is a set of undeniable objective facts which have absolutely no "bias" whatever. For example, the chemical formula for water is H20... that is truth. There is no bias in it one way or the other. It is not "liberal" water or "conservative" water... it is water.

You live in a dream world of "utopian" possibilities. You believe in collectivism when it suits you, and individuality when it does not. You declare that "economic equality" is "liberty", but economic equality rewards those without talent and who do the least, while it penalizes the talented or who do the most. How is one to interpret that condition as "liberty"? ...unless of course you define the term "liberty" as: "free-loader". You believe in a socialist-communist economic system which has failed to one extent or another, every single time it has been put into practice. The more collectivist and statist the system was, the greater its failure has been. On the other hand, you attack the economic system which has been shown to create the most wealth, for the most people, throughout history. And if it were not for that wealth-creating capability... there would be no wealth to re-distribute. Think about it.

Finally, it is clear to me that you are not really interested in reasonable discourse whatsoever. You simply get pleasure out of stirring up trouble. You imagine yourself to be a giant intellect who can take on the likes of "dumb ol' Hawkeye". Despite your flawed logic, your non sequiturs, your misinterpretations, your hypothetical imaginings, your straw-men, your hypocrisy, and your liberal talking points, you speak as if you are the ultimate authority -- the most knowledgable person in the universe. Don't believe me? Just ask Elroy, he'll tell ya. In summary, you are arrogant, deluded and tiresome.

Cheers

P.S.-- I expect you will attempt to refute this diatribe point-by-point. I wouldn't bother if I were you. Why don't you just assume that we disagree about virtually everything and save us both a lot of time. Don't expect that I will reply to any point-by-point foolishness on your part. I'm too busy working a full-time job, making money so that Obama can take it away from me and give it to people who have not earned it. I have people's mortgages to pay. I have banks and car companies to bail out. I don't have time for your nonsense.

 
At 5/14/2009 10:46 PM , Blogger Elroy said...

So, Hawkeye, I take it you are a bit miffed at me? Aw. We were getting on so well. I will admit that I played right into your ‘Gotcha!’ moment vis a vis the circumstances of KSM’s arrest, but it is a mistake I shall not make again. I normally thoroughly research my answers but I didn’t bank on your sneakiness – next time I shall be more on my guard!

This reply is a bit lengthy, so I’ve busted it up a bit. Enjoy!

1. KSM.

It seems strange to me that you could believe that KSM could have been so busy, but I don’t know why he didn’t admit to his role in creating the Nazi Party or the JFK assassination – they should have pulled his fingernails out, that would have done the trick.

The thing is, Hawkeye, that your list of what actionable intelligence was obtained from KSM is not provable – it is largely propaganda. KSM said to the Red Cross that he told his torturers what they wanted to hear, and that it what you are quoting. If you wish to go into this matter further I would be glad to oblige, but I get the feeling that you are currently beyond rational debate.

As regards AZ, he was a nutter who made stuff up because he had acquired brain damage, but he was singing like a bird until the CIA started with it’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ – then he shut up.

2. Terrorists.

OBL fought the Russians, with your tax dollars, and probably was emboldened – wouldn’t you be? And yes, he probably felt that America had too large an influence on the ME, most of it bad, and so resolved to do something. Is he a power-mad, self-centred ego-maniac? No more than, say, George W. Bush or Dick Cheney, but I don’t celebrate OBL as a freedom-fighter – I merely point out that, to many people, he is.

Your withering sarcasm is all very well, but it lacks a certain punch because it’s all true – these things DO create terrorists, like it or not. The Danish cartoons did not happen in a vacuum – they happen in the context of what Muslims see, not unreasonably, as a war against their core beliefs.

This is what happened to those of the Jewish faith after WW2 – they became more militant and more violent, pushed to the Right and, like the Muslims, looked to acts of terrorism to further their cause and, if predominately Christian societies came under similar pressure, I’m sure they would react they same way.

It’s not a matter of being ‘someone else’s fault’ but recognizing cause and effect – if conservatives want everyone to take ‘personal responsibility’ then they must accept some themselves and understand that GWB is personally responsible for the mess the world is in today for deliberately, and with malice aforethought, setting in motion the train of events wrecking the world today.

That’s not to say there are no bad Muslims, of course there are, just like there are bad Jews, Christians, Hindus and all the rest. There are, indeed, radical extremist Islamists who could be described as ‘evil’, but there are Christian radical extremists who fit the bill too ¬¬– as far as I can tell, the radical Christian fundamentalists and radical Muslim fundamentalists are two sides of the same conservative coin.

Indeed, if there was any overriding force that drove OBL into fanaticism it was religion – his wealthy upbringing doesn’t seem to have had much to do with it. And of course psychopaths exist, although the reasons for why some people are psychopaths or generally anti-social are not entirely clear so it is a bit simplistic to just pin it on genetics – all sort of physiological and environmental factors come into play, but just as there isn’t a ‘gay’ gene so the isn’t a ‘murderer’ one.

3. Mental Illness.

You also seem to think that liberals don’t believe mental illness exists – what a strange notion! Of course it does, silly! However, us libs do not find it helpful to refer to those suffering from mental illness or disability as ‘retarded’ – it is disrespectful and causes unnecessary anxiety and unhappiness.

Indeed, us libs are big on mental illness and, more importantly, the treatment of it. In the ‘80s the mental hospitals were closed in favour of ‘care in the community’, but that part never happened – the mentally ill and disabled were left to fend for themselves until they inevitably wound up in the 21st century’s lunatic asylum – the prison system.

Mental illness needs to be identified and treated appropriately, but as you think that health care is a market issue then I suppose you are happy to deny these people treatment until you end up paying for his extended stay in a state and/or federal prison. Wha do you say?

4. Islam.

Islam is a religion of peace like Christianity is, but I agree that many of Islam’s cultural practices are somewhat hideous. However, the way to stop them is not by blowing them up – that just makes them regress further back into fundamentalism. I might add that there are many Western cultural practices that leave something to be desired and that we are only 100-odd years past the Spanish inquisition, so I’m not sure that we are as superior as some of us might like to believe.

5. Elroy’s arrogance.

As for me, your reflections are a little personal, if not misdirected. My ‘level of knowledge’ is not ‘lacking’ – I may have been a little slack before, but I am able to admit my mistake and rectify it. As for my interpretation of history and current events, I submit to you that all these things are subjective – we all impute motives and reasons that suit our biases so that’s why we need to debate them, to knock down each other’s various theories until a consensus that might be closer to the ‘truth’ emerges.

It’s the same with my ‘ability to rationalize away hard facts’ – sometimes ‘facts’ are not as ‘hard’ as they seem, and from my vantage point you have the same abilities as I so, therefore, the only way through it is debate and discussion.

As for ‘respect for tradition and heritage’, it depends on what traditions and heritage you are discussing. For example, I respect the tradition and heritage of the labor and union movements, I respect the tradition and heritage of communities helping each other, of local business catering for those communities, many things that conservatives either despise on principle or have lost sight of.

And please, typos? Really? Sigh. There aren’t that many, y’know.

Am I arrogant? No more than you, no more than you or any of the other millions of people on the interwebs pontificating away. Do I have an opinion? Yes. Do you? Yes. Do I abuse you for having the nerve to voice it? No.

A few of your comments make no sense at all. I ‘imagine what others must be feeling and assume that it is the truth’? What does tha mean exactly? I ‘take isolated incidents out of context and assume they apply to other situations’? Examples, please. I ‘specialize in misinterpretations, non sequiturs, exaggerations, false moral equivalencies, and ad-hominem attacks’? Nonsense, especially the last. Where? When? Point them out. Make a case.

Nowhere on this page have I mentioned the words ‘propaganda’ and ‘talking points’ – it is you that have brought them up. However, it’s all about relativity – one man’s propaganda is another man’s self-evident truth. As for yelling ‘talking points’, that just seems to be an easy way out of discussing the issues. If a ‘talking point’ is an attempt by a political party to disseminate the frame of a debate for mass media consumption then let’s admit that both sides do it, that it’s a zero-sum game and, if they are ‘talking points’, just talk about them.

Framing is quite fascinating, and it’s important to know how it’s done and what the spin is on both sides in order to see around the frame. Go and read ‘Don’t Think Of An Elephant’ by George Lakoff for more.

6. Crime.

I don’t ‘sympathize with criminals and terrorists’, I just try to understand their motivation. Some people are just plain dangerous, and they need to be separated from society, but other act from a range of other considerations. Furthermore, it is ridiculous to assume that I have no sympathy for victims – of course I do, but I think the best way to protect innocent people is to reduce the amount of crime they are exposed to.

Capital punishment isn’t justice, it’s revenge, and revenge isn’t healthy; furthermore, apart from the moral implications involved with state sanctioned murder, it appears to me that the US justice system is so faulty it cannot possibly be trusted with the death sentence – too many innocent people are on death row.

I am guilty of no crimes – seriously, none – but I have no problem facing whatever punishments any errant behavior might incur as I do recognize the importance of the rule of law. However, I question why you say otherwise as it seems to me that those doing their best to evade the law are conservatives, the Bush administration for example, and sundry other white collar criminals whose influence and wealth preclude them from facing the full weight of the law. It is Republicans who ‘strive to protect the guilty’ so I look forward to your article on the matter so that I can gain further insights into your thesis as why this is not the case.

7. Abortion.

I don’t like abortion – no one LIKES it – but I can understand that it is a necessary evil. When conservatives support proper sex education, free condoms, a decent single mothers support pension, free child care, a properly funded state education system and free tertiary education, then we’ll talk. If the unborn have a ‘right to life’ then they have a right to a life worth living.

The Netherlands has the lowest abortion rate in the OECD due to such measures, but the fact that conservatives reject them demonstrates to me that they are not serious about reducing the abortion rate – they would rather continue with utterly failed ‘abstinence’ policies and use abortion as a club to beat liberals with than recognizing the realities of sex in the 21st century.

8. The Myth Of The Liberal Media.

I’ve tried to explain the dynamics of the corporate media but you’re not having it. Ah well, I’ll try again. There are plenty of conservative media outlets and the Murdoch empire, the largest media conglomerate in the world, has an unrepentant and proud conservative bias – it doesn’t even pretend – but bear in mind that the notion of media impartiality is quite new. Newspapers have always been slanted one way or the other to reflect the attitudes of their owners, but due to the scarcity of wavelength the electronic media is supposed to held to a higher standard.

Of course, one listen to AM talkback proves this standard is not adhered to, but there are other matters to consider. The truth is that the major mainstream media outlets are not owned by workers’ co-ops or George Soros, they are owned by avowed capitalists and Republican voters. journalists self-censor al the time, and although you might perceive some articles as hopelessly leftist remember that by owning the media the corporations get to monitor just how leftist the message is allowed to get. Go here http://www.projectcensored.org/top-stories/category/y-2009/ to find out about some stuff that the MSM do feel we should be allowed to know.

Another matter is that the MSM corporations are merely doing what you, a free market-capitalist, recommend they do – tailor a product to suit the targeted demographic. If there are more newspapers like the NYT than the NYP, what does that tell us? That lefties prefer to read papers,and big ones at that? Is that not the market at work?

Talking of the market at work. one thing you might not know is that FoxNews lost money for years – $450 million in the first five – so as a pure ‘market’ exercise it’s a dud. Murdoch props it up with profits from elsewhere, as he does the conservative daily ‘The Australian’, as it suits his larger agenda to have a strong conservative media presence whether or not the market can support it. However, seeing how Newscorp lost $30 billion in market capitalization in 2008! I guess the question will soon be can HE support it…

Whether that product is the ‘truth’ or not is another matter, but you cannot deny its right exist, just like us lefties do not deny FoxNews’ right to exist. If you look closely yo will notice that the left have a problem with what Fox says and how it says it, rather than Fox per se.

What is wrong with media diversity anyway? What is wrong with having multiple points of view? The conservative obsession with ‘lib’rul mee’ja bias’ gives the impression that y‘all will only tolerate media outlets that tow the conservative line. A little Stalinst, don’t you think? 1st Amendment, anyone? The market place of ideas awaits!

In the end, the most impartial media entities are, you’ll be delighted to learn, the state run enterprises like the BBC, the Australian ABC and Canada’s CBC because they are the only ones who are constantly monitored by independent boards and tribunals and conservatives who are convinced that they are but hotbeds of Marxist revolution.

‘Reality has a liberal bias’ was a gag by Stephen Colbert, but it holds true – conservatives slam news pieces that they don’t like with cries of bias but they ignore the actual story and the fact that things happen which show their agenda in a bad light; it seems that they can’t accept this and so shoot the messenger. Tragic.

9. Is truth absolute?

You may well hold that truth is absolute, and I wish more of your fellow travelers agreed with you, but they don’t. Here’s two examples: 1 – The chemical formula for is H2O, but only because most of us agree that it is – those that say it is the tears of angels don’t get much of a listen (Boo! Bias!) – but even then it depends on the acceptance of the underlying physics and maths. Some cultures built incredible things without the concept of 0, so they may have a different understanding of physics and maths,but generally it is agreed that H20 is water.

2 – things get a little trickier when we take on a subject like torture. Now, it is long standing, commomnly held, accepted and agreed truth that waterboarding is torture – the US have prosecuted, nay, executed people for doing it – but suddenly it’s not, now it’s a method of ‘enhanced interrogation’. This, to me, is like changing the chemical formula of water – waterboarding is torture, end of story, but not anymore, and so the Republican part have destroyed the notion that truth is absolute. Truth, as the left has always known, is relative.

10. Utopia.

I don’t live in a ‘dream world of Utopian possibilities’ – I live in a nightmare world of conservative Utopian reality. 30-odd years ago the conservatives of the world, Thatcher/Reagan/Friedman et al, had a Utopian dream, that economic Nirvana for all would be attained if governments lowered taxes on the wealthy (not, however, the workers), de-regulated all business and privatized government assets, but it didn’t work – all we got is a serf/master society. If that was the intention then I suppose that it was a success, but that is not how it was sold.

The Thatcher/Reagan nightmare has decimated the middle classes, made slaves of the working classes and created a despised underclass while expanding the wealth of the upper classes. My ‘dream of Utopian possibilities’ is merely a wish the redress the damage. I don’t think that people should die in cardboard boxes on the side of the street. Is that ‘Utopian’?

11. Collectivism and Wealth Distribution.

But yes, you are quite correct, I believe in collectivism in some cases and individuality in others. What’s wrong with that? I am not a doctrinaire ideologue and I am not a Marxist/Stalinist, I believe that what’s good for one can bad for all and what’s bad for one can good for all, depending on the situation. Actually, you believe in collectivism and individualism too, it’s just that we differ as to when.

And I think that economic equality is liberty because I can see, with my own eyes, that economic inequality is slavery. When you are poor you are stuck living day to day, hour to hour, hand to mouth – you can’t plan, get ahead or do much at all because the pressures of basic daily survival take up all your time and energy and the power of the corporation has crushed social mobility.

Conservatives tend to get a little hysterical when the economic equality/redistribution of wealth issue comes up as they, as far as I can tell, immediately start thinking about Soviet Russia and five-year tractor quotas, but that is not what liberals mean. What we are trying to say is that citizens, by dint of their very existence, have the right to those things which make life bearable, liveable. No one is expendable, no one is without value. ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident’, says your Declaration Of Independence, ‘that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’

Some people are lazy, some have no talent, but that does not mean they should be left behind. Some people is stupid and some have talents which, although vital to society, are not immediately marketable, some people are just plain unlucky, but that does not mean they should live lives of unending misery. The world is a very inter-connected place, we relate and interact all the time, and so the idea that one person amasses a fortune independent of all other people is a nonsense – fortunes cannot be amassed without other people. People need people, Hawkeye, that’s what makes the world go round, and if all the wealth goes to the top then, as we are seeing right now, the world stops turning.

Anyhow, people don’t just work for money, people work for al kinds of other reasons – personal satisfaction, power, kudos, respect. Bill Gates doesn’t work for the money so there must be other reasons. In my opinion, the rich need to be incentivized a little, so here’s my plan – tax ‘em high and tax and ‘em good! If they are so driven and brilliant, make ‘em work for it! Don’t just give it away! And so, instead of the rich business people buying yet another house in the Bahamas, the government can build and fund another 100 public schools! Meanwhile, the business people will continue to try to amass fortnes because that’s what they like to do, just as an artist paints or a footballer footballs.

12. Capitalism.

Why do I keep writing to you? Because it rankles with me that you appear to have such a profound misunderstanding of the liberal position. It is NOT communist – communism as you understand it being some sort of totalitarian Stalinist arrangement – it is social democracy. Stalinist Communism has failed, yes, but strong social democracies are alive and well all over the world, particularly in northern Europe and the Scandinavian counties.

It might upset you to know this but on every countable measure – health, equality, social mobility, poverty, whatever – Norway is streets ahead of the USA. I know you are very attached to the US way of doing things, but what is the ultimate goal of society? The enhancement of the lives of those that make up that society? And if the US way of doing things does not enhance of the lives of those that make up that society, what’s the point of continuing with it?

It is also arguable that rapant, no-holds-barred, free market capitalism has produced the most wealth for the most people throughout history – for a start, its only been going 300 years, and if you asked the South Americans, the Africans, the Indians and the Asians how 300 years of capitalism treated them you might find them none to happy.

Y’see, 300 years of capitalism was only really good for the west, for some countries in Europe and the USA, because they stole the resources that made it work from everyone else. England stole cotton from India, Belgium stole rubber from the Congo, the US stole farm labourers – this is how the Free Market edifice was built, from theft and slavery, and countless millions died along the way.

13. Me again.

I assure you that I am passionately interested in reasonable discourse whatsoever. I don’t want to stir up trouble, I want to stimulate both of our thought processes by discussion, and I don’t thonk I am a gian intellect by any means, nor the most knowledgeable person in the universe – I’m just trying to work out how best to make the world work, as are you. I don’t think you’re ‘dumb’, either – if I did, I wouldn’t bother talking to you.

If I am guilty of flawed logic, non-sequiturs, misinterpretations, hypothetical imaginings, straw-men, hypocrisy, and spouting liberal talking points, then I apologize and would be most grateful if you were to point them out. However, I acknowledge that I’m not perfect and that, like many other interweb pontificators, I may commit the odd logical fallacy – you do the same, and so that is why we debate. There is little point in sitting around in a bubble of opinion where the only voices we hear reflect our own.

And yes, I replied, I bothered – sorry. It’s just that I hate to be misunderstood, and it’s the fact that we disagree about everything that makes it so much fun! I hope you will reply – take your time, no rush – and I’m sorry that you have to work so hard, but I think you are mad at the wrong people. Maybe you should be mad at the people who constructed a financial system so flimsy that it could fall apart so easily, maybe you should be mad at the people who took your money and gave it to the corporations, maybe you should be mad at the people who thought that rules didn’t matter, maybe you shouldn’t be mad with the people scrabbling at the bottom but living it upat the top.

Thanks for you time, Hawkeye – I assure you again that I am genuine and hope that we can still continue to communicate.

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 5/15/2009 3:05 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,

It seems strange to me that you could believe that KSM could have been so busy, but I don’t know why he didn’t admit to his role in creating the Nazi Party or the JFK assassination. How pray tell, am I to interpret your sarcasm here? Are you not mocking me for my alleged "gullibility" in believing what has been reported elsewhere on the Internet? Are you not implying that you know "the real truth" -- something other than what has been reported? Are you not calling four CIA directors "liars"? Why am I to believe your analysis of events rather than that of those who are best positioned to know what really happened?

your list of what actionable intelligence was obtained from KSM is not provable – it is largely propaganda. Again, you choose to call four CIA directors "liars". And on what basis do you make such a claim? Are you more knowledgable about what actually happened? If you can provide sources for disputing such statements, I would be happy to hear about them. Did you get your intel from the Daily Kos, or MoveOn.org? Or is it merely the fact that successful interrogations do not happen to fit with your ideology, and therefore "must not be true"? Are you not at this very moment spouting "talking points" while claiming that I am spouting "propaganda"? I thought you never used that word?

As regards AZ, he was a nutter who made stuff up because he had acquired brain damage, but he was singing like a bird until the CIA started with it’s ‘enhanced interrogation’ – then he shut up. Again, you call those in the know "liars". You refer to AZ as a "nutter who made stuff up", but yet, it was AZ's interrogations that led to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh and KSM. And on what basis am I supposed to agree with you? ...because the stuff he "made up" just happened to be correct? ...what an amazing coincidence! And on what basis do you make the claim that AZ "shut up" AFTER use of the EITs? Were you an eye witness?

General Question Why is it that Obama was so ready to release the Bush memos describing the "torture" techniques and even contemplated releasing graphic photos, yet seems to be unwilling to release the memos Cheney says will prove that those techniques were successful? Let me spell it out for you. Obama is still in campaign mode. He is doing nothing more than Bush-bashing. And, he is trying to divert attention away from himself. Every good demagogue knows how to find a scapegoat. Hitler used the Jews. Saddam used the Iranians and the Kuwaitis. Chavez uses Americans. McCarthy used the communists. Obama uses Bush. Now, to answer the question: Obama doesn't want to release the memos showing EITs were successful because it doesn't fit his agenda. Obama is only "open and transparent" when it is to his own advantage, or when he is being open and tranparent about somebody else's problems... never his own. Hence, my cartoon.

Is (OBL) a power-mad, self-centred ego-maniac? No more than, say, George W. Bush or Dick Cheney. Another example of your false moral equivalencies. Bush and Cheney made decisions and implemented policies which they believed would keep Americans safe. They did not perpetrate plots for the sole purpose of killing thousands of innocent civilians.

these things DO create terrorists, like it or not... they happen in the context of what Muslims see, not unreasonably, as a war against their core beliefs. How am I to interpret this statement then? Are you suggesting that Muslims believe they are "at war" with other cultures and religions? Are you saying that they employ the tactics of "jihad" or holy war, because they view Christians, Jews and Hindus as attacking them? Are you also saying that this "war" which Muslims are fighting is "not unreasonable". And if they ARE fighting a "war" against us, then what are we doing in response? Are we supposed to let others fight a "war" against us without a measured response? When terrorists do things that are unreasonable, how are "reasonable" people supposed to respond? I'm open to your suggestions.

This is what happened to those of the Jewish faith after WW2 – they became more militant and more violent, pushed to the Right and, like the Muslims, looked to acts of terrorism to further their cause. Another example of your false moral equivalencies. The Jews established a homeland in Palestine and sought to live in freedom -- a homeland which, by the way, they had links to for several thousand years dating back to the Pharaohs in Egypt, and fully documented in one of the oldest and best known manuscripts of all time. When attacked by Muslims they retaliated according to their tradition ("an eye for an eye"). If they are better at fighting than Muslims, do they now automatically become "terrorists"? To which acts of Jewish "terrorism" are you referring?

That’s not to say there are no bad Muslims, of course there are, just like there are bad Jews, Christians, Hindus and all the rest. Another example of your false moral equivalencies. Or, perhaps you didn't understand that when I said "bad Muslims" I was referring specifically to "terrorists" like OBL et al. Sure, there may be a few Christians, Jews or Hindus that could be labeled as "terrorists", but by any calculation (actual number, percentage of the faith, per capita, etc), Islamic terrorists vastly outnumber all others.

There are, indeed, radical extremist Islamists who could be described as ‘evil’, but there are Christian radical extremists who fit the bill too... radical Christian fundamentalists and radical Muslim fundamentalists are two sides of the same conservative coin. Again with the false moral equivalencies. How many Christian fundamentalists can you point to today that cut off heads, build car bombs, fly planes into buildings, conduct suicide attacks, fire rockets indiscriminately into urban centers, and plot the destruction of innocent civilians?

Islam is a religion of peace like Christianity. I think some would be willing to dispute that claim. Especially go HERE and HERE. My research would suggest that most Muslims believe that "peace" will not come until the whole world has been converted to Islam. Furthrmore, many Muslims believe that "peace" will not come until the "Mahdi" arrives, the prophesied redeemer of Islam. The Mahdi is supposed to arrive during a time of great chaos in the world. Mahdi fanatics such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believe it is their duty to exacerbate world chaos in order to speed his return. Interesting concept, eh?... peace through chaos and death.

And please, typos? Really? Sigh. There aren’t that many, y’know. Some examples...

I don’t thonk I am a gian intellect by any means,

people work for al kinds of other reasons,

business people will continue to try to amass fortnes,

what’s good for one can bad for all and what’s bad for one can good for all.

'Nuff said.

Am I arrogant? No more than you, no more than you or any of the other millions of people on the interwebs pontificating away. As long as you agree that you're "pontificating".

I ‘imagine what others must be feeling and assume that it is the truth’? What does tha mean exactly? Example: If you were scooped up in a sweep of NJ by an army marauding Taliban, shipped to Pakistan and tortured, the chances are you would be somewhat grumpy if and when you ever got out.You are imagining what those in Gitmo must be feeling and assuming it is the truth. You don't how anyone else feels and you can't assume to know how they felt before they went to Gitmo. And as for being "grumpy", I could argue that I would never be so "grumpy" as to take up jihad, murder and violence.

I ‘take isolated incidents out of context and assume they apply to other situations’? Example: Consider the case of Australian David Hick who was scooped up in sweep in Afghanistan and did five years of Git’mo torture before he was released. What is he doing now? He works in a plant nursery. So what? Are you assuming that the case of David Hicks can be applied to OBL's driver, or KSM, or AZ? What about the 60 or more Gitmo detainees that were released and went back to terrorism? Why didn't they go to work for a nursery? I could well argue that David Hick, being a westerner, was less inclined to go back to the battlefield because of his cultural upbringing versus that of Muslims. I doubt if Hick was raised in a madrassa.

I ‘specialize in misinterpretations, non sequiturs, exaggerations, false moral equivalencies, and ad-hominem attacks’? I've already pointed out a number of false moral equivalencies. You misinterpreted Dick Cheney's statement that there was no "smoking gun" connecting OBL to 9/11 as proof that Cheney said "OBL was not responsible" for 9/11. But that is not what Cheney meant. Lack of evidence does not prove lack of culpability (although it does make prosecution rather difficult).

When I brought this to your attention, you merely repeated the claim, and reinforced it with other statements that likewise said there was no "hard evidence" connecting OBL to 9/11. Lack of hard evidence does not necessarily constitute lack of culpability. To suggest otherwise is intellectual dishonesty. There is plenty of anecdotal and circumstantial evidence to tie OBL to 9/11.

Furthermore, although OBL initially denied any involvement, he later claimed responsibility for 9/11 on at least two occasions. For example, in a videotape shown on Al Jazeera, October 29, 2004, he said: "God knows it did not cross our minds to attack the towers but... As I watched the destroyed towers in Lebanon, it occurred to me to punish the unjust the same way (and) to destroy towers in America so it could taste some of what we are tasting and to stop killing our children and women." In an audio tape posted on the internet in May 2006, OBL said: "[Zacarias Moussaoui] had no connection at all with September 11... I am the one in charge of the 19 brothers and I never assigned brother Zacarias to be with them in that mission."

As for non sequiturs, you said: And so, instead of the rich business people buying yet another house in the Bahamas, the government can build and fund another 100 public schools! Implication? Rich people are selfish and never do good things. The government can do good things like build schools. Raising taxes on the rich will result in the government doing good things. It does not follow. Some rich people do good things. Sometimes the government does stupid things. Sometimes taxes are used to pay-off cronies, fund pork-barrel projects such as bridges-to-nowhere, and so on. Taxing rich people who do good things to have the government use the money for bad things is also a very real possibility.

Or again, you said: business people will continue to try to amass fort(u)nes because that’s what they like to do, just as an artist paints or a footballer footballs. Implication? Artists like to paint and footballers like to football, therefore business people like to amass fortunes. Huh? It does not follow.

As for exaggerations, you said: understand that GWB is personally responsible for the mess the world is in today for deliberately, and with malice aforethought, setting in motion the train of events wrecking the world today. Those are mighty bold accusations, and just a bit exaggerated.

You also said: The Thatcher/Reagan nightmare has decimated the middle classes, made slaves of the working classes and created a despised underclass. Oh really? "Decimated" you say, meaning that only 1/10th of the middle class was left after Reagan left office. Hmmm. And the 90% that were in the middle class are now "slaves". Really? And they're "despised" too. Wow! We not only "decimate" 'em, and make "slaves" of 'em, but we "despise" 'em too. OK. No exaggerations if you say so.

Ad hominem attacks? Well, you were pretty good on that score... this time. But you know I've called you on it in the past. Keep up the good work in that department. Now start working on your other deficiencies.

(:D) Cheers

 
At 5/20/2009 2:53 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

Alright! Eyes down! Game on!

'How pray tell, am I to interpret your sarcasm here?’

Sorry about the sarcasm but I thought that, going by your example, it was OK.

‘Are you not mocking me for my alleged "gullibility"…?

Do you not mock me? I’m not saying that you are ‘gullible’ so much as wiling to believe what fits your agenda.

‘…in believing what has been reported elsewhere on the Internet?’

The ‘KSM did everything!’ is all over the interwebs, but that doesn’t make it true.

‘Are you not implying that you know "the real truth" -- something other than what has been reported?’

I don’t know the ‘real truth’ any more than anyone else, but what I do know is that Bushco lied their way into all sorts of trouble so it makes sense that they would try to lie their way out again. They have form, but as everyone ducks for cover some interesting things are starting to emerge. This is not over by a long shot.

‘Are you not calling four CIA directors "liars"?’

It wouldn’t be the first time the CIA were economical with the truth – they do specialize in covert operations, y’know. According to Senator Bill Graham, they said he was at two briefings, which never occurred, and he has documented proof.

‘Why am I to believe your analysis of events rather than that of those who are best positioned to know what really happened?’

It’s not ‘my’ analysis, it’s the analysis of events by those who are best positioned to know what really happened like, for instance, former covert FBI agent Ali Soufan.

Seeing as no independent observers were allowed to witness the ‘interrogation’ sessions, all we have to go on is the word of those with a vested interest in the official tale and the status quo – a little Stalinist, don’t you think? Still, as I say, watch this space.

‘Again, you choose to call four CIA directors "liars". And on what basis do you make such a claim?’

I don’t remember calling anyone a ‘liar’ – you’re putting words in my mouth. What ’four CIA directors’, anyway?

‘Are you more knowledgable about what actually happened? If you can provide sources for disputing such statements I would be happy to hear about them.’

Exactly what statements am I disputing? Give me the statements and I’ll dispute ‘em for you.

‘Did you get your intel from the Daily Kos, or MoveOn.org?’

No, but what if I had? Would that totally invalidate them? What should we consider here? The form or the content?

‘Or is it merely the fact that successful interrogations do not happen to fit with your ideology, and therefore "must not be true"?’

Or is it that successful ones DO fit with yours? Look, I base my opinion on the GDP-of-China sized mountain of evidence that torture does not extract useful intelligence. Does. Not. Work.

‘Are you not at this very moment spouting "talking points"…’

No, this is my genuinely held belief. If this is a ‘talking point’ I never got the memo ¬ I do not, contrary to what you might think, have a direct line to the DNC.

 
At 5/20/2009 2:56 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘…while claiming that I am spouting "propaganda"? I thought you never used that word?’


I didn’t say I ‘never’ used it, I said I hadn’t used it so far. But do I think that KSM was tortured for propaganda purposes? Yes, I do.

It appears that the SERE program was used on prisoners, techniques ‘based, in part, on Chinese Communist techniques used during the Korean war to elicit false confessions’ – INQUIRY INTO THE TREATMENT OF DETAINEES IN U.S. CUSTODY REPORT OF THE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES UNITED STATES SENATE.

See? They knew that these methods – ‘stripping students of their clothing, placing them in stress positions, putting hoods over their heads, disrupting their sleep, treating them like animals, subjecting them to loud music and flashing lights, and exposing them to extreme temperatures…face and body slaps and…water-boarding [ibid]’ – would result in false testimony.

They also knew it would produce unreliable information because they were told. LTC Banks told them:

‘The use of physical pressures brings with it a large number of potential negative side effects...if individuals are put under enough discomfort, i.e. pain, they will eventually do whatever it takes to stop the pain.'

'This will increase the amount of information they tell the interrogator, but it does not mean the information is accurate. In fact, it usually decreases the reliability of the information because the person will say whatever he believes will stop the pain.’

‘Bottom line: The likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the delivery of accurate information from a detainee is very low. The likelihood that the use of physical pressures will increase the level of resistance in a detainee is very high’ [ibid].

http://armed-services.senate.gov/Publications/Detainee%20Report%20Final_April%2022%202009.pdf

The thing with the laundry list is that it cannot be proved. Prove it. Where is the solid proof that KSM did all that stuff? Point me to it.

‘You refer to AZ as a "nutter who made stuff up", but yet, it was AZ's interrogations that led to the capture of Ramzi bin al Shibh and KSM…‘And on what basis am I supposed to agree with you? ...because the stuff he "made up" just happened to be correct? ...what an amazing coincidence!'

A coincidence? No – just nonsense. Ramzi and KSM were not picked up from AZ’z information, and there is nothing to say that KSM was the 9/11 mastermind.

Let’s play courtrooms. In a court of law, the prosecution puts up a case and the defense tries to punch holes in it, to rebut it, to show why it isn’t true. The Bush administration says they water boarded AZ, he gave up Ramzi and KSM, lives were saved, etc etc.

However, the counter argument is that AZ was not an Al-queda member, that an old serious head injury made him unreliable even before he was tortured and that he didn’t give up Ramzi or KSM, and this from CIA and FBI operatives at the scene and veteran analysts.

This article has the basic gist:

http://www.vanityfair.com/magazine/2008/12/torture200812

Read it and get back to me. If you think it’s not reliable, refute the evidence. Punch holes in it. Rebut it. Show why it isn’t true.

‘Why is it that Obama was so ready to release the Bush memos describing the "torture" techniques and even contemplated releasing graphic photos, yet seems to be unwilling to release the memos Cheney says will prove that those techniques were successful?’

 
At 5/20/2009 3:08 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

You ask this question then answer it twice using nothing but supposition and opinion. There is nothing to back it up. Ah well.

I do actually know why Obama won’t release said memos, but first I want to pull you up on a couple of matters.

I agree with you that demagogues find scapegoats – the Zionists have Palestinians, Rush Limbaugh has liberals and Bush had 1.8 billion Muslims, but Obama has Bush?!!?

Tell me something – do you think Bush and Cheney are above the law? That’s it. Quite simple. The FFs put provisions in the US constitution to specifically prevent a president (and his vice) becoming above the law, that is, a dictatorship, so what’s the answer?

If your answer is ‘No’ then the evidence must be investigated. If your answer is ‘Yes’ then fascism and the end of the rule of law await. Which is it to be?

Don’t you this is a legitimate debate? US law says torture is illegal. If Bush sanctioned, OK’ed, signed off on torture then, QED, he broke the law. Holding a previous POTUS responsible for his actions is not scape-goating – if it were, the Republicans would be the masters as EVERYTHING is the fault of the previous Democrat – Johnson, Carter, Clinton, you guys blamed them for the lot. If it went wrong, it was their fault.

And this isn’t just about water-boarding – there were plenty of other techniques classifiable as torture. People died as result of US interrogation, which seems to me fits even John Yoo et al’s narrow definition of torture.

Anyhow, the answer to your question is…(drum roll please)...the CIA won’t let him!

‘The CIA also rejected Cheney's request that memos be made public showing how successful water-boarding was in interrogations of Zubaydah and two 9/11 plotters, saying those files are the focus of a lawsuit and exempt under an order ex-President George W. Bush signed years ago. – Daily News, http://www.nydailynews.com/news/us_world/2009/05/15/2009-05-15_obamas_cia_hits_back_at_critics_in_terrortorture_debates_including_dick_cheney_a.html

‘Another example of your false moral equivalencies.’

Is there any ‘moral equivalency’ you might consider valid?

‘Bush and Cheney made decisions and implemented policies which they believed would keep Americans safe.’

How does starting two wars keep Americans safe? How? What is the logic?

Talking of Bush/Cheney’s decisions, I am always struck by how meekly conservatives copped the PATRIOT Act, how happily you traded away your civil rights. Conservatives support the second amendment with logic that states ‘If you take away out guns, you take away our freedom!', but the Republican Party said ‘Ok, we’re gonna take away your freedom but you can keep the guns’ y’all said ‘Oh, OK.’

 
At 5/20/2009 3:21 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘They did not perpetrate plots for the sole purpose of killing thousands of innocent civilians.’

Huh? That’s exactly what they did! They perpetrated plots for the sole purpose of killing thousands of innocent civilians, except it was tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians.

‘How am I to interpret this statement then? Are you suggesting that Muslims believe they are "at war" with other cultures and religions?’

No, they believe another culture and religion is at war with them. Big difference.

‘Are you saying that they employ the tactics of "jihad" or holy war, because they view Christians, Jews and Hindus as attacking them?’

There are two major forms of Jihad – Greater Jihad, the struggle for the soul, and lesser Jihad, the armed struggle against persecution and oppression. It would seem that Muslims have a ‘a blow to one is a blow to all’ philosophy going on, and if they weren’t feeling persecuted and oppressed before they are now – with the Zionists attacking Palestine and the USA attacking Afghanistan and Iraq, if one were a Muslim one might be feeling a little victimized.

‘Are you also saying that this "war" which Muslims are fighting is "not unreasonable”? And if they ARE fighting a "war" against us, then what are we doing in response? Are we supposed to let others fight a "war" against us without a measured response? When terrorists do things that are unreasonable, how are "reasonable" people supposed to respond? I'm open to your suggestions.

They are not fighting it with us; we are fighting it with them. The whole thing was unnecessary and avoidable – the Taliban were quite happy to hand over
OBL, despite not having an official extradition treaty with the USA, pending some hard evidence that OBL did it, as is usual in such situations. But that evidence was never produced – the USA ignored them. Does the USA have any evidence? The FBI doesn’t think so. So where is it?

And there was a similar story in Iraq – Saddam Hussein was trying desperately to negotiate a settlement as the US troops massed on his border but he was, like the Taliban, ignored.

9/11, even if was pulled off by OBL, KSM or the tooth fairy, was not an act of war; it was an act of terrorism, a job for Interpol and not the Pentagon.

‘Another example of your false moral equivalencies.’

No, a matter of historical record.

‘The Jews established a homeland in Palestine and sought to live in freedom…’

A freedom that required the denial of the Palestinians’ freedom.

‘ -- a homeland which, by the way, they had links to for several thousand years dating back to the Pharaohs in Egypt’

Many displaced peoples have links to their homelands dating back thousands of years, yet they are not given their country back. What makes the Jewish people so special?

And before you say ‘The Holocaust!’, the Zionist push for Jewish homeland was on way before WW2 – the modern movement started around 1890 – and, it’s tragic to say, that many Zionist leaders looked upon using the holocaust as a lever to achieve their ultimate agenda.

 
At 5/20/2009 3:23 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘…and fully documented in one of the oldest and best known manuscripts of all time.’

Fully documented? I know the Bible has a lot of stuff, but I didn’t know it was also a mid-20th Century real estate directory.

The Bible says all sorts of things – it seems to have trouble making its mind up about even the most fundamental of matters. There are, for instance, three versions of the Ten Commandments, and at least four versions of what actually constitutes Israel – Genesis 15, Numbers 34, Ezekiel 47 and the various ‘Dan to Beersheeba’ references. However, what it does not include is what conservatives are always saying is crucial to a functioning society – how the rights of private property owners would be affected.

‘When attacked by Muslims…’

Who were defending their private property…

‘…they retaliated according to their tradition ("an eye for an eye").’

…and who retaliated according to their tradition.

See? How come its alright for Israel to ‘retaliate according to their tradition’ but not Palestine? As far as the Palestinians were concerned, they were about to lose their homes and their land – their bought and paid for private property –to a bunch of invaders, so it is not surprising that they reacted negatively – you’d do the same.

‘If they are better at fighting than Muslims, do they now automatically become "terrorists"?

No, they were terrorists because they used the kind of tactics Muslims are now despised for using. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t like anyone blowing anyone else up, and that goes for everybody, US and Australia included – however, I understand why some people feel that this is the only option left to them. I wish they wouldn’t do it, I wish they didn’t feel that this is the only option left open to them, but there you go.

And Israel still is a terror nation in that it uses violence to intimidate and control, to force a political outcome.

‘To which acts of Jewish "terrorism" are you referring?’

The bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946 is the most famous (91 dead) but there are plenty of others – take your pick:

http://www.rense.com/general21/pastzionist.htm

‘Another example of your false moral equivalencies.’

No.

‘Or, perhaps you didn't understand that when I said "bad Muslims" I was referring specifically to "terrorists" like OBL et al.’

No, I was saying that all cultures, religions, ethnicities, whatever, have within them anti-social, ‘bad’, elements.

But if you want to start listing terrorist masterminds how about GEB and Benjamin Netanyahu?

‘Sure, there may be a few Christians, Jews or Hindus that could be labeled as "terrorists", but by any calculation (actual number, percentage of the faith, per capita, etc), Islamic terrorists vastly outnumber all others.’

I beg to differ. If you want to play head counts, the actual amount of hard-core 
Taliban fighters is estimated to be about 7,000 to 11,000, and Al-queda, well, have a guess – no one really knows (Hindu terrorists, although there are a few, are not really germane to this discussion).

However, I will argue that Muslim terrorists are ‘vastly outnumbered’ by the Christian and Jewish ones who come in the shape of national armies. The Israeli Defense Force is, as I pointed out, a terror organization of religious extremists that is legitimized by the state and visits destruction on a civilian population in order to impose its political will and intimidate the citizens.

The Christian terrorists are, of course, the US Army. There has been a concerted effort to evangelize the officer class over the past few years that they might spread the message to their subordinates, and it’s working – evangelicals have taken over the Air Force Academy, and it is spreading.

 
At 5/20/2009 5:08 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

The Ann Coulter quote about invading their countries, killing their leaders and converting them to Christianity has become a barrack room staple and now it turns out that the Pentagon had bible quotes published on the top of Bush’s top-secret briefings, much to the satisfaction of Rumsfeld, Meyers and especially Bush, a Dominionist who frequently referred to the WoT™ as a ‘crusade’ and who told President Chirac that he was on a mission from god – apparently, Gog and Magog had to be dealt with. Or something.

Bush’s Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Lieut. Gen. William Boykin, said this: "Ladies and gentlemen, I want to impress upon you that the battle that we're in is a spiritual battle," he said. "Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army."

And then we have the recent evidence of Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, telling soldiers that as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility "to be witnesses for him. The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. We do, we hunt them down," he says. "Get the hound of heaven after them, so we get them into the kingdom. That's what we do, that's our business." 
And, of course, there’s Blackwater, a private army owned and operated by an avowed evangelical Christian.

Air Force Maj. Gen. Jack Catton, Army Brig. Gen. Bob Caslen (ex-deputy director for political-military affairs for the war on terrorism, ex-directorate for strategic plans and policy (joint staff) now overseeing the cadets at the Military Academy at West Point), Brig. Gen. Vincent Brooks, Maj. Gen. Peter Sutton, and a colonel and lieutenant colonel appeared in a promotional video, in full uniform, for the Christian Embassy, a Pentagon outreach ministry.

They were pulled up for it, but said in their defense that the ‘Christian Embassy had become a 'quasi-Federal entity', since the DOD had endorsed the organization to General Officers for over 25 years’, Major General Catton talks about how his faith in God and the Christian Embassy helped him land a powerful position as a ‘director on the joint staff.’

Army Secretary Pete Geren, the former acting secretary of the Air Force, also appeared in the video praising the Christian Embassy and says it ‘has been a rock that I can rely on, been an organization that helped me in my walk with Christ, and I'm just thankful for the service they give," Geren, who was also a special assistant to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, has had a long-standing relationship with the Christian Embassy organization.

"According to his testimony, Mr. Geren first became involved with Christian Embassy while he was a member of the US Congress, attending Bible study and fellowship activities arranged by Christian Embassy on Capitol Hill," the inspector general's report states. "He said that he continued his relationship with Christian Embassy when he began work for DOD in the Pentagon, attending the Senior Executive Fellowship and Bible Study."

You, as a Christian, might think this is all quite a good idea, when the ex-CIC was a committed Christian, several of his Generals are committed Christians, his private army was run by a committed Christian, military training schools are being run by committed Christians and the head US Army Chaplain actively encourages evangelizing, handing out Bibles and so forth, an outsider might not unreasonably conclude that the US runs a Christian Army and Muslims might not unreasonably regard the WoT™ as a rerun of the crusades.

But are the US Army terrorists? Never forget those wise words ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter’ or vice versa, and this from Peter Ustinov – Terrorism is the war of the poor, and, war is the terrorism of the rich.

 
At 5/20/2009 5:14 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

So if your definition of terror is ‘a state of intense fear’ (Merriam-Webster) and terrorism is ‘the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion’ (MW) then yes, I would say that the US Army are terrorists. The US Army terrorize and torture men, women and children, innocent civilians, to impose a desired political outcome and that, Hawkeye, is terrorism – and the same goes for the IDF.

‘Again with the false moral equivalencies.’

The core beliefs of the neo-cons are frighteningly close to those of the Islamists – Leo Strauss’s conclusion that the west was being degraded and corrupted by individualism was mirrored by that of Sayyid Qutb, an Egyptian civil servant who became disgusted with American decadence while visiting Colorado in 1948-50 and so started radical Islamism.

That’s what I meant, that the Christian fundamentalists are fighting the same battle as the Islamic fundamentalists – the war against individualism and the moral decay it engenders.

‘How many Christian fundamentalists can you point to today that cut off heads, build car bombs, fly planes into buildings, conduct suicide attacks, fire rockets indiscriminately into urban centers, and plot the destruction of innocent civilians?’

Again, the US Army does some of these things – not all, but some. They may not cut off heads but they cut off limbs after leaving people dangling for so long that they have become necrotic, they don’t have to build car bombs and commandeer planes as they access to much better equipment that is better suited to the task but fire rockets indiscriminately into urban centers? Plot the destruction of innocent civilians? Yup, they sure do. What was ‘Shock and Awe®’ if not that?

As for suicide missions, the US Army may not go in for them but they are no great mystery, and not exactly new. The Japanese, the Germans, the Sri Lankans have all had a go, and the first ME suicide bomber was a Jewish woman, the Girl In Red, who blew up the Jerusalem railway station in 1946.

Would Americans commit suicide bombings? If the conditions were right, I’d say yes, they would – it depends how much pressure they were under.

‘I think some would be willing to dispute that claim.’

OK, good. Let’s go!

‘Especially go HERE and HERE.’

Well I went there and there, and I found a website listing various atrocities and a book telling me why Christianity is good. OK, touché – http://mindprod.com/politics/iraqatrocities.html and http://www.archipelago.org/vol7-2/turnley-gulf.swf and

try http://www.jamaat.net/deedat.htm for an Islamic take on Christianity.

‘My research would suggest that most Muslims believe that "peace" will not come until the whole world has been converted to Islam.’

Funny, eh? My research would suggest that most Christians believe that "peace" will not come until the whole world has been converted to Christianity!

‘Furthermore, many Muslims believe that "peace" will not come until the "Mahdi" arrives, the prophesied redeemer of Islam.’

Snap! Many Christians believe that "peace" will not come until Jesus arrives, the prophesied redeemer of mankind.

‘The Mahdi is supposed to arrive during a time of great chaos in the world. Mahdi fanatics such as Mahmoud Ahmadinejad believe it is their duty to exacerbate world chaos in order to speed his return.'

Same – same! Jesus is supposed to arrive during a time of great chaos in the world! Jesus fanatics such as George Bush believe it is their duty to exacerbate world chaos in order to speed his return.

‘Interesting concept, eh?... peace through chaos and death.’

Indeed it is – isn’t it called The Rapture?

‘Some examples...'Nuff said.’

Yeah, OK, the situation is worse than I thought. There are reasons, but I won’t go into them – nope, no excuses, it’s my responsibility to make sure all my copy is up to scratch. I shall learn from this and it will not happen again. It’s not because I’m too stupid to know the difference, it’s just…oh, never mind.

PS You have your moments too, y’know.

 
At 5/20/2009 5:16 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘As long as you agree that you're "pontificating".’

Of course I am! Pontificating, declaiming, expounding, bloviating, holding forth, whatever – as are you.

‘You are imagining what those in Gitmo must be feeling and assuming it is the truth.’

I am putting forward a proposition.

‘You don't how anyone else feels and you can't assume to know how they felt before they went to Git’mo.’

I never said I ‘knew’ – however, it seems reasonable to assume that innocent people tortured at Git’mo et al would have a different outlook towards their captors than when they went in.

‘And as for being "grumpy", I could argue that I would never be so "grumpy" as to take up jihad, murder and violence.’

I should hope not, and let’s hope that you never have to find out. However, the human being is a very strange creature and many millions of people have found themselves committing atrocities they had no idea they were capable of.

‘Are you assuming that the case of David Hicks can be applied to OBL's driver, KSM, or AZ?’

No, I’m saying that he was supposed to be the ‘worst of the worst’ and he wasn’t. That’s all.

But his driver? Really? With respect, that is not ‘the worst of the worst’. Who’s next? His Window cleaner?

‘What about the 60 or more Git'mo detainees that were released and went back to terrorism?’

How do you know they ‘went back’? Maybe that’s when they started! If I may quote, um, you, ‘you don't how anyone else feels and you can't assume to know how they felt before they went to Git’mo.’
Development! Oops!

‘Why didn't they go to work for a nursery?’

Because they were grumpier than Hicks.

‘I could well argue that David Hick, being a westerner, was less inclined to go back to the battlefield because of his cultural upbringing versus that of Muslims. I doubt if Hick was raised in a madrassa.’

You could well argue that, and you’d probably be right. However, given that you mentioned Madrassas, it might interest you to learn that the Pakistani madrassas that taught the glory of Jihad and weaponry to the future Taliban were funded by, you guessed it, the USA – another one of Reagan’s big ideas!

The gory textbooks they used were written and printed by the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies from the $51 million in grants given to them by the U.S. Agency for International.

Clinton put a stop to it all in ’94, but they didn’t get any new demilitarized books until 2002, thanks to those interfering idiots at the UN and UNICEF! Grr! Stoopid international institutions!

‘I've already pointed out a number of false moral equivalencies.’

No, you’ve pointed put what you CONSIDER to be ‘false moral equivalencies’ but what I consider to be valid moral relativisms, and rebutted your rebuttals. Your move.

‘You misinterpreted Dick Cheney's statement that there was no "smoking gun" connecting OBL to 9/11 as proof that Cheney said "OBL was not responsible" for 9/11.’

I didn’t misinterpret anything. I quote Cheney as per. ‘We've never made the case, or argued the case that somehow Osama bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming."

—Dick Cheney, "Interview of the Vice President by Tony Snow", March 29, 2006

That seems pretty clear to me. He said nothing about a ‘smoking gun’ – that’s YOUR misinterpretation. What is about ‘We’ve never made the case that somehow OBL was directly involved in 9/1’ that is ambiguous? Which words in ‘We've never made the case that somehow Osama bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11’ are open to interpretation?

‘But that is not what Cheney meant.’

Well what DID he mean then? Do you know? Have you asked him? Or are imagining what others must be feeling and assuming that it is the truth’? I mean, you don't how anyone else feels and you can't assume to know how they felt before they opened their mouths.

 
At 5/20/2009 5:18 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘Lack of evidence does not prove lack of culpability’

No, but it doesn’t prove culpability either, yet this is the standard of proof being used for OBL.

‘(although it does make prosecution rather difficult).’

Well yes, thank you, it DOES make prosecution rather difficult, doesn’t it?

‘When I brought this to your attention, you merely repeated the claim, and reinforced it with other statements that likewise said there was no "hard evidence" connecting OBL to 9/11.’

No you didn’t – with respect, you said no such thing. I posted the quote once along with some corroborating opinions and, up until now, you’ve ignored them all.

‘Lack of hard evidence does not necessarily constitute lack of culpability. To suggest otherwise is intellectual dishonesty.’

As is suggesting that it does.

'There is plenty of anecdotal and circumstantial evidence to tie OBL to 9/11.’

If you walked into a court of law as a prosecution attorney and said, ‘Well, we don’t actually have any hard evidence as such, you honor, but that doesn’t mean he didn’t do it!’ you’d be up on contempt charges. Not that it stopped Dick, Don and Georgie-boy any! Evidence? Pah! Who needs it? And so we have Afghanistan.

‘Anecdotal’ evidence is not permissible in a court of law, and any case built solely on circumstantial evidence would collapse. But that’s why Bush went to war I suppose – he didn’t have anything on OBL.

Don’t you think that if Bush et al had even the barest skerrick of evidence they’d sing it from the highest hilltop? And what, pray is the ‘circumstantial’ evidence?

And if not OBL, who? I am, however, glad to see you admit there is no evidence for OBL’s complicity in 9/11 –there’s hope for you yet! It’s glimmers of sense like this that make it all worthwhile!

‘Furthermore, although OBL initially denied any involvement, he later claimed responsibility for 9/11 on at least two occasions. For example, in a videotape shown on Al Jazeera, October 29, 2004, he said:….’

Are we 110% sure that these are OBL? Really? On what basis? Is the circumstantial evidence you speak of? Furthermore, it could be argued that because OBL had figured by 2004 that the whole world had declared him guilty, he might as well take the rap and get whatever out of it that he could. It’s all possible…

‘Implication? Rich people are selfish and never do good things.’

Did I say that? No. Did I imply that? If you want to think so. Look, I understand what you’re saying but I think you are getting a bit a carried away pulling me up on logical fallacies when it is quite obvious I was speaking generally.

Still, if you want to get literal, let’s go. I said ‘And so, instead of the rich business people buying yet another house in the Bahamas, the government can build and fund another 100 public schools!’. Notice, for a start, the qualifier ‘can’ – not ‘will’, can. Or ‘could’, if you prefer.

‘The government can do good things like build schools.’

Do you consider building and funding schools a good thing?

‘Raising taxes on the rich will result in the government doing good things. It does not follow.’

Raising taxes on the rich might, however, improve the chances of the government doing good things.

‘Some rich people do good things.’

And some rich people do bad things. And some poor people etc etc

‘Sometimes the government does stupid things.’

And sometimes not – it depends on your perspective. I think bombs and nuclear power stations are stupid things, but you might not.

‘Sometimes taxes are used to pay-off cronies, fund pork-barrel projects such as bridges-to-nowhere, and so on.’

And sometimes they are used to fund schools.

‘Taxing rich people who do good things to have the government use the money for bad things is also a very real possibility.’

And taxing rich people who do bad things to have the government use the money for good things is also a very real possibility, and so it goes.

 
At 5/20/2009 5:19 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

Look, governments need a tax base in order to provide services like schools. The more money in the coffers, hopefully the more services like schools – you sure can’t build them on Hope & Change™ – but it also depends on the competency of the government and the system they work in.

‘Implication? Artists like to paint and footballers like to football, therefore business people like to amass fortunes. Huh? It does not follow.’

That’s not an implication, that’s exactly what I said. Business people like to amass fortunes. They might not all succeed, but they try. All of them? No, there are no absolutes in this world, but on the whole, with the idea of business being to accrue money, please point to the businessman that does not want to be successful.

What I am alluding to is the observable relationship between an expanding inequality of wealth and a shrivelling public sector. Thus, QED, the less houses bought by billionaires in the Bahamas, the more money available for schools. Or bombs. Or nuclear power stations. Or bridges to nowhere. But you knew that already…

‘Understand that GWB is personally responsible for the mess the world is in today for deliberately, and with malice aforethought, setting in motion the train of events wrecking the world today.’ ‘Those are mighty bold accusations, and just a bit exaggerated.’

Maybe, but I would happily defend them if you wanted me to. Do you? But does this mean all rhetorical flourishes and exaggerations-for-effect are now out of bounds? OK, I’ll be watching….

‘Oh really? "Decimated" you say, meaning that only 1/10th of the middle class was left after Reagan left office.’

Hmmm. And the 90% that were in the middle class are now "slaves". Really? And they're "despised" too. Wow! We not only "decimate" 'em, and make "slaves" of 'em, but we "despise" 'em too. OK. No exaggerations if you say so.

I knew it! I knew as soon as I typed ‘decimated’ that you’d become the Interweb’s premier grammar Nazi and nail me for it – you are the sovereign of semantics, the lord of literality. You know full well that ‘decimated’ has long since left its original historic definition of ‘one in ten’, but let’s see just how far off the mark ‘decimated’ is with regards the death of the middle class.

This study ( http://www.demos.org/pubs/midclass_factsheetNEW.pdf ) says that 76% of middle-class households do not have enough net assets to meet ¾ of basic expenses for even three months – only 15% shy of the 90% threshold!

The Reagan/Thatcher nightmare has left quite a legacy. The trickle-down that didn’t and the off-shoring of jobs and profits that turned middle-class careers into service industry jobs has, um, what? –Wrecked? Ruined? Destroyed? Derailed? Which do you like? I’ve got more – caused much misery. Homelessness and unemployment rose throughout this time but now, due to the third stooge, these have gone gangbusters. Seen Detroit lately?

So yes, the middle-class have been made slaves of – slaves to their mortgages, slaves to their health plans, slaves to the capriciousness of their employer, slaves to their credit cards – while an underclass has slowly fermented under the radar and statistics, the untouchables, the homeless and/or unemployed, mentally ill, drug-dependent, unlucky, disenfranchised, disowned, undocumented and foreclosed who are either on their way to jail or on their way out, which means they are on their way in, the people that everyone else can look down on.

But you appear to disagree. Are things not as bad as I seem to think? Are the steel mills of Pennsylvania silent only because of a public holiday? Are there not really 2 million people warehoused in the US prison system? Do people not really live in their cars?

And while we’re at it, did income equality not increase? Did the gap between rich and poor not grow? Am I mistaken?

 
At 5/20/2009 5:20 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘Ad hominem attacks? Well, you were pretty good on that score... this time. But you know I've called you on it in the past. Keep up the good work in that department.’

I do try – I’m so used to barrages, rivers, torrents of foul abuse from conservatives on other sites that I forget what civil discourse looks like, and so I am always amused to find conservatives so sensitive to it. Still, that doesn’t happen here, which is one of the reasons I come back here.

However, you’re no slouch yourself – you had quite a crack at me in your previous post where you listed my many, mostly imagined, shortcomings, but I forgive you; you are understandably distraught.

‘Now start working on your other deficiencies.’

The ones that don’t exist? OK…done. There. Over to you, and thank you for your time.

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 5/20/2009 8:00 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,

Exactly what statements am I disputing? Give me the statements and I’ll dispute ‘em for you. In your own words: The thing with the laundry list is that it cannot be proved. Prove it. Where is the solid proof that KSM did all that stuff? Point me to it... Ramzi and KSM were not picked up from AZ’z information, and there is nothing to say that KSM was the 9/11 mastermind. If I interpret you correctly, you are disputing the statements I made. Of course I was quoting GWB, Cheney, Michael Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet, former CIA director Robert Gates, and Wikipedia. Those are the statements you are ultimately disputing. But of course, you don't believe those guys. You prefer to trust in stories from 'Vanity Fair' that quote "a former senior C.I.A. official", and "a former Pentagon analyst", and "numerous C.I.A. and F.B.I. officials", and "a retired senior officer" -- all of whom wish to rename nameless of course. If these people are so knowledgable, they ought to be willing to put their careers and reputation on the line. Until then, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.

do I think that KSM was tortured for propaganda purposes? Yes, I do. OK, so let me get this straight. The CIA said to themselves one day, "If we torture captured terrorists, we know we won't get any useful information from them. Let's just do it to for propaganda purposes." What propaganda value could the CIA have derived from torturing KSM? As a deterrent to other would-be terrorists? Please enlighten me.

Let’s play courtrooms. In a court of law, the prosecution puts up a case and the defense tries to punch holes in it, to rebut it, to show why it isn’t true. OK. Let's do that. Let's have a real in-depth investigation. Let's release the memos that Cheney says shows that EITs worked. Let's get to the bottom of this thing. If EITs work and are justified, then everyone who says otherwise will have to shut up. If they don't work, then everybody who knew about them and approved of them, tacitly or otherwise, should also be indicted... Nancy Pelosi for example. By releasing the "torture" memos, Obama laid the groundwork for prosecuting anyone who authorized, supported or used EITs, but unlike a courtroom, he's not allowing the accused to defend themselves. Kind of Stalinist, eh?

The Bush administration says they water boarded AZ, he gave up Ramzi and KSM, lives were saved, etc etc. However, the counter argument is that AZ was not an Al-queda member, that an old serious head injury made him unreliable even before he was tortured and that he didn’t give up Ramzi or KSM, and this from CIA and FBI operatives at the scene. A counter argument which has been made by unnamed sources who are unwilling to identify themselves. Let's get them into court to testify so they can be cross-examined, OK?

Tell me something – do you think Bush and Cheney are above the law? No.

If your answer is ‘No’ then the evidence must be investigated. OK. Let's go for it. Full disclosure. No holds barred. No unnamed sources. No partisan politics. Let the chips fall where they may.

‘The CIA also rejected Cheney's request that memos be made public showing how successful water-boarding was in interrogations of Zubaydah and two 9/11 plotters, saying those files are the focus of a lawsuit and exempt under an order ex-President George W. Bush signed years ago. C'mon. Who is the Commander-in-Chief? Is it someone in the CIA? Obama can declassify anything he wants to. Obama didn't have any qualms about releasing the "torture" memos, despite the protests of Bush, Cheney and the CIA. Why should he listen to the CIA now? Why should he respect Bush and Cheney in one regard, but not in another. It's pure hypocrisy. It's a double-standard. You can't have it both ways.

 
At 5/20/2009 8:06 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Is there any ‘moral equivalency’ you might consider valid? Sure. Stalin was just as bad as Hitler or Mao. President Bush was just as bad as President Clinton in some respects. Obama is just as bad as Bush in some respects. But Bush does not equal Hitler or Stalin... sorry.

How does starting two wars keep Americans safe? How? What is the logic? The war in Afghanistan was started after 9/11 because the al-Qaeda training camps were in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda was being protected by the Taliban. Al-Qaeda perpetrated 9/11, the US embassy bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, and the 1993 WTC bombing. Rooting out al-Qaeda keeps Americans safe.

As for Iraq. There was a widespread belief that Saddam had WMDs. Yes, it was "widespread". All the western intelligence agencies believed it, and not just a few Democrats too. After 9/11 there was widespread fear that WMDs in Iraq could fall into the hands of terrorists. Bad intelligence? Perhaps. But that's the story. Saddam was clearly a madman and a butcher. He used WMDs on the Kurds. He was shooting missiles at Coalition aircraft in the "no-fly" zones almost daily. He played lots of games with the UNSCOM inspectors. He wouldn't let UNSCOM into certain buildings for hours on end while trucks would load up stuff and leave the facility. He eventually kicked out UNSCOM. He played games with Hans Blix and the IAEA after 13 or 14 UN resolutions had been passed. There was no telling what the guy might do next. And as we found out later, he ordered Iraqi scientist Mahdi Obeidi to hide centrifuge parts and plans in his back yard... parts and plans for uranium-enrichment equipment.

Huh? That’s exactly what they did! [Bush-Cheney] perpetrated plots for the sole purpose of killing thousands of innocent civilians, except it was tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians. Get real! Their aim was NOT to slaughter civilians en masse. If you believe that, then you are very deluded... or on drugs. Their goal was regime change, finding WMDs, eliminating a potential terrorist threat -- not wholesale slaughter. If wholesale slaughter was their goal, there are plenty of weapons that could have been used to get the job done a lot more efficiently than using precision guided munitions.

No, they believe another culture and religion is at war with them. Big difference. Sorry, but I don't see the difference. If they believe others ar "at war" with them, they have only two options: retaliate or don't retaliate, you know... "fight or flight". If they choose to retaliate and fight, then they are by definition, "at war" with us, regardless of the agressor, real or imagined. Perhaps not all have chosen to fight, but some have. Those who have chosen to fight, are "at war" with us "infidels".

Perhaps some of us believe that "another culture and religion" is at war with us. Did you ever think about that? Acts of terrorism by Islamic radicals goes back quite a way: 1972 Olympics: 12 dead, 1973 Saudi Arabian embassy, 1973 Pan Am Flight 110: 30 dead, 1974 Kiryat Shmona massacre: 18 dead, 1974 Ma'alot massacre: 26 dead, 1974 TWA Flight 841: 88 dead, 1975 Savoy Operation: 11 dead, 1976 Lebanon kidnappings: 2 dead, 1977 Washington DC (3) buildings taken over: 1 dead, 1978 Israeli orange poisonings, 1979 Iran hostage crisis, 1980 Belgian grenade attack: 1 dead, 1981 Vienna synagogue attack: 2 dead, 1981 Anwar Sadat assassinated, 1981 Belgian synagogue attack: 3 dead.

Of course I could go on, but I think you get the point. Where is your sense of moral equivalence now? Excuse me, "valid moral relativism"?

 
At 5/20/2009 8:11 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

if they weren’t feeling persecuted and oppressed before they are now – with the Zionists attacking Palestine and the USA attacking Afghanistan and Iraq, if one were a Muslim one might be feeling a little victimized. Hmmm, "Zionists" eh? Careful now. You're letting your anti-Semitism show. And frankly, there are "victims" on both sides. I'm feeling "a little victimized" myself.

They are not fighting it with us; we are fighting it with them. See my comments above. If they are fighting, then we are both "at war", plain and simple. (That is, unless we decide to "sit it out" while they continue fighting.) Wars are a 2-way street. It's not like they were defending their homeland on 9/11. That was an "offensive" act, not a "defensive" act. Don't try to make them out like they are noble. There was nothing noble about 9/11. There is nothing noble about killing thousands of innocent civilians.

The whole thing was unnecessary and avoidable. Now I KNOW you are deluded... or on drugs... or an Islamic extremist apologist.

And there was a similar story in Iraq – Saddam Hussein was trying desperately to negotiate a settlement as the US troops massed on his border but he was, like the Taliban, ignored. Yeah sure. Like he was so noble too. Invading Iran. Invading Kuwait. Mass graves. Gassing the Kurds. Slaughtering the Shia. Too noble for words. My heart goes out for him.

9/11, even if was pulled off by OBL, KSM or the tooth fairy, was not an act of war; it was an act of terrorism, a job for Interpol and not the Pentagon. Shooting somebody on the street is a job for Interpol. Hijacking an airplane is a job for Interpol. Killing thousands of innocents is "war". The US treated terrorism like a police matter from 1972 until 2001, and what did it get us? ...9/11. Now with the potential for terrorism using WMDs, the stakes are much higher. We cannot wait until an American or European city is smoldering in ruins to start looking for finger prints. By then, it's too late.

‘Another example of your false moral equivalencies.’ No, a matter of historical record. Comparing the actions of two alternate persons or groups is not merely a recitation of the historical record, it is the establishment of a moral equivalence. You may disagree that it is a "false" moral equivalence, but it is a moral equivalence nonetheless. I posit that your moral equivalencies are "false" because your comparisons assume identical motives, which is patently absurd.

‘The Jews established a homeland in Palestine and sought to live in freedom...’ A freedom that required the denial of the Palestinians’ freedom. While I disagree, this topic is too big to discuss here.

‘When attacked by Muslims...’ Who were defending their private property. Again, I disagree, but too complicated to address here.

‘To which acts of Jewish "terrorism" are you referring?’ The bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946 is the most famous (91 dead) but there are plenty of others. Well. You got me there. I was not aware of such incidents. I will have to learn more about them. At first glance, I can't condone such tactics. I don't know enough at this point to comment.

The Israeli Defense Force is, as I pointed out, a terror organization of religious extremists that is legitimized by the state and visits destruction on a civilian population in order to impose its political will and intimidate the citizens. I think that is an overly broad statement. In Israel, national military service is mandatory for all Israeli citizens over the age of 18 (including women). It would be hard to believe then that everyone who serves is a "religious extremist". During the 1967 war, Moshe Dyan could have captured the Temple Mount and demolished the mosques if he was truly a "religious extremist". Instead, he turned it over to the Muslims and forbade Israelis to even visit the site.

 
At 5/20/2009 8:16 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

The Christian terrorists are, of course, the US Army. Wow. Now you have really gone over the edge. I am stupefied that you could say such a thing. That is NOT a rational statement. I am beginning to think you really are a Muslim apologist.

There has been a concerted effort to evangelize the officer class over the past few years that they might spread the message to their subordinates, and it’s working – evangelicals have taken over the Air Force Academy, and it is spreading. Great! I thought we were living in a post-Christian America. That's what Obama says. Perhaps the Christian influence will result in more "acts of agression" like the US military response to the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami. Ya think?

The Ann Coulter quote about invading their countries, killing their leaders and converting them to Christianity has become a barrack room staple. I don't know, but if so, then maybe it's because they appreciate the wit and sarcastic humor of Ann Coulter. If you read Ann Coulter on a regular basis, then you would know that she wasn't serious.

Bush, a Dominionist who frequently referred to the WoT™ as a ‘crusade’ and who told President Chirac that he was on a mission from god. Crikey! Do you believe that stuff? First of all, Bush never referred to himself as a Dominionist, others have made that charge. He may have surrounded himself with evangelical Christians because they are people he felt comfortable with, but that does not mean he was trying to impose a Christian government. Second, he only made the "crusade" comment once in an off-hand way and was rebuffed for using it. He was reminded that the "Crusades" are a sore spot for Muslims and never used the term again. Third, he supposedly told the Palestinian foreign minister (not Chirac) that he was on "a mission from God". And that has never been proven. Fourth, he supposedly made reference to a Biblical prophecy in the presence of Chirac. So what? For a man who read the Bible from cover to cover each year of his administration, he was bound to have a Biblical perspective. It is easy for a man in a position of such power to believe that he is somehow playing a role in prophetic fulfillment. I don't think that necessarily means prophecy was "driving him" the way it does Ahmadinejad. Bush prayed too (as do millions of people world wide). If you believe in prayer, then you certainly must assume that you are in communication with God. President Obama is no different. He says he prays every day. And Obama certainly believes he is a "man of destiny".

Bush’s Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, Lieut. Gen. William Boykin, said this: "Ladies and gentlemen, I want to impress upon you that the battle that we're in is a spiritual battle," he said. "Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army." I assume that you are not a Christian because you appear to be very unaware of Christian "lingo". I agree completely with Boykin, because he is speaking as Christian and not as a general. He refers to Ephesians 6:12 where it says, "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (ie, Satan and his wicked angels). As for a "Christian army", he is not referring to the US military, but to a metaphor. Have you not heard of the old hymn, 'Onward Christian soldiers'?

 
At 5/20/2009 8:20 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

And then we have the recent evidence of Lieutenant-Colonel Gary Hensley, the chief of the US military chaplains in Afghanistan, telling soldiers that as followers of Jesus Christ, they all have a responsibility "to be witnesses for him. The special forces guys - they hunt men basically. We do the same things as Christians, we hunt people for Jesus. This guy is a chaplain. He is a Christian first and a soldier second. His job in the military is to provide religious comfort to soldiers (specifically of the Christian faith). These soldiers face fear and death every day. The role of the chaplain is to support people on the battlefield in their faith.

Being a "witness" for Jesus means setting a good example, acting Christ-like, showing others that God has made a difference in our life. And, if called upon, as a "witness" we are to give "testimony" about what Jesus means to us. Sounds kind of like a courtroom doesn't it? And we will all stand before the "Judgment" someday too.

Being "chief of the US military chaplains", he was speaking to other chaplains again using a metaphor. Ministers like to do that. They use allusions and allegories all the time. Jesus did it himself quite frequently with his use of parables. While I cannot claim to know specifically what he meant, I would suggest that to "hunt people for Jesus" means to "look for people who need solace and support on behalf of Jesus". He is telling his chaplains not sit in a chapel somewhere and pray all day. He wants them to go out and talk to the soldiers. See what they are thinking and feeling. Look for people who need help, just as Jesus walked among the masses "healing their sick". I don't think it is a suggestion to go out and proseletyze with "overwhelming force". As chaplains they are "Special Ops" people, because their mission is very "special" indeed.

the Christian Embassy, a Pentagon outreach ministry. Christians do outreach. It is in their nature and heritage. They are called by Christ to do outreach. They are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and yes, evangelize too. But aggressive proselytization is frowned upon. I would daresay in the military moreso than elsewhere. As you said, they were endorsed by the DOD for over 25 years.

Army Secretary Pete Geren, the former acting secretary of the Air Force, also appeared in the video praising the Christian Embassy and says it ‘has been a rock that I can rely on, been an organization that helped me in my walk with Christ. Great! Being Christ-like is a good thing, isn't it? Or do you have something against putting others first, being kind and considerate, helping others in need.

You, as a Christian, might think this is all quite a good idea. Yes I do.

when the ex-CIC was a committed Christian, several of his Generals are committed Christians, his private army was run by a committed Christian, military training schools are being run by committed Christians and the head US Army Chaplain actively encourages evangelizing, handing out Bibles and so forth, an outsider might not unreasonably conclude that the US runs a Christian Army and Muslims might not unreasonably regard the WoT™ as a rerun of the crusades. They might conclude that, but they would be wrong.

 
At 5/20/2009 8:25 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

fire rockets indiscriminately into urban centers? Plot the destruction of innocent civilians? Yup, they sure do. What was ‘Shock and Awe®’ if not that? Well for one thing, it was not "indiscriminate". Laser-guided bombs, precision-guided munitions aimed at military targets is not indiscriminate. Second, Saddam and the people of Baghdad had plenty of warning. Bush gave Saddam an ultimatum. American military tactics were well-known since the 1991 Gulf War. Aerial bombardment would come first, followed by a ground invasion later. The news media was aware of what was going to happen. They announced it to the whole world. They had their cameras all set up and ready to get live video of ‘Shock and Awe®’. Hamas and Hezbollah don't warn people when they are going to fire rockets at civilians... they just do it.

Jesus is supposed to arrive during a time of great chaos in the world! Actually you are wrong. Jesus is supposed to arrive at a time of "peace" in the world. 1Thessalonians 5:3 says, "When people say, 'There is peace and security,' then sudden destruction will come upon them as travail comes upon a woman with child, and there will be no escape." The Bible teaches that Christians and Jews will be persecuted by another great religion. Some will manage to escape to safety, but many will fall by the sword. A "false Christ" (that is, "the Antichrist") will claim to be God, cause Christians and Jews to go into hiding, and when he no longer has any opposition, a false peace will ensue -- but for less than 3½ years. Jesus will return to rescue His people and bring "sudden destruction" on the Antichrist and his followers.

Jesus fanatics such as George Bush believe it is their duty to exacerbate world chaos in order to speed his return. Hardly. He may have believed that he was part of a plan, but events were cast upon him that changed him forever. His greatest fear was another attack.

‘Interesting concept, eh?... peace through chaos and death.’ Indeed it is – isn’t it called The Rapture? No it is not. For more information about Biblical prophecy, you can go to another web site I have been working on HERE. It's not done yet, but there is enough there to get started. Read and learn.

PS You have your moments too, y’know. You are correct. I ain't perfect, but I'm really trying. (:D)

‘Are you assuming that the case of David Hicks can be applied to OBL's driver, KSM, or AZ?’ No, I’m saying that he was supposed to be the ‘worst of the worst’ and he wasn’t. That’s all. Who said he was the 'worst of the worst'?

The gory textbooks they used were written and printed by the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies from the $51 million in grants given to them by the U.S. Agency for International Development. Links? References?

‘I've already pointed out a number of false moral equivalencies.’ No, you’ve pointed put what you CONSIDER to be ‘false moral equivalencies’ but what I consider to be valid moral relativisms, and rebutted your rebuttals. Your move. If the moral equivalencies you have suggested were to be analyzed by almost any rational news organization including CNN, NPR or the BBC, I think you would find that they would agree with me. (By the way, Keith Olbermann is not among those I would call "rational".)

No you didn’t – with respect, you said no such thing. I posted the quote once along with some corroborating opinions and, up until now, you’ve ignored them all. Hmmm. I could've sworn I responded to that somewhere. Maybe in the comments on another article? I don't know, maybe I just dreamed it.

 
At 5/20/2009 8:44 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

That’s not an implication, that’s exactly what I said. Business people like to amass fortunes. The way you used that statement before was definitely a non sequitur. Now, it is simply an overly broad generalization. Admit it.

The single largest employer in the US is small business. My brother is a "business man" and he didn't amass any fortunes. He had to close his store after 20 years of struggling to make ends meet. There are thousands more like him. SOME business people like to amass fortunes. Some are merely happy to get by.

76% of middle-class households do not have enough net assets to meet ¾ of basic expenses for even three months – only 15% shy of the 90% threshold! Links? Anyway, that's why Obama wants them to go out and borrow more money to fuel consumer spending, eh? A lot of people get into trouble because they want stuff. They can't afford it, but they want it. So they borrow money to buy it. They borrow beyond their means. Then they get into trouble. Not all, but a lot.

Seen Detroit lately? Yes. And you can thank the UAW for that. And you can thank Michigan's excessive tax burden for that. Why is it that only the states with the lowest tax rates don't seem to have serious budget problems?

Are the steel mills of Pennsylvania silent only because of a public holiday? No. It's because they couldn't compete with cheaper steel mills overseas. You know, the places where they don't have unions? In countries where the government subsidizes industry?

Are there not really 2 million people warehoused in the US prison system? I don't know. So what? If they didn't commit a crime, they wouldn't be there.

Did the gap between rich and poor not grow? I don't know. Did it? So what? Why is that my problem? There will always be poor people, and there will always be rich people. Is it the job of the top 50% of earners to support the lowest 50% of earners? Well we do it right now. Is it the job of the top 25% of earners to support the lowest 50%, but not the ones between the lowest 50% and the top 25%? Well they do it right now. Is it the job of the top 5% of earners to support the lowest 50% of earners, but not the ones between the lowest 50% and the top 5%? Well they do it right now.

If you said 'yes' to any of these questions, then tell me why you think that's fair? Look, it's a drag being poor. It's a drag having to struggle to make ends meet. I know. I was there. But I got ahead because I didn't buy a lot of stuff. I didn't buy the best stuff. I did a lot of my own home repairs with the help of friends and family. And all that time I did it on 90% of my income because I gave the rest (sometimes more) to charity. I'm not bragging, just making a point. So because I worked hard all my life, helped the poor and needy, and deprived myself and family, now I have to give away what little I've worked so hard for? Tell that to my wife and family.

‘Now start working on your other deficiencies.’ The ones that don’t exist? OK...done. Cute.

Cheers

 
At 5/23/2009 12:50 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

Hawkeye – first I’d like to thank you for responding so comprehensively and promptly. It is very rare that one gets the opportunity to discuss these matters with someone across the political divide with such civility and in such depth, so I genuinely and sincerely pay tribute to your patience and tolerance.

‘If interpret you correctly, you are disputing the statements I made. Of course I was quoting GWB, Cheney, Michael Hayden, Porter Goss, George Tenet, former CIA director Robert Gates, and Wikipedia. Those are the statements you are ultimately disputing.’

Yes, I suppose I am.

‘But of course, you don't believe those guys.’

Is there any objective reason that I should? They might be powerful figures of authority, but I argue that this makes them even less trustworthy – they have a vested interest in the status quo and a burning motivation to preserve it.

‘You prefer to trust in stories from 'Vanity Fair' that quote "a former senior C.I.A. official", and "a former Pentagon analyst", and "numerous C.I.A. and F.B.I. officials", and "a retired senior officer" -- all of whom wish to rename nameless of course. If these people are so knowledgable, they ought to be willing to put their careers and reputation on the line.’

I am interested that there is an alternative scenario. Vanity Fair may sound like frippery, but it does have a long and distinguished history of respectable journalism and I’d be surprised if they would jeopardise this reputation by printing errant nonsense. Furthermore, quoting sources anonymously is perfectly acceptable – if it were not, Watergate would never have been tumbled (Talking of which, it was Vanity Fair that eventually revealed the identity of Deep Throat).

I might venture that the climate for agency whistleblowers is not what one might term ‘friendly’ – witness the treatment metered out to Sibel Edmonds, a fate sure to chill the heart of men and women used to living a life of obsessive secrecy.

‘Until then, I guess we will just have to agree to disagree.’

Does nothing about those claims bother you? Is your standard of proof that everybody goes on the record fully identified, regardless of what that might mean for them? If so then no one will ever fing much at all, including anyone that wants to drop the Obama administration in it.

‘OK, so let me get this straight. The CIA said to themselves one day, "If we torture captured terrorists, we know we won't get any useful information from them. Let's just do it to for propaganda purposes." What propaganda value could the CIA have derived from torturing KSM? As a deterrent to other would-be terrorists? Please enlighten me.’

The deterrent factor is part of it, but maybe I was unclear. The CIA needed certain information and so tortured KSM et al until he admitted to whatever the CIA wanted to hear, and this ‘admission’ was then used for propaganda purposes.

Waterboarding and other techniques are known to be very effective in electing false information that serves the purposes of the torturing party, as outlined in the report I quoted.

 
At 5/23/2009 12:51 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘OK. Let's do that. Let's have a real in-depth investigation. Let's release the memos that Cheney says shows that EITs worked. Let's get to the bottom of this thing.’

Yes, let’s. Absolutely.

‘If EITs work and are justified, then everyone who says otherwise will have to shut up.’

Conservatives are a funny bunch – they have now convinced themselves that torture is ‘justified’, just like the Vietcong, Stalin, and the Spanish Inquisition before them. Torture, whether effective or not, is never, ever, ever, justified.

‘If they don't work, then everybody who knew about them and approved of them, tacitly or otherwise, should also be indicted...’

Even if they DID work. I agree.

‘Nancy Pelosi for example.’

Ah, Nancy. Newt Gingrich et al have gone predictably nuclear over this, but there are one or two important factors to remember. For a start, the CIA said that they had legal opinions that stated it was OK but, more importantly, they said that waterboarding was a technique that they COULD use, not WOULD use, and that if the WERE going to use it that they would notify congress.

I saw Sean Hannity ridicule Pelosi over this distinction but that’s probably because he doesn’t understand it – to fans of semantics such as ourselves, however, the distinction is clear, that so far nothing had happened and that, if and when the CIA consulted congress over their intention to waterboard, this would be a more legitimate time to raise objections.

Furthermore, the briefing was secret – no notes to be taken, no consultation with legal experts or members of her own staffs, so who was she supposed to raise the matter with? Finally, Bob Graham’s personal notes, books that are held in such high regard that they are kept at the University of Florida Library of Florida History, show that at least one of the briefings never happened, a fact that the CIA now concur with.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=104196363

‘By releasing the "torture" memos, Obama laid the groundwork for prosecuting anyone who authorized, supported or used EITs, but unlike a courtroom, he's not allowing the accused to defend themselves. Kind of Stalinist, eh?’

No, what would be Stalinist would be for Obama, as POTUS, to override the Justice department. The FF instituted three sperate arms of government, legislative, executive and judicial, for a reason – to stop such behavior. Just because you became used to such abuses of process during the Bush admin doesn’t mean it was constitutional.

‘A counter argument which has been made by unnamed sources who are unwilling to identify themselves. Let's get them into court to testify so they can be cross-examined, OK?’

OK.

‘No.’

Good.

‘OK. Let's go for it. Full disclosure. No holds barred. No unnamed sources. No partisan politics. Let the chips fall where they may.’

Bring it on.

‘C'mon. Who is the Commander-in-Chief? Is it someone in the CIA? Obama can declassify anything he wants to. Obama didn't have any qualms about releasing the "torture" memos, despite the protests of Bush, Cheney and the CIA. Why should he listen to the CIA now? Why should he respect Bush and Cheney in one regard, but not in another. It's pure hypocrisy. It's a double-standard. You can't have it both ways.’

Again, the Judical arm functions independently of the executive, or is supposed to at any rate. For Obama to release files that are the focus of a lawsuit would be illegal and a contempt of court. Sorry, but that’s the law, as signed by President George W. Bush. Who’s got the double standard now?

 
At 5/23/2009 12:52 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘Sure. Stalin was just as bad as Hitler or Mao.’

Sure. No problem.

‘President Bush was just as bad as President Clinton in some respects.’

Clinton was the best Republican president the Democrats ever elected, but does you comment mean that Clinton was too far to the right? Or that Bush was too far to the left?

‘Obama is just as bad as Bush in some respects.’

I agree, but I’m sure we don’t agree in exactly what respects – what did you have in mind?

‘But Bush does not equal Hitler or Stalin…sorry’

Bush had some traits that could be construed as fascist – would you like me to make the case? Or maybe you’d like to read this: http://www.edwardjayne.com/iraq/31similarities.pdf

Or this: http://www.amazon.com/Democracy-Incorporated-Managed-Inverted-Totalitarianism/dp/0691135665

‘The war in Afghanistan was started after 9/11 because the al-Qaeda training camps were in Afghanistan. Al-Qaeda was being protected by the Taliban. Al-Qaeda perpetrated 9/11, the US embassy bombings, the attack on the USS Cole, and the 1993 WTC bombing. Rooting out al-Qaeda keeps Americans safe.’

So? If Al-Qaeda did all these things, arrest them. Put them on trial. Be true to your alleged convictions and stick to the rule of law. As I said, the Taliban were happy to hand over OBL if and when they saw the evidence, yet…

Al-Qaeda training camps were in Pakistan too, but all the UA did to Pakistan is give them money. They move between the borders because, to them, the borders are meaningless – they are arbitrary lines in the sand. Blowing up ‘training camps’ has got to be the single most inefficient way of shutting down OBL et al, yet that’s what the US went for. Why?

‘As for Iraq. There was a widespread belief that Saddam had WMDs. Yes, it was "widespread".’


No it wasn’t. I never believed it. Nor did Scott Ritter or Hans Blix,, and they were there.

‘All the western intelligence agencies believed it, and not just a few Democrats too.’

If I lie to you, and you act on my lie, who is culpable? Me for lying? Or you for committing an act based on that lie?

‘After 9/11 there was widespread fear that WMDs in Iraq could fall into the hands of terrorists.’

Fear spread by Bushco. They suggested that it could happen and then, hey presto, came up with the solution.

‘Bad intelligence? Perhaps.’

Worse. Manipulated intelligence. Never herd of Douglas Fieth and the Office of Special Plans?

‘Saddam was clearly a madman and a butcher.’

But he was YOUR madman and butcher.

‘He used WMDs on the Kurds.’

Chemical weapons supplied by…yes, you guessed it….y’all. And who gave him the co-ordinates? Um…

And wasn’t he involved in a war with Iran at the time? A war backed by….

 
At 5/23/2009 12:55 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

And God love the Kurds, because no one else ever did until George – The Turks and Winston Churchill actively encouraged gassing them!

‘He was shooting missiles at Coalition aircraft in the "no-fly" zones almost daily.’

When was that, exactly? Because coalition aircraft were doing bombing raids in the ‘no-fly’ zones ‘almost daily.’ What would you have done?

‘He played lots of games with the UNSCOM inspectors. He wouldn't let UNSCOM into certain buildings for hours on end while trucks would load up stuff and leave the facility.’

He eventually kicked out UNSCOM. He played games with Hans Blix and the IAEA after 13 or 14 UN resolutions had been passed. There was no telling what the guy might do next. And as we found out later, he ordered Iraqi scientist Mahdi Obeidi ( http://www.cnn.com/2003/WORLD/meast/06/25/sprj.irq.centrifuge/index.html ) to hide centrifuge parts and plans in his back yard... parts and plans for uranium-enrichment equipment.’

Mmm. Obeidi, huh?

‘When asked about Saddam’s efforts to develop nuclear weapons, Obeidi does not tell CIA Agent Joe T. what he wants to hear. Instead, he tells him that Saddam abandoned the program in 1991 as the Iraqi government had claimed in its December 7 declaration to the UN.’

‘He adds that if the program had been restarted, he would have known about it. He also says that the tube shipment confiscated by the CIA in July 2001 was completely unrelated to nuclear weapons. Those tubes—with a diameter of 81mm—could not have been used in the gas centrifuge designed by Obeidi, which specified tubes with a 145mm diameter.

“The physics of a centrifuge would not permit a simple substitution of aluminum tubes for the maraging steel and carbon fiber designs used by Obeidi,” the Washington Post will later report.

Obeidi and his family will later move to a CIA safe house in Kuwait. At the end of the summer, he will receive permission to move to an East Coast suburb on the basis of Public Law 110 , which allows “those who help the United States by providing valuable intelligence information” to resettle in the US.’

So he did OK out of it, huh?

The thing is, Hawkeye, that none of the above is justification for the obliteration of Iraq that occurred. None of it. A diplomatic solution should have, and could have, be achieved, but the USA wasn’t interested.

Here, this guy lays it out pretty well:

http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2003/11/11/dreamers-and-idiots/

‘Get real! Their aim was NOT to slaughter civilians en masse. If you believe that, then you are very deluded... or on drugs.’

If you don’t think that dropping bombs on densely populated urban environments is going to slaughter civilians en masse then I respectfully suggest that it is you who is deluded or on drugs.

‘Their goal was regime change, finding WMDs, eliminating a potential terrorist threat -- not wholesale slaughter.’

Regime change was one of the later excuses, after the others had been eliminated. Iraq was never a terrorist threat to anyone – George & Co made it up to scare you, and it worked. There were no WMDs anywhere. I remember watching our PM – John Howard, Bush’s ‘Man Of Steel®’ – on the TV on the eve of war, and he was asked if the CoW™ would go to war if there was no threat of WMD and said no, regime change alone was not enough reason.

‘If wholesale slaughter was their goal, there are plenty of weapons that could have been used to get the job done a lot more efficiently than using precision guided munitions.’

Guided missiles do not discriminate – they kill whoever is in the way. And if wholesale slaughter was not their goal, what do yo call Fallujah?

But are you suggesting that the US should have just dropped a nuke on them? Wow! Gutsy call!

‘Sorry, but I don't see the difference.’

Really? Oh. I’m surprised.

 
At 5/23/2009 12:55 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘If they believe others ar "at war" with them, they have only two options: retaliate or don't retaliate, you know... "fight or flight". If they choose to retaliate and fight, then they are by definition, "at war" with us, regardless of the agressor, real or imagined. Perhaps not all have chosen to fight, but some have. Those who have chosen to fight, are "at war" with us "infidels".’

Well yes, I agree – if you send an army into a foreign sovereign nation, don’t be surprised if the locals fight back.

‘Perhaps some of us believe that "another culture and religion" is at war with us.’

Perhaps some of you do. It’s sad, but true.

‘Did you ever think about that?’

I did, but I rejected it as paranoia.

‘Acts of terrorism by Islamic radicals goes back quite a way:…of course I could go on, but I think you get the point. Where is your sense of moral equivalence now? Excuse me, "valid moral relativism"?’

Did Great Britain bomb Boston for funding the IRA? Did Belgium declare war on Palestine? No. And not all of these had the USA in their sights either – in fact, very few of them – but it doesn’t matter! Random and wanton acts of terrorism, however gruesome, are not acts of war! Hey are act of terrorism! The British were blown up with monotonous regularity in the ‘70s, but they refrained from reducing Ireland to rubble.

Acts of terrorism are a part of modern life. Zionist, ETA, Tamil, Christian, IRA radicals and all the rest of them blow stuff up a lot, so of every country reacted like the USA there would be no planet left.

As for the Muslims, they’re still upset about the crusades and the carve up of the ME following WW1. The West has mucked them about quite a bit, and they’re not happy about it. Gee, that WW1, eh – what a can of worms!

‘Hmmm, "Zionists" eh? Careful now. You're letting your anti-Semitism show.’

An anti-Semite? Not me! Especially, as all pedants would be aware, that the term ‘Semite’ applies to a multitude of people right across the ME and Africa.

If, however, you are to me as anti-Jewish, I will say that you are wrong again! Conservatives have a hard time with this concept but they have to learn that it is possible to criticise Zionism and Israeli foreign policy without being the reincarnation of Hitler.

I have nothing against Jews, Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Zoastrans, Wiccans or anyone else of a religious bent – so long as their beliefs don’t interfere with my life.

‘And frankly, there are "victims" on both sides.’

Of course there are. Good of you to recognise it.

‘I'm feeling "a little victimized" myself.’

Yet New Jersey is not under constant guided missile attack and the Taliban are not kicking down your door in the dead of night to take you away for some enhanced interrogation.

‘It's not like they were defending their homeland on 9/11. That was an "offensive" act, not a "defensive" act.’

But it was not an act of war, by either Afghanistan or Iraq – it was an act of terrorism, an act that no one, repeat, no one can definitively be blamed for.

‘Don't try to make them out like they are noble.’

I’m not.

There was nothing noble about 9/11.’

No, there wasn’t – I, and millions and millions of Muslims agree.

‘There is nothing noble about killing thousands of innocent civilians.’

No, there isn’t. Nothing noble about it at all. What’s the civilian death count in Afghanistan and Iraq again?

‘Now I KNOW you are deluded... or on drugs... or an Islamic extremist apologist.’

Nope, just a realist. See the link I posted before:
http://www.monbiot.com/archives/2003/11/11/dreamers-and-idiots/

‘Yeah sure. Like he was so noble too.’

Reagan sure thought so. So did Rumsfeld.

‘Invading Iran. Invading Kuwait. Mass graves. Gassing the Kurds. Slaughtering the Shia. Too noble for words. My heart goes out for him.’

Look, I don’t disagree that he was a bastard, but history shows that he couldn’t have done these things without the complicity of the west. And destroying Iraq was not the solution.

 
At 5/23/2009 12:56 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

The sanctions killed, what, 500,000 children and no one cared then – why the sudden agony? The Kurd were gassed nearly 20 years ago and no one gave a hoot. Why now? Same with the Marsh Arabs. The Shia? Give me a break! Iran is chock full of Shia Muslims and there are man conservatives want to nuke it yesterday!Mass graves? The Americans did it too in the Gulf War.

You are being too emotive; if you were truly concerned about the lives of Iraqis then you would not have advocated that the US go to war and shatter their country.

Bush over-played his hand. Personally, I reckon threatening war was a good idea – Saddam was not a nice man – but, as our friend George has pointed out, the threat was enough. Saddam had quit. Yet…

Another thing is, by actually going in, Bush revealed the shortcomings of the mighty US military machine – before Iraq the world trembled at the very thought of the US Army, but now its potential enemies have seen its weaknesses. Bush obviously never played Texas Hold ‘em.

‘Shooting somebody on the street is a job for Interpol. Hijacking an airplane is a job for Interpol. Killing thousands of innocents is "war".’

No, it’s an act of terrorism. ‘War’ must be declared by a nation state, and neither Afghanistan or Iraq attacked, nor declared, war on the US.

But you’re right – Killing thousands of innocents is "war". The US has sadly proved this true.

‘The US treated terrorism like a police matter from 1972 until 2001, and what did it get us?

Looks to me like it got you 29 years of relative peace. You caught some bad guys who are now in jail. Life went on.

If a serial killer is on the loose in, say, New York, what do we do? Catch him by police work? Or carpet bomb Manhattan?

Have you any idea what the chances of being killed by a terror attack actually are? Less than dying in a car accident, walking across the street, drowning, fire, falling or by being murdered. 5,000 people die in America each year from e-coli poisoning due to the meat industry’s successful lobbying to have abattoir standards relaxed, but is there a war on meat? No.

However, let’s have a look at what this change in policy has wrought – 4,000 + US military dead, hundreds of thousands more maimed, injured and insane, 1 million + dead Iraqis and Afghans, 4 million + Iraq refugees, a completely de-stabled ME, a US occupation with no end in sight, Islamists a home run from Pakistan’s nuclear armoury and a bill of 3 trillion dollars and rising.

‘...9/11.’

Did it? Haven’t we already ascertained that there is no way to prove this hypothesis?

‘Now with the potential for terrorism using WMDs, the stakes are much higher.’

Stakes raised incalculably by starting two wars.

‘We cannot wait until an American or European city is smoldering in ruins to start looking for finger prints. By then, it's too late.’

You have little choice – you can’t run around nuking whoever it is you think might be wanting to have a pop at you. But no one ever wanted to use WMD on the USA in the first place – this was a fear planted and generated by Bushco in order to go to war, so your wars have increased the chances of the very thing y’all wanted to avoid. Good result!

There are only way to police this eventuality – reduce the rest of the world to pavement or work out why anyone would want to reduce an American or European to smouldering ruins and act to head it off. People, you might be interested to know, do not do these things for fun – they have reasons.

‘Comparing the actions of two alternate persons or groups is not merely a recitation of the historical record, it is the establishment of a moral equivalence. You may disagree that it is a "false" moral equivalence, but it is a moral equivalence nonetheless.’

 
At 5/23/2009 1:03 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

Nonsense. All I am saying is that the experience of WW2 radicalised many Jews and sent them to both a more fundamentalist reading of their religion and a more violent approach to defending it and their homeland, and the Iraq and Afghan Wars have done the same to Muslims. This is not a contentious statement, or an opinion, it’s just what happened.

‘I posit that your moral equivalencies are "false" because your comparisons assume identical motives, which is patently absurd.’

I wasn’t assuming identical motives, I was merely reflecting on te effects of war on religious, ethnic and cultural groups.

‘While I disagree, this topic is too big to discuss here.’

Fair enough. When and where then? I say ‘Swords!’

‘Well. You got me there. I was not aware of such incidents. I will have to learn more about them. At first glance, I can't condone such tactics. I don't know enough at this point to comment.’

Never heard of the Stern Gang or Irgun? Oh. But thanks for your honesty (BTW – bonus points for guessing whose daddy was in the Irgun!).

The harsh facts of the matter are that Zionism has a terrorist legacy – indeed, the irony is that Likud’s closet has some rather grisly fascist/Nazi skeletons rattling around in it.

I don’t know if you can get through to this article (http://www.crikey.com.au/2009/04/14/zionists-and-nazis-connected-discuss/ ) but here’s some quotes from it if you can’t.

‘‘For left Zionists, Jabotinsky, the founder of revisionism was a “Jewish Hitler” for organising Zionist youth militias (complete with Roman style salute). In the war against the British mandate and Arabs, terrorist tactics so split the provisional Israeli cabinet that one minister said:

‘‘I couldn’t sleep all night. I felt that things that were going on were hurting my soul, the soul of my family and all of us here… Now Jews too have behaved like Nazis and my entire being has been shaken.’

By the 1960s, Menachim Begin had replaced Jabotinsky as a bete noire, with David Ben-Gurion noting: ‘Begin is clearly a Hitler type, [who would] rule as Hitler ruled Germany.’

‘When that gentleman invaded Lebanon in 1982, Yeshaya Leibowitz, editor of the Encyclopedia Hebraica called the IDF “Judeo-Nazis”. Shlomo Gazit, military commander and strategic theorist remarked that the insignia of IDF soldiers in the territories reminded him of the Iron Cross…’

So when I criticize Zionism I am thinking more of the hard-right Zionists, of whom Likud are the descendents. There are Zionists, and there are Zionists…

‘I think that is an overly broad statement. In Israel, national military service is mandatory for all Israeli citizens over the age of 18 (including women). It would be hard to believe then that everyone who serves is a "religious extremist". During the 1967 war, Moshe Dyan could have captured the Temple Mount and demolished the mosques if he was truly a "religious extremist". Instead, he turned it over to the Muslims and forbade Israelis to even visit the site.’

Fair enough – however, Moche Dyan was 40 years ago and things have changed. Various incarnations of the right have been in power since 1977, and it is they who tell the IDF what to do. Not every member of the IDF is a radical – Yaweh help the poor sucker that refuses the draft – but still, the IDF are used by a right wing government as a tool of oppression.

‘Wow. Now you have really gone over the edge.’

Yeah, I thought you might say that. Making omlettes? Break some eggs!

‘I am stupefied that you could say such a thing. That is NOT a rational statement. I am beginning to think you really are a Muslim apologist.’

No, I’m just trying to be objective. Objectively, I can see how many Muslims would think that the US Army is s return of the Crusades and that they are Christian terrorists. There’s no value judgement there – I’m just saying that I understand their point.

 
At 5/23/2009 1:05 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘Great! I thought we were living in a post-Christian America.’

See! You like it! So even though you deny it is a Christian Army you condone attempts to make it one, so I can only assume that it is merely not yet Christian enough.

‘That's what Obama says.’

He does? He’s dreaming.

‘Perhaps the Christian influence will result in more "acts of agression" like the US military response to the 2004 Indonesian Tsunami. Ya think?’

Hmm. I think you’ll find that everyone pitched in to help there, regardless of religion. Still, it did result in a real estate bonanza for multinational hotel chains!

‘I don't know, but if so, then maybe it's because they appreciate the wit and sarcastic humor of Ann Coulter.’

Such a statement demonstrates the conservative misunderstanding of the terms ‘wit’ and sarcasm’. I know comedy well, buster, and she just ain’t funny. I wish she were, I ‘d laugh despite myself, like I do with J.P O’Rourke, but….

‘If you read Ann Coulter on a regular basis, then you would know that she wasn't serious.’

Now, what was it you said? ‘I am stupefied that you could say such a thing. That is NOT a rational statement!’

I won’t have it. Nope. This ‘Oh but I’m just an entertainer!’ line is hogwash, malarkey. Carlin, Hicks, Stewart, Colbert, Maher, Moore and Franken, now, they really ARE entertainers, and they make their point too, but here’s the difference – they’re funny! Do any of them make you laugh, despite yourself?

I wish I could find a good right-wing comedian but, alas, it’s tricky. I’m more than happy to have a good laugh at my side if it’s funny, really, but Coulter isn’t funny – she’s mean and vindictive. And wrong. And she doesn’t footnote.

But maybe I’m wrong – send me a link to what you consider a can’t-miss Coulter rib-splitter and see if I can raise a smirk.

‘Crikey! Do you believe that stuff?’

Evidently.

‘First of all, Bush never referred to himself as a Dominionist, others have made that charge.’

Why? What’s the matter? Is there something wrong with being a Dominionist?

Still, this gal makes a pretty good case:

http://www.yuricareport.com/Dominionism/TheDespoilingOfAmerica.htm#_edn1

If the suit fits...

‘He may have surrounded himself with evangelical Christians because they are people he felt comfortable with, but that does not mean he was trying to impose a Christian government.’

And if it looks like a duck…

Gee, I’m sorry, but if there is an evangelical Christian POTUS with an evangelical Christian cabinet, because evangelical Christians are the only people he feels ‘comfortable’ with, then it is not unreasonable for an atheist like me to wonder if a more than a little God isn’t going to guide the agenda.

I don’t think Obama is a socialist, or that he has surrounded himelf with socialists, but you do and so perception is reality. Obama is a socialist. At least I have offered a reasonably argued case – you?

‘Second, he only made the "crusade" comment once in an off-hand way and was rebuffed for using it. He was reminded that the "Crusades" are a sore spot for Muslims and never used the term again.’

He stopped using it in public – so what? He obviously thinks of it in those terms.

‘Third, he supposedly told the Palestinian foreign minister (not Chirac) that he was on "a mission from God". And that has never been proven.’

Oops! My bad! He told Chirac in 2003 that "This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins".

How’s your French? ( http://www.rue89.com/2007/09/17/un-petit-scoop-sur-bush-chirac-dieu-gog-et-magog?source=cmailer )

‘Fourth, he supposedly made reference to a Biblical prophecy in the presence of Chirac. So what? For a man who read the Bible from cover to cover each year of his administration, he was bound to have a Biblical perspective.’

 
At 5/23/2009 1:08 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

That would be it then, but thanks for proving my point! He has a Biblical perspective! Exactly! He views the war through a Biblical prism! And if the Bible is true, then…

‘It is easy for a man in a position of such power to believe that he is somehow playing a role in prophetic fulfillment.’

Yes! Now you’re really getting it! He reads the Bible, he believes the Bible, and he thinks he’s playing a role in prophetic fulfilment! Can you understand why an atheist like myself would be concerned? That the ME is burning because of superstition?

And can you know understand why the Muslims are somewhat bothered by it? This is like Iran invading the USA! You’d be upset! Well…so are they!

‘I don't think that necessarily means prophecy was "driving him"

You don’t? Boy, I do!

‘…the way it does Ahmadinejad.’

Who said Ahmadinejad was driven by prophesy? Really? What prophesy, exactly?

Let me get this straight – the guy who isn’t driven by prophecy has launched two wars in the ME because, and I quote, ‘This confrontation is willed by God, who wants to use this conflict to erase his people’s enemies before a New Age begins’ while the guy that IS driven by prophesy has launched…a rocket. I get it now,

‘Bush prayed too (as do millions of people world wide). If you believe in prayer, then you certainly must assume that you are in communication with God.’

OK, so…

‘President Obama is no different. He says he prays every day.’

So does my mother-in-law.

‘And Obama certainly believes he is a ‘man of destiny’

To paraphrase, Obama never referred to himself as a ‘man of destiny’ others have made that charge.

I assume that you are not a Christian…’

Assumption correct!

‘…because you appear to be very unaware of Christian "lingo". I agree completely with Boykin, because he is speaking as Christian and not as a general. He refers to Ephesians 6:12 where it says, "For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places" (ie, Satan and his wicked angels).’

So who is Satan? Look, its all water off a duck’s back to me, but to a Muslim, well, you can surely see that either of those statements is somewhat immflamatory?

‘As for a "Christian army", he is not referring to the US military, but to a metaphor. Have you not heard of the old hymn, 'Onward Christian soldiers'?’

Metaphor, huh? You ought to use the concept more often, ie, when reading the Bible. But I disagree – he is a military man speaking in a military context. Couldn’t be plainer to me, but ain’t it a funny thing that when the Bible speaks in metaphors Christians say it’s the literal truth, but when a Christian speaks the literal truth apparently it’s a metaphor? Ah well…

But yes, I remember ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ – famously sung by missionaries, if I’m not mistaken. No wonder the Muslims have got the irrits!

‘This guy is a chaplain. He is a Christian first and a soldier second. His job in the military is to provide religious comfort to soldiers (specifically of the Christian faith). These soldiers face fear and death every day. The role of the chaplain is to support people on the battlefield in their faith.’

Exactly. His job is NOT to proselytise the enemy. It says so! In the manual!

‘Being a "witness" for Jesus means setting a good example, acting Christ-like, showing others that God has made a difference in our life.’

If you ask me, if he were acting ‘Christ-like’ he would not be there at all – he’s be with the anti-war protesters, but what would I know?

‘And, if called upon, as a "witness" we are to give "testimony" about what Jesus means to us.’

Is there a right or wrong answer? What I get asked to give testimony about what Jesus means to me?

‘Sounds kind of like a courtroom doesn't it?’

No – in a courtroom we hear evidence for AND against the proposition.

 
At 5/23/2009 1:12 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘And we will all stand before the "Judgment" someday too.’

If you say so – I have nothing to fear.

‘Being "chief of the US military chaplains", he was speaking to other chaplains again using a metaphor. Ministers like to do that. They use allusions and allegories all the time. Jesus did it himself quite frequently with his use of parables.’

What? Hang on! I thought the Bible was the literal and inerrant word of God! You sound like an Anglican!

So the Bible IS metaphor, allusion and allegory! Have you told the others?

‘While I cannot claim to know specifically what he meant, I would suggest that to "hunt people for Jesus" means to "look for people who need solace and support on behalf of Jesus" He is telling his chaplains not sit in a chapel somewhere and pray all day. He wants them to go out and talk to the soldiers. See what they are thinking and feeling. Look for people who need help, just as Jesus walked among the masses "healing their sick". I don't think it is a suggestion to go out and proseletyze with "overwhelming force". As chaplains they are "Special Ops" people, because their mission is very "special" indeed.’

Do we sing Kumbuya now? Or later? Look, that’s all very lovely but he told it to the soldiers – the chaplains were armed with Bibles translated into Pashto and Dari!

There is no doubt that they were intent on busting General Rule Number One to everyone except…you! The Army expressly forbids "proselytising of any religion, faith or practice", and they knew it. Off to the brig, mayhaps? Court-martials all round?

‘Christians do outreach. It is in their nature and heritage. They are called by Christ to do outreach.’
Sure, but not by the Army.

‘They are called to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, heal the sick, and yes, evangelize too’
Looking at the Republican Party you could have fooled me, but maybe Christians should just concentrate on the first three.

‘But aggressive proselytization is frowned upon. I would daresay in the military moreso than elsewhere. As you said, they were endorsed by the DOD for over 25 years.’

So there is a disconnect – it is frowned upon, yet very and undeniably present. What gives?

‘Great! Being Christ-like is a good thing, isn't it? Or do you have something against putting others first, being kind and considerate, helping others in need.’
No, absolutely not, that’s; why I think Jesus was an anarchist, or at least a socialist – he was all about helping others, which is also why I think the term ‘Christian conservative’ is something of an oxymoron.

I know, have met, seen and/or read about many Christians who do act Christ-like, who do all that you say but don’t constantly try to convert all and sundry, but if feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, healing the sick, putting others first, being kind and considerate and helping others in need is a Christian’s priority then why do so many support a government that did none of the above?

I’m sure you are conversant with Matthew 25, the Parable of the Sheep and Goats – ‘…whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me’, yes? Well, it seems to me that this is where the Bush government were at – they did not for the least of these.

I know you guys are all big on private charity etc, but here’s the thing – it is inefficient, it cannot do for the least of these. To really help the maximum amount of the least of these, efforts need to be co-ordinated and only the economies of scale available to governments can truly achieve results – anything less is just tinkering at the edges.

Right now, in America, 3.5 million children go hungry, 43 million people have no health care and so many are millions are homeless, and their numbers are growing so fast, that no one is really sure how many there are – these problems are not going to be solved by private charity.

‘Yes I do.’

Thought you might.

‘They might conclude that, but they would be wrong.’

 
At 5/23/2009 1:14 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

Why? What evidence have they seen to the contrary? Here’s what they see: An evangelical Christian president who thinks he is part of biblical prophecy and who regards his war as a crusade, surrounded by an evangelical Christian cabinet commanding an evangelical Christian army bearing bombs and bibles while singing evangelical Christian missionary songs!

It doesn’t matter, really, whether they are right or wrong – perception is reality!

If the Taliban came to NJ, took you away at night for a spot of EI and gave your kids English translations of the Koran as part of the Holy War, you’d be upset, right?

In the end this is all about empathy, about understanding what others are going through from their point of view. I would have thought that Christianity is all about emathy, but there you go…my reading of Christianity must be wrong.

‘Well for one thing, it was not "indiscriminate". Laser-guided bombs, precision-guided munitions aimed at military targets is not indiscriminate.’

Weapons accuracy is measured by "Circle of Equal Probability" (CEP), which is the radius of a circle that half your shots will land in. Most GPS-guided weapons are described as having a CEP of ~10 meters, so 50% of the bombs will strike within 10m of the target and apparently, because guided weapons don't seem to follow normal distributions like unguided weapons would, the rest will strike within another 10m.

Given that a 2,000lb bomb creates a crater 15m wide and will kill anyone within 350m, I contend that lobbing these devices into densely populated urban environments will cause indiscriminate death.

The above scenario is text book – what is supposed to happen. Factor in the weather, technological malfunction and good ol’ human error and the chances of an accurate ‘hit’ are further diminished. The concept of the ‘Smart bomb’ that will surgically take out denoted targets and no more is a Utopian dream that is, for innocent civilians of the ME, a Dystopian nightmare.

‘Second, Saddam and the people of Baghdad had plenty of warning.’

And? Where were they supposed to go? Take buses to the desert and wait until Shock & Awe® was over?

‘Bush gave Saddam an ultimatum.’

Which Saddam tried to meet. Alas…

‘American military tactics were well-known since the 1991 Gulf War. Aerial bombardment would come first, followed by a ground invasion later.’

Here we have a city of 6 million people – again, I ask, where were they supposed to go? How?

‘The news media was aware of what was going to happen. They announced it to the whole world. They had their cameras all set up and ready to get live video of ‘Shock and Awe®’.

The news media was aware because they either had no idea of Saddam’s desperate attempts to negotiate or that they knew he would be rebuffed. The news media knew that this war would go ahead because GWB wanted it to – this much is clear, as proven by the Downing Street memos and other rock hard evidence.

The citizens of Baghdad were sitting ducks – the had nowhere to go and no way of stopping the onslaught.

‘Hamas and Hezbollah don't warn people when they are going to fire rockets at civilians... they just do it.’

Hamas and Hezzbollah do not use ‘precision’ guided missiles, white phosphorous and 120,000 ground troops, tanks, drones, aircraft carriers, F111s etc.

Hamas and Hezzbollah does not have the world’s biggest and most expensive military machine; it does not indulge in Shock & Awe® – and Hamas and Hezzbollah were not, in 2003, the target either in Iraq or Afghanistan. H&H are prevalent in Palestine and Lebanon – if they are in either Iraq or Afghanistan then that is a result of the action taken by the US.

 
At 5/23/2009 1:22 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘Actually you are wrong. Jesus is supposed to arrive at a time of "peace" in the world. 1Thessalonians 5:3 says, "When people say, 'There is peace and security, then sudden destruction will come upon them as travail comes upon a woman with child, and there will be no escape. The Bible teaches that Christians and Jews will be persecuted by another great religion. Some will manage to escape to safety, but many will fall by the sword. A "false Christ" (that is, "the Antichrist") will claim to be God, cause Christians and Jews to go into hiding, and when he no longer has any opposition, a false peace will ensue -- but for less than 3½ years. Jesus will return to rescue His people and bring "sudden destruction" on the Antichrist and his followers.’

Sounds like Bush is guilty of False Entrapment. He believes this would happen, so he MADE it happen so he could say ‘Look! It happened!’ – I’m figuring that Islam is the other ‘great religion’, that the ‘false peace’ will be between Israel and Palestine and that Obama is the anti-Christ. About right? – but don’t the Jews have to become Christians to be saved?

But hang on! Didn’t you just say that the Bible is all metaphor, allusion and allegory? Then how can you take the Rapture literally?

‘Hardly. He may have believed that he was part of a plan,

See? He believed he was part of a plan! God’s plan! The Rapture!

‘…but events were cast upon him that changed him forever.’

Indeed. But who activated those events?

‘His greatest fear was another attack.’

It probably was, because an attack would show him and his policy to be useless. So why didn’t anyone do it? Because every air traveller had to dispose of their toothpaste? Because of two wars raging across the ME? Or because…

‘No it is not. For more information about Biblical prophecy, you can go to another web site I have been working on HERE ( http://jjprzy.envy.nu/testimonium/ ) . It's not done yet, but there is enough there to get started. Read and learn.’

Boy, that’s a lot of book learnin’! Well done! But what happened to metaphor, allusion and allegory?

‘You are correct. I ain't perfect, but I'm really trying. (:D)’

As am I. See? Who said we can’t get along?

‘Links? References?’

For sure, Rocky!

http://www.theglobalist.com/StoryId.aspx?StoryId=3453

‘If the moral equivalencies you have suggested were to be analyzed by almost any rational news organization including CNN, NPR or the BBC, I think you would find that they would agree with me.’

I respectfully disagree. I don’t care what CNNN or NPR might or might not say, I’m debating with you. I have demonstrated that your premise that my moral relativisms are ‘false’ are, indeed, false, so I’m waiting for you, not CNNN or NPR, to rebut, although I guess that what is ‘false’ and what is ‘valid’ is, ultimately, subjective.

‘(By the way, Keith Olbermann is not among those I would call "rational".)’

See? Opinion. M opinion is that Hannity and Beck are clinically and certifiably, if not criminaly, insane, but there you go.

‘Hmmm. I could've sworn I responded to that somewhere. Maybe in the comments on another article? I don't know, maybe I just dreamed it.’

I’m going with the latter – conservatives do, in my experience tend to live a dream world.

 
At 5/23/2009 1:26 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘The way you used that statement before was definitely a non sequitur.’

No it wasn’t I was merely illustrating a point.

‘Now, it is simply an overly broad generalization. Admit it.’

What, pray, is the purpose of a business if not to accumulate capital?

‘The single largest employer in the US is small business. My brother is a "business man" and he didn't amass any fortunes. He had to close his store after 20 years of struggling to make ends meet.’
The fact that your brother failed to amass a fortune doesn’t mean he wasn’t trying. I’m sure he would loved to have seen his store blossom and grow but, market forces being what they are, that was sadly not to be. However, the result does not indicate the intent.

‘There are thousands more like him. SOME business people like to amass fortunes. Some are merely happy to get by.’

No, some business people SUCCEED in amassing fortunes. I’m sure that many are merely happy to get by – indeed, in the current economic climate I’m sure there are many who are grateful to merely get by – but rare is the business person who says ‘No, no, I’m quite happy as I am…no more business for me!’

Having said that, I have a relative who runs a small business and has more work than they can handle with no wish to expand, but this all raises the question of why are conservatives, who hold small businesses in such high esteem, so hell-bent on their destruction?

The past 30 years has seen the rise and rise of the corporation resulting near monopolies that crush all before it. Due to series of suspect court decisions, corporations gained ‘personhood’ status and thus started their rise to power, giving us the titans that run government today. http://reclaimdemocracy.org/personhood/

Wal*Mart for instance, a business that has, some would say, managed to amass no small fortune itself, makes it its business to crush smaller ones – mom and pop (and brother) stores are regularly squished by Wal*Mart and the others.

Why is it so? Why have successive conservative governments and, admittedly, liberal ones that also drank Friedman’s Kool-aid, enacted so much legislation directed at empowering multinational corporations which are totalitarian entities identical to the fascist/communist regimes conservatives purport to despise?

What represents more freedom? A mall full of franchises and chan stores? Or a Main Street full of independently owned and run shops? Where will you find the most choice? In the homogenous mall store? Or the one where the owner gets to decide what is stocked and how much it is sold for? That’s the irony of the Thatcher/Reagan revolution ¬¬– in order to ‘save’ us from totalitarianism it delivered one far, far worse.

‘Links?’

I gave you a link! Keep up!

‘Anyway, that's why Obama wants them to go out and borrow more money to fuel consumer spending, eh?’

If spending ground to a halt then so would the economy – if you want another Great Depression, stop spending – but he wants y’all to save too, which leads us to what JM Keynes called the Paradox of Thrift which states that ‘if everyone saves more money during times of recession, then aggregate demand will fall and will in turn lower total savings in the population because of the decrease in consumption and economic growth.’ It’s one of those good-for-one, bad-for-all scenarios – read the rest here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox_of_thrift
Very interesting.

Anyhoo, that’s how the world now goes around, thanks to neo-conservative ideology – we have been encouraged, nay, commanded, to consume out of all proportion but, as the actual job of making the stuff we consume was outsourced to where western workers can’t compete with the lower wages, we had no money. Solution? Lend it to us! Lots of it!

‘A lot of people get into trouble because they want stuff. They can't afford it, but they want it. So they borrow money to buy it. They borrow beyond their means. Then they get into trouble. Not all, but a lot.’

 
At 5/23/2009 1:28 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

It’s a lot more complicated than that. It is a function of capitalism that the richer you are the lower your interest rates, which means that being poor is very expensive. Credit card companies charge 30% + interest rates and payday lenders up to 500%, which is why were handing out like baseball cards to stray dogs – they never want these loans repaid.

If I lend you $100 at 7% interest, there’s a chance you might pay it back, which is good ‘cause I need the $100. If however, I lend you $100 at 30%, or 500%, I will do a lot better if you merely TRY to pay me back – you’ll never do it, but I’ll make out like a bandit while you try.

The thing is, an increasing number of people are in trouble because they NEED stuff. Credit cards are used now to pay basic bills, to buy groceries – the USA’s second biggest credit card transactor is McDonalds – and so credit cards have become the safety net that the government has failed to provide along with a failure to regulate the private safety net, resulting in what used to be called usury and which represents a second round of taxation.

(Question, Bible fans – how come ‘all can rail against homosexuality when it is only hinted at in the Bible yet usury, specifically and constantly prohibited by the Good Book and present in every civilisation since ancient Babylon until 1979, was still being defended by Republicans senators this week?)

(For more: http://open.salon.com/blog/kent_pitman/2009/01/09/credit_credits_a_tax_on_ldquobeing_poorrdquo )

‘And you can thank the UAW for that.’

Oh really? Care to make the case?

Actually, the link below points out that most of the available capital has gone into, yup, the loan industry.

‘When banks get 25 percent to 30 percent on credit cards and 500 or more percent on payday loans, capital flees from honest pursuits like auto manufacturing. Now, I’ve just come back from Grand Rapids this weekend, and going through Detroit, they’re in a dire situation…’

‘…we set up all the returns in this economy in favor of financial firms and really disinvested from industry. And even worse, we began to turn industry into a banking itself. General Motors, General Electric began to operate banks, because that’s where they made the big profit, in the loans to consumers, uncapped interest. It’s a very destructive situation.’

http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/24/thomas_geoghegan_on_infinite_debt_how

‘And you can thank Michigan's excessive tax burden for that.’

Michigan’s tax regime is down to the AUW? Really? Please, tell me more!

But you don’t think that’s its got anything to do with, um, GM, Chrysler and Ford making stupid cars, do you? I mean, Volkwagen, for instance, did just fine, very well in fact, and there’s no tax burden like a European one!

‘Why is it that only the states with the lowest tax rates don't seem to have serious budget problems?’

Not knowing what those states are, I couldn’t say. Care to expound?

‘No. It's because they couldn't compete with cheaper steel mills overseas. You know, the places where they don't have unions? In countries where the government subsidizes industry?’

Do you know what kind of a state subsidises private industry and bans unions? That’s right – a ‘Fascist’ state! Go read up on your Mussolini.

Oh yeah – did I also mention that the Volkswagen plants are fully unionised and that the workers get $75 ph?

‘I don't know.’

I always amazed at how much conservatives don’t know. That’s one of the reasons I like to talk to them – I feel that if they really DID know what was going on, they might change their minds.

‘So what?’

 
At 5/23/2009 1:33 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

So a lot! It costs you a bloody fortune for a start! $60 billion a year, and that’s just cash – it doesn’t include the billions more lost to lost productivity and economic activity.

‘If they didn't commit a crime, they wouldn't be there.’

Oh, you conservatives – such dreamers! The thing is that no other country comes close to the USA’s incarceration rate – in 2006, New Zealand had 186 persons imprisoned per 100,000 residents, England and Wales had 148, Australia had 126 prisoners and those damn socialists, the Norwegians, had…66. The USA? 738.

The United States has 5% of the world's population and 23.6% of the world's prison population, a rate which is still worse than the bleakest estimation of that of totalitarian communist hell-hole, I mean shining example of the success of free market capitalism, China, and a rate which can lead to only one of three conclusions:

1. Americans are, by far, the most evil people on the planet.

2. The American penal code is, by far, the most draconian on the planet.

3. Most of them are innocent.

Which do you pick? Personally I’m a mix of 2 and 3. 80% of the prison population is there for petty non-violent crimes, and 25% for drug crime, some doing life for marijuana possession.

Meanwhile, there are many, many people who merely got caught up in the system. If you don’t know how the justice system works then you wouldn’t know that there are many, many innocent people behind bars, so I suggest you do a little research.

On the other hand, the US murder rate is four times that of Western Europe, so maybe there’s a bit of 1 as well!

On the other hand, you’d rather like America’s private prison system – they are state subsidised slave labour camps! No unions there, buddy!

‘I don't know. Did it?’

Oh, Hawkeye – is there no end to what you don’t know?

‘So what? Why is that my problem?’

You really don’t know? Here, let me help you out. Inequality of wealth leads to a host of societal problems like a loss of economic activity, as people with no money cannot spend it, unless they borrow it (see above), in which case they are worse off.

Homelessness is another; how many people living in boxes are you willing to tolerate? When does Mathew 25 kick in? And innovation is stifled as education goes down the gurgler and the population becomes more stupid, and as it becomes hungrier it is willing to take bigger risks to feed itself, meaning bigger jails etc etc. Do you see where this is heading?

Poor people also mean a smaller tax base, which means a further crumbling of infrastructure, housing stock and all the rest, sickness, death, urban decay, and a descent into a third world hell. The rich, meanwhile, who refuse to pay more taxes, spend the money instead on houses outside of the US and on fortifying the ones inside the US, with the net effect turning the US into a no man’s land with islands of prisons dotted here and there – Supermaxes for the poor and gated communities for the rich. Is that the land of the free you really want to live in?

‘There will always be poor people, and there will always be rich people. Is it the job of the top 50% of earners to support the lowest 50% of earners? Well we do it right now. Is it the job of the top 25% of earners to support the lowest 50%, but not the ones between the lowest 50% and the top 25%? Well they do it right now. Is it the job of the top 5% of earners to support the lowest 50% of earners, but not the ones between the lowest 50% and the top 5%? Well they do it right now.’

No, Hawkeye, they don’t ‘do it right now’ – if they ‘did it right now’, you wouldn’t have the problems that you do. I’m not denying that there will always be some people better off than others, but there has to be a line drawn as to how better off – if the Wal*Mart family are 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th on Wikipedia’s List Of Americans By Net Worth while many of their employees cannot afford health insurance, well, I’d say that’s too far.

 
At 5/23/2009 1:35 AM , Blogger Elroy said...

For a start, it should not be possible for someone to have a full-time job yet not be able to afford rent – the existence of the working poor should be a mark of shame, not a badge of honour but again, it comes down to what you want for your country – do you want a USA of internal strife, crime, decay, and violence, or do you want one of prosperity, communities, security and happiness?

‘If you said 'yes' to any of these questions, then tell me why you think that's fair?’

Because it’s everybody’s world, and what’s ‘fair’ for you isn’t ‘fair’ for someone else. Here, read this on being ‘fair’ and tell me what you think: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/may/03/will-hutton-fairness-unjust-society

‘Look, it's a drag being poor.’

It’s not just a ‘drag’, it’s lethal.

‘It's a drag having to struggle to make ends meet. I know. I was there.’

So was I. I know all about it too, that why I want to spare others the same misery.

‘But I got ahead because I didn't buy a lot of stuff. I didn't buy the best stuff.’

Nor did I. And I worked bloody hard. And went hungry.

‘I did a lot of my own home repairs with the help of friends and family.’

So you had an unpaid workforce at your disposal? How market distorting of you! And what are you doing consorting with…socialists?

‘And all that time I did it on 90% of my income because I gave the rest (sometimes more) to charity.’

Good for you, I mean it, that’s very noble and I salute you. But let me ask you this: what’s the difference between paying a 10% poverty alleviation tax to the government and a 10% tithe to charity? Surely properly run government, with its organizational reach and economies of scale, could reach far more people?

‘I'm not bragging, just making a point. So because I worked hard all my life, helped the poor and needy, and deprived myself and family…’

Not that it’s any of my business, I’ll grant you, but when was it that you were poor? You managed to work your way out of poverty, and congratulations are due, but my point is that social mobility is not what it once was so I was just wondering how long ago it was that you were pulling at your bootstraps?

‘…now I have to give away what little I've worked so hard for? Tell that to my wife and family.’

Now who’s exaggerating? No one is saying that Obama stormtroopers are going to come through your door and take your belongings off to the USSA Possession Redistribution Center while gutting your bank balance – all he’s saying is that the 35% tax rate should rise to the Clinton admin level of 39% for anyone earning over $250,000. What’s wrong with that?

I thought that’s what America is all about – doing what is best for the union, sacrificing one’s self for one’s country. Am I wrong? What would Lincoln do? What would Jefferson do? What would Jesus do?

‘Cute.’

Ain’t I? No, don’t answer that…

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 5/25/2009 1:50 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,

OK. You win. Since I can never (repeat, NEVER) say anything that you will agree to, I find no need to continue the conversation.

You continue to mock me, mock my beliefs, mock my country, mock my religion, mock my Constitution, mock my economics, and mock anyone other than a liberal, socialist, or communist. Therefore, I refuse to play along because I am tired of being mocked... despite your opening words to the contrary.

If you really appreciated my time, then you wouldn't spend so much of it mocking me.

 
At 5/25/2009 10:20 PM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘OK. You win.’ ‘Since I can never (repeat, NEVER) say a‘OK. You win.’ ‘Since I can never (repeat, NEVER) say anything that you will agree to, I find no need to continue the conversation.’

Conversation is not a winning/losing proposition – it is an activity by which we stimulate our thought processes and get to question both our own assumptions, beliefs and prejudices and those of others, to defend positions we hold to be true and to concede them when they are defensible no more.

Conversation is not finite, it is an ongoing intellectual challenge, a journey, an cerebral tennis match without end, and during this one I have learnt a lot about what both you and I believe.

It’s not about agreeing – it’s about DISagreeing, as that conflict and tension is the crucible of ideas. What’s the point of debating people that agree with you? That’s not debate, that’s just self-congtuatory waffle, which is why you’ll never find me posting on lib’rul sites.

However, I disagree (naturally!) that you never say anything that I will agree to, as we have come to an understanding on a least two points – that a full investigation into torture be held and that there is no hard evidence to connect OBL to 911. Excellent!

These things take time, but I think it’s worth it. Politics is very important at it fundamentally dictates the quality of life and death if not life and death themselves, and so I am firmly of the opinion that anyone who holds a political opinion that they are prepared to trumpet to the world, like us, should be able to either defend those opinions or modify them accordingly, depending. As recently redeemed economist John Maynard Keynes once said ‘When the circumstances change, I change my mind – what do you do, sir?

‘You continue to mock me..’

I’m not mocking you, Hawkeye® – if I seem to have a flippant turn of phrase then I apologize, but I notice that you are not above a bit of mockery and taking the odd satirical swipe yourself. C’mon, man up! You sound like a lib’rul!

‘…mock my beliefs…’

I repeat, I am not ‘mocking’ your beliefs – I am questioning them, yes, because I want to understand them. If this world is ever going to make sense to either side of the divide then I submit that we must have a fuller understanding of the other side’s views. Are your beliefs so fragile that they cannot bear some rigorous interrogation?

‘…mock my country…’

And I’m not mocking your country. America has touted itself as the lone superpower seeking, in PNAC’s words, ‘full-spectrum dominance’. It is not ‘mockery’ to point out that pursuing such a path comes with some cost, and it is not mockery to question whether such policies are going to contribute to the greater good.

‘…mock my religion…’

Not mocking it, just trying to understand how it fits into the WoT™ narrative and how it influences public policy in general. You might have noticed that, as an atheist, my theology is somewhat foggy, so I thank you for your insights.

‘…mock my Constitution…’

I am not mocking that, either. I happen to think that your Constitution, Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights are fine documents indeed – it’s a shame that governments find them so hard to live up to. Bush called it ‘A goddamn piece of paper’, and if that isn’t mocker then I don’t know what is.

‘…mock my economics…’

I contend that it is conservative economics that has led the world to its current parlous state. You don’t. Discuss. You mock my economics, and that’s fine – mock away. Must I be utterly reverential before you will reply? With respect (really!), don’t you think you are being little precious?

‘…and mock anyone other than a liberal, socialist, or communist.’

No, if warranted I’ll ‘mock’ them too – it just hasn’t come up yet.

 
At 5/25/2009 10:20 PM , Blogger Elroy said...

‘Therefore, I refuse to play along because I am tired of being mocked... despite your opening words to the contrary. If you really appreciated my time, then you wouldn't spend so much of it mocking me.’

I think you might be confusing ‘mockery’ with ‘criticism’. As I have said, you are not beyond mockery of me, your POTUS, the Democrats or anyone else you suspect of having ‘socialist’ ideas, but do I mind? NO! Bring your mockery! Mock away! If that’s what it takes…

So again, I apologize for any offence, but I wonder if you are not maybe being a little over-sensitive?

C’mon, let me have it! I can take it! Pretend you’re Ann Coulter…☺

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 5/26/2009 9:23 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,
Thank you for your comments.

 
At 5/26/2009 7:52 PM , Blogger Elroy said...

Oh, Hawkeye® – you can do better than that! I thank you for your cordiality and all but really, can you honestly not defend your ethos?

If I build a house then I want it to be strong, to able stay standing in all kinds of weather – it looks like it will collapse come a mighty wind then it would be wise of me to review its design.

Conservative politics remind me of the New Orleans levees – they looked strong but they were not built to withstand the full force of nature and similarly, when the economic hurricane arrived it was found that the levee walls built by FDR after the Great Depression had been demolished by the ideology of deregulation and tax cuts – there were no walls left, and so the world drowned.

There. An analogy. Care to rebut? Conservatives, and I'm making a generalization here, always say that lib'ruls are not logical and be easily beaten in debate but they always wind up quitting. Why is that?

C'mon, I know you can do it – strike a blow for the GOP and prove me wrong!

Cheers

Elroy

 
At 5/27/2009 7:24 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Elroy,

It is like children sitting in the market places and calling to their playmates, 'We piped to you, and you did not dance; we wailed, and you did not mourn.' --Matthew 11:16b-17

 

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